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September 23, 2014

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - September 23, 2014

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen's Popular Problems is the week's new music highlight.

Aphex Twin's Syro, Bonnie Prince Billy's Singer's Grave: A Sea Of Tongues, Perfume Genius's Too Bright, and Purling Hiss's Weirdon are all new albums I can recommend.

Reissues include the 7-disc George Harrison box set The Apple Years and a 7-disc expanded edition of the Smashing Pumpkins' Adore album.

What new releases are you picking up this week? What can you recommend? Have I left anything noteworthy off the list?


This week's interesting music releases:

Alt-J: This Is All Yours
Aphex Twin: Syro
Bonnie Prince Billy: Singer's Grave: A Sea Of Tongues
Chuck Prophet: Night Surfer
Cody Joe Tillman and The Wicked Truth: Cody Joe Tillman and The Wicked Truth
Dntel: Human Voice
The Drums: Encyclopedia
Empires: Orphan
George Harrison: The Apple Years (7-disc box set)
Gnarwolves: Gnarwolves
Goat: Commune
Groundislava: Frozen Throne
Imelda May: Tribal
Information Society: _hello world
Jennifer Hudson: JHUD
John Mellencamp: Plain Spoken
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz: Tyranny
Kenny Chesney: The Big Revival
King Tuff: Black Moon Spell
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett: Cheek To Cheek
Laetitia Sadier: Something Shines
Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems
Lights: Little Machines
Marketa Irglova: Muna
Matty Mullins: Matty Mullins
Mr Twin Sister: Mr Twin Sister
Perfume Genius: Too Bright
Purling Hiss: Weirdon
Rob Lynch: All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul
S: Cool Choices
SILVA: Ocean View
Smashing Pumpkins: Adore (remastered and expanded 7-disc box set)
Takako Minekawa and Dustin Wong: Savage Imagination
The Growlers: Chinese Fountain
Tweedy: Sukierae
Whirr: Sway


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us





September 23, 2014

Shorties (The Top Literary-Inspired Cocktails, An Interview with The Vaselines, and more)

Drinks Business listed the top 10 literary inspired cocktails from Tim Federle's book Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist.


Pitchfork interviewed the musical duo The Vaselines.


The Week listed Nintendo games inspired by literature.


The Dissolve listed the top 50mpop music moments in movies.


The Telegraph listed the best Kurt Vonnegut quotes.


Bristle Up interviewed av Linton of the Aisler's Set.


The Guardian Books blog remembered the brilliance of Richard Brautogan's short stories.


PopMatters interviewed singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche.


The Rumpus interviewed author M.E. Thomas.


Rolling Stone profiled the Replacements.


Paste listed its favorite graphic novels that are frequently banned.


Microphone Check remembered The Notorious B.I.G.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Daily Downloads (Ty Segall, The Red Headed Indian, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Andrew St. James: "Tapes" [mp3] from The Shakes (out October 21st)

Dom Flemons: 'Til the Seas Run Dry EP [mp3]

ET Anderson: "It Don't Even" [mp3] from Et tu, ____? (out November 18th)

Paperhaus: "Cairo" [mp3] from Paperhaus (out January 27th)

Rabbit in the Rye: Live at SubRosa album [mp3]

The Red Headed Indian: Honey EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Adult Swim Singles Program album [mp3]

Various Artists: Ensemble Vol​.​2 Part 1 compilation album [mp3]

Zeta Wave: "Waltz" [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Ty Segall: 2014-09-17, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

September 22, 2014

Book Notes - George Lerner "The Ambassadors"

The Ambassadors

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Spanning generations and continents, George Lerner's debut novel The Ambassadors is a perceptive and poignant account of war and family.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"Debut novelist ­Lerner is a television producer and journalist who has covered the African genocides firsthand. His amazingly balanced insights into the continent's unceasing tribal wars, and his depiction of a couple whose great love is subverted by opposing worldviews has generated a page-turner."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is George Lerner's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel The Ambassadors:


I have to confess a lover's quarrel with music. Music had an integral role in my very existence by bringing together my violinist mother and pianist father years after each had abandoned hopes of performance careers. Whatever gifts that music had endowed upon my parents, however, did not extend to me. I lacked the slightest whisper of musical talent. As a ten-year-old playing the violin, I struggled with the flow of notes. My hands had little fluidity, and I loathed practicing. My father, a scholar of renaissance music history, never quite forgave me for quitting.

Music might not have been my calling, but it did exert a powerful pull over my debut novel, "The Ambassadors." The novel's central character is a Brooklyn man, Jacob Furman, whose regrets over dealing arms in an African civil war lead him to try to reconcile with the wife and son he had once betrayed. His grown son, Shalom, manages a band of West African salsa players, who adapted the sound of the great 1950s-60s Cuban bands to their own traditions. Shalom's struggles to promote this music among indifferent audiences in New York is emblematic of his tenuous relationship to Jacob and to the world in general. Jacob, the father, has his own unrequited relationship to music. As a U.S. soldier in post-World War II Bavaria, Jacob spots a magnificent grand piano in the home of a nefarious black marketer and suspects its previous owners had been deported to Auschwitz. He brings the Steinway back to Brooklyn, but the piano sits quiet for decades, until one of Shalom's gifted bandmates wrests a new, syncretic sound from its aged keys.



"Soldadi" - Orchestra Baobab

I could have picked a half-dozen cuts from Orchestra Baobab's transcendent album "Pirates Choice." This music is filled with joy and vision, a Cuban sound reinterpreted by Senegalese musicians, sung in a mélange of African and Western languages. Their sound served as the inspiration for the band in "The Ambassadors," in which Shalom books a group of West African salseros into a succession of wholly inappropriate venues.


"Ballade #4" – Frederic Chopin – Piano: Artur Rubinstein

I grew up watching the grand piano that my father, like Jacob, had acquired when serving in post-war Germany. I borrowed the idea of this piano, along with a few of my father's other army stories, for "The Ambassadors," but there aren't any real similarities between the character of Jacob Furman and my dad, a quiet man who never considered a concert piano career because of family opposition and the recognition that he simply didn't have the fire in him. My father stopped playing the piano altogether shortly after my birth. When he died, I found his annotated scores from the Chopin ballades, marked and referenced, performed at one time, but never for my ears.


"California Stars" – Music by Billy Bragg & Wilco, lyrics by Woody Guthrie

Off the first Mermaid Avenue album, this collaboration between Billy Bragg and Wilco put songs to some of Woody Guthrie's unrecorded lyrics. The idea of words being rescued from a dark box served as a major theme of "The Ambassadors," where the characters reflect on the Holocaust and disagree over what can be restored from the abyss.


"Allah La Kananjon" - Keba Bobo Cissoko

The struggles of Keba Bobo Cissoko, a master of the kora, the 21-string West African harp, to secure a musical place in New York helped inform the resilience and persistence of the musicians in "The Ambassadors." I learned of Keba's journey, leaving his native Guinea-Bissau to cross the Atlantic, from his friend and collaborator Sylvain Leroux, who plays the West African Fula flute. A traditional griot, Keba died in 2003, before he could finish production on an album that brought together his griot/jeli storytelling with a rich modern sound. Keba's friends completed the album and released it posthumously.


"Kol Ha'Olam Kulo" – traditional Hassidic tune – Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

A classic Hassidic song that repeats one line: "All the world is a narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to be afraid." The song crops up at a critical juncture of "The Ambassadors" and allows my characters to escape a tight spot, surrounded by perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.


"Remote Control" - The Clash


Coming of age in punk rock, I spent my adolescence lost in the supermarket. Joe Strummer put voice to that sense of confinement, and disillusionment, but he also offered a way out, through music, through anger, and the refusal to simply be satisfied. Shalom also comes from this tradition, and so it feels natural for him to book the band into a punk line-up at CBGBs. The result is a clash of cultures that Shalom can't contend with.


"Ballaké" - Bembeya Jazz

The legendary Guinean band with a big horn section, sparkling guitar and dynamic vocals became a national treasure in the 1960s-70s, and were immortalized in thrilling television performances (available on youtube), but decades later, I met some of the surviving musicians in New York, playing before tiny audiences who had no idea of their history.


"Tennessee Blues" - Steve Earle

A song about departures, and crossing the mighty Hudson River to reach New York. Steve's journey was dramatically different from the African musicians described above, but his commitment to start anew had a common chord.


"Ritmo, Tambo, y Flores" – Celia Cruz

An early song from the Queen of Salsa, capturing her legendary dynamism, radiant stage presence and magnificent voice. Here was a sound of pure joy to draw in Shalom, and inspire his commitment to a band of Senegalese salseros.


"Animata" - Los Afro-Salseros de Senegal en La Habana

Los Afro-Salseros comprised an all star team of Senegalese musicians who traveled to Cuba to record an album in Havana. For many it was the fulfillment of a lifelong musical journey, as documented by the research of historian Richard M. Shain.


"Round Midnight" - Thelonious Monk

Sang Froid, the brilliant improvisational pianist in "The Ambassadors," plays along with the disparate musical styles that influence the band. Deep down though, he is a visionary, a Monk, and finds a partner for his art in a piano that carries a tragic history.


"Revelator" - Gillian Welch

Time opens up a window for Gillian Welch to compose elegies to a lost age of hard times, camptowns and mules. My fictional landscape is different, but the idea of singing to the past, to the dead, resonated deeply.


"Nakobala Te" - Kékélé

A significant part of "The Ambasadors" deals with Jacob's travels through Eastern Congo at the beginning of a terrible civil war. It was an era, President Joseph Mobutu's long reign, that I came to appreciate through grand masters of Congolese music like Franco and Tabu Ley Rochereau. But it was the members of Kékélé, which formed as a throwback to traditional Congolese rumba, who taught me most about this period, its music and its struggles, when they sat with me for an interview on their 2004 U.S. tour.


"Jesus of Suburbia" - Green Day

Shalom wouldn't recognize suburbia, but sure could understand the alienation, the passion and the disillusionment, of Billie Joe Armstrong's "son of rage and love."


"Clay Pigeons" - Blaze Foley

For a musician whose studio records were lost, Blaze left a powerful legacy in songs of mourning and mischievousness, his spirit kept alive by musical compatriots who decades later still grieve over his murder.


"Virgo Prudentissima" - Heinrich Isaac

My father's life work as a scholar was to translate the manuscripts of Renaissance composer Heinrich Isaac from its antique notation, unreadable to modern performers, into modern scores that can be played today. "Virgo Prudentissima" is a glorious piece of choral music, even if its title – "The Most Prudent Virgin" -- has lost something in the passage from the 15th to the 21st Century. My dad had an arcane vocation, difficult for me to understand during my childhood, but at 90, he was still transcribing, restoring lost notes to the world. My father died a few days before I submitted the final draft of my novel.


George Lerner and The Ambassadors links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

Authorlink interview with the author
The Daily Beast essay by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Book Notes - Courtney Moreno "In Case of Emergency"

In Case of Emergency

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Courtney Moreno's debut novel In Case of Emergency offers a compelling look at both the lives of the working class of Los Angeles and the effects of trauma.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"In this emotionally moving, well-written, engaging novel, Moreno strikes a profound balance between the clinical logic of trauma and the personal irrationality of a young woman dealing with her demons"

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Courtney Moreno's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel In Case of Emergency:


I worked for two and a half years as an EMT in some of the worst areas of Los Angeles, and when I first started writing In Case of Emergency, I thought I'd be able to stuff into its pages almost every interesting or horrifying call I'd ever ran. But what happened instead was more interesting: my narrator, Piper Gallagher, had a mind all her own and the story took off in unexpected directions. This songlist is for Piper, who's trying to cope with too many things at once, who's terrified of falling in love but tired of being alone, in hopes that it will offer some comfort the way only good music can.

"The World at Large" by Modest Mouse

This is where it starts, I think. Piper, our unlucky 28-year-old heroine, has been restless and melancholy, with a history of dead-end jobs and false starts and romantic failures, and this song isn't so much about that exact personal history as it is about that feeling—the feeling of not belonging anywhere, of being simultaneously stuck and unencumbered—and how that kind of freedom and lack of limitation should perhaps feel like a gift but often doesn't.

"Reality Check" by J Dilla feat Black Thought

And this is where it ends up, somehow, because Piper makes the decision to do something, to take action, which to her means becoming an EMT, trying to save lives and help others even while she has no idea how to save or help herself. This decision introduces her to the world of emergency medicine as well as the ghettos of Los Angeles with its overlooked inhabitants. After a couple months on her new job, Piper notes, "Lately I listen to what the birthplace of gangster rap booms and hums on a daily basis: Ghostface Killa, Immortal Technique, Lloyd Banks… I almost know all the words to J Dilla's ‘Reality Check.'"

"Arms of Mine" by Otis Redding

Oh, romance. How Piper dreads and craves it. This song has a hint of that kind of desperation, in which you stalk the aisles of a grocery store for months like Piper, because you have a crush on the woman who works there, because there's something about the way she wears her apron and her hair tumbles into her face that fills you with longing, and because now that you are an EMT, now that you have a job in which you see things most people would run screaming from, surely you can finally work up the courage to ask out your longtime crush.

"Oh My God" by Ida Maria

This song so perfectly captures that surreal feeling of spinning out of control, something Piper does more than once, along with the alarmed, self-deprecating, and cathartic joy that comes with the awareness that even as you spin out, people assume you're in control—or at least have a handle on things—despite how obvious the truth feels. Ohhhhhh Myyyyyy Goddddddd.

"Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez

One aspect of In Case of Emergency is that about every twenty pages the reader comes across a lyrical description of a body part or system, such as the lungs, the nervous system, or the inner ear. I chose this song because although there are so many out there that refer to parts of the body, especially the heart, this one made me think of my own pulse, and the literal function of the organ that creates it, before I ever knew its name.

"Little Weapon" by Lupe Fiasco

I fell in love with Lupe Fiasco's The Cool while working as an EMT. The entire album, from start to finish, is incredible. This song describes violence in children, from video games to child soldiers to gangmembers and high school shooters. Over the almost-three years I worked as an EMT, I responded to a lot of calls for gunshot wounds, either experienced or caused by children. This song is a reminder that this is a global problem.

"Staying Alive" by Bee Gees

Every good mix needs an intermission of sorts, but also: if you ever have to do CPR, think of this song. The beat sets the correct rhythm for compressions.

"You or Your Memory" by The Mountain Goats

John Darnielle is a writer and musician both; each Mountain Goats song is a short story with a beginning, middle, and end. I can picture the events in "You or Your Memory" so clearly: a man checks into a hotel, shuffles barefoot to the closest convenience store to pick up "supplies," and then focuses on making it through the night. I've run calls on people like this one, people who don't have a medical complaint but get so lonely or scared they can't think of what to do besides call 911. But also, much of my novel has to do with what medicine can and can't do for us, the line between clinical care and healing, which mirrors the desperation Piper feels as she realizes that there are no clean or absolute coping mechanisms. This song is as much about that as anything. What's more therapeutic—chasing baby aspirin with wine coolers? Or sitting alone in the dark, at some bargain hotel on La Cienega, hoping that by daybreak everything will be okay.

"Love They Say" by Tegan and Sara

I think this is what Piper wishes falling in love felt like but of course, for her, it doesn't. This song has it all, everything people believe or want to believe—love at first sight, finding "the one," getting lifted out of a dark situation, becoming the best version of yourself, the soaring feeling, the abandonment—and all of this unfettered optimism is set against the utter sing-along-ability of a Tegan and Sara song. Can love be like this? Of course it can, maybe.

"I'm Going Slightly Mad" by Queen

Toward the end of the novel, Piper agrees to work a 72-hour shift in South Central. In a busy area like South Central, that's basically the same thing as signing up for a sleepless, trauma-drenched, three-day period in which you'll be lucky to get any regular meals or rest. After 72 hours of this, your brain starts to do things you'd never have predicted. This song is a fairly accurate description of what that feels like.

"103rd St Theme" by The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band

Susan Straight kindly wrote a blurb for In Case of Emergency, calling it "a dark love song, dark as a bruise, for the Los Angeles no one seems to see." With that in mind, here is The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band. Their theme for 103rd St isn't dark: it's joyful and triumphant and full of funk. I wish I could go back to 1967, to 103rd St in Watts, and see it through their eyes.


Courtney Moreno and In Case of Emergency links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review
San Jose Mercury News review

Guernica interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Shorties (Eula Bliss Interviewed, Stream the New Lucinda Williams Album, and more)

Bookforum interviewed author Eula Bliss.


NPR Music is streaming the new Lucinda Williams album Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone.


The San Francisco Examiner profiled the Raveonettes.


Sophie Hannah talked to the Guardian about continuing Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series.


PopMatters listed the best albums of the 2000s.


Journalist and author David Carr talked books with the New York Times.


Morning Edition interviewed Carl Newman and Neko Case of the New Pornographers.


Tin House interviewed author Julia Elliott.


Observer music critic Paul Morley discussed the future relevance of classical music over pop.


All Things Considered interviewed Gail Sheehy about her new memoir My Passages.


The A.V. Club recommended entry points into Aphex Twin's discography.


Shelf Life listed essential banned graphic novels.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius.


NiemanLab interviewed the publisher of Lapham's Quarterly about the state of literary magazines.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Daily Downloads (Wilco, Amy Ray, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Amy Ray: The NoiseTrade Sampler album [mp3]

Cassorla: "The Right Way" [mp3]

Field Division: "Hollow Body Weather" [mp3]

Glyphs: "Shed the Skin" [mp3]

Gwyneth Moreland: "Pine Box Sailors" [mp3] from Ceilings Floors and Open Doors

Jim White and Packway Handle Band: The Sawyer Sessions EP [mp3]

Skye Steele: Hiromitsu and Yuko" [mp3] from Up From The Bitterroot (out January 20th)

Strange Magic: several tracks [mp3]

Tiny House: "Cold Autumn Prayer" [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Wilco: 2014-09-07, Arrington [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

September 21, 2014

Largehearted Boy Weekly Wrap-Up - September 21, 2014

A list of the past week's Largehearted Boy features:


Book Notes: (authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates to their book)

David Bajo for his novel Mercy 6
Johnny Temple for the Brooklyn Book Festival
Luke B. Goebel for his novel Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours
Ronna Wineberg for her novel On Bittersweet Place
Sarah Yaw for her novel You Are Free to Go
William Alexander for his book Flirting with French


Note Books: (musicians discuss books)

Dave Doughman of Swearing at Motorists


Weekly New Book Recommendations:

Atomic Books Comics Preview (recommended new comics and graphic novels)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


New Music Recommendations:

The Week's Interesting Music Releases


And of course, the daily music and news posts:

Daily Downloads (10 free and legal mp3 downloads every day, plus links to free live recordings online)
Shorties (news & links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)


also at Largehearted Boy:

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines
Atomic Books Comics Preview
Book Notes
Contests / Giveaways
Cover Song Collections
Daily Downloads
Lists
weekly music release lists
musician/author Interviews
Note Books
Soundtracked
Try It Before You Buy It
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

September 20, 2014

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Including Wilco, Spoon, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Anabot: "Everything Okay" [mp3] from Kiss Like A Knife EP (out December 2nd)

Dream Boat: "The Rose Explodes" [mp3] from The Rose Explodes

Frazey Ford: Frazey Ford Five EP [mp3]

The Hush Now: Trapeze Falls Without Regret album [mp3]

Jess Morgan: Animal EP [mp3]

Minnie Driver: The Minnie Driver Collection EP [mp3]

Shaky Knees: 7 Years Album Sampler EP [mp3]

Spoon: 2014-09-05, Raleigh [mp3]

Various Artists: Out There in the Dark: A Mexican Summer Compilation album [mp3]

Wilco: 2014-09-06, Arrington [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Hiss Golden Messenger: 2014-09-18, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

September 19, 2014

Book Notes - Ronna Wineberg "On Bittersweet Place"

Mercy 6

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Ronna Wineberg's debut novel On Bittersweet Place is an impressive and moving coming of age story.

Anne Korkeakivi wrote of the book:

"Youth is never all sweet, and On Bittersweet Place's Lena, a Russian-born Jewish teenager in 1920s Chicago, certainly has her share of troubles. The sweetness is there, though, in this heartfelt coming-of-age tale–– in the tenderness of Wineberg's beautiful prose and the pluck of its resilient young heroine. A story that stays with you."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Ronna Wineberg's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel On Bittersweet Place:


My first novel, On Bittersweet Place, is the coming-of-age story of Lena Czernitski, a young Russian Jew whose family flees their homeland in the Ukraine after the October Revolution. The story unfolds in Chicago during the Jazz Age of the 1920s, where Lena's impoverished family has settled and where she must traverse the early years of adolescence. Lena's new world is large and full of promise, but it is also cold and unwelcoming and laden with danger. Lena's playlist includes music from the old country and the new world.

"Ochi Chyornye" (Dark Eyes)
Lena listened to this song in Belilovka. The lyrics are based on an Ukrainian poem. Uncle William and Uncle Abie played the piece and classical music on the piano that stood near the kitchen in the house in Belilovka. Lena also listens to Ochi Chyornye in the apartment on Bittersweet Place. Uncle William sings, serenading the family. Lena's mother sings this, too. The brooding music and words are filled with longing and a warning. The song evokes Russia, a past Lena wants to forget. The lyrics seem to foretell William's fate.

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
How I love you, how I fear you
Verily I saw you at a sinister hour…

If I hadn't met you, I wouldn't be suffering so
I would have lived my life smiling
You have ruined me, dark eyes
You have taken my happiness away forever…

Although we don't learn this in the book, William also sings some opera. "La Donna e Mobile" from Rigoletto, by Verdi. And a few American songs, such as "California, Here I Come," by Bud DeSylva and Joseph Meyer.

Yiddish Songs
Lena hears Yiddish songs at home. William sings "Rozhinkes mit Mandelen" (Raisins and Almonds) and others. Reesa hums this song.

Patriotic Songs and Christmas Carols
Part of Lena's playlist is imposed: music she must learn and sing at school assemblies. "America the Beautiful", "O'Columbia Gem of the Ocean", "My Country Tis of Thee", and also Scottish and French Ballads. Christmas carols, too, such as "Silent Night" and "O Holy Night". She likes the emotion and hope in the patriotic songs. Though she would never admit this, "Silent Night" speaks to her because of the peacefulness of the melody. Lena considers English words themselves to be like a song.

"Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major", Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Max gives Lena the beginnings of a musical education. He plays Mozart on the piano for her.

"Rhapsody in Blue", George Gershwin
Max and Lena listen to this on Max's Victrola.

"Heebie Jeebies", Boyd Atkins
Max plays this and other Louis Armstrong recordings on the Victrola for Lena. These scenes aren't in the book. Lena loves the exuberance of the sounds, the energy. Also "Sweet Georgia Brown" by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard, and Kenneth Casey. And "Blue Skies" by Irving Berlin. Max plays boogie woogie and jazz on the piano for her, too.

"A Kiss in the Laundry" and "Lena's Bravery on the Roof", Max Sloan
Max composes music and plays this on the piano for Lena. She loves to listen to his compositions. In one, he imagines what will come to pass when he and Lena meet at the laundry. He writes a marching tune about Lena's courage, a pleasing sweet triumphant melody. Some compositions have lyrics, others do not. Some don't have titles.

Radio
Lena sometimes listens to the one radio the family owns. The radio sits in the back of the Granville Laundry. She hears opera, hot jazz, ragtime. Hadie likes to listen, too, but she waits until someone in the family turns on the radio. Chaim likes to listen to opera broadcasts or broadcasts of classical music. He especially enjoys the music of Sergei Rachmaninov.

"Beautiful", "So Far Away", and "You've Got a Friend", Carole King
While revising the novel, I saw a preview of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Three songs resonated for me and reflected Lena's sense of displacement and her friendship with Max. "Beautiful": "You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face…" Lena does this despite her challenges. "So Far Away": "Doesn't anyone stay in one place anymore?" People Lena loves move away in the book; life is in flux. "You've Got a Friend": "You just call out my name…and…I'll come running to see you again." The lyrics capture Lena's feelings for Max and the world he's opened up for her.

"Flowers in Your Hair", "Ho Hey", "Flapper Girl", The Lumineers; "I Would Bring You Ireland", "Roseville Fair", "Trouble In the Fields", Nancy Griffith; "From a Distance", Julie Gold
While writing the book, during breaks, I listened to contemporary music that dealt with love, hope, and hard times. I also listened to Garrison Keillor and The Prairie Home Companion because of the music and because I liked to be reminded of the importance of story.

Autumn, George Winston; Koln Concerts, Keith Jarrett; French Impressions, recorded by Jeremy Denk and Joshua Bell; music on KVOD
These albums and the radio broadcasts reminded me of the many moods music captures, the many moods in life.

"Sonata No.2, in G Major, Op.49," Ludwig van Beethoven
During breaks from writing, I sometimes sat at the piano and played my old music from when I took lessons long ago. This was relaxing. I imagined what it was like for Max to play the piano and Lena to sit and listen, the melody rising in the room. Playing piano reminded me of how music can communicate without words and transport both the person who listens and the person who plays the instrument.


Ronna Wineberg and On Bittersweet Place links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Harvard Crimson review
Kirkus review

The Millions interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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Book Notes - David Bajo "Mercy 6"

Mercy 6

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

David Bajo's novel Mercy 6 is an ambitiously told literary thriller.

Foreword Reviews wrote of the book:

"The complex, nuanced story will appeal to those interested in deciphering the events and attaching their own meaning rather than being provided straightforward answers. The events are a metaphor that can be interpreted in many ways, about containing information, and about the consequences of stifling and suppressing new ideas."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is David Bajo's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Mercy 6:


My Mercy 6 protagonist, Anna Mendenhall, has the most realistic view of Los Angeles anyone could possibly achieve. She's an ER doctor in one of the city's main hospitals. She pulls twelve hour shifts that usually stretch toward twenty-four. In the eleventh hour she can receive and treat an overdose, a bullet wound, a broken wrist, and a fishhook removal. There's very little backstory in Mercy 6 because there's no time for it. All of the world-building in the story forms in the tiny interludes during Mendenhall's quest to diagnose the contagion while battling protocol. In these little seeps, she thinks about music—at least I imagine she does. Once, she actually thinks of a song. Other times, I think of a song for her. Here is her playlist.

"I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight," by Richard and Linda Thompson
The song is wishful thinking, about our impossible to desire to toss aside responsibility, get wasted, fight, love. A couple of drunken nights rolling on the floor, is just the kind of mess I'm looking for. This sentiment passes through Mendenhall often. The only way to endure a job—whether we love it or hate it—is to imagine its end. This song is about the want rather than the bright lights. Linda Thompson's vocal perfectly evokes that.

"L.A.," by Neil Young
Mendenhall sees and treats the real Los Angeles. She has grown to despise the Hollywood version that dominates song, television, film, travelogue, and literature. She has even grown to despise cultural works about the delusion of the Hollywood version. This is the one song she briefly conjures as she hurries onto the sidewalks, an escapee from lockdown and quarantine. Young's song doesn't stop at the delusion. It taunts us with the delusion, tells us we still want it anyway. Don't you wish you could be here, too? Don't you wish you could be here, too?

"Cortez the Killer," by Neil Young
Mendenhall names her dog after this song. Cortez has to live with her aunt because Mendenhall's hardly ever home from the ER. He's a scruffy little terrier mix, no bigger than a loaf of bread, Cortez the Killer.

"Los Angeles," by X
Most of their music, tonally and lyrically, offers the real L.A. that nobody really knows, the city that Mendenhall sees everyday in the ER bay. I imagine she takes it with her during the escape and rescue part of the story. X is about as far away from Santa Monica as you can get without leaving Los Angeles.

"Desperados Under the Eaves," by Warren Zevon
This completes the Young-X-Zevon Los Angeles triad. As California slides into the ocean, like the mystics and statistics say it will.

"Speigel im Speigel," by Arvo Pärt
There are moments in this plot-driven novel where Mendenhall is suspended, once in water, a few more in dark passages within the Mercy General infrastructure. In these moments, she has used her expertise to its full extent while she must wait for and trust the expertise of others. What we all have to do, if we're doing it right.

"Basstrap," by Overseer
Mendenhall disdains metaphor. She believes people, especially doctors and scientists, use metaphor to cover gaps in their knowledge. I don't quite share her disdain, but I am suspicious of metaphor in my own writing. Mendenhall and I relate to this song, how it directly translates pressure into music and then quantifies it in words.


David Bajo and Mercy 6 links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Foreword Reviews review

Examiner.com interview with the author
Fiction Writers Review interview with the author
Free Times profile of the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes entry by the author for Panopticon
The State profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - September 18, 2014

In the weekly Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week, the Montreal bookstore recommends several new works of fiction, art books, periodicals, and comics.

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is one of Montreal's premiere independent bookstores.


Bumperhead

Bumperhead
by Gilbert Hernandez

A life in five acts, Bumperhead tells the story of Bobby, who grows from disaffected teenager to apathetic adult while trying different 1970s subcultures on for size. A master storyteller, Hernandez (Love and Rockets, Marble Season) weaves childhood crushes, crushing disappointments, and forgotten dreams through a landscape of glam rock, prog rock, and punk (not to mention the accompanying drug use). The story is scattered, almost stream-of-consciousness. It is very much how real memory works, and lends a startling immediacy to Bobby's everyday struggles.


Sugar Skull

Sugar Skull
by Charles Burns

Finishing off the Nitnit Trilogy that began with X'ed Out and The Hive, Charles Burns delivers Sugar Skull, a hauntingly surreal adventure undertaken by a man named Doug and his performance-art alter ego Nitnit (a reverse Tintin). Picking up where The Hive left off, Sugar Skull brings Doug closer to revealing his past trauma (and what happened between him and Sarah), and follows Nitnit as he attempts to escape the Hive and regain his freedom.


How to Build a Girl

How to Build a Girl
by Caitlin Moran

After her much-talked about debut How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran is back with How to Build a Girl, a novel that follows fourteen year old Johanna Morrigan's transformation into Dolly Wilde, hard-drinking gothic hero and Lady Sex Adventurer. Dolly is everything Johanna wants to be, but is that enough? What does it take to build a girl? Written in Moran's signature comic style, the novel touts itself as The Bell Jar, if The Bell Jar was written by Rizzo from Grease. High praise!


This Changes Everything

This Changes Everything
by Naomi Klein

In This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Naomi Klein, previously known for her bestsellers No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, tackles the conflict between our current economic system and the fight to save the earth. Klein calls climate change a "civilizational wake-up call" and it's clear to see that despite the grim reality, she hasn't given up hope. Klein has a history of redefining how we think of global issues, and this environmental tour de force promises more of the same.


The Complete Cosmicomics

The Complete Cosmicomics
by Italo Calvino

Written between the 1960s and 80s, Calvino's fantastical stories of primordial beings frolicking in space finally find a home together in a new and beautiful hard cover edition. Seen through the eyes of Qfwfq, an ageless guide, the stories range from explaining mathematical concepts to recounting the origins of the universe. Calvino's legacy is sacrosanct, with even the great Ursula K. LeGuin calling The Cosmicomics "a landmark in fiction, the work of a master."


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's blog
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Facebook page
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Tumblr
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

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