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November 19, 2014

Daily Downloads (Cass McCombs, The Lonely Ones, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Bo and the Locomotive: "Never Afraid" [mp3] from It's All Down Here From Here (out January 27th)

The Champion of What If: The 50 Project album [mp3]

Crown: "Helter Skelter (Beatles cover)" [mp3]

The Honest Mistakes: This Was Supposed to Be the Future album [mp3]

Lindsey Luff: A Blue Christmas EP [mp3]

The Lonely Ones: The Lonely Ones Sampler EP [mp3]

The Luxury Liners: Sound as Ever album [mp3]

The Safes: "Hopes Up, Guard Down" [mp3] from Record Heat

Semicircle: "Mechanism of Erasure" [mp3] from


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Cass McCombs: 2014-11-01 and 2014-10-31, 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

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November 18, 2014

Book Notes - Jeff VanderMeer "Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy"

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy

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, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy collects Jeff VanderMeer's impressive science fiction series in one hardback edition.

Karen Joy Fowler wrote of the books at BookPage:

"Unsettling and un-put-downable like an old-fashioned adventure story, only weirder, beautifully written and not at all old-fashioned.""

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Jeff VanderMeer's Book Notes music playlist for his novels Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy:


I wrote a guest post for Largehearted Boy back in February, exploring some of the musical influences on my Southern Reach trilogy. The Southern Reach trilogy chronicles the thirty-year quest by a secret agency called the Southern Reach to explore the mystery behind Area X, a strange pristine wilderness. Some event has closed Area X off from the rest of the world and increasingly desperate expeditions are sent in to try to find some solution before it spreads.

At the time I wrote the last post, the musical influences were two-directional: songs I listened to while writing the trilogy and songs I thought evoked some of the atmosphere of the trilogy. I even expanded on some choices here, for Eric J. Lawrence's Guest DJ show on KCRW.

Since publication and the international success of the trilogy there's been a third direction: People creating their own soundtracks for the novels. The usual focus is on songs that emphasize either the situations of the main characters or certain science-fiction or ecological themes. The Polish publisher even had a noted Polish DJ create a mix, which you can listen to here.

My friend Ashley Rogers posted a track listing and Benni the Blog did as well. I've now spent an afternoon listening to both soundtracks and like a fair amount of all of it music, in the sense that it does evoke different moods from the trilogy. Some of the songs might not be ones I'd listen to while writing, but that's a different context than reading the books. There's also a true subjectivity to reading the Southern Reach, I've found. There's an imaginative space carved out for readers that leads to different interpretations, and it's interesting how the playlists kind of reflect that shifting perspective.

Anyway, I thought I'd pick out some tracks that stuck out in my mind from both playlists.


An Unofficial Southern Reach Trilogy Soundtrack (Benni the Blog)

"Neutered Fruit" by St. Vincent – This is an interesting case of the lyrics seeming to support Annihilation, in a curling vine type of way while some of the music's electronic nature seems a little too upbeat.

"…but Now Things Were Different" by Library Tapes – I'm a sucker for incidental bird song at the beginning or end of a track. With the heavy wall of synth coming along behind the bird sounds, the sense of dread is appropriate and almost overwhelming—I felt like the border of Area X was locking into place. Haunted piano coming in over top of that with an unsettling other instrument providing reverberation? I was both a little freaked out and loving it. Not many tracks make me physically uneasy, but this one managed the trick. A great Southern Reach track. I could see this being the last song ever played on the waterlogged piano in the village bar in Acceptance.

"Space & Times" by The Pierces – Wow. This could be the whiskey-drenched voice of the former director driving to the bowling alley in Acceptance. This could be the track playing while she's hanging out in the Star Lounge in the back or a refrain running through her head as she crosses the border with Whitby—or could fit a hundred other scenes or circumstances. The lead singer has such a strong voice and the clarity of the instruments behind it—nice recording job. "If I knew then what I know now." Yep, perfect.

"Yfirbord" by Sigur Ros – I like Sigur Ros a lot, but I find I can't write to them because they subvert my brain so it's less like a soundtrack for what I'm working on and more that I'm becoming part of their story. That's a good thing, but means they rarely show up on my lists. "Yfirbord" has the kind of orchestral gloom-power that conveys a sense of deep hiking and of Area X as a physical presence, and then opens up into a kind of autumnal beauty. The voice struggling to speak before the song like a failed yet repeated attempt to communicate. Then the song just kind of goes into outer space, complete with an explosion like a rocket launch. Again, perfect.

"Night Kills Day" by Ghostbird – It gives me so much delight to discover that there is a band named Ghostbird, given there's a character by that name in the novels! The song itself is a little traditional in its chord progressions but I like the lead singer's voice and some of the changes in the music along the way. The lyrics are interesting too.

"Sea Swallow Me" by Cocteau Twins – I don't know why the Cocteau Twins seem playful to me much of the time, but they do, and this song has a lovely beat to it as well. There's an ethereal otherworldly quality to the music but enough of an edge to the signing so it doesn't all just float away into some hole in the sky.


Southern Reach Fan Mix (Ashley Rogers)

"Coast" by Devin Townsend – Lovely sinister opening followed by a pulsing beat and lyrics sung in a drawn-out way that fits the music, along with some adroit guitar work. "Come to the coast and I will find you." It's very evocative and fitting, with really interesting changes in the music, and Townsend uses his voice well to open up the song as it progresses, too. Near the end, the crescendo "Coast" builds to flirts with being cheesy, but largely succeeds in a tightrope walk between dramatic and bombastic.

"Harvest" by Opeth – Jangly folk rock to open that pleases me by not seeming derivative, and then a big odd echoing clarity to the music that pleases me even more. A seeking, questing sound that works quite well for the Southern Reach trilogy.

"A Natural Disaster" by Anathema – Great, simple opening that, again, leaves space for the listener's imagination, and then that great spiraling voice like an instrument itself: the slow-burn of late nights and desperate decisions conveyed beautifully by the way the music then comes to the fore in volume and intensity, to match the voice. "Can't change what happened." Really passionate, heart-felt music, and perfect for Acceptance in particular. (I also like their "Balance," on the track list, but I think "A Natural Disaster" is more unusual.)

"Passenger" by the Deftones – Great urgency and driving beat. In terms of the context of the novels, this could even be Authority with Control trapped with too many files to go through or the biologist fleeing the moaning beast after the disastrous episode at the lighthouse in Annihilation. There's an almost metal thing going on here that I somehow didn't associate with the Deftones. Like metal mixed with Bright Eyes. I could be wrong. Certainly enough angst to power some of the Southern Reach trilogy and enough mysterious so you can see Area X peering in around the edges. Their "Change (In the House of Flies)," also on the track listing is another satisfying track – "I watched you change" – with full-on demolition on display in the pyrotechnics of the music.


Jeff VanderMeer and Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Finch
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Third Bear
PopMatters interview with the author
Suvudu interview with the author
Weirdfictionreview.com interview with the author
Work in Progress 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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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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Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists Updates - November 18th

For the seventh straight year, I am aggregating every online "best of 2014" book list I find.

Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me with a blog, magazine, newspaper, or other online media list I have missed.

Daily updates to this list.

Revisit previous years' lists from 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2000-2009 (best of the decade) online year-end book list collections.

Today's updates to the master list of online "best of 2014" book lists:

Association for Library Service to Children (notable children's books)
Barnes and Noble (best biographies)
Barnes and Noble (best books for kids ages 0 to 2)
Barnes and Noble (best books for kids ages 3 to 5)
Barnes and Noble (best books for kids ages 6 to 8)
Barnes and Noble (best books for kids ages 9 to 12)
Barnes and Noble (best cookbooks)
Barnes and Noble (best diary fiction and illustrated chapter books)
Barnes and Noble (best fantasy and adventure books for teens)
Barnes and Noble (best fiction)
Barnes and Noble (best graphic novels)
Barnes and Noble (best history books)
Barnes and Noble (best humor books)
Barnes and Noble (best religion books)
Barnes and Noble (best science fiction and fantasy books)
BookPage (best cookbooks)
Brain Pickings (best children's books and picture books)
Candi, Spice, and All Things Nice (top personal development books)
GeekDad (books)
Kirkus (best fiction)
LibraryReads (librarians' favorite books)
Readings (books for ethical and socially responsible shoppers)
Spirituality and Practice (best spiritual books)


also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists
daily updates to the master list of online 2014 year-end book lists

Online "Best Books of 2013" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2012" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2010" Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Online Book Lists
Online "Best Books of 2009" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists

2013 Online Year-end Music Lists
2012 Online Year-end Music Lists
2011 Online Year-end Music Lists
2010 Online Year-end Music Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Online Music Lists
2009 Online Year-end Music Lists
2008 Online Year-end Music Lists
2007 Online Year-end Music Lists
2006 Online Year-end Music Lists
other lists at Largehearted Boy

Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics and graphic novel picks)
Anitiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Largehearted WORD (weekly new book picks)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)

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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - November 18, 2014

Wilco

Wilco releases two albums this week, the 4-CD rarities set Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 and the double-disc What's Your 20? Essential Tracks 1994-2014 greatest hits collection.

Ariel Pink's pom pom is another new release I can recommend.

Reissues and archival releases include Bruce Springsteen's The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984 (a remastered 8-CD box set), Captain Beefheart's Sun, Zoom, Spark:1970 to 1972 (a 4-CD box set that includes remastered editions of Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot, plus unreleased outtakes), and the David Bowie compilation Nothing Has Changed (a 3-CD box set).


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:

Anawan: Anawan [vinyl]
Ariel Pink: pom pom
Brian Eno: Nerve Net (reissue)
Brian Eno: Shutov Assembly (reissue)
Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984 (remastered 8-CD box set)
Bryan Ferry: Avonmore
Captain Beefheart: Sun, Zoom, Spark:1970 to 1972 (4-CD box set)
David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed (3-CD box set)
Defeat The Low: A Nervous Smile
Drive-By Truckers: English Oceans Deluxe/Black Ice Vérité
Emmylou Harris: Songbird: Rare Tracks & Forgotten Gems (4-CD box set)
Fugazi: First Demo
Hans Zimmer: Interstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Manchester Orchestra: Hope
Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend (reissue) [vinyl]
Meligrove Band: Bones Of Things
Mr. Oizo: The Church
One Direction: Four
Patterson Hood: Killers and Stars (reissue) [vinyl]
Pink Avalanche: The Luminous Heart Of Nowhere
R.F.C.: The Outsiders
Robert Wyatt: Different Every Time
The Rolling Stones: From the Vault: L.A. Forum
Thompson: Family
TV on the Radio: Seeds
Various Artists: The Art of McCartney
Various Artists: Christmas at Downton Abbey
Various Artists: Putumayo Presents: French Christmas
Warsawwasraw: Sensitzer
Wilco: Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 (4-CD box set)
Wilco: What's Your 20? Essential Tracks 1994-2014


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)

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Shorties (Celeste Ng Interviewed, Ariel Pink Talked to SPIN, and more)

The Guardian interviewed author Celeste Ng.


SPIN interviewed singer-songwriter Ariel Pink.


16 online "best books of 2014" lists were added to the master aggregation at Largehearted Boy Sunday, including Waterstones' best books, Barnes and Noble's bestselling books, and much more.


Stereogum ranked cover songs performed by CHVRCHES.


Salon interviewed author Ursula K. Le Guin.


Weekend Edition profiled the brilliant radio station WFMU.


The Wesleyan Argus interviewed author Paul Harding.


The A.V. Club recommended entry points into the Dischord Records discography.


The Guardian interviewed author Celeste Ng.


FKA Twigs visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Flavorwire recommended writers to see read live.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Tim Keen of the band Ought.


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)

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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)

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Daily Downloads (The Dollyrots, Juan Wauters, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Ampersand: ii album [mp3]

The Banner Days: The Banner Days Sampler EP [mp3]

Canaries in the Coal Mine: Scarf Weather EP [mp3]

Clemency: My Heart Is the Eastern Horizon EP [mp3]

The Dollyrots: "Let's Turkey Trot (Little Eva cover)" [mp3]

The Edisons: "San Jose" [mp3] from Ghosts EP

Matthew Moon: I Am the Wind album [mp3]

The Safes: "I Would Love To" [mp3] from Record Heat

William Wild: William Wild Sampler EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Juan Wauters: 2014-10-26, 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

November 17, 2014

Book Notes - Ben Marcus "Leaving the Sea"

Leaving the Sea

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, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Ben Marcus's Leaving the Sea once again finds him leveraging language to its utmost in this brilliant and diverse short story collection.

The New Yorker wrote of the book:

"The protagonists in Marcus's new collection of disturbing and excruciatingly funny short stories are socially inappropriate, alienated from their lovers and relatives, anxious, bitter, mortified, lonely . . . The collection's later stories are more experimental in style and subject matter, but they, too, address themes of isolation and existential inquietude."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Ben Marcus's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection Leaving the Sea:


I don't write to music very often. Sometimes I listen to frictionless, glitchy sounds, ambient air from the 1970s now in the aural public domain, unretouched weather sounds from Switzerland, the room sounds of shuttered businesses. Concentration seems so hard to come by, and lately silence is so unusual that I try to seek it out. I used to listen to music while writing. I had Spiderland, by Slint, on while writing part of Notable American Women. It gave me something to fight against. My latest book, Leaving the Sea, collects fifteen stories, but some don't look like stories, and so some of the music here is not so song-like. I seem to be listening to a lot of music that has no bones in it. Stuff from the Clown and Sunset label, along with Other People. I also seem to have a few Drag City songs on here, which aren't on Spotify. Sorry about that. I tried to pick pieces of music that got at a feeling I was hoping to create in the story, but listening to these songs now I'm struck again by how quickly and intensely a song can make feeling, and how laborious and elusive it can be in writing. Sometimes the tracks are funny in a way I wish I was funny, or strange, or unknowable, or obvious. I'd like to think that each of these songs can function like the CliffsNotes to the stories, but music can't improve writing, it can only taunt it, showing off, making short work of the problems writing struggles with in such awkward, ugly ways.


1. "What Have You Done?"

"Peoria Lunch Box Blues" – Songs: Ohia

2. "I Can Say Many Nice Things"

"Playboy" – Hot Chip

3. "The Dark Arts"

"Nights Out" – Metronomy

4. "Rollingwood"

"Go Long" – Joanna Newsom

5. "On Not Growing Up"

"Born With Monkey Asses" – MC 900 Ft. Jesus

6. "My Views on the Darkness"

"Firewall" – Bright Eyes

7. "Watching Mysteries with My Mother"

"Wolves" – Phosphorescent

8. "The Loyalty Protocol"

"Bal Les Masques" – Marc Ribot & Lucien Dubuis Trio

9. "The Father Costume"

"Esquis(e)" – Valentin Stip

10. "First Love"

"In the Grace of Your Love (Pional remix)" – The Rapture

11. "Fear the Morning"

"Tender Situation" – Ween

12. "Origins of the Family"

"Wild Kindness" – Silver Jews

13. "Against Attachment"

"Vomit" – Girls

14. "Leaving the Sea"

"Bathysphere" – Smog

15. "The Moors"

"I See A Darkness" – Bonnie Prince Billy


Ben Marcus and Leaving the Sea links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Boston Globe review
Dallas Morning News review
Financial Times review
Full Stop review
Guardian review
Kirkus review
LitReactor review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
New York Review of Books review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review
The Quarterly Conversation interview with the author
The Rumpus review
San Francisco Chronicle review
Washington Post review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Flame Alphabet
New Yorker interview with the author
The Quietus 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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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 - MB Caschetta "Miracle Girls"

Miracle Girls

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, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

MB Caschetta's Miracle Girls is a stunning debut novel about an unforgettable dysfunctional family and faith.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"In upstate New York, young girls go missing, nuns are revolting, Nixon is resigning, and young Cee-Cee Bianco has visions of the Virgin Mary in this polished debut novel....Short story writer (Lucy on the West Coast, 1996) Caschetta's first novel is filled with a kind of dark poetry and the menace of ordinary evils."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is MB Caschetta's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Miracle Girls:


What I forget about myself with music is that I have an endless capacity to become hopelessly absorbed in it. You might say this fun task has found me a little obsessed with creating the perfect musical mood to represent my novel, not just song-by-song, but as an overarching enterprise. It's actually been a bit like writing the novel, come to think of it, which is to say: pacing, pacing, pacing with a few surprising rhythmical moments tossed for your listening (reading) pleasure. It's been a bit of a cozy cocoon, and I'm happy to have been asked to participate on this cool website. I do believe I've struck just the right gritty (yet boppy) musical experience to mirror Miracle Girls.

"Nothing's Wrong" by Echosmith
Ecosmith's "Nothing's Wrong" is a rousing prelude for Miracle Girls. It's anthem-like overtones and catchy disaffected chant of the young captures childhood as it plays out in the novel:

We walk like there's nothing wrong!
We walk, we walk; we just keep walking.
We move, we move; we just keep moving on.
We sing, we sing; we sing at the top of our lungs.
We walk, we walk; we walk like nothing's wrong.
We walk like there's nothing wrong!

The children in the novel (as in life) have little control over their fate. This holds true for the four Bianco children, the mangled teenaged saints from Cee-Cee's vision, the myriad missing girls, and of course the mysterious members of Mother Stephen's Orphan Peace Army for Girls.

"Gimme Shelter" by Merry Clayton
Merry Clayton's cover of Jagger's "Gimme Shelter" is the quintessential Vietnam, anti-war, protest song, which is a pivotal theme in Miracle Girls. Clayton's version is so vocally pure, so preacher-like (nearly feminist, you could say) that it perfectly evokes the early 70s political climate in which the novel takes place. This is the last gasp of innocence before Watergate corruption breaks and kidnapped Patty Hearst shows up on behalf of her captors carrying a gun and spouting radical slogans to shock a nation. Anyway, you really need to hear Clayton's crystalline voice on this track: "Rape, murder, children, it's just a shot away…it's just a kiss away." You won't soon forget it.

"Calling All Angels" by Train
So there's religion in this novel…no two ways about it. Spiritual matters hadn't been my plan at the outset of writing Miracle Girls, but as any novelist knows, at some point, the novel becomes its own thing. I think of Train's "Calling All Angels" as pretty timeless, a kind of ancient yet modern spiritual cry to the heavens, which may also describe my novel's purpose too. Relevant to Miracle Girls is this line in particular: "Children have to play inside so they don't disappear…in a world where what we want is only what we want until it's ours."

"Change Your Life" by Iggy Azalea (with T.I.)
Have you seen this fly hip-hop artist's long blonde hair and creamy skin? Talk about turning a genre on its head. Iggy Azalea calls herself "the new classic" because she is a white Australian girl who raps like a mo'-fo', I personally love her before she even opens her fresh, dirty mouth. (By the way, I think the explicit version is better.) I put this song in for the protagonist Cee-Cee's best friend, Mary Margaret. This main friendship dyad is also echoed in Amanda and her "inseparable" from childhood, little one-armed Carolyn Hayes. It is doubly echoed in the two Mirandas who show up with a "gun" near the end of the novel.

"Lady Madonna" by Richie Havens
Richie Havens' bongo-style, staccato cover of this Lennon/McCartney original is as offbeat as it is awesome. I listened to my older brothers' Beatles albums pretty obsessively as a kid, and this track, which first appeared on the compilation, Hey Jude!, was a favorite. The song is about a single mother who can't quite make ends meet, while the title ironically refers to the actual Madonna, who makes a brief appearance in Miracle Girls. Wait for the weird non-rhythmical clapping toward the end of Havens' interpretation: it's a nice unexpected twist.

"Come As You Are" by Nirvana
What is desperate Mr. Kurt Cobain doing in my playlist? Actually, I have great respect for the ability of this insanely talented grunge band to make atonal melodies out of internal chaos. The interesting lyrical confusion, including repetition of the word "memory," points to the protagonist Cee-Cee's dilemma, which is in part that her memory is a broken glass. The lyric "And I swear that I don't have a gun. No, I don't have a gun," (also repeated) is relevant. Cee-Cee's shadow self, Eileena Brice Iaccamo, points a loaded rifle at her father's face before she disappears; the Miranda's shoot a toy gun at a cop before squealing off shouting the motto of the Symbionese Liberation Army (Google for context); and Vinnie the Cop fires a round of bullets into the sky over a school parking lot populated with nuns and children.

"The Black Keys'" by Lonely Boy
There are actually many lonely boys in Miracle Girl. This bluesy rock tune, though, is for Roadie, Cee-Cee's middle brother, who in essence makes up the backbone of the novel. His plight as regretful, heartbroken, and gay is the driving bass line of the book. The chorus resonates for him: "I've got a love that keeps me waiting. I've got a love that keeps me waiting. I'm a lonely boy." His personal redemption and ultimate his divinely bestowed blessing (via Cee-Cee) comprise my literary attempt to offer an alternate view of spirituality and homosexuality.

"Life Support" by Sam Smith
Sam Smith has the most heartbreaking voice, whether in his low or in his irrepressibly high register. You can practically hear the tears and longing in the breath between his words. "Life Support" is definitely for Cee-Cee's "twin" brother, Baby Pauly, who is the direct recipient of the novel's most overt miracle. Unfortunately, the miracle has left him in limbo for the majority of the novel, literally connected to machines. Metaphorically, though, Cee-Cee is Baby Pauly's life support, and vice versa.

"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Avril Lavigne
I chose Avril Lavigne's cover of this classic Dylan song because Miracle Girls is a serious political novel about a 10-year-old girl. I really groove on the sound of Lavigne's young female voice singing as folk song's dying male narrator: "Mama, put my guns in the ground, I can't shoot them anymore. That long black cloud is comin' down. I feel I'm knockin' on heaven's door." Why war politics through little girls? Because we will never be free, never be truly at peace, until we treat our vulnerable daughters with respect and dignity. A single rape of a single girl is on the same scale of violence as is a world war.

"Pumpin' Blood" by NoNoNo
The goofy whistling in NoNoNo's Pumpin' Blood reverberates in the alternative perspective and offbeat humor you will find in Miracle Girls. The characters all struggle with how slim the difference between being alive and being dead truly seems to be sometimes. The lyric: "It's your heart, it's alive, it's pumpin' blood" reminds me of one of Cee-Cee's main epiphanies: "Hearing the lonely sound of her own footsteps on the pavement, Cee-Cee realizes for the first time since coming out of the woods that she is still alive."

"Lifted" by Naughty Boy
This gospel-tinged revelation of a song reflects the novel's ultimate uplifting conclusion and independent stance. "I'm not afraid, and I'm not alone. Even if I'm dancing on my own, I'll be lifted, lifted, lifted." Listen to that and try not to dance!

"Here Comes the Sun" by Nina Simone
Only Nina Simone can accurately capture how unendurably sad and yet absolutely necessary is the phenomenon of human hope. She seems to be saying that every sunrise is an absolute triumph and an utter defeat. George Harrison, who originally wrote the song, was a pretty spiritual dude, himself, and so it seems fitting to end my playlist here. By the lyric "Here comes the sun, little darling, here comes the sun, and I say it's all right" I think Harrison actually meant that it is actually all right—whatever it is. You've got to embrace both joy and sorrow to be fully human and fully alive. Simone adds a soulful jazz dimension to this essential truth. I hope you hear this song playing when you get to the final two pages of Miracle Girls.


MB Caschettat and Miracle Girls links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
LitReactor review

Huffington Post interview with the author
Lambda Literary 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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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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Shorties (An Interview with Eula Biss, Steve Albini on the State of the Music Industry, and more)

The Rumpus interviewed author Eula Biss.


Steve Albini gave the keynote address at the Face the Music conference on the state of the music industry.


16 online "best books of 2014" lists were added to the master aggregation at Largehearted Boy yesterday, including Waterstones' best books, Barnes and Boble's bestselling books, and much more.


BOMB interviewed author Helen DeWitt.


Wired listed 15 of the best collector's editions of albums of all time.


The Rumpus interviewed author Leslie Jamison.


SPIN profiled the band TV on the Radio.


The Believer interviewed author Margaret Drabble.


NPR Music is streaming the new Flake Music album When You Land Here, It's Time To Return.


The Guardian looked back on authors who penned song lyrics.


The American Journalism Review pondered the future of professional music critics.


Guernica interviewed poet Claudia Rankine.


Spotify's CEO discussed the streaming music service with the New Yorker.


Meghan Daum talked to All Things Considered about her new essay collection The Unspeakable.


Authors Lydia Millet and Jenny Offill interviewed each other at Salon.


The Barr Brothers visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Author William Gibson discussed his favorite books at The Week.

The Observer interviewed Gibson.


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)

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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)

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Daily Downloads (Stars, An Asthmatic Kitty Sampler, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The 14ers: Get Some EP [mp3]

AM Static: Roots Between the Stones album [mp3]

The Harmaleighs: "Sunflowers" [mp3]

Heman Sheman: "I Could Be Your Answer" [mp3]

Junior Year: Behind the Saloon EP [mp3]

The Outdoor Type: "Are You Happy" [mp3]

Robinson: Fits and Starts EP [mp3]

The Tomes: Great Expectations EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Asthmatic Kitty Digital Sampler, Autumn 2014 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Stars: 2014-10-14, 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

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November 16, 2014

Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists Updates - November 16th

For the seventh straight year, I am aggregating every online "best of 2014" book list I find.

Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me with a blog, magazine, newspaper, or other online media list I have missed.

Daily updates to this list.

Revisit previous years' lists from 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2000-2009 (best of the decade) online year-end book list collections.

Today's updates to the master list of online "best of 2014" book lists:

Barnes and Noble (bestselling books)
Books for Her (best books)
Guardian First Book Award (debut books)
Irish Times (Irish authors' and celebrities' favorite books)
Kansas State Library (books by Kansas authors or about Kansas)
Ottawa Book Awards (books by Ottawa authors)
PopSugar (best books for women)
Readings (books for kids and teens)
Readings (books for your parents)
Readings (books for your significant other)
The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize (best books that communicate science to young people)
Social Media Marketing Blog (top link building books)
Toronto Public Library (top books for kids under five)
Waterstones (best books)


also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists
daily updates to the master list of online 2014 year-end book lists

Online "Best Books of 2013" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2012" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2010" Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Online Book Lists
Online "Best Books of 2009" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists

2013 Online Year-end Music Lists
2012 Online Year-end Music Lists
2011 Online Year-end Music Lists
2010 Online Year-end Music Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Online Music Lists
2009 Online Year-end Music Lists
2008 Online Year-end Music Lists
2007 Online Year-end Music Lists
2006 Online Year-end Music Lists
other lists at Largehearted Boy

Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics and graphic novel picks)
Anitiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Largehearted WORD (weekly new book picks)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)

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Largehearted Boy Weekly Wrap-Up - November 16, 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)

Brock Clarke for his novel The Happiest People in the World
Elizabeth Kadetsky for her short story collection The Poison That Purifies You
Forrest Gander for his novel The Trace
Jac Jemc for her short story collection A Different Bed Every Time
James Tadd Adcox for his novel Does Not Love
Naja Marie Aidt for her short story collection Baboon


Lists

Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists
Daily updates to the online "best books of 2014" lists


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

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