Quantcast



April 10, 2015

Shorties (The 90th Anniversary of The Great Gatsby, Patti Smith's Favorite Books, and more)

Meg Waite Clayton on The Great Gatsby, which was published 90 years ago yesterday.

Read TIME's review of the book.


Patti Smith's favorite books.


Biographile interviewed Lily Brooks-dalton about her memoir Motorcycles I've Loved.


PopMatters shared an excerpt from the book I Found My Friends: The Oral History of Nirvana.


Lithub examined the genesis of the cover of Catherine Lacey's novel Nobody Is Ever Missing.


BOMB interviewed Liturgy's Hunter Hunt-Hendrix.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Halle Butler.


The National is releasing a 9-LP vinyl box set, A Lot of Sorrow.


Heidi Julavits discussed her new book The Folded Clock with Vulture.


The Arcade Fire's Will Butler visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


The New York Times toured literary Louisiana.


Jon Quin of the band Stornoway discussed books with Clash.


BBC Radio 4 profiled author Ursula K. Le Guin.


Stream a new Jenny Hval song.


Authors Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Anne Enright, Howard Jacobson, Will Self and Lionel Shriver reflected on failure at the Guardian.


The Australian band Twerps visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Kent Russell talked to All Things Considered about his new essay collection I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son.


Drowned in Sound interviewed singer-songwriter Laura Marling.


The Oyster Review listed the best books of the decade so far.


Follow Largehearted Boy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, 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





April 10, 2015

Daily Downloads (Van Meter, Beech Creeps, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Atlas Rhoads: Atlas Rhoads Album Sampler EP [mp3]

Hawk: "Fire in a Classroom" [mp3] from Clock Hands EP

Philip Le Ross: Flight of the Nighthawk EP [mp3]

Salton Sea: "Come Back to Me" [mp3]

Tale-Teller Heart: Calling My Name EP [mp3]

Turbo Fruits: Live on WFMU [mp3]

The Underhills: Catacombs EP [mp3]

Van Meter: Fossil album [mp3]

Various Artists: Dressing Up - The EPOP Covers album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Beech Creeps: 2015-04-04, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily 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

April 9, 2015

Book Notes - J.C. Hallman "B & Me"

B & Me

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, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Inspired by Nicholson Baker's book about John Updike, U and I, J.C. Hallman's B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal is an outrageously clever and intelligent love letter to books and literature.

Philip Lopate wrote of the book:

"J. C. Hallman has written his best, funniest, and riskiest book, one that flirts deliciously at the edge of obnoxiousness before darting off into deeper, sager truths. Every writer or would-be writer will find much to relish, wince at and identify with here."


In his own words, here is J.C. Hallman's Book Notes music playlist for his book B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal:


While I was writing B & Me, I discovered many surprising links between my life and Nicholson Baker's work. For example, William James had exerted a pretty heavy influence on Baker and me both. And, weirdly enough, my father once worked, albeit indirectly, for a company involved with the library miniaturization processes that Baker skewered in Double Fold. But I discovered the weirdest coincidence of all when I read Baker's Paris Review interview – Sam Anderson was the reviewer – and learned that Baker had published a short story titled "Playing Trombone" in The Atlantic when he was just twenty-three years old. "I'd exhausted the whole musical side of myself with the trombone story," Baker said.

I reacted weirdly – and dually – to this. First, I flinched with recognition because I knew by then that Baker had studied music composition at the Eastman School of Music (notably, Ralph Ellison also once studied to be a composer), and I knew that Baker had had a brief career as the fourth chair bassoonist for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, where he grew up. And next I experienced a weird tingle of communion, because once upon a time I had been a trombonist myself; I had played trombone for about the same length of time that Baker played the bassoon.

It got stranger from there. I sought out "Playing Trombone," which took some effort – sadly, it's never been collected in any of Baker's books – and I loved it. It's a quasi-fairy tale about a trombone prodigy whose career moves from promise to purgatory, and there's a pivotal scene when the main character is required to hit a very, very high note at an important moment in a fictional piano concerto, and this resonated for me because I, too, as the principle trombone in a youth symphony, had once been required to hit a very high note at the end of the fourth movement of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony. I had lived the scene that played a crucial role in one of Nicholson Baker's first publications! To give you some idea, here's a performance of Shostakovich No. 5; the important note comes at the 42:51 mark:

Now I said that I flinched when Baker claimed that he had exhausted the musical side of himself with the trombone story, and I didn't fully explain myself. I flinched because it's wrong! Music appears almost everywhere in Baker's career, and while it's true that there isn't much music to be found in The Mezzanine, Baker's debut novel, there's a great sequence in Room Temperature, his sophomore effort, about a French horn player at the Eastman School of Music. This sequence may amount to an even deeper exploration of Baker's musical side than "Playing Trombone."

The narrator of Room Temperature, Mike, tells a long story about an Eastman professor who demanded that Mike learn how to play, on French horn, a certain "Chiarnovsky" étude using only a single breath. "Chiarnovsky" appears to be fictional (though there is a Russian composer named Yury Chernavsky), but I understood the étude to be something along the lines of Flight of the Bumblebee, by another Russian composer, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. From a literary perspective, this sequence is interesting because when Mike's professor demands that Mike play the piece without breathing, he issues the command by erasing the single comma breath mark that Mike had inserted in the étude to make it playable. How difficult might this be? Well, here's a guy playing Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee on the French horn:

Mike eventually succeeds in playing his étude in a single breath, but the exercise reveals that the academic study of music is largely about facile virtuosity, and one feels encouraged, reading Room Temperature, to transfer Mike's swap of commas in music for commas in books to Baker, who similarly gave up music for literature.

Now, granted, Baker did not write about Shostakovich, and "Chiarnovsky" is not Rimsky-Korsakov, so I've been skirting the edges of Baker here. No more! Rimsky-Korsakov appears by name, alongside yet another Russian composer, Alexander Borodin, in Baker's much more recent House of Holes. House of Holes is a sex farce, a "book of raunch," as the subtitle has it, and it features a whole bunch of unlikely but largely amusing sexual escapades. Rimsky-Korsokov and Borodin appear in a sequence with a woman named Luna, and here are clips of the music (the first movement of Schehereazade and Polovetsian Dances, respectively) that the two composers are said to provocatively finger along Luna's exposed leg:

The scene continues exuberantly from there. "Yes, that is my cock. It is very hard and very famous," says Borodin. "One moment! And now, my cock, too!" follows Rimsky-Korsakov. "It's what happens at the House of Holes," explains a third man, Chuck. They all make Luna come wildly, "her orgasm wave crash[ing] down just as she felt two hot blasts of white Russian semen drizzle against her toes."

"Thank you for the lovely concert of Russian piano music," Luna says.

That's hardly a one-off, as music had played an even more significant role in Baker's earlier sex farce, The Fermata. The Fermata is named for a symbol of musical notation. Or more properly speaking, as the cover of the first edition of The Fermata featured no words at all, the title of the book was the symbol itself:


fermata symbol


The Fermata features a man who develops a magical ability to stop time and uses it impose himself, sexually, on strangers. It would seem relevant, then, that a fermata is the symbol a composer places above a note to indicate that it should be sustained for longer than its written value. In the context of Baker's book, this quick tutorial on the fermata seems downright provocative:

When I discovered The Fermata, I immediately thought of Frank Conroy's classic autobiography Stop-Time, which is also named for a symbol of musical notation. Fermatas and stop-times are kinds of musical pauses, the former a sustained note, the latter a silence. The books are similar in other ways too. Stop-Time is an actual autobiography; The Fermata a fictional autobiography. The Fermata is about a guy who can stop time. And Stop-Time ends with Frank Conroy heading off to Haverford College, and where did Nicholson Baker go to school? Haverford College.

Which turns out to not have been an accident, as Baker stipulated in his book about John Updike, U and I. Frank Conroy too had once been musician, a jazz pianist, so both Conroy and Nicholson Baker were writers abandoned musical careers to pursue writing lives at a small college in Philadelphia. And like Room Temperature, The Fermata features yet another story about a music teacher, Professor Sparkling. This sequence contains a bit of characteristically Bakerian prose that proves beyond all doubt that Baker had not abandoned the musical side of himself:

If the piece required her to play a simple A-flat-major triad with her left hand, she would feel in doing so as if the black A-flat and E-flat keys were soft, low, tree-covered hills, smothered by forgotten glaciers, and the C between them a fog-filled valley, over which her poised fingers were parachuting very early in the morning; an ordinary pile of perfect fourths and fifths would slice through her like the stave of a hard-boiled-egg slicer; she could sense the felt-covered hammers thumping gently against the piano wires as gently as the noses of sheep in pens or fish against glass; she felt with extraordinary vividness her right foot making its little jumps on the sustain pedal, hosing off any recent blendings and allowing a new concord to rise up clear from its mud-wrestling past.

From the mid-nineties through the early years of the new millennium, Baker's career veered away from music with books like Double Fold, The Everlasting Story of Nory, A Box of Matches, and Checkpoint. But music came roaring back in The Anthologist, in which Baker made the argument, via proxy narrator Paul Chowder, that poetry that appeared to have a three-beat rhythm was actually similar to music written in 4/4 time, with the fourth beat being a rest. To demonstrate this, Paul sets portions of Alice Cary's "Nobility," Longfellow's "The Day is Done," and Poe's "The Raven," to music – the actual staffs and notes appear in the book – and if you listen close you can hear the silent beats when the poems are read aloud, even without music:

Indeed, if you read Nicholson Baker as I did, mostly in order, you eventually get a sense that not only did Baker never exhaust the musical side of himself, his career tells the story of how he moved away from it, but slowly returned to it. In the early 2000s, Baker began to get interested in pacifism and drone technology – hence, Checkpoint and Human Smoke – and by 2012 he'd become so preoccupied with thinking about the United States' ongoing wars and its policy of routine assassinations that he decided to abandon writing for a while – and compose music instead. This story is told, obliquely, in The Anthologist's sequel, Traveling Sprinkler, in which Paul Chowder retreats to his Maine barn to sing songs to himself, and this is not wholly fictional. All of Baker's protests songs, which he composed and performed himself – including "Jeju Island Song," "Terrormaker," "Whistleblower Song," and "Nine Women Gathering Firewood" – appear on YouTube. I recommend them:


J.C. Hallman and B & Me links:

the author's website

BookPage review
Publishers Weekly review
Quarterly Conversation review
San Francisco Chronicle review
Slate review

Brooklyn Rail interview with the author
Interview magazine interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Devil Is a Gentleman
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Hospital for Bad Poets
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for In Utopia
The Millions essays by the author
Willamette Week interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (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
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)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - April 9, 2015

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.


After the Tall Timber: Collected Nonfiction

After the Tall Timber: Collected Nonfiction
by Renata Adler

A writer for the New Yorker for nearly four decades, Adler has brought together various articles, film reviews, and writing on politics and media from throughout her career in After the Tall Timber. This collection includes dispatches from Selma, Alabama, writing on the Vietnam war, Nixon's impeachment, pop culture, and everything in between. Necessary reading for anyone interested in Adler as either a journalist, essayist, or novelist.


So You've Been Publicly Shamed

So You've Been Publicly Shamed
by Jon Ronson

Ronson, the author of bestsellers like The Psychopath Test, spent three years tailing the recipients of public shamings, people who's lives were turned upside down by ill-advised tweets and comments made without thinking (or, worse, ones fully thought out). The book chronicles the intense consequences of their shaming, the effect it has had on their lives, and the effectiveness of this form of social control.


Limbinal

Limbinal
by Oana Avasilichioaei

Montreal-based poet and translator Avasilichioaei combines brooding photographs, contemplative poems, and astute translations of Romanian poet Paul Celan in Limbinal, her newest collection. Linguistics, physical movement, and their intersection are explored, made beautiful by a skilled artist.


Milk Bar Life

Milk Bar Life
by Christina Tosi

Tosi, of Momofuku Milk Bar fame, tells stories, spins yarns, and cooks up a storm in her latest cookbook, Milk Bar Life. There are recipes handed down from friends and family, dishes inspired by everyday grocery store purchases, and food enjoyed by the Milk Bar family, an ever-growing group working at the seven locations in New York and Toronto. Throughout, Tosi gives context, tips, and sprinkles it all with charm.


The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

The Pulitzer prize-winning The Goldfinch is now available in paperback, breathing new life into the acclaimed story of thirteen year-old Theo Decker, orphaned and taken in by a wealthy Park Avenue family. As an adult Theo will move effortlessly through the world of the rich, antique and art underworlds, always drawn to a mysterious painting left by him mother.


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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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

Shorties (The 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shortlist, Liz Phair on Exile in Guyville, and more)

The shortlist for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has been announced:

By Night the Mountain Burns, by Juan Tomas Avila Laurel
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami
The End of Days, by Jenny Erpenbeck
F, by Daniel Kehlmann
In the Beginning Was the Sea, by Tomas Gonzales
While the Gods Were Sleeping, by Erwin Mortier


Liz Phair discussed her 1993 album Exile in Guyville with SPIN.


The Lit Up Show interviewed author Catherine Lacey.


Stream a previously unheard Kurt Cobain demo.


KCRW's Bookworm wrapped up its interview with Charles Baxter.


Fresh Air interviewed cartoonist Lucy Knisley about her most recent graphic memoir Displaced.


Stream a new Rhett Miller song.


The Economist noted the growth of flash fiction.


The top ten cities keeping vinyl music alive.


Flavorwire recommended genre-bending books.


The Cincinnati Enquirer interviewed John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.


Alison Bechdel talked to the New York Times about the theatrical adaptation of her graphic novel Fun Home.


Tucson Weekly interviewed Joey Burns about the new Calexico album, Edge of the Sun.


A video game based on Jorge Luis Borges' short story "The Garden of Forking Paths."


Rolling Stone interviewed Frances Bean Cobain.


Vulture interviewed actress and poet Amber Tamblyn.


Stream a new Sharon Van Etten song.


The Oyster Review listed the best books of the decade so far.


Follow Largehearted Boy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, 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 (The Weepies, Dara Sisterhen, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Advaeta: two tracks [mp3]

Dara Sisterhen: Boom EP [mp3]

Fred Abbott: "Funny How Good It Feels" [mp3] from Serious Poke (out July 20th)

Jeremiah T. Hall: Waking album [mp3]

Lucy & La Mer: Little Spoon EP [mp3]

This Way to the Egress: "Let's Not Pretend" [mp3] from Great Balancing Act (out May 19th)

Various Artists: Pacific City Vol 1. compilation album [mp3]

The Weepies: Who the Hell are the Weepies? EP [mp3]

Windoe: Windoe EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Noseeum: 2015-04-04, Athens [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

April 8, 2015

Book Notes - Lily Brooks-Dalton "Motorcycles I've Loved"

Motorcycles I've Loved

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, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Lily Brooks-Dalton's Motorcycles I've Loved is a compelling memoir of personal growth and adventures.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"In her reflective prose, Brooks-Dalton captures the nearly mesmerizing quality of solitary, long-distance riding. She offers some useful tips on maintenance and repair, and overall she portrays a satisfying journey to a very American sense of selfhood and autonomy."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Lily Brooks-Dalton's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir Motorcycles I've Loved:


I'm one of those annoying people who finds great joy in listening to the same songs or albums over and over again. Often, this kind of listening will eventually wear a piece of music out for me. Not so with the tunes on this list. These are the songs (and albums) that I will never, ever get sick of. All of this stuff evokes specific moments or moods, things that I wrote about in my memoir, Motorcycles I've Loved.

"When I Hear My Name" by The White Stripes
The White Stripes was the first band I really got excited about as a teenager. My older brother had their first two albums, so of course I figured that if he liked something it was certifiably cool. When he disappeared for a while during my freshman year of high school he left me with those two CDs and I listened to them nonstop. This particular track is mentioned in the book, and I remember listening to it together in his car, right before he left. The lyrics resonated with me so deeply when I was a teenager, and in a lot of ways they still do: "when I hear my name I wanna disappear/when I see my face I wanna disappear." It's such a simple song, and so poignant.

"Rub Til' it Bleeds" by PJ Harvey
Rid of Me was another album that I listened to obsessively as a teenager. When I was writing the teenage chapters of Motorcycles I've Loved, going back to this particular track was so nostalgic it ached. I'm not that familiar with PJ Harvey's other albums, but this one has such a raw, eerie quality to it. This song in particular has a thread of tension running through it that sets me on edge, as if something terrible and loud and exciting were about to happen… and then it does, and it's so satisfying.

Eulogy for Evolution by Ólafur Arnalds
I couldn't possibly pick just one track from this album. I saw Ólafur Arnalds live when I returned to the US after spending a few years traveling and I bought the CD after the show. That was an important moment for me, and for the book I ended up writing—I was going through a lot of upheaval but also rediscovering a lot of beautiful things about the area where I grew up, and this music reflected that dichotomy in a really epic and comforting way. It totally rocked me: this combination of gentle sound and tough, gritty noise. I still listen to it a lot when I write.

"Bad To The Bone" by George Thorogood
The ultimate badass song, obviously. There was a point when I was halfway through the book when I listened to this song over and over. I'd put on my headphones and then I would spend a few hours with good old George and the Destroyers—never the album, just the one song. I don't even need the music anymore, this song plays in my head of its own volition, especially when I'm riding. Is there anything more recognizable than that opening riff? It evokes a rebellious mood so immediately and so completely, the rest of the song is almost extraneous.

"Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar
This is another song that I've loved for years that really speaks to the tenor of the book I set out to write. Right after I dropped out of high school, I used to blast Pat while I sped along dirt roads in my first car, chain-smoking with all the windows down. Years later, when I was writing Motorcycles I've Loved, I was really interested in thinking about love in a way that wasn't linked to romantic partnership. It's where the title comes from. Loving other people is a battlefield for sure, but so is loving yourself, and so is loving something as temperamental and volatile as a motorcycle. I really wanted to write a love story that wasn't between two people.

The soundtrack for Easy Rider
I bought this on vinyl when I was living in a big house with a lot of other people in western Massachusetts. I love pretty much every song on here, and I recall pissing everyone off because I couldn't stop playing this record. It seemed incomprehensible to me at the time that one might not want to listen to it over and over. Luckily, by the time I was revising the book I was living alone and I could play it as much as I wanted. There's obviously a motorcycle motif happening in the movie, but I think what really gets me about this record is the joyful no-fucks-given mood. Every single track on here oozes irreverence.

"Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen
No playlist is complete without a Bruce Springsteen song, and this one is a good on the road song, so there you go.

"Mumbles" by Oscar Peterson
When I'm drafting something new I often tend toward instrumental music. I love this song because it has no words, but it's full of Oscar Peterson's voice, mumbling away while he jams on the piano. It's what my brain sounds like when I'm struggling to get from one thought to another, or when I can't find the word I want. Lots of noise, but no meaning. I like most of his music as background noise while I'm working—it's unpredictable and melodious and crazy and smooth. It keeps me on my toes.

"Drive" by Melissa Ferrick
Ostensibly, this song is about sex, but with lyrics all about riding and driving, I tend to think about riding motorcycles when I hear it. It's got a really slow, sultry baseline and Melissa Ferrick's voice is just this raspy, seductive whisper for most of the song. When she sings "I hold you up and drive you all night/I hold you up and drive you till you feel the daylight" I think she's probably talking about something else, but I'm picturing a lone motorcyclist ripping along a dark, empty road, loving her machine.


Lily Brooks-Dalton and Motorcycles I've Loved links:

the author's website

Elle review
Library Journal review
Publishers Weekly review
The Riveter review


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (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
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)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - April 8, 2015

In the Largehearted Word series, the staff of Brooklyn's WORD bookstore highlights several new books released this week.

WORD Bookstores are independent neighborhood bookstores in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey. Our primary goal is to be whatever our communities needs us to be, which currently means carrying everything from fiction to nonfiction to absurdly cute cards and stationery. In addition, we're fiends for a good event, from the classic author reading and Q&A to potlucks and a basketball league (and anything set in a bar). If a weekly dose of WORD here isn't enough for you, follow us on Twitter: @wordbookstores.


After the Tall Timber

After the Tall Timber
by Renata Adler

The collected nonfiction of a true intellectual juggernaut.


The Folded Clock

The Folded Clock
by Heidi Julavits

Novelist and essayist Heidi Julavits presents a personal, structurally innovative look into an always aware, and sometimes fraught, mind.


My Journey with Maya

My Journey with Maya
by Tavis Smiley

The celebrated journalist and anchor Tavis Smiley remembers his mentor and friend, Maya Angelou.


The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

The 2014 Pulitzer-winner gets the paperback treatment.


WORD Brooklyn links:

WORD website
WORD Facebook page
WORD on Instagram
WORD Tumblr
WORD Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics & graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
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)

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

Shorties (Literary Hub Launches Today, A Karen Dalton Tribute Album, and more)

Literary Hub, an expansive new online literary magazine, launched today. Read their interview with Lydia Davis.

The New York Times also interviewed Davis.


The compilation Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs By Karen Dalton features Lucinda Williams, Sharon Van Etten, Larkin Grimm, and others, and will be released on May 26th.


Nailed features new fiction from D. Foy.


All Things Considered remembered Billie Holiday 100 years after her birth.


ArtsBeat talked to Atticus Lish about being awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his novel Preparation for the Next Life.


Stream Andrew Bird's cover of the New Pornographers' "The Fake Headlines."


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed author Daniel Levine.


Rolling Stone profiled John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

Darnielle listed his favorite wrestling videos at Vulture.

SPIN interviewed Darnielle.


The Guardian considered the surprisingly literary shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction and fantasy.


Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant discussed the genesis of Echo and the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" at the Guardian.


The New York Times Magazine profiled author Toni Morrison.


The Record shared a guide to the music of Mad Men.


Fresh Air interviewed Masha Gessen about her new book The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Death cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard.


The longlists for the 2015 Best Translated Book Awards have been announced.


Stream Kathryn Calder's new self-titled album at Hype Machine.


Follow Largehearted Boy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, 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 (Makthaverskan, Braid, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Braid: No Coast EP [mp3]

Dinner: "Going Out" from Three EPs, 2012-2014 (out April 14th)

Hermit's Victory: "Money in the Evenings" [mp3] from Hermit's Victory

Molly Pinto Madigan: Wildwood Bride EP [mp3]

Slingshot Dakota: Dark Hearts EP [mp3]

SRSLY: Thx album [mp3]

Various Artists: Limited Fanfare Records 2015 Spring/Summer Sampler album [mp3]

Various Artists: Nashville Fringe Festival 2015 Spring Sampler EP [mp3]

Weatherbox: "Big News" [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Makthaverskan: 2015-04-06, 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

April 7, 2015

Book Notes - Lizzie Skurnick "That Should Be a Word"

That Should Be a Word

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, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

For a couple of years, Lizzie Skurnick's "That Should Be a Word" column in the New York Times Magazine was the second thing I read in the Sunday paper (after the Book Review, of course). The words (and definitions) Skurnick imagined were always creative, socially relevant, and humorous.

That Should Be a Word collects those pieces and adds many more.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Lizzie Skurnick's Book Notes music playlist for her book That Should Be a Word:


Until I wrote this list, I had not realized how many of the songs I love involve wordplay. Or are, as an old this poetry professor, "incantatory." Or are art songs, or lieder. Or are built on a driving beat because they are, as a friend kindly puts as, "muscular Top 40-dominating dude rock." With a strong counterpoint. With the kind of lyrics you find yourself thinking over and over again at inappropriate times—because, is there any appropriate time to be thinking, "And I with a heart/not softer than a stone" to yourself?

None of this, I now see, is very different from how my brain starts tinkering with a word-to-be—immediately recruiting rhymes and rhythms and synonyms to the task. (Frittata? Mittata! To burn yourself on something you didn't want to eat, anyway? I'm at Le Pain Quotidien.)

Whether the list below comprises a kind of practice or relief, I don't know. Try singing, "Well he says he hasn't got nothing/but he seems to possess less/he walks through the door/like a tapdance with death!" to yourself for a few years, and let me know how the wordplay goes.


"Jzero" by Cat Stevens
In the first few weeks of my son's life, I was obsessed with getting a copy of this record—allegedly for him, but mostly because I could not stop looping the phrase, "Well I don't eat a lot/I do work for nothing, so/if there's a job/I can fill the gap". Yes, I just realized why.

"Allentown" by Billy Joel
Give me a singer imitating a failed industrial machine, and I'm on board.

"I Made a Lover's Prayer" by Gillian Welch
One cold winter after a bad breakup in an apartment building where I knew no one, I survived by listening to this song, followed by Wrecking Ball, over and over again. (Then I would watch Vertigo, or Pride and Prejudice, or the dance scene in Ocean's 12, over and over again too. But song snippets in scenes that make you cry from movies is another list.)

One night, I opened the door to the young woman who lived below me. She looked keyed up and vaguely wild-eyed, but, instead of asking me to turn it down, she asked, with great intensity, "What are these songs?" I told her, and she thanked me, drifted off, and went downstairs, presumably to her iTunes.

"Kid Charlemagne" by Steely Dan
It was hard to choose one Steely Dan song, because I will just listen to Steely Dan all day. You can, because each song has a different (frequently bizarre) mood. "Kid Charlemagne" takes the laurels, because it has the odd effect of creating suspense by seeming like a cult movie you should have seen. What San Francisco nights? What low-rent friends? How did they die? I'm going to ask my neighbor.

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John
Because I'm 41, I listened to this the most on my mother's cassette tape, which had long ago lost not only the plastic cover but all identifying material. Therefore, for years, I thought "Back to the howling old owl in the woods/Hunting the horny back toad" was "Back to the Alamo [?] out in the woods, huntin' and fightin' like crows." Which I think is a fair substitution.

Kindertotenlieder: Wenn dein muterlein by Mahler
When I was first pregnant, there was nothing I liked better than to walk around Liberty State Park listening to the oboe snake around. Until I stopped, for obvious reasons.

"Jesus Children of America" by Stevie Wonder
First of all, what is the syntax of that title? I love it. Say it again. Also: "Tell me junkie/if you're able/are you planting your cards/on the table/are you happy when you stick a needle in your veins." Holy hell—Stevie is not playing around with this one. Switches from major to minor frequently; strong counterpoint; Jesus on the Cross; sign me up. (See also: "All Day Sucker, Too High.")

"Monkey Man" by The Rolling Stones
I have a friend who claims that Nirvana's "Come As You Are" has the sexiest open to a song ever. No it doesn't. This has the sexiest opening to a song ever.

"Widmung" by Schumann
I don't think you should marry unless you want to sing, "Mein Guter Geist, Mein Besres Ich" to—at—your intended at least once.

"Hot Freaks" by Guided By Voices from Bee Thousand
In grad school, I had a professor who told us the point of formal verse was to "free up the muse"—i.e., distract the conscious mind so the subconscious could create (presumably better) poems. I'm taking a stand that not even caring when when you record a piece of music has the same effect. I don't mean jamming; I mean literally not caring. It is the only explanation for the brilliance of "I will be eternally hateful."

"No. 13 Baby" by The Pixies
I love how the guitar wears out that small bit of melody. I love the counterpoint. I love the slant rhyme of "I made a mistake/I'm in a state." (Is it just "I'm in a state"? I'm not looking it up.) And I love the trippy ending, which is the music I hereby choose for literally any fuzzy image of me on a beach with the sun refracting into the lens.

"Under Pressure " by David Bowie
Is the friendly version of No. 13 baby.

"Losing True" by The Roches
If I got together all the moms I grew up with in the 70s and assembled them to sing, I like to think they would sound kind of like this. The Roches have that old-school folksinger habit of gunning the note with a little gas to make sure it gets up the hill: it's full of deep feeling, but not particularly dignified. Like some people I know.

"The Void" by The Raincoats
Speaking of giving a note a little bit of gas to get it up the hill. The Raincoats always sound like they are singing over a room in which people haven't quite quieted down, and by the time the people do, they wish they hadn't. Too bad, people!

"Stayin' Alive" by The Bee-Gees
I never dream of an old cop picking me up in a dive bar and correctly performing the dance moves with me to this song across the floor, never.

"Nocturne," by Samuel Barber, performed by Robert Alexander
I actually cannot think of any less nocturne-like than this song. It is more like a composer so agonized he cannot write a nocturne slowly losing control of it in the most glorious way. You are not going to close, my love, your traveling lids. Not during this song.

"If You Leave Me No" by Chicago
Everyone has a song they deserved to dance with their crush to, in a basement, long ago. The only difference between us is I have told you mine, and you have not told me yours.

"Our Lordly Hudson" by Susan Graham
Bit of trivia: Laura Bush, after this album came out, invited Graham to come sing at the White House. In the program, you can see Colin Powell looking pained and George Bush looking (as he often did) as if he was trying to arrange an expression that approximates a sentient being. Laura Bush alone is consumed with passion, swaying slightly. The American songbook isn't for everyone, but those of us it hits, it hits hard.

"And the Green Grass Grew All Around" by Jewel
My son has very particular music tastes, and they do not always intersect with mine. (When Pandora's Toddler Radio puts on "Happy," for instance, he has the reaction most of you killjoys probably do.) But I enjoy failing to recite germ/wing/bird/egg/nest/branch/limb/tree/hole every time, because apparently I have to count it from the front until the entire succession of phrases is mesmerized in full. I can't recite the alphabet backward, either. If I could figure out why I can't do these things but why I can spell what I'm saying out loud as I go without thinking, I feel like this would explain a lot.

"Happy" by Pharrell
See above.

"Figure 8," Blossom Dearie from Schoolhouse Rock
I was one of those children that liked to make myself cry for amusement. Blossom Dearie does the trick here.

"You Are My Sunshine"
When you have a kid, it is necessary to have songs you can stand to hear. You need a song that you will sing, that the babysitter will sing with you, that will fill you with the desire to bounce your glorious child up and down on your hip instead of wondering how long it will be until you can flop on the couch and watch Downtown Abbey.

This is not that song. This is a song that in a few words from sunshine to one's head in one's hands while one is weeping, and I don't know why this is a song for children.


Lizzie Skurnick and That Should Be a Word links:

the author's website
the author's blog
the author's Wikipedia entry
the book's website

BookTrib review

Longreads interview with the author
Weekend Edition interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (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
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)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - April 7, 2015

Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats' wrestling-themed Beat The Champ and Waxahatchee's Ivy Tripp are two of the year's finest albums so far.

I can also recommend Say Lou Lou's Lucid Dreaming and This Is The Kit's Bashed Out.

Brian Wilson's new solo album No Pier Pressure is also out this week.

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:

Aceyalone: Action
Adam Cayton-Holland: Backyards
All Time Low: Future Hearts
American Wrestlers: American Wrestlers
Aphex Twin: Marchromt30a Edit 2b 96 [vinyl]
Blues Traveler: Blow Up the Moon
Brian Wilson: No Pier Pressure
Callaghan: A History of Now
Darius Koski: Sisu
Delta Rae: After It All
Doldrums: The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
Drenge: Undertow
Drug Cabin: Wiggle Room
East India Youth: Culture of Volume
Folk Family Revival: Water Walker
GABI: Sympathy
Garden City Movement: Modern West
Gov't Mule: Dub Side of the Mule (4-CD box set)
Josh Rouse: Embers of Time
Lapalux: Lustmore
Lee Harvey Osmond: Beautiful Scars
Linda Ronstadt: Sausalito 73
Lord Huron: Strange Trails
Mark Ronson: Uptown Special [vinyl]
Marriages: Salome
Matt and Kim: New Glow
The Mountain Goats: Beat The Champ
Pokey Lafarge: Somewhere in the Water
Priory: Need To Know
Ralegh Long: Hoverance
Roger Waters: Pros and Cons
Royal Thunder: Crooked Doors
Say Lou Lou: Lucid Dreaming
Shlohmo: Dark Red
This Is The Kit: Bashed Out
Todd Rundgren: Global
Tom Waits: A Small Affair in Ohio
Toro y Moi: What For?
Trickfinger: Trickfinger
Umphrey's McGee: London Session
The Very Best: Makes A King
The Waterboys: Modern Blues
Waxahatchee: Ivy Tripp
Weed: Running Back
Young Fathers: White Men Are Black Men Too


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

Google
  Web largeheartedboy.com