May 16, 2015

Atomic Books Comics Preview - May 16, 2015

In the weekly Atomic Books Comics Preview, Benn Ray highlights notable new comics and graphic novels.

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. The Mobtown Shank is his blog, and his comic Said What? is syndicated weekly in the Baltimore Sun's B-Paper.

Atomic Books has been named one of BuzzFeed's Great American Bookstores, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.


Extraordinary People: A Semi-Comprehensive Guide to Some of the World's Most Fascinating Individuals

Extraordinary People: A Semi-Comprehensive Guide to Some of the World's Most Fascinating Individuals
by Michael Hearst / Aaron Scamihorn

What do P.T. Barnum, Charlie Chaplin, Nikola Tesla, Bruce Lee, Evel Knievel, Harry Houdini, Temple Grandin, Ben Franklin, Bessie Coleman and George Washington Carver all have in common? They are all in this excellent, all ages compendium of Extraordinary People. Each entry includes a portrait by Aaron Schamihorn and is loaded with fascinating facts and histories of some of humankind's most colorful characters.


The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic

The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic
by Jessica Hopper

The title of Hopper's collection of criticisms proudly declares its significance. Critics do more than act as arbiters. They serve a greater social function than simply giving a work of art a thumbs down or one star out of ten or a dreaded 0.0 on Pitchfork (I'm looking at you Sonic Youth, Robert Pollard, Liz Phair, Kiss, Flaming Lips). Critics inform. Critics educate and inspire. Critics provide cultural context. Critics can also ruin. But critics do more than explain, they offer a viewpoint - a way of seeing. They bring out things we, as biased fans, as haters with or own subjective agendas, as overwhelmed consumers may have missed in our rush to live our lives while finding new content to bring into those lives. Critics help us understand art and by extension the world we live in. Critics educate us and in educating us, they (and we) make art better. Hopper's work should be considered alongside names like Greil Marcus, Chuck Klosterman, Lester Bangs, Ellen Wills, Dave Marsh and Robert Christgau. She is a critic whose writing can challenge us as only something that offers us the truth can.


Night Nurse #1

Night Nurse #1
by Jean Thomas / Winslow Mortimer / Alex Maleev / various

If you were watching the Netflix Daredevil series and were wondering who is that character Rosario Dawson was playing, well, it's sort of a hybrid character. But part of that hybrid is Night Nurse: Hell's Kitchen's vigilante fixer-upper. Marvel collects some of this quirky character's stories here in this over-sized special one-shot.


Wuvable Oaf

Wuvable Oaf
by Ed Luce

Ed Luce's great comic Wuvable Oaf is collected here in a nice, slightly over-sized hardcover edition. Oaf is an ex-wrestler and a bear who most likely suffers from toxoplasmosis (given his love for cats). There's romance, there's the San Francisco music scene, and there are cats. So many cats...


Questions, concerns, comments or gripes – e-mail benn@atomicbooks.com. If there’s a comic I should know about, send it my way at Atomic, c/o Atomic Books 3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211.


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

Atomic Books website
Atomic Books on Twitter
Atomic Books on Facebook
Benn Ray's blog (The Mobtown Shank)
Benn Ray's comic, Mutant Funnies


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Atomic Books Comics Preview lists (weekly new comics & graphic novel highlights)

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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





May 16, 2015

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Including Cloud Cult, La Luz, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Charlie Barnes: "Sing to God" [mp3] from More Stately Mansions

Cloud Cult: Singles- 2015 album [mp3]

Corinna Rose and Leah Dolgoy: B-Sides EP [mp3]

Eilen Jewell: Eilen Jewell Sampler EP [mp3]

Flint Eastwood: Late Nights in Bolo Ties EP [mp3]

Haelos: "The Sun Rising" [mp3]

La Luz: "You Disappear" [mp3] from Weirdo Shrine (out August 7th)

Rachel Taylor: Magnetic Sampler EP [mp3]

Rosie Tucker: Lowlight album [mp3]

Ryley Walker: Folkadelphia session [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Circulatory System: 2015-05-10, Athens [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

May 15, 2015

Book Notes - Laline Paull "The Bees"

The Bees

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.

Laline Paull's The Bees, the only debut novel shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize, is an ambitious, imaginative, and well-crafted book that has earned comparisons to Watership Down and Animal Farm.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"It's rare to come across a book as mind-blowingly imaginative as Laline Paull's The Bees. It’s even more rare for such works to be successful, well-written, gripping stories...The Bees is an utterly memorable wonder of a novel."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Laline Paull's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel The Bees:


I work in my shed at the very bottom of my garden, not overlooked – though it could certainly be quieter at times. I don't play music when I'm writing, but a lot of the significant parts of writing happen away from the desk – the cutting of a Gordian plot knot whilst out walking, or the trigger for a scene, just by all the non-verbal dynamics between two people ion a street corner. And music is perhaps the most powerful trigger of all, so it was a great pleasure to compile this playlist. It's not what I imagined as a score for the book, or used in a conscious way whilst writing it; more about the feelings I needed to access, to write with maximum conviction.

"Babylon's Burning" – The Ruts
This is to get the blood up if there's a difficult writing moment. Those racing punk drums remind me of when I was a stroppy fearless teenager and wanted to change the world. Marginally less stroppy now (debatable), know about fear (sod that, spent far too long worrying about everything) and still want to make the world a better place, and what is writing a book, if not trying to give something of value, to other people? Has this brilliant track ever been used in a thriller? Because I'm practically in a violent car-chase at my kitchen table as I blast it out right now.

"Bailero," from Chansons d'Auvergne – arranged by Marie Joseph Canteloube de Malaret, performed by Netania Davrath
So many versions of the exquisite collection of folk songs of the Auvergne, and so many beautiful interpretations (I felt disloyal not going with Madeleine Grey, because I heard and loved hers first) but now I lean towards Netania Davrath's voice. If The Bees is ever filmed, I will beg the director to use this, for the seduction by the flowers.

"Flight of the Bumblebee" – Rimsky-Korsakov (but x800 slower)
The original was used for my US book trailer, giving it a dynamic upbeat feel. But I listened to this version, eight hundred times slowed down, to get me into the psychological zone of the Hive – a place with the comfort and pull of home, but also a dark and menacing city-state, full of secrets. I really enjoy the fact that tempo can hide true nature – like a really vivacious person with a vial of poison in her handbag.

I didn't listen to this next one when writing The Bees because it wasn't yet released, but I have listened to it so much since, that just to link the speed-warping from Rimsky-Korsakov, I'm including "Bus-Talk" – Paolo Nutini, from Caustic Love for the spooky-witty way the voices morph from helium-high, to so low, from cartoon feminine to cartoon butch. He's clearly got a bold intelligence as well as That Voice. And the sampling of Charlie Chaplin from The Great Dictator in the track "Iron Sky," is just genius.

Symphony No.9 in E Minor, aka The New World Symphony - Dvorak
I like to discuss with my composer friend Elizabeth Norden, the parallels between writing a novel and writing a symphony. She is highly trained, talented, and articulate on the subject, and our discussions have enhanced my appreciation of the form (although I'm still that ignoramus amidst the cognoscenti of the classical auditorium, who bursts out clapping in the pause between movements).

I grew up listening to this particular symphony in our tiny kitchen, because although we didn't have money we had a record player and both my parents were (very different) music-lovers. From the first, I felt stories unfolding to this music – and then I saw Disney's Fantasia. Though I really enjoyed it, I also felt a sense of resistance at having someone else's interpretation of my inner landscape. Now I seek the theme and pattern and psychological narrative of symphonies, hoping that if I listen to enough fine music, it will raise my game as a writer.

The Goldberg Variations – JS Bach (played by Glenn Gould, 1955)
I love Bach for the deep satisfaction of his structure, and the sense I have whilst listening, that just that act of openness, allows me to intuit some divine order and harmony in the universe. Bach calms me, Bach inspires me, and at the early stage of writing The Bees, as a way of managing my anxiety I made a lot of bread whilst listening to him. Why making bread whilst listening to Bach should work for writing a novel I do not know but it did – though it is a very fattening way to go about things if the results are good – and they were.

The Goldberg Variations played by Glenn Gould is astonishing – I've only just discovered that Gould was twenty-two years old when he played it as his recording debut. Apparently he was advised to try something a little more modest, but as he had a contract with Columbia records giving him artistic freedom, he insisted. Being a fan of films like Shine and Amadeus and most recently Whiplash, of course I love finding out details like that Gould soaked his hands and arms in very hot water in the studio before performing, and wore heavy winter clothes whatever the weather. And I also like what he says himself about the music: "… which observes neither end nor beginning, music with neither real climax nor real resolution, music which, like Baudelaire's lovers, 'rests lightly on the wings of the unchecked wind.' It has, then, unity through intuitive perception, unity born of craft and scrutiny, mellowed by mastery achieved, and revealed to us here, as so rarely in art, in the vision of subconscious design exulting upon a pinnacle of potency."

If I'm honest, I'm not sure exactly what he means. And it doesn't even matter.

"Many Rivers To Cross" – Jimmy Cliff
This is what the human spirit can create. This is where the bar is, this high, this close. For every book I ever write, I will always need this song to tune me in, to what is possible. Thank you Jimmy Cliff. And in fact, I'm going to put in the whole of The Harder They Come soundtrack, for ageless beauty and funk.

"Feeling Good" - Nina Simone
Nina reigns supreme, and this song has particular potency that I channelled whilst writing The Bees, to find Flora's courage. I'd held onto it once before, in the midst of the worst time of my life. I was driving down the glory of London's Embankment in spring, the city had never looked so grand and beautiful but I was in shock, juggling rehearsals of my first play, the rubble of divorce, and the logistics of becoming a single mother with a baby. But Nina was with me, there in the car. And is there anything sexier and more life affirming, than the sound of that brass section swanking in and clearing all suffering before it? No there is not.

"Fly Me To The Moon" – Julie London & Greg Porter
Strictly speaking, I didn't use this whilst writing The Bees, but for a recent bookstore event. I decided to dramatise Chapter 3 and use two wonderful actresses I'd worked with before, as Sister Sage and Sister Teasel, whilst I read Flora/Narrator. My plan was to use the slowed-down "Flight of the Bumblebee" as underscore – but I forgot that on the night I wouldn't just be directing, I'd be a performer too – and I got so nervous I forgot to do it. But I did remember "Fly Me To The Moon" for the book-signing bit, which was great – so uplifting and joyful, and in tune with the feeling at the end of the book, I hope.


Laline Paull and The Bees links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

BookPage review
New York Times review
NPR Books review
Observer review
Publishers Weekly review
Telegraph review
Washington Post review

Huffington Post UK profile of the author
Typographical Era 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)

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Shorties (An Interview with Lynda Barry, Remembering B.B. King, and more)

The Guardian profiled cartoonist Lynda Barry.


R.I.P., blues guitarist B.B. King.


Electric Literature interviewed author Helen Macdonald.


Juan Waters covers the Ramones' "Questioningly."


The Millions interviewed author James Hannaham.


Stream a new Desaparecidos song.


Paste shared a drinker's guide to the Beat generation.


The Milk Carton Kids visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


The Rumpus interviewed author Shulem Deen.


SPIN interviewed Mac McCaughan about his solo album Non-Believers.


Time Out Hong Kong listed the top books set in that city.


Paste listed the best music finales in film.


Filmmakers discuss their favorite books with the Hollywood Reporter.


Tiny Mix Tapes' Marvin Lin on critically listening to music in a digital age.

"How do we talk about music when so much of what we listen to now feels so transitory and historically inconsequential?"


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 (La Luz, Ryley Walker, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Adrian Duffy and the Mayo Brothers: United We Fall EP [mp3]

Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Devil and the Deep Blue Sea EP [mp3]

La Luz: "You Disappear" [mp3] from Weirdo Shrine (out August 7th)

Oracle Room: "The Knot" [mp3]

Ryley Walker: Folkadelphia session [mp3]

This Heel: This Heel II album [mp3]

Various Artists: Firefly Music Festival Mixtape 2015 album [mp3]

Vukovar: New World Reorder EP [mp3]

Wharfer: "We'll All Be Racers" [mp3] from Acadia (out June 30th)


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

William Tyler: 2015-05-05, New York [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

May 14, 2015

Book Notes - Ben Snakepit "Snake Pit Gets Old"

Snake Pit Gets Old

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.

Ben Snakepit's comics collection Snake Pit Gets Old collects his daily autobiographical three-panel comics over three years, and taken together the book reads impressively as memoir.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Ben Snakepit's Book Notes music playlist for his comics collection Snake Pit Gets Old:


My newest book, Snakepit Gets Old, is a book of comic strips. Every day I draw a three-panel comic strip that does nothing more than document what I did that day. This book compiles three years of those daily comic strips. Each daily strip is prefaced with a theme song. Sometimes it's a song with lyrical content that is relevant to the day's events, other times it's just what I happen to be listening to when I draw.

Snakepit Gets Old is exactly like the other five books I've written. It's poorly drawn, there are lots of mistakes and misspelled words, nothing happens and it's really boring. I will admit to all of this, but I will also admit that my book is completely open and honest. I'm not trying to prove anything or put on a show for anyone. I listen to a lot of the same songs, and a few times (four, to be exact) I actually forget to put a theme song at all. Here are ten particular songs from the book that I think do a good job of summing up the overall experience.

50 Million "Clenched Fist" (Page 27): I think this song is a lot like my comics. Basic, simple, primitive, raw. It gets the point across with nothing more than one drum and two voices repeating only three lines. This is one of my favorite songs ever, and I can only hope that my comics leave as strong an impact on the reader as this song does on the listener.

The Queers "This Place Sucks" (Page 69): The day this song is the theme for was a day that I had to fire one of my best friends from the video store where we worked. I had been promoted to manager and thought it would be fun to hire all of my friends so we could goof off and have fun together; a plan that completely backfired. Everyone seemed to adopt the attitude that since I was the boss they could get away with anything and not get in trouble. By the end of my time working there, I had completely painted myself into a corner and the only option left was for me to leave. That place sucked.

J Church "Nostalgic for Nothing" (Page 73): J Church was a band I played bass in for about five years, but they were an established band for a decade or so before I joined. This song is from that period before I was in the band, and it was always one of my favorite ones to play live. J Church was the brainchild of my late friend, Lance Hahn, who passed away in 2007. The surviving members of the band played a tribute show to him in 2010, playing our favorite songs from the band's extensive catalog. This show is documented in the book.

Anal Cunt "You're Old (Fuck You)" (Page 109): Anal Cunt isn't a particularly good band and this song doesn't really have any deep personal meaning, but the title kind of sums up the attitude of the world I stopped being a part of in this book. The transformation theme is pretty evident throughout these three years, from the X-eyed drunken party animal to the respectable family man. There are times in the book that you see me clearly struggle with the change. I mean, who doesn't want to party forever? But we all get old and we all have to slow down or die, like it or not.

Elliott Smith "Big Decision" (Page 114): Sometimes I just go for the obvious with the theme songs I pick for these daily comic strips, and this is a good example of that. The day that I chose this song, February 27, 2011, was the day I decided I would buy a ring and ask my girlfriend to marry me. There are other landmark days in the book, like the day I actually pop the question and the day we get married, but this was the day where it all really changed for me. Obviously, change and growth are heavy themes in this book, not necessarily on purpose.

Jimi Hendrix "Stone Free" (Page 157): This is another one of those obvious ones. In 2011 I had a kidney stone removed and this part of the book recants the story in excruciating detail.

Unseen Terror "Odie's Revenge" (Page 168): Unseen Terror was a British metal band from the 80's that featured members of Napalm Death and Heresy. A lot of their songs were pretty goofy, and they had a few songs about Garfield characters, like this one. Okay, bear with me. The title of my book, Snakepit Gets Old, has its obvious meaning, but it also has a deeper meaning that not as many people got as I was hoping. I have always been a huge fan of Berke Breathed's Bloom County. There was a particular Bloom County strip where Opus the penguin is reading a book called "Garfield Gets Old".

M.O.T.O. "I Hate My Fucking Job" (Page 183): Again, this has a pretty obvious meaning. At the end of the first chapter of the book, I change jobs. Actually, I don't just "change jobs" so much as I make a complete 180 in my career path. For seven years I had been farting around working retail. I'd been promoted to store manager but still didn't really take it seriously and thought of my job as simple a means to support myself between band tours. It was after the last tour I went on with my band Shanghai River at the beginning of the book that I realized that living the rock-n-roll lifestyle was no longer a viable option and it was time to get serious. In chapter two of the book I began working as a data processor at a printing company, and the change was not exactly seamless.

Drivetrain "Time is of the Essence" (Page 232): A Portland punk band from 1988, this song appeared on a mail-traded mix tape I got in high school, and the lyrics have stuck with me since I was a teenager. "It's getting late, time doesn't stand still. Better get off my butt before I'm over the hill." I know it seems like I am completely obsessed with getting older, but I'm really not. I just kinda see the three years in this book as particularly transformative and indicative of my growth as a person.

The Cars "Let's Go" (Page 263): When my wife and I went on our honeymoon to New York City, we had a really wonderful time. You can read all about it in chapter three. On our last day there, we were eating breakfast at the Odessa cafe on the Lower East Side. It's the place where Henry Rollins was asked to join Black Flag. It had been such a great trip, and as we sat there eating french toast, this song came on the radio. We were both humming and tapping along to it, sharing the bittersweet emotions that you feel when a fun vacation is about to end. Ever since then, this has been "our song".


Ben Snakepit and Snake Pit Gets Old: Daily Diary Comics 2010-2012 links:

Cabildo Quarterly Online review
Publishers Weekly review
The Ripple Effect review

Microcosm Publishing interview with the author
Various Things 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)

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WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - May 14th, 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.


Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You
by Celeste Ng

One of our favorite and most engrossing novels from last year is now out in paperback.


Carsick

Carsick
by John Waters

New in paperback, you haven't really seen our country until you've seen it through John Waters' eyes.


Hold Still

Hold Still
by Sally Mann

Riddled with stunning images (no surprise), this unique memoir delves into Mann's distant and more recent pasts and leaves the reader sifting through treasure troves of insight.


Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles's War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News

Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles's War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News

Long before Stephen Colbert or The Onion or snopes.com, Orson Welles's much discussed and misinterpreted radio play toyed with public perception and made people question the veracity of news.


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 (Maggie Nelson on Her New Book, New Music from Dawes, and more)

LitHub interviewed Maggie Nelson about her new memoir The Argonauts.


Stream new music from Dawes.


The Nervous Breakdown interviewed author Jillian Lauren.


The Washington Post recommended hipster albums to put your baby to sleep.


CarolineLeavittville interviewed author Ellis Avery.


Fanzine interviewed author Halle Butler.


Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and Molly Ringwald shared their e-mail correspondence at The Thread.


Biographile recommended biographies written by Joseph Ellis.


Stream the remastered edition of John Vanderslice's Mass Suicide Occult Figurines album.


Author Shya Scanlon interviewed himself at The Nervous Breakdown.


Stream a new Sea of Bees song.


The Guardian interviewed the finalists for the 2015 Man Booker prize.


The New York Observer listed Brooklyn bands to listen to right now.


Electric Literature interviewed author B. Catling.


John Lydon talked to Paste about his new memoir Anger Is an Energy.


CarolineLeavittville interviewed author Andrew Roe.


The A.V. Club shared a playlist of essential Blur songs.


Bookworm interviewed author Thomas McGuane.


Paste profiled Marina Diamandis of Marina and the Diamonds.


Saturday is the Worldwide Little Free Library Book Drive.


Morning Edition interviewed Andrea E. Mays about her new book The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio.


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 (Cloud Cult, Robert Schneider, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Cloud Cult: Singles- 2015 album [mp3]

Haelos: "The Sun Rising" [mp3]

Joe Marson: Stripped Acoustic EP [mp3]

Mercies: Blue Against Green album [mp3]

The Sexbots: Berlin album [mp3]

Sweet Baboo: "Black Domino Box (H Hawkline Cover)" [mp3]

Various Artists: 24hr Records: Less Time, More Music EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Towersey Festival 2015 compilation album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Robert Schneider: 2015-05-10, Athens [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

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May 13, 2015

Book Notes - Shya Scanlon "The Guild of Saint Cooper"

The Guild of Saint Cooper

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.

Shya Scanlon's The Guild of Saint Cooper is a clever and skillfully told dystopian novel, one that blends Twin Peaks with the post-modern American northwest.

Jonathan Evison wrote of the book:

"Just when I thought I'd had my fill of dystopian novels, along comes the The Guild of Saint Cooper; a playful, imaginative, and wildly unpredictable ride through alternate Seattle. Scanlon delights in turning history on its ear in this daring and thoughtful high wire act of a novel."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Shya Scanlon's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Guild of Saint Cooper:


1: "Sax and Violins", by Talking Heads
The setting for much of The Guild of Saint Cooper is a city that's largely been evacuated, and the resulting landscape is pregnant is absence, with nostalgia and ghosts. There is cataclysm on the horizon, but most people are so resigned and inured to its danger they sleepily go about their routines. It's not denial, per se. More like procrastination. It's the way you feel when you wake up in the morning after hosting an enormous house party and wander around the place, sizing up the damage. Maybe you light up a half-smoked joint to make the cleaning process half-bearable, and replay the night's high and low points as you hazily plod around from room to room. This brings to mind the music from the opening sequence of one of my favorite films: Wim Wenders's loose, baggy monster Until The End of The World, which literally begins with the end of a party, the main character Claire Tourneur climbing out of a bed and fumbling for the exit as a music video for "Sax and Violins" plays on TVs that seem to be sort of scattered around the apartment (the cheapness of the objects themselves by '91 nearly equal to the cheapness of the images inside). The Guild of Saint Cooper doesn't begin with a literal party, but now that I think about it, a stolen television does feature significantly in the first couple of chapters, causing me just now to realize that my debt to Wenders' film may be greater than I'm willing to admit. For this reason, my attorney has advised me to move on to the next song.

2: "A Real Indication", by Thought Gang, from the soundtrack of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
When the book begins, the narrator Blake is nearly a shut-in. At a construction site whose activity he's been tracking from his bedroom window, he has an encounter that sets the book's action in motion—he'll meet members of the titular Guild and its enigmatic leader who calls himself The Editor—but the real turning point for him is before that, before he knows where his decision to leave the house will take him. The turning point is, of course, the fact that he made the decision to leave. This song, written by Lynch and his musical collaborator Badalamenti (who lent his voice to the track), is close to what I imagine Blake's feelings to be as he makes his way out into the world. It begins, "So I'm going down this street, and I'm trying not to smile," and that's Blake in this scene: a little paranoid, but giddy from nerves and vibing on his strange newfound energy. In Fire Walk With Me, the song accompanies a scene in which Laura Palmer is mischievously/darkly manipulating her boy toy Bobby Briggs, melting his accusations into a goofy, cowed expression of infatuation. Many Twin Peaks fans didn't like seeing Laura Palmer's dark side in the film, but I never imagined it any other way, so for me it was affirming. It ascribed to her more agency than were permitted by the show's ubiquitous photos and memories of her—she was a willing actor, ultimately, in her own demise, which makes it a more powerful tragedy. Blake, too, is a willful agent, and though he's manipulated by people along the way, it's important to me that he appear complicit in that, conscious of being led.

3-4: "New York State of Mind", Billy Joel/ "N.Y. State of Mind", Nas
In a funhouse-weird distortion of the old "you-don't-miss-your-water" adage, the place where Blake's own Seattle irreality catches up with him takes place not in Seattle—not in his un-chosen home, but in his chosen one: New York. Like most fans of the song, I suppose (though I must say that, stupid as I am, I only just now had that thought), I was singing "New York State of Mind" long before I'd ever been to New York. I was feeling all world-weary and wistful about busing down the Hudson long before I'd been in "touch with the rhythm and blues" to begin with. I've still never read The Daily News. I was sad listening to this song before I'd ever had anything to be truly sad about. It's odd that this ballad to NY is so full of nostalgia, and it's odd that the spirit of nostalgia is so elastic and transferable. People speak of joy being contagious, but there's no nostalgic equivalent, in my experience, to that rage others' joy can just as easily induce. Though Blake is intimidated by his new home, he also has the impression that the city is putting on a show for him, that it gathers all its freaks and misfits together to throw them in his path. And so he walks around in a state of hyper-vigilance, and trying to feel tougher than he is, like he's carrying out a dare. (True for everyone who moves to New York, in a sense.) I picture him listening to Nas while walking around, protecting himself from the actual sounds of the city while simultaneously mainlining its essence—a perspective on the city that has no room for nostalgia which, along with sleep, is another cousin of death. It's a pose, but one successful enough to convince himself, if only long enough to get into trouble.

5: "Ya Got Trouble", Music Man (Meredith Willson)
America has a long history with gurus, beginning with the religious fervor of the Puritans as they spread west in the early 19th century, breaking from their congregations yet remaining stridently orthodox in what came to be referred to as the "Burnt-over District" due to the observation that preachers of all different (and often new) denominations had burned (converted) through all the fuel (believers). It was a time that gave rise to Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventists, and utopian societies like the Oneida Community. If we think of these early congregational movements as small businesses, I think it's fair to say they were building an economy with faith as its primary commodity. So it makes sense that once the industrial revolution enabled mass-production of machined goods in the later half of the century, such people could move on to greener pastures and morph into what we know of as the common door-to-door salesman. At any rate, I see the guru as the ultimate salesman, in that the very pitch he uses, when successful, becomes conflated with the product he's selling, which is, in it's basic form: optimism, hope, joy, courage, self-confidence, etc. In other words, I think there's a very straight line connecting Joseph Smith (Mormonism) to Jim Jones (Peoples Temple) to Werner Erhard (est) to Tony Robbins (Fortune 500), all of who are separated only by degree of madness and business acumen. There are a couple of guru figures in Guild, but in only one scene do I really let one of them hold forth and work his magic. It's the beginning of a weekend retreat during which people will be learning a "technology" they'll be able to use to—what else?—take control of their lives. There are a quite a number of salesmen in our literature, but hip-hop has almost cornered the market in song (selling drugs either literally or as a metaphor), which is why I chose this song from Music Man—it's all about the pitch, creating a need (where there isn't one) and then providing a solution. And it's done with such conviction and brio that you really don't blame the people of River City for totally buying in.

6: "String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10: 1", Claude Debussy
Spoiler alert: there are aliens in Guild's final third. They're referred to as the "Lights" because, well, they're floating pinpricks of light. But the advantage of having such seemingly innocuous aliens (despite what they actually do, which I won't spoil), is that the wondrousness of the alien spectacle isn't overwhelmed by fear—at least not at first. You get to experience the existential shock of implication while in the midst of something like delight. I imagine that a close encounter of the third kind would, as in the movie alluded to by the phrase I just used, be an overwhelming, nearly vertigo-inducing experience, filled with equal parts joy, fear, fulfillment, dread, anxiety, and awe. In other words: it would be a magnified version of listening to Debussy's string quartets. When I first encountered Debussy's string quartets, they felt so alien that it was difficult for me to classify them as "classical music." Of course, their composer is not from the classical period, and that's perhaps technically why… But that's less interesting to me than what the listening experience afforded me. Unlike the music I was accustomed to (by definition), these string quartets were entirely unpredictable. I had no idea, from note to note, what the next would be. There is pattern of course, and it wasn't long before I was whistling along, but the power of those first few listens was that of destabilizing novelty. One of the primary questions posed by Guild is: what kind of stories matter when things are falling apart? The book frustrates its characters' desire to tell familiar stories, comfortable stories, predictable stories, and this frustration is at the heart of what I'd call dystopia. Not the fire and brimstone of apocalypse, or the dehumanizing mind control of totalitarian government—both forms it can assume, of course—but the (terrifying, awe-inspiring) defamiliarization of form itself.

7: "[Nothing but] Flowers", Talking Heads
I know, I know. Talking Heads are waaaay overrepresented in this short list. But from "Psycho Killer" to "Life During Wartime", Talking Heads were masters at creating super catchy songs filled with troubling messages from the future now. The world is ending (or has ended), seemed to be a common theme, so why not dance? The best of them manage to let/force you to hold two opposing thoughts in your head at the same time—F. Scott Fitzgerald's definition of intelligence—which in a song like "[Nothing but] Flowers" means you're rooting for the end of civilization you're simultaneously bemoaning. To build on the version of dystopia I describe above, Guild's structure doubles back on itself, and rather than entirely suspend the reader's disbelief, I'm aiming for something more like Fitzgerald's definition of intelligence: I want the reader to sympathize with the challenges (personal, social) Blake faces, to fault him for his role in them, and to simultaneously look at the book as authorial play and investigation. A lot of David Byrne's lyrics put you in this position, there's a deep element of irony running through it, but it's a productive irony, I believe. The lyric, "And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention," has particular resonance for Guild. Many dystopias are set after/in a sudden end-of-man scenario—disease, or nuclear war, or zombies—but I'm more interested in the slow burn. I'm more interested in the idea of a thousand-year apocalypse than a ten-year, or ten-day, or ten minute, because I find the cognitive dissonance between observation and action fascinating, and the characters I find myself writing about suffer that dissonance in one way or another. It's one of the principle characteristics of my generation, and we'll be remembered for it. Of course, as H.G. Wells's time traveler learns, if you travel far enough into the future, there won't be anyone to remember anything at all. Happy thought!


Shya Scanlon and The Guild of Saint Cooper links:

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

Cleaver Magazine review
Electric Literature review
Kirkus review
LitReactor review
Vol. 1 Brooklyn review

Fanzine interview with the author
Necessary Fiction essay by 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)

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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - May 13, 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.


š! #21: Business Time, Kuš comics

š! #21: Business Time, Kuš comics

The newest anthology from Latvian comics publisher Kuš is out, this time putting together stories from the world of business. But for every standard-sized cubicle and mundane office memo, there's a used swimming trunk venture or literal rat race betting operation. Everything can be expected from this amazing collection of international cartoonists.


Boneshaker magazine

Boneshaker magazine

Bristol-based cycling magazine Boneshaker ("the wind in your hair, two brave wheels and the horizon") is back, this time tackling everything from the midnight sun-illuminated Norwegian mountains to the Pan-American highway. Nothing is too daring, too far-off for this carefully designed, advertisement free publication.


Apartamento magazine

Apartamento magazine

No one can accuse Apartamento of not having a signature style, and the design and lifestyle magazine's particular aesthetic is on full display in their new spring/summer issue. Inside you'll find a profile of interior/fashion/book designer Todd Oldham, a fanzine on filmmaker Gaspar Noe, bohemian Ibiza, Canary Islands architecture, and much more.


Lucky Peach magazine

Lucky Peach Issue 15

Lucky Peach is here! The culinary quarterly is all about the plant kingdom this time around, with recipes, taste bud tours around the world, comics by Lisa Hanawalt, and an article called "how to give the best fruit massages." You'll have to wait to figure out what that last one is.


Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt
by Chris Hedges

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedges is no stranger to chronicling economic malaise and social justice struggle. In this new book he investigates the social and psychological factors that lead to resistance and revolution, drawing from historical and international examples to create a in-depth portrait of the activist, the rebel, the force for change.


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)

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Shorties (Harold Bloom's List of the Top 12 American Authors, Stream the New Hot Chip Album, and more)

How Harold Bloom chose the top 12 American authors in his new book The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime.


Stream the new Hot Chip album, Why Make Sense?.


Chastity Belt shared a touring guide at the Guardian.


Full Stop interviewed author Claire Vaye Watkins.


Stream a new Sharon Van Etten song from the forthcoming compilation Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs By Karen Dalton.


Farm Lane Books Blog lists books to explain the darker side of society.


Rhett Miller visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


The New Yorker profiled author Nell Zink.


SPIN listed Stephen Hawking's best musical moments.


Bustle interviewed Wendy C. Ortiz about her new book Hollywood Notebook.


Paste listed the saddest songs of all time.


Hazlitt interviewed Jessica Hopper about her new book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic.


Nuvo Weekly interviewed Interpol guitarist Daniel Kessler about music and food.


The Los Angeles Times interviewed Patricia park about her Jane Eyre-inspired novel Re Jane.


The Guardian recommended music from new bands.


Paste profiled singer-songwriter Paul Weller.


Fresh Air interviewed photographer Sally Mann about her memoir Hold Still.


Stream a new Mynabirds song.


Mark Z. Danielewski shared his love for Richard McGuire's graphic novel Here at the Atlantic.


John Vanderslice is crowdfunding an Oakland location of his Tiny Telephone recording studio.


The New York Times magazine interviewed cartoonist Alison Bechdel.


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

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