April 15, 2017

Atomic Books Comics Preview - April 15, 2017

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

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. He also runs the Mutant Funnies Tumblr.

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.


All Time Comics: Bullwhip #1

All Time Comics: Bullwhip #1
by Josh Bayer / Al Milgrom / Ben Marra

The new issue of the strange and strangely satisfying hybrid comics series by Josh Bayer melds old school and new with oddball action/superhero comics collaborations between Ben Marra and Al Milgrom and Josh's story. The results are nothing short of fascinating.


American Barbarian: The Complete Series

American Barbarian: The Complete Series
by Tom Scioli

A red, white and blue-haired barbarian on a revenge quest against a zombie, mummy, cyborg overlord in a very post-apocalyptic wasteland. Pure fun. Now new in paperback.


Incredibly Strange Films

Incredibly Strange Films
by V. Vale

After years of being unavailable, this Re/Search book is finally back in print. It's your go-to guide for oddball cinema. If you're tired of streaming the same mediocre, uninspired two-star drek, get this valuable resource and see which of these weird films you can find to watch (with the demise of video stores, locating copies of some of these films, legally, isn't going to be easy).


Make Trouble

Make Trouble
by John Waters

Sometimes, the best graduation gift can be wisdom. The one book I traditionally give to all my graduating relatives and friends is Pete Jordan's Dishwasher (https://atomicbooks.com/products/dishwasher-one-mans-quest-to-wash-dishes-in-all-fifty-states). John's Make Trouble is now the second book I give to all the graduates in my life. This pretty hardcover collects his viral RISD commencement speech, complete with illustrations by Eric Hanson. It's the perfect blend of wit, humor, cheer, solid advice and subversiveness. It's the perfect gift to prepare a young grad to face the world. Also, all our copies come signed by John.


World Of Tanks

World Of Tanks
by Garth Ennis / Carlos Ezquerra / P. J. Holden

When adapting the popular online game, World of Tanks, into comic form - this is exactly the dream team line-up of who you'd want to tackle it. The results are explosive - ha, geddit? Lots of intense action. Lots of tank fun.


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:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Online "Best of 2015" Book Lists

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





April 14, 2017

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - April 14, 2017

Little Dragon

Diamanda Galas's At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harlem, Kendrick Lamar's DAMN, Little Dragon's Season High, and Splashh's Waiting A Lifetime are all new albums I can recommend this week.

Two live Velvet Underground shows are available today: Boston Tea Party January 10th 1969 and Boston Tea Party July 11th 1969.

Vinyl reissues include The Clash's Combat Rock and Outkast's Speakerboxxx: Love Below.

What new music are you looking forward to or enjoying this week?


This week's interesting music releases:

Barenaked Ladies and The Persuasians: Ladies and Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies and the Persuasions
Billie Holiday: Platinum Collection [vinyl]
Body Count: Bloodlust [vinyl]
Brian May and Kerry Ellis: Golden Days
Buena Vista Social Club (The Criterion Collection) [dvd]
The Clash: Combat Rock (reissue) [vinyl]
The Damned: Grave Disorder (reissue) [vinyl]
Daryl Hall and John Oates: Rock N Soul Part 1 (reissue) [vinyl]
Diamanda Galas: At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harlem
Fionn Regan: The Meetings of the Waters
John Mayer: The Search For Everything
Kendrick Lamar: DAMN
Khalid: American Teen [vinyl]
Leslie Mendelson: Love And Murder
Lillie Mae: Forever And Then Some
Little Dragon: Season High
Little Hurricane: Same Sun Same Moon
Low Roar: Once In A Long, Long While...
Michael Nesmith: Infinite Tuesday: Autobiographical Riffs The Music
Milky Chance: Blossom [vinyl]
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: Mars (Original Series Soundtrack) [vinyl]
Outkast: Speakerboxxx: Love Below (reissue) [vinyl]
Splashh: Waiting A Lifetime
The String Cheese Incident: Believe
Sun Ra: Secrets of the Sun (reissue)
SWMRS: Drive North
Teena Marie: Oo La La: The Epic Anthology
Various Artists: 31 - A Rob Zombie Film (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [vinyl]
Various Artists: The Get Down Part II: Original Soundtrack From The Netflix Original Series
Various Artists: King Jammys Dancehall 3: Hard Dancehall Murderer 1985-1989
Various Artists: King Jammys Dancehall 4: Hard Dancehall Lover 1985-1989
Various Artists: The Mad Max Trilogy (Gray, Black & Sand LPs) [vinyl]
Various Artists: Moana (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [vinyl]
Various Artists: More From the Other Side of the Trax: Volt 45rpm Rarities: 1960-1968
Velvet Underground: Boston Tea Party January 10th 1969
Velvet Underground: Boston Tea Party July 11th 1969


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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

April 13, 2017

Book Notes - Olivia Sudjic "Sympathy"

Sympathy

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

Olivia Sudjic's debut Sympathy is a startlingly original novel about obsession and identity.

The New Republic wrote of the novel:

"A remarkable debut, with the arrival of such a novelist we can finally welcome our techno-dystopian future with open arms."


In her own words, here is Olivia Sudjic's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Sympathy:



I didn't listen to much music while working on Sympathy, or use particular tracks for inspiration. Retrospectively, then, these are the songs I'd use if I had to tell the story without writing it.

Mura Masa
'What If I Go?'

My brilliant UK editor, Elena Lappin, has a system with Jon Gray, the designer of so many amazing book covers. As well as the book, she sends him a song which, to her, is an appropriate soundtrack. She chose this song to send him with 'Sympathy' and I think it's perfect. The video too. There's a Japanese intro, and then the lyrics are about following someone everywhere they go… a recurrent theme with all the ones I've picked!

Beach House
'Space Song'

My unreliable narrator, Alice, is obsessed with Particle Physics. This song is about falling into place in an infinite universe. The lyrics also mention things falling apart, which seems to refer both to a romantic relationship and the inherently unstable universe. Then there's the plaintive: 'Were you ever lost/ Was she ever found?' and I guess that makes me think of the way Alice feels lost, and the method she hits on to try and 'find' herself - finding someone else, a Japanese writer called Mizuko, who she doesn't really know but who she imagines to have lived a very similar life in some respects. Aptly, given the lyrics, an unintended consequence of this is.. actually that's a spoiler... but the song is spot on.

CocoRosie
'Japan'

Partly the song's refrain 'Everybody wants to go to Japan', which everybody does, and which I poke fun of with Alice's Japan obsession, and partly because it's quite a mad song which, right in the middle, switches into a completely different, operatic song, then switches back. I wanted to do something similar with the book in terms of it not fitting into one genre, trying to get the reader to come along with Alice instead of having a set idea of what the book, or main character, should be like from the outset.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
'Higgs Boson Blues'

His voice is so flat, and it matches the landscape in Texas, where Alice ends up with Mizuko, trying to distract her from heartbreak and interest her instead in writing a story about Alice's own life. Her adoptive father was a Particle Physicist involved in the early search for the Higgs Boson. Texas was once going to be the home of an American super collider (an underground tunnel shaped like a ring, to collide particles at high speed and break them open) before CERN was built in Geneva, where the world wide web was first unleashed, and the Higgs Boson was eventually found. It was abandoned before any discovery could be made however, congress cancelled funding and the site was abandoned. This triggered Alice's adoptive father to abandon his family. This is the elaborate backstory to Sympathy, but also the bedrock. Alice herself, projecting a kind of ideal onto her missing father, hurt by a second abandonment (her mysterious birth parents being the first), takes up his interest in Physics and, typical of her obsessive personality, becomes deeply concerned by the implications of the Higgs Boson's discovery, which points either to fundamental order or absolute chaos. Do we live in the Multiverse, or is the competing theory, Supersymmetry, the explanation for our existence? The discovery of Mizuko causes Alice to hope the latter is true.

Sting
'Englishman In New York'

Alice is mixed race, born in New York, but adopted into a white family and swiftly relocated first to Texas, then to Japan, and then to England with her adoptive mother, where she is completely marooned from her origins. Returning after an interval of twenty years, finding her homeland to be different to what she expected, outstaying her visa, tripping out in Morningside Park, makes me think of this chorus about being an alien.

Louis Armstrong
'La Vie En Rose'

This song makes me think of the great romantic films set in New York, which Alice probably hopes for. There is also a line in the book where Alice says that, to her, pink is the colour of New York. The piano in this song also makes me think of the blossom she observes falling from the trees in Spring, high on sudden freedom from her dysfunctional life in England, but directionless, making inconsequential choices about whether to walk up or down, left or right along the city grid.

Emmy The Great
'Algorithm'

In The Age of Earthquakes by Shumon Bassar, Douglas Coupland, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, they talk about finding your perfect match based on what the internet knows about you, locating you and them, like internet twins. This love song reminds me of that. The “coincidences” in the book become increasingly absurd, and I wanted to evoke the opaque feeling of slowly sensing that an algorithm is making choices for you, or shaping the menu from which you make choices. So saying a word aloud or passing by a store, then immediately seeing an ad for it on your web browser, or someone you just met appearing in the “People You May Know” section of your Instagram.

FKA Twigs
'Video Girl'

Twigs' song is about her experience of being a recognisable figure before she became famous in her own right – as a backing dancer for acts like Jessie J. It's about how someone's reputation precedes them and can pigeon hole their identity for others. This is what Alice does to Mizuko. The song also talks about the desire to have attention - “all eyes on you” and a “craving for the whole universe”, which makes me think of Mizuko's way of living her life as performance on online platforms. I also think of Alice not wanting to step out from the shadow of her girl crush. When I first heard it though, I thought the lyrics were about a jealous lover, and imagined Alice scouring Mizuko's Instagram for evidence of where she is and who she's with. Both work.

Lykke Li
'I Follow Rivers'

The opening words of this song could be Alice's own:

'Oh, I beg you: can I follow?
Oh, I ask you: why not always?'

They remind me of Alice's agony over whether or not to request to follow Mizuko, and then the long wait to be accepted. Then there's the following lines:

'Be the ocean, where I unravel.
Be my only, be the water where I'm wading.'

In Sympathy, water plays on Alice's mind – rivers (the Hudson) and oceans (people drowning in them, the missing Malaysia flight) – and she talks about losing herself in Mizuko as if she is going underwater. The video for this song is of Lykke Li – a veiled figure – chasing someone through a snowy landscape. I'm sure it's obvious by now, without even reading one of the latter scenes in the book, how this lonely, dogged determination reminds me of Alice, but it's also about the metaphor of rivers, and the Hudson plays a role in Sympathy.

Grace Jones
'I've Seen That Face Before/Libertango'

Alice is dressed up by her grandmother in eighties clothing, and I can imagine her stalking her way uptown to this. There's also a real paranoia in this song about being followed and watched. Jones sings about the voyeur, whose “Staring eyes chill me to the bone”. Go figure.

Wild Beasts
'Loop The Loop'

I came up with this song because I was trying to think of songs about being on a loop, or going round and round, replaying something and unable to forget. I also did some research for Sympathy on the concept of “strange loops”, proposed by Douglas Hofstadter in his book Gödel, Escher, Bach, because Alice keeps returning to the start of her obsession, retelling it, changing the order, link by link. I also read an interview with the lead singer where he says that the line “Forget Now” from this song is taken from the Almodovar film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which I love, and which came out the year I was born.

The National
'Sorrow'

Not long ago I saw an exhibition at The Barbican in London of the work of Ragnar Kjartansson. A lot of his musical work is about repetition and loops. There's a room which plays a video recording of the band The National, who agreed to take part in one of Kjartansson's endurance pieces. They performed at New York's PS1, playing 'Sorrow' over and over again without stopping over the course of six hours. When he sings the word “sympathy”, over and over, it starts to sound like a cultish chant. Or it did to me when I watched it, and I've become hypersensitive to that word.


Olivia Sudjic and Sympathy links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

New Republic review

Deborah Kalb interview with the author
Salon interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

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

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - April 13, 2017

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.


This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories

This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories
by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Simpson, acclaimed Nishnaabeg storyteller and poet, has returned with a collection of searing songs, poems, and stories. In This Accident of Being Lost, Simpson’s commitment to uncompromising truth-telling seeps from every fragment, every turn of phrase. Through a blend of traditional storytelling and wry domestic realism, Simpson protects Indigenous knowledge while simultaneously providing valuable context from non-Indigenous readers.


Animals of a Bygone Era

Animals of a Bygone Era
by Maja Säfström

A follow-up to the bestselling Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts, Maja Säfström’s new book sets her distinct style on creatures from times past. Säfström illustrates fascinating ancient-animal facts with equal parts passion and whimsy, all the while deftly sidestepping cliché—”dinosaurs have intentionally been left out of this book to give some attention to other fascinating—but less famous—creatures that one lived on this planet”.


Too Much and Not the Mood

Too Much and Not the Mood
by Durga Chew-Bose

Montreal writer Durga Chew-Bose seems poised for literary stardom. Her writing has been published across a myriad of journals and reviews—including n+1 and Interview Magazine—and Maris Kreizman described it thus: "If you admire Maggie Nelson’s ability to combine the personal and the academic into a thrilling new art form, Durga Chew-Bose will be your next favorite writer." Too Much and Not the Mood, taking its name from a Virginia Woolf diary entry, is a philosophical, occasionally brooding, and often stirring collection of essays from a burgeoning talent.


Make Trouble

Make Trouble
by John Waters

When John Waters, the Prince of Puke himself, was invited to address a graduating class at the Rhode Island School of Design, his impishly subversive advice (of course!) went viral. The immensely talented Waters asks “So what if you have talent? Then what?” Make Trouble is an exegesis of the creative process, and of creativity as a profession. John Waters decrees that no matter what field we choose, we must embrace chaos, we must make trouble!


Saga Volume 7

Saga Volume 7
by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

The 7th volume of the highly addictive space-opera Saga is here! Written by Brian Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, this sci-fi series was described by David Sims for The Atlantic as “like Star-Wars, but unfilmable and brilliantly bonkers.” Imaginative, sexy, and bristling with humour, Saga is ideal for comics nerds and newbies alike.


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:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel 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 (New Lidia Yuknavitch Nonfiction, Stream the New Charly Bliss Album, and more)

Electric Literature shared new nonfiction by Lidia Yuknavitch.


NPR Music is streaming Charly Bliss's new album Guppy.


eBooks on sale for $1.50 today:

After Disasters by Viet Dinh
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by Donald Harington
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Georgia O'Keefe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Henry and June by Anais Nin
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
On Immunity by Eula Biss
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon


Stream a new Sylvan Esso song.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Sarah Manguso.


Kristin Hersh visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


David Vann on writing.


Stream a new Casey Dienel song.


Publishers Weekly listed fast-growing independent publishers.


NPR Music is streaming Overcoats' new album Young.


Watch Paul Auster read from his novel 4 3 2 1.


Stream a new Bill Baird song.


NPR Music is streaming Valgeir Sigurðsson's new album Dissonance.


Signature recommended books to understand Egypt.


Stream a new Kamasi Washington song.


Poets & Writers interviewed author Samrat Upadhyay.


NPR Music is streaming the Black Angels' new album Death Song.


Catapult interviewed author Max Winter.


Stream a new Land of Talk song.


The Guardian profiled author Durga Chew-Bose.


Stream and/or download a compilation album of South Carolina artists.


Journalist and author Lesley Stahl talked books and reading with the New York Times.


The ARTery interviewed singer-songwriter Richard Thompson.


Bookworm interviewed author Elif Batuman.


NPR Music is streaming a recent Margo Price live set.


BOMB features an excerpt from Kristen Radtke’s graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This.


Paste listed the best Ani DiFranco songs.


Entropy interviewed poet Alok Vaid-Menon.


Cornell University has posted some of its Adler Archive (which consists of hip-hop memorabilia) online.


Steph Post and Alex Segura discussed crime fiction and Florida at Literary Hub.


The Muse interviewed musician Mary Timony.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create 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)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists

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

April 12, 2017

Book Notes - David Joy "The Weight of This World"

The Weight of This World

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

David Joy's The Weight of This World is a dark and moving multi-generational novel.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"Bleakly beautiful. . . [a] gorgeously written but pitiless novel about a region blessed by nature but reduced to desolation and despair."


In his own words, here is David Joy's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Weight of This World:



I think one of the most insightful questions a writer can ask of their characters is what are they listening to? What's their favorite song? What do they sing in the shower when no one else is around? 

For whatever reason, that's always been something that just sort of came to me when I sat down to write a story. With my first novel, Where All Light Tends To Go, I could hear Townes Van Zandt's "Rex's Blues" the moment the first image arrived. With this latest novel, The Weight Of This World, it was an album, a record spinning in the background as the first scene unfolded. I could hear the Drive-By Truckers' The Dirty South deafening from the speakers. Even more than that, I knew the last cut on that record, "Goddamn Lonely Love," was the main character Aiden McCall's favorite song.

With these characters, I think Drive-By Truckers make for a fine, fine soundtrack. The Truckers capture what its like to be working-class poor in the South. They write songs about addiction and desperation and hopelessness and family and love and heartbreak and sadness. There are so many songs that encapsulate the lives of Thad Broom and Aiden McCall and to have the characters be aware of that, to have a music they identify with, is a powerful thing. Ultimately what I'm saying is go listen to the Truckers!

So here's a playlist for my latest novel, The Weight Of This World. I like to try to come up with a progression of songs that follow the narrative. These aren't necessarily songs I listened to while I was writing—some are, some aren't—but they're songs that capture the mood and emotional arc of the story. Also, I'm going to do it a little different this time around. Rather than explaining anything about the story, I'm going to pull lines that serve as their own sort of explanation. Hope you enjoy:

Ryan Bingham "For Anyone's Sake"

Memories of my loved ones and their turned out lives / have long faded away with my tears in the night. / There is nothing but the police, to haunt me 'round here. / I guess I'm still living if I still have fear. // Something will find a way somehow to break. / It will be my heart. It will be my face / But I won't recall my many mistakes / or hold onto nothing for anyone's sake.


Nick Drake "The Road"

You can say the sun is shining if you really want to
I can see the moon and it seems so clear
You can take the road that takes you to the stars now
I can take a road that'll see me through.


American Aquarium "Burn. Flicker. Die."

It's nights like these that the drugs don't work
It's getting in the way instead of picking me up
I wish my addictions didn't mean so much
But we all can't be born with that kind of luck.


Hayes Carll "Chances Are"

"Chances are I took the wrong turn
every time I had a turn to take.
And I guess I broke my own heart
every chance I had a heart to break.
And it seems I spent my whole life
wishing on the same unlucky star.
And as I watch you across the barroom, I wonder
what my chances are."


Drive-By Truckers "When The Pin Hits The Shell"

You can lie to your mama. You can lie to your race.
But you can't lie to nobody with that cold steel in your face.
And the same God that you're so afraid is gonna send you to hell
is the same one you're gonna answer to when the pin hits the shell.


Drive-By Truckers "Goddamn Lonely Love"

And I could find another dream,
one that keeps me warm and clean,
but I ain't dreaming anymore, I'm waking up.
So I'll take two of what you're having and I'll take everything you got
to kill this goddamn lonely, goddamn lonely love.


Blaze Foley "Cold, Cold World"

I've tried for a long time but I think I can't win.
I'd do it all better if I could do it again.
Wherever I'm going it's the same place I been.
Ain't it a cold, cold world.


Willy Tea Taylor "Marshall Law"

This may be my darkest day.
I may one day have another.
Don't you worry about your baby boy, mama.
I'll be walking with my brother.
We'll be walking over hills and through valleys.
We'll be sleeping with the stars.
We'll be fighting off the wicked and the what-not
with our hearts and our guitars.
And we're gonna shine, we're gonna shine, we're gonna shine.


John Moreland "You Don't Care For Me Enough To Cry"

I'm the kind of love it hurts to look at.
Maybe we should take it as a sign.
I'm strung out on leaving,
exalting all my demons,
and you don't care for me enough to cry.


Sons Of Bill "Fishing Song"

The faces, they all stretch on for miles.
Why am I still lonely, still so lonely.


David Joy and The Weight of This World links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Bookreporter review
Criminal Element review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review

Huffington Post interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for The Weight of This World
Marietta Daily Journal interview with the author
Mystery Tribune interview with the author
Writer's Bone interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

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

Shorties (An Interview with Kaitlyn Greenidge, Sadie Dupuis on Writing Music and Poetry, and more)

Caroline Leavitt interviewed author Kaitlyn Greenidge.


Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz and S13 discussed writing music and poetry at the Creative Independent.


eBooks on sale for $1.50 today:

After Disasters by Viet Dinh
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by Donald Harington
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Georgia O'Keefe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Henry and June by Anais Nin
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
On Immunity by Eula Biss
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon


Stream a new song by Woods.


The Short Story Award interviewed author Kathleen Alcott.


Stream a new TOPS track.


Esquire UK recommended books for your summer holiday.


Rolling Stone is streaming previously unreleased outtakes from the newly remastered and expanded Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.


Author Olivia Sudjic recommended books about love and obsession at Publishers Weekly.


Stream a new Tigers Jaw song.


Carl Newman discussed the New Pornographers' album Whiteout Conditions with Rolling Stone.


Help crowdfund a new Washington D.C. independent bookstore, Duende District, that will celebrate diversity.

"Duende District will be a bookstore that consciously embraces and builds interactive partnerships with D.C.’s minority communities, while also inviting everyone to enjoy an inviting, high-quality bookstore experience."


Stream a new Jen Cloher song.


The Guardian listed the best books about the Russian revolution.


Stream a new Saint Etienne song.


The Poetry Society of America interviewed poet Matthew Zapruder.


Stream a new Mac DeMarco song.


Literary Hub listed authors' debuts that were also their masterpieces.


Car Seat Headrest covered the Smiths' "That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” (The Smiths Cover)."



Stream a new Wavves song.


Eater examined the influence of Lucky Peach on food journalism.



VICE features new short fiction by Tim Parks.


The Guardian listed essential Miles Davis tracks.


The New York Times recommended three recently published food-oriented memoirs.


The Free Times profiled M.C. Taylor of the band Hiss Golden Messenger.


Book Riot has announced a new premium subscription plan.


The Drive By Truckers' Patterson Hood talked politics with OffBeat.


Bustle recommended presidential memoirs.


Paste interviewed singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.


Members of Sunn O))) discussed their new beer with The Record.


Jeff Guinn talked to Fresh Air about his book The Road to Jonestown.


Deap Vally visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Electric Literature recommended books about Cuba.


Drowned in Sound interviewed singer-songwriter Hamilton Leithauser.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Wayne Koestenbaum.


Stream a new song by Death Cab for Cutie's Dave Depper.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create 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)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists

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

April 11, 2017

Book Notes - Max Winter "Exes"

Exes

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

Max Winter's debut novel Exes is cleverly put together, compulsively readable, and poignant.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Fans of David Foster Wallace's The Broom of the System will find this novel-in-fragments to be equally irreverent and peppered with a similarly absurd cast of characters. . . . It begs readers to ask what seemingly futile details mean in the context of life and suicide."


In his own words, here is Max Winter's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Exes:



Like the heartsick teen turned record store asshole I must still be, I've spent the fifteen years it took to write Exes also making mental versions of this mixtape. But because it's already hard enough for someone like me to make these kinds of choices, when it came time to make them for real, I had to lay down some ground rules, like no diegetic music—of which my book contains a fair amount, much of it frankly and intentionally awful, not to mention jarring and gross when actually listened to in the order it appears on the page.

But sadly another rule turned out to be no Providence music, as most of what fits with my book is just about Internet-proof, and, for me, Providence music has always been all or nothing. So that means no "Temptation," by (yes, that) Sam Lipsyte's every-bit-as-hard-to-believe-then-but-for-different-reasons Dungbeetle. (He went by Sam Shit, and wore a cape.) But no "Get Up and Go" by Thee Hydrogen Terrors, or Shanghai Tang covering "Cracked Actor," either. Not even Six Finger Satellite's "Man Behind the Glasses," which was absolutely not recorded at the state prison as the 7" claims, but was also never recorded properly, a choice which may have, in part, led to the guitar player's sudden departure, depending on who you believe. Fucking Providence, man. You could write a book about it…

And so in the end, it was pretty simple: the songs had to sound like the chapters themselves. I know, duh. But missing the point at first and making things harder than they need to be and taking the long way around and getting super fucking lost along the way has, for me, always been what it's all about.

1. "Side By Each"
"Fear is a Man's Best Friend," John Cale

While waiting, fearfully, to hear back on the sale of my book, I pretty much only listened to this song—about fear, of course, but also about waiting. Then I figured it out on guitar, much to the chagrin of my wife and my son. But these days "Fear is a Man's Best Friend" mostly makes me think of Clay Blackall, simultaneously damaged and sustained by his fear, like that duck at Roger Williams Park that had an arrow through it. Removing it would have killed him, but he wound up living longer than anyone expected. They never caught the archer.

2. "Aloha"
"Heaven", Talking Heads

For the most part I find lyrics to be unimportant—barely even hear them—a fact which only someone who hasn't played in rock bands would find surprising. Even coming from a writer. No, all that matters to me is that the lyrics don't detract from the music, for one reason or another: racism/sexism/homophobia, general idiocy, "party" as verb. Lyrics are like sausage casing, or whatever essential element it is you mostly only hope not to notice too much: contraception, garlic, acting. (That said, I do like our local Saugy franks, where the unmistakable snap is half the point.)

But these:

There is a party

Everyone is there

Everyone will leave
At exactly the same time

may very well be the best lines ever written about the hopeful self-delusion of the socially-anxious drinker. In this chapter, the Judge Reinhold-impersonating Vince Vincent is so afraid he'll miss something that nothing itself becomes a reasonable—even desirable—alternative. Like Nietzsche says, "Man would rather will nothingness, than not will at all." In the moment, our self-destructive habits have a way of making perfect sense; we're all afraid of something.

(Also, every Rhode Islander knows that Talking Heads are a New York band, not a Providence band, so, no, they don't count.)

3. (…etc…)
"The 15th", Wire

These interchapters are where Clay searches for his late brother, Eli, and finds him where he least expects, which only makes it harder for him to stop looking all the places he shouldn't, like we do with lost keys. "The 15th" is a perfect, impossible song—at once stately and nervous—about searching for something that turns out not to be there by a band that could only search; could only ever exist in a state of becoming, a state of change. When they first reunited for shows, in the mid-‘80s, they hired a Wire cover band to play their old songs, and they just played the new ones—a gesture that could just as easily be called perverse as its opposite. But the worst part of a search is when it gets called off. The only non-hateful word I won't let my students use is closure.

4. "Twinrock Caretakers Log"
"The Endless Sea," Iggy Pop

It took me way too long to give New Values a shot. But only because The Stooges are my favorite band, and because Lust for Life is my favorite record whenever Fun House isn't. (Not for nothing, my wife gives me endless shit for calling whatever I'm listening to/reading/watching at the moment "my favorite", but isn't that how it works? Every great taco is the best taco when you really want a taco and you're finally eating one.) But goddamned if this isn't my favorite Iggy song right now—one that evokes Twinrock Caretaker Rob Nolan's mixed feelings about the sea, increasingly hard for him to separate from his current line of work. But we've all done things we're not proud of when we're tight for the rent. And there's a reason we say "afforded me a view."

5. (… …)
"Always Crashing in the Same Car," David Bowie

Okay, a little on the nose, given the serial car crashes described in this chapter, but duh. Bowie knows that a song about driving 94mph in a parking garage must be slow. Because if it all hadn't seemed much too slow then you wouldn't have felt the need to drive so fast. This is just how it feels: you see everything, even what you couldn't possibly see, then you crash.

6. "Exes"
"Oh!" Breeders

This song is as soft and warm as flesh, as gauzy as memory. You can hear what Kim Deal misses.

It recently occurred to me that this is the only song on the whole playlist recorded in the ‘90s, the decade during which most of Exes takes place. But I'm okay with it, because that's the whole point, no? Plus, if anyone's going to represent then, then it might as well be Kim Deal, whose voice is so clear, so honest, so completely unmannered that sometimes it hurts. I know that cracking voices are, like, a thing now, but Deal's voice cracks for real, the way voices sometimes will, and for all the same reasons. The song doesn't so much start as they start playing it, and it ends in much the same way—like it's somehow always there, just waiting to be sung, so for two and-a-half minutes they do. Every story is a ghost story.

7. (… …)
"Avalanche," Leonard Cohen

The aural equivalent of a painting where the eyes follow you. Even the guitar—more typically an afterthought for the actual poet Cohen—is, here, a menacing presence. Hell, "Avalanche" even earns its overwrought strings, the falsest, most pretentious kind of overdubs, generally, after gospel and/or children's choirs. And his singing! You all but look away from that hump. "What rags?" You think, hurt.

8. "Louder Than Good"
"Orion," Metallica

When I was on tour with Songs: Ohia, after an odd, sparsely-attended show at Bennington—there was a Hawkwind jam, and the whole thing nearly got shut down by campus police when Oneida promised a free radar detector to whoever got naked—we spent the night in an 18th Century farmhouse belonging to who the hell knows. Right before we turned in, our host mentioned something about the place being haunted, which might have been a joke but is exactly the kind of thing you shouldn't joke about with Jason Molina ever, but especially not before bed. Next morning, we found Jason in the van, where he'd been since four, cranking Master of Puppets on repeat. "I saw the ghost," he told us. Then we went and got pancakes at the best place for pancakes. Jason Molina could see ghosts and not sleep and eat pancakes like you read about.

9. (… …)
"Waves of Fear," Lou Reed

The first time I dropped out of college, I compulsively listened to The Blue Mask—a then-old ten-years old—and only three or four times to Nevermind, released that same fall. I don't hate guitar solos the way so many people of my generation like to say they do, but this Robert Quine guitar solo is the greatest guitar solo ever recorded precisely because it does the exact opposite of almost every other guitar solo while still being, identifiably, a guitar solo. Hell, I even love the corny stop-time part. But that bit's pure Lou. He never gave a single shit what anyone thought; just followed his first impulse wherever it led him. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it really didn't—but that when it did, it did so perfectly, was all that mattered to him.

10. "Class History"
"I'm Straight," Modern Lovers

Drugs are but a pretext for this song's larger objections. Because what Jonathan Richman is really asking is, "Why him, and not me?" He's hurt and angry, but mostly confused. Like Jacob Deinhardt. Like every teenaged boy, on some level, at some point or another, whether or not we'll admit it now.

We like to talk about how some things gain importance over time—and when they do, well, hey, that's just great, isn't it—or how some other things will surely lose their importance—and that's really too bad, or very much for the best, depending—but if we're being honest the most important things were just as important then as they still are now.

Point being, when determining how we now feel about something potentially embarrassing from our pasts, we oughtn't disregard how we felt at the time. Or as Tobias Wolff puts it in his great short story "Smorgasbord", which not for nothing concerns memories of high school, we should take care not to look back on our youthful feelings with "wintry smiles." Because this kind of cynical revisionism is the exact opposite of nostalgia and, as such, every bit as poisonous. We think of hindsight strictly as clarity at some risk. "There was nothing foolish about what we felt," Wolff's narrator reminds us. Yes. We were no fools back then.

11. (… …)
"The Calvary Cross," Richard Thompson

I have no idea what this song is about—at least not from a lyrical standpoint. Is it about Christ? Sadomasochism? Is there even a difference? Hell, half the time I can't even keep track of who the "you" is. But musically, I get it. I think. What I do know is there was a time when, every weekend, I would leave the bar, and walk to the practice space, and play this song over and over—with the most half-assed imaginable approximation of that lovely B-Bender-ish part that opens it—and sometimes the next morning I'd remember having played it.

12. "Jubliee"
"Starless," King Crimson

It probably goes without saying that in order to put this playlist together I first had to make peace with the unforgivable self-aggrandizement of declaring any of these songs reflective of my book.

So, yeah, "Starless…" Well, why not? While revising this chapter for the next to last time I must've listened to it thirty times in a row. It helped with the fight scene, and with what followed. It's the kind of song where if you happen to get distracted by something else, at some point you look up and say, "Wait, is this still the same fucking song?" But happily, you ask. Because holy shit!

(Also, for those collecting Notable-For-Their-Absence Exes Playlist Perversion Points, every Red fan—who may or may not also be a King Crimson fan, as Red is pretty much the Platonic ideal of the "Non-Fan-Favorite"—knows that there's also an amazing song on this record titled "Providence.")

13. (… …)
"Providence," Sonic Youth

People today don't know or else don't remember just how hard it could be to get a hold of someone in the late ‘80s. If nothing else, this song continues to preserve that information for the future. This is pretty much exactly what it was like:

"I'm downstairs from your window… If you're up… Pub. phone booth. If you're up…"

At first it's about needing someplace to crash or maybe grabbing breakfast. Then about accidentally throwing something important out. It sounds like Chinatown, in 1988, but it also sounds like 10:30 at night in Providence, Rhode Island:

"Did you find your shit? …We were wondering if you looked in that trashcan? …Call later, bye."

14. "Neoteny"
"The Kiss," Judee Sill

Judee Sill was either the best or worst case scenario for your substitute math teacher or babysitter. As is typical of Sill, there's a lot of noise here, lyrically—Millennial Christianity, UFO's, wait, what?—but the musical, emotional signals are as loud and clear as can be. The first time I heard this song, I cried and I cried. I hadn't even known I was sad. Maybe I wasn't.

15. (… …)
"I'll Keep it With Mine," (Instrumental – Take 9, 1966), Bob Dylan

For the same reason that people have a hard time with a writer who doesn't really give a shit about lyrics, some are also surprised by that same writer, a lifelong Bob Dylan fan, having no opinion whatsoever about the recent Nobel win—and a writer who's listened to Dylan sing as much as he's listened to anyone not in his immediate family talk, no less. But my lack of opinion has almost nothing to do with how little I care about prizes—unless someone I know and/or who really needs the money is up for one, of course, in which case I'm rooting harder than anyone. Nor does it concern the whole tedious question of "are song lyrics poetry?" No, I mostly don't care because I happen to think Dylan's a better singer than he is a lyricist.

It's all in his phrasing—weird, ever-shifting, alive to the unfolding musical moment in surprising, inimitable ways. We can disagree about Dylan's ever-sketchier pitch and timbre, but the real point is that he makes even the opaquest shit—everything from "confusion boats" to "jewels and binoculars [that] hang from the head of the mule" and "trainloads of fools bogged down in a magnetic field"—seem as specific as hell. Only he can sing lines like these convincingly. His lyrics are like deep-sea creatures that, when brought to the surface, fall apart; his delivery is the pressure that shapes and sustains them. So we see what he sees, feel what he feels. Because we can hear him seeing it, hear him feeling it.

And even here, when he's not there, you can't not hear him.

16. "The Quaker Guns"
"Final Solution" Pere Ubu

This song has always been about solving problems of your own creation—and not about the Holocaust. It also happens to be the most exciting song ever recorded, an excitement which, amazingly, has as much to do with the bass as it does with the more plainly flashy guitars and keyboards and drums and vocals and even the backing vocals, all of which are perfect. But there have never been any words for what Peter Laughner's doing here—that triumphant but also heart-broken melody eventually rising up from the still-shocking din. It was first and last shot in the studio and, in two years, he'd be dead. How is that even possible? Exes could just as easily be set in Cleveland.

17. (… …)
"Time," Richard Hell and the Voidoids

Richard Hell is at the top of the list of famous people—above even Hank Greenberg and Lauren Bacall—that I wish I'd known were Jewish. He used to come into Venus Records when I worked there, sometimes with his daughter, who pretty clearly thought of him only as Dad. He lived a few blocks away, in the same apartment from the cover of Destiny Street. He still lives there, I think.

Not for nothing, my book starts with an epigraph by Richard Hell—not from a song lyric, even though he wrote some great ones, but from an op-ed, written after they'd just shuttered CBGB, where he and so many like him—though who's like him?—got their start. (It's an expensive clothes store now; Iggy models for them.) So it feels fitting to close with Hell's best song.

But more pertinently this also happens to the best song ever written about time, especially as it relates to those who feel, for whatever reason, the desperate need to account for its passage:

Only time can write a song that's really really real

The best a man can say is how its play on him does feel

And know he only knows as much as time to him reveals

Anyway, Exes is about time, about how every time is many times all at once, and about how there is no such thing as a single point in it. Time is the city we all live in, and we can all see our old house from here.

Thanks for listening.


Max Winter and Exes links:

excerpt from the book

Publishers Weekly review

Fiction Advocate interview with the author
Literary Hub essay by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

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

Book Notes - Alex Segura "Dangerous Ends"

Dangerous Ends

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

Alex Segura's Dangerous Ends, the third book in his Pete Fernandez books, brings a broader scope to this compelling, hardboiled series.

Duane Swierczynski wrote of the book:

"Alex Segura is one of the most exciting and vital voices in crime fiction today, and his Pete Fernandez series is keeping private eye fiction alive and kicking (serious ass) in the new millennium. His work does what the best crime fiction should do: take us down city streets we wouldn’t dare visit alone."


In his own words, here is Alex Segura's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Dangerous Ends:



Redemption. Facing the past. Regrets. Legacy. Rebirth.

These are some of the words that stuck in my head during the earliest days of writing the book that would become Dangerous Ends. I knew I wanted to push my protagonist—washed up ex-journalist Pete Fernandez—forward and past the idea of the drunken, stumbling private eye, and that would involve some level of recovery and progress. But the things we start to see when we begin to clear the wreckage of our lives may very well frighten us back into the caves and darkness. Those were themes I wanted to touch on, and those were the kind of songs that continues to pop up as I thought about the book.

While I can't listen to music while writing (I find it too distracting, even lyric-less soundtracks send me off in the wrong direction), music is a big part of my writing process. It happens almost on its own: as I begin to think about and craft a new novel, I start collecting songs. I replay them and imagine key scenes or moments from the still-percolating novel. The music brings them to life.

Dangerous Ends, the third book in my Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery series, is my most ambitious piece of work. The book takes a different narrative approach—through flashbacks and a bit of time-hopping, we see the unfolding mystery from different perspectives. The structure (hopefully!) provides readers with a richer, more complex look at Pete, his hometown of Miami and how both reflect back on his family's roots in Cuba, as Castro began to take hold.

At the same time, Pete is retooling and rebuilding—trying to create a life for himself free of the alcoholism and foolish risk-taking that marred his brushes with death in the first two books. He only half-succeeds. It's in those gray areas—when you know you're doing something wrong or longing to do something wrong when you know you can't—that I found myself spending the most time, and I was often listening to songs of lost loves, regrets, missed opportunities and, sometimes, hope for what's to come.

"A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" by Bryan Ferry
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" by The Handsome Family
These two Dylan covers couldn't be more different. One is a boisterous, anthemic, gleeful and ballsy remake of one of his most well-known tunes, the other a pretty conservative, if a bit idiosyncratic and dour re-do. Both have their charms: Ferry's bombastic vocals and Wall of Sound-ish backing making you almost forget the original. Meanwhile, The Handsome Family manages to out-sparse Dylan himself, which is equally impressive. Like anyone facing recovery, even the most familiar things can seem vastly or slightly off from what they remember before.

"Hangin' Round" by Lou Reed
"You're still doing things I gave up years ago," Reed chastises in the chorus of this gem, with him and his backing band in top, post-VU form, sounding tight, savvy and intentionally wobbly. "Hangin' Around" almost feels like a Lou Reed Mad Lib, which shouldn't be perceived as a slight—the song features all the DNA of a Reed masterpiece: unforgettable character bits, a sly narrator and the hint of something darker. An ode to those trying to move past their mistakes, but still haunted by certain people and places, much like Pete.

"Bemba Colora" by Celia Cruz
Dangerous Ends opens up in the past—flashing back to the early days of Castro's takeover of Cuba, giving readers a glimpse at the legacy Pete must carry with him into the present. The Cuban experience is something that weighs heavily on all the exiles now residing in Miami, and their children and grandchildren. No other singer better personifies Cuba—and the Miami exile community—than Celia Cruz. Her electric and rhythmic vocals take center stage on this track, which serves as a rousing dismissal of a loose-lipped ex-lover. Cruz delivers the cutting lyrics effortlessly—showcasing the force and verve she would become known for.

"Question" by Old 97s
The 97s plaintive and finger-picked ode to missed moments that crop up during the early, fragile days of a budding romance is both hopeful and sad, in large part to the singer's quivering vocals and simple arrangement. A short, lean song about taking risks, even after your heart's been broken more than a few times.

"Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go to The Party" by Courtney Barnett
What if Oasis and Liz Phair had a baby? A free-wheeling and fun tune that doesn't try to be more than it is—which is pretty great. The relief that comes with acceptance.

"How to Forget" by Jason Isbell
Isbell often sings of dark, broken romances and muddled and misguided memories. This song is no exception. The narrator, now in a happy and comfortable point in his life, still finds himself haunted—and aroused—by a past, combustible romance. A warning that even though our demons might be dormant, it just takes a few swigs of nostalgia to se3t them free—a lesson Pete learns again in the pages of Dangerous Ends.

"When You're Alone" by Bruce Springsteen
A somber, blue collar ditty about struggling through the ups and downs of life delivered by the master of the genre. Not sure anyone else could get away with the lyric "When you're alone/you're alone."

"Harlem River Blues" by Justin Townes Earle
Earle's song celebrates the good and the bad of life with an impressive and raucous burst of confidence, rollicking through to a euphoric climax. A man who knows himself, facing a dark, potentially fatal path. The closing track to the book if there ever was one.

"All This Useless Beauty" by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
"She'd be tempted to spit/if she wasn't so ladylike." The reformed Costello and the Attractions sidestepped consumer and critical expectations, choosing a more thoughtful and deliberate approach with their reunion record, of which this is the title track. Elegiac and somber, the song starts with Costello's spoken-sung verses and builds to a more forceful but still controlled apogee. Part story, part melancholy ode to society's failures, the song works as you want it, too—like most of Costello's best. In this case, it served as a strong reminder of Pete's past failures and missed opportunities, leaving no guarantees for a brighter future.

"Never Let Me Down" by David Bowie
Not one of Bowie's most beloved tracks but arguably one of his most sincere, this soulful ballad evokes the rawness and unfiltered emotions one feels after years of numbing or mind-altering addiction. The curtains are pulled back to reveal a dangerous vulnerability with a well-worn groove.

"Blue Pt. II" by Waxahatchee
"If you think I'll wait forever, you are right."
Raw, unadorned and hauntingly melodic, Waxahatchee's dreamy tale of love is deceptively light, with a rough, obsessive undercurrent that colors the most dangerous of failed relationships. This is the email you wish you'd never sent, long after the breakup.


Alex Segura and Dangerous Ends links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Authors on the Air Radio interview with the author
ComicBook.com interview with the author
Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Down the Darkest Street
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Silent City
Sliver of Stone interview with the author
SyFy Wire interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

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

Shorties (The International Dublin Literary Award Shortlist, An Interview with Jens Lekman, and more)

The 2017 International Dublin Literary Award shortlist has been announced.

A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
Confession of the Lioness by Mia Couto, translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw
The Green Road by Anne Enright
The Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk, translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap
A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler, translated from the German by Charlotte Collins
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara


Jens Lekman visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


eBooks on sale for $1.50 today:

After Disasters by Viet Dinh
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by Donald Harington
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Georgia O'Keefe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Henry and June by Anais Nin
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
On Immunity by Eula Biss
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon


Daniel Rachel's Walls Come Tumbling Down: Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone, Red Wedge has been awarded the the Penderyn music book prize.


The Guardian Books podcast interviewed author Sara Baume.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed singer-songwriter Coco Hames.


Dani Shapiro discussed her new memoir Hourglass with Caroline Leavitt.

Signature recommended Shapiro's other books.


Sinkane visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


Literary Hub interviewed author Durga Chew-Bose.


Morning Edition interviewed Ray Davies.


The Granta podcast interviewed author George Saunders.


Stream two new Mica Levi songs.


David Naimon interviewed poet Morgan Parker.


Rolling Stone profiled the band Future Islands.


Daniel Magariel talked to Rolling Stone about his debut novel One of the Boys.


Stream a new Girlpool song.


Jezebel recommended two books published this month.


Stream a new song by Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg.


The 2017 Pulitzer Prizes were announced.


PopMatters interviewed singer-songwriter Jenn Grant.


J.S. Breukelaar talked about her new novel Aletheia with The Grim Reader.


Stream a new Decemberists song.


Sarah Gerard discussed her new essay collection Sunshine State with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay and The Brooklyn Rail.

Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Gerard's new short story collection Sunshine State.


NYCTaper shared a recording of a recent Bardo Pond show.


Powell's interviewed author Jeff VanderMeer.


The Times-Picayune talked to Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers.


Conversational Reading interviewed translator Emma Ramadan.


PopMatters looked back on the band Shakespears Sister.


VICE shared an excerpt from an excerpt from Anelise Chen's debut novel So Many Olympic Exertions.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create 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)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists

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

April 10, 2017

Book Notes - William Walsh "Forty-four American Boys"

Forty-four American Boys

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

Forty-four American Boys is a collection of short narratives on the childhood of every American President, from Washington to Trump. Their stories are told collage style via texts appropriated from over 300 sources (children's books, pop history books, and scholarly biographies).

Of Forty-four American Boys, Adam Braver wrote about the book:

"In Forty-four American Boys, William Walsh limns a complete series of cabinet portraits that show how tales, memories, and artifacts create the story of a life. But, of course, these are not just any lives. These are about forty-four of the most ambitious men in American history. By witnessing their childhood, Walsh shows when the commonality of boyhood mixes with the seeds of idealism and determination—the early sparks for the eventual combustion that will create something larger than life. Forty-four American Boys is a meticulously crafted collage of myth, legend, and fact that tells us as much about these boys as it tells us about ourselves as individuals and as a culture."

And Kenneth Goldsmith wrote:


"It is said that at the heart of every cliché lies a grain of truth. Each line of this book flickers between cliché and truth, at turns inspiring and insipid, a device that propels a searing political critique. William Walsh demonstrates that, when done well, the selection and arrangement of previously existing texts can result in fabulously original literature."


In his own words, here is William Walsh's Book Notes music playlist for his book Forty-four American Boys:



This is a one-song playlist: Paul Simon’s “American Tune,” from his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon.

It’s an appropriate song for a book of appropriated texts on the childhood of the forty-four American Presidents because Simon appropriated the melody from Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion (1727), which Bach had appropriated from a secular German song called "Mein G'müt ist mir verwirret," written a hundred years earlier by Hans Leo Hassler.

The melody is simple but stirring. It rises quietly and falls just as quietly. Though Simon wrote the lyrics as a meditation on the times—the war in Vietnam, Watergate—it seems to speak to current events in America and to how I feel today (“…forsaken…misused…weary to my bones”). The tone of the lyrics is that of resignation, loss (“When I think of the road we're traveling on / I wonder what's gone wrong”), and, finally, surrender (“You can’t be forever blessed / Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day / And I’m trying to get some rest”).

This book, Forty-four American Boys, is not political. My intention was to look at how the childhood of each of our Presidents was portrayed over the years, to see what it was about these boys that landed them in the White House. Some of these boys came from wealthy families (both Roosevelts, Kennedy, the Bushes) and others were raised in poverty (Andrew Jackson, James Garfield, Ronald Reagan). Some were great readers (Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, Warren Harding) and others struggled as young learners (Andrew Johnson, Donald Trump). Some Presidents were never even elected (William Henry Harrison, Millard Fillmore, Chester Arthur, Gerald Ford).

What I discovered, in some books, were boyhood narratives fashioned to fit the office. The authors found in their subjects qualities that best represented a President of the United States.

What makes their boyhood stories interesting on the whole is the way they reflect our history. Not the history that some of these Presidents went on to make, but the history they lived through as children.

We are all living through some history right now, tremendously bad history. But America will likely live through another forty-four Presidents over the next two hundred plus years. Some of those Presidents will be great and make us all feel great about our country. And a few of them will suck disastrously.

Getting back to Paul Simon’s “American Tune,” I’d like to hear something other than surrender. The opposite of surrender. Maybe if I play it again and listen harder, I’ll hear it.


William Walsh and Forty-four American Boys links:

excerpt from the book

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Questionstruck
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Without Wax: A Documentary Novel
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for Unknown Arts
Necessary Fiction essay by the author about the book
Necessary Fiction essay by the author
Pleaides post by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

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

Book Notes - Andrew Bourelle "Heavy Metal"

Heavy Metal

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

Winner of the 2016 Autumn House Press Fiction Contest, Andrew Bourelle's novel Heavy Metal is a propulsive and exciting debut.

William Lychak wrote of the book:

"A real gut-punch of a novel, Heavy Metal sings with energy and beauty and honest abandon about grief and hope and trying to find one’s balance in an unsteady world."


In his own words, here is Andrew Bourelle's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel Heavy Metal:


Heavy Metal follows a week in the life of a teenage boy growing up in the Midwest in the late 1980s. The title refers to the music Danny listens to as well as the weight—both literal and figurative—of a .44 Magnum pistol he steals from his father's gun cabinet. Danny's mother is dead, his father is an alcoholic, and his brother Craig is as damaged as he is. I wanted the tone to be like a metal song: dark, heavy, unflinching, full of rage and sadness—with a touch of tenderness to go with it.

I grew up in the same era as Danny, and I listened to hard rock music just as he does. In fact, I gave Danny a taste in music similar to mine when I was a teenager. It was fun to include references to songs and bands, and it gave me an excuse to find old songs on the Internet and listen to them again. I don't usually listen to music when I write, but I certainly had a soundtrack in mind as I was composing the novel. Here are some of the songs that make up my playlist (or, to use '80s terminology, my mix tape) for Heavy Metal.

"Fade to Black" by Metallica
Early in the novel, Danny and his older brother Craig are cruising around late at night in Craig's Nova, listening to Metallica's album Ride the Lightning. I don't think Danny mentions the song by name, but he wonders a few pages later if death is like the Metallica song where everything just goes black. The song is sad and slow, or at least starts out slow before getting heavy. It's probably my favorite Metallica song—the pain it expresses is heartwrenching.

"Hells Bells" by AC/DC
The first cassette I ever bought was AC/DC's Back in Black, a choice I remain proud of. In my opinion, it's the greatest rock and roll album of all time. My favorite is "Hells Bells," which is spooky and ominous. The line "You're only young, but you're gonna die" is a brutal lyric, especially sung in the raspy growl of Brian Johnson. Talk about hopelessness. The line could have been an epigraph for the novel. There is a scene in the book where a group of teenagers are down at the river late at night, drinking around a fire barrel, and this song comes on the radio. I had to include it. It's my favorite song off the first album I loved.

"Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone" by Cinderella
Early in the book, Danny develops a romantic relationship with a girl from school named Beth. The first time he goes to her house, they're both nervous and don't know what to say, so they take turns picking songs to play for each other. In the early drafts of the novel, I had a lot of song references here, as they go back and forth selecting songs. I thought the barrage of references were a little overwhelming, so, in the final manuscript, I focused on this song by Cinderella. Beth's taste veers a little more toward hair metal than Danny's, so it's appropriate that she picks a ballad. But it changes the mood between them. She selected it without thinking about Danny's dead mother, and once she plays it, the positive vibe they're sharing turns uncomfortable.

"Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard
The novel mentions Def Leppard a couple times, but never any specific songs. There's a scene where Danny and his friends are sitting around the lunch table debating the greatest albums of all time. Someone mentions Def Leppard's Hysteria and someone else cracks, "That's not even Def Leppard's best album." That's me as the author injecting my perspective on the subject. Hysteria was a huge album in the 1980s, catapulting Def Leppard to worldwide stardom, but, for my money, Pyromania is a better album. The band is younger, and the music is more raw, more energetic, more … metal. "Rock of Ages" is the best song, and it's about living for the moment, burning out, not fading away—which fits thematically in the novel. There is a scene where Danny is watching Headbangers Ball on MTV, and a Def Leppard song comes on. I don't mention a specific song, but, in my mind, it's this one.

"Out in the Cold" by Judas Priest
Judas Priest was my favorite band in the late 1980s. I had more of their cassettes than any other band, even AC/DC. This song is a little different than most Priest songs. It's a bit gentler, focusing on heartbreak, which might be common subject matter for most bands but not Judas Priest. It has a slow synthesizer intro that my brother and I used to whistle when we cruised around in his car, which had no radio. The song is from the perspective of a man with a broken heart, but Danny makes the observation that the song "works for a dead mom too." At one point in the novel, Danny remembers the night after his mother's funeral when he was having a breakdown. Craig calms him by singing this song to him, which is perfect because Danny spends much of his time in the book literally outside in the cold.

"Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" by Iron Maiden
In the very first scene in the book, Craig walks into the house wearing an Iron Maiden concert tee shirt. The description is from the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son record, where Eddie, the ghoulish creature on all Iron Maiden's albums and memorabilia, is floating above an icy sea. He's holding some kind of unborn offspring, still in a placental sack, still connected to him via umbilical cord. I chose the picture over all the available Iron Maiden imagery because it's suggestive of family lineage. What horrors has Danny inherited from his own family? This album and The Number of the Beast are my favorite Iron Maiden albums. I managed to work in references to both of them.

"Beth" by Kiss
This is going to sound cheesy, but here goes. For most of the character names in the novel, I didn't give much thought. I used whatever popped into my head. The one exception was Danny's romantic interest—Beth. I chose her name because of the slow piano ballad by Kiss. I thought, "What girl's name could be more metal than Beth?"

"I Love Sex (And Rock and Roll)" by Wendy O. Williams
I think most of the band and song references in Heavy Metal aren't too obscure, but Wendy O. Williams wasn't nearly as well known as the other artists on this list. She came from a punk-metal band called the Plasmatics and sang in a hoarse, nasal snarl. She had a mohawk, performed concerts with nothing on but underpants and electrical tape over her nipples, and was known for taking chainsaws and sledgehammers on stage to destroy TVs and cars. When she went solo, the music became a little less punk and a little more mainstream metal. It's all fun to listen to. Beth plays this song when she and Danny skip school and fool around.

"Set the World Afire" by Megadeth
Because the novel takes place in the 1980s, there are references to the cold war and the nuclear arms race. The threat of nuclear holocaust was on people's minds at the time. There's a scene where Danny and his friends are listening to a Megadeth song about nuclear war. I don't think I name the song, but this is the one I had in mind. Later in the day, Danny walks through a field as it's snowing fat gray flakes that make him think of nuclear ash.

"Modern Day Cowboy" by Tesla
Neither this song nor the band are mentioned in the novel. I wish I had mentioned one or the other. Tesla was the first concert I went to my freshman year of high school. I don't think all their songs hold up over time, but this one does. It's a song about adversaries facing off, the threat of violence, the use of guns to solve problems—all ideas Danny struggles with in the book. And the song was on the album Mechanical Resonance—a great title to use in a novel with a metal/machine motif. A couple weeks after I turned in the final manuscript, my wife and I went to see Def Leppard in concert, with Tesla opening. Watching Tesla perform "Modern Day Cowboy," I thought, "Dang it, why didn't I reference this in the book?" Well, at least I can include it on the playlist.


Andrew Bourelle and Heavy Metal links:

the author's website

Heavy Feather Review review
My Miami County review

The Big Thrill interview with the author
Blue Mesa Review interview with the author
KUNM interview with the author
Tippecanoe Gazette profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

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

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