September 25, 2017

Shorties (October's Best Books, The 20th Anniversary of Bjork's Homogenic Album, and more)

Signature recommended October's best new books.


Stereogum reconsidered Bjork's Homogenic album on its 20th anniversary.


Ms. Magazine recommended new fall books for feminists.


NYCTaper shared a recording of a recent Nicole Atkins performance.


Paste recommended graphic novels with soundtracks.


Stream a new song by Liv (Lykke Li's new band).


CBS News profiled author/bookseller Ann Patchett.


Amadou & Mariam visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


Junkee shared a primer of the works of cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt.


Stream a new Kindling song.


Financial Times profiled Salman Rushdie.


Stream a new Cults song.


Boing Boing interviewed author William Gibson.


The Quietus recapped September's best cassette releases.


Signature recommended books about female leaders.


Stereogum recommended September's best jazz releases.


Book Riot recommended September's best small press books.


Melvins drummer Dave Crover's new single will be released on a cymbal.


Ariel Gore recommended magical feminist books to inspire resistance at Literary Hub.


The Guardian profiled Jennifer Egan.


KTEP interviewed author Quintan Ana Wikswo.


Depeche Mode covered David Bowie's "Heroes."


Luna Luna interviewed poet Valerie Hsuing.


Musical duo Balmorhea offered a track-by-track breakdown of their album Clear Language at Drowned in Sound.


The JDO Show interviewed author Bud Smith.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



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

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






September 22, 2017

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - September 22, 2017

Hiss Golden Messenger

Chelsea Wolfe's Hiss Spun, The Clientele's Music For The Age Of Miracles, Hiss Golden Messenger's Hallelujah Anyhow, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Luciferian Towers, Josh Ritter's Gathering, and Shout Out Louds' Ease My Mind are the new albums I can recommend this week.

Reissues include a 2-LP, 2-SACD 50th anniversary edition of the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request.


This week's interesting music releases:

Amadou & Mariam: La Confusion
Avril Lavigne: Best Damn Thing (reissue) [vinyl]
Avril Lavigne: Let Go (reissue) [vinyl]
Avril Lavigne: Under My Skin (reissue) [vinyl]
Bjork: The Gate [vinyl]
Black Country Communion: BCCIV
Brian Wilson: Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology
Burial: Rodent [vinyl]
Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun
Chris Hillman: Bidin’ My Time
Circa Survive: The Amulet
The Clientele: Music For The Age Of Miracles
Cold Specks: Fool's Paradise
Cristobal And The Sea: Exitoca
Cut Copy: Haiku From Zero
David Bowie: Heroes (7" Vinyl) (reissue) [vinyl]
Debbie Gibson: The Singles A's & B's
DJ Kay Slay: The Big Brother
Drivin 'N' Cryin Archives Vol. 1 '88-'90
Eilen Jewell: Down Hearted Blues
Elton John: Blue Moves (reissue) [vinyl]
Elton John: Empty Sky (reissue) [vinyl]
Enter Shikari: The Spark
Fergie: Double Dutchess
Haley Reinhart: What's That Sound?
Hiss Golden Messenger: Hallelujah Anyhow
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Luciferian Towers
The Horrors: V
Jen Cloher: Jen Cloher [vinyl]
John Zorn: Interpretation of Dreams
Jon Langford: Four Lost Souls
Josh Ritter: Gathering
The Killers: Wonderful Wonderful
Jaws of Love: Tasha Sits Close To The Piano
Ledisi: Let Love Rule
Leon Russell: On a Distant Shore
Lights: Skin & Earth
Linda Perhacs: I'm A Harmony
Lord Huron: Strange Trails [vinyl]
Luna: A Sentimental Education
Luna: A Place Of Greater Safety
Macklemore: Gemini
Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas II You (reissue) [vinyl]
Mastodon: Cold Dark Place
Metallica: Hardwired...To Self-Destruct [vinyl]
METZ: Strange Peace
Midland: On the Rocks
Mogwai: Every Country's Sun [vinyl]
Moses Sumney: Aromanticism
Noah Gundersen: White Noise
Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger In The Alps
Rapsody: Laila's Wisdom
Ringo Starr: Give Me More Love [vinyl]
Ringo Starr: I Wanna Be Santa Claus (reissue) [vinyl]
Roadcase Royale: First Things First
Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties Request - 50th Anniversary Special Edition (2 LP/2 SACD box set) (remastered and expanded) [vinyl]
Satyricon: Deep Calleth Upon Deep
Shout Out Louds: Ease My Mind
Sleeping with Sirens: Gossip
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins: Everybody Knows
Steve Martin: "The Long-Awaited Album"
Ted Leo: The Hanged Man
Tom Petty: A Wheel in the Ditch
Tricky: Ununiform
Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches
Various Artists: Gary Crowley's Punk & New Wave
Various Artists: Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series) [vinyl]
Wolves in the Throne Room: Thrice Woven


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

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)
Shorties (daily book and music news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)

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Shorties (Marilynne Robinson on Writing and Language, A Nick Cave Graphic Novel Biography, and more)

Marilynne Robinson shared an essay on writing and language at the New York Times.


The graphic novel biography Nick Cave: Mercy on Me is out this week.


The Quarterly Conversation interviewed author Rodrigo Hasbún.


Stream a new Stars song.


Jonathan Franzen talked books and reading with the Guardian.


Paste shared an excerpt (about Lucinda Williams) from the anthology Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives.


Celeste Ng talked to Salon about her novel Little Fires Everywhere.


Offa Rex visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


The Rumpus interviewed author Karolina Ramqvist.


Drowned in Sound reconsidered the Cocteau Twins' Garlands album.


Tobias Carroll shared an essay at Signature about poetry's insight into modern politics.


NYCTaper shared a recording of a recent performance by the War on Drugs.


Cheryl Strayed talked memoirs with Literary Hub.


Stream a new Baths song.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Tod Goldberg’s novel Gangster Nation.


Noisey profiled singer-songwriter Torres.


The Rumpus interviewed author Max Winter.


Stream a new Kevin Devine song.


Electric Literature wrapped up its serialization of a new Joe Meno novella.


The Memphis Flyer remembered Those Darlins' Jessi Zazu.


Lindsay Hunter shared an essay about writing her second novel at Publishers Weekly.


Stream a new Strange Ranger song.


Publishers Weekly interviewed author Daniel José Older .


The Quietus recommended August and September's best electronic music.


Nicole Krauss talked to Electric Literature about her new novel Forest Dark.


Stream a new song by the Cornshed Sisters.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



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

September 21, 2017

Book Notes - Lisa Ko "The Leavers"

The Leavers

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.

Longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction and winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction, Lisa Ko's debut novel The Leavers is a powerful and timely look at the immigrant experience, and one of the year's most profound works of fiction.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"This wrenching and all-too-topical debut novel picks up the life of an 11-year-old American-born boy on the day his mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, disappears . . . Ko uses the voices of both the boy and his birth mother to tell a story that unfolds in graceful, realistic fashion and defies expectations."


In her own words, here is Lisa Ko's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel The Leavers:



Music has been such a huge part of my life, my writing, and The Leavers. Deming, one of the novel's main characters, is a musician. Long before I was a novelist, back when cassette was king, I was a dedicated mixtape maker, plotting out playlists like I'd later plot out scenes and narrative arcs. Now, when writing, I'll sometimes listen to music to help access a particular time or emotion.

The Only Ones, "Another Girl, Another Planet"

Eleven-year-old Deming Guo's mother Polly, a Chinese immigrant, goes to work one day and never comes home. Left with no one to take care of him, he is adopted by a white couple who move him from the Bronx to a small town called Ridgeborough, where he's the only Asian person. He's bereft, confused, missing his mom, and wondering where she is. Meanwhile, his adoptive parents change his name to Daniel Wilkinson and try to make him over into a different boy in order to help him "fit in." To cope with this dislocation, Deming tries to see his new town through an anthropological lens, studying the inhabitants like they study him. He calls it Planet Ridgeborough and attempts to convince himself that he'll only be a temporary resident.

Part One of The Leavers is called "Another Boy, Another Planet," which is also a nod to one of my favorite one-hit wonders and that 1970s British new wave exuberance I grew up loving. This 2:50-minute anthem is all power drums and flying guitar solos and nasally vocals. I used to listen to it in junior high and wish I was in a band, or that I'd been born ten years earlier.

Cat Power, "Manhattan"

A decade after his mom disappears, Deming, who now goes by Daniel, is 21 and moves back to New York City to be the guitarist in a friend's band. At the start of chapter 2, he's about to play a show and drinking too much to ease his nerves: "He wandered out to the rooftop, the city spread wide like an offering, though he knew better than to admit he was impressed by the view." Daniel's a born-and-bred city kid, but at this party he's surrounded by hipster transplants and feeling out of place in a way he hadn't expected. "Manhattan" feels like an appropriate gazing-alone-while-drunk-on-a-rooftop song. Don't look at the moon tonight, you can never be Manhattan.

TV on the Radio, "You"

When Deming's mother Polly is several months pregnant, she pays $50,000 to get smuggled into New York in a box. Uncertain if she wants to be a mother, one day she falls asleep on the subway and misses her stop and ends up at Brighton Beach, where she wades into the Atlantic Ocean: "The cold water made me curl my toes and the waves lapped at my shins in a sharper, faster way than the dark blue of the river in the village, yet here the sea was cleaner, grayer, larger, more angry and thirsty and beautiful all at once, not unlike New York itself." It's here that she decides she will keep the baby. "I want you to know that you were wanted," she later tells Deming. "I decided: I wanted you."

The gray ocean, the sharp cold, Polly's decision, and the art-rock synth and confessional lyrics of "You": I just thought you might like to know, you're the only one I ever loved.

Frank Ocean, "Sweet Life"


Okay, so this song is about rich kids in southern California, but it's also a study in contrasts. Tight and loose, smooth sunshine, and lyrics about the emptiness behind all that sheen. (Domesticated paradise.) There's a scene in The Leavers where six-year-old Deming, Polly, and her new boyfriend are riding the Staten Island Ferry on the verge of spring. It's not just a new season but also a new relationship, and they're learning how to be a family together. Yet despite the happy moment, Polly can't fully enjoy it. She's already feeling an undercurrent of loss. Looking back, she says, "I wanted to remember this moment even as it was happening, to imagine it as already gone."

David Bowie, "Sound and Vision"

Deming is a Bowie fan, but he is also a synesthete, seeing colors paired with sounds. "Never had there been a time when sound, color, and feeling hadn't been intertwined, when a dirty, rolling bass line hadn't induced violets that suffused him with thick contentment, when the shades of certain chords sliding up to one another hadn't produced dusty pastels that made him feel like he was cupping a tiny, golden bird."

Arthur Russell, "Come to Life"

God, I love Arthur Russell. I listened to him often when writing the final drafts of my novel. There's something about the intersections of beat and instrumentation and voice that hit me in the right way. Unlike some music, Russell's doesn't necessarily drown out my thoughts, but syncs with them instead. "Come to Life" is on the folksy side, a bit of a ditty, but there's a nudging, a yearning, the two vocals hesitantly side-stepping around one another. There's movement here, or at least the desire for movement. I see Polly as a girl, in her village in China, riding her father's fishing boat at dawn. They paddle out onto the river until "the shoreline would grow dimmer and the blue would shoot in all directions, filling the frame around me, the sky so big it could swallow me, and I cracked open with happiness."

Jimi Hendrix, "Angel"

When Deming discovers Hendrix through his adoptive father's vinyl collection, Planet Ridgeborough takes on a vivid, cinematic quality. On his first trip back to New York City, nine months after he moves to Ridgeborough, he meets Angel, another Chinese adoptee:

Deming unplugged the earbuds and replaced her iPod with his Discman. He forwarded to "Angel" and pressed play. The guitar and cymbals shimmered in their ears, and he sang along. Tomorrow I'm going to be by your side. Then he got afraid that Angel might think he was singing to her, that he liked her. He hit stop. "You like it?"

"It's all right."

"He's only, like, the greatest guitar player ever in the history of the universe."

She flipped open a container, exposing a yellowing plastic U. "Do you want to see my retainer?"

The Durutti Column, "Otis"

After Polly and Deming are separated—I won't give away how—she lies in bed at night, unable to sleep, lost in a half-conscious haze of nostalgia and regret. Another sleepless night for me...

Diane Coffee, "Green"

Here's Shaun Fleming belting the hell out of the chorus in this sparkly-sad Sixties makeover. Here's a scene where Daniel has learned something that makes him feel hopeful and hopeless at the same time. It's a gorgeous spring night, but he's alone, walking in a park in Brooklyn, and watching the families below: "He dug his heels into the dirt and walked downhill, down the park's curved side, slow at first, getting faster, a grace note as his legs bounced upwards.... Propelled, he was almost in flight."

Alicia Keys, "If I Ain't Got You"

The summer before Polly disappears, she and Deming go for a walk near their Bronx apartment at sunset on a humid night and hear Alicia pumping from a passing car stereo.

Some people want it all

But I don't want nothing at all

If it ain't you baby

If I ain't got you baby.


Lisa Ko and The Leavers links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book (PDF)

Atlantic review
Christian Science Monitor review
Dallas Morning News review
Kirkus review
Los Angeles Times review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review

Goodreads interview with the author
Hyphen interview with the author
The Leonard Lopate Show interview with the author
Literary Hub essay by the author
NBC News profile of the author
Paste interview with the author
PEN 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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 - Jorge Armenteros "The Roar of the River"

The Roar of the River

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.

Jorge Armenteros's novel The Roar of the River reads like an evocative dream that you never want to end.

D. Harlan Wilson wrote of the book:

"Beautifully written and crafted, The Roar of the River is a mythic incantation of the relationship between nature and culture. Armenteros evokes the dreamscapes and desires of Marquez, Joyce, and Ballard while asserting his own distinctive voice."


In his own words, here is Jorge Armenteros's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection The Roar of the River:



Set in Saorge, a perched village of the French Alps, between a roaring river and the moonlight, a man dressed in a stripped tunic seeks refuge from his dying past. Instead, he encounters an iconoclastic set of characters that offer him love, instigate fear, explore the meaning of language, and elicit revenge. Following the musical structure of the 17th century fugue, the narrative voices succeed each other until coming together in a polyphonic search for light among the darkness of their origins.

“The Art of the Fugue (Contrapunctus I),” J. S. Bach
Bach brought the fugue to the peak of its development in the hundreds that he composed, and this work represents the apotheosis of the form. This is in keeping with the late works of such diverse artists as Shakespeare, Beethoven and Goya, which exemplify how pathos, humor, gravity, exuberance and tragedy are inextricably enmeshed in the deepest recesses of the human psyche.

“Losing my Religion,” REM
The Striped Tunic, the son of a murderous father, arrives in the village through the river in an attempt to forget his tumultuous past. Like in this song, he’s choosing his confessions. Obsessed over the need for truth, he searches for hidden meanings and hopeful signs. What if all his fantasies came flailing around?

“Polegnala e Pschenitza,” Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares
The piercing voice of The Chirping Man, its asymmetry, its dissonance, is well represented by the choir of the Bulgarian voices. As in a trance, the voices emerge from inside the chest and reveal universal human feelings, raw sometimes, but beautiful.

“Violin Concerto No.1 (Third Movement Passacaglia),” Dimitri Shostakovich
This movement is based on a grimly implacable bassline introduced first with horns sounding a characteristic “fate” motif, followed by a somber woodwind chorale. The One-Armed Man then enters with his paranoid and disjointed view of the world, at first sweetly consoling, then becoming increasingly impassionate and ferocious until the last fateful moment.

“Ai Vida,” Cristina Branco
Fado, the genre, whose name translates as “fate,” is the art of sorrow, pain, and joy. And no other music impersonates better the character of Nadya. Seeking to unsettle her fate, she moves among the shadows of the night in the company of stray cats. A dissatisfied soul, she acts hidden and quiet. Nadya is the solitude of time, so much and so little. And with a relentless thirst for life, she shapes the story into something uniquely sublime with an intense gesture of the soul.

“Spem in Alium,” Thomas Tallis (Performed by The Tallis Scholars)
A gigantic 40-part motet, Spem in Alium—really for five choirs of eight voices—is a tour de force. It creates the effect of a river of sound akin the river of voices that encompass the polyphonic sections of the book. The harmonic framework permits for multiple contrasts: the individual voices of the characters narrate and are silent in turns, sometimes alone, sometimes asking and answering, sometimes all together.

“Ready to Go,” Republica
“You're weird, in tears, too near and too far away.” That is how The Old Sister, a character ready to go, feels about her life as a cheesemonger in the small villages of the Roya valley. She’s strange and insane—two things she can never change. Butt-lipped, she’s ready to go.

“Caminante No Hay Camino,” Joan Manuel Serrat
The lyrics in this song were composed by Antonio Machado, the best Spanish poet of the Generation of ’98. For Machado, poetry is a daydream; life is a permanent attitude of watchful vision with open eyes. Readers can frequently discover in his poetry an ecstatic mood. And ecstasy is precisely the mood of The Fat Poet, a character who sources words out of thin air under a moon impossibly white.

“Ana Na Ming,” Salif Keita
Inside a ruined stone house, The Striped Tunic lies down next to Nadya and tries to console her. She has suffered a brutal affront. This song of painful yearning captures the sentiment: “The river is crying / It’s making noise.” Sometimes it is even better if you don't know what the lyrics are about.

“String Quartet No. 3 (Blood Oath),” Philip Glass (Performed by the Kronos Quartet)
The introspective nature of the string quartet articulates the dramatic moment when Didier tries to wash away traces of blood left by Nadya at the Fontane de Mèdge. He scrubs hard, harder, he does not want her stains. The elusive repetitiveness of the harmonic progressions, where subtle shifts continually occur, alternating between pulsed chords and rich polyphonies, depicts very well Didier’s state of mind.

“The Beatitudes,” Vladimir Martynov (Performed by the Kronos Quartet)
This setting of “The Beatitudes” employs techniques that might be described as "minimalist”—two string soloists alternate a pentatonic melody, while the other strings sustain a seemingly eternal, scarcely changing chord—evoking an atmosphere of timelessness. This is what happens the book’s conclusion, when The Striped Tunic enters the waters, the deepest part of his past, the roar of the river.


Jorge Armenteros and The Roar of the River links:

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

TNBBC's The Next Best Book Blog 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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 (A Profile of Joan Didion, A Conversation Between Philip Glass and Devonte Hynes, and more)

Vogue profiled Joan Didion.


NPR Music shared a conversation between Philip Glass and Devonte Hynes.


Dave Eggers talked to Smithsonian about his forthcoming book Ungrateful Mammals.


Drowned in Sound interviewed the Horrors' Faris Badwan.


Hazlitt interviewed author Carmen Maria Machado.


Stream a new song from Montreal's Common Holly.


Bookworm interviewed author Matthew Klam.


Stream a new Charlotte Gainsbourg song.


Celeste Ng talked books and reading with the New York Times.


Stream a new song by the Kalbells.


Book Riot recommended campus novels for autumn.


Beach Slang covered Big Star's "Thirteen."


Literary writers discussed the influence of Stephen King at Literary Hub.


NPR Music is streaming Loney Dear's self-titled album.


The Rumpus shared four new poems by Maggie Smith.


Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers talked protest music with the Columbia Tribune.


Franklin Foer discussed his new book World Without Mind with Literary Hub.


NPR Music is streaming Jessica Lea Mayfield's new album Sorry Is Gone.


BookPage interviewed author Jamie Ford.


Rolling Stone profiled the band Deer Tick.


Paste interviewed Mick Fleetwood about his new book Love That Burns.


Stream a new Kristin Kontrol song.


Publishers Weekly profiled author Jennifer Egan.


Stream two songs from Angel Olsen's rarities collection Phases at NPR Music.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



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

September 20, 2017

Book Notes - John Haskell "The Complete Ballet"

The Complete Ballet

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.

John Haskell's The Complete Ballet is a marvelously inventive and compelling novel.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Fiction and essay share the stage in Haskell's captivating, erudite novel. . . . In imaginative, analytical, affectless prose, Haskell gives new life to well-known stories danced onstage, constructing interiorities and motivations for the characters, and drawing connections between the emotions of the ballets and his narrator’s story."


In his own words, here is John Haskell's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Complete Ballet:



Music, like memory, gets stored away in the brain, pulled off the metaphorical shelf when a connection, either playful or appropriate, is needed. The connection between the events of life and the memory of a tune or lyric or rhythm is unconscious, and like a dream, sometimes it doesn't seem to make sense, but mostly it does, even if the person doing the dreaming, me in this case of The Complete Ballet, can't say what the connections are. However, for these notes, I'll try to give an indication, at least, of what those connections might be.


"My Favorite Things" by Rogers and Hammerstein
This song comes first because, for me, it straddles both the world of Rogers and Hammerstein, the world of narrative musicals, and the world of John Coltrane, a spiritual world of introspective jazz. Growing up my family had the Mary Martin version, and now with my daughter I listen to the Julie Andrews version. Because the book is partly about my daughter I should also mention "Do-Re-Me," also from the Sound of Music, a song I used to sing with her.


Peter Tchaikovsky, "Swan Lake"
At a certain point in her life my daughter loved ballet, and especially Romantic Ballet, which is what The Complete Ballet is partly about. But only partly. It's also about love, and the music played when Odette and Siegfried meet by the lake is full of the exuberance of love and the danger of love.


Pete Seeger, "Shady Grove"
Another song I used to sing with my daughter. The part that goes: "Shady Grove, my little love, I'm bound to go away" expresses an idea of loss that is part of the book.


Bob Dylan, "Mr. Tambourine Man"
My daughter didn't know what a tambourine was but she intuited what "the jingle jangle morning" was, and she loved to sing this song very loud.


The Grateful Dead, "Uncle John's Band"
Another song my daughter used to sing, expressing joy in the part that goes, "Hot damn, I declare, have you seen the light." Also, there's the fact that Tricia Brown, the choreographer, used the song for her dance, Accumulation, a dance I don't mention in my book but was part of my research. I like the juxtaposition of spare, modernist movement with the old timey folksiness the Grateful Dead brought to the song. I'm not saying I ate any magical mushrooms when I heard them play it at the Winterland Ballroom but the song has a lot of associations.


Kurt Weill, "Mac the Knife"
John Gay's The Beggar's Opera became Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, which was made into a film by G.W. Pabst. Brecht shares a birthday with me and he's always hovering in my work, specifically his ideas about how an audience (or reader) might come to a work of the imagination.


John Zorn, "Spillane"
I heard this first on NPR when NPR was interesting. Then I saw Zorn's band playing it in a now-vanished music venue on Houston Street. And by seeing the show I mean I sat in the middle of the musicians, and it might be my imagination but I think I was given a triangle to play. Although the music is contemporary, it sounds like what a film noir movie looks like, and there's an element of noir in my book.


"Falling in Love Again" sung by Marlene Dietrich
This is a song featured in the book. I remember Marlene Dietrich singing it in The Blue Angel, a movie about a man who got in over his head, and what he got in was his own desolation. The song is quite emotional but it's also extremely simple, just words repeated. In that it's a little like Simon and Garfunkel's "Leaves that Are Green."



Neil Young, "After the Gold Rush"
A number of scenes in the book take place in a nightclub called the Crazy Horse West. I associate Neil Young, who had a band called Crazy Horse, with the Sunset Strip, with the whiskey nightclubs that dotted it back in the 1970s, places in which styles of music were given the freedom to incubate and grow. Flying mother nature's silver seed for sure.


Laurie Anderson, "Progress" (or "The Dream Before")
This is where I was introduced to Walter Benjamin's idea of an angel being blown by a storm from paradise, being propelled into "the future to which his back is turned." It's another example of reworking something already known to make it known again, in a different way.



Joanna Newsom, "The Book of Right-on"
For a few weeks, possibly months, I walked around singing the chorus of this song, about shining a light on, and that the book of right-on, it was right on. With all the hopelessness I see in the world it's nice to radiate a bit of idealism.


Radiohead, "How to Disappear Completely"
I've been known to write with this song playing, but until I sat down to write this playlist, I never knew the title, which, in relation to The Complete Ballet, is apt.


Talking Heads, "Cross-eyed and Painless"
Lost my shape, trying to act casual. That about sums up my narrator's dilemma. It's a song that's easy to get submerged in, and also easy to come up for air.


Chick Corea, "Spain"
This is a song that, when I hear in my head, and when I hum the melody to myself, working through the rhythms of the melody, I almost always get lost, losing my place, and although it's annoying, it makes me like the song even more.


Jorge Ben, "Fio Maravilha"
At a residency, with the help of a Brazilian architect, I tried to learn to sing this song in Portuguese. I'm still trying, and part of what appeals to me is the fact that the song, full of emotion, which I thought might be about tempestuous love, was instead about a soccer player.


Joni Mitchell, "A Case of You"
This haunting song, full of emotion, is about love. Also, because Joni lived in Laurel Canyon, it partly haunts my book.


Leonard Cohen, "Chelsea Hotel # 2"
Another form of the personal essay.


Steve Reich, "Tehillim"
The music I listen to when I'm writing, for the most part, can't have lyrics. Not lyrics I understand anyway. The voices in "Tehillim" are probably speaking Hebrew, I don't know, and it doesn't matter because the words, while retaining the shadow of their meaning, are released from meaning, which is what writers try to achieve.


David Lang, "The Lost Meeting"
Sound that floats, and floats me when I hear it.


Johann Bach, "Cello Suites"
Almost all of Bach is rejuvenating. I'm not a big fan of his organ work, but The Cello Suites, definitely, and also the piano work and flute work, the duos and trios, calm me while at the same time focusing my unconscious on what it should focus on, the unconscious. And instead of leaving the unknown alone the music seems to opens up what I imagine are the secrets of rhythm and melody and oddly, I see Bach as very American.


Aaron Copeland, "Appalachian Spring"
Speaking of American.


John Dowland, "Come Again"
Another case of the lyrics melting into the music. In this case it's sweetness and purity, and because the song was written in another time, the 16th century, the purity seems real.


Bob Marley and the Wailers, "And I Love Her"
The idea of a cover, an appropriation of a song that becomes a completely different song is, in a way, what I'm doing in my book, and this cover makes the Beatles song more plaintive and raw and emotional.


Lou Reed, "Satellite of Love"
Lou. Romanticism. Death.



Kate Bush, "My Silver Bullet"
When I started writing these notes, for some reason, this song began playing in my mind. I have no idea why but I'm including it because there it was, or really, here it is.



"Bigmouth Strikes Again" by The Smiths
Proof that despair can also be fun.



"Help Me Somebody" by Brian Eno and David Byrne
When I read Amos Tutuolo's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, years ago, I remember being inspired but what seemed to me the innocence of his outlook. Not innocent as in naiveté, but a wide-eyed observance of what is happening in front of our eyes. Then, layered over that, is this song from Eno and Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and the title speaks for itself.


John Haskell and The Complete Ballet links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Publishers Weekly review

Literary Hub 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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 - Scott Esposito "The Doubles"

The Doubles

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.

Scott Esposito's The Doubles brilliantly blends memoir with film criticism.

Alvaro Enrigue wrote of the book:

"Scott Esposito is a true American cosmopolitan—full of ideas and void of pretensions. His way of seeing—inquisitive and gentle—his way of writing—honest and charismatic—are a life-line out of our self congratulatory provincialism.”"


In his own words, here is Scott Esposito's Book Notes music playlist for his book The Doubles:



I'm first and foremost a book person, but I'm also someone with an intense love of film, so this has led to some very conflicted feelings. There's no doubt that film is the major artistic medium of the modern era (sorry novels, your reign ended a while ago), but there's also no doubt that a lot of what makes books indispensable will never, ever be possible in a movie.

The Doubles comes out of that tension. It's a book about 14 movies that made me. As I explore how these 14 films helped make me what I am, I look at how film has made all of us. Retelling 1 film per essay—in essence translating 14 films into 14 works of words—I use creative nonfiction that combine what's spectacular about cinema with what's necessary about literature. These 14 films collectively cover some 20 years of my life between 1996 and 2016.

The result is part memoir-through-film, part investigation into how art affects our lives, part philosophy of art and life.

So for Largehearted Boy's Book Notes feature, I decided to put together a playlist of 14 different tracks that each embody something important to me about these 14 films. If you read The Doubles, I think this playlist will add a dimension to the book. And if you don't read The Doubles, I think this is still a pretty epic playlist. If you doubt that, just read on and see what's in it.


1996, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, ERROL MORRIS (1991)
Cosmic Background Radiation Ambient Noise — The Universe



Yes, I'm beginning this playlist with 12 hours of ambient noise—12 hours of ambient noise like none other in the universe. A Brief History of Time is Errol Morris's film adaptation of Stephen Hawking's book of the same name, which sums up everything this one-of-a-kind genius had figured out about black holes, the beginning of time, the cosmos, and reality. And when I think about the impact this movie had on me some 20 years ago, I go right to this noise, which comes from the beginning of all existence. As you listen to these sounds, they might sound like your white noise machine, or your air conditioner, or being in the cabin of a jetliner at cruising altitude, but they're actually none of those things: this noise is being generated by the energy that was released by the Big Bang, which is still with us some 14 billion years later. It's essentially the remnants of the most freakishly gigantic explosion ever. So far as we know, it was the beginning of the very reality we all live in. So listen to this and think about the fact that that the noise you're hearing started at the beginning of time and has been traveling through our universe ever since.

1997, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, STANLEY KUBRICK (1971)
Eminem — Amityville



Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange gave us Alex, the utterly despicable character at the heart of this very transgressive movie. He's a singular creation, one that has inspired a lot of controversy, and it's hard to watch this film with a lot of mixed feelings. Yes, Alex is a compelling, even charismatic character, but he's also purely disgusting. To me, this track of Eminem's is basically the hip-hop version of Alex. This is a nasty, angry, perverse song that exults in its own horror. This is basically Eminem at his worst, one of the most screwed-up cuts off of the most screwed-up album he ever made. And yet, there's a part of me that really responds to this music, which really troubles me and makes me think. Which is kind of like what I'm saying as regards Alex and this movie in the essay on A Clockwork Orange.

2001, SUZHOU RIVER, LOU YE (2000)
Summer Rain — Carl Thomas



I listened to this song so much the summer I met my partner. And not long after we fell in love, we watched the Chinese movie Suzhou River together. For me, Suzhou River was all about a moment in my life when I was discovering the true parameters and dimensions of love. This is also a deep theme of the story told in Suzhou River, which is about how hard it is to stay in love. Anyone can fall in love, but to remain in love you need to have a quantity of idealism, an ability to embrace fantasies, which not everybody has. Listening to this song always takes me back to those falling-in-love moments and gives me back a little of that idealism that we all need.

2003, RUSSIAN ARK, ALEXANDER SOKUROV (2002)
Sinking of the Titanic — Gavin Bryars



Russian Ark is a 99-minute film that occurs over just one take—a momentous tracking shot that goes on for miles through the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It's a really weird film without much of a plot, the kind of film that you just have to embrace, just let it wash over you and take what you can from it, not hoping to derive a single plotline or come to some sort of a conclusion. It's kind of like ambient film, so that's why I'm choosing one of the most famous (and beautiful) ambient music tracks in recent memory. In the weird mixture of genres of sound, and in its relentless ongoingness, Sinking of the Titanic achieves something that reminds me of a aural version of Russian Ark.

2004, THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS, LARS VON TRIER (2003)
You Know My Steez — Gang Starr



Sometimes when you put two things together, the result is a lot more than the sum of their parts. That's one of the ideas behind The Doubles—a lot of the movies in it are fueled by pairs, be it pairs of people, of ideas, etc, and these two things tend to spur one another on into greater things than would have been possible alone. And that's also definitely the theory behind The Five Obstructions, in which Lars von Trier puts mind-fucking obstacles in the way of Jørgen Leth, hoping to inspire creativity and self-discovery in him. Things end up going in really weird directions, to the good of this film. So, to musically embody this, I'm picking one of the best tracks from what is quite possibly hip-hop's greatest duo ever: Guru and DJ Premier. These two had a very special chemistry, and neither one of them is ever quite this good on their own.

2005, KOYAANISQATSI, GODFREY REGGIO AND PHILIP GLASS (1982)
The Rite of Spring — Stravinsky

Koyaanisqatsi is all about what technology has done to the modern world, about trying to find a cinematic language to begin putting all of this into perspective. So, I thought it was fitting to include music whose premiere is often regarded as the moment that modernism started. To me, Stravinsky's ballet feels like letting some genie out of the bottle, which is apropos, because that's exactly what Stravinsky did, and also what modernism has done. Koyaanisqatsi is all about reckoning with the world that freed genie made. In addition, the charge of Stravinsky's music really captures how the visuals of this film feel to my eyes—all the movement, the frenzy, the sudden changes, the moods. And I hope the essay I created out of this movie—which was the hardest of all 14 to write—captures a little of the relentless energy and ceaseless invention of Stravinsky's work.

2006, THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE, KRZYSZTOF KIESLOWSKI (1991)
Henryk Górecki - Symphony No. 3: movement 1



The plot of The Double Life of Véronique is built around an incredibly beautiful symphony featuring a transcendent soprano. Unfortunately, the symphony in the film is unfinished, so we can only hear a little bit of the first movement—which is reall too bad, because it's absolutely incredible music. Whenever I think of what that music would have been if it had been completed, I think of Górecki's Third Symphony. There are very few—if any—things that you will hear that are this stunningly beautiful as Górecki's Third. It always puts me right in mind of that beautiful quality Kieslowski managed to capture with this one-on-a-kind movie. And, it's very fitting that Górecki is a Pole just like Kieslowski, and of the same generation. And also, I discovered this symphony almost exactly when I discovered Véronique. Enjoy!

2008, CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS, ANDREW JARECKI (2003)
Shostakovich — Symphony 15



Capturing the Friedmans is a really challenging movie that takes you into some of the darkest parts of our world. It's about a pedophile, and pedophilia is one of those supremely awful crimes, something that's so taboo that it still has the power to evoke a real sense of transgression in our society. If you combine such these emotions with the authority of the law, the system of justice, and the obligations and bonds of family, then you have an extremely potent mixture. And that's just what Capturing the Friedmans is. So I'm including here Shostakovich's Symphony 15, the great composer's last, which is also a mixture of diverse elements—from childhood to old age, plus Soviet terror, world war, and a long, compromised life—that produces supremely challenging, strange music. There's a reason that David Lynch listened to this symphony nonstop as he made Blue Velvet—it's weird, intoxicating stuff.

2009, 3 WOMEN, ROBERT ALTMAN (1977)
Alban Berg — Piano Sonata, Opus 1



God is this music creepy. And complex. And just plain inexhaustibly deep. Which is basically exactly how I feel about 3 Women, too. In my pantheon of cinematic gods, Robert Altman gets a special place, and 3 Women may be my very favorite of all Altman's works. It's a movie that packs so much in, and that makes everything you think you understand about the world feel creepy and foreign. Most of all, it's about people and their identities, and how weird it is that we're split into different genders. Alban Berg's perfect piano sonata feels very close to this film to me, and it was great music to listen to as I wrote this film into an essay.

2010, MEEK'S CUTOFF, KELLY REICHARDT (2010)
On the Transmigration of Souls — John Adams



Meek's Cutoff is, in my opinion, probably the most profound response to 9/11 made by an American filmmaker. Even though it's set in 1845 and has very little to ostensibly link it to the atrocities of September 11, 2001, the movie is clearly all about that day and its results—you just have to look at it the right way. So I thought I would include this music, which is also a very remarkable response to 9/11, also made by an American artist of the first rank. My essay on this movie is all about how that day felt for me, and what happened to me and my country in the years after. If we're going to understand what happened on that day and what's been happening since, we need our artists to step up with this kind of work. And the rest of us need to reflect deeply on that work and start talking publicly about what it means to us.

2011, THE SEVENTH CONTINENT, MICHAEL HANEKE (1989)
Allure — Jay-Z

The Seventh Continent is a movie about people who decide to kill themselves—if anything, this movie makes you understand what a horror that is. Not just that suicide itself is absolutely repulsive, but the world that would make people choose suicide is also repulsive. It takes a whole lot to extinguish the will to live in a person, you really have to work to drain away those things that fill life with mystery, and hope, and discovery, and passion. So I've got to put this song of Jay-Z's here, which is basically him romanticizing that part of life that makes it worth living. That surge of electricity you feel throbbing through you when you know you're really alive. I think that feeling is absent from these people's lives; and, by association, I would say that Haneke is arguing that contemporary society doesn't allow for enough of this feeling in our world.

2014, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, BANKSY (2010)
Run the Jewels — All Due Respect



The great thing about Run the Jewels is they can do it all—deep, introspective stuff, battle raps, political anthems, and also pure malicious mayhem. This right here is the pure mayhem. In case you didn't guess, the title is absolutely ironic, as basically every word that comes out of the mouths of El-P and Killer Mike in this track is completely disrespectful of all authority. And this is perfect for Exit Through the Gift Shop, because this is how I imagine the mindset of people heading out for the night to paint illegal graffiti. This music is just thrilling and frenetic and very fuck-the-world, all things that fit into my image of street art bombing runs in the wee hours of the morning—which is what Banksy's movie Exit Through the Gift Shop is all about. My essay tries to capture some of that energy and understand the complexity of the identity of "street artist." Oh, and in closing, if people aren't making graffiti to this track, they should be.

2015, BOYHOOD, RICHARD LINKLATER (2014)
For Philip Guston — Morton Feldman



Boyhood is a film that plays with duration in a very strange way: it was filmed over 12 years, and as the characters age in real life, they concurrently age in the film. It's "slow filmmaking"—there was no way you could rush this movie. So, in the spirit of playing with duration and taking it as slow as necessary, here is Morton Feldman's nearly 5-hour-long piece, "For Philip Guston." Like this music and Linklater's movie, the essay on Boyhood is also the longest essay in the book, and it took a long time to get it just right. And lastly, I just want to point out that the first comment on this video over at YouTube (when I looked at it tonight as I wrote this) was strangely appropriate to Boyhood's material, and also just perfect: "This was the only song we had played at our high school prom which was themed Minimalism and Moonlight."

2016, VOYAGE OF TIME, TERRENCE MALICK (2016)
Ab-Soul — Nibiru



This is prophesy right here. The thing I love most about Ab-Soul is that he's rap's crazy prophet. This is one of Ab-Soul's oldest tracks, and it's still one of his best—this is basically Soulo rapping from the perspective of a rogue planet that's destined to hurtle into the Earth. True to form, he's invoking Ancient Sumerian deities, Atlantis, the Mayan 2012 prophesy . . . oh my god, that's just the first verse! Anyway, Voyage of Time is based 100% on science, not a whole bunch of paranoid conspiracy theories, but I put these two together because they've both got that cosmic feel, basically that sense that there's a whole lot to this world that we don't know, and we're probably never going to know it. They both put me into this space of cosmic wonder, whose presence in my life is one of the most longstanding and important aspects of me being an artistic person. I tried to embody all that in the essay for this movie and go out in a big, big way.


Scott Esposito and The Doubles links:

the author's website

CCM interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for The Surrender


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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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 (Kirkus Prize Finalists, An Interview with Zola Jesus, and more)

The 2017 Kirkus Prize finalists have been announced.


Stereogum interviewed Zola Jesus.


Author Alistair McCartney interviewed himself at The Nervous Breakdown.


Ann Powers discussed her book Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music with Salon.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn shared an excerpt from Pamela Ryder's novel Paradise Field.


Stream a new Torres song.


East Bay Express profiled cartoonist Mimi Pond.


Stereogum interviewed singer-songwriter Moses Sumney.


SmokeLong Quarterly interviewed author Jen Michalski.


Stream a duet from Tommy Stinson and Nicole Atkins.


PANK interviewed author David Joy.


Rolling Stone listed the essential albums of 1967.


St. Louis Public Radio interviewed author Margaret Atwood.


NYCTaper shared a recent Purling Hiss live performance.


The Barnes and Noble Review interviewed author Jac Jemc.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed author Joshua Cohen.


Stream a new song by The She's.


Literary Hub recommended gritty crime novels set in the New York City of the 1970s.


Paramore's Hayley Williams covered Jawbreaker's "Accident Prone."


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author Chiara Barzini.


The Quietus interviewed Polish musician Anna Zaradny.


The Millions interviewed author Zoe Whittall.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



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

September 19, 2017

Book Notes - Kaveh Akbar "Calling a Wolf a Wolf"

Calling a Wolf a Wolf

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.

Kaveh Akbar's Calling a Wolf a Wolf is the most striking and moving poetry collection I have read in years.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"A breathtaking addition to the canon of addiction literature, Akbar's poetry confronts the pain and joy in denying oneself for the sake of oneself…Akbar's poems offer readers, religious or not, a way to cultivate faith in times of deepest fear."


In his own words, here is Kaveh Akbar's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Calling a Wolf a Wolf:



I've thought often about how all of my favorite music and all of my favorite poetry tends to orbit incantation, conjuring. Early audiences of Marlowe's Faustus claimed to see extra demons onstage hiding out among the costumed devils, conjured by the spells in the Marlowe's text. All the art that speaks most deeply to my soul, all the poetry I love best, seems united by a similar ambition.


Moonface – "Marimba and Shit-Drums"

Spencer Krug is one of my great poetic influences. I think it's probably unsexy to claim a contemporary musician as such, but it'd be disingenuous to deny it. Spencer has a number of projects, but Moonface is the most interesting of the bunch (followed by Sunset Rubdown, followed by Swan Lake, followed by Wolf Parade). This track was Spencer's first offering as Moonface; it was also probably his best.


Westside Connection – "Bow Down"

This was my first favorite song, the first song to which I knew every word by heart front and back. I recorded it off the radio to a tape one day and would rewind and listen to it over and over and over. I think its bombast and self-assured assertions of control assuaged a deep sense of powerlessness within me. It still does, actually.


Destroyer – "Bay of Pigs"

The first time I heard this song, I was coming down off A Lot of Drugs and lying in bed in the late afternoon and the room was a particular shade of sun-blue that I think I've only seen that one time. "Please remove your spurs. / Come to think of it, remove your antlers," enacts everything, in a line, that many of my poems aspire toward. There are certain poems in Calling a Wolf a Wolf that owe a great spiritual debt to Dan Bejar's singular rhetorical constructions.


Arab on Radar – "Running for Asthma"

31G records was, for a long and important time, the guiding aesthetic influence in my life. This track, by my second (or possibly third) favorite 31G band (after The Locust and maybe Mr. Quintron) is my favorite piece in their entire catalog. There's a darkness, a kind of weird petulant throb, that is so consistent with a particular frequency of my own psychic vibrations.


Joanna Newsom – "Go Long"

"There's a man / Who only will speak in code / Backing slowly, slowly down the road / May he master everything / That such men may know / About loving, and then letting go." I can't comment on that. I can't even comment about that.


Beep Beep – "Executive Foliage"

Beep Beep was my introduction to real music, which was my introduction to real art, which was my introduction to real writing and real people. I owe this band, this record ("Business Casual"), and this song in particular, everything. The first time I heard it, I think I almost literally shit my pants.


Titus Andronicus – "Theme from ‘Cheers'"

During the time when I was deepest in the throes of my scumbag phase, I would stumble around my city in a fugue after the bars closed, listening to this song and album and shouting the lyrics off bridges and into bike racks and the like. I think (hope!) there are moments of that kind of anthemic yearning in Calling a Wolf a Wolf.


HEALTH – "Stonefist"

I listened to this record (Death Magic) on repeat during every writing session through the eighteen months where the vast majority of Calling a Wolf a Wolf was written. That's thousands of listens. I'm not sure what exactly about the record lent itself so perfectly to this kind of repetition, nor do I fully understand why or how it felt so generative to the work. I do think it has something to do with that aforementioned sense of incantation.


Liars – "Drum and the Uncomfortable Can"



Incantation, conjuring. I have been trying to rip off the sonic experience of this song in a poem for over a decade.


Angel Olsen – "Creator, Destroyer"

There's this quote from Brian Eno's A Year With Swollen Appendices: "The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them." I am so invested in that effect in my poetry, how I might achieve that effect on the page. The way this song unfolds and frays as it nears its end has been so instructive to me in that way.


Bonus: Omid Walizadeh – "Modern Persian Speech Sounds"

It seems antithetical to the spirit of a mixtape to put a 33-minute track in the middle of it, but this incredible collage of classic Persian songs and samples is directly responsible for key moments across several poems in the book. If the book had a signature track, this would be it.


Kaveh Akbar and Calling a Wolf a Wolf links:

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

Publishers Weekly review

Glass Poetry Journal essay by 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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 - Jude Angelini "Hummingbird"

Hummingbird

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.

Jude Angelini's Hummingbird is a memoir that manages to be dark, poignant, and laugh-out-loud funny.


In his own words, here is Jude Angelini's Book Notes music playlist for his memoir Hummingbird:



All songs are referenced in the book.


Massive Attack – Tear Drop

This little trip hop number is kinda like hot sauce, it can go on anything. I threw it on for my homeboy and his girl when they were having a bad trip off some psychedelics I gave ‘em. The melody is like a playful lullaby and the beat thumps enough where a dude won’t feel like his manhood’ll get questioned listening to it. I was hoping it would chill em out, maybe they’d fuck and feel better. Perhaps I was projecting my needs on theirs.

I just found out yesterday that it’s the theme to the TV show, House. This makes the song a little less cool to me. I’m sure Massive Attack can live with that.


Bob Seger – "Night Moves"

When I grew up in Michigan, Seger was everywhere and I ignored him. He was a singer for the white working class, which I was trying to escape. When I got out here to LA, with all these fucking snobs, they’d shit on him and I’d end up repping him hard. I felt like they were shitting on me, a bunch of Yaley’s claiming Broken Social Scene.

"Night Moves" is about going to field parties as a teenager and losing your virginity there. I been to those parties, I never smashed.

The song starts slow, it builds, it breathes and crescendos with the back up singers chanting the song’s title. On a good night, I sing to this with my eyes closed and pump my fist when appropriate.

“Woke last night to the sound of thunder, how far off I sat and wondered….”


Troop – "All I Do is Think of You"

Late '80s- early '90s R&B. The epitome. It starts with a grand piano solo, then goes right into the syrup. The boys can sing. It’s a slow jam about teenage love. Jackson Five did it first. I’m sure old heads and purists prefer that one. But this is the one I listened to as a chubby, shy, thirteen-year-old, late night talking to girls on the phone, this playing in the background, while I’m waiting for them to like me. They never did.


Pharaoh Sanders – "Kazuko"

My mom put me onto this record. Now I do drugs off it.

This song is ideal for zoning out. It starts slow with wind chimes, and then some weird string instrument gets to plucking, and a little while later, in comes the sax. After that the song just strokes you with melodies for the next eight minutes.

Free jazz isn’t the most approachable music, it can be a bit masturbatory and at its worse, even headachey. But trust me, if you like this song, then Journey to the One might be a nice intro album for you. There’s more groove than spazz to it. And maybe, just maybe, down the road you can claim this album at a dinner party while some pretentious asshole is repping Captain Beefheart.


Bootsy Collins – "Munchies for Your Love"

Bootsy stopped playing bass with James Brown cuz James wasn’t funky enough. He jumped over to Parliament–Funkadelic in the early '70s and was heavily influential in their P-funk sound. That’s the shit Dre was sampling for The Chronic. Then in the late 70’s he started dropping solo shit.

This is his solo shit. This song is built for drugs and fucking. Me and my old roommate used to get off work, dose ourselves with mushrooms, lay on the floor in the candlelight and zone-out to this song, kneading the carpet in our hands, gazing at the shapes in our heads.

It starts with the delicate picking of a guitar, then one instrument after the next is slowly introduced. A minute twenty into it, Bootsy finally starts singing, adding to the groove. The song is an nine minute long incline, that has ‘em moaning and screaming by the eight minute mark.

That’s what I love about this seventies music, it’s not rushed. They build. They groove. Shit, they were probably high on drugs when they were doing it. Nothing like drugs and talent combined to get you to a new place - check the Beatles, Coltrane, Fleetwood Mac, etc.

Here’s a cheat code, I feel like if you fuck to this song and just match the groove, you’re gonna get to an orgasm.


Supertramp – "Oh Darling"

Back in the '90s, I thought I hated Supertramp. If the "Logical Song" came on when I was driving, I’d wanna punch the radio.

Then twenty years later my mom throws on Breakfast in America while we’re playing spades, and I’m like, “That’s the jam… that’s the jam… that’s the jam too. I didn’t know they did that.”

The album plays like a god damn greatest hits LP. It’s become one of my favorites. And some of my favorite songs aren’t even the singles.

"Oh Darling" falls into that category. It’s about unrequited love, but it has hope. It’s like he doesn’t have her yet but he’s finna get her and not in a restraining-order way either. The Wurlitzer piano plays this bright, driving, almost "La Cucaracha"-esque melody the whole way through that gives me the belief I may win in the end, the same belief slot machine bells give gamblers.


Bjork – "The Hunter"

My ex loved Bjork and after the break-up, when I heard her songs, I’d shatter. I was like, I can’t keep living like this cuz my sister plays the fuck out of Bjork, too. So I went and copped Homogenic and this is the first track you hear.

It’s drug-out keys, driving snares, thumping base, violins, and chicks going oooooooh in the background. Bjork knows how turn a song into drama. It’s no wonder Michigan girls liked her so much, it’s like the warehouse-party scene mixed with pure emotion. Plus, she’s a snappy dresser.

This song, along with "Possibly Maybe," really got me into her. I played this album constantly while living in New York, thinking about my ex a little bit less with each rotation. And a few years later, Bjork was mine too.


Frank Sinatra – "High Hopes"

When I hear this motherfucker, or Dino, or Prima, or Crosby, it takes me back to my Nonnie’s with homemade meatballs in the pot and hand cut pasta hang drying all over the kitchen. We yell-talk at dinner. Then play cards with Frank in the background and our Nonno’s telling us stories about being a shepherd back in the mountains of Italy.

"High Hopes" isn’t even my favorite song; it just came on my shuffle in the story in my book, so now you get to hear about. It’s got children doing the back up vocals and weird flutes and shit. Some people might even call it corny. It’s about shooting for things that are out of your reach and grinding till you get there. Maybe it’s a good song for our times, where people would rather cry than do, then come up with big ideas to cover up their cowardice.


Leon Russell – "Hummingbird"

In the song "Hummingbird," hummingbird’s a woman. He serenades her, he loves her, he watches her sleep. He implores her to stay. He brings in black gospel singers to cosign, “Don’t fly away. Don’t fly away.” I hope she stuck around.

The book has nothing to do with this song. The book is about searching for joy in the grind. The hummingbird is a magical animal. But it works its ass off just to float.


Brian Eno – "On Some Far Away Beach"

This is the first song on the second side of Here Come the Warm Jets. It could be the last song on any other album. The first few minutes is drums, piano, and layered ahhhhs. It’s a song of triumph, exhausted triumph. I imagine I might play this after I’ve scaled a mountain and reached the summit. I don’t climb mountains so that’ll never happen. It usually comes on while I’m walking down Sunset Blvd high on GHB. It’s decent in that setting too.

By the time the song ends, it’s just piano, and you end up feeling like you won and you lost at the same damn time.

My sister put me onto Eno. I’m extremely grateful for women in my life past and present who have taught me so much.


Jude Angelini and Hummingbird links:

the book's website

Detroit News 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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 (Fall's Best Short Story Collections, New Music from Mirah, and more)

The Washington Post recommended fall's best short story collections.


Stream a new Mirah song.


Patty Yumi Cottrell shared the influence of Fiona Apple's music on her life at Hazlitt.


Snail Mail played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Dissent interviewed author Valeria Luiselli.


October interviewed members of the band Protomartyr about beer.


Celeste Ng discussed her new novel Little Fires Everywhere with Minnesota Public Radio.


TIME shared an excerpt from Dar Williams' memoir What I Found in a Thousand Towns.


The Scotiabank Giller Prize announced its 2017 longlist.

Congratulations to Largehearted Boy contributor Deborah Willis.


Stream a new Morrissey song.


Salon interviewed author Tom Perrotta.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed Alasdair MacLean of the Clientele.


Smile Politely interviewed author George Saunders.


CHVRCHES covered Tegan and Sara's "Call It Off."


John Haskell discussed his new book The Complete Ballet with Literary Hub.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



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

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