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October 23, 2014

Shorties (An Interview with Marilynne Robinson, The Best Paris Bookshops, and more)

The Barnes and Noble Review interviewed author Marilynne Robinson.


The LSE Review of Books listed the best bookshops in Paris.


The Rumpus interviewed Sabina Sciubba, lead singer of Brazilian Girls.


Smithsonian interviewed Blondie guitarist Chris Stein about his new book of photographs Chris Stein / Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk.


Manhattan's The Strand bookstore now sells vinyl LPs.


BuzzFeed listed great American independent bookstores.


PopMatters interviewed singer-songwriter Cory Branan.


USA Today features an excerpt from Neil Gaiman's forthcoming short story collection Trigger Warning.


Stream a previously unreleased version of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" at Rolling Stone.


Electric Literature shared a literary atlas to Ireland.


Musician Herbie Hancock talked to Morning Edition about his memoir Possibilities.


The A.V. Club considered film and television adaptations of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice.


Members of the bands Eagulls and Hookworms interviewed each other at Drowned in Sound.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


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October 23, 2014

Daily Downloads (Sweet Soubrette, Streets of Laredo, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Dolly Spectra: "Moving in Circles" [mp3]

Electrician: "Billowing Clouds" [mp3]

Folk Angel: Christmas Songs NoiseTrade Sampler EP [mp3]

Jason Barrows: Islands of My Soul album [mp3]

Peter Carlsen: "Tiger" [mp3] from Sirens (out November 24th)

Pinecones: "Plays Cosmic Hits" Live on Radio album [mp3]

Streets of Laredo: An Introduction To Streets Of Laredo EP [mp3]

Swanky Tiger: "Empires" [mp3]

Sweet Soubrette: Be My Live Wire: Remixes EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Ed Schrader's Music Beat: 2014-09-26, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


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October 22, 2014

Atomic Books Comics Preview - October 22, 2014

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

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

Atomic Books has been named one of Bizarre Magazine's 51 geekiest places on the planet, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.


Bumf Volume 1: Buggered The Kaiser

Bumf Volume 1: Buggered The Kaiser
by Joe Sacco

The early 1990s was a time rich with surrealist underground comics: famous for artists like Jim Woodring and seminal works Ed The Happy Clown by Chester Brown and Like A Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Daniel Clowes. Joe Sacco, primarily known for his comics reportage of war zones, has taken his decidedly conflict-based frame of reference and turned in this first installment Bumf, a modern take on the surrealist underground comic. Bumf if ripe with post 9/11 images, Nixon, and a hard focus on buggering. It's brilliant, bizarre fun - loaded with intricate linework and a story that delights in both disorienting and reorienting the reader. Essentially what he have here is a new modern, underground, surrealist comics masterpiece.


Cream City Maryland #1

Cream City Maryland #1
by Andre Novak / Grace Slit

This new zine looks at the sleazy underbelly of Maryland. Cream City includes reviews of Ladies Night at a strip club, a playlist of Baltimore music to have sex to, a survey of Baltimore glory holes, and an overview of the sexy art from Baltimore's Club music scene. This zine provides a unique and fascinating look at the sexlife of folks in the "Land of Pleasant Living."


Poet Poe #1

Poet Poe #1
by R. Sikoryak

Poet Poe was initially done as a 24 (or in this case 26) hour comics challenge. Sikoryak takes Edgar Allan Poe's famous poems "The Raven," "Alone" and "The Conqueror Worm" and adapts them to fun comics form, with Poe given a classic Harvey Comics/Richie Rich-esque style. The inside back cover also includes a layout for "Annabel Lee" that you can use to draw your own adaptation if you so desire.


Subterranean Level: 6XZ03188V

Subterranean Level: 6XZ03188V
by Rodger Binyone

It's been a long time since I've seen such precise screenprinting. Subterranean Level is the story of a mission gone wrong. It's also a publication as art object. Page after page of beautiful art - oh yeah, and break out the blacklight to get the full effect, this sucker was printed with UV ink.


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, Said What?


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - October 22, 2014

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

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


Grace's Guide

Grace's Guide
by Grace Helbig

YouTube phenom Grace Helbig offers an interactive handbook for self-realization.


#Newsfail

#Newsfail
by Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny

As tragic and frequently horrifying as the news can be -- its content and its presentation -- there are some pockets of absurdity waiting to be exposed here and there, as this book shows with engrossing detail.


Rookie Yearbook Three

Rookie Yearbook Three
edited by Tavi Gevinson

The manual for all-things growing up grows up itself, maintaining the charm and sensitivity of the previous two collections and the website from which the anthology derives.


McGlue

McGlue
by Ottessa Moshfegh

A formally innovative hybrid of The Long Weekend and The Stranger, with distinct elements all its own.


WORD Brooklyn links:

WORD website
WORD Tumblr
WORD on Twitter
WORD's Facebook page
WORD's Flickr photos


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics & graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)


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Shorties (Austin Kleon's Manifesto for Reading, An R.E.M. Documentary, and more)

Austin Kleon shared a "manifesto for reading."


Stream the trailer for the documentary R.E.M. by MTV.


Vita.mn interviewed Dee Dee Penny of Dum Dum Girls.


Poet Billy Collins shared his love for Yeats' "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" at the Atlantic.


The A.V. Club reconsidered Tori Amos's Under the Pink album 20 years after its release.


Author Marlon James talked "post-post-colonial writers" with BBC News.


Flavorwire interviewed singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan about her new album Heartleap.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed poet Kate Durbin.


Thurston Moore shared a "best day" soundtrack at the A.V. Club.


Author Gina B. Nahai interviewed herself at The Nervous Breakdown.


Angus and Julia Stone visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


The Guardian listed the top novels about civil wars.


Justin Townes Earle covered Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams."


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Daily Downloads (Lily & Madeline, J Mascis, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

American Aquarium: Burn.Flicker.Die album [mp3]

Andre Costello and the Cool Minors: "Places" [mp3] from The Rattling Arcade

Lily & Madeline: Rabbit, Run for It EP [mp3]

Matuto: Matuto Sampler EP [mp3]

Miranda Dodson: Collections EP [mp3]

Rachel Thomasin: Microforms album [mp3]

The Sexbots: Songs for Jamil EP [mp3]

Valice: "Charlie Gray" [mp3] from Young Bloomer (out February 24th)

Various Artists: Roadrunner 2014 Heavy Holidays Sampler album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

J Mascis: 2014-10-17, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

October 21, 2014

Book Notes - Jack Livings "The Dog"

The Dunning Man

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Jack Livings' impressive debut story collection The Dog brings to life post-Mao China.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"Together, his tales open a prismatic window on China, showing us how part of the country is rushing to embrace the 21st century, even as its history continues to exert a magnetic hold over people’s thinking and expectations . . . With The Dog, Mr. Livings has made an incisive—and highly impressive—debut."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Jack Livings' Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection The Dog:


A few of the stories in The Dog are set in Beijing in the mid-90s. That's when I was there as a college student, and although music was everywhere, I don't know if I want to subject you to it. On the trains, blown out speakers mounted over the doors played patriotic pop songs at volumes high enough to drown out a rocket launch. I'd picked up a souvenir butane lighter with Mao's image glued to the side that chirped "The East Is Red" when I flipped open the top. Every morning the elementary school next door to my dorm played Disney tunes through loudspeakers for the kids' calisthenics routines. There were old folks in the park singing Chinese opera at all hours of the day. Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana were on repeat at all the clubs. The thing is, these are all important atmospheric details that might help a reader slip into a fictional Beijing, but to get myself back there, I have to use a different soundtrack.

Certain songs have the ability to draw me heart and soul back to a specific place and time; it's like a dream, full immersion. I'm guessing this is true for most people. "Beat It": my 10th birthday party, Thriller on a silver boom box by the pool. Parts of The Messiah take me to a New York apartment where I am 3 and my dad, an operatic tenor, is running through the "Ev'ry valley shall be exalted" section behind the closed bedroom door. To access deep sense memories of China, I sometimes had to jolt my heart, and the songs I relied on weren't Chinese pop, but the music my roommate and I had brought from home.

Twenty years later, cueing up these songs could be a dangerous procedure because I can't concentrate on my work if I'm listening to music, but what I can do is listen to one song after another while absently looking at the page of words I'm supposed to be working on, letting my memory drift back on the current, while getting absolutely no writing done. It took real force of will to listen to just one or two, take off the headphones, and get to work.

So, this is less a playlist for the book itself than a soundtrack for its bumpy, distracted creation.

Foolish – Superchunk

One afternoon ten years ago I passed Mac McCaughan in the hallway of my apartment building. I was thirty years old. I was married, and I had a baby daughter. I was what is known as a grownass man. But I was too star struck to say anything, which, in retrospect, was good because I wouldn't have done much better than "You rock," and a too-toothy, stalkerish smile coupled with severe hand wringing. When I got to Beijing in 1994 and my roommate, who had been a DJ at WXYC in Chapel Hill, pulled out a tape with some raw studio takes from Foolish, I liberated it from him with thanks and proceeded to wear it out on my Walkman. Yes, my dinosaur-powered Walkman.

"Over the Neptune / Mesh Gear Fox" – GBV

I should mention that in the fall 1994 I had just turned 20 and was in the vortex of a drawn-out breakup, and a few of these songs were in heavy rotation because I was moping around feeling sorry for myself. This one, a beautiful aural buildup to lyrical devastation, on par with the cascading repetition of "You are forgiven!" at the end of The Who's "A Quick One, While He's Away," never failed to make me feel rotten, which is really what I wanted. I listened to this one anytime I felt I might be pulling out of the nosedive. "It's the things you say, it's the things you do, go right through me."

"You and Me" + "Might" – The Archers of Loaf

These two are a prickly pair on Icky Mettle, another album I wore out, along with just about everything the Archers ever recorded. "You and Me" is a sad, sad song, but wait! There's recovery on the horizon: Might! So what if it's passive aggressive recovery?

"Elixir Is Zog" + "Emma Get Wild" – Sebadoh

About midway through the semester, a package arrived from the U.S. My friend Chris, who could have run a record store out of his dorm room, had sent over a couple of mix tapes. He'd included these two songs back to back, as they are on Bubble and Scrape. I have no idea what they're about and I don't care because they're amazing. They're sonic wonders. Things were starting to look up.

"Gladiator" – The Jesus Lizard

The bands I was into could get heavy, but this was something else. This was heavy the way Sonny Rollins gets heavy. It was loud, even when played at a whisper, dynamic, melodic, and psychologically dangerous. I loved this band from the moment I first heard "Gladiator," lying on my narrow bed in Dormitory #3 at Capital Normal University School of Foreign Languages, listening to a live recording from the Jesus Lizard Show, which was on one of my roommate's mix tapes. As soon as I got back to the U.S., I bought the album, which includes David Yow engaging in some colorful banter with the audience.

"Gold Soundz" – Pavement

I'd listen to "Gold Soundz" over and over while I was practicing writing characters for Teacher Rao's class, stopping the tape, spinning it back, click click, doing it so many times I could land on the blank tape ahead of the opening chord by feel. Hearing that elegiac tone, Malkmus' voice close and clear, the band's resistance to rush, the soothing guitars, and I'm back there at my desk. It's a gentle delivery system for some heavy science: You can never quarantine the past.

"New York, New York" – The Last Poets

This was on one of the glorious mix tapes my roommate brought with him. It's angry, it's honest. It's off the 1970 album The Last Poets, and all I can say is, give it a listen and then, if you don't know who The Last Poets are, read a little about them. Oddly enough, this is one that takes me directly to Beijing, probably because after I left China, I didn't hear it again for about 15 years.

"Promises" – Fugazi

Where would we be without 13 Songs? I'd made sure to take plenty of Fugazi with me, but "Promises" puts me on a train creeping through the Chinese countryside, looking over walls into people's house compounds.

I did actually manage to speak when I met Ian MacKaye after a show once. Of course, all I could say was, "You guys rock." Ian, being Ian, was gracious about it, as I'm sure he was to every kid who said that to him. And their number was legion.

"Deep Seat" – Swervedriver

You talk to people who went to Swervedriver concerts in the 90s and they all at some point wind up making this sound to describe the experience—a fuzzy, drawn out whooshing pulse. Some people throw in hand motions, an oscillating push, as if they're trying to hold back a wall of air. I've never seen Swervedriver live, but for years—please trust me here, I'm not exaggerating—probably from 1993 until about 2005, there were only a handful of days I didn't listen to this song, usually at Chinese train loudspeaker volume. I listened to this song in the Stone Forest in Yunnan province, and at the monastery in Xiahe, and on a hill outside Dali. London, Boston, Inishbofin, Zurich, Iowa City, San Francisco, Winnsboro. It's been everywhere with me. I'm about to listen to it again.


Jack Livings and The Dog links:

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

Kirkus review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
New York Times review
Open Letters Monthly review
Publishers Weekly review

Los Angeles Review of Books interview with the author
Tweed's interview with the author
Wall Street Journal interview with the author
Washington Independent Review of Books interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Book Notes - Kevin Fortuna "The Dunning Man"

The Dunning Man

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Kevin Fortuna's short story collection The Dunning Man is dark and compelling, a book filled with unlikable characters so keenly drawn the reader cannot help but empathize with them.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Kevin Fortuna's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection The Dunning Man:


Growing up in an Irish-Italian household in a few cities that included New Orleans, with a musical genius for a brother (bias acknowledged), music was a constant for me. Now I'm a writer at night and a tech entrepreneur by day, but I never lost my obsession with music. A few years back I founded a destination website, popdust.com, which focuses on pop music. One of my friends and co-founders is a career music guy, and we used to jawbone a lot about the industry and what makes great music. He believes that members of every generation think their music is the "best" music. His thinking is that the music you listen to while coming of age creates a kind of "soundtrack" to your life, the melodies enhance your formative experiences and lodge them in memory. Makes sense to me. But I argued with him over the nuances of the theory and over whether some genres of popular music (disco, electronica) might be fly by night, just like some of the one-hit wonder acts that have created some of the most durable and memorable songs ("Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners or "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum). Still, my friend is right—popular music is the soundtrack of our youth. And some people—like many of the characters in my book—don't ever really grow up. They keep striving for meaning, keep picking up new anthems and new formative experiences. My short story collection, The Dunning Man is about characters who reject society's rules and go far away from the beaten path. The below songs are the soundtrack for my book and for for my characters' lives.


"Be My Baby" – The Ronettes

Veronica Bennett's haunting, gorgeous voice, the wall of sound, the solemn, on-a-mission backbeat, and the explosive chorus make this love song a classic. Connor Ryan ("Dead" and "The Dunning Man") knows this song and it informs and inspires his love for Ursula—and, later, for Alice. Doesn't matter that its sung by a woman—the words and mood fit his all-in approach to love and relationships, and the timelessness fits his desire to do something that matters.


"Fairytale of New York" – the Pogues

Shane MacGowan's classic Christmas tune, which still charts to #1 or #2 in the UK every Christmas, is a fitting anthem for Maggie Dunne ("Flogging Maggie"). Like Shane, she lives by her own rules. She's got a poet's heart and an angel's voice, and, also like Shane, she doesn't give a fuck what society thinks of her. Hell, Shane even asked Maggie to take Kirsty's place at a Christmas Eve show in Dublin one year.


"Almost Home" – Joey Fortuna

To me, this song is an instant classic (and yes, it is written and sung by my brother, who is one of the best singer-songwriters I've ever heard (no irony here)). With a melody and hooky chorus that compare with the best songs of John Lennon and Paul Simon, this song captures what Connor is feeling as he gets closer to Alice and starts to realize that they might be something more than just friends. He's almost home. (shameless plug: www.joeyfortuna.com).


"Come On Eileen" – Dexys Midnight Runners

This tune actually makes a cameo in "Sullapalooza" and touches off a fateful car chase. Our hero is stuck in the past and what could have been, so it makes sense that he's listening to this song from his high school days. He lives for the moment and he loves this song for one of its best lines: "In this moment, you mean everything…"


"Rocks Off" – by The Rolling Stones

I imagine Jimmy Dolan ("Poor Jimmy") blasting this song on his headphones when he's going to rescue his Afghani sweetheart. It has a 'fuck you' vibe to it that suits Jimmy perfectly. He can't stand authority, sunshine bores the daylights out of him, and he's always trying to get his rocks off.


"Running to Stand Still" – U2

In this song I see Alice ("The Dunning Man"). It has a profundity and dignity and hidden passion to it that suits her. She's a noble person, and life has been bad to her. She's got a no-good boyfriend, and her upstairs neighbor has made her living situation unbearable. But she also has Connor. He can see that she's running but standing still and tall. He feels her, wants to help her.


"Madame George" – Van Morrison

Though it's not actually in the story, I can imagine this song playing in the background at the Fahey wedding while Rose Casey ("Weddings and Burials") is talking to the club's caretaker, Rodney Meeks. She's outside of the main ballroom but can hear Van crooning this slow dance song for the wedding party. The wistfulness of words and melody echo her mood and the bitter homecoming to the Natchez Club, the scene of her husband's undoing.


"Maggie May" - Rod Stewart

Maggie Dunne ("Flogging Maggie") was named after Maggie May from this song, which probably had some impact on how her life turned out from there. Maggie is a good girl, but she doesn't want to be. She knows too much about the meanness of the world, and she can't pretend otherwise.


"We Are Alive" – Bruce Springsteen

In the movie version of the story, Connor ("The Dunning Man") plays this tune on his car stereo when he's leaving NYC and Ursula behind and heading for Atlantic City. It has a rousing, solemn energy to it, and a soulfulness. It's about dying and being reborn, becoming "alive." That's what Connor wants.

"Bastard Landlord" – The Pogues

Connor ("The Dunning Man") plays this song as he approaches the Beachgarden complex in Atlantic City. Connor doesn't want to be the bad guy, 'the Man,' but that's who he is to his favorite tenant—at least on some level. He wants to change that dynamic.


"Empire State of Mind" – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

Stryker Jones respects this song, in spite of his long-time rivalry with Jay-Z. He knows that it was Alicia who made it work by writing one of the year's best hooks. But he also appreciates the wit and sense of history in Jay-Z's words. Sure he brags like all rap stars must, but he also talks about the girl on the bus getting caught up in drugs and promiscuity. He talks about how the city can chew you up. Connor knows this. Stryker knows this. They're both survivors of the Empire State of Mind.


"Memories are Made of This" – Dean Martin

I've always been more of a Dino guy than a Frank guy, and this might be my favorite Dean Martin song. Perfect vehicle for his smooth, warbling baritone. Tells a story, too, and works as background music for Connor's encounter with the "Fat Italian" on the train to Atlantic City. Good irony here, with a sentimental tune playing during this existential and tense conversation. Memories are what make the Fat Italian want to find the exit.

"Do Whatcha Wanna Pt. 3" – Rebirth Brass Band

In the movie of "The Dunning Man," this classic Mardis Gras track is playing when Connor walks into Stryker's apartment. It's a chaos of trumpets and trombones and sax and guttural vocals—and one of the happiest melodies you'll ever here. Makes sense for this Stryker scene for two reasons: First, as the title suggests, Stryker does what he wants. Second, the man knows music and his own stuff is influenced by the tribal, quasi-religious homegrown music of New Orleans.


"Feel the Tide" – Mumford and Sons

"You and I, now, we can be alright if we just hold on to what we know is true." I think this song belongs to the narrator of "Sullapalooza." It's a tribute and a serenade to his wife, Anne—whom he loves, whom he is finding his way back to at the end of the story. He feels the tide turning. He's growing up during the course of the story. He's figuring himself out.


"Maybe I Believe" – Joey Fortuna

Every year my two brothers and I do this thing called "Brothers Weekend." You can fill in the blanks. We go somewhere, without women, and we blow off steam and catch up with each other. We kicked this off about five years ago, and the destination was Jazz Fest in New Orleans. This song by my brother Joey came out of that weekend. It's a life-affirming song and it belongs to all the characters in my book. They all believe, they all have something to live for. They're finding it.


Kevin Fortuna and The Dunning Man links:

the book's website

AskMen review
Esquire review
Kirkus review
Parade review
Popdust review


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Book Notes - Johanna Skibsrud "Quartet for the End of Time"

Quartet for the End of Time

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Johanna Skibsrud's masterfully original and epic novel Quartet for the End of Time is a haunting meditation on war and memory.

The Globe and Mail wrote of the book:

"Quartet is a strange, deeply compassionate, and beautiful work. Skibsrud's prose, full of parenthetical asides and subordinate clauses, suitably slows us into contemplation of an eternally recurring moment."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Johanna Skibsrud's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Quartet for the End of Time:


I conceived of my new novel, Quartet for the End of Time (W.W. Norton 2014) as a loose transcription—or reflection upon, or conversation with—Olivier Messiaen's composition of the same name. Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time was first performed in a German prison camp in 1941, and the rare combination of instruments: piano, violin, cello and clarinet was dictated by what—and who—the composer had available to him. I first heard the Quartet performed in 2007. I was immediately struck not only by its strange beauty, but also by the remarkable story of its creation. Where Messiaen had struggled to transcribe the sounds of the world around him—birdsong, the rattle of military trucks on the road—I began my struggle to transcribe the musical and ideational complexities of Messaien's Quartet into words.

The most obvious soundtrack to my novel is, therefore, the quartet itself. But there are other sounds, songs, and ideas that either act as influences upon, or are represented within the pages of my novel. Try to imagine the following songs or recordings playing alongside, or interrupting, Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time – creating the sort of dissonance that so inspired the composer … and me.

"La Mémoire" from Gil Wolman's Mégapneumes

Gil Wolman, a French artist, poet and filmmaker, joined the Lettrist movement in 1950 and went on to develop what he called "Mégapneumes." Rather than paying minute attention to the letter, megapneumes were based upon breath units. In its broadest sense, I consider my novel—like Wolman's "La Mémoire"—a meditation on—and exploration of—time, rhythm and breath.


"British Troops – Gas Shell Bombardment" (Will Gaisberg)

On October 19, 1918, the British sound engineer, Will Gaisberg, recorded a British gas-shell bombardment just prior to the troops' entry into Lille, France. He set up his recording equipment immediately behind a battery of 4.5' guns 6' howitzers. "Here the machine could well catch the finer sounds of the "singing," the "whine," and the "scream" of the shells," wrote Gaisberg of the experience, "as well as the terrific reports when they left the guns."

One of the key historical events in my novel is the Bonus Army March of 1932, when over 20,000 veterans camped (almost literally) on the doorstep of the White House in order to demand the instant cash payment of the "Bonus" they'd been promised for serving in the widely unpopular First World War. For many of my characters, the sounds recorded by Will Gaisberg in 1918 would have still been ringing in their ears.


"My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" (traditional) and "Gods tomorrow" (A.H. Ackley)

In the Bonus Army camps, where my novel begins: "There was always somebody singing and stomping along to ‘My Bonus Lies Over the Ocean" or "God's Tomorrow Will Be Brighter than Today." (Skibsrud, Quartet for the End of Time.)


"America" (Rev. Samuel F. Smith), "Hail Hail the gang's all here" (Theodora Morse) and "The Old Gray Mare" (unknown)

On the sixteenth of July, 1932—the day before Congress was set to adjourn for the summer—Walter Waters, the leader of the Bonus Army, headed a march of 17,000 veterans and their supporters. When Waters was arrested at the White House gates, a riot seemed inevitable until a young nurse—who had travelled down from New York in order to offer her support—grabbed a megaphone and led the crowd in singing "America!" This was followed by a rousing rendition of "Hail, Hail the Gang's All Here," the tried and true, "My Bonus Lies Over the Ocean," and for some inexplicable reason a few disjointed rounds of "The Old Gray Mare."


"Roses of Picardy" (lyrics: Frederick Weatherly, music: Haydn Wood)

Two of my main characters are Arthur Sinclair—a World War One veteran and a poor sharecropper from rural Kansas—and his son, Douglas. Arthur joins the Bonus March and takes Douglas along with him, but during the Bonus Army riot of July 29th, 1932, Arthur is arrested and falsely accused of conspiracy. He subsequently disappears. Douglas spends the rest of the novel searching for his father.

One particularly vivid memory Douglas has of Arthur is of Arthur singing this song. Recorded in 1917, it was one of the most popular songs of the First World War.


"Bourgeois Blues" (Lead Belly)

The other two main characters in the novel are a brother and sister duo, Alden and Sutton Kelly—the children of a powerful US judge, turned congressman. In defiance of his father, Alden (the eldest of the two siblings) becomes involved with the Communist Party.

Huddie Ledbetter (aka Lead Belly) wrote "Bourgeois Blues," which later became an anthem for the Communist Party, after a trip to Washington D.C. Lead Belly had been invited to the city by Alan Lomax, and after a recording session for the Library of Congress, the two went out with their wives to celebrate. Because they were an interracial party, finding a place to do so was difficult, however. They were repeatedly thrown out of the restaurants and clubs they tried. "Home of the brave, land of the free, I don't wanna be mistreated by no bourgeoisie," Lead Belly sings.


"There's a Long Long Trail a Winding" (lyrics: Stoddard King, music: Alonzo "Zo" Elliott)

Even after the Bonus riot of 1932, when tens of thousands of veterans were forcibly expelled from the Capitol, many veterans continued to return to Washington every spring in order to demand their Bonus. When FDR came into power in early 1933, he set up camps for the veterans outside the city and encouraged them to give up on the Bonus – and sign up for WPA projects instead. Douglas Sinclair and his friend, "the bandit," find themselves in one of FDR's camps on a day when Eleanor Roosevelt has come for a visit. She "led them in singing ‘There's a Long, Long, Trail a-Winding," and sure enough all of them, the bandit included, sang along. It made the bandit sick to think of it later—to recall how all those men had waggled their heads and said, Why, yes, ma'am, when the President's wife had asked if they were all just as happy as could be—and Douglas always wondered if that was because the bandit had waggled his head right along with them: Douglas had seen it with his own eyes." (Skibsrud, Quartet for the End of Time)


The Seven Tone Scale

Years after the Bonus March, Sutton Kelly struggles to make a career for herself in journalism. When the Second World War arrives, she is eager to be posted overseas, but for years she is denied—offered the flimsy excuse that there are no "women's facilities" at the front. While she remain in New York, her boyfriend, Louis, is sent to London to cover the Blitz. There, he falls in with the esotericist P.D. Ouspensky and writes rapturously to Sutton of his experiences. Ultimately, Louis's connection with Ouspensky and his followers ends their relationship.

In Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous" he describes the seven-tone scale as the formula of a cosmic law, "the law of octaves." This law explains, as Ouspensky writes, "many phenomena in our lives:

- The principle of the deviation of forces.
- The fact that everything in the world is moving and changing.

"The consistent development of an octave is based on what looks like an accident. If octaves are going parallel to a given octave and intersect its ‘interval,' they can ‘fill up' the ‘interval.' This ‘additional shock' must correspond in force and character to the interval it is filling." (Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous)


"Love and Kisses" (Paul Whiteman) and "Take the A-Train" (Duke Ellington)

Sutton is finally sent overseas—first to the South Pacific, then to Italy, and finally to Berlin just as it is being liberated by the Russians.

"When they returned to the command post there was a party in full swing, though it was barely noon. Once again, they were served cheese and fish on fine dark bread, and the vodka flowed. They danced, the guards-major and his handpicked staff of bereaved officers swinging Frieda and Sutton effortlessly around the room. ‘Love and Kisses' by Paul Whiteman played. Then Duke Ellington's ‘Take the "A" train.'" (Skibsrud, Quartet for the End of Time)


Saint-Saëns's "The Swan" from The Carnival of Animals, Bach's suites for solo cello, and Schubert's Ave Maria

Alden Kelly becomes so badly entangled with the Communist Party and their "underground" affairs that he ends up fleeing the country. He ends up in Paris where, during the Second World War, he learns the extraordinary story of Olivier Messiaen's creation of the Quartet for the End of Time.

It was thanks to a friendly German guard, Brüll, that Messiaen and his friends were able to acquire the instruments they needed to perform the quartet. When the cellist, Etienne Pasquier, returned from town one day with a cello purchased by Brüll: "a chair was dragged out of the mess hall and placed in the middle of the exercise yard, where Pasquier was invited to play. He played for nearly an hour: Saint-Saëns's "The Swan" from The Carnival of Animals, Bach's suites for solo cello, and Schubert's Ave Maria." (Skibsrud, Quartet for the End of Time)


Benny Goodman's "Oomph Fa Fa" (recorded 1944)

In the hours immediately following the liberation of Paris in 1944, Alden finds himself in a bar listening to a blind French soldier recount the story of how, during his first hours of blindness, he had heard that Benny Goodman was dead:

"Of course, later, the blind man said, they would learn that Benny Goodman was alive and well, living in New York. His death had been only a rumor—its source unknown. He should have been suspicious, of course. It was not uncommon for such rumors to spread, and indeed, it would have been impossible to count the number of celebrities who had died and been resurrected again during the war. It was almost as though the rumors generated themselves for the sake of the comfort and relief of learning, eventually, that Benny Goodman, or Ingrid Bergman, or Bing Crosby, or Vera Lynn, were indeed alive and well—untouched by war." (Skibsrud, Quartet for the End of Time)

With Benny Goodman's "Oomph Fa Fa," we arrive back at our starting place: a wordless exploration of time, rhythm, breath.


Johanna Skibsrud and Quartet for the End of Time links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Globe and Mail review
Kirkus review
Macleans.ca review
Publishers Weekly review

Ottawa Citizen profile of the author
The Toronto Quarterly interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists


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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - October 21, 2014

Thurston Moore

Elliott Brood's Work And Love, Mark Lanegan Band's Phantom Radio, Scott Walker and Sunn O)))'s collaboration Soused, and Thurston Moore's The Best Day are all new albums I can recommend this week.

Six Sleater-Kinney albums are reissued on vinyl (All Hands On The Bad One, Call the Doctor, Dig Me Out, The Hot Rock, One Beat, Sleater-Kinney, The Woods) and are also collected in Start Together, a seven-LP box set.

What new releases are you picking up this week? What can you recommend? Have I left anything noteworthy off the list?


This week's interesting music releases:

Allo Darlin: We Come From The Same Place
Andrew St. James: The Shakes
Annie Lennox: Nostalgia
Aretha Franklin: Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics
Bear's Den: Island
Ben Howard: I Forget Where We Were
Billy Idol: Kings & Queens Of The Underground
The Budos Band: Burnt Offering
Cold War Kids: Hold My Home
Doomsday Student: A Walk Through Hysteria Park
Eliot Bronson: Eliot Bronson
Elliott Brood: Work And Love
Horse Feathers: So It Is with Us
Iron Maiden: The Complete Albums Collection 1980 - 1988 LP Box Set [vinyl]
Jeff the Brotherhood: Dig The Classics EP [vinyl]
Jerry Garcia Band: GarciaLive Volume 5: December 31st 1975 Keystone Berkeley
Jessie Ware: Tough Love
Little Big Town: Pain Killer
Mark Lanegan Band: Phantom Radio
Neil Diamond: Melody Road
Primus: Primus & The Chocolate Factory
Scott Walker and Sunn O))): Soused
Sleater-Kinney: All Hands On The Bad One (reissue) [vinyl]
Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor (reissue) [vinyl]
Sleater-Kinney: Dig Me Out (reissue) [vinyl]
Sleater-Kinney: The Hot Rock (reissue) [vinyl]
Sleater-Kinney: One Beat (reissue) [vinyl]
Sleater-Kinney: Sleater-Kinney (reissue) [vinyl]
Sleater-Kinney: Start Together (Limited Edition 7-LP Box Set) [vinyl]
Sleater-Kinney: The Woods (reissue) [vinyl]
Slipknot: .5: The Gray Chapter
T.I.: Paperwork
Thurston Moore: The Best Day
Transit: Joyride
The Who: The Who Hits 50!


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)


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Shorties (A Short Story by Tom Hanks, Murakami Music, and more)

A short story by actor Tom Hanks is featured in the New Yorker.


The Houston Chronicle profiled the composer of "Murakami Music."


The Quietus reconsidered Roxy Music's Country Life album forty years after its release.


The Nervous Breakdown shared an excerpt of Gina B. Nahai's novel The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.


NPR Music is streaming the new Daniel Lanois album Flesh and Machine.


SPIN interviewed Twin Peaks frontman Cadien James about the band's namesake television series and new album.


Comic Book Resources interviewed cartoonist Ed Piskor about his Hip Hop Family Tree series of books.


Flavorwire listed the 50 scariest short stories of all time.


NPR Music is streaming the Flaming Lips Beatles tribute album With A Little Help From My Fwends.


The Telegraph profiled author Marilynne Robinson.


The A.V. Club offered a primer to Fleetwood Mac's discography,


Harry L. Katz, author of Mark Twain's America, listed 10 of the literary icon's best books at Publishers Weekly.


The Rural Alberta Advantage visited The Current studio for a live performance and interview.


Filmmaker Jason Reitman discussed his relationship with books at Co.Create.


Drowned in Sound listed its favorite one-hit wonders.


Actor and comedian Bob Odenkirk discussed his favorite books at The Week.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


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Daily Downloads (Minus the Bear, White Fence, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Broken Stems: We Are Home EP [mp3]

Hamartia: The Joy of Rebellion pt. II & I + Singles album [mp3]

Joshua Worth: The Hours of the Day album [mp3]

Minus the Bear: NoiseTrade Sampler EP [mp3]

The Native Sibling: EP EP [mp3]

Sunbears!: "Laughing Girl" [mp3] from Future Sounds (out November 11th)

UMA: "Calm/Easy" [mp3]

Various Artists: The SerialBox Collection album [mp3]

Verite: Echo EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

White Fence: 2014-10-13, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


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