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February 28, 2015

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Including Hurray for the Riff Raff, Josh Garrels, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Cathedrals: Blush Remix EP [mp3]

Embleton: Sampler single [mp3]

Featherfin: Butterfly Girl EP [mp3]

Hurray for the Riff Raff: The Body Electric Tour EP [mp3]

Josh Garrels: Over Oceans album [mp3]

Sam Pinkerton: An Introduction album [mp3]

The Show Ponies: The Indiegrass EP [mp3]

Sleepy Holler: Sleepy Holler EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Marfa Myths Compilation album [mp3]

Various Artists: Teenage Angst Has Paid Off Well: A Nirvana Covers Album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Jay Gonzalez: 2015-02-12, Athens [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)





February 27, 2015

Book Notes - Nick Jaina "Get It While You Can "

Get It While You Can

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, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

I have long been a fan of Nick Jaina's music, and find his writing equally impressive. His memoir Get It While You Can is both poignant and profound in its vulnerable prose.

Justin Hocking wrote of the book:

"With a pitch-perfect ear for lyricism and rhythm, Nick Jaina interlaces personal narrative, music criticism, and intimate correspondences into one of those rare books that breaks new literary ground while also making you feel deeply. Jaina lays himself bare, sentence after sentence, yet never dominates the stage. He’s content to mastermind the show from the background, letting exquisite riffs about Nina Simone, Ray Charles, and Paul Simon stand in as emotional correlates for his own heartbreak and music industry tribulations. Get It While You Can is a brilliant and compassionate work by a serious new literary talent."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Nick Jaina's Book Notes music playlist for his memoir Get It While You Can :


I wanted to write a book about miracles. The kinds of miracles that are either too big or too small to talk about. When something is too miraculous you think that it must be rigged, that surely it didn't just happen by chance, which leads you to appreciate it less. And if the miracle is too small, you just step right over it and walk on to the next thing.

Music is a miracle. The fact that these vibrations are sonorous and have a groove, and that we've figured out how to encode them into numbers so you can listen to them while you drive in your car or walk under the live oaks on St. Charles is something to wonder at.

I also wanted to write love letters, and I found that most of my love letters consisted of pointing out miracles and saying, "Isn't that cool?" After all these years, the best approach I have for wooing someone is just, "Hey, look at how cool that is. And you know what? You're cool, too."


"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana

I think of this song as tearing through every speaker that played it in the early nineties, as though the song were a panther in a cat carrier. It was the first song I heard that was not something I could reasonably listen to with my parents. It sounded so dangerous, like the singer was not well, like the singing of the song was something that tore him apart.

I bought the record and listened to it many times. The booklet inside didn't list all the song lyrics. It just had one paragraph with bits of lyrics from different songs, which left me to guess what exactly he was singing.

Music means more to people in that fragile teenage period that it does to anyone else. Music is a lifeline, a way to feel like you're not the most awkward freak in the world. When Kurt Cobain sings, "I feel stupid and contagious," it is such a simple, vulnerable, dumb thing to hear some guy scream over electric guitars, and that simplicity and dumbness were so life-saving to me, at that time. Why would someone go to all the trouble to say that they feel stupid and contagious? Why would they go into an expensive Los Angeles recording studio, manufacture millions of CDs, and send them on trucks around the country to weird teenage boys so they could listen in their parents' living rooms and feel okay? Thank God he did.


"Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" by Blind Willie Johnson

Blind Willie Johnson was one of many bluesmen from the Mississippi Delta to receive the nickname "Blind," though at least in his case he most definitely couldn't see, because when he was a child his mother's jealous lover got in a fight with her and threw scalding lye into Willie's face. He never dramatically improved his fortunes throughout his life, though he did manage to record a few dozen songs onto laquered vinyl records, some of which outsold even the records of Bessie Smith at the time. But he also once got arrested on the streets of New Orleans for playing the seemingly incendiary song, "If I Had My Way They'd Tear This Building Down," in front of the Customs House. And near the end of his life he lived in a house in Beaumont, Texas that burned to the ground. Since he had nowhere else to go and no money, he slept in the charred ruins of his home, contracting malarial fever due to the terrible conditions of his habitation. He died from this shortly thereafter. It was only during the folk revival of the 1960's that his name and his music became more commonly known.

He wrote and recorded a song called "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" in Dallas, Texas in 1927. The title is taken from the first line of an old hymn, "Gethsemane," which refers to the garden where Jesus and his disciples prayed the night before his crucifixion. The line from that hymn goes, "Dark was the night and cold was the ground, on which my Lord was laid." It is a hymn in the great Christian tradition of trying to instill in its listeners a sense of how much suffering Jesus endured at the end of his life so that we can appreciate his sacrifice for us. Johnson's song has no discernible lyrics, just a soft moaning voice accompanying a slide guitar.

This song was one of a couple dozen songs that were etched into the Golden Record that was placed on the Voyager I and II probes that set out through the solar system in the late seventies. They are now the two human-made objects that are farthest from the Earth, and they contain this song from a poor bluesman who had no idea that anything that he created would endure beyond his life.


"Graceland" by Paul Simon

Following a songwriter throughout their life can be a painful process. It's not like following a sports team where if you don't have a good team this year you can always comfort yourself with the thought that next year's team could be better: the young players could mature, the owner could make a great trade, someone could break through with a career year. When you're following a songwriter you know that there generally aren't bad years. There are the early years where the songwriter still has it, and there are the later years where he very clearly doesn't. Sometimes there are albums early on that are just okay, but don't indicate that his talent has fallen into the ocean, sometimes he can bounce back from early duds. But if it's later in his career, you just know it when you hear the album that signals that the man has lost all his creative spark. And that album is usually the one that wins him his first Grammy.

For Paul Simon, the painful album came in 2000 with You're The One! The exclamation point was a bad sign that this would be the first album where his quirky sense of casual conversation and high arching imagery didn't quite mesh into something that generated those indescribable pop moments. I was in Toronto the day the album came out, which happened to be the same day that Radiohead's Kid A came out. I went to the record store and bought both albums. I played Paul Simon's first, in the car. Sometimes you can tell just by looking at the lyric booklet that the album is not going to be something you're going to listen to again and again. I didn't make it through one whole spin of the album. Never did. For Paul Simon it was the sign that the good days were over.

The personality of the singer is so important to music. I want to know what they were going through when they wrote the songs, how hard it was to make the album. It affects how I hear the music. Because ultimately the music that you hear on an album is an illusion. For the most part, it was not played exactly how you envision it when you listen to it. Most albums are not performed by all the musicians at the same time, in the order that you hear them. Usually it's recorded piece by piece, starting with perhaps the drums and then the bass in a second pass, and all the other instruments in subsequent takes. It's more like a painting. It's a few minutes in time, frozen and perfected, stretched and cut, until it sounds like a band playing together in a room. And the person singing the song isn't singing because he was moved to those emotions at that moment. He wrote them out ahead of time, practiced them, did multiple takes, and the take that you're listening to on the album is really probably just one of several takes, and maybe at the moment that he was singing those lines he wasn't even thinking about the things that he was singing about. It's an illusion. It's made to sound like a spontaneous burst of music, but it's anything but that. And that's okay. It's an illusion we all get caught up in. It doesn't even matter in the end.

This song plays a very subtle trick. The first verse is clearly about driving along the Mississippi River to Elvis' Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. The second verse gives more details about who is going on this trip, and the choruses reiterate that the Graceland he is going to is the literal place. Then, in the third verse, after singing about the hole in the heart of people who loved and lost, the third chorus comes around and each time Simon says "Graceland," he omits the part about Memphis, Tennessee. He's not talking about the literal place anymore, he's talking about a different journey, and that's what this song and this album did so well: it created a mythical place on top of a mythical place. It was an album of South African music named after the decadent home of rock and roll's first white appropriator of black music. And it sounded like he was talking about Utopia. It's nice to dream a while about the place where everything will be okay again.


"In The New Year" by The Walkmen

I have trouble getting into music while it's still relevant. It takes me a long time to get to the correct emotional place to accept a piece of music on its own terms. Often that'll be years down the road, when the band is no longer playing that old stuff anymore. Somehow I got the new Walkmen album You & Me the month it came out. I was in Ohio, driving my friend across the country in a rented Penske truck, and we stopped at a Target and bought this album. I fell in love with this song in the first verse. That rarely happens with me. Within a week I was at Bumbershoot in Seattle with my girlfriend Sara, who loved the album and this song too, and The Walkmen were playing. We had to rush to catch their set, and the crowd was enormous. I pushed through ahead of her to get close to the band, and when I turned back I had lost her in the crowd. She was way back there wearing a bright orange dress in that beautiful late-afternoon Seattle sun, and the band starting playing "In The New Year." I jumped up to wave at her and she jumped to wave at me. She pushed through the crowd and made her way to me just in time for the chorus, when it sounds like Hamilton is tearing his head off to sing those high notes. "I never hear the bad news, and I neverrrrrrrrrrr will."


Nick Jaina and Get It While You Can links:

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

Willamette Week review

Coast Weekend interview with the author
Eleven PDX interview with the author
Georgia Straight profile of the author
The Inessa Blog interview with the author
Oregon Public Broadcasting interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

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


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Atomic Books Comics Preview - February 27, 2015

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

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

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


Chew Volume 9: Chicken Tenders

Chew Volume 9: Chicken Tenders
by John Layman / Rob Guillory

This new volume of the quirky hit comic series finds Tony Chu, the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats, getting used to married life and working on crimes as his friends him conspire to take on the psychopath who killed his twin sister.


Criminal (Savage Edition One-Shot)

Criminal (Savage Edition One-Shot)
by Ed Brubaker / Sean Phillips

Sometimes a variant packaging concept is so perfect for a title, you wonder why it's a variant and not the sole packaging. This is the case with this Criminal one-shot. Sure, you could pick up the standard comic format issue of this one-shot crime title - but why would you when, for a dollar more, you could pick up this version - magazine-formatted, with a Savage Sword of Conan parody cover that perfectly fits the first 8 pages - a comics magazine (popular in the 70s) that one of the characters is reading.


Fuff #10

Fuff #10
by Jeffrey Lewis

Cartoonist and musician Jeffrey Lewis returns with another issue of is vastly under-rated Fuff. In #10, he continues to awesomely overshare his sexual autobiographies with his therapist - his drawing desk.


Garbage Pail Kids: Love Stinks

Garbage Pail Kids: Love Stinks
by various

Arriving just in time to be a couple weeks too late for Valentines Day (thanks, IDW), this comic collects love-themed GPK grossout stories by "Green" Dean Haspiel, Shannon "Cannon" Wheeler, "Pegleg" Peter Bagge, Miran "Migraine" Kim, "Joltin'" Joe Smiko and more!


Sex Criminals Volume 2: Two Worlds One Cop

Sex Criminals Volume 2: Two Worlds One Cop
by Matt Fraction / Chip Zdarsky

First, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the punny reference in this volume's subtitle? Gross, right? Okay... In this volume the honeymoon is over, lust fades.


Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
by David Graeber

Author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years, the hit book on economics (yeah, that's a strange sentence to write), returns - this time look at the way bureaucracy, and the dominant institutions of our times which are guided by it, effects our lives.


Yo Miss: A Graphic Look At High School

Yo Miss: A Graphic Look At High School
by Lisa Wilde

Collecting the widely acclaimed zine, Yo Miss is a staggeringly realistic look at inner-city education in beautiful, comics form.


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


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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


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Shorties (An Interview with Tom McCarthy, New Music from The Acorn, and more)

Flavorwire interviewed Tom McCarthy about his new novel Satin Island.


Stream new music from The Acorn.


Rolling Stone profiled Kim Gordon.


Val James, the first black American NHL player, talked about his memoir Black Ice with All Things Considered.


Stream Shilpa Ray's new covers EP.


New York magazine interviewed Sheila Heti about playwrighting.


The most creative cities in the United States.


Biographile listed influential literary cliques.


Billboard profiled the 33 1/3 series of books on seminal albums.


The Guardian recommended books about San Francisco.


American Songwriter profiled singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt.


The Millions interviewed John Valliant about his novel The Jaguar's Children.


Starting this summer, new music will be released on Fridays worldwide.


Book Riot paired beers with books.


Stream a new Warpaint song.


John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats talked books, music, wrestling and more with the Guardian.


Musicians, producers and crew talk to Uncut about working with Bob Dylan from 1989-2006.


The Guardian recommended the best books on Burma.


Vulture interviewed Nelson George about his new novel The Lost Treasures of R&B.


Stream a new Purity Ring song.


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 (A Nirvana Tribute Album, Cathedrals, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Andy Kidd: "Black Swan" [mp3]

Blind Lake: "Walk Beside Me" [mp3] from On Earth (out June 9th)

Cathedrals: Blush Remix EP [mp3]

Church Bats: Live on WFMU [mp3]

The Golden Hippie: Flowers on the Sun EP [mp3]

Jesse & the Revelator: several tracks [mp3]

Nicole Andrews: "Good Girl" [mp3] from In the Shallows

Thomas Carnacki with Jesse Quattro: Live at My Castle of Quiet / WFMU [mp3]

Various Artists: Teenage Angst Has Paid Off Well: A Nirvana Covers Album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

M.C. Taylor and Friends: 2015-01-18, Durham [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)

February 26, 2015

Book Notes - Peter Richardson "No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead"

No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead

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, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Peter Richardson's book No Simple Highway is an exhaustively researched and compelling cultural history of the Grateful Dead and the community that rose up around the band.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Peter Richardson's Book Notes music playlist for his book No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead:


How to assemble a soundtrack for a cultural history of the Grateful Dead? Fill it with my favorite Dead songs, collect their most revered jams, or try to represent the various music streams that fed their huge repertoire? I could even feature the music that Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh spun at KMPX while that San Francisco radio station was pioneering free-format rock programming in the mid-1960s.

I finally decided to produce a soundtrack that highlights the Dead's origins. Well before the band existed, Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter were listening avidly to Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, which Folkways Records released in 1952. That idiosyncratic collection was a portal to what Greil Marcus called the Old, Weird America—a shadow world of obscure heroes, rogues, doomed love affairs, suicides, murderous exploits, and half-forgotten legends.

In that spirit, then, I begin with Noah Lewis's "New Minglewood Blues," which Smith included in his anthology, and which the Dead recorded and performed many times in concert. Lewis's song was only twelve years older than Garcia, but by the time he heard it, it already sounded ancient, not to mention very weird and very American.

As a youth, Garcia heard fiddler Scotty Stoneman stretch out a bluegrass number for twenty minutes during a live performance. That was the first time Garcia recalled getting high from music; he later said his hands hurt from applauding so much. I've included Stoneman's "Talkin' Fiddlin' Blues" to mark that turning point in Garcia's musical journey. From then on, the experience of total rapture he sought would require improvisation rather than recital.

Meanwhile, Garcia's fellow folkie, Robert Hunter, was reading James Joyce and trying to write fiction. That is, until he heard Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde (1966) and realized rock music could be a fit vehicle for his literary aspirations. Thus, I include "Visions of Johanna." Dylan was another Harry Smith fan; later, he and Hunter would collaborate on Together Through Life (2009).

By the mid-1960s, the Dead were part of a vibrant San Francisco scene that included Jefferson Airplane. When they recruited Grace Slick from The Great Society, she brought along two songs, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit," a touchstone for the San Francisco counterculture. Like the older San Francisco artists who introduced the teenaged Garcia to bohemianism, the local bands were highly collaborative. Garcia contributed to the Airplane's debut album, Surrealistic Pillow, and coined the title. The Dead also benefited indirectly from their commercial success. Aided by San Francisco music impresario Tom Donahue, Warner Bros. signed the Dead to their first record deal.

One of Hunter's early lyrics was "Dark Star," which became the Dead's most famous (and protean) jam. Many bands, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones, were going psychedelic; with this song, the Dead went galactic. And where Jefferson Airplane alluded to Lewis Carroll, Hunter raised the literary stakes by echoing T.S. Eliot. Hunter would soon cast himself as a western writer, but there was nothing especially western about this lyric, except that it featured a frontier—the final one, space.

The Dead's early, more experimental music didn't sell many albums. But they also had other challenges. In October 1967, most of them were arrested for drug possession in their home at 710 Ashbury. The following year, they moved to bucolic Marin County, where they hung out with David Crosby and his folkie friends. Meanwhile, Garcia taught himself to play pedal steel and provided the opening riff for "Teach Your Children." That song appeared on Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969), a huge critical and commercial success. Both bands appeared at Woodstock that summer. Insofar as the event drew on the contemporary urge to "get back to the garden," Woodstock was a powerful expression of the back-to-the-land movement at its peak.

The Dead's next album, Workingman's Dead, tapped that same back-to-the-land urge. It was packed with soulful acoustic music and vocal harmonies, and when the executives at Warner Bros. heard "Uncle John's Band," they also heard the cash registers ringing. The Dead toured Canada that summer on the so-called Festival Express and returned to the Bay Area to record American Beauty. Those two albums gave the Dead their first taste of commercial success and something to tour behind.

American Beauty included "Truckin'," another popular single. This one tapped the American fascination with the open road, which the band inherited from Jack Kerouac and On the Road. As their touring machine grew in the 1970s, more and more fans began to follow their annual migrations. Those tours modeled a new form of American wanderlust and expanded the social space for the expression and transmission of countercultural values.

On one of their live albums in the 1970s, the Dead included "Brown-Eyed Women." Set somewhere in Appalachia, the song details the challenges of moonshiners during the Great Depression. Hunter's lyric would have been right at home in Smith's anthology. Garcia once said that he related more to Dylan's lyrics, but that Hunter had the ability to evoke a whole world in a song. This one is a good example.

The Dead's touring machine rumbled through the 1970s, when critics wrote them off as a nostalgic act. After a creatively slack period in the early 1980s, the most serious challenge to their enterprise was Garcia's diabetic coma in 1986. When he pulled through and resumed touring, the Dead scored their first top-ten single with "Touch of Grey," which was accompanied by a creative music video. Hunter's lyric can be read as a complex response to the Age of Reagan, but mostly the song is an anthem to survival—Garcia's, the Dead's, and the Dead Head community's. When the band changed the chorus from "I will survive" to "We will survive," they gave their fans something to celebrate. They would survive Reagan, scourge of the hippies, as well as his militarized war on drugs.

The Dead disbanded when Garcia died of a heart attack in 1995. But the music lives on, largely through the continuous reinterpretation of the Dead songbook. Countless bands have covered the Dead, but I chose Los Lobos' version of "Bertha" as a token of that type. (I especially like the unlikely combination of an East Los Angeles bar band and San Francisco hippies.) The Dead's legacy will continue as long as new artists are drawn to their music. And as the overwhelming response to the Soldier Field shows in July demonstrates, the community is still going strong.


Peter Richardson and No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Boston Globe review
Riverfront Times review
San Jose Mercury News review
San Francisco Chronicle review

Golden Gate Xpress profile of the author
KALW interview with the author
On Point interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - February 26, 2015

In the weekly Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week, the Montreal bookstore recommends several new works of fiction, art books, periodicals, and comics.

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is one of Montreal's premiere independent bookstores.


Girl in a Band

Girl in a Band
by Kim Gordon

It doesn't really matter if you're a diehard Sonic Youth fan or you've only heard of singer/bassist/founding member Kim Gordon in passing, Girl in a Band is a candid, fascinating memoir from an often-elusive artist. Recounting Gordon's sunny SoCal upbringing, her family troubles, move to downtown New York, the birth of a band that would revolutionize American music, this isn't a book to miss.

Lucky Alan and Other Stories

Lucky Alan and Other Stories
by Jonathan Lethem

This collection of nine stories, Lethem's third, includes a breakdown at Sea World, a child rescued from a blizzard, and a political prisoner in a hole in a Brooklyn street, among many other situations and characters that embody the humour and the eeriness for which Lethem has, rightly become know.


Home

Home
by Carson Ellis

Previously illustrator of the Wildwood series and Decemberists artist, Ellis has in her solo debut crafted a loving tribute to the many places we call home. Whether houses, ships, or shoes, underwater palaces or science fictionial domes, the many places we live in come to life in Ellis' beautiful watercolours.


Discontent and Its Civilizations

Discontent and Its Civilizations
by Mohsin Hamid

Hamid has worked as a journalist, written fiction, lived on three continents, and become a trusted voice for topics as diverse as pop culture and international politics. In Discontents and Its Civilizations, his essays show in no uncertain terms that he is, as the Los Angeles Review of Books called him, a "master stylist."


Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life

Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life

Phaidon has put together another beautiful brook, this time riffing off a student notebook to present lessons from 36 "tutors," the colour-coded advice of, and assignment from, artists like Marina Abramovic, Miranda July, Chris Kraus, and Shirley Tse.


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's blog
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Facebook page
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Tumblr
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (Knausgaard's United States Experience, Jimmy Page on Physical Graffiti, and more)

The New York Times magazine features an essay by Karl Ove Knausgaard which chronicles his travels in the United States.


Jimmy Page talked to All Songs Considered about the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti album.


Word and Film interviewed author Matthew Dickman.


What if grunge never happened?


Edward St. Aubyn will reimagine Shakespeare's King Lear in a forthcoming novel.


Dan Deacon played a Tiny Desk Concert.

Exclaim! profiled Deacon.


Electric Literature interviewed author John Benditt.


Under the Radar profiled singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis.


Author Matt Sumell listed the top troublemakers in fiction.


SPIN shared an oral history of the Simple Minds song "Don't You (Forget About Me)."


Bookworm interviewed poet Peter Cole.


The A.V. Club suggested entry points into '80s UK synth pop.


VICE interviewed author Laura van den Berg.


Stream Thom Yorke's collaborative soundtrack for the documentary The UK Gold.


The importance of a book's final sentence.


Paste interviewed Iron and Wine's Sam Beam.


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 (Helmet, Embleton, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Bandoliers: "Leslie (Alternate Version)" [mp3]

Embleton: Sampler single [mp3]

Felice LaZae: "I Need To Feel" [mp3]

Jude Moses: "Inside" [mp3]

Moses Luster: The Hangman's Door album [mp3]

Paper Aeroplanes: Souvenirs EP [mp3]

The Rollups: The Rollups album [mp3]

Secretary: Secretary EP [mp3]

Steve Robinson & Ed Woltil: Tandem EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Helmet: 2015-02-22, 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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February 25, 2015

Book Notes - Matt Burriesci "Nonprofit"

Nonprofit

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, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Matt Burriesci's Nonprofit, winner of the AWP Prize for the Novel, is a smart and funny debut.

Charles Yu wrote of the book:

"The prose in Nonprofit is cut with a sharp tool from stone, words and sentences fitting together just right, with nothing seeming to be wasted or out of place. The dry, bleak wit, unrelenting and consistently funny, reminds me more than a little of Helen DeWitt. [T]he writer has the amazing ability to generate and sustain forward narrative velocity almost completely from the twin engines of dim hope and awful dread this sense of rolling forward toward disaster....[T]he novel never loses its nuanced, dark and funny tone, all of which is tempered by a small kernel of warmth, love, and buried optimism at the core of the story."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Matt Burriesci's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Nonprofit:


I can't actually write or revise while music is playing (I'm an ARTIST! I REQUIRE COMPLETE SILENCE FOR MY GENIUS!), but I always create a playlist for projects I'm working on. Often I pick songs for the playlist before I know why I picked them, and then I listen to them whenever I'm thinking about the book–– when I'm in the car, or getting groceries, or just walking around. Then when I'm revising, I go back and whittle the playlist down to the songs that turned out to be the most meaningful. There were 34 songs on the original playlist, but these are the 13 that made the revision playlist.

I don't know if other writers do this, but I always imagine what it would be like as a movie, so of course there are "soundtrack" songs. But other songs on the playlist capture the particulars of a scene (the actual events that transpire), or the feeling I want to convey (the tone, or the emotions I want to create in the reader, or the mental state of a particular character), or just the things I was thinking about when I was writing.

"E-Pro" by Beck
I ripped off the opening scene of Nonprofit from the open to Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep: our hero, a man of modest means, is introduced into the bizarre world of the wealthy, where he clearly does not fit in (and he's far less capable than Philip Marlowe). He's been summoned to meet with the nonprofit's biggest donor, a strange woman named Alice Cavanaugh Williams. He's made to wait in a strange white room for an obscene amount of time, where he's attended to by various domestic servants. Finally the donor emerges, acknowledges his presence, and our hero is immediately dismissed without any further discussion. In the "movie version" in my mind, I imagine him standing outside the home in the doorway, immediately after being dismissed, trying to figure out what the hell just happened, and this song blares as the title credits roll. It starts so dissonant and loud, so it's a jarring juxtaposition to the fancy pants mansion, and the song contains these words, "Don't forget to pickup what you sow/talkin' trash to the garbage around you." I had some real contempt for some of the antagonists, who aren't really evil so much as they are indifferent.

"I'm Dancing in the Show Tonight" by Ween
A lot of Nonprofit is about "assuming the position," often in absurd circumstances, and this song cracks me up. The song is about a little girl getting ready to dance in a recital. The song is told from the little girl's perspective, but it's performed by a clearly inebriated man. For me, this song sums up the absurdity I was trying to capture in the book. The main character is put in these bizarre situations, but he's got to constantly behave as if nothing is strange. "Are my lemons tied? / is my hair in place? / have I got a cute expression on my face? / Are my shoes all shined? / I'll try to keep in line / When I'm dancin' in the show tonight."

"Enjoy the Silence" by Nada Surf
This is another soundtrack song. It's an alt-rock cover of the Depeche Mode song. The "second plot" of Nonprofit involves the main character's struggle to conceive a child with his wife, and I imagined this song playing after the very last scene in the book. This song took on a whole new meaning for me once I was a dad.

"Here Comes Your Man" by Vitamin String Quartet
I'm a huge Pixies fan, and this song really helped me find the tone of the book. The biggest problem I have when writing a book is finding the voice, the tone––the sound of it. For me if I can figure out how the book is told, and the voice of the narrator, then usually most everything else will fall into place. I usually can't figure that out, and so the books fall apart. I'll start with a plot idea, but then the book becomes a labored, forced mess where people are just exchanging information and doing things to each other. There's no feeling to any of it, which I guess is the result of a lack of style. I found the style for Nonprofit after listening to the Vitamin String Quartet cover of "Here Comes Your Man." I imagined being at a fancy-pants benefit with this song playing (this version actually sounds perfectly appropriate for such an affair), but then I imagined a completely inappropriate Pixies song playing, like "Gouge Away" or "Something Against You," and I thought about a sea of horrified wrinkled WASPs. I imagined a man describing such a scene if he's standing outside his body, as if someone else was narrating his life as it unfolded, and I found the way to tell the story.

"As We Go Up, We Go Down" by Guided by Voices
Something I thought about a lot when I was writing Nonprofit was the issue of social class, specifically how one class is becoming increasingly distant from the rest of society, sort of ‘pulling away' from everyone else. The aristocracy is beginning to inhabit a reality that is actually different from the reality everyone else knows––it has different laws, different institutions, and different problems. This is one of GBV's catchier ditties. Like most of their stuff, I have no idea what it's actually about, so I pretend it's about that notion: that sometimes getting ahead is actually falling behind.

"‘Til I can Gain Control Again" by This Mortal Coil
When the book came out, I was surprised that a lot of people commented on how sad it was, but I guess I did listen to this song a lot when I was writing it. It's basically the saddest song ever. Another cover (Willie Nelson did the original), but there's something really desperate in this version–– like the singer is pleading for their husband/wife/partner to just be patient while the singer gets it together, but you're pretty sure it's not gonna work out. There's a lot of that in the book–– the main character is just trying to hold on to what he's got for dear life, and he's about an inch a way from losing everything.

"Ride Into The Sun" by Lou Reed
A lot of the book is about the city of Washington, DC, which can be a very harsh place to live. People keep explaining how cities work to the hero, how "this town" is different from all other towns. There's a snobby pride about living in DC, and yet there's also a stubborn nostalgia for a better city that existed sometime in the past. Nobody can identify what changed, but everybody knows it wasn't good. I prefer this version to the Velvet Underground version, which was recorded in their weird stint with the alternate vocalist. It's cynical but strangely optimistic at the same time. "Oh, the city….where everything seems so…dirty/ but if you're tired and you're filled with self pity / remember that you're just one more / person who's there."

"Good Times, Bad Times" by Led Zeppelin
Mostly for the opening verse, "In the days of my youth / I was told what it means to be a man…" The main character in the book has this problem where his balls are literally shrinking, so he has a crisis as a man–- it's not just that he can't conceive a child, but also that he can't provide for his family, or be what society expects him to be "as a man." But he does try to do all those things as best he can.

"Fight Test" by Flaming Lips
Along with the stuff about 'being a man' in the book, I thought a lot about courage, and what it is, and why it's important. I'm an anxious, neurotic person, so I guess this theme is on my mind a lot. The main character starts off as a bit of a coward, but then is pushed so far that he has to confront his cowardice, and remedy the defect in his character.

"Cause I'm a man, not a boy / and there are things you can't avoid / you have to face them / when you're not prepared to face them."

"Van Helsing Boombox" by Man Man
This is a great song from a freaky band. To me, it speaks to the structure of the book, which is basically Vonnegut's "Man in Hole" story shape. I have no idea why this song is called "Van Helsing Boom Box," because it doesn't appear to have anything to do with vampires or boom boxes. Whatever––it's Man Man. Don't go looking for rational explanations. But it does have to do with the book, because things go from bad to worse for our hero. "Only time will tell if I'll allow / the scenery around me to eat me alive…"

"Commissioning a Symphony in C" by Cake
The main storyline of the book is about a guy who tries to save an arts organization from collapsing into bankruptcy. This song cracks me up because I think it's very true of the arts– that oftentimes a work of great art is produced with the patronage of awful people with bizarre motivations. "With money you squeezed from the peasants / to your nephew you can give it as a present…"

"Sweet Child of Mine" by Luna
GNR gets Luna-fied! I always though this song was about Axl Rose's girlfriend, but then I found out it was about his kid and suddenly it became the sweetest song I'd ever heard. So this song has a lot of secret heart to it, and it hits you in the gut when you least expect it. I thought that was a neat trick to steal from Axl Rose.

"Don't Ya Rile ‘Em" by Frank Black
I love the Pixies, but I really think some of Frank Black's solo stuff is even better, especially this tune. There's a moment in the book where the main character really loses his marbles, and throughout, he's really at risk of going off the deep end–– this song echoed that feeling for me as I was writing it. "I've been working my way back to sane / It's coming back to me again / old navigational ways…"


Matt Burriesci and Nonprofit links:

the publisher's page for the book


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

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


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WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - February 25, 2015

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

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


Discontent and Its Civilizations

Discontent and Its Civilizations
by Mohsin Hamid

Born in Pakistan, reared in the U.S., and living now in England, Mohsin Hamid has kept his eyes open the whole time, and offers an engrossing, firmly informed take on life in the ever-wider world.


Cured: The People Who Defeated HIV

Cured: The People Who Defeated HIV
by Nathalia Holt

The gripping, extraordinary story of the first patients cured of human immunodeficiency virus.


Call Me Home

Call Me Home
by Megan Kruse

A moving story of a family, told in three voices, each with equal, but distinct, power.


Frog Music

Frog Music
by Emma Donoghue

Accomplished novelist Emma Donoghue takes on San Francisco in the summer of 1876 -- heat waves, an unsolved crime, burlesque, and more.


WORD Brooklyn links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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


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Shorties (Windham Campbell Prize Winners, New Godspeed You! Black Emperor Music, and more)

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes, including Largehearted Book Notes contributors Teju Cole and Ivan Vladislavic.


Stream new music from Godspeed You! Black Emperor's forthcoming album Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress.


The Atlantic pondered why author Jim Harrison is "the Rodney Dangerfield of literature."


Stream a new solo song from Mac McCaughan of Superchunk.


Paste interviewed Stephanie Kegan about her new novel Golden State.


The Quietus interviewed Duncan Wallis of the band the Dutch Uncles.


The Rumpus interviewed author Benjamin Parzybok.


Stream Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' new album, Chasing Yesterday (out March 3rd).


The Nervous Breakdown shared an excerpt from Halle Butler's debut novel Jillian.


Stream a new Tallest Man on Earth song.


io9 listed 10 books that will change how you see history.


Economist Paul Krugman on the changing (or not changing) economics of being a musician.

"What all this suggests to me, at least, is that the economics of being a financially successful musician aren't that different from success in other walks of life, and haven't changed that much over the long run despite huge changes in technology and tastes. Basically, musicians are just like bankers, except for the business about saving our souls versus destroying them. "


Paste shared a drinker's guide to the books of Hunter S. Thompson.


They Might Be Giants is offering a free download of a live performance of the band's Flood album.


SPIN interviewed Robert Christgau about his new memoir Going into the City: Portrait of a Critic as a Young Man.


Stream Ghostpoet's new album, Shedding Skin (out March 3rd).


Junkee interviewed singer-songwriter and author John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.


Houndmouth visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Fresh Air interviewed Philip Connors about his memoir All the Wrong Places.

Read an excerpt from the book.


NPR Music is streaming Sleater-Kinney's recent Washington show.


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)

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