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September 4, 2015

Atomic Books Comics Preview - September 4, 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.


101 Artists To Listen To Before You Die

101 Artists To Listen To Before You Die
by Ricardo Cavolo

If you're a music fan, you're not reading this book for obscure musical suggestions, although there are a few. Cavolo provides a colorful walk through his own musical taste - a sort of autobiography via the music he likes. It's akin to going to a party at his house and browsing through his LP collection. It's a personal journey through music, but then, as any honest fan of music will tell you, it's all a personal journey.


Black Rat

Black Rat
by Cole Closser

Closser, of acclaimed Little Tommy Lost fame, is back with another tour de force of cartooning experimentation and style. The connecting thread through these stories is the often Mickey Mouse-esque title character. The worlds and dimensions we see here are as varied as Closser's exquisite styles.


Dressing

Dressing
by Michael DeForge

Lose #7

Lose #7
by Michael DeForge

It's Michael DeForge week here at Atomic as the acclaimed cartoonist hits with two new books. Dressing collects a lot of his hard to find minis and anthology contributions, and Lose is the newest installment in his vital comics series.


Schmuck

Schmuck
by Seth Kushner / various

If you're a fan of comics writers like Harvey Pekar and Dennis P. Eichhorn, then Kushner's collection of awkward coming-of-age stories illustrated by the likes of Josh Neufeld, Nick Bertozzi, Dean Haspiel, Noah Van Sciver, and others is right up your alley. Honest, funny, autobiographical and, in the end, tragic as Seth lost his battle to leukemia earlier this year.


Spoko #1: Birds

Spoko #1: Birds
by Tomas Prokupek / various

This colorful and glossy anthology features bird-related stories from the Czech Republic, Poland, and the UK. Featuring work by Tomas Kucerovsky, Jamie Lewis, Joanna Sanecka, Sylwia Restecka, Tomas Prokupek and Petr Vcelka.


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


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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


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September 4, 2015

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - September 4, 2015

Widowspeak

Widowspeak's All Yours, the band's third album, is simply gorgeous.

Against Me!'s live album 23 Live Sex Acts, Diane Coffee's Everybody's A Good Dog, Joan Shelley's Over and Even, Lou Barlow's Brace the Wave, and Painted Palms' Horizons are other new albums I can recommend.

Archival releases include Unwound's Empire 4-LP box set and vinyl editions of three Beta Band EPs.


This week's interesting music releases:

Against Me!: 23 Live Sex Acts
Amorphis: Under the Red Cloud
Animal Collective: Live at 9:30
The Arcs: Yours, Dreamily
The Beta Band: Champion Versions (reissue) [vinyl]
The Beta Band: Los Amigos Del Beta Bandidos (reissue) [vinyl]
The Beta Band: The Patty Patty Sound (reissue) [vinyl]
Brian Jonestown Massacre: Thank God for Mental Illness (reissue) [vinyl]
Cold Beat: Into the Air
Cruciamentum: Charnel Passages
Dâm-Funk: Invite the Light
The Dear Hunter: Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
Diane Coffee: Everybody's A Good Dog
FIDLAR: Too
Frank Turner: Positive Songs for Negative People [vinyl]
Georgia: Georgia [vinyl]
Gold Class: It's You
Helen: The Original Faces
Iron Maiden: The Book of Souls
Jerusalem in My Heart: If He Dies, If If If If If If
Joan Shelley: Over and Even
Joey Cape: Stitch Buddy
Lou Barlow: Brace the Wave
Lumisokea: Mnemosyne
Max Richter: From Sleep
Method Man: The Meth Lab [vinyl]
The Money Pit: The Money Pit
Motives: This World, Not Dead, Merely Sleeping
Mueller_Roedelius: Imagori
Painted Palms: Horizons
Prince: HITNRUN
Public Image Ltd.: What the World Needs Now...
Sarah Kirkland Snider: Unremembered
Savant: Artificial Dance
Snow Patrol: Songs for Polarbears (reissue)
Social Studies: Wake [vinyl]
The Souljazz Orchestra: Resistance
Supergrass: I Should Coco (reissue) [vinyl]
Tommy Keene: Laugh in the Dark
Travi$ Scott: Rodeo
Unwound: Empire (4-LP box set) [vinyl]
Widowspeak: All Yours
The Wonder Years: No Closer To Heaven
Woolen Men: Temporary Monument


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 (An Interview with Renata Adler, An Excerpt from Grace Jones' Memoir, and more)

The Longform podcast interviewed author Renata Adler.


Read an excerpt from Grace Jones' memoir I'll Never Write My Memoirs.


Lou Barlow listed inspirational lyricists at the Boston Globe.


The Oyster Review recommended books to inspire your next trip.


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


The Rumpus interviewed author Susan Barker.


Stream a new GEMS song.


Adult magazine interviewed author Clancy Martin.


Paste listed television's best musical moments.


Litro interviewed author Claudia Rankine.


Stream a live performance by singer-songwriter Haley Bonar.


Minnesota Public Radio profiled independent publisher Coffee House Press.


Nils Frahm broke down his new album Late Night Tales track-by-track at Drowned in Sound.


The Irish Times listed the best rock and roll novels.


The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach talked to All Things Considered about his new band The Arcs.


Actor and author Jesse Eisenberg discussed books and reading with the New York Times.


Wifey interviewed singer-songwriter Amy Bezunartea.


The Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed recommended fall's best new books.



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 (Joan Shelley, Mac DeMarco, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

American Opera: Your Songs EP [mp3]

Bermuda Love Triangle: Sleep EP [mp3]]

Candy Hearts: Acoustic Hearts EP [mp3]

Joan Shelley: Folkadelphia Session [mp3]

Mike Edel: India, Seattle Sampler single [mp3]

Mother Moses: From the Ground EP [mp3]

The Tin Man: The Demos EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Shoeclack Radio Mixtape #1 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Mac DeMarco: 2015-08-17, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

September 3, 2015

Book Notes - Matthew Salesses "The Hundred-Year Flood"

The Hundred-Year Flood

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Matthew Salesses' novel The Hundred-Year Flood is an impressive debut, compelling and lyrical.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"What carries us through the novel is Salesses' gift for language: here is a meditative, poetic, modern fable crafted in haunting bursts of impressionistic prose."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Matthew Salesses' Book Notes music playlist for his book The Hundred-Year Flood:


Prague was a music education for me when I lived there as a 22-year old. I had gotten through college with Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. True story. It was in Prague that I found indie music. It was boy music, emo music for boys who refused to call it emo music, but it meant something to me then in the confusing atmosphere of ageless Prague.

The Postal Service - "Such Great Heights"
One night in Prague, two of my three roommates and I bought a bottle of absinthe and tried it out, as any expat is bound to do, lighting the sugar on fire and everything. Someone put on The Postal Service album, and by the time our last roommate got home, we were dancing around the dining room completely lost, completely happy. We went out that night, and I passed out on the side of a road. I think I had my wallet stolen, or that might have been another night.

The Wrens - "She Sends Kisses"
I dated a Czech girl in Prague who spoke ten languages. Our first night together, I sprained my quad, which was of course a hilarious story that absolutely mortified me. We were not meant to be. Later, she gave me the flu, and I lay up for days shivering, ignoring calls, not eating, sweating through my sheets. I was sure I was going to die. I went to the doctor afterward, and he asked why I hadn't gone earlier, since I had already recovered by then. I couldn't get out of bed was why. For some reason—I was 22—I never returned the calls, and we drifted away from each other. A few weeks after that, I saw her on the escalator in one of the metro stations. She saw me, too, but pretended not to. I didn't blame her.

Sondre Lerche - "Two Way Monologue"
Though that terrible Steve Carell movie almost killed Sondre Lerche for me, and though "Two Way Monologue" is still the only album of Lerche's that I really like, it's also probably the only album on this list that I still listen to. It can bring me right back to Prague, more than anything else can. It was the album I listened to as I walked. I walked everywhere in Prague, often at two or three in the morning, when it was quieter and I could be alone with my thoughts. I was intensely lonely in Prague, though I didn't think I was lonely at all. But I loved the sad walk to "Two Way Monologue," the dark streets, the moody cobblestone, the possibility of ghosts. It's like a whole part of my personality reappears when I hear Lerche's unmistakable voice.

The Weakerthans - "Plea from a Cat Named Virtute"
Prague has the best bars of any city I've ever been to. Cavernous bars in old wine cellars; green beer gardens hidden between buildings or on the tops of hills overlooking the city. And yet the bar we probably went to most often was a neighborhood place called "Black Cat White Cat." It still baffles me why we went there so often. It was brightly lit, brightly colored, with a vaguely hip slickness. It was like the kind of bar that would show up in a Murakami novel, as an example of where not to go.

Belle and Sebastian - "The Boy with the Arab Strap"
I couldn't tell you what this song is about, but I always felt very foreign listening to it. I always felt very foreign in Prague, but somehow less foreign than I had felt in America. Because it's relative. Every American was foreign in Prague.

Sufjan Stevens - "Casimir Pulaski Day"
What Sufjan Stevens was doing with place was something I wanted to do. I had never been to Illinois when I was listening to this song in Prague, but I felt like I could imagine both its reality and the grandiosity Stevens gave it. That must have gotten into my idea of how to represent Prague, which always seemed both extremely real and extremely unreal.

Iron and Wine - "Naked As We Came"
One of the real and surreal things in Prague happened on New Year's Eve. I ended up writing it into my book. We went out to celebrate. We could hear the fireworks going off in Old Town Square, but we couldn't see them. For a while, we couldn't get through the crowd. When we did get through, we found out why we couldn't see the fireworks above. They weren't being shot up into the air; they were being shot down the streets, over people's heads. One of my friends decided this would be a good chance to strip his clothes off. I can't remember how much he got off—probably just his shirt, in the freezing cold—but in my book, my protagonist gets down to socks and boxers, and that is when a famous artist spots him and wants to paint him.

Damien Rice - "The Blower's Daughter"
This song was everywhere. Everywhere. You couldn't get coffee in Prague without hearing it. I took this song with me when I went to Korea, the year after Prague, and I sang it to the woman I met there, who would become my wife.

Red House Painters - "Drop"
I only realized when I looked this up just now that it's a song from the nineties. Sometimes the time and place you listen to a song captures and replaces the time and place it was made. We make a thing, and the reader, or listener, remakes it.


Matthew Salesses and The Hundred-Year Flood links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

Brazos Bookstore interview with the author
Dinner Party Download interview with the author
An Open Book 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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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - September 3, 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.


Native Trees of Canada: A Postcard Set

Native Trees of Canada: A Postcard Set
by Leanne Shapton

Leanne Shapton's iconic Native Trees of Canada book, in which she recreates a government reference book by the same name by painting said native trees in used ink and house paint, is a perennial favourite. Her beautiful interpretations of Canada's distinctive pine cones, seeds, and leaves in vibrant colours are now available in postcard form. What better way to say hello to a distant friend than with a wonderfully abstract Trembling Aspen, Slippery Elm, or Mountain Hemlock?


The Story of the Lost Child

The Story of the Lost Child
by Elena Ferrante

The first day of September means many things to many people (the end of summer? back to school?) but here at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, it marks the release date of Elena Ferrante's fervently-anticipated new novel (and the conclusion to her universally-acclaimed Neapolitan Tetralogy), The Story of the Lost Child. Let me say, it was a real pleasure to call all of the customers who placed a special order for this book -- everyone was ecstatic to hear that their copies were here (as were many of our staff). Find out what the fuss is about, if you haven't already!


Purity

Purity
by Jonathan Franzen

No less anticipated than the aforementioned Elena Ferrante offering is another new book released today: Jonathan Franzen's Purity. According to our colleague at D+Q HQ who has been enjoying an advance reading copy: "His stories are so well balanced—engrossing and easy to digest, yet there's enough going on to keep my little brain pretty busy. Anyway, while previous Franzen novels—The Corrections and Freedom—felt very broad and somewhat normative in their depiction of the contemporary American middle-class existence, Purity reads more like a knock 'em sock 'em thriller (okay, I normally read pretty low key comics about old men walking around outside). I'm about a third of the way through so it's hard to say how this will all come together, but boy are their a ton of balls in the air and I'm very curious to see how Franzen catches them all. Ploughing forward at a pretty fast pace, Franzen's tossed together a truck load of male privilege, several crushing female stereotypes, and some fun little current events type topics (read: Occupy and Wikileaks and maybe cults). It's ambitious, guys, but I trust Franzen."


Kinfolk Issue Seventeen: The Family Issue

Kinfolk Issue Seventeen: The Family Issue

The fall edition of ever-popular slow-lifestyle quarterly magazine Kinfolk "explores the relationships we have with our nearest and dearest, in all of their iterations." All of the features in this issue relate to the overarching theme of family relationships, whether through nature or nurture, genetics or choice. Articles and interviews on commensality (sharing a meal with family), creativity, play, home, work, and community are accompanied by gorgeous photos, and infused with Kinfolk's characteristic aesthetic.


Cherry Bombe: Issue No. 5

Cherry Bombe: Issue No. 5

We are so pleased to be the latest stockist of Cherry Bombe, a beautifully designed biannual magazine celebrating women and food. Issue number 5's theme is "pet project", so it's chock full of ladies with a food-related side hustle, including cover girl Cristina Tosi, best known as the founder of Milk Bar. Drool-inducing photos and recipes abound! Get some inspiration for your own pet project by checking out how the stellar cast of contributors and featured women here in issue 5 are pursuing their passions.


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (Bookworm Interviewed William T. Vollmann, Bret Easton Ellis Interviewed Craig Finn, and more)

Bookworm interviewed author William T. Vollmann.


Bret Easton Ellis interviewed Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn.


The Oyster Review interviewed author Amy Stewart about writing historical fiction.


Happy listed its favorite album covers of the year so far.


Guernica interviewed authors Leslie Jamison and Ryan Spencer.


NPR Music is streaming Petite Noir's new album La Vie Est Belle/Life Is Beautiful.


PopMatters profiled author Jack Livings.


EDM is taking over Burning Man.


Bustle recommended books to read if you love the writing of Haruki Murakami.


NPR Music is streaming Ben Folds' new album So There.


The New York Times profiled author Joy Williams.


Max Richter shared a track-by-track breakdown of his new album SLEEP at Drowned in Sound.


The Atlantic profiled the translator of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels.


NPR Music is streaming the new Low album Ones and Sixes.


The Columbus Dispatch interviewed ted rall about his graphic novel biography of Edward Snowden.


Lucero shared an acoustic cover of Big Star's "I'm in Love with a Girl."


NYC's best independent bookstores.



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 (Doleful Lions, Lowland Hum, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

All Your Ardent Rebels: Exiled Shade EP [mp3]

Doldrums Island Nursery: The New Shell album [mp3]

Doleful Lions: On September 23, 2015 EP [mp3]

Gabriella: The Gabriellas single [mp3]

Last July: Into the Void / Afraid of the Light single [mp3]

Lowland Hum: Native Air album [mp3]

The Lulabelles: "Between the Cracks" [mp3]

Various Artists: Ruined Smile Records Sampler No. 1 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Andrew Bird: 1998-02-27, Chicago [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

September 2, 2015

Book Notes - Sara Jaffe "Dryland"

Dryland

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Sara Jaffe's Dryland is a poignant coming of age novel set in the Portland of the early '90s, a fascinating debut.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Jaffe's exceptional debut, a heartfelt coming-of-age story set in Portland, Ore., in 1992, exquisitely captures the nostalgia and heartbreak of youth."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Sara Jaffe's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Dryland:


Music is and has been an important part of my life, but it wasn't immediately easy for me to come up with a playlist for Dryland. One reason for that, I think, is that my 15-year-old main character, Julie, is just on the cusp of having music become super important to her, but it hasn't happened yet. So the music I listened to while writing the book could inflect the style and the tone of the book, but I needed to keep it out of earshot from Julie. It was interesting, though, to go back to what I was listening to and think about how it might have found its way in. Here's a list of songs that hovered around the creation of Dryland, some directly, some more oblique.

Arthur Russell, "Let's Go Swimming": About halfway through the writing of the book, I hosted a pool party/reading (there's lots of swimming in the book), and I came up with an all swimming/pools playlist. Lots of the songs are very upbeat ("Do the Swim," etc.) but the one's that most match the book are more melancholy, meditative, ambivalent about whether or not to jump on in. Arthur Russell's "Let's Go Swimming," is all whisper and space, a wistful, loose song more about a remembered desire to swim than the moment of swimming itself.

Loudon Wainwright, "The Swimming Song": Super catchy and seemingly upbeat, but upfront about the relationship between swimming and mortality: "This summer I went swimming/ this summer I might have drowned." The possibility of sinking is there in every stroke.

Frank Ocean, "Swim Good": So emo!! So dramatic!! The speaker in the song wants to "swim good," and believes that doing so will allow him to escape whatever he's trying to flee from, but it's not going to happen, no way. Sometimes failure at swimming isn't sinking, or drowning, but simply being dragged back to the shore.

Sonic Youth, "100%": This song appears near the very end of Dryland—Ben plays it for Julie after asking her if she prefers to listen to sad music or angry music when she's depressed. She's drawn to the loud guitars and discord in a way she hasn't been before, and she lets herself recognize those sounds as analogous to what's going on inside her head. I see this as her "gateway song" into more loud music (it was mine). It's also a great example of what I call an "all hook no chorus" structure—it's catchy, and the melody line is repetitive, but there's no lyric refrain. It builds subtly and arrives only at its completion.

Kurt Vile, "Peeping Tomboy": Shambly and repetitive, a song that starts with refusals ("I don't wanna change, but I don't wanna stay the same") and moves suddenly into unselfconsciously earnest affirmation of a crush on the titular "tomboy." Julie moves similarly between refusal and crushed-out self-indulgence. In the song, Vile's affirmations form a chorus of sorts, but the two refrains are oddly placed, there more for emotional resonance than structural cohesion.

Yellow Fever, "Culver City": As if someone boiled a pop song down to its bones and put it back together with nothing but string. I don't know here what's hook and what's chorus, but each section of the song is distinct, surprising, and almost unconscionably catchy. There's something about songs like these—songs that indulge in the pleasures of pop songs without following an overly determined structure—that also gets at how I think about plot. I'm invested in narrative, and in things "happening" in my fiction, but I do my best to avoid expected highs and lows, laborious attention to well-connected causes and effects. My hope is that my readers can stay close to the grain of language and experience and fill in those causal relationships, determine the shape of the story, themselves.

Aislers Set, "I've Been Mistreated": One of my favorite crush songs. The lyrical content makes it seem as if the tone should be despairing—"I don't want to be the girl that's driving you home/ just to see you in and turn and go back alone"—but the pop-gem-ness of the melodies and the somehow bold waver in vocalist Linton's voice make it clear that the "mistreatment" is itself part of the thrill of the crush. I could see Julie five years from the end of the book choosing this song to characterize her crush on Alexis.

Liz Phair, "Don't Have Time": I've been asked whether Dryland is a coming-out story. I'm undecided. But if its version of coming-out had an anthem, I'd choose this song—it's the song that accompanied the girl-on-girl kiss in the 1995 John Singleton movie Higher Learning (if memory serves—it's impossible to find any online video documentation of the scene). The song is gay only because of that association, but the pure ambivalence encapsulates my then-thinking about my sexuality. Phair, singing, as usual, in a key too low for her voice, is cynical, and self-consciously so: "If I could solve your problems/ what do you think I would be/ one stupid seagull picking Styrofoam up out of the sea." The guitars shimmer in the refrain but her voice is pissed-off, boredly, "Don't have time" for your (or her own?) problems. The song ends with nearly a minute of layered sound: crooned, dreamy melody low in the mix, guitar chord continually resolving and unresolving itself, shards of distortion that begin as an accent but sharpen, come forward. There's a vision of something easier and an impatient itching to get there. By the end of the song the static has shaped itself into the cry of seagulls, taunting the people stuck on the ground who are taunting themselves for needing them.

Rich Homie Quan, "Type of Way": I love the vague precision of the title phrase, the idea that a nondescriptive phrase, if repeated and contextualized enough, can begin to crystallize and take on meaning. It's simultaneously wholly inarticulate and completely expressive. Exciting for me at the level of language, and also a pretty sweet analogue to the way Julie expresses herself.

Dog Faced Hermans, "How We Connect": My favorite song from one of my favorite bands. Amidst the tricky-steady drums, the jagged, insistent guitar, and the dizzingly triumphant trumpet, Marion Coutts sings about the impossible possibility of two bodies ever connecting. "Poverty lies in the space between us/ mystery lies in the space between us." Because Julie has little frame of reference to understand her physical encounters in the book, she experiences both the poverty and mystery viscerally, with little mediation.

John Cale, "Paris 1919": Honestly, I'm at a loss to describe how this song is reflected in the novel, but it's probably the song I listened to most during its writing, so it must be in there somewhere. One of my most productive stints writing the book was when I had a residency at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and I was lucky enough to wind up in a composer's studio, with a white grand piano in the middle of the room. I'd play whenever I was stuck writing, and I ended up downloading the sheet music to this one. Like so many songs I'm drawn to, the poppy structure belies some darkness to the lyrics: "You're a ghost, la la la la la la la la la."

R.E.M., "Country Feedback": This is the most prominent song in the book, the most important to Julie. Out of Time was R.E.M.'s breakthrough album, but committed listeners fast-forwarded past "Losing My Religion" to land on "Country Feedback." The song's buried under the weight of its own scrawl and the impermeability of its lyrics; finding it always feels like a discovery. Julie leafs through R.E.M. features looking for a mention of the song, which of course she never finds. She's convinced it only exists on her copy of the cassette. When Michael Stipe repeats "It's crazy what you could've had" his voice is all longing, and because the listener has no clue what, specifically, he's singing about, she gets to stand beside him and feel her own longing, rather than spill over into easy identification. Absolutely a gateway song for an indie-rock-kid in the making.


Sara Jaffe and Dryland links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Library Journal review
Publishers Weekly review

Late Night Library interview with the author
Publishers Weekly profile of the author
Tin House interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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


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WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - September 2, 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.


F*ck Feelings

F*ck Feelings
by Michael Bennett and Sarah Bennett

Is something wrong or do you just feel that way? The answer is yes, and yes.


33 Artists in 3 Acts

33 Artists in 3 Acts
by Sarah Thornton

A brilliant cross-section of the many, many possible approaches to merging livelihood and art.


Prison Island

Prison Island
by Colleen Frakes

Illustrator/librarian Colleen Frakes reflects on her childhood on McNeil Island in Washington State, which she shared with the last U.S. prison accessible only by air or sea (or swimming, if it's urgent).


The Language of Houses

The Language of Houses
by Alison Lurie

Pulitzer-winner Alison Lurie examines the how we shape the environments we inhabit, and how those environments in turn shape us.


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)

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 (September's Best Books, Stream Brittany Howard's Solo Album, and more)

Men's Journal, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and PopSugar recommended September's best new books.


Stream the solo album of Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard, Thunderbitch.


The Other People podcast interviewed author Joshua Mohr.


Stream two Stephin Merritt songs based on poems from his 101 Two Letter Words books.


Narrative shared an excerpt from Joyce Carol Oates' memoir The Lost Sister.


The Guardian listed 10 of Lou Reed's best songs.


BookPage interviewed Margaret Eby about her new book South Toward Home: Travels in Southern Literature.


SPIN interviewed Beirut's Zach Condon about his musical inspirations.


Mask interviewed poet Tommy Pico.


ToneDeaf interviewed the founder of Saddle Creek Records.


Biographile recommended books by the late Oliver Sacks.


Pitch Weekly interviewed singer-songwriter and author John Darnielle.


Literary critic Harold Bloom on The Band's song "The Weight."


Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline answered questions from the Reddit community.


Elle recommended an essential book from each of the last 30 years.


Paste recommended metal albums for people who don't like heavy metal.


Vanity Fair interviewed Bill Clegg about his debut novel Did You Ever Have A Family.


The Tallest Man on Earth, aka Kristian Matsson, visited The Current studio for a performance and interview.


Fresh Air interviewed Jonathan Franzen about his new novel Purity.


Paste profiled Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar.



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 (Kandia Crazy Horse, Molly Pinto Madigan, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Ancient Mariner: Ancient Mariner EP [mp3]

Animal Pharma: An Hero EP [mp3]

Car Seat Headrest: Nervous Young Man album [mp3]

Dawn and Hawkes: Yours and Mine single [mp3]
Dawn and Hawkes: Golden Heart EP [mp3]

Hikes: Hikes album [mp3]

Kandia Crazy Horse: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Molly Pinto Madigan: Wildwood Bride (Album Sampler) EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

75 Dollar Bill: 2014-08-21, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


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