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April 17, 2019

Shorties (An Interview with Claudia Rankine, Hole's Live Through This Album Reconsidered on Its 25th Anniversary, and more)

Hole

Vulture interviewed poet Claudia Rankine.


Paste reconsidered Hole's Live Through This album 25 years after its release.


April's best eBook deals.

eBooks on sale today for $1.99:

Aspects of the Novel by E. M. Forster
The Fifties by David Halberstam


BuzzFeed shared an excerpt from G. Willow Wilson's new novel The Bird King.


Stream a new Bibi Club song.


Roxana Robinson shared her experiences recording the audiobook of her novel, Dawson's Fall, at the New Yorker.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed musician Lee Fields.


The MNT interviewed cartoonist Carta Monir.


Stream a new song by Lydia Ainsworth.


The Guardian recommended bilingual books.


PopMatters examined the post-punk musical genre.


Oprah Magazine recommended books by Barbara Kingsolver.


Literary Hub shared a reading list of nonconformist women.


The Times Literary Supplement interviewed author Chigozie Obioma.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Andre Alexis's new novel Days By Moonlight.


Literary keychains.


Literary Hub profiled author Susan Choi.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

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






April 16, 2019

Molly Dektar's Playlist for Her Novel "The Ash Family"

The Ash Family

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

Molly Dektar's stunning debut novel The Ash Family is propulsive and captivating.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"[A] lyrical debut...Dektar’s deft construction of the Ash Family’s world and their environmentalist values brings a meaningful new story to the canon of cult narratives. Perfect for fans of Philip Roth's American Pastoral (1997) and the film Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene."


In her own words, here is Molly Dektar's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel The Ash Family:



My first novel, The Ash Family, is about a girl, Berie, who runs away from home to live on an off-the-grid community in the Appalachian Mountains. Berie is seeking community and a closer connection to nature and the sublime, but she ends up being drawn into committing violent acts to support the family and its leader, Dice. In short, it’s a cult book. But it was important to me that the family be utopian, in a way, too, and that its ideology—love of nature, promotion of close and intense relationships--have something admirable, even enviable, to it.

While I was writing this book, I became obsessed with an American communal singing tradition called Sacred Harp. I wanted the feeling of Sacred Harp to run through the book: the songs, which are mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, are characterized by dispersed harmony, open chords that are strange to modern ears (with an emphasis on fourths and fifths), and lyrics that are frequently morbid (“death is the gate to endless joy”). Since I started writing this book in 2013, I’ve listened almost exclusively to Sacred Harp, and also sung regularly with the group in New York City, even though I don’t have a very good voice. By the way: there are groups all over the world, no experience or religious views necessary; if you like the sound of it you should give it a try.

Anyways, now that I’ve gotten my very earnest Sacred Harp recommendation out of the way, I’ll note that this playlist includes a few Sacred Harp songs as well as some other songs that occur in the novel, and then a few Appalachian tunes.

Plenary—Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp
This is usually the first song I play for friends when I’m trying to convince them to come sing with me. (My success in this endeavor has been mixed.) I have the family sing it in my book, and Berie, the narrator, notes that it’s the same tune as Auld Lang Syne, though the harmonies are unfamiliar. These are voices singing from the grave: “Hark! From the tomb, a doleful sound/ mine ears attend the cry/ ye living men, come view the ground/ where you must shortly lie.” One of the forces that motivated the book was my intense longing to understand what it felt like to be alive in past centuries. This arrangement, from 1839, really does put us in contact with generations dead and gone.

The Grieved Soul—Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp
Here is another favorite Sacred Harp song. The cult recruiter, Bay, teaches Berie this song in the second paragraph of my novel. I love it closed-open-closed melody, especially the beautiful split-open chord that happens on “try”--the lyrics are “Come my soul and let us try/for a little season.”

In the Pines—Leadbelly
This much-beloved song was even covered by Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged. But I love the Lead Belly version. It is an interrogation—“Black girl, black girl, don’t lie to me, tell me where did you sleep last night”—about what seems to be an abduction. And what about the decapitated head? It is a simple song that is full of menace. I put this song in the very last pages of my novel, when Berie hasn’t even yet begun to process what she’s experienced.

Thinking Bout You—Frank Ocean
This song plays on the radio during one of Berie’s few trips away from the farm. Its smooth, synthetic, slightly seasick throb—and the way Ocean’s voice floats up out of radio static, though Spotify doesn’t capture that—felt like the perfect counterpoint to the life Berie lives on the farm, which is strictly non-digital and which forbids the consumption of any media. At the same time, the aching lyrics—“I’ve been thinking ‘bout forever”—pull the song in very close to Berie’s life.

Swingin Party—Kindness
Even after Berie has made the decision not to return home, she is still, at times, overcome by nostalgia and uncertainty. Swingin Party—the Kindness cover was what I was thinking of, though I don’t specify in the book--is one of the songs that she remembers when she’s dreaming about her former life. It has the same tragic point of view as many of the Sacred Harp songs, full of self-loathing debility, but it’s a dance song.

The Beer—Kimya Dawson
This Kimya Dawson song is not in the book but it has such amazing lyrics it has been an influence on my writing for years. It is really a short story of a song. It’s goofy, angry, surreal, wounded, loving, and defiant. Like a cartoon character, the narrator keeps dying and coming back to life. I listened to this song so many times in high school and it still brings tears to my eyes.

Peg and Awl—Carolina Tar Heels
This is a lament about automation, about having one’s trade replaced by machines. Berie and the members of the Ash Family feel alienated from the contemporary world, and in particular, the way that the pressure for economic growth has led to environmental degradation. My mother and father (who are nothing like the bad parents in the book) used to play this song for me when I was growing up and I think its tragic resignation scarred me for life.

Bonaparte’s Retreat—W.M. Stepp
This playlist is tending towards the lugubrious, but I also love the folk music tradition that is playful and lighthearted and meant for dancing. This fiddle tune was made famous by Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo.”

Soldiers Joy—Nashville Washboard Band
My mother is a folklorist in North Carolina, and traces of the folk art she introduced me to occur throughout the Ash Family, most explicitly in some of the trips that Berie recalls taking with her ex, Isaac: “We’d driven to Bynum to see the wooden giraffes with silk-flower eyes and to Lucama to see the forty-foot whirligigs.” The creator of the first is Clyde Jones, and the second is Vollis Simpson. The inclusion of this song is also thanks to my mother. She writes: “Who were these guys? Street musicians comprised of (in folklorist Alan Lomax's words) ‘two blind men and three day laborers.’”

Son of God
This song appears in the Sacred Harp songbook, but here Tim Eriksen sings it without the other harmonies. I love the sea-shanty, pirate feel of the tune and its stark minor beauty.

I Am A Stranger Here Below
Another version of this song is called “Conflict,” a shape-note song which the family sings during their harvest festival. I love the version by the Ephemeral Stringband, whose members I’ve had the pleasure of singing with at some Sacred Harp conventions. As is true for many debut novelists, my narrator Berie is a version of me, and the lyrics, which are full of self-doubt, are such a vivid reflection of Berie’s experiences, and the experiences I drew from to write about her. “Tis seldom I can ever see/ myself as I would wish to be/ what I desire I can’t attain/ from what I hate I can’t refrain.”


Molly Dektar and The Ash Family links:

the author's website
the author's newsletter

Booklist review
Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

Raleigh News and Observer interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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


Shorties (Robert A. Caro Interviewed, Nick Cave Profiled, and more)

Robert Caro

Forward and Fresh Air interviewed historian Robert Caro.

The New York Times reviewed Caro's new book, Working.


The Guardian profiled Nick Cave.


April's best eBook deals.

eBooks on sale today for $1.99:

Acolytes of Cthulhu: Short Stories Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft
An Excess Male by Maggie Shen KIng
Reckoning by David Halberstam


Amanda Palmer visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Bud Smith.


Stream a new song by the Jeanines.


Reedsy shared a guide to cosmic horror.


NPR Music is streaming The Tallest Man on Earth's forthcoming album, I Love You. It's a Fever Dream.


The New Yorker shared new fiction by Catherine Lacey.


Stream a new song by Cate Le Bon.


R.I.P., science fiction author Gene Wolfe.


Cincinnati CityBeat profiled Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy.


Electric Literature recommended books about fires.


Stream a new Beck son


Teresa Wong discussed her graphic memoir Dear Scarlett with Electric Literature.


Stream a new song by the Soft Cavalry.



Julian Lynch shared two cover songs at Aquarium Drunkard.



Phosphorescent visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

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


April 15, 2019

Shorties (Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg's Campaign Playlist, Alexander Chee Profiled, and more)

Pete Buttigieg

The Brisbane Times profiled author Alexander Chee.


U. S. presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released his campaign playlist.


April's best eBook deals.


Ex Hex visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


The Guardian profiled author Ian McEwan.


Slow Mass covered Wilco's "Reservations."


Sarah Blake talked to Weekend Edition about her debut novel, Naamah.


Japanese Breakfast covered the Cardigans' "Lovefool."


Dave Cullen discussed his book Parkland with the Los Angeles Review of Books.


John Lydon talked punk with Rolling Stone.


The Guardian profiled author Tash Aw.


Stream a new song by Men I Trust.


Leanne Shapton took Guernica on a tour of her studio.


Stream a new Pure Bathing Culture song.


Namwali Serpell discussed his novel The Old Drift with the Los Angeles Review of Books.


Stream a new song by Max Bloom of Yuck.


Stream two new songs by Omni.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

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


April 12, 2019

Sarah Blake's Playlist for Her Novel "Naamah"

Naamah

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

Sarah Blake's novel Naamah, an imaginative retelling of the Noah's ark story from the perspective of his wife, is a striking debut.

The Washington Post wrote of the book:

"An urgent feminist response to the Old Testament. . . . Blasphemous, carnal and committed to exaltation, Naamah delivers its truths in a torrent of heresies [and] dares us to center the experience and wisdom of women."


In her own words, here is Sarah Blake's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Naamah:



Mostly I don't listen to music when I'm writing. The only time I break this rule is when I'm stuck. It's not writer's block. I know what has to happen next. What I want to happen. What effects I want it to have. But I get worried that I can't get the words down that accomplish that thing. The thing grows big and precious in my head, and I need to knock it down a peg. In that situation, I put on Les Mis. I've been listening to Les Mis since I was a baby. I know Les Mis better than any other music on this planet. If I put Les Mis on, it distracts that part of my brain that's idealizing that next thing, and that part of my brain gets busy singing along, and I, well, I begin typing.


1) The Confrontation – Les Mis (Original Broadway Cast)

This is the one Les Mis song I'll put on the playlist—as a nod to my deep, deep love for this entire musical. I think this song in particular exemplifies how drawn my heart is to DRAMA.

2) Leonard Cohen – The Story of Isaac

I would be completely remiss if I didn’t include this song, my favorite Biblical retelling ever. My characterization of Noah was inspired by Cohen’s characterization of Abraham, that slice of dialogue, “I've had a vision, and you know I'm strong and holy. I must do what I've been told.” And later in the song, I always imagined it was Abraham saying, “Thought I saw an eagle, But it might have been a vulture, I never could decide.” I think this bit stayed at the back of my mind, lingering, and influenced my decision to make the Metatron an Egyptian vulture.

3) Vance Joy – Fire and the Flood
4) The Lumineers – Ophelia

These two songs were on the radio all the time in the fall of 2016 when I began writing Naamah. In “Ophelia,” they repeat the line, “you've been on my mind girl since the flood.” In “Fire and the Flood,” they repeat, “You’re the fire and the flood.” I remember thinking, Ok, I’m not the only one obsessed with the flood right now. It felt like it was in the air. I remember imagining that everyone was rewriting the story of The Great Flood.

5) Animal Collective – We Tigers

When I first saw the cover for Naamah, featuring the large tiger lounging in the dark, I realized how big a part of the story I’d let the tiger become. It hadn’t sunk in with me until then that the tiger stood out more than the Atlas moths, than the walrus, the wolf, the polar bear, the jerboa, the beetle—you get the idea. Once I realized it, my mind went immediately to this song which I’ve adored since college. “Everybody’s morphin’, everybody’s morphin’”

6) Otis Redding – (Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay

Naamah spends a lot of time staring out over the floodwaters, remembering those who died, wondering if the waters will ever recede. Picturing her there on the deck makes me think of “The Dock of the Bay.” It’s also my mentor’s favorite song so it has a special place in my heart. My favorite Otis Redding song is “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” which was my wedding song, and actually might also be a good match to a lot of Naamah’s feels.

7) Parliament – Aqua Boogie

In the first chapter of Naamah, she takes up swimming in the floodwaters. If I think of a song that’s about swimming, I, of course, think of P-Funk’s “Aqua Boogie.” There’s a rooster sound that I often make at my husband for no particular reason. To which he sometimes responds, “Underwater boogie baby.” And then we continue about our day. I think it’s a song everyone needs to hear.

8) KALEO – Way Down We Go

This is another song that was very popular in 2016 when I was in the thick of it with Naamah. That first line, “Father tell me, we get what we deserve,” spoke right to the crux of what Naamah was dealing with. What she deserved. What her children deserved. What everyone who died deserved. I know the song is not about the flood, but it spoke to the questions I was writing into. I’d write in silence, and then I’d jump in the car and hear this song on the radio. If I could have tweeted it, it would’ve been captioned, MOOD.

9) Tool – Flood

This song is from the album Undertow, which is my favorite Tool album. I’ve listened to it countless times. It’s actual title is “Flood.” How could I not include it? But I think, with this song ending the playlist, this can be deemed one of the most bizarre playlists of all time. “Soon the water will come and claim what is mine.”


Sarah Blake and Naamah links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

Electric Literature interview with the author
Philadelphia Inquirer interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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


Jessica Handler's Playlist for Her Novel "The Magnetic Girl"

The Magnetic Girl

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

Jessica Handler's debut novel, The Magnetic Girl, is a vivid and compassionate coming-of-age story.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Handler captures the ambivalence of female adolescence, where the newfound ability to captivate others exists in unsteady balance with the fear of loss of independence. A thoroughly fresh historical novel that both captures the essence of its time and echoes challenges that still exist today."


In her own words, here is Jessica Handler's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel The Magnetic Girl:



The Magnetic Girl is a novel that takes place in late nineteenth century America, when the new science of electricity was viewed with suspicion and sometimes conflated with the faux sciences of Mesmerism and Spiritualism. Writing the book was a wonderful dive into what Greil Marcus has called “old weird America.” Marcus was referring to music, specifically the genesis of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes, but his phrase guided me into a frame of mind through which I considered vaudeville, hoaxes, women’s lives, and the great changes looming in the twentieth century. This allowed me a prismatic take on what I knew from my own past about being a precocious and awkward teenaged girl.

The first selection is “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” written by Sam Phillips and performed by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant on their 2007 album, Raising Sand. While this is about the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the song evoked both mysticism and a desire to be deeply understood by someone you don’t yet know, whom you fear may not exist at all. The lyric “strange things are happening,” sung by Krauss in such a dream-stricken voice, seemed to me how my character, Lulu Hurst, might have felt as she discovered her power.

While we’re on the subject of dreamy world-building, “Appalachia Waltz,” from the Mark O’Connor, Yo-Yo Ma, and Edgar Meyer album of the same name, set my mood most writing days. The composition has a wistful yet optimistic tone. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful. Isn’t leaving the home you love for what you believe to be a greater good also heartbreaking? I think so.

Then there’s “Dixie,” by Robin Holcomb. The discordant piano and the arcing clarinet over a delirious but controlled arrangement of Dixieland sound (brushes on the drums, trombone) and a repeating musical phrase from Stephen Foster’s “Dixie” sound like the inside of my character’s head when she enters a trance state.

“All Things Are Possible (If You Only Believe)” by the Harmonizing Four. While the lyrics to this song refer specifically to a Christian belief in God, the real-life Lulu Hurst attributed her stage success to her audience’s willingness to believe in her power. As a side note, the Harmonizing Four sang at Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s wedding, so there’s a surprise connection within this list!

“I’m Shakin’.” This is The Blasters’ 1981 cover of the Rudy Toombs tune, which was a hit for Little Willie John in the early 1960s. I heard The Blasters play this in Los Angeles in 1981 or 1982, probably at the Club Lingerie or Madame Wong’s. Whenever I listen to this cover, Steve Berlin’s bari sax stays in my head for days, and I have to pronounce the word “noy-vis” like Dave Alvin does until the song’s out of my system.

“Little Red Shoes,” by Loretta Lynn. Jack White is threading through this list, too. He produced this album, Van Lear Rose, and covered “I’m Shakin’” elsewhere. In this song, Loretta Lynn tells a rambling anecdote about “Mommy and Daddy” taking her to the doctor because of her getting hit on the head and almost dying, and because she’s dying her Mommy steals a pair of red shoes for her from the five and dime and her Daddy carries her home on his back ahead of the law. Loretta Lynn laughs over a hypnotic music track as she tells this pitiful tale, and if that’s not contemporary Southern storytelling, then I don’t know what is.

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” by The Band. I couldn’t let myself write a book set partially in the Reconstruction South without a close listen to this song. I’ve heard it most of my life; that ‘na na na na na na’ chorus was a guaranteed sing-along with friends and more than one guitar in high school and college. I grew up in Georgia, and when I was a child, my elderly piano teacher once referred to the Civil War as “The Great Disturbance.” While I have no affection for that kind of thinking, this song belongs on my playlist. That Virgil Kane is a broken man.

“Magnet and Steel” by Walter Egan. Sappy seventies easy listening rock, but it does kind of swing. And who doesn’t want a song about magnetic attraction with a character called “The Magnetic Girl?”

“Mary Had a Little Lamb,” by Stevie Ray Vaughan. I saw him perform this live at the Orpheum Theater in Boston, and there is no way a sentient human being can keep still while listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan. A solid dose of Texas blues gives a nursery rhyme a menacing tinge.

“The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away,” Janacek Piano Sonata. Leos Janacek was a Czech composer in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Depending on what orchestration you listen to – a harmonium? a contemporary pianist? – the weird factor waxes and wanes. I vote harmonium for a more period sound. Either way, feel the night around you, and the flapping of the barn owl’s wings. Yes, that’s a metaphor.

“Grande Tarantelle,” by Louis Moreau Gottschalk. I don’t know if the real-life Lulu Hurst had signature music, but I wanted my fictional version to have a walk-on tune for her pianist. I’m not an accomplished musician, so I couldn’t write something for her on my own, and I realized that I wanted a period piece with verve. I don’t name the composition in the novel, but this Gottschalk Tarantelle is what I had in mind. Imagine it played by an enthusiastic person limited by an out of tune upright with a few dead keys.


Jessica Handler and The Magnetic Girl links:

the author's website

Atlanta Journal-Constitution review
Booklist review
BookPage review
Foreword Reviews review
Kirkus review


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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


This Week's Interesting Music Releases - April 12, 2019

Rose Elinor Dougall

Rose Elinor Dougall's A New Illusion, Sun Kil Moon's I Also Want to Die in New Orleans, and Damien Jurado's In The Shape Of A Storm are the new releases I can recommend this week.

Reissues include vinyl editions of three X albums (More Fun in the New World, Under The Big Black Sun, Wild Gift) as well as The Slits' Cut and Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend.


This week's interesting music releases:


Aaron Lewis: State I'm In
Anais Mitchell: Hadestown (reissue)
Anderson .Paak: Ventura
Band of Skulls: Love Is All You Love
Bibio: Ribbons
Broken Social Scene: Let's Try the After: Vol. 2
Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan: Epistrophy
Bruce Hornsby: Absolute Zero
BTS: Map Of The Soul: Persona
The Budos Band: V
The Chemical Brothers: No Geography
Chris Forsyth: All Time Present
Cults: Offering B Sides And Remixes [vinyl]
Damien Jurado: In The Shape Of A Storm
Deftones: Skins [vinyl]
Durutti Column: Obey the Time (reissue, expanded)
Eli Paperboy Reed: 99 Cent Dreams
Escort: City Life
Fontaines D.C.: Dogrel
The Frights: Live at the Observatory
Glen Hansard: This Wild Willing
Graham Parker: Squeezing Out Sparks Solo Acoustic 40th Anniversary
Grupo Fantasma: American Music: Volume 7 [vinyl]
Inter Arma: Sulphur English
John Paul White: The Hurting Kind
Lowly: Hifalutin
Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend (reissue) [vinyl]
Melissa Etheridge: The Medicine Show
Norah Jones: Begin Again
Rose Elinor Dougall: A New Illusion
Over the Rhine: Love & Revelation [vinyl]
Shovels & Rope: By Blood
The Slits: Cut (reissue) [vinyl]
Sun Kil Moon: I Also Want to Die in New Orleans
T Bone Burnett / Jay Bellerose / Keefus Ciancia: The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space
Taking Back Sunday: Louder Now (reissue) [vinyl]
Taking Back Sunday: New Again (reissue) [vinyl]
Teen Body: Dreamo
Various Artists: Awesome 80s: New Wave
Various Artists: Cyclone! Gallic Guitars A-Go-Go 1962-66
Various Artists: Hallelujah - The Songs Of Leonard Cohen
Widespread Panic: Til the Medicine Takes [vinyl]
Wintersleep: In the Winter of
Witching Waves: Persistence [vinyl]
Wyndham Garnett: A Fistful Of Stars
X: More Fun in the New World (reissue) [vinyl]
X: Under The Big Black Sun (reissue) [vinyl]
X: Wild Gift (reissue) [vinyl]


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

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


Shorties (Recommended Movies About Writers, Books That Define the Hip Hop Canon, and more)

Triksta: Life and Death and New Orleans Rap

Paste recommended movies about writers.


Literary Hub recommended books that define and defy the canon of hip hop literature.


April's best eBook deals.


All Songs Considered recommended the week's best new albums.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Maryse Meijer.


Stream a new song by J. Robbins.


Susan Choi discussed her novel Trust Agreement with All Things Considered.


Empress Of's Lorely Rodriguez shared songs that have influenced her at Alt.Latino.


Miriam Toews discussed her novel Women Talking with BuzzFeed.


Paste listed the best self-referential songs.


Publishers Weekly recommended essential graphic novels and memoirs about queer women.


Stream a new Mountain Goats song.


Julia Alvarez talked books and reading with the New York Times.


Stream a new song by Pelican.


Book Riot recommended literary biographies.
Emily Gould


Stream a new She Keeps Bees song.


BookMarks interviewed author and publisher Emily Gould.


Bookworm interviewed author Valeria Luiselli.


Stream a new Charly Bliss song.


CarolineLeavitville interviewed author Myla Goldberg.


Stream a new song by BATTS,


Ottesha Moshfegh talked books and reading with the Guardian.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

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


April 10, 2019

Christian Kiefer's Playlist for His Novel "Phantoms"

Phantoms

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

Christian Kiefer's novel Phantoms is propulsive, expansive, and haunting.

Kirkus Reviews wrote of the book:

"Sweet life spills from every perfect word. It will break your heart, and in the breaking, fill you with bittersweet but luminous joy."


In his own words, here is Christian Kiefer's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Phantoms:



Tōru Takemitsu, “Nostalghia”

Phantoms is, in many ways, my most romantic book and the music I’ve chosen here holds within its various shapes a sense of that romanticism. Takemitsu’s composition here is simply lovely, filled with motion and swelling strings. (I’m a sucker for swelling strings.) This feels like a lot of the personal trauma I associate with the characters in the book—trauma, but wrought, I hope, with beauty. Takemitsu originally composed this piece for Yehudi Menuhin and it was meant as a kind of requiem or tribute on the passing of the great (in my opinion greatest) film director, Andrei Tarkovsky.

Hakobune, “Part 1” from Nebulous Sequences

I spend a great deal of my writing time listening to drone music. Hakobune’s Nebulous Sequences is among my favorites. The best drone goes texturally deep, which is, I think, what I’ve always strived to do in my writing—to create a kind of stillness on the surface but to have an endlessness just underneath. This is a kind of musical white noise that provides enough buoyancy to let my mind go.

Eliane Radigue, “Kyema (Intermediate States)” from Trilogie De La Mort

Radigue’s body of work is impressive and continually searching. Her feedback loops are interesting but I prefer the three great slabs of slowly morphing drone that make up this trilogy.

Max Richter, “Dream 1 (before the wind blows it all away, part 1)” from Sleep

I appreciate ambition and Richter here is nothing if not ambitious. Sleep is comprised of nearly 8.5 hours of music, a kind of romantic drifting that feels somnambulant but is never boring. Again, that sense of romanticism which is, I think, central to Phantoms. This also reminds a bit of the the great Japanese pianist and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Đỗ Tấn Sĩ, “The Morning Seems So Strange Today” from Emergence

Emergence is a compilation of contemporary experimental music from Vietnam and in many ways it could, as a whole, form a solid soundtrack to Phantoms. The music has an organic feel throughout and with Đỗ Tấn Sĩ’s track here there’s a clear sense of drifting that I respond to very quickly. This feels damp and murky to me, but in the best of ways.

Đỗ Tấn Sĩ, “Dawn (When Your Eyes Touch the Soft Morning Light)” from So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Another Đỗ Tấn Sĩ track here. This is a bass ambient workout and it’s also simply lovely. Music like this helps slip me toward that place where I keep words and music. This one’s in a lower register, not quite the chopped and screwed tones you hear underpinning Nicholas Britell’s lovely Moonlight soundtrack, but the musicality is present and the effect is beautiful indeed.

Nicholas Britell, “Little’s Theme” from Moonlight

Britell’s soundtrack work is some of the most moving music I have heard in my life. This brief piece from Moonlight—not even a minute long—is stunning in its clarity and grace. Were it written for my book, it might well have been Ray Takahashi’s tragic, beautiful, lonely theme.


Christian Kiefer and Phantoms links:

excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

Sacramento News & Review profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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


April 9, 2019

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week -April 9, 2019

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.


How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

Our world is one defined by a mental overcrowding; at any moment dozens of forces clammer for our attention, our productivity, our personal information. In How to Do Nothing Jenny Odell writes that nothing is more crucial, more politically important, than learning to do nothing. Indeed, she argues that a recentering and refocusing of our attention is what will open us up to bolder political change, in a work billed as “a four-course meal in the age of Soylent.”


Trust Exercise

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

In a 1980s American suburb, students struggle their way through a highly competitive performing arts school, pursuing movement, music, and acting classes in turn. The school provides an insulated bubble, apart from family life and economic status, in which David and Sarah can fall in love. But their peers and teachers are determined to get involved, and the school may prove not to be the safe haven it was believed to be.


Sabers and Utopias: Visions of Latin America

Sabers and Utopias: Visions of Latin America by Mario Vargas Llosa

Assembling never-before-translated criticisms and meditations, Nobel Prize in Literature winner Vargas Llosa’s newest collection, translated by Anna Kushner, explores the recent past of Latin America, its political groups, famous figures, and place on a global stage. From FARC to Fidel Castro, the prolific author’s famously uncompromising eye nevertheless remains optimist and thoughtful, committed to facing head on the fear and discrimination that rupture societies.


Naamah

Naamah by Sarah Blake

In the well-trod tale of Noah and his arc, there remains one figure shrouded in mystery. Sarah Blake’s inventive novel cedes the floor to Noah’s wife Naamah, the matriarch responsible for keeping her family of sole survivors alive through divine cataclysm. A woman caught between faith and fury, tormented by questions, regrets, and temptations, Naamah survives by sheer resilience in this age-old parable for the modern day.


Notes from a Young Black Chef

Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi, with Joshua David Stein

Praised by the likes of Carla Hall, Michael W. Twitty, and Questlove, Onwuachi’s culinary coming-of-age story is a journey from selling candy in the subway and cooking on a Deepwater Horizon ship, to training in (and launching) some of the finest fine dining establishments. Exploring the intersections of race, fame, and food, this Top Chef alum’s autobiography shows just how powerful an enduring passion can be.


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

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


Shorties (True Crime Books for Music Lovers, Musicians on the 35th Anniversary of R.E.M.'s Reckoning Album, and more)

Reckoning

The Ringer gathered musicians to discuss every track on R.E.M.'s Reckoning album, which turns 35 this year.


Rolling Stone recommended true crime books for music lovers.


April's best eBook deals.

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

If This Isn't Nice, What Is? by Kurt Vonnegut
Number9Dream by David Mitchell
You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

Fosse by Sam Wasson


Georgia Anne Muldrow played a Tiny Desk Concert.


LIfehacker interviewed cartoonist Lucy Knisely.


Stream a new Courtney Barnett song.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed poet Dena Rash Guzman.


Stream two new PJ Harvey songs.


Mira Jacob discussed her graphic novel Good Talk with Shondaland.


Stream a new Jeff Tweedy song.


The Cut interviewed authors Robert Christgau and Carola Dibbell.


The duo Trummors shared four cover songs at Aquarium Drunkard.


NME listed ways Stephen King has influenced the music world.


Stream a new song by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.


NYCTaper shared a recent live performance by Avey Tare.


Stream a new Clinic song.


Susan Orlean discussed her book, The Library Book, with Electric Literature.


Paste profiled the band Duster.


CrimeReads recommended true crime books written experimentally.


Wicked Local Stoneham interviewed author and musician Ryan Walsh.


Singer-songwriter/producer John Vanderslice shared productivity tips at The Talkhouse.


Stream a new song by Sinkane.


J Mascis covered Tom Petty's "Don’t Do Me Like That."



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

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


April 8, 2019

Joseph Grantham's Playlist for His Poetry Collection "Tom Sawyer"

Tom Sawyer

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

Joseph Grantham's poetry collection Tom Sawyer is both haunting and fascinating.

Vol. 1 Brooklyn wrote of the book:

"Writer and bookseller Joseph Grantham makes the quotidian fascinating and hypnotic: you may know him, most recently, from his ongoing column at The Nervous Breakdown. In this new collection of poetry, he evokes the quotidian and the cultural in equal measure, to impressive effect."


In his own words, here is Joseph Grantham's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Tom Sawyer:



I don't remember what songs I was listening to when I wrote Tom Sawyer. But I do know what the book feels like to read and what it sounds like in my head. The mood, the tone of the thing. I can hear it. It's sad and boring and melancholy. But I think it's also a sweet and tender and contemplative and hungover and caffeinated and restless sort of sound. It's a book about growing up in the American suburbs, and a book about work, friendships, heartbreak, role models, riding the subway, forced laughter, finding blood in your urine and semen, and eating graham crackers. And looking back at the book, and flipping through it, this is the soundtrack I've decided to share with you.

1) "Motorbikes" by Real Estate

The second poem in my book is about how I tend to feel bored and warm all the time. And that's what this song sounds like to me. Boredom and warmth. It also reminds me of waking up and going to work. I just drove my girlfriend to her job at an insurance company and we listened to this song in the car.

2) "How to Rent a Room" by Silver Jews

The first few months I lived in New York, I thought that I wanted to die. But no, I didn't really want to die, I just wanted to make the person who broke my heart think that I wanted to die. So I hit myself in the face a lot and made a lot of bad art, some of which was inspired by this very song. Yes, I drew unsatisfactory drawings of David Berman. I'd like to take a moment here to thank my friend Cecile for giving me her copy of David Berman's book of poetry, Actual Air.

3) "Minimum Wage (Bobby Hawkins)" by Sonny Smith

I can't think of a song that better encapsulates the experience of being slightly hungover and standing behind a desk at work. And the way that time slows down the minute you clock in.

4) "Always See Your Face" by Love

I worked across the street from the place where my ex (for lack of a better word) spent the first twenty or so years of her life. I mean, I'd be standing at the cash register and I could literally look out the window and see the apartment building where she grew up. Maybe that wasn't healthy. This song also reminds of the movie High Fidelity which I love and which I reference in the book.

5) "1985" by Amen Dunes

There's something violent and ominous about this song. And there's something violent and ominous about New York City. This song sounds like coming home on the subway from a bad day at work. There's a poem in the book about wanting to scream and shadowbox on the subway platform.

6) "Rumours of Glory" by Bruce Cockburn

There's a short poem in the book where I mention how I don't have a friend named Bruce. I think Cockburn is great poet. I'd like to be his friend. Listening to Bruce Cockburn makes me think of my dad. And when I've been depressed, his music has helped me. This song is like an antidepressant to me. My girlfriend can't stand Bruce Cockburn.

7) "A Cloud to the Back" by Sam Prekop

Sometimes you have a day off and you get to walk around your neighborhood and you've had just the right amount of coffee and okay so maybe New York City isn't so bad, maybe it's kind of great, maybe it's the best city in the world, and maybe I am the problem. Look at those kids playing basketball. Look at those old Polish men smoking cigarettes and looking at me like they want to beat me up. Look at the carrots in the local market. They're bright orange.

8) "My Friend Bob" by Mark Kozelek

Much of Tom Sawyer is about friendship, and the friends who pulled me out of bouts of depression. The friends who told me to take better care of myself, who looked out for me. I'm talking about you, Sam. And you, Nick. And also you, Bud. The 'Bob' in this song sounds like a good guy. His selfless love reminds me of my pals. Also, when I first showed these poems to a friend, he said, "These sound like Sun Kil Moon songs." Which some might take as a dig, but to me, that was the greatest compliment.

9) "Wolves' Pup" by Six Organs of Admittance

I write a lot about my suburban childhood in the book, and that's what this song sounds like to me. Wandering through the creeks near my house. Watching my dad click a button to rotate the ties on his rotating tie rack machine. Running laps in my elementary school P.E. class. There's a sweet sadness to all of it. A happy sadness.

10) "Fruits of My Labor" by Lucinda Williams

In the book, I talk about crying while listening to Lucinda Williams, and this was the song I was thinking about when I wrote that poem. My childhood dog was named Lucinda and she died of cancer, like many dogs do. But I don't think I was crying about my old dog.

11) "Walkdown" by Bonny Doon

This song sounds like feeling stuck, but also being okay with that. Okay, I'm stuck, that's fine, I'll just be stuck for a while. There's hope here, too. You never know where you'll end up. You may end up working in a pharmacy in rural North Carolina.

12) "Left Only With Love" by Smog

This may be the greatest, and most mature, breakup song of all time. It's nice to write a book of poems that started as a book about heartbreak, and have it become about so much more. The heartbreak takes a backseat. It becomes just another detail. It's also nice to get over someone you thought you'd never get over. Get over them and wish them the best and get on with your life.

13) "Penguins" by Michael Hurley & Pals

The second to last poem in the book is called 'poem for jersey city'. This song sounds like going to sleep in Jersey City. The stupid horns, and the feeling that, Hey, things are moving in the right direction. Everything is going to be smooth sailing from here on out. Of course, that's never true. But it's nice to pretend for a little while.


Joseph Grantham and Tom Sawyer links:

the author's website

Fanzine interview with the author
Independent Book Review review

OTHERPPL interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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


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