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March 4, 2010

Book Notes - Julie Klausner ("I Don't Care About Your Band")

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

Julie Klausner's new memoir, Book Notes music playlist for her book, I Don't Care About Your Band is aptly subtitled "What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated." Chronicling her dating experiences in New York during her mid-twenties, the book openly (and hilariously) recounts not only Klausner's social encounters, but also her motives behind each romantic misadventure.

The A.V. Club wrote of the book:

"Distilling a series of conquests down to a line of various undesirables is well-trod ground for a memoirist, but Klausner's eye for detail sets each scene with painfully real specificity. Simultaneously relating anecdotes and commenting on them, she successfully carries off both voices, as if she’s standing at a bar watching herself chat up that Robert Altman fan from Astoria, while knowing the conversation will only end in his admission of an open relationship."

In her own words, here is Julie Klausner's Book Notes music playlist for her book, I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated:

My memoir about the horrible dating experiences I had in my 20's is called I Don't Care About Your Band, but it's not an explicit screed against dating musicians. I'm not the anti-Pamela Des Barres--I've only gone out with two guys in bands in my life, and I couldn't tell the drummer from the rhythm guitarist if I tried. I intended for my title to be shorthand for a specific, female, generational contempt for that insufferable indie rock faux-meek arrogance, which is as detectable among musicians as it is around any guy who cares more about his work and the fans it begets than he does about you and your stupid feelings.

In my book, I talk about the day I admitted to myself how much I didn't like indie rock, and how it was like Lily Tomlin as "City Rose" in Big Business, realizing out loud that she was never meant to live in Manhattan. "I hate New York in June!" she realizes, in sync with my own fresh air gulp about how much I hated going to rock shows that never started on time, just so I could switch my purse from shoulder to shoulder and hold my coat, not knowing what to look at, even when the band played, because those shows are more about listening, and nobody's dancing and there's no laser light show, so even if you ARE high, you're just bored and nervous, and wondering whether the diner next door is still open, and how their pancakes are.

However! I'm going to go on the record as being decidedly "pro-music." Put your poison pens away, harpsichord-makers! And with that assertion of my humanity on the books, here is a playlist of songs from bands I very much do care about. You'll notice a camera-ready dollop of "Your Mom's Car"-appropriate selections, but also some New Wave and Rock Opera, and I know it's all very 70's-- but so is my hair, when the weather complies.

Enjoy, and thanks for having me, disclaimers and all.


Julie Klausner's Playlist

"I Don't Like Your Band" by Annie

Annie, the Norwegian pop singer/songwriter whose awesome "Chewing Gum" single made my 2004 a lot less gloomy, is back with this cheeky cut from her new record, Don't Stop. I love this song, and I also love that when you Google the title, you get a link to my book as the second result. Great minds!

"Heaven on Their Minds" from the Jesus Christ Superstar Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Because I went to Hebrew school until I was a teenager, Jesus Christ Superstar belatedly taught me everything I know about the New Testament--like how Mary Magdalene was obsessed with ointment, and how Jesus was tragically betrayed by Ben Vereen.

"Silver Springs" by Fleetwood Mac

The ultimate witchy revenge song. I like it when Stevie asks "Did you say that she was pretty?"--she makes it sound like being pretty is the stupidest, shallowest thing you can want in a girlfriend. Also, when she threatens to haunt you with her voice, it's almost like she doesn't realize she's already doing it.

"Sing Child" by Heart

One of the more perfect tracks from the Dreamboat Annie record, this features some gorgeous two-part, multi-track harmonies from The Wilson sisters. I can't really think of a better rock singer than Ann Wilson. Her voice is like thunder and archery.

"Lay All Your Love on Me" by ABBA

New York Magazine recently ran a list called "50 Steps to Simple Happiness," in which they gave suggestions for things to do to improve your mood on a daily basis. I would have reduced that list to a single item called "Listen to ABBA." They are Swedish happiness meth.

"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" by Carole King

The story of King and Goffin's troubled marriage, as told in Sheila Weller's fascinating book, Girls Like Us, makes this song they wrote together somehow even sadder. And it's already SO SAD!

"Look On Up At The Bottom" by The Carrie Nations

This is one of the songs from Beyond The Valley of The Dolls written by Stu Phillips, who was, among other things, a composer for The Monkees TV show. I love this movie for so many reasons, but mostly because Edy Williams, who plays Ashley St. Ives, is sort of my spirit animal. "Step into my web said the spider, etcetera."

"Here You Come Again" by Dolly Parton

I'm strongly suspicious as to whether Dolly is actually human, or whether she secretly hails from a super race of absurdly talented people who happen to be gorgeous, golden-throated, genius songwriters who spit out notable quotables the way most people exhale air.

"Coming Round Again" by Carly Simon

This is the sound of modern adulthood, circa 1987. You can't not love Simon's amber-honey voice sprawling over those choruses and belting those jaded, bittersweet truisms about what it's like to grow up. "Nothing stays the same," quoth Simon, and only Nora Ephron, who used this song in Heartburn like it was incidental music, can lay claim to the kind of quiche-laden, Moonlighting-scored, late 80's yuppie malaise that comes along with the experience of hearing this, and knowing firsthand the luxury of being depressed about things that aren't life-threatening.

"Up the Junction" by Squeeze

I love it when British people tell you stories in song, and it's so catchy you want to kill yourself. Nobody gets the upbeat ballad more than our pals across the pond.

"Express Yourself" by Madonna

My favorite Madonna song, and her best video. I loved all the 80's/40's Deco Mural-styling, and how she licked from a saucer of milk with a chain around her throat on all fours. You know, just to balance out her rally-like "Come on, girls!" and monocle'd, be-suited crotch grabbing.

"Nine Times Blue" by The Monkees

A simple, stunning bauble from the austere auteur Michael Nesmith, who went on from The Monkees to record some of my favorite albums of all time both as a solo artist and with the First National Band. Here are Davy, Micky and Mike performing this song on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969.

"Roam" by The B-52s

The B-52's are my all-time favorite band. (Sorry, Crazy Town!) There's just nothing else that sounds even close to as rainbow-colored as those perfect party songs they recorded in the 70's. This is from their 1989 comeback record, Cosmic Thing, produced under the mentorship of Nile Rodgers and Don Was. A fun fact is that I'm not able to hear any song from this record and not feel physically better than I did before. And the video, with all those green-screen hieroglyphics and Kate Pierson watusi-ing next to that gorgeous close-up of herself, all Cleopatra-eyes and wigged out, is sublime MTV-age psychedelia.

Julie Klausner and I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated links:

the author's website
the book's website
the author's blog
the author's pop culture blog
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book

A.V. Club review
Bookslut review
EDGE review
Flavorwire review
The Girl from the Ghetto review
Heeb review
Jezebel review
A Novel Romance review
Steele on Entertainment review
Time Out New York review

BlackBook interview with the author
Comedy Central Insider Blog interview with the author
The Frisky interview with the author
Globe and Mail interview with the author
Huffington Post profile of the offer
Lemondrop interview with the author
New Yorker interview with the author
Penguin blog guest posts by the author
The Rumpus interview with the author
Salon interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)

52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's comics & graphic novel releases)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (highlights of the week's book releases)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists

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