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June 27, 2016

Book Notes - Robert H. Patton "Cajun Waltz"

Cajun Waltz

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

Robert H. Patton's Cajun Waltz is an engaging novel that spans three generations of one family in southwest Louisiana.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Patton's novel is raw and atmospheric...mesmerizing [in a] way that readers won't be able to stop turning the pages."


In his own words, here is Robert H. Patton's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Cajun Waltz:


True to its title, Cajun Waltz highlights the music and culture of southwest Louisiana in the middle decades of the 1900s. There are accordionists, guitarists, fiddlers, and harp players among its characters, and the songs they play, dance to, and hear on the radio are as entwined within their daily lives every bit as deeply as today's digital tracks are entwined within our own. Along with a few numbers that, for me, capture the region's quirky and occasionally violent grit, my playlist includes some period tunes specifically featured in the book, the artists long-gone Cajun and blues pioneers revered by fans of American roots music but pretty much forgotten by everyone else. Primitive by modern production standards, it's something you either like or you don't. I don't listen to it every day—but when I do, it offers a fresh reminder of the gut emotion and innate virtuosity that compels great art in all its forms.



"Crawfish Fiesta" (Professor Longhair) – This piano instrumental by the late great Professor Longhair has the infectious bounce of Cajun Waltz's family patriarch, Richie Bainard. Richie's a Texan originally and the tune is pure New Orleans, but it speaks to his lifelong lust for good times at any cost.

"Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning" (John Fahey) – If I could model my own guitar playing after anyone's, it'd be Lightnin' Hopkins or John Fahey. Fahey doesn't really stretch out here, but his arrangement of Reverend Gary Davis's tune has, again, a nice New Orleans pulse thanks to its horn rhythm section.

"On Top of the World" (Hackberry Ramblers) – The Ramblers formed in 1933 and blended musical traditions of Louisiana Cajuns and East Texas cowboys. Many have recorded this song, including Cream and Keb' Mo'. When played slow, it comes across like a junkie's defiant preference for good drugs over bad love. Sped up by the Ramblers, it's a rollicking dance tune.

"J'ai Passe Devant Ta Porte" (Dewey Balfa, Marc Savoy, D. L. Menard) – This is one of my favorite Cajun waltzes. Listening to it makes it easy to imagine a ramshackle dance hall packed with revelers on a hot Gulf night during the Depression. Fights might erupt outside, but inside people are grinning.

"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassidy) – This chestnut by Jimmy Cox is one of the Depression's most iconic songs. Cajun Waltz begins in hardscrabble Louisiana in 1928. In many ways the fortunes of the novel's Bainard clan improve from there. And in many ways they don't.

"Allons a Lafayette" (Joseph Falcon and Cleoma Breaux) – Recorded in New Orleans in 1928, the song and its two performers play a big part in Cajun Waltz. It's a buoyant tune with a bleak lyric—which is to say, it's Cajun.

"Oberlin" (Amédé Ardoin) – Amédé Ardoin, the model for Cajun Waltz'sWalter Dopsie, was murdered in the 1930s for letting a white woman wipe his brow with her handkerchief after a show. Somehow you can hear his fate in his voice.

"Stagger Lee" (Professor Longhair)" – A barrelhouse boogie about coldblooded violence. Hey, it's Louisiana.

"Baby and the Gambler" (Savoy Family Band) – I haven't sat down and translated the French lyrics. It doesn't matter. This swampy ballad sung by Ann Savoy is plain beautiful.

"Crawling King Snake" (Big Joe Williams) – A blues standard, this version figures directly in Cajun Waltz. Two half-brothers playing a scratchy 78 on an old Philco player in the attic of their home on the shores of Lake Charles—it's a lovely moment from which nothing good will come.

"St. James Infirmary" (Snakefarm) – Snakefarm's Songs From My Funeral is a haunting collection of reinterpreted traditional ballads. Their version of "St. James Infirmary" is strange, daring, and dark – yet you can't listen to it without tapping your foot. I like to think Cajun Waltz might prompt a similar reaction in readers.

"Adieu False Heart" (Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy) – This song is about a woman stronger than the lover who abandons her. Fiddles, accordions, a fingerpicked guitar, and the lush harmonies of two amazing singers. A perfect way to say adieu.


Robert H. Patton and Cajun Waltz links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Booklist 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

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)
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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June 27, 2016

Book Notes - Richard Hawley "The Three Lives Of Jonathan Force"

The Three Lives Of Jonathan Force

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

Richard Hawley's The Three Lives Of Jonathan Force is an impressive novel of ideas that traces one fascinating man's life.


In his own words, here is Richard Hawley's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Three Lives Of Jonathan Force:


My novel sequence The Three Lives Of Jonathan Force traces from first sensory impression to last breath the long life of a remarkable man. Jonathan rises to consciousness feeling connected to a golden, better place which, when his circumstances give him a glimpse of it, he calls The Other World.

In the process of growing up into his very particular twentieth and twenty first century world, he achieves great success as a famous cultural pundit—but at the cost of losing his spiritual connectedness. Nearly losing it. In what his contemporaries regard as an unthinkable rejection of his life's work, Jonathan changes course dramatically in late life.

Music—popular music—informs and inspires him as he first makes his way into and then back to The Other World. As a small boy growing up in the American Midwest after the Second World War he is carried away by the romantic ardor of the operettas he hears on his grandparents' Victrola: Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, Oscar Straus's, Chocolate Soldier, Victor Herbert's Naughty Marietta, Sigmund Romberg's Student Prince. The stirring ballads from these scores evoke a time prior to Jonathan's immersion in the culture of his day; they are for him a message full of import. At six, he will sit on the curb of a neighborhood street and sing loudly in the direction of the house containing, he has determined, his heroic beloved: “Ah, sweet mystery of life at last I've found you—for at last I've found the secret of it all." (From Naughty Marietta.)

As a very old man, Jonathan improbably becomes a mentor and father surrogate to a wonderfully spirited Hispanic boy in Key West, Florida. He introduces the boy Julio, to stirring love songs from an idiom and era unknown to Julio: the love songs of George Gershwin and Cole Porter, including, “How Long Has This Been Going On?" “Embraceable You," “Easy to Love," and “Blame it on my Youth."

These ballads speak to Julio, connecting him, as the operettas once connected Jonathan, to a better, richer world, just beyond, just prior to, this one.


Richard Hawley and The Three Lives Of Jonathan Force links:

the author's website
the author's blog

Necessary Fiction interview with the author
The Quivering Pen essay by 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

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)
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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Shorties (New Short Fiction by Joy Williams, NPR Music's Favorite Albums of 2016 So Far, and more)

Tin House features new short fiction by Joy Williams.


NPR Music listed its favorite albums of 2016 so far.


Would you like to support Largehearted Boy? Here are a couple of ways you can help.


eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

The Complete David Bowie by Nicholas Pegg
The Drop by Dennis Lehane
The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens
Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
The Lower River by Paul Theroux
My Mistake by Daniel Menaker
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
Whisper Hollow by Chris Cander
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig


Noisey listed the best electronic albums of 2016 so far.


The Oxford American interviewed author Brian Blanchfield.


Visual artists discussed creating album covers at the Guardian.


The New Yorker interviewed T. C. Boyle about his story in this week's issue.


Brian Wilson discussed the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, first released 50 years ago this week, with the San Diego Union-Tribune.


The Rumpus interviewed author John Reed.


Rhode Island Public Radio profiled the band The Low Anthem.


Book Riot contributors shared their favorite books of the year so far.


The Quietus recapped July's psych and noise rock releases.


Ilan Stavans on the ellipsis as a grammatical device.


Rolling Stone listed rock albums released in 1996.


Ebook on sale today for #1.99: Victor Lavalle's novel The Devil in Silver.


Crib Notes interviewed the conductor of the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration.


The Rumpus interviewed author Tara Laskowski.


Drowned in Sound shared a playlist fo the best indie tracks of 2016 so far.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his agent, Sterling Road, discussed their sixty-year relationship at the New York Times.


Stream a new Field Mouse song.


The Los Angeles Times interviewed author Neil Gaiman.


Stream a new Devendra Banhart song.


The National Book Foundation recommended books to read during Pride month.


Bandcamp interviewed Damon Krukowski about the Galaxie 500 album On Fire.


The Irish Times recommended summer reading.


All Things Considered interviewed the filmmaker behind the new Frank Zappa documentary, Eat That Question.


Weekend Edition interviewed Lionel Shriver about her new novel The Mandibles.


Code Switch remembered Parliament's Bernie Worrell.


Texas Monthly profiled author Larry McMurtry.


Laurie Anderson on her favorite books.



also at 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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


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June 26, 2016

Largehearted Boy Weekly Wrap-Up - June 26, 2016

A list of the past week's Largehearted Boy features:


Book Notes: (authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates to their book)

Anna Noyes for her short story collection Goodnight, Beautiful Women
Drew Nellins Smith for his novel Arcade
Flynn Berry for her novel Under the Harrow
Matthew Norman for his novel We're All Damaged
Monica Drake for her short story collection The Folly of Loving Life
Robin Black for her essay collection Crash Course


Weekly New Book Recommendations:

Atomic Books Comics Preview (recommended new comics and graphic novels)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


New Music Recommendations:

The Week's Interesting Music Releases


And of course, the daily literature and music news and link posts:

Shorties (news & links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Antiheroines
Atomic Books Comics Preview
Book Notes
Cover Song Collections
Lists
weekly music release lists
musician/author Interviews
Note Books
Soundtracked
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week


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June 24, 2016

Atomic Books Comics Preview - June 24, 2016

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

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. He also runs the Mutant Funnies Tumblr.

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.


CA Comics Completely Drawable Comic Book

CA Comics Completely Drawable Comic Book
by CA Comics

This may be the single greatest comic book ever written/drawn. That's totally up to you as this is a blank comic book, complete with panels, printed on both sides, stapled together. Basically, it's a make-your-own comic.


Drinky Crow Drinks Again

Drinky Crow Drinks Again
by Tony Millionaire

I used to be able to read Millionaire's comics in my local alt-weekly. But a year ago, in a stereotypical fit of cartoonishly misguided liberalism, my local alt-weekly canned the strip as a result of its institutional misunderstanding of humor, cartooning, art, etc. This book catches me up on the dark, often bleak, humor my local "alternative" weekly thought was too offensive for my delicate eyes.


Little Book of Tom of Finland: Blue Collar

Little Book of Tom of Finland: Blue Collar
by Tom of Finland / Dian Hanson (editor)

Little Book of Tom of Finland: Cops And Robbers

Little Book of Tom of Finland: Cops And Robbers
by Tom of Finland / Dian Hanson (editor)

Little Book of Tom of Finland: Military Men

Little Book of Tom of Finland: Military Men
by Tom of Finland / Dian Hanson (editor)

These adorable editions collect the famous artist's illustrations of strapping men - and the only thing "little" is the size of the book. Everything else you'll find inside is rather large.


MAD Magazine #540

MAD Magazine #540
by the Usual Gang of Idiots

I think the cover says it all about this issue of MAD. Right now, we could all use a bit of a laff.


Outta Pocket #2

Outta Pocket #2

This local skatezine is loaded with excellent, full-color, action-packed photos, and interviews with Baltimore skaters.


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:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Online "Best of 2015" Book Lists

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


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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - June 24, 2016

Deerhoof

Deerhoof's The Magic and Lisa Prank's Adult Teen are two albums I can recommend this week.

Neil Young's Earth, The Avett Brothers' True Sadness, and The Felice Brothers' Life In The Dark are also available to stream, download, and pick up.

Archival releases include vinyl reissues of three Melvins discs, Houdini, Stag, and Witch.

What new music can you recommend this week?


This week's interesting music releases:

The Avett Brothers: True Sadness
The Bangles: Ladies And Gentlemen... The Bangles! (reissue)
Barbara Cook: Songs of Perfect Propriety By Dorothy Parker
Broods: Conscious
Cliff Martinez: The Neon Demon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Deerhoof: The Magic
Denner / Shermann: Masters of Evil
DJ Shadow: The Mountain Will Fall
Dorothy: ROCKISDEAD
The Explorers Club: Together
The Felice Brothers: Life In The Dark
Hot Hot Heat: Hot Hot Heat
Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders: Garcialive Volume 6: July 5, 1973 Lion's Share (3-CD box set)
John Cage: John Cage Meets Sun Ra
Kayo Dot: Plastic House On Base Of Sky
The Kinks: Best Of The Kinks 1964-1970 [vinyl]
Lisa Prank: Adult Teen
Loreena McKennitt: The Visit (reissue) [vinyl]
Marisa Anderson: Into The Light
Marvin Gaye: Volume One: 1971-1981 (7-CD box set)
Marvin Gaye: Volume Two: 1966-1970 (7-CD box set)
Marvin Gaye: Volume Three: 1971-1981 (7-CD box set)
Marvin Gaye: What's Goin' On (reissue) [vinyl]
Melvins: Houdini (reissue) [vinyl]
Melvins: Stag (reissue) [vinyl]
Melvins: Witch (reissue) [vinyl]
Moby: Play (reissue) [vinyl]
Mock Orange: Put The Kid On The Sleepy Horse
The Monkees: Instant Replay - The Deluxe 50th Anniversary Edition (Original Recording Master/Limited Edition) (remastered and expanded)
Motorhead: Clean Your Clock
The Mystery Lights: The Mystery Lights
Neil Young: Earth
Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Rust Never Sleeps (reissue) [dvd]
Oh Pep!: Stadium Cake
Olafur Arnalds: Late Night Tales
Pink Floyd: Delicate Sound of Thunder (Live) (reissue)
Pink Floyd: Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd (reissue)
Pink Floyd: A Foot in the Door: The Best of Pink Floyd (reissue)
Pink Floyd: Relics (reissue)
Puro Instinct: Autodrama
Rational Youth: Future Past Tense
Rick Astley: 50
The Shins: Chutes Too Narrow [cassette]
The Shins: Oh, Inverted World [cassette]
The Shins: Wincing The Night Away [cassette]
The Sounds: Living in America (reissue) [vinyl]
Various Artists: Carol (soundtrack)
We Are Scientists: Helter Seltzer
Whitechapel: Mark of the Blade


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

Essential and Interesting 2015 Year-End Music Lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
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)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)


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Shorties (Authors' Dream Jobs Before Becoming a Writer, An Interview with Kathleen Hanna, and more)

Authors David Mitchell, Margo Jefferson, Nina Stibbe, and Emma Cline on their dream professions before becoming a writer.


SPIN interviewed Kathleen Hanna.


Would you like to support Largehearted Boy? Here are a couple of ways you can help.


eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

The Complete David Bowie by Nicholas Pegg
The Drop by Dennis Lehane
The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens
Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
The Lower River by Paul Theroux
My Mistake by Daniel Menaker
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
Whisper Hollow by Chris Cander
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig


Noisey interviewed Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell.


DBC Pierre offered novel writing tips at VICE.


Entropy listed essential vaporwave albums.


Guernica features new graphic nonfiction from Kristen Radtke.


Stream a new Jay Som track.


VICE interviewed author Victor LaValle.


Stream a new track by Japanese Breakfast.


Comics Beat interviewed Bryan Lee O'Malley about his new comic Snotgirl.


Stream a new Arc Iris song.


Literary Hub shared a LeBron James essay from David Giffels collection The Hard Way on Purpose.


NYCTaper shared a recent Beach Creeps performance.


The Otherppl podcast interviewed author Stephen Elliott.


CHVRCHES broke down their song "Clearest Blue" on the Song Exploder podcast.


Parade talked books with talk show host Seth Meyers.


Pitchfork profiled singer-songwriter Lou Doillon.


Lisa McInerney talked to the Irish Examiner about her novel The Glorious Heresies, which was just awarded the Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction.


Noisey listed 2016's most overlooked albums.


Ann Patchett listed the 75 best books of the past 75 years at Parade.


MTV looked back on Morrissey's career.


Ebook on sale for $1.99 today: The Essential W. P. Kinsella.


R.I.P., bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley.


Bustle shared an excerpt from Margaret Atwood's graphic novel Angel Catbird.


NPR Music is streaming Bat for Lashes' new album The Bride.



also at 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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

June 23, 2016

Book Notes - Drew Nellins Smith "Arcade"

Arcade

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

Drew Nellins Smith's novel Arcade is an engrossing debut.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Smith has created a narrative that entrances its readers, constantly giving us excitement and depicting with audacity the rawness of sexuality... a daring and compelling debut that sheds light on a rather unusual lifestyle. A sexy and poignant novel."


In his own words, here is Drew Nellins Smith's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel Arcade:


Arcade is about a man (sort of) going through a breakup while (sort of) coming out. In discovering a peepshow arcade on the outskirts of town, he discovers an escape from the disappointments of his real life—a dead end job and the obsessive stalking of his ex. The arcade is a dark, unexpected world where closeted men meet for anonymous encounters. There, the narrator worriedly explores the possibilities, reinventing his identity with each passing man and trying to grasp the meaning of the arcade in the context of his life.

I listened to a lot of music while writing Arcade, especially the early drafts. There’s a time at the beginning of every project when I keep telling myself “everything goes in!" Which means that when I overhear a conversation that seems relevant or I catch a lyric that seems to be a great fit, I steal it right away. In subsequent drafts, things change and change and change, but these and other songs had a big influence that I hope echoes throughout the novel, even if direct evidence of them has been swept away.

I had a girlfriend in high school who was so masterful at creating mixtapes that every new song seemed organically related to the last one. Track two just sort of oozed into track three. I don’t know how she did it, and I certainly didn’t manage even a modicum of her musical elegance here. But at least I’m reasonably confident that my entry is the first in which Clint Black, Die Antwoord, and Screeching Weasel appear together.



1. El Perro del Mar "Change of Heart" (on Love is Not Pop)

“Change of Heart" is married in my mind to its music video, a strange and sexy Lynchian dream come to life in which two strongmen wearing almost nothing use their perfect physiques to move and hold one another in impossible positions. The spotlight on two men in an otherwise black arena recalls the arcade of my novel, as does the way in which they appear completely calm and serene until you look closely and see that they're breathing as hard as if they were in the middle of a boxing match. Depending on whom you believe, the opening lyric is either "a hand in the darkness" or "her hand in the darkness." Either way, hands in the darkness are what Arcade is all about, particularly when, in the background, a voice can be heard repeatedly "wishing you'd consider a change of heart."

2. Magnolia Electric Company “Texas 71" (on Sojourner)

“Texas 71" is an entry in what must surely be its own genre: mournful songs about highways. The titular arcade sits on a Texas highway and is itself a site where the narrator experiences a mixture of the dejection and bewilderment that Jason Molina seems to be singing about. Highway 71 runs through Austin, where I live, and it could be home to the arcade just as easily as any of the other roads leading out of town.

3. Elliott Smith “Thirteen" (on New Moon)

Elliott Smith has long stood as the quintessence of authentic acne-scarred romantic dreaming and alienation, so his cover of Big Star’s track about adolescent love has a special poignancy. There’s something so desperately sweet about these childish lyrics as sung by an adult, a contrast especially fitting for Arcade, which is largely about an adult man experiencing the kind of first-love heartbreak in adulthood that most people weather in adolescence. Turns out it’s something like having your tonsils removed—way less painful if you do it when you’re young, but even then it’s pretty awful. Bill Callahan’s “Teenage Spaceship" could have filled this slot, too.

4. A Tribe Called Quest “Electric Relaxation" (on Midnight Marauders)

Arcade alternates between two worlds: the narrator’s recent heartbreak and his exploration of a peepshow. His best, most relaxed moments are those when he can lose himself in the experience of strange encounters at the arcade. “Electric Relaxation," from Tribe’s 1993 Midnight Marauders album, is all about sex. I love when Phife Dawg breaks in and begins listing the types of women he’s open to: “I like ‘em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican, and Hatian." A real buffet of appetite and possibility.

5. The Descendents "Hope" (on Milo Goes to College)

A friend in college used to play this punk track while dreaming of connecting with one of our mutual friends who was busying herself with other guys. I can still call up the look on his face at the refrain “But I know my day will come. I know someday I’ll be the only one." The word “hope" doesn’t appear anywhere in the song, but it’s the perfect title for such a heartbroken anthem.

6. The Band “Don't Do It" (I prefer the version on The Last Waltz, but you could also use the one from Live at the Academy of Music 1971)

This cover of an old Marvin Gaye track seems a perfect summary of the kind of breakup written about in Arcade, in which one party pleads for a second chance. The refrain “Please don’t do it, don’t you break my heart" could be straight from one of the narrator’s desperate phone calls, though his pleading would be nowhere near as persuasive as that of Levon Helm’s, horn-backed appeal. When he yells, “My biggest mistake was loving you too much," I feel like shouting “Hallelujah!"

7. Die Antwoord “I Fink U Freeky" (on Ten$ion)

At the arcade in the novel, the clerks play whatever music they want, sometimes so loud it drowns out the sounds of porn. Depending on which clerk is running the place, one might hear tejano, hip hop, heavy metal, or classic rock. Or, once in a while, when some weirdo art student lands a job there, really fun, really strange stuff like Die Antwoord, the members of which I idolize whenever I watch their videos. “I Fink U Freeky" seems like the kind of phrase one might actually overhear at the arcade. Their track “Ugly Boys" is equally fitting.

8. Clint Black “A Better Man" (on Ultimate Clint Black)

Another song that has probably been heard at the arcade a few million times, played when the place is under the command of a different kind of clerk—a country boy lying to his folks and friends about where he’s working. The earnest lyrics, “I’m leaving here a better man for knowing you this way" take on a perversely ironic dimension when played over the squeals of implant-laden coeds and the undisguised sounds of man-on-man sex. The narrator of Arcade who, like me, grew up in a small Texas town, probably wouldn’t change the station if “Better Man" came on while he was cruising the city in his pickup. There’s something sort of great about Clint Black circa 1989.

9. Fly Young Red “Throw That Boy Pussy" (on Throw That Boy Pussy Reloaded)

A friend told me this track was sort of a viral sensation when it came out, which is something that would normally repel me. But it demands inclusion for a few reasons. 1) There aren’t enough hip-hop songs about gay sex, and this one is pretty damn catchy. 2) His insistence that his hookup give his real name, not his jack (or Jack’d) name recalls the fake names used by Arcade's narrator when he hooks up with guys. 3) However much courage I thought I had writing a book as explicit as Arcade, fellow Texan Fly Young Red has me beat, coming out of the Houston hip-hop scene with something this ballsy and in-your-face.

10. Screeching Weasel "I Wanna Be a Homosexual" (on Kill the Musicians)

One of my favorite things about punk is its potential for a call and response aspect. When pre-Broadway-musical Green Day released their song “Who Wrote Holden Caulfield" in 1992, Screeching Weasel released “I Wrote Holden Caulfield" the following year. They did it again in this response to Sloppy Seconds’ "I Don't Wanna Be a Homosexual." In a sort of proto-coming out, I once played this for a predictably horrified family member. I recall a specific shrieking objection to the line, “Shock the middle class, take it up your punk rock ass!" Naturally, I turned it off before the final verse, which still pops into my head all the time. Specifically the line, "You don't have the balls to be a queer!"

11. Wu Lyf “L Y F" (on Go Tell Fire to the Mountain)

I don’t know what it is about this album that makes it so great to write to. Maybe it’s that so few of the words are actually discernable, and yet it has such a powerful sound. I played it for a friend who hated it and had no idea what I could like about it. So it’s definitely not for everyone. I sometimes listened to this album on repeat when I was writing at night. When I was really engrossed, this track would come on and I’d think, “Sheesh, back to the first song again already?" Those were good nights.

12. Smog “Hit the Ground Running" (on Knock Knock)

I once knew someone who aimed to conclude conversations with an “up and out," a sort of cheery final thought intended to bring an air of lightness to an interaction, especially after downbeat talks. This song is my up and out. However melancholy the end of Arcade might be, I like to imagine this song on the narrator’s stereo as he heads out on a drive in the final sequence. The repeated sentiment of the chorus, a perfect mix of optimism and uncertainty, is rendered even more hopeful when a choir of children takes over singing the words, “Now I don’t know where I’m going. All I know is I’ll hit the ground running."


Drew Nellins Smith and Arcade links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Bay Area Reporter review
Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

Los Angeles Times profile of the author
Out 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

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)
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 - June 23, 2016

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.


Closer: Notes from the Orgasmic Frontier of Female Sexuality

Closer: Notes from the Orgasmic Frontier of Female Sexuality
by Sarah Barmak

While our society has undoubtedly made leaps and bounds in terms of understanding women as sexual beings, Barmak is quick to establish that women still aren’t getting off. Provocative in nature but a necessary investigation into the reality of female sexuality, Closer is a blend of reportage, interviews and first-person reflection that aim to paint a picture of why a striking number of women are left unsatisfied. Barmak’s book, in short, calls for the reorienting of our current male-focused approach to sex and pleasure, and a rethinking of what’s ‘normal.’


Among Strange Victims

Among Strange Victims
by Daniel Saldaña París

Based in our hometown of Montreal, Daniel Saldaña Paris’ first novel to be translated into English is an expertly composed, leisurely read that sucks you in but never spits you out. A study of slothfulness layered with wit and charm, Among Strange Victims is a languid read that takes you from Mexico City to the desolation of a small town—protagonist Rodrigo leading the way. Translated into English by the talented Christina McSweeney, this book is a must-read.


So Much for That Winter

So Much for That Winter
by Dorthe Nors

Consisting of two novellas in one, already compact package, So Much for That Winter is a playful venture into the aftermath of two twenty-first century romances. Never taking itself too seriously but always staying in tune with its own sense of gravity, Nors’ endearing book is written almost entirely in bullet points and single-lined sentences. Teetering on the line between prose and poetry, this double feature is an exciting look into the mind of someone with their finger on society’s pulse.


Grief Is the Thing With Feathers

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers
by Max Porter

Aching with a sense of sadness that seems to radiate from the page, Max Porter’s paperback release of his lauded 2015 novel is both striking inside, as well as on the cover. Part novella, part polyphonic fable, and part essay on grief, Grief is the Thing With Feathers invites you to be moved by the catharsis of others. And while the nature of the book is heavy-handed - given that it chronicles a new widower and the life of his two sons - the story is surprisingly light, allowing itself to be funny, to be quirky, and to be undeniably sharp.


How to Take Care of Your Human: a Guide for Dogs

How to Take Care of Your Human: a Guide for Dogs
by Maggie Mayhem

While there are plenty of manuals that explain the secrets to training your dog, nothing has been written from the dog’s perspective—until now. Written with the ‘help’ of author Kim Sears, Maggie Mayhem (Sears’ beloved dog) has penned the wonderful “How to Take Care of Your Human” with the help of illustrator Helen Hancocks. A quirky and delightful look at the human condition from a dog’s perspective, this book is a brilliant look into the world of humans and the small, sentient beings that care about them.


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:

Largehearted Boy's 2016 Fundraiser

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

Online "Best Books of 2015" Year-end Lists

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)


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Shorties (Amazon's Best Books of 2016 So Far, An Excerpt from Ryan Leas' 33 1/3 Book on LCD Soundsystem, and more)

Amazon style= listed the best books of 2016 so far.


Stereogum features an excerpt from Ryan Leas' 33 1/3 book on LCD Soundsystem’s Sound Of Silver album.


Would you like to support Largehearted Boy? Here are a couple of ways you can help.


eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

The Complete David Bowie by Nicholas Pegg
The Drop by Dennis Lehane
The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens
Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
The Lower River by Paul Theroux
My Mistake by Daniel Menaker
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
Whisper Hollow by Chris Cander
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig


Lydia Davis talked translation with Words Without Borders.


Pitchfork recommended musicians to follow on social media.


Playboy interviewed author Ta-Nehisi Coates.


Stereogum pondered the meaning of the term "album" in 2016.


Literary Hub interviewed author Christos Ikonomou.


Stream a new Lucy Dacus song.


The Daily Beast recommended books to read this election season.


Cliff Martinez talked scoring indie films with Vanity Fair.


Author Annie Proulx talked books and reading with the New York Times.


Bookworm interviewed author Joyce Carol Oates.


Stream a new Cymbals Eat Guitars song.


The Boston Globe and NOW Toronto shared summer reading guides.


Stream "Old Man Trump," written by Woody Guthrie about Donald Trump's father, covered by Tom Morello, Ani DiFranco, and Ryan Harvey.


Cartoonist Menorah Horwitz listed her favorite queer comics at Paste.


NPR Music is streaming Sara Watkins' new album Young In All The Wrong Ways.


Shakespeare's fascination with time.


PopMatters profiled Fruit Bats frontman Eric Johnson.


The Oxford American features new short fiction by C. E. Morgan.


Stream a new Emily Jane White song.


The Otherppl podcast interviewed author Viet Thanh Nguyen.


The A.V. Club shared an oral history of GooglyMinotaur, Radiohead's online companion to its 2001 album Amnesiac.


Signature recommended fiction by Walter Mosley.


Stream a new Titus Andronicus song.


Literary Hub listed important works of eco-fiction.


David Hepworth talked to All Things Considered about his book Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded.


The Guardian listed Western classics reimagined by African writers.


Salon and Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Deena Goldstone.


The New York Times Magazine profiled author Cynthia Ozick.



also at 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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

June 22, 2016

Book Notes - Robin Black "Crash Course"

Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide

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

Robin Black's essay collection Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide is an engaging and insightful book about craft and the writing life.

Celese Ng wrote of the book:

"In these essays, Robin Black is simultaneously a wise teacher, an encouraging mentor, and that friend who gives you the real dirt on what the writing life is like. Crash Course is an invaluable resource and reassurance for any writer."


In her own words, here is Robin Black's Book Notes music playlist for her essay collection Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide:


My book Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide is a hybrid, part memoir, part craft book, part some things that are neither, and then some things that are both. It's a book that grew out of my sense of life, daily life, as overlapping into my writing, not because I write (in fiction) about myself, but because so much of my own coming of age, at a somewhat advanced age, had to with finding the ability to write, with making the most of whatever impulses I had along those lines. And as I learned about craft, I perceived more and more ways that those concepts apply to "real" life, as well.



Louis Armstrong, "West End Blues"

There are a few strands that go through the book, topics addressed in several of the 43 short essays. My late father is one of those topics. My poor father whose emotional difficulties made him, inevitably, a difficult parent, if one who evoked a complex mix of anger and then also pity and then also, at times, adoration. It is impossible to think of my father and not soon think of Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues". It was played at the memorial for him, fifteen years or so ago. And it was playing, surely, in my heart, as I wrote about the daily torture he faced, waking up, slowly, painfully, after nightmare-filled nights. And it is there when I write about his insistence, so hurtful to me at the time, that only work that might be termed "genius" is worth doing— the rest, the stuff we are almost all doing all the time, just a little bit sad.

"A Hundred Years From Today" by Victor Young, Ned Washington and Joe Young, performed by me and my Dad

"West End Blues" was solely my father's song, and in fact we had songs that we shared. A part of my childhood, my teen years involved singing with my father, as we walked, or in his jeep, top down, driving through town. There were so many songs, but the one that I think captures what I wrote about is "A Hundred Years From Today." I can't reference the recorded version I have in mind, because it's our two voices I hear, all these decades later. What would have been my father's 100th birthday came and went while this book was still being written, and my mind was filled with thoughts of what it is we do leave behind, the traces of ourselves lingering in and around other people.

Anna Nalick, "Breathe (2 am)"

I write too about my daughter who has learning and social disabilities. And in those essays, I hear the song Anna Nalick's "Breathe(2 am)". Not every word of it is apropos, but there are a few in there that really hit me, every time. "No one can find the rewind button, girl." I suppose for many of us parents of kids with "stuff" there's always that fantasy - being able to rewind the tape and make it all go away, for our child. Also my daughter's coping mechanisms, her perspective, her courage, have taught me to calm down, she has helped me learn not to fly off in panics when little things go wrong. "Just breathe." It never fails to make me weep. But mostly, I admit, I hear it in my essays because it's a song I first heard while watching Grey's Anatomy with my girl – which, perhaps oddly, has been one of the most tender, most meaningful things we do together, though we surely do a lot.

The Counting Crows, "Catapult"

There's an essay in which I write about listening to a Counting Crows CD on an endless loop, while driving somewhere as a step in breaking through my agoraphobia. It was what we used to call a mix-tape back in the day – songs chosen by a friend of one of my kids. Those songs, especially "Catapult" which was first on the disc, will always evoke the Dewey Throughway for me, always evoke the trepidation I felt driving on a highway alone, leaving the safe prison of my home, where I had hidden, scared, for so long.

My Endless "Loop Songs":

Elvis Costello, "Veronica"
Pete Yorn, "Life On A Chain"
Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun"
Adele, "I Found A Boy"

I write a lot in Crash Course about my ADD, and one way I can work while dealing with the odd attentional needs of my brain is to play endless loops of songs, until I don't hear the words anymore. Elvis Costello's Veronica – for its poignancy, its understanding of passing time, of age. Pete Yorn's Life On A Chain. "I was waiting over here for life to begin." That line has always hit me hard, because for so long I was doing just that. Soundgarten's Black Hole Sun, which I listen to to capture a certain bravery, I suppose, about facing life's harder truths. It drags me down, and drags the tough stuff out of me. And Adele's I Found A Boy – one of the songs that accompanied me through writing my novel, too. An anthem to ditching people who are bad for you. An anthem to telling toxic folks to piss off. And so, also, woven into the memoir portions of my book.
It's an odd collection, I admit, ranging from West End Blues to Black Hole Sun, but perhaps that's the point. The book is a hybrid, because life is as well. Or it's a collage. It's surely a puzzle composed of pieces that shouldn't fit together, but do. And so is Crash Course. And so is this playlist.


Robin Black and Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

JMWW review
LitStack review
Work-In-Progress review

CarolineLeavittville interview with the author
Electric Literature interview with the author
Monkeybicycle essay by the author
RadioTimes 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

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)
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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Book Notes - Monica Drake "The Folly of Loving Life"

The Folly of Loving Life

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

The linked stories in Monica Drake's striking debut collection The Folly of Loving Life work well as standalone pieces, but together they read like a novel.

Heavy Feather Review wrote of the book:

"As a collection of linked stories, the threads are tight and the callbacks subtle and knowing. The characters themselves are whip-smart and self-aware; Vanessa and Lu know their story as two motherless girls for whom destitution is always lurking around the corner."


In her own words, here is Monica Drake's Book Notes music playlist for her short story collection The Folly of Loving Life:


I love ghost signs—those faded, painted advertisements on brick buildings in the oldest part of American cities. There's a story in the way an ad for boot repair might overlap with a hotel singing the song of a room that used to cost less than a buck. It's about time passing, people getting by. The thing about these ads is that now there's a movement to restore them. I don't think a person can restore a fading ad without making it into a different thing: the story is in the way the image weathers the ongoing assault of nature and business. The story is time. Restore the paint and you get kitsch. I'm against it, even as I want to hang on to the spirit of the original images. It's an impossible urge: to preserve the past and simultaneously insist that it be allowed to fade.

The Folly of Loving Life, my new collection of linked stories from Future Tense Books, moves mostly chronologically forward, but it's always about looking back too, with actions echoing against a rugged past. The stories bleed into each other. Like an old ghost sign on a crumbling building, maybe they're a little spooky around the edges.

I've had more than one reader suggest Folly could be called a novel because the collection builds to a cohesive narrative. I like that idea. It is a novel of sorts. But it's a fragmented narrative intentionally allowed to have its gaps, leaps and faded corners. I'm thankful to Future Tense Books, Kevin Sampsell, for giving me the opportunity and freedom to let a work exist in this in-between space where stories merge into a novel's reach. That's the structure of a human life, isn't it? Short pieces inform each other until they add up.

The stories are set in and around Portland, Oregon, over decades. There are flashes of a city that was more rugged, less expensive, and less meticulously designed than Portland is now. In this soggy old town, even if you didn't step into the dive bars you'd still kick your way through spilled beer. Henry Weinhard's brewery poured runoff into the streets, leaving lacey, yellow foam banks in the pre-dawn morning. It was a rainy, insular, and broken place of gurgling fountains, booze and heroin deals down on the same corners where opium had been peddled a hundred years earlier. We lived with that backdrop. There were flourishes and fine moments, like the very first female chief of police in the whole United States, in 1985—Penny Harrington!—but also small town scandals writ large: Harrington's husband may or may not have tipped off a cocaine dealer at a Chinese restaurant down in those same Old Town high drug trafficking corners. There was a feeling everybody in the center of town knew everyone else, from the mayor to street punks and rambling homeless, crossing paths in the same taverns. Permissiveness and neglect contributed to both destructive and creative urges, violence and murderous racism alongside accessible education, high ideals, utopian visions and a culture of constantly questioning authority. Portland was the end of the line for the Rock Against Reagan tour in 1984, when activist musicians poured off their broken down buses and vans to find cheap digs. East Coast radicals came to hide from their own 70's political actions. Portland State was the stomping ground where those East Coast protestors and politicos could play up their tiny part in radical action for underage girls, over a quart of cheap beer.

Those particular details of history aren't in The Folly of Loving Life, but they inform the sensibility, humanity trying to move forward, struggling and aware.

Any playlist to accompany the stories would reach through time and be rooted in place—in this case, Portland, back before the New York Times caught on to how cool this city really is, or was, despite a raft of problems. Portland's always had a raging live music scene, from Satyricon to Pine Street, later La Luna, then Dandelion Pub, that little hole in the wall, the Last Hurrah, the Long Goodbye, and Key Large, aka "Large Kilo," and every spot had its bands, along with its particular drug culture, paired like a meal with a fine wine, style and substance, or maybe substance abuse. These days Foster Burger, over on SE Foster road, has walls papered with decades-old band flyers, ephemera meant to disappear salvaged and reused: Killing Fields, Sweaty Nipples, Hell Cows, The Wipers. Then there was Slack, Dial Memphis, all history.

My playlist moves away from the past into the present, then out of the particulars to a greater expansiveness beyond the boundaries of this city. Here's the list, with all thanks and love. Cheers to fading beauty.



Dead Moon - "In the the Graveyard"
This band and the song come right out of the rainy, working class city Portland has been, with the right kind of wildness let loose. It in holds that beautiful line in a tension between the love of living and certainty of death. Drummer Andrew Loomis recently passed on. I put this song on the list in his honor, in memory, for a man about town, Portland phenom, with style to spare and serious energy on stage.

Satan's Pilgrims - "Haunted House of Rock"
Satan's Pilgrims has a cameo in the collection. I could've chosen a few of their songs—many!--but I'm going with this one for its almost narrative line; it moves forward, ominous and steady, and always a good time. My collection starts with a haunted house, and a troubled brain, and this works perfectly.

Esperanza Spalding - "One"
Because she's genius. Fantastic. And this persona or character she's created? Terrific.

Dandy Warhols - "Bohemian Like You"
A lovely wry commentary on co-opting and sculpting one way of life, or maybe of forging quick and forgotten connections.

Julia Wolfe - Cruel Sister
This piece of modern classical music was originally written as "program music," meaning it sets out to tell or convey a story, translating narrative drama into notes, and sound. It asserts so fully that classical music, like art, doesn't need to sooth anybody. It's here to make a scene.

Kendrick Lamar - "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe"
This is such a conflicted song, with a few hard moments and a gentle, almost generous delivery. It starts out nearly confessional, edging toward repenting—"I am a sinner, whose probably going to sin again…"--then makes a quick dodge toward near accusation, never resting easy with any certainty about relationships, who's a friend, who's a threat. People are complicated and difficult, hiding from themselves and each other. That's so often the crux of short fiction, this collection included, and here it is. I never use the word "bitch." I don't like gendered attacks. I'll overlook it in this one, to enter into the spirit of the song, the character of the delivery.

Sonny Fodera and Gene Farris - "We Work It"
This song moves the stories forward, whatever the stories are. I'm not "doing ‘caine" while I work, but I can enter the narrative and let it inform the vision.

Shiba San - "I Can't Remember"
What a difficult name for this electronic mix! Run a search for it, and you'll find a lot of people who can't remember the names of songs, moments of their lives, dance parties, nights out. Isn't that the way of things? Strangers grasping at elusive memories to narrate back their own lives. The piece is worth tracking down. This electronica is evocative, fragmented and as associative as memory. It can loop and run in the background of a lifetime of stories like a buzz, or a Sunday morning mood. All good.


Monica Drake and The Folly of Loving Life links:

the author's website

Electric Literature review
Heavy Feather Review review
LitReactor review
Portland Mercury review
Willamette Week review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Stud Book


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

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

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