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July 29, 2014

Daily Downloads (Black Joe Lewis, Bear Cub, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Balancer: "The Age Is a Gift" [mp3]

Bear Cub: NoiseTrade Eastside Manor Sessions EP [mp3]

Black Joe Lewis: NoiseTrade Eastside Manor Sessions EP [mp3]

Christian Lopez Band: Will I See You Again single [mp3]

Gossling: 2 S'es Not Ryan EP [mp3]

Leah Banks: Sincerely EP [mp3]

Marah in the Mainsail: "Fox Hole" [mp3]

They Set Fire: "Hawthorne Avenue" [mp3]

Twin Cities: Sunflower Cities EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Freeman: 2014-07-23, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)





July 28, 2014

Book Notes - Matthew Gavin Frank "Preparing the Ghost"

Preparing the Ghost

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Matthew Gavin's Preparing the Ghost is a marvelously told book-length essay, one that skillfully melds fact, myth, and fiction about the giant squid and its first photographer. One of the year's finest nonfiction books.

The Wall Street Journal wrote of the book:

"'Preparing the Ghost' delights in a banquet of unusual facts and fantasts...Mr. Frank marshals irresistible information—the evolution of calamari as a popular dish, the uses of ambergris—along with pressing philosophical queries and excerpts from scholars. These elements coalesce to give this book a charming dynamism. "

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Matthew Gavin Frank's Book Notes music playlist for his book, Preparing the Ghost:


"Octopus" by Syd Barrett

The book should kick off with this delirious and ominously cheery descent into madness, or myth, or the deep sea. The audience should be armed with foam rubber tentacles that they bought from the souvenir stand in spite of the inflated price. (You can get them much cheaper at the Dollar Store). They should be waving them in the air, on their feet, sipping gin martinis infused with sepia, as Moses Harvey goes for his fateful morning constitution in 1874 St. John's Newfoundland, at the end of which he encounters an intact (though dead) specimen of the giant squid. I realize this song is an obvious choice—like Springsteen's "Born to Run" playing over a scene of a guy going jogging in a factory town—but still.

"Mating Scars" by Giant Squid

In 1735, Carolus Linnaeus, godfather of binomial nomenclature, published the first edition of his masterwork, Systema Naturae, which set about classifying and naming all things in nature. The first edition included, amazingly, the Kraken, under the moniker Sepia microcosmos. (This was about 120 years before the Danish zoologist and spectacularly-named Johannes Japetus Smith Steenstrup dared make a similar assertion, and lent the mythological Kraken the language of science, claiming it existed and was a cephalopod). Linnaeus' entry was removed by the time the second edition went to press, and Linnaeus was mercilessly ridiculed by his colleagues as gullible for having included it in the first place, for being seduced by "the mere fabrications of a distorted mind." The giant squid, having been given its brief and small entry into reality in 1735, once again retreated to the realm of myth. I imagine Linnaeus, depressed over this, holing up in his bedroom, listening to this song on repeat, getting pissed on the precursor to Svedka, and threatening to slit his wrists with the stinger of the Plesiobatis daviesi.

"Underwater Moonlight" by The Soft Boys

A giant squid lays her eggs—sometimes up to 50,000 at a time!—in a string that resembles a pearl necklace, torn, bouncing along the sea-floor on her legs until she finds an object that she deems suitable on which to pile the mass of embryos, a process which often results in thousands of acres of sea-floor to be covered with the sheen of her jellied eggs, until such an object, like a big pink shell, is found. This song would play over such a scene, evoking a cheesiness that eventually edges toward profundity.

"Prince of the World" by Carla Bozulich

Aristotle and Pliny and Ælian and Strabo and Melville, all, in their writings, believed that the Mediterranean waters were occupied by enormous, immeasurable cephalopods ("the most wonderful phenomenon of the secret seas," Melville wrote), claims which spawned the "squid-as-fad" concept in places like Paris, where, for a time, squid hats were in fashion and squid parties were the favored after-hours choice of the high society. Such parties seem to me so firmly entrenched in a desperate, but luxurious (and luxuriously off-yellow-lit) past, glimpsed through, say, a six-story window from street-level. Everyone behind the pane has a drink in hand, and is plucking some hors d'oeuvre from a passing platter, and they all seem to be whirling, finite, and they have silk tentacles in their faces, beaks on their heads, and something appears to be burning on the horizon, and there are no stars, and this song is playing, and down the cobblestone alley, a bell is marking time.

"I'm So Green," by CAN

Moses Harvey's nose is bleeding, and it's morning, and he's walking toward that beach where he'll see the squid. He swears he sees ducks in the air speaking in tongues to ducks on the earth, and he stumbles downhill over the rocks and feels a cold pins-and-needles rain, and his heart begins to speed, and he is frightened, and he is at the shore, finally at the shore, and he smells it before he knows what it is he is smelling, and he puts his hand to his mouth to catch the blood, but lets some of it fall to the beach to mix with the rain and the sea. The world goes green at its edges—psychedelic and slightly Germanic, and Harvey swears he tastes Aegean okra in his mouth, though his mouth is empty of food, and he's never had Aegean okra besides.

"Poor Born," by Dead Moon

A fascinating connection exists between the obsessions of clergymen and the giant squid. Not only were Newfoundland Reverends Moses Harvey and M. Gabriel (not to mention Olaus Magnus, coiner of the term kraken, and 16th century Archbishop of Uppsala) obsessed with the animal, but so was Norwegian Protestant Bishop Erik Ludvigsen Pontoppidan, who, 200 years after Magnus' death, stole the late Swede's thunder and claimed that he himself "invented" the Kraken, and claimed that it was the "size of a floating island" with horns "as long as a ship's mast." As Magnus was born in 1490, and Pierre Denys de Montfort, considered the first scientist to engage the giant squid, began his inquiries only in 1783, it can be said that the mythological giant squid belonged to the church for nearly 300 years before science began to interrogate. This is the song I imagine playing as Science rightfully forces its way into the conversation.

"An Image of You," by The Chatham Singers

This is the song I imagine playing as the ecclesiastics lick their wounds, regroup, and try to make another tired pitch associating the giant squid with the Devil.

"Is It Forever," by Ornette Coleman
With the carcass of the giant squid firmly tied down on a flatbed, Moses Harvey rides up front with the stagecoach driver. A myth is busy dying, becoming real. They pass St. John's Newfoundland's immigrants breaking down their tables, storing their wares and services, believing this passing stagecoach to be some indecipherable omen over which they would pray, or mass hallucination, or a chariot of the Devil, or caravan of God. The land over which they pass used to belong to the now-extinct Beothuk culture, and the alto sax, and tenor sax, and oboe, and clarinet, and bassoon and French horn are all plaintive, and the questions rhetorical, at best.

"Something" by The Willowz.

As Moses Harvey and his hired hands wedge the carcass of the giant squid through the front door of his rowhouse and into his bathroom, where they spread it out over the tub's curtain rod so its full size could be displayed for the forthcoming and fateful photograph, this is the song. Frenzied, celebratory, exasperated. Spent in an energized sort of way. On the curtain rod, the squid droops and releases a drop of seawater to the floor, then another, like a metronome. One man thinks he sees it move, as if hiccupping, and runs for the bathroom door as the others look at him red-cheeked and puzzled. Sarah Harvey pours everyone a round of whiskey. Flashbulbs and power chords begin their exploding.

"Mal de Mer," by Rupa and the April Fishes

The giant squid is now real. Oddly enough, though Harvey's photograph proved its existence, the giant squid continued (and continues) to straddle that border between myth and reality. A full 150 years after Linnaeus cited the beast, and a full decade after Harvey photographed it, Henry Lee, occasional naturalist of the Brighton Aquarium, possibly knew that he was chained to an archaic, sad argument when he dismissed, in Sea Fables Explained, the giant squid as "a boorish exaggeration, a legend of ignorance, superstition, and wonder." Soon after the photo was taken, Harvey's voice strangely abandoned him, and he remained mute until his death. He gave no more sermons. He ate his breakfasts and his suppers. He continued writing his own articles under his various pennames. He was "Delta," and he was "Locomotive," and he was "Nemo." He published them. He wrote about geography, the flora and fauna of Newfoundland. He wrote about the fishing industry, and religion, and railways, and hydroelectric systems. He kissed his wife goodnight and good morning. He picked up his kids, and his pen. He got ink on his hands. The world went seasick. This song played. And he wrote about squid.


Matthew Gavin Frank and Preparing the Ghost links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Flavorwire review
Kirkus review
New York Times review
Wall Street Journal review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Pot Farm


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Book Notes - Nicole C. Kear "Now I See You"

Now I See You

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Nicole C. Kear's memoir Now I See You is more than a book about losing her sight, and is filled with unforgettable wisdom and wit about life, love, and motherhood.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Kear is earthy and daringly frank in this never-boring, unusually illuminating account of living with diminishing sight as she, ultimately, takes a refreshingly glass-half-full approach to life."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Nicole C. Kear's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir, Now I See You:


I've been losing my vision for a long time, and so far, I haven't developed compensatory superpowers – no Spidey Sense, regrettably -- but I am more sensitive to sound than I used to be. Maybe it's partly because I have three young children, so my life now is full of sound -- loud, frequently grating, incessant sound – and quiet feels like a rare and delicious luxury.

Whatever the reason, I don't listen to music in the same way I used to. It feels more penetrating, less likely to melt, innocuously, into the background - and that's both a good and a bad thing. When I listen, now, to the songs in the playlist below – compiled from various chapters of my life detailed in my memoir – they have a tendency to undo me, like a intense, audible version of Proust's madeline. It's an exercise that's proven two things to me: we really do get sentimental with age, and also, blasts from the pasts can give you whiplash.

"You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrissette

I was angry in my early twenties. I mean, it's hard to blame me; I'd just found out I was going blind. I, managed, however, to repress my rage, or at least to morph it into an overzealous joie de vivre, as I devoted my energies to Really! Savoring! Every! Moment! On a few occasions, though, I allowed myself a proper fit of fury, and this catharsis usually took the form of putting on "Jagged Little Pill" and rocking the hell out to this song. It suited my purposes because while the lyrics are, theoretically, about a douche bag ex-boyfriend, if you isolate certain clauses, it sounds a lot like it's all about a douche bag, sight-robbing retinal disease: "It was a slap in the face" or "I'm not gonna fade" or (my favorite at the time) "the cross I bear that you gave to me." Scream that while flailing your body around and see if you don't feel a whole lot better.

"Fuck and Run" by Liz Phair

This was my anthem in my early twenties. The whole "Exile in Guyville" album, really, was, but this song, in particular, encompassed the girl I thought myself to be in the years following my diagnosis; I think it's the sadness bubbling up under the surface of bored and resigned acceptance. "What ever happened to a boyfriend? The kind of guy that tries to win you over?" and "I want all that stupid old shit. Like letters and sodas." Hits the nail right on the head.

"Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder was the only blind person I knew of when I was diagnosed with my retinal disease. I mean, I knew about Milton too, but somehow, his experience felt pretty remote from mine (have you ever read any Milton? That guy could have seriously benefitted from some anti-depressants). I'd always liked Stevie, but after my diagnosis, I began to feel this secret kinship with him, like we were both members of the same club. I bought all his CDs, and I enjoyed them all but Musiquarium was special to me, and of all those songs, Sir Duke was my favorite. Damned if I know what the song is about, but it doesn't matter; the irrepressible air of celebration is what I love about it. As Stevie sings, "You can feel it all over," and I did, a joyous wakefulness. That's the song I'd listen to when I needed to pick myself up and put myself back together again.

The summer after junior year in college, while living in San Francisco, I took a weekend trip to Los Angeles, where I had cocktails one night at Trader Vic's. There, right in front, waiting for the valet to pull his car around, was Stevie himself. My instinct was to rush up and tell him my sad little tale of woe – and then request a song, possibly Sir Duke, maybe Living For The City. I suppressed that impulse. To be honest, I sort of regret that self–control now.

"Overcome" by Tricky

In my book, I describe a British ex pat boyfriend with whom I enjoy a brief, sizzling love affair while I'm attending circus school in San Francisco. He introduced me to Tricky. It wasn't remotely the kind of music I'd listen to on my own, but discovering new music is half the fun of dating (sometimes more than half, depending on the guy). I found this song alluring, inaccessible, and sexy – pretty much exactly like the beau I know I wouldn't be able to keep.

"Beyond the Sea (La Mer)" by Bobby Darin

You know how certain nights get crystallized into these pure, perfect memory objects? I remember one such a night, just before college graduation, when my best friend Beth and I danced down the dark streets of New Haven, singing this song. Anything was possible. The future beckoned to us, bright, accommodating. I was still going blind, sure, but I'd managed to find the silver lining of my diagnosis and convinced myself it would all be OK. What pierces me about this song, even today, is its sweetness; it's just brimming with promise and hope, so much hope, it damn near breaks your heart.

"I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You" by Tom Waits

Beth had introduced me to Tom Waits (that's half the fun of roommates, too, the other half being unlimited access to a new closet), but I didn't really fall for him until David played "Closing Time" for me. In the movie of my life, this song would be playing in the scene where I go to East Tennessee to star in David's indie movie and end up finally opening myself up, in a real and enduring way, to love.

"Valentine's Day" by Steve Earle

Before I married a Southerner, I'd claimed that the only genre of music I really didn't like was country. David clarified that what I didn't like was country crap. He played me Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch and Steve Earle, and my mind was changed. This is the song that actually plays in the indie movie David and I made together, in the scene where my character realizes her love affair is over. In my real life, it communicated the opposite message; David sang it to me, a cappella, at our wedding.

"Hey Jude" by The Beatles

When my son was born, a little over a year after David and I were married, we started listening to kids' music. I'd dreaded this chapter of my musical life but there was no shortage of good stuff to tune into -- Johnny Cash's kid album, in particular, was killer. As it turned out, though, my son ended up loving grown-up music, pretty much whatever his Daddy liked, with a real soft spot for Dylan and the "Bye Bye Suckers" (more commonly known as the Drive By Truckers). His all-time favorite song, though, was "Hey Dude" (why there's not a Weird Al song of this title, I don't know). We listened to it on repeat play on car rides, sometimes for an hour or more. That's when I realized it might just be the world's most perfect song. I never got sick of it, not even the super long coda. It's another song bursting with hope, and coming through a vessel like McCartney, the hope just explodes like a firework.

"Oh Yoko" by John Lennon

This is a song referenced in my book; I listened to it while getting an electro retinograph (ERG) at my brand-new retinal specialist's office. The ERG is not a fun test. Suffice it to say: it involves attaching electrode contact lenses to your eyes. The first time I took the test, at the time of my diagnosis at nineteen, the whole experience was pretty reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange. When I repeated it, about a decade later, it was a far more humane experience, not because the test had changed (it hadn't) but because the doctor allowed me to listen to music. This is the song that was playing, and in the not-seeing of the test, the awe in Lennon's voice as he forms all those big, open vowels, the joy there in the harmonica, the tenderness of it all just soaked right into me, filling me like water in a sponge.

"Obladi Oblada" by The Beatles

Two years after my son was born, I had a daughter, a golden-haired firecracker of a girl. In addition to being super kinetic, she was also super verbal, and was talking in full sentences by the age of 2 -- which meant she got a vote really early on about music requests. "Lada-leda" was her preferred jam, and again, as with my son, I can't say I minded. It struck me as the perfect encapsulation of our life at the time – ebullient, loud, high-energy, and a little bit all-over-the-place.

"Ne Me Quitte Pas" by Nina Simone

This is another song referenced in my book, in the final chapter. David and I are driving the kids to our annual apple-picking adventure, they both fall asleep in the car and we seize control of the music (by then, their taste had taken a turn for the worse, and included a Backyardigans monomania). We were talking about the possibility of having a third baby; I desperately wanted another child but was scared shitless, and David wasn't sure what to think. Nina's exquisite voice washed over us – so strong and yet so fragile too – and we fell silent. There's no way to talk while listening to Nina sing this. You're too busy trying to hold your heart intact as it explodes into tiny pieces. But we'd have ended up quiet anyway; the decision on the table wasn't one we could make quite yet.

"This Little Light of Mine" by anyone with vocal chords

We decided to have that baby, and I sing this song to her, as I did to my big kids, too, because it's a feel-good song, a galvanizing gospel gem that always does the trick. I've still got plenty of fury and sturm and drang, but not while I'm belting out the words to this baby. This song makes the glass half-full even when it's not even close, even when you're down to the last drops. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


Nicole C. Kear and Now I See You links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book
excerpt from the book
excerpt from the book
excerpt from the book
video trailer for the book

Kirkus review

Brooklyn Magazine interview with the authors
Fox News profile of the author
Miranda Beverly Whittmore interview with the author
New York Daily News interview with the author
New York Times essay by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (An Excerpt from Haruki Murakami's New Novel, Stream the New Christiopher Denny Album, and more)

Slate shares an excerpt from Haruki Murakami's forthcoming novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, as well as an interactive introduction to the book.


NPR Music is streaming the new Christopher Denny album If the Roses Don't Kill Us.


Samantha Irby interviewed Sari Botton at The Rumpus.


A Wondering Sound, Dan LeRoy looks back on the Beastie Boys album Paul's Boutique 25 years after its initial release.


The Rumpus interviewed author Richard Russo.


NPR Music is streaming the new Spider Bags album Frozen Letter.


A bestselling ghostwriter shared the tricks of his trade with the Observer.


The New York Times magazine profiled singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis.

NPR Music is streaming Lewis's Newport Folk Festival performance.


All Things Considered interviewed author Tiphanie Yanique.


Paste listed the best music documentaries streaming on Netflix.


Authors Edwidge Danticat and Katia Ulysse talked at Salon.


Stream David Kilgour's new album at Wondering Sound.


Germaine Greer discussed her favorite books at The Week.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Daily Downloads (The Clientele, Guster, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Amarante: "Don't Look Back" [mp3]

Cardinal Sons: Singles EP [mp3]

The Clientele: Live on WFMU with Irwin Chusid - July 23, 2014 [mp3]

Guster: "Long Night" [mp3]

Justin Stens and Jessica Lea Mayfield: "Strange Love" [mp3]

Laramie: "Charlottes Waltz" [mp3]

Lodger: Low Blue Flame album [mp3]

Those Who Ride With Giants: Those Who Ride With Giants EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Melvins: 2004-09-22, Athens [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

July 26, 2014

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Downloads, Including Raveonettes, Sea Wolf, Shovels and Rope, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Bright Road: Norway album [mp3]

Mandolin Orange: Live Tapes EP [mp3]

Raveonettes: "Sisters" [mp3] from Pe'ahi

Rose-Erin Stokes: Not Alone EP Sampler [mp3]

Sea Wolf: Song Spells, No. 1: Cedarsmoke album [mp3]

Shovels and Rope: Swimmin' Time Primer EP [mp3]

Strand of Oaks: World Cafe Session EP [mp3]

Various Artists: 2014 Great River Folk Fest Mix album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Night School: 2014-07-10, Athens [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

July 25, 2014

Book Notes - Lance Olsen "[[ there. ]]"

[[ there. ]]

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Lance Olsen's [[ there. ]] is a stream-of-consciousness masterpiece, a book that acutely touches on how we think, remember, and learn.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Lance Olsen's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, [[ there. ]]:


wrote [[ there. ]]—part critifictional meditation and part trash diary about what happens at the confluence of curiosity, travel, and innovative writing—during my five-month residency last year at the American Academy in Berlin. The book performs what it is thinking about, collaging together observations, facts, quotations, recollections, and theoretical reflections touching on various authors, genres, and places, from Beckett and Ben Marcus to David Bowie and Wayne Koestenbaum, film and architecture to avant-garde music and hypermedia, the Venezuelan jungle and Bhutanese mountains to New Jersey mall culture and Berlin itself.

Maybe 35 years ago, when I first started writing seriously, I listened to music all the time at the (then) typewriter: to get into the mood, to conjure a character's obsessions, to distract me from the world making noise on the other side of my imagination. But about half a decade into the process, I gave up. I noticed the music had a tendency to impose its own rhythms on my sentences—which is to say it became one more distraction.

Nowadays I'm pathetic. I write in a second-floor room with the shades pulled, the door closed, my cell phone off. Still, music continues to play a huge roll in my writing, both in form and content. I don't know where my language would be without it.

"Where Are We Now?" by David Bowie

Released 8 January, 2013—Bowie's 66th birthday and five days after I arrived in Berlin—"Where Are We Now?" became my anthem during my residency at The American Academy. It had been 10 years since we'd last heard new music from Bowie. The video, you may remember, features experimental filmmaker Tony Oursler's wife Jacqueline Humphries and Bowie as conjoined homunculi perched atop a pommel horse in Ourselr's junk-filled New York studio. Behind them runs grainy black-and-white footage from pre-Wende Berlin.

But here's the thing: that song isn't about a rock'n'roll suicide or a suffragette city. It's all about changes. Which is to say all about the thematics I was obsessed with while composing [[ there. ]]. Listen, and you hear a voice washed through with time—frailer, more spectral, yearning, candid than its earlier iterations. You hear Bowie hanging out with Iggy Pop and Lou Reed at the club Dschungel in the late seventies, throngs of East Germans passing across the Bösebrücke, the first border crossing that opened as the Wall fell on 9 November 1989—20,000 in the first hour, each unsure whether he or she was allowed to do what he or she was doing. You hear Bowie's heart attack back stage during a 2004 performance in Germany, his rush into emergency surgery for an acutely blocked artery.

What moves me most, then, is how shot through it is with that blue-eyed boy Mr. Death, how it could never have been written by a musician in his forties or thirties, let alone his twenties. After sixty, it says, your face becomes an accomplishment.

"Xenos III" by Beat Furrer

Emblem for the innovative gritty restlessness called Berlin. In this amazing sound experiment, a percussionist recites haunted language particles by the Austrian author Händl Klaus (who was born, inverted, as Klaus Händl) into the timpani while the orchestra presents itself as a miscellany of instrumental tremors, scratching sounds, long tones, and mini-gestures all designed to make you contemplate what we mean when we say the words instrument, hearing, and even music itself.

"Looking for Freedom" by David Hasselhof

The song The Hoff sang on stage in front of the Brandenberg Gate while sporting a jacket bedecked with myriad miniature light bulbs on New Year's Eve 1989, a month after the Wall fell. Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio philosophized that this piece's presence in the cosmos testifies to nothing less than the power of music—horrible, horrible music—to unite and uplift us all. Another way of saying this: "Looking for Freedom" is emblematic of the opposite of Bowie's and Beat Furrer's music, different as those are from each other. It's an example of what the Germans call Schlager, the word (literally meaning hit—in the musical sense—as well as wooden club) for the overly sweet ballads with catchy melodies and love lyrics that were especially popular in the country during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and that saw a kitsch comeback in the 1990s and early 2000s. Schlager is the sonic lint Krautrock groups like Kraftwerk, Popol Vuh, and Tangerine Dream tried to sweep out the door. Schlager isn't political. That's exactly what makes it so political.

"Helden" by David Bowie

The German version of "Heroes" from Bowie's second album in his Berlin trilogy. Rich with Brian Eno's ambient sounds, replete with white noise generators, synthesisers and koto, "Helden" is the song The Hoff, if he had been someone else (a talented musician, for instance), would have sung in front of the Brandenburg Gate. I don't know why, exactly, but the German version about the divided city strikes me as tremendously more powerful and textured than the English. By the way, there's an awesome and awesomely sad cover of it by Andrea Schroeder, a Berlin-based young singer whose voice is inhabited by the ghosts of Marlene Dietrich and Nico, that you should check out here: http://vimeo.com/61810245.

"Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt" by Friedrich Hollaender & Robert Liebmann

Speaking of Marlene Dietrich. As femme fatale Lola singing this stunningness in a seedy cabaret at the end of what the Germans refer to as The Goldern Twenties in Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (Die Blaue Engel)—written, by the way, by the magnificent Thomas Mann's brother, Heinrich—this song embodies what Germany could have been had it not committed cultural/ethical suicide in 1933. The Golden Twenties begat the Bauhaus's unadorned functional cubism; Döblin's textual montage, Berlin Alexanderplatz; Lang's Art-Deco-gone-darkly-crazy Metropolis; Grosz's exquisitely demented caricatures; Brecht and Weill's socialist revision of John Gay's Beggar's Opera; Benjamin's hyperactive cortex. At the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics, the director's name was Albert Einstein.

"Berlin" by Lou Reed

The title track off Reed's follow-up to Transformer, this one forms part of the dark, hallucinogenic concept album about a doomed druggy couple named Jim and Caroline, and captures beautifully the same vibe The Blue Angel did 43 years before. A wonderful joke about "Berlin" is that Reed hadn't set foot in the actual when he wrote it. The song first appeared 1973. He first traveled to Germany in 1975 to visit—who else—Bowie and Iggy Pop, with whom he crashed for a short time in a then-crapped-out flat at Hauptstraße 155 in Schöneberg.

Kind of Blue by Miles Davis

Almost every week I visited one of Berlin's best jazz clubs, the A-Trane, at Bleibtreustraße 1 in leafy Charlottenburg. The club's name is an amalgam of John Coltrane's nickname, Trane, and the title of Duke Ellington's "Take the A-Train." I would go there to be reminded to be more extreme. Structured as a series of modal sketches, a form of constraint writing, in which each performer is given a set of scales that defines the boundaries of his improvisation and style, Kind of Blue is art as possibility space. Play. Feel. Think. Repeat.

"Depuis le Jour" by Isabel Mundry

I first heard this at the famous Berlin Maerzmusick Festival last year and it utterly blew me away. Fifteen strings and two percussionists allow the contrapuntal music of Late-Renaissance Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck to swell among an atonal mulligan that's all about making difficult the idea of spatial and temporal locality, how the memory of art's past remains detectable in art's present, the concept of the truly unique, the new, invariably amounting to defective back-fence talk.

"Brandenburg Concertos" by Johann Sebastian Bach

Well, of course: the first classical music I ever fell head over heels for, this back as an undergrad, although I can't remember how I bumped into it. I must have been 18. In any case, it's followed me through the years as an aesthetic challenge: how does one create a piece of prose structured, not in the way conventional narrative is, but in the way a perfect piece of crystalline music can be? One of my attempts at an answer is [[ there. ]].

[[ Anything ]] by John Coltrane

"Sometimes I wish I could walk up to my music for the first time, as if I had never heard it before. Being so inescapably a part of it, I'll never know what the listener gets, what the listener feels, and that's too bad."

"Polis" by Oliver Schneller

And speaking of art as possibility space: "Polis" is a sound installation I stumbled across in a hallway at Das Haus der Berliner Festspiele on my way to see a play I've completely forgotten. "Polis" generates the aural illusion of being in four places at once by producing ambient noise from a quartet of geographically separate locations through a quartet of speakers: 11:00 a.m. in Cairo, 11:00 a.m. in Beirut, 11:00 a.m. in Jerusalem, 11:00 a.m. in Istanbul. What, it asks us to ask, does sonic identity sound like, if it sounds like anything at all?

[[ there. ]] asks us to ask the same question, only in reference to written, historical, and existential identity.

"These Days" by Nico

Please don't confront me with my failures / I had not forgotten them.

"The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" by David Bowie

If you start with Bowie, you must end with Bowie, and so: this is the second video released from his The Next Day last year, and it takes the form of a captivating Lynchian strangeness. Tilda Swinton and Ziggy Stardust's father play an older bourgeois couple whose comfortable existence dislocates when a pair of rockers (one a version of the earlier androgynous Bowie himself) follows them home from the neighborhood grocery store and commences haunting their physical and emotional space. Yet the predictable erotic/demonic alien invasion narrative perverts by the video's conclusion: the older bourgeois couple turns out to be the opposite of what we anticipate. They begin haunting the younger couple even as they are haunted. Interpretive dissonance erupts, unmooring the comment Bowie and Swinton exchange at the video's outset: We have a nice life.

The existence that the older couple performs/deforms disarranges their younger disruptors even as the heavy-energy vintage-Bowie soundtrack complicates any simple reading of "Where Are We Now?"—including the one with which I began this semi-essay.

Which is to say, for me "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" forms a parable that goes like this. Almost directly across the lake from The American Academy, where I lived and wrote for those five and a half months, sits a villa that looks more like a modest palace than someone's residence. Something called the Wannsee Conference took place in it on 20 January 1942. Reinhard Heydrich, whom Hitler referred to admiringly as the man with the iron heart, presided. The topic of the conference, which lasted 85 minutes, and was attended by 15 senior officials of the Nazi regime, was The Final Solution.

My wife Andi, an artist and videographer raised Jewish, took a photograph of that building from our balcony between 7:40 and 7:50 every morning. She is currently in the process of linking them together to make a fast-forward short experimental film because for her every click of her camera represents an affirmation in the face of what went on in that place.

I'm still alive, each photograph says. You're still dead. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.


Lance Olsen and [[ there. ]] links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

By the Book Reviews review

Bookslut interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Book Notes - Lance Olsen "Theories of Forgetting"

Dust

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Lance Olsen's novel Theories of Forgetting is as challenging as it is rewarding, successfully weaving together three narratives told in distinctly different forms.

Brian Evenson wrote of the book:

"Lance Olsen's Theories of Forgetting is a remarkably fugue-like ode to the intricacies of memory. Offering two intersecting stories about illness, loss and forgetting, with annotations, this is an extremely smart and moving book about how our lives wind snail-like around one another as they risk flindering away into absence or death."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Lance Olsen's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Theories of Forgetting:


Three narrative strands braid into my latest novel Theories of Forgetting.

The first involves the story of Alana, a filmmaker working on a short documentary about Robert Smithson's famous earthwork, The Spiral Jetty. She falls prey to a pandemic called The Frost, whose symptoms include an increasing sensation of coldness and growing amnesia.

The second involves Alana's husband, Hugh, owner of a bookstore in Salt Lake City, and his slow disappearance across Europe and Jordan on a trip both to remember and forget Alana's death. He gets drawn into the Sleeping Beauties, a rising global religious cult that worships barbiturates.

The third narrative strand involves marginalia added to Hugh's text (which may be a novel, and may be a warped autobiography) by his daughter, Aila, an art critic living in Berlin. Aila discovers her father's manuscript after his disappearance and tries to make sense of it by means of a one-sided conversation with her estranged brother, Lance.

So, depending on your tastes, it's a pretty weird novel, which calls for a pretty weird playlist, which what follows may or may not be, depending on your tastes. Each song registers, not what I was listening to while I wrote it (I don't listen to music while I write), but some large-ish aspect of it: mood, character, theme, structure, vision.

"Singing Color," by Pocahaunted

If there existed a soundtrack you should listen to while reading Theories of Forgetting, this would be it: a sample of P-haunt's gorgeous psychedelic drone sonics that, like my novel, take a certain amount of unhinged reality for granted. This song is what dreams sound like.

"Blessed is the Burning Room," by Controlled Bleeding

Because maybe of crossed phone wires, maybe something odder, down-and-nearly-out strangers begin leaving messages on Alana's voicemail asking her for existential advice. When she calls the phone company to complain, the tech on the other end puts her on hold. A muzak version of a Controlled Bleeding song—possibly this one—drifts in while Alana daydreams about the nerve gas testing accident that in 1968 left thousands of Skull Valley sheep dead near Salt Lake City. This song is for Alana.

"Haunted" by Poe

Poe—Mark Z. Danielewski's sister—composed the album (inspired by her discovery of a box of audio tapes of her late father's voice) on which this eponymous song appears in harmony with her brother's wildly important novel (at least for me) House of Leaves. Most readers think that novel is a riff on the horror film, but the real horror in both album and book has to do with the fact that the world is absences all the way down. The same is the case in Theories of Forgetting. You can feel Hugh's lack in every word of Aila's marginalia, hear his AWOL voice. Alana is nothing if not a growing gap as The Frost colonizes her body and prose. And the novel itself is a text of voids, silences, acoustic deserts, from crossed-out words to large swaths of white space. This song is for Hugh.

Anything by Laurie Anderson

"I'm not usually where I think I am. It's kind of spooky."

"The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet," by Frank Zappa

My cousin John Dasilva, who became a jazz trumpter later in life, called me down into his basement to listen to Freak Out!, the album on which this appears, sometime during the summer of 1966, a month or two after Zappa and The Mothers of Invention's released it. John was maybe seventeen, I was nine, and suddenly everything was possible. According to Zappa, this aural exploration began as a rhythm track that he never finished as intended. None of that mattered to me. What mattered was its complete auditory alterity, what Derrida once called monstrous thinking-otherwise.

It was also the first mention on a Mothers album of the mysterious Suzy Creamcheese. She was widely thought to be a fictional creation, but it turns out she is really a musician named Suzy Zeiger.

This song is for another real fictional creation, Aila, who in my mind embodies it.

"I've never worn fake eyelashes in my whole life," Suzy says in another Mothers song, "Uncle Meat." "And I never made it in the surfing set and I never made it in the beatnik set / and I couldn't cut the groupie set either."

"4'33''" by John Cage

Speaking of present absences, for this infamous three-movement composition the muscians are instructed not to play their instruments for precisely four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Initially then, the piece seems to be about silence. In fact, though, it's about the opposite—about how there's no such thing as real silence, about how the world is always alive with beautiful music we've been taught to think of as noise. Hugh, you may remember, disappears in the Jordanian desert on a trip there both to remember and to forget Alana's death. The desert is a space that always appears to be about the visual equivalent of silence: emptiness. But deserts are, again, just the opposite: spaces alive with color, movement, possibility to those willing to remain curious and pay attention. Aila has a running argument in her marginalia with her absent and apparently silent brother, Lance, who turns out, if you look at the opening pages of Theories of Forgetting, is the book's editor. In other words, in a sense his is the loudest voice there, not there, and not not there. This song is for him.

"The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire

Much of the plot of Theories of Forgetting takes place in the scariest place on earth: the American suburbs. In this case Salt Lake City, to be specific. And hence Win Butler sings: "So can you understand / Why I want a daughter while I'm still young? / I wanna hold her hand / And show her some beauty / Before this damage is done."

"The Future" by Leonard Cohen

Theories of Forgetting is set a handful of tomorrows in the future. Given its apocalyptic pandemic, its general investigation of entropology (a neologism Robert Smithson borrowed from Claude Lévi-Strauss that combines the concepts of entropy and anthropology within it, and denotes the study of things running down, running out, unraveling), I can't think of a better thematic audio-apotheosis than this by one of my favorite singers, whose voice personifies abraded loss: "I've seen the future, baby: / it is murder."

"Spiral Network" by Gene Coleman

A richly innovative piece influenced by the ideas of Buckminster Fuller that employs film clips of images from Japan and a mixture of voice, traditional Japanese and Western instruments, and electronica, "Spiral Network" uses the spiral shape as a shorthand for the vortex called complicated human thought. For me, it also serves as an emblem for my interest in Theories of Forgetting in how words matter—that is, my interest in the materiality of the page, and in how a literary work might react against mass reproduction and textual disembodiment in the digital age.

This interest manifests as soon as you pick up the book, which possesses two back covers (one "upside down" and one "right-side up"), but no front. Open the book, and you will discover each page is divided in half. Alana's narrative runs across the "top" of the page, from "back" to "front," while Hugh's and Aila's tale runs "upside down" across the "bottom" of the "page," from "front" to "back." How a reader initially happens to pick up Theories of Forgetting determines which narrative s/he reads first, thereby establishing the reader's meaning-making orientation with respect to the novel.

Some of the information in Hugh's narrative is incompatable with that in Alana's. Ditto vice versa, and with Aila's narrative. Whose narrative you engage with first colors your reading of the others.

Tour of Homes by Spiral Jetty

When Alana and Hugh first arrived in Salt Lake City from their university days in the Northwest, Robert Smithson's The Spiral Jetty had already forgotten itself. During its construction, Smithson believed the lake was receding. In fact, the water level was low due to a short-term drought. By the time the Hoboken band named in the sculpture's honor released its debut album, Tour of Homes (1985), whose sound combines those from another Hoboken band, The Feelies, and Sonic Youth, Smithson's Spiral Jetty had been submerged for nearly fifteen years. It would remain that way for fifteen more, specter of the original quivering just a few feet below the lake's surface. This song is dedicated to forgetting that can't be forgotten.

Anything by Laurie Anderson, redux (side a)

"People only stutter at the beginning of the word. They're not afraid when they get to the end of the word. There's just regret."

"Itchin' on a Photograph" by Grouplove

Interest in the materiality of the page, continued. Theories of Forgetting is laced with photographs, diagrams, and other visual addenda. What I love about photographs (many here of The Spiral Jetty itself) is that they are always about what isn't there, what is already gone, yet can't go away.

"Fade into You" by Mazzy Star

"You'll come apart and you'll go blind," Mazzy Star sings, and, in a sense, that's what Alana's narrative soon begins to do as The Frost reaches its hands inside her. Alana begins misspelling words, dropping phrases, falling off in mid-sentence. Her language undergoes slow erasure, a form of linguistic entropology. There is a link in a footnote in Theories of Forgetting to a video my partner Andi made that she didn't make. It's all about Smithson's Spiral Jetty and the idea of undoing, but it's by Alana. It's part of the film she's been working on, and you can find it here: http://lanceolsen.com/tof.html.

"Revolution #9" by the Beatles

Two years after Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention released Freak Out!, the Beatles released The White Album. Side four, track five: "Revolution 9," one of their most experimental works—part Yoko Ono's influence, part Karl Stockhausen's, and part Paul McCartney's ghost from his unreleased 1967 sound exploration, "Carnival of Light." But it was mostly John Lennon's work that fused and confused overdubbed vocals, track-looping, reversed musical performances, echoes, distortions, and strange fading.

The music critic Ian MacDonald once called the piece "a sensory attack on the citadel of the intellect: a revolution in the head." In retrospect I like that, but at the time I first heard it I had no idea what to make of the thing. That's exactly why I felt thrilled and curious in its presence. And that's exactly the feeling all innovative writing practices should engender, I think—a sense of language loss, a sense of wanting to develop a new way of speaking to capture what it is you're listening to, or reading, or seeing, because you've never experienced anything quite like it before. That's the feeling I'd like to engender in readers of Theories of Forgetting.

But like John Coltrane says: "Sometimes I wish I could walk up to my music for the first time, as if I had never heard it before. Being so inescapably a part of it, I'll never know what the listener gets, what the listener feels, and that's too bad."

Anything by Laurie Anderson, redux (side b)

"I hate zoos."

Audio Files of Arrhythmic Heartbeats by the American Medical Association

If there existed a second soundtrack you should listen to while reading Theories of Forgetting, this should be it. My partner Andi's father was a physician. He used to receive professional journals in the mail. One included one of those old-time floppy 45's packed with thirty-second audio clips of various sorts of arrythmic heartbeats for diagnostic purposes. When she was seven or eight, Andi used to put that record on her stereo up in her bedroom somewhere in the Des Moines, Iowa, suburbs and dance freeform to that not-quite-normal percussion track on her bed.

The images I have in my head of her footing it are the best album I've ever owned.


Lance Olsen and Theories of Forgetting links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Heavy Feather Review review
The Small Press Book Review review
Word Riot review

Bookslut interview with the author
Brooklyn Rail review


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (An Excerpt from Emily Mandel's New Novel, Merge Records' 25th Anniversary, and more)

Read the first chapter of Emily Mandel's forthcoming novel Station Eleven.


Paste listed the best album released by Merge Records for every year of the label's 25-year history.

Co-founder Laura Ballance shared a label playlist at the A.V. Club.

SPIN shared a timeline of the label's highlights.


BoingBoing shared a graphic novel summer reading list.


Hole is not reuniting.


Tommy darker points out why musicians cannot thrive in the modern music industry ecosystem at Medium.


The Economist broke down the 2014 Man Booker Prize longlist.


The London Evening Standard profiled Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard.


New York Magazine listed classic stories by women in the New Yorker.


Stream tracks from the forthcoming Aislers Set reissues.


Art Attack listed the 10 best novels set in Houston.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Daily Downloads (Emily and the Complexes, Sleeves, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Cordial Sins: "Before the Bend" [mp3]

Emily and the Complexes: "You Won't" [mp3] from Dirty Southern Love

Rose-Erin Stokes: Not Alone EP Sampler [mp3]

Sleeves: Arcadia EP [mp3]
Sleeves: The Sky Ghost 1 album [mp3]
Sleeves: The Sky Ghost 2 album [mp3]

Son Luv: "Speak Softly" [mp3]

Sweet Talking Liars: On My Way Out EP [mp3]

The Zoo Incident: Lovely album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Daytona: 2014-07-16, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

July 24, 2014

Book Notes - Maya Lang "The Sixteenth of June"

The Sixteenth of June

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Maya Lang's debut novel The Sixteenth of June is a clever reworking of James Joyce's Ulysses set in modern Philadelphia.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Lang’s clever first novel tracks three twenty-somethings… They all find some resolution by the end of the day, although it isn’t necessarily the one they expected or hoped for… What matters more is the family dynamic and its currents of longing, loss, and love."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Maya Lang's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel, The Sixteenth of June:


The Sixteenth of June features three twentysomethings grappling with that post-college, pre-thirties stage of life, a sort of second adolescence as they negotiate adulthood. It also involves quite a bit of music, as one of the characters is a singer.

"Damage" by Yo La Tengo

I love this song's lyrics and haunting vocals. I had this in mind for Nora, grieving over her mother and feeling generally lost. Nora finds that time isn't helping; she thinks about her mother (dead for nearly a year) now more than ever. This melancholic, moody song captures her mindset.

"Mr. Brightside" by The Killers

The novel opens with Leo turning the volume up on an unnamed song. This is the song I had in mind, not only because it played incessantly in 2004 (when the novel is set), but also because it's perfect for Leo, a frat boy, doggedly optimistic by nature, a populist in his tastes. I imagine him blasting it on his commute to work.

"I Am A Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel

I have my books/ And my poetry to protect me;/ I am shielded in my armor,/ Hiding in my room, Safe within my womb / I touch no one and no one touches me. These lines describe Stephen, the brooding intellectual, perfectly. He would wince and protest that it's too folksy and be annoyed with me for choosing it.

"The Very Thought of You" by Ella Fitzgerald

Nora performs at a jazz club on Saturdays. The novel takes place on a Friday, so it made sense to me that she would be going over the notes in her head. I wanted to find a song cheerful on its surface that Nora would turn into something darker. This is a love song, springy and bright and brassy, but Nora ends up changing the key. I imagine her arrangement sounding more like the Etta James version.

"The Flower Duet" from Lakmé

The fact that I first heard this on a British Airways commercial tells you just how familiar I am with opera. I needed an aria for Nora to be rehearsing when Stephen first hears her, practicing in her college dorm room. I wanted that moment to be arresting, Nora's voice startling in its beauty. It had to be a piece I genuinely loved in order to connect with it.

"Golden" by My Morning Jacket

I wrote much of the novel at a coffee shop in Seattle where the tables are just barely bigger than the laptops and you're at constant risk of brushing elbows with the person next to you. (I should note that I had a colicky newborn at the time and needed to get out of the house to write.) The acoustic quality of the song made me feel like I was in a bigger space; it has a cavernous, echo-y quality that's quite mesmerizing. The song also has a feeling of forward momentum that I found encouraging.

"Weird Fishes" by Radiohead

I'm a huge Radiohead fan, and this is one of my favorite songs of theirs. I listened to it on loop while writing The Sixteenth; its play count is absurdly high on my computer.

"Hearts on Fire" by John Cafferty

This is where I lose all music credibility and reveal myself to be the absurd creature I am. I listened to this song (from the Rocky IV soundtrack) when it was time to query agents. I listened to it before my book tour events, before my first big interview, and I still listen to it when I need a boost. I don't know why I identify with a boxer doing calisthenics in the middle of Siberia, but there you have it. No pain.


Maya Lang and The Sixteenth of June links:

the author's website

Bookreporter review
Kirkus review

CarolineLeavittville interview with the author
Monkeybicycle interview with the author
Philadelphia Inquirer profile of the author
Washington Post interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - July 24, 2014

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.


Motor City Burning

Motor City Burning
by Bill Morris

Set in the chaos of the Detroit race riots, this searing novel follows disillusioned young civil rights activist Willie Bledsoe, who finds himself in the crosshairs of a driven white cop who suspects him of murder. A rich and thrilling read from an acclaimed author.


Pure Green Magazine #8

Pure Green Magazine #8

This latest issue of the Ontario-based magazine is focused on the concept of home. There are eco-tips for home maintenance, there is a feature on a couple who lives in a vintage Airstream camper, plus features on two other unique living spaces. There are even some tasty-looking organic recipes at the end!


Comics Squad

Comics Squad
by Various

What a dream! Comics Squad collects work by a large list of kid-focused cartoonists, including Raina Telgemaier of Drama and Smile fame, Gene Yang (Boxers & Saints, Level Up, American Born Chinese), Dave Pilkey, creator of Captain Underpants, and so many more! Pizza monsters, aliens, bullies, heroes, jokes, and terrible puns abound!


The Walk Home

The Walk Home
by Rachel Seiffert

An unsparing novel that explores national dramas as they are played out on an intimate scale. Seiffert illuminates the intricacies and emotions of Scottish sectarianism, and contrasts them against the experiences of contemporary Polish immigrants in Glasgow. The Walk Home is being hailed as brave and perceptive – Seiffert clearly continues to be a writer to watch!


The Symmetry Teacher

The Symmetry Teacher
by Andrei Bitov

This metaphysical mystery by the contemporary Russian master attempts to recall a long-forgotten and now untraceable English novel via his own long-ago hurried translation of the text. The result as a sort of literary palimpsest that lovers of Calvino, Borges and Nabokov will surely enjoy.


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

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


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