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August 27, 2014

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - August 27, 2014

In the Largehearted Word series, the staff of Brooklyn's WORD bookstore highlights several new books released this week.

WORD Bookstores are independent neighborhood bookstores in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey. Our primary goal is to be whatever our communities needs us to be, which currently means carrying everything from fiction to nonfiction to absurdly cute cards and stationery. In addition, we're fiends for a good event, from the classic author reading and Q&A to potlucks and a basketball league (and anything set in a bar). If a weekly dose of WORD here isn't enough for you, follow us on Twitter: @wordbookstores.


Girl Talk: Unsolicited Advice for Modern Ladies by Christie Young

Girl Talk: Unsolicited Advice for Modern Ladies by Christie Young
by Christie Young

This illustrated guide dispenses bold, direct advice with muted colors and a dash of wit, including such topic areas as "Friends: What to do with them"; Karaoke; and "your body, your closet."


The Language of Houses

The Language of Houses
by Alison Lurie

When is a house just a room with walls, a floor, and a ceiling? A house is never just anything, let alone a strictly practical hangar for human life. Renowned essayist/thinker (and illustrator) Alison Lurie illuminates how the places where we live make us who we are as much as we make them.


Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening

Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening
by David Hendy

Beginning in "prehistory" and extending tom the ear-bud era, this imaginative, loving study explores how, what, and why we listen -- voluntarily or otherwise.


Bleeding Edge

Bleeding Edge
by Thomas Pynchon

What adult currently over the age of drinking remembers New York in 2001, at least the end of that month. But what about before September? Thomas Pynchon re-imagines events quotidian and significant during the year that would be the hinge of the pre- and post-9/11 world, and the 20th and 21st centuries.


WORD Brooklyn links:

WORD website
WORD Tumblr
WORD on Twitter
WORD's Facebook page
WORD's Flickr photos


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)





August 27, 2014

Shorties (John Darnielle on His New Novel, A Haruki Murakami Quiz, and more)

The L Magazine interviewed John Darnielle about his new novel, Wolf in White Van.


The Guardian shared a Haruki Murakami quiz.


Metro Weekly listed the 50 best alternative albums of the '90s.


Prospect noted an increase in literary fiction that features time travel.


BBC Music reviewed Kate Bush's first concert in 35 years.


The Other People podcast interviewed author Austin Kleon.


NPR Music is streaming the new Interpol album, El Pintor.


Flavorwire listed fall's must-read books.


SPIN listed the 100 best alternative rock songs of 1994.


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 Last Bison, Birdmonster, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Anton Kellner: You Were the Fire EP [mp3]

Birdmonster: Singles Project EP [mp3]

Chancius: "A Piece of You Wherever I Go" [mp3] from Bando (out September 23rd)

Ferrill Gibbs: "Samaritan" [mp3] from Significant Trees

Joel Rockey: Smoke & Pigeons: A Joel Rockey Sonic Sampler (2002-2012) album [mp3]

The Last Bison: "Bad Country" [mp3] from VA (out September 30th)

Lowpines: "UnFuckTheWorld (Angel Olsen cover)" [mp3]
Lowpines: Call Off the Hunt single [mp3]

Say Lou Lou: "Instant Crush (Daft Punk cover)" [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Zula: 2014-08-07, 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)

August 26, 2014

Book Notes - Matthea Harvey "If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?"

If the Tabloids Are True What Are 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.

Matthea Harvey's new collection If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? is brilliantly imaginative as it combines her poetry and visual artwork.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the collection:

"An ambitious and inventive new collection. . . . Brilliant strings of weird imagery and narrative yield unlikely resonances and stir fresh emotions in the reader, and are reinforced by the poems' intellectual cores. . . . Made even more pleasurable by its visual elements."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Matthea Harvey's Book Notes music playlist for her poetry collection If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?:


This book took me seven years to create. It's a collection of poems with images that title, illustrate or accompany each poem. The images are sometimes photographs of miniatures, sometimes silhouette cutouts (mermaids with tools for tails, for example), or handkerchiefs embroidered with real and imagined patents. Some of the speakers in the book include aliens who kidnap hula-hoopers, Shakespeare trapped inside the body of the Michelin man, and someone who owns a tiny Elvis clone.

"Baby in Two" by The Pernice Brothers

I'm fascinated by halving of all kinds, so this song's lyrics, "I'd be the king if I could say to you, Cut the baby in two" have stuck in my head since I first heard it. The reference is to the Biblical story in which King Solomon is asked to rule on a case where two women are claiming to be the mother of the same child. He commands that the child be cut in half, knowing whichever woman refuses to allow this will reveal herself as the real mother. Mermaids are already halves—half human, half fish, and "The Homemade Mermaid" in my poem of that name, is "top half pimply teenager, bottom half tuna" created by a nameless abductor who saws off her legs.

"Rapture" by Blondie

In "M is for Martian," (my erasure of the Ray Bradbury story "R is for Rocket,") there is an encounter between a human and Martian, "dirty flub, funny lump with eyes. Come on inside I said." "Rapture" portrays another Martian encounter in which things go rather badly: the Martian eats a human who then becomes part of the Martian and goes on a rampage "eatin' cars." I also considered using a song by "Erasure" for this particular poem, but couldn't find one that fit.

"I was Born a Unicorn" by the Unicorns

What I love about this song is the way it switches from seeming sweet "I was born a unicorn, I could have sworn you believed in me…" and then turns darker and louder at "so how come all the other unicorns are dead?" I think that a lot of my poems start out seeming sweet or playful and make this same grim turn. Also, this song was the first song on the first mix cd given to me by my dear late friend Rynn Williams for whom I wrote the poem "No More Suicide Fox."

Philip Glass String Quartet No. 5

"Inside the Glass Factory" is an easy series of poems to pair with music because I was commissioned to write this poem to be read with that piece. I listened to the quartet hundreds of times while I was writing and the narrative of the poem (girls who are trapped working in a glass factory make a glass girl who leads them out into the world) came from writing notes as I listened to the music. The music sounded like liquid (hence the water and molten glass imagery) and the repetition put me in mind of a factory. The surprise of this series for me was that after the girls go out into the world, they're not that pleased with it, and they go back into the factory to make their own improvements on what they've seen.

"Superball" by Helium

I think of this song as an anthem for the tiny people trapped in ice cubes in my photographs, a series called "Stay." The lyrics are "I'm small like a superball. Throw me at the wall. Fragile, like an eggshell. Mad as hell." Practically speaking, if you threw the ice cubes at the wall, the people would be able to get out.

"American Boy" by Estelle

I'd pair this one with my two most American poems—"Our American Husbands" and "Prom King and Queen Seek U.N. Recognition of Their Own Country…Promvania!" I lived in England until I was eight, so there's still something a little foreign about full-on American-ness to me. In "Our American Husbands," the husbands are baffling superheroes who "can do somersaults while smoking." "Prom King and Prom Queen Seek U.N. Recognition of Their Own Country…Promvania!" (a title taken from The Weekly World News) is a bratty and self-aggrandizing petition to the U.N.: "we're committed to peace. Pinky swear."

"Wouldn't Mama Be Proud" by Elliott Smith

Poems are all about the tiniest movements, an internal rhyme, a recalibrating of a proverb, turning has-been into "will-be." There is a tiny moment in this song that I adore—the way the melody lifts up on the "'n't" in the chorus"wouldn't mama be proud." I'd pair this song with my shortest poem in the book, which tracks the tiny transformation of "we" to "me."

On Intimacy

When I said we
I meant me in a wide wide dress.


Ernani Prelude by Verdi

The last poem in the book, Telettrofono, started out as text to a soundwalk by Justin Bennett, commissioned by the Guggenheim for their series "Stillspotting." You can hear it here:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/247174

It's a series of poems (accompanied by patents embroidered onto handkerchiefs) based on the true (and partially imagined) story of Antonio and Esterre Meucci, a couple who traveled from Florence to Havana to Staten Island. Antonio Meucci is best known for being one of the early inventors of the telephone. Esterre and Antonio met while working at the Teatro Royale in Florence, where Antonio worked on sound effects and lighting and Esterre made costumes. In 1835 they sailed to Havana, "along with 79 members of the Italian Opera Company and thirty-five tons of props and equipment." One of the first operas performed by that company was Ernani by Verdi.


Matthea Harvey and If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? links:

the author's website

Los Angeles Times review
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel review
Publishers Weekly review
The Rumpus review

The Believer 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)

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - August 26, 2014

Gemma Ray

Gemma Ray's Milk for Your Motors and Ty Segall's Manipulator are the two new albums I can most recommend this week.

Archival releases include a remastered edition of The Unicorns' Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?.

What new releases are you picking up this week? What can you recommend? Have I left anything noteworthy off the list?


This week's interesting music releases:

The Abigails: Tundra
Basement Jaxx: Junto
Bastard Sapling: Instinct Is Forever
Bitchin Bajas: Bitchin Bajas [vinyl]
The Bug: Angels and Devils
Cymbals Eat Guitars: Lose
Eno and Hyde: High Life [vinyl]
Estrogen Highs: Hear Me On the Number Station [vinyl]
Gemma Ray: Milk for Your Motors
Germ House: Showing Symptoms [vinyl]
The Griswolds: Be Impressive
Hamish Kilgour: All of It and Nothing
Kamp!: Baltimore EP
Lewis: Romantic Times
Lydia Lunch and Rowland S. Howard: Shotgun Wedding (reissue) [vinyl]
Matchess: Seraphastra [vinyl]
Moire: Shelter
Mono/Poly: Golden Skies
Motel Beds: These Are the Days Gone By
Music Blues: Things Haven't Gone Well
Robyn Hitchcock: The Man Upstairs
Rustie: Green Language
School of Language: More Fears
SW / MM / NG: Feel Not Bad
The Unicorns: Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? (remastered)
Ty Segall: Manipulator
Various Artists: Decadubs 3 EP
Wand: Ganglian Reef [vinyl]
White Hills: Glitter Glamour Atrocity


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (An Interview with David Mitchell, Pop Songs Transformed into Sonnets, and more)

Vulture interviewed David Mitchell about his new novel The Bone Clocks.

NPR Books shared an excerpt.


Pop Sonnets transforms pop songs into sonnets.


The Rumpus interviewed author Shane Jones.


The Believer interviewed author Lance Olsen.


Stereogum interviewed Sinkane about his new album.


Emily St. John Mandel wrote about pandemics at The New Republic.


SPIN interviewed Jack Antonoff about his band Bleachers.


The Comics Journal interviewed cartoonist Jules Feiffer.


Heard Mentality listed the best black empowerment songs.


The Week shared a guide to the music in Haruki Murakami's books.


The Fader interviewed Aphex Twin about his forthcoming album.


Slice interviewed author Elissa Schappell.


Flavorwire recommended essays to make you a better person.


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 (Musee Mecanique, Humming House, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Ali Murray: Further Still album [mp3]

Attic Wolves: "Here's to Looking Back" [mp3]

Cariad Harmon: "You Don't Know Me Yet" [mp3] from Cariad Harmon (out November 11th)

Deafheaven: "From The Kettle Onto the Coil" [mp3]

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

Humming House: Humming House Party! EP [mp3]

Musée Mécanique: From Shores of Sleep album [mp3]

Silver Trees: "House Home" [mp3]

Son of Dov: Spartan and Free EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Matteah Baim: Live on WFMU's Airborne Event with Dan Bodah: Aug 4, 2014 [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)

August 25, 2014

Book Notes - Brian Kevin "The Footloose American"

The Footloose American

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.

Brian Kevin's book The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America treads the iconic American writer's footsteps, creating a fascinating portrait of Thompson as well as the area.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Literally and literarily following in the footsteps of the young Thompson...Kevin is, like his model, an observant and witty writer...This is fine, historically well-researched travel writing in the tradition of Bruce Chatwin as well as in that of the youthful and restrained Thompson."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Brian Kevin's Book Notes music playlist for his book The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America:


Travelogues are pretty much what they are, right? Very occasionally they're a little more than what they are, and that's always a nice surprise. I'm fond of them, and not just because of the armchair travel aspect — the oh-hey-I'd-like-go-there or the wow-I'm-learning-shit-about-Botswana-I-didn't-realize-I-wanted-to-know component — although I like that too. What makes me pick up and read a half-dozen travelogues a year are those moments of insight that happen when an author finds herself radically situated, forced to reconsider her relationships with things that have little to do with travel (things like, I don't know, literature or loved ones or food or fatherland) because she's suddenly untethered and drifting.

The conceit of The Footloose American is pretty simple: I set out to follow a route across South America that a young and unknown wanna-be journalist named Hunter S. Thompson traveled in 1962 and 1963. Along the way, I have the opportunity to explore how those travels shaped Thompson and how the ghosts of the Cold War continue to shape South America. But the book also has a lot to say about travel-as-such, about the reasons we do it (those of us who enjoy the privilege of leisure travel) and about our expectations of what we're supposed to come away with. As such, this playlist is as much a road trip mixtape as any kind of soundtrack, a half-hour of songs that (for me anyway) evoke that feeling of transcendent unmooring, the one you get when you're all alone in some high-up place, looking out over the lights of a strange city — a kind of perfect triangulation of euphoric, wistful, and absurd.

"Demolición" by Los Saicos
That intro — that rolling beat on the toms with the surf guitar that comes layering in — that's the sound of heroic expectation, the sound you hear in your head at start of a long road trip, when all you can see in front of you is fun and adventure. If it wasn't in Spanish, "Demolición" would make a swell soundtrack for a cruise ship commercial (sure, the lyrics incongruous — it's a song about blowing up a train station — but that didn't stop Royal Caribbean from appropriating Iggy Pop's drug anthem "Lust for Life").

On a couple of visits to Peru, I had the pleasure of hanging out with folks from the very cool magazine Etiqueta Negra. While talking about Hunter Thompson over ceviche one day in 2012, a couple of the editors urged me to look into the 1960s Limeño garage band Los Saicos. They were enjoying a renaissance in Peru at the time, but still weren't getting the credit they deserved outside of the country for having more or less invented punk rock. I didn't follow up on it, but later that year, The Guardian and Noisey and others gave these guys their due. "Demolición" is kind of their trademark anthem, a song that sprung out of the same civil unrest that Thompson was covering in South America in the early 1960s.

"The Jensens" by Phil Cook
I wonder what travel must be like for people who only do it with a partner or in a group. For me, one of the most seductive things about leaving home is the opportunity to court loneliness, and this guitar-driven electric instrumental perfectly captures that sense of pleasant melancholy you get when you're all alone and looking at a foreign sunset. It's a pining feeling, and it's almost palpable in Thompson's letters from South America. I include this song also because Phil Cook and I both have roots in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he was briefly a coworker of mine in the late 1990s (Cook, as it happens, is not Eau Claire's most heralded maker of melancholy music — see below). It was as a college student in Eau Claire that I first turned on to Thompson, and there's a key passage in the book that describes some ontological wisdom I picked up in a bar there, so the town seemed to deserve some representation on this list. (Hat tip: I first heard this track on an excellent Aquarium Drunkard/Cold Splinters mix tape that is itself a great travel soundtrack.)

"Wild Country" by Wake Owl
This is a phrase that Thompson often used — "wild country" — and the book spends some time unpacking the idealized notions of "wildness" that, for better or for worse, he and so many contemporary travelers set out into the developing world hoping to find. The wistful train keeps on rolling here; the chorus of Wake Owl's indie-pop ditty has kind of a played-over-a-bittersweet-montage quality, but schmaltz be damned, I like it anyway. Thompson spent a lot of time before his trip rhapsodizing about the "wild country" of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso — the unplumbed jungle, where a man could live free and test his mettle and all that. But then he more or less had to skip it on his way to report on an election in Rio de Janeiro. I've sometimes pictured him gazing out the window of the train as he passed through the "wild country" he had longed to explore. This is the kind of tune I imagine playing in the background, and the lyrics sort of nod at the idea that you can never predict your own itinerary: ""Oh, we go where we don't know the way."

"I Shall Be Free" by Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan's first eponymous record hit shelves a few weeks before Thompson hit the road for South America, and The Freewheelin' came out immediately upon his return. Thompson would heap praise on Dylan in the years to come, and I like the synchronicity of the two of them cutting their professional teeth at the same time, one in the studio and one on the road. Dylan and Thompson both approached a form that was understood to be earnest and sober — folk music and journalism, respectively — and injected it with a dose of absurdist and sometimes cutting humor. I make the case in the book that a lot of Thompson's eventual gonzo approach evolved while he dealt with the ludicrous hassles and paradoxes of Cold War Latin America. Dylan, meanwhile, flummoxed music critics with goofy, caustic, deeply referential tunes like "I Shall Be Free," which sounded like nothing Pete Seeger or the Kingston Trio would ever have recorded.

I've heard it said that "I Shall be Free" is kind of a throwaway track on The Freewheelin' — which, lest you forget, contains some heavy shit: "Blowin' in the Wind," "Masters of War," "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" — but I've always been a fan of Dylan's "silly" songs. Tunes like "I Shall Be Free," "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream," and the second version of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" are Dylan's answer to gonzo. Seemingly batty on the surface, they actually contain coded commentary every bit as sharp as an in-your-face memo like "Masters of War." I also like how Kennedy pops up in here, since he's the invisible protagonist of much of Thompson's South America reportage, and the song's got the harmonica-driven hobo railroad rhythm of a classic road tune.


"Towers" by Bon Iver
I didn't take a lot of music with me during the six months I spent following the Thompson Trail through South America. I didn't take a lot of anything. But Bon Iver's second record had come out the summer before, and it was on my phone. This is actually one of the few tracks on the record that's not named for a spot on the map (real or imagined), which I think speaks to Bon Iver's secret identity as a classic travel record. Getting back to the melancholy thing, I don't know if there's a more perfect album to listen to while riding an overnight bus and feeling drowsy and a bit homesick.

By the way, I'm not the only occasionally moony traveler in this book — South America got Thompson down in a lot of ways, and like a lot of great travel lit, his best writing from the continent is rich in pathos. So is "Towers." Justin Vernon has said that the whole record is about "trying to explain what places are and what places aren't," which of course could also be said about good travel writing.

"Sueño Sicodelico" by Los Holy's
Like Los Saicos, Los Holy's come out of Lima's froth of 1960s surfadelic garage rock. Anyone who thinks of twentieth-century Latin American music as an all-traditional medley of salsa, vallenato, pan flute, and the like would do well to pick up the collection I pinched this one from, Los Nuggetz: 60s Garage and Psych in Latin America. Around the time that Thompson was traveling the continent, Peru was doing the California sound better than California, and so many Rolling Stones rip-offs were coming out of Uruguay that music historians in neighboring Argentina still talk about the "Uruguayan Invasion." Even though Thompson was a comparatively straight-laced guy in 1962–63, "Sueño Sicodelico" gets at the counterculture vibe he would be associated with going forward after returning home and wading into the "pyschedelic dream" of the Bay Area counterculture. It's got the tambourine drive of a great road song too.

"When the Open Road is Closing In" by the Magnetic Fields
I hate to give anything away, but Thompson eventually burns out hard on South America, and his retreat from the continent is ignominious. I know that feeling — as does anyone, I imagine, who's spent a long stretch on the road — of suddenly Wanting Out, of deciding one more mile is a mile too many, and that it's time to drop everything and beat a path to the closest thing resembling a home. Stephin Merritt gives this phenomenon a name right out of a classic country song: when the open road starts closing in. The tune is off of the Magnetic Fields' 1994 The Charm of the Highway Strip, which, for all its synthesizers, is a country record at heart and arguably the best travel album ever recorded. Time, measured in dotted yellow lines, has passed you by — that opening line nails the dissolving boundary between the temporal and the spatial that characterizes long-term travel, and there's a dotted yellow line that links Merritt's sense of humor and wordplay with Dylan's catalogue of "silly" songs. And yeah, there's more pathos.

"Wheels" by The Flying Burrito Brothers
Come on wheels, make this boy a man, implores Gram Parsons in 1969. One of the most prominent themes (I hope) in The Footloose American is this sort of inquiry into the allegedly transformative nature of travel, this idea that you can leave home and come back somebody else. The world of travel writing, for better or for worse, is the world of the Bildungsroman, the coming-of-age-story, and the Flying Burrito Brothers give us a nice closing-credits track for a book that asks whether and how a year of foreign reportage turned Hunter Thompson the boy into Hunter Thompson the man. Like several tunes on this list, "Wheels" prominently features the steel guitar, the official instrument of lonesome peregrination, and it's hard not to hear this great little song as a call to take to the road — or at least a reminder that taking to the road is always an option. As Parsons reminds us, We've all got wheels to take ourselves away. Where we go, of course, is up to us.


Brian Kevin and The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America links:

the author's website
the book's website

Kirkus review

Atlantic essay by the author
Media Mikes interview with the author
Missoula Independent interview with the author
Reddit interview with the author
Vagabonding interview with the author
World Hum 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 - Dinah Lenney "The Object Parade"

The Object Parade

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.

Dinah Lenney's essay collection The Object Parade is a profound and lyrical exploration of our connections with the objects dear to us, and ultimately, each other.

The Los Angeles Review of Books wrote of the book:

"Dinah Lenney has done something smart. She’s come up with a solution to the essayist's dilemma. She's figured out a way to stay true to the form of the essay — digressive, skeptical, friendly, and brief — in the Age of the Memoir."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Dinah Lenney's Book Notes music playlist for her essay collection The Object Parade:


My first love—the first thing I wanted to do when I grew up—was musical theater. I never did take to opera, no: too mannered, too theatrical. I was a realist! What I wanted, like any normal person— like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music—was to be able to burst into song at a moment's notice. It seemed reasonable enough to expect a full piece orchestra to follow me around—at the very least, piano, bass, and drums—to find them when I needed them behind that bush, around that corner, on the next aisle, in the next stall—

I mean to say, I've always wanted to score my life. How thrilling, therefore, to be able to score The Object Parade (which is pretty much the same thing)—

but, golly, the possibilities: 33 essays—how to pick and choose?

Which brings to mind another lesson from the theater—from musical theater, that is—when does a character burst into song? When words aren't enough. When the emotion of the scene builds to some sort of pitch: this is why musical theater is hard to write and perform—harder than opera or the straight stuff (not that we have to compare, only for the sake of argument): see, music is a given in the former, and incidental in the latter; but in the best musical theater, the transitions from speaking to singing appear seamless and therefore justify themselves. So the point, I'm reminding myself, is not to come up with a song for every object. Though I could. But if I'm to be true to The Object Parade: the Musical, if it isn't going to run long and tedious, I'll have to be slightly discriminating, won't I?


So here goes:

First, to get you in the mood, while you're looking at the table of contents, "My Favorite Things," of course. But Coltrane's version so as not to confuse you with "brown paper packages," nice as they are. And because that jazzy sound reminds me of New York—which is where the book begins—

plus I think, it might work in the background, and fade nicely into Sinatra doing just a few phrases of "Hello Young Lovers" from The King and I. Because I sang it again and again, for auditions—a terrible choice for a girl of 22. I should have known better, but I didn't.

Next up, and skipping over my grandpa Charlie, the musical genius—two chapters feature him at the piano, but we have no recordings, alas—I give you Grieg: "The Poet's Heart." Because, as described in an essay called "Metronome" it was the last thing I learned to play before I quit piano lessons.

And from there, to Scott Joplin, "The Entertainer," which, if it isn't the last thing my daughter played before she quit, is the piece I remember her most enjoying before things come to a head in "Piano, Too."

And we're into Part II. In which I throw a disastrous dinner party. And since we really did have it in shuffle—along with Chet Baker, and Etta James, and Miles Davis—let's have the Gershwins, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," as performed by Ella and Louis, of course.

And next a Beatles medley, beginning with the songs my husband sang to our very first dog, a lab named Roxy: "Something" and "In My Life," the originals (though he altered the lyrics, it's true—as in "something in the way she moves attracts me like no other puppy," and "there are puppies I remember...") — then moving into "She's Leaving Home" in advance of the chapter called "Charm" in which our eldest (Eliza, that is) graduates high school.

Then she's away at college and we're back in the 40s—that is, back with me in the late 70s at a club in Manhattan called the Cookery where Alberta Hunter used to sing. And I'm torn—I mean I'd like to find her version of "The Glory of Love" (Billy Hill, 1936)—but I sort of want you to hear Otis Redding do it—or Jimmy Durante—or Bette Midler (don't you love Youtube? You choose)...

Up next. "Green Earrings." An essay (one of several) about my beautiful mother. Who taught me to harmonize. And though there's an oldie we used to do together called "Let's Harmonize," what comes to mind is actually Bonnie Raitt's "Nick of Time." The second verse especially: "I see my folks are getting on/And I watch their bodies change/I know they see the same in me/And it makes us both feel strange..."

Intermission. And playing in the lobby, so you don't forget where you are: Diana Krall singing "The Folks Who Live On the Hill." Kern and Hammerstein.

Act III. In which I strum the guitar. As does Jake, my son. So for me, a little "Dona, Dona." From Joan Baez. It's maybe the only song I can still actually finger pick. And for Jake, who's a real musician now, "Blackbird"—which he learned early on—he'd play and I'd sing—

and he's featured again in an essay called "Christmas Tree." I love Christmas songs, almost all of them, but if I had to pick my favorite, the one that sounds like the holiday to me, I'd choose Coldplay singing Martin and Blane's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis.

And now we're getting close to the end... And there's a visit to New York, which reminds me who I used to be, and which calls for Sondheim. "Another Hundred People" from Company.

And to shake that off, to place myself where I really do belong—and to cheer myself up—I'm picking Randy Newman's "I Love L.A."

The penultimate track? To accompany the last chapter and the epilogue (in which I hope I don't tie things up with a bow): Eva Cassidy singing Sting's "Fields of Gold."

And then—if I had my way, if you let me? I'd bring back Coltrane—let him fade out just before the verse and finish the song, a capella, very softly, maybe even only humming, but all by myself:

When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
when I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
and then I don't feel/So bad.

Thanks for listening...

Dinah Lenney and The Object Parade links:

the author's website

Kirkus Reviews review
Los Angeles Review of Books review
Los Angeles Times review
The Nervous Breakdown review
Publishers Weekly review

Book Circle Online interview with the author
Brevity interview with the author
Los Angeles Magazine 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


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Shorties (An Excerpt from Lena Dunham's Book, Stream a Kate Bush Documentary, and more)

The New Yorker features an excerpt from Lena Dunham's forthcoming book, Not That Kind of Girl.


Stream the hour-long BBC Kate Bush documentary, Running Up That Hill.

The Observer listed the 10 best moments in the singer-songwriter's career.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed author Roxane Gay.


NPR Music is streaming the new Sinkane album Mean Love.


The Boston Review interviewed author Tobias Wolff.


PopMatters interviewed original Beatles drummer Pete Best.


Haruki Murakami answered reader questions at the Guardian.


NPR Music is streaming the new Zammuto album Anchor.


The Globe and Mail examined the "new adult" fiction genre.


Groupon recommended music blogs.


The Los Angeles Times and Weekend Edition profiled cartoonist Jules Feiffer.


NPR Music is streaming the new Blonde Redhead album Barragan.


Ed Piskor talked to the Daily Beast about his Hip Hop Family Tree graphic novels.


Paste recommended books to sate your inner foodie.


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)


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Daily Downloads (Wes Kirkpatrick, Dream Boat, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

AM Aesthetic: "Wandering Star (Portishead cover)" [mp3]

Dream Boat: "Escape" [mp3] from The Rose Explodes (out September 16th)
Dream Boat: "Way Out" [mp3] from The Rose Explodes (out September 16th)

Misun: "Goodbye Summer" [mp3]

Narrator: III EP [mp3]

Proposals: Proposals EP [mp3]

Ransom and the Sunset: "Anna" [mp3]

Wes Kirkpatrick: Short Dream EP [mp3]

The Zoo Incident: The Zoo Incident Sampler EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Entropicodone: 2014-08-17, 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


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August 24, 2014

Atomic Books Comics Preview - August 24, 2014

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

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. The Mobtown Shank is his blog, and his comic Said What? is syndicated weekly in the Baltimore Sun's B-Paper.

Atomic Books has been named one of Bizarre Magazine's 51 geekiest places on the planet, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.


Dark Horse Presents 2014 #1

Dark Horse Presents 2014 #1
by various

The ground-breaking anthology series gets a new revamp/restart. This issue features a David Mack Kabuki story, a Big Guy and Rusty The Boy Robot Story by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow, and more. Anthology comics like DHP are a great way to follow favorites as well as discover new things to check out.


Death In Oaxaca #1

Death In Oaxaca #1
by Steve Lafler

Lafler balances just the right amount of realism and magic in this tale of a couple who move from America to Oaxaca for adventure. Finding the right place to live for the right price and shopping for pants is set against a backdrop of a vampire, a vigilante superhero and jamming with death. If you like Love & Rockets, Lafler's new series will be right up your alley.


Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 2: 1981-1983

Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 2: 1981-1983
by Ed Piskor

Ed Piskor's first installment of Hip Hop Family Tree was a certified phenomenon. Volume 2, featuring Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, NWA, The Beastie Boys, Doug E Fresh, KRS One, ICE T, and early Public Enemy, has all the ingredients to recreate the frenzy.


I Don't Hate Your Guts

I Don't Hate Your Guts
by Noah Van Sciver

This collection of diary comics by Noah is loaded with self-loathing, sharp humor and romantic charm. Watch an incredibly talented young cartoonist struggle, while working several jobs at once, trying to find the very happiness that has sidetracked so many other cartoonists, and coming to terms with being a not-so-young-anymore artist.


Multiversity #1

Multiversity #1
by Grant Morrison / Ivan Reis / Joe Prado

Multiversity #1
http://www.atomicbooks.com/index.php/multiversity-1.html
Grant Morrison / Ivan Reis / Joe Prado
As mainstream comics companies like DC and Marvel continue to wrestle with a lack of diversity in their superheroes, Grant Morrison undertakes a project with a title that makes it exceedingly clear that DC Comics is aware of this problem. Here Morrison brings characters of multiple earths together, while creating a small army of new characters as well as diverse takes on existing superheroes in a very meta-comics way that appears to be a rather interesting "let's just try whatever and see if anything sticks" approach.


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, Said What?


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

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