Twitter Facebook Tumblr Pinterest Instagram

May 24, 2015

Largehearted Boy Weekly Wrap-Up - May 24, 2015

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


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

Andrew Ervin & Steph Opitz for Andrew's novel Burning Down George Orwell's House
Anna North for her novel The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
Catie Disabato for her novel The Ghost Network
Kirsty Logan for her novel The Gracekeepers
Margaret Lazarus Dean for her book Leaving Orbit
Neil Smith for his novel Boo


Soundtracked: (Composers and directors break down their film's soundtrack track-by-track)

Rachel Mason for The Lives of Hamilton Fish


Weekly New Book Recommendations:

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


New Music Recommendations:

The Week's Interesting Music Releases


And of course, the daily music and news posts:

Daily Downloads (10 free and legal mp3 downloads every day, plus links to free live recordings online)
Shorties (news & links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)


also at Largehearted Boy:

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines
Atomic Books Comics Preview
Book Notes
Contests / Giveaways
Cover Song Collections
Daily Downloads
Lists
weekly music release lists
musician/author Interviews
Note Books
Soundtracked
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)





May 23, 2015

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Including Hope For Agoldensummer, Patterson Hood, An ATO Records Sampler Album, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Broken Fires: Silhouettes album [mp3]

Dana Falconberry: The Lowering Night EP [mp3]

Hope For Agoldensummer: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Kopecky: "Talk to Me" [mp3] from Drug for the Modern Age

Midnight Pilot: Midnight Pilot album [mp3]

The Old Ceremony: New Stream for the Old Ceremony album [mp3]

Paper Lights: We Are Arrows EP [mp3]

Secret Friend: "Blue Sky" [mp3] from

Various Artists: ATO Records Spring Sampler 2015 album [mp3]

Various Artists: Benefit for Nepal album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Patterson Hood: 2015-05-12, Athens [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily 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)

May 22, 2015

Book Notes - Andrew Ervin & Steph Opitz "Burning Down George Orwell's House"

Burning Down George Orwell's House

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

Andrew Ervin proves himself a master satirist with his wickedly funny and smart new novel Burning Down George Orwell's House.

Maurenn Corrigan said of the book on Fresh Air:

"[A]n evocative novel of place that makes pointed commentaries about the 'wired world' of the 21st century that 1984 intuited. … As all good comedies do, Ervin's novel contains a sober question at its core."

Stream Steph Opitz's playlist at Spotify.
Stream Andrew Ervin's playlist at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Andrew Ervin's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Burning Down George Orwell's House:


Book Notes – Andrew Ervin "Burning Down George Orwell's House" (Pt. 1) by Steph Opitz

Author's Note: For the Burning Down George Orwell's House playlist, I've recruited an expert mixtape maker. Steph Optiz came up huge, as she always does. She's the literary director of the Texas Book Festival and also works for the Brooklyn Book Festival. Among countless other literary activities, she reviews books for Marie Claire magazine and stands out as one of our strongest activists for contemporary literature. She also, as you will soon hear, has tremendous taste in music. Her playlist for Burning Down George Orwell's House made me think about my own book differently, for which I'm extremely grateful. It's available for streaming at Spotify.]

"Friday Fish Fry" – Kelis
"Hunter" – Pharrell Williams
"Midnight Confessions" – Phyllis Dillon
"Burning Down the House" (45 version) – Talking Heads
"Werewolves of London" – Warren Zevon
"Take Me to Church" – Hozier
"Avant Gardener" – Courtney Barnett
"When a Fire Starts to Burn" – Disclosure
"Spit on a Stranger" – Pavement
"All this Time" – Heartless Bastards
"Murs Day" – Murs


Book Notes – Andrew Ervin "Burning Down George Orwell's House" (Pt. 2)

The novel is set in Chicago and on Scotland's remote Isle of Jura, where Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four. I began the domestic sections while living in downstate Illinois and they were written under the immediate influence of J. Dilla's Donuts album. That recording pays homage to forty years of musical tradition but it also created something entirely new. It's a masterpiece of hip-hop and of contemporary music in general. But because asking you to just put on Donuts would be the worst playlist ever, I've chosen some other songs that have interested me.

"Scotch & Soul" – Rufus Harley
Rufus Harley was one of the most fascinating people I've ever met. He was a jazz bagpiper here in Philadelphia, with a few records on Atlantic back in the day. He would usually perform in a kilt and viking helmet. The coolest stories he told me involved a middle-of-the-night phone call from John Coltrane, who had apparently picked up some bagpipes and needed advice. In 2001, David Byrne and Lydia Davis and a few others did an event at the Free Library and the organizer asked me to hire a musician to entertain the massive crowd during the book signing. Who would you hire to play for David Byrne? Rufus was so loud we had to move him to another room.

"The Rat Cage" – The Beastie Boys
I was seventeen the first time I read Nineteen Eighty-Four, and an exchange student in what was then West Germany. The part I remember most vividly was the torture scene in Room 101, with the rat cage on Winston Smith's head. It still upsets me.

"Everyone Has a Silver Car" – I Think Like Midnight
As of today, I Think Like Midnight's instrumental debut album Warm Seclusion Structure is my favorite record I've heard this year. The band consists of Andrew Chalfen (guitars, bass, keyboards and bells), my longtime friend Dean "Clean" Sabatino (drums, percussion and bells), and the author J. Robert Lennon on keyboard. The atmosphere of "Everyone Has a Silver Car" reminds me of every rock song I've ever loved, but it's also entirely its own thing.

"1984" and "Jump" – Van Halen
Van Halen's 1984 opens as well as any rock album out there. I couldn't resist including it. And for all of David Lee Roth's aging-frat-boy caterwauling, at his finest moments—and we might argue all day and all of the night if this is one of them—he epitomized the greatness of 80s glam. I bet "Jump" is playing in Bud's SUV when he and my protagonist Ray Welter are drunk driving around Chicago.

"The Sun Turns Our Patio Into a Lifeless Hell" – The Dead Milkmen
In 1985, I went to our local, suburban shopping mall and bought the first Dead Milkmen album Big Lizard In My Backyard on cassette. Since then, I've also owned it on CD and LP and it has been a constant part of my life. It's a classic. All of their records are great—these guys are not only spectacular songwriters, but also technically astounding players. Don't let the humor distract you from the incredible musicianship.

I met the drummer Dean Clean (who also plays with I Think Like Midnight) in 1994 and he introduced me to their original bass player, Dave Blood, who once stayed with my wife and I in Budapest when he was living in Serbia. Blood passed away in 2004 and I still miss him, but he remains a Philadelphia icon and I'm glad to hear the band—now with the amazing Dan Stevens on bass—is now making some of their best music. "The Sun Turns Our Patio Into a Lifeless Hell" appears on their newest album, Pretty Music for Pretty People.

The Dead Milkmen performed an acoustic set at the release party for Burning Down George Orwell's House.

"2+2=5" – Radiohead
I caught Radiohead in Philly on the OK Computer tour in 1997 and listened to them so obsessively in the following years that I'm a bit burnt out on them now. It's not them, it's me. I just need a little space. But this Orwell-inspired song had to be here.

"Big Brother" – Stevie Wonder
Here's another of those tracks that simply had to be here. I couldn't imagine living in a world without Stevie Wonder.

"Sheela-Na-Gig" (Peel 29.10.91) – P.J. Harvey
Were I only allowed to listen to one musician for the remainder of my life, it might have to be P.J. Harvey. She was spinning more or less nonstop when I wrote the scenes with Flora and Molly. Sheela Na Gigs are medieval, gargoyle-like statues—likely with pagan, goddess-worship origins—that feature exaggerated female genitalia and may have been used to ward off evil spirits.

"Unsatisfied" – The Replacements
I can picture Welter lying on the bare floor of his new-bachelor apartment, on the brink of passing out from too much scotch, singing this at full volume. The poor man.

"Apeman" –The Kinks
The Kinks are the music of my people. Ray Davies stands as my all-time favorite songwriter, with the ability to get complicated emotions across even in the confines of the standard pop-song structure. "Apeman" in particular speaks to Welter's desperation to get away from the big city. "I don't feel safe in the world no more / I don't want to die in a nuclear war / I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an apeman."

"(Nothing But) Flowers" – Talking Heads
When things fall apart for Welter, he attempts to get off the grid by moving to a remote island. Leaving the hectic and consumerist world behind is one of the longstanding and traditional themes of American literature, but the similarities between the pastoral and urban are more interesting to me than the differences. "(Nothing But) Flowers" is, I think, a song about what's lost and what's gained by getting away from civilization.

"Comfort Eagle" – Cake
What we have here is the theme song for Logos, the Chicago creative-solutions firm where Welter finds work. The corporate Newspeak of this song sounds so ominous, but it's the use of the second-person plural that most evokes Big Brother to me: "We're behind you / We're behind you / And let us please remind you / We can send a car to find you / If you ever lose your way / We are building a religion / We are building it bigger."

"Greenman" – XTC
XTC is another band that has been present for my entire creative life. Year after year, summertime does not arrive for me until I put Skylarking on the turntable. It's the one record I don't bother re-shelving until it gets cold out again. For this playlist, I chose "Greenman" from the Apple Venus Volume 1 record because like "Sheela-Na-Gig" is speaks to Europe's pre-Christian traditions, which are important to this novel. A Green Man is a humanoid figure made from branches and foliage and probably has connections to springtime or the exact kind of renewal that Welter may or may not find on Jura.

"On A Day Like This" – Elbow
"Drinking in the morning sun / Blinking in the morning sun / Shaking off a heavy one / Heavy like a loaded gun." I only discovered Elbow recently, when my friends Nikki and Noah dragged me to a concert, but like all recent converts my devotion is steadfast, thorough and unquestioned. Their lyrics are incredibly smart and the music is grandiose without grandstanding or being pretentious. When I think of the scene at the Barnhill estate where Welter takes refuge, in which a live-in guest arrives, this song is what I hear. "Throw those curtains wide / One day like this a year would see me right."


Andrew Ervin and Burning Down George Orwell's House links:

the author's website
the author's blog

Fresh Air review
Paste review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Extraordinary Renditions
Tin House interview


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Soundtracked - Rachel Mason "The Lives of Hamilton Fish"

Motion picture soundtracks have always fascinated me. In the Soundtracked series, composers and/or directors offer commentary on their film's soundtrack, and share insights into the creative evolution that melds music into the final film.

Rachel Mason's The Lives of Hamilton Fish is an ambitious and impressive 21-song rock opera performed live in front of a feature film of the same name.

Stream the album at VICE.


In her own words, here is Rachel Mason's Soundtracked contribution for her soundtrack to the film, The Lives of Hamilton Fish:


1. "Two Strangers"

"Two Strangers" is the overture. It introduces the main characters, "two strangers met on the same front page" and also introduces the point of view of the narrator, the editor of "The Evening Star" who discovers the coincidence that a statesman named Hamilton Fish has just died (on January 15, 1936) and a different Hamilton Fish, a killer is about to die in the electric chair at Sing Sing (on January 16, 1936).

I first called this song, "The Duel" because the name Hamilton Fish originated with the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. When Hamilton died, his friend Nicholas Fish named his son after him. The name continued on in the family and each subsequent Hamilton Fish went on to play a significant role in politics in New York State, including one Hamilton Fish serving as Governor.

Hardly anything is known about the killer's ancestry. He was likely named after the more famous Fish clan because it would have been a significant name of the day. There are a few obscure facts which creep in to the song, such as "X-Ray pins reveal my sins" -- that is a reference to the pins that the killer Hamilton Albert Fish inserted into his pelvic region and which were only discovered just prior to his execution at Sing Sing.

2. "A Distinguished Line"

This song is the introduction to Hamilton Fish II, a reluctant inheritor of the name Hamilton Fish. He may not have had the aspirations to go into politics like his forefathers, but he carried out the duty that his name required, "mine is a distinguished line." At the end of the song however, the killer takes up the first person voice of the song's narrator singing, "mine is an invisible line" - as his own lineage attests, he never knew where exactly he came from as he grew up in an orphanage.

3. "Wild Fish"

"Wild Fish" tells the story of the killer's upbringing in an orphanage and later his incarceration at Sing Sing. Both things are true about Hamilton Albert Fish. His childhood was filled with torture and pain- which supposedly is what contributed to his discarding the name Hamilton and changing of it to Albert. He also describes his penchant for masochism, "the way it touched my skin set my heart on fire."

4. "Emily Mann, I'll Take What Remains"

Hamilton is mourning the death of his wife, Emily Mann. She died suddenly while he was away, working in Washington D.C. She was in New York. I imagined the horror that he would have felt being totally blinded by this loss.

This song was cut from the film, but its one of the first that I wrote, when I began the whole journey into this story and song cycle.

5. "When I Was A Child"

Emily sings this song from the afterworld. It is her spirit voice. She contemplates her mother's warning not to "love a man who goes" and never to "love a broken soul."

6. "Werewolf of Wisteria"

This term actually came directly from the newspaper articles that I read during my research into the killer. The song is sung from the point of view of city folk who have been reading the stories about the killer called, The Werewolf of Wisteria!

7. "Grace, The Lord Asked Me To Save Her"

Hamilton Albert Fish at his most depraved, conflates his need to kill and eat Grace Budd with religious salvation. The lyrics are based on the stories that I read about him in the book, "Depraved: America's Most Fiendish Killer" by Harold Schechter. Fish thought intensely about scenes of the torture in the bible, and Jesus on the cross and felt the sense of his own need to be purified through pain. His sadism was truly inspired by his religious conviction.

8. "Nightmare"

Hamilton Fish II is sequestered in his house, feeling the weight of depression and also madness coming upon him. He has been hearing the voice of his beloved Emily but he doesn't understand if he is going crazy or if she is genuinely trying to reach him- and if she is trying to reach him, he doesn't understand why. He is having visions of something evil being set free.

9. "Angels Don't Tempt Him To Die"

Emily sees the suffering of her husband but she is invoking angels in order to let him know that something terrible is happening in the world. She has met a girl in the afterlife- a girl who was killed by a man who shares her husband's name. She needs to reach her husband so that he can help to get the maniac on the loose.

10. "Wild Fish (Reprise)"

Hamilton Albert Fish is roaming around the city and wanders into the actual room where Grace Budd was stolen. He is brazenly going about his daily business.

This also reflects the real history of the killer- as he was not apprehended for many years after the killing of Grace Budd.

11. "My Darkest Night "

The killer Hamilton Albert Fish feels a deep sense of remorse about killing Grace Budd and he begins to visit her grave.

I tried very hard to step into his mind and to think about what it could possibly be like to justify the kind of horrors that he committed. I could imagine Albert Fish if I imagined him being empathetic to the suffering he caused. Of course this may not true, however I did for a time write to a killer name Levi Aron who murdered a child, and it was clear in his letters that his crime was a horror to himself and that his own inability to control his impulses and to behave was also its own kind of nightmare which was unimaginable also to himself.

12. "The White Crow"

Leonora Piper, aka "The White Crow" was a real psychic medium during the first part of the 20th Century, and one of the first people to ever be given that exact distinction. She visits Hamilton Fish in order to give him a message from his wife. In historical documents at the American Society for Psychical Research in Manhattan, one can see many examples of Leonora Piper's automatic writing and readings in which she made contact on behalf of the living. Her uncanny abilities were studied extensively by New York's most prominent intellectuals, people including William James.

I imagined that were Hamilton Fish II to actually consult a psychic medium, Ms. Piper would have been a likely candidate for the task.

13. "Broken Soul of A Human Being"

A letter has been mysteriously delivered to Hamilton Fish II. After reading it he realizes that there is someone lurking in the shadows of the world who is either using the name Hamilton Fish and committing crimes under the name, or worse, this person actually shares his name.

In researching the killer, I discovered that Hamilton Albert Fish sent a letter to Grace Budd's mother and it described in horrific detail exactly how Grace was killed. I was able to visit this letter in person. It is in a private collection of crime artifacts, called the Odditorium and its custodian is the artist, Joe Coleman. In his words it is "the magna carta of crime documents."

14. "In The Tombs"

Emily Mann whispers a message to her husband, Hamilton Fish II, telling him to go to the Tombs because, "the wrong man is in the tombs." By the end of the song, the refrain Hamilton Fish II has gotten the message. This song also features a stanza which refers to the killer's song, "My Darkest Night." This is the one moment where the plight of both "lost men" are matched for a moment.

"The Tombs" was a term commonly used for the New York City Jail in downtown Manhattan. I discovered that while Hamilton Albert Fish was on the loose numerous different people were accused an detained.

15. "Sharkey's Stutter"

Hamilton Fish II goes to the tombs and interrogates a man named Sharkey. Who is being held on suspicion of the killing. Hamilton Fish II tries to get answers from Sharkey, but the prisoner's stutter makes it difficult. At one point Sharkey recalls a man who he met during an earlier sentence up at Sing Sing who told him he was a cannibal and he says, that "they called him the Werewolf. The Werewolf of Wisteria." This is the first clue that Hamilton Fish II has that he must look for the killer in Wisteria.

16. "My Darkest Night (Reprise)"

Hamilton Albert Fish is unravelling. His life is a perversion of lust, regret, religious conviction and a desire for pain, but he now aware that he is going to be caught, one way or another and that ultimately he must be put to death for his crimes.

There is one line in this song which is taken directly from a passover Haggadah. It is a line that has mostly been omitted from use because it is now considered antiquated and offensive. It is: "Lord, with thine anger, pour out thy wrath upon those who have tried to destroy us." I used this line because it perfectly encapsulates this religious sense of "us versus them" which I imagined to be Hamilton Albert Fish's greatest conflict. I imagined him to think that Grace was a martyr for the sins of the world and that anyone who could not see that, should face the Lord's wrath.

17. "Rebel Angels"

Emily summons her most powerful spirit army to descend and envelope her husband with their power. The Rebel Angels are a metaphor for her own sense of conviction in the face of a killer's conviction to do harm, hers is a conviction to stop more harm from being committed. It is her destiny to help this child and to help her husband find his true path. Finding the killer will give him his purpose in life and allow him to be something greater than his name.

18. "Listen Forest"

Hamilton Fish II runs into the dark forest where he knows by all accounts that Grace Budd was murdered. This is the last place she was ever seen alive and he runs into the forest with a sense of rage, knowing that this forest allowed the cruelest of acts to occur in the world. "I'm looking through you!" he screams.

19. "Werewolf of Wisteria (Reprise)"

Hamilton Albert Fish has been caught now. His letter made him easy to catch and now he is being taken to his death.

20. "The Chair"

Hamilton Albert Fish told a reporter before he was taken to the death house that the electric chair was to be "the supreme thrill of my life." I took that line directly out of the news story and made this song his fantasy-- dreaming of the chair as his ultimate ecstasy and salvation.

21. "Emily's Daffodil"

Emily now is at peace knowing that Grace's killer will not be able to murder any more children. The daffodil is the symbol of the innocence of a child who appears only for a short time. She returns in the springtime and hides through the winter. Both Emily and Grace are in the spirit of each and every daffodil.

When I first visited the grave of Hamilton Fish II it was in the spring and daffodils were blooming all over St. Philips Church in the Highlands. I thought about how so many indigenous cultures imagine spirits of ancestors inhabiting the soul of the natural world. It felt to me that the voices of the dead were coming up from the natural world and fighting their way through the headstones.

The daffodils wrote The Lives of Hamilton Fish.


The Lives of Hamilton Fish links:

the film's website
the film's trailer

DCist review
Metroland review
ReelTalk review


Rachel Mason links:

Movie Addict Headquarters interview with Rachel Mason
New York Observer profile of the author
New York Times profile of Rachel Mason


also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Soundtracked submissions (directors and composers discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly music release lists
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
musician/author interviews


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Atomic Books Comics Preview - May 22, 2015

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 BuzzFeed's Great American Bookstores, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.


Diary Comics

Diary Comics
by Dustin Harbin

This collection of Dustin's diary comics lets readers step into the world of an excellent cartoonist.


Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency #1

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency #1
by Chris Ryall / Tony Atkins / Douglas Adams

Just in time for Towel Day (look it up), Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently gets the comics treatment. Find out the connection between a serial killer couple, a detective-based tea house, and an ancient mummy. All with that fun Douglas Adams wordplay.


How To Talk To Your Cat About Abstinence

How To Talk To Your Cat About Abstinence
by The American Association Of Patriots

These sorts of conversations with beloved pets can be difficult - fortunately this zine is here to help guide you through the sticky parts.


Steroid Max

Steroid Max
by Michael Hacker

This delightful send-up of 1980s action movies finds young Max trying to locate and save a missing action hero. It could leave you never wanting to drink energy drinks again.


Questions, concerns, comments or gripes – e-mail benn@atomicbooks.com. If there’s a comic I should know about, send it my way at Atomic, c/o Atomic Books 3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211.


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

Atomic Books website
Atomic Books on Twitter
Atomic Books on Facebook
Benn Ray's blog (The Mobtown Shank)
Benn Ray's comic, Mutant Funnies


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (Summer's Best Books, Courtney Barnett Covering the Lemonheads and Breeders, and more)

Publishers Weekly previewed summer's best books.


Courtney Barnett covered the Lemonheads and the Breeders at a recent show.


The Millions interviewed author Anne Enright.


Drunk in a Midnight Choir interviewed singer-songwriter and author Nick Jaina.


Book Riot recommended books to read if you loved Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Americanah.


Stereogum listed bands that took at least 20 years between albums.


The Oyster Review shared a primer to the books of Jonathan Lethem.


The Arizona Republic shared a playlist of classic summer songs.


The Los Angeles Times interviewed Gallagher Lawson about his debut novel The Paper Man.


Singer-songwriter Peter Broderick talked books with Clash.


Bookworm interviewed author Per Petterson.


The Line of Best Fit interviewed Swedish musician Zhala, and is streaming her self-titled album.


The Paris Review is launching a video series featuring authors who will talk about publishing their first book.


Bound 2gether is a children's book composed of Kanye West lyrics.


On mapping David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest.


Flavorwire listed the best vocal ad-libs in music history.


Vulture calls 2015 "the year of the very long novel."


Frank Black talked songwriting with Paste.


Irish author Edna O'Brien talked books with the New York Times.


Stream a new Destroyer song.


Comics Legend Stan Lee will publish his memoir Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir as a graphic novel.


Stereogum is streaming the new Little Wings album, Explains.


Flavorwire listed thrilling, imaginative, and twisted genre books by women.


Follow Largehearted Boy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, 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 (Hope for Agoldensummer, Paper Lights, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Caralis: "Be Automatic" [mp3]
Caralis: "Clicks In" [mp3]

Dorit Chrysler: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Dottie Scharr: Dottie Scharr EP [mp3]

Guns: "Ricochet" [mp3]

Hope For Agoldensummer: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Paper Lights: We Are Arrows EP [mp3]

The Wheel Workers: "Burglar" [mp3] from Citizen
The Wheel Workers: "Yodel" [mp3] from Citizen


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Worthless: 2015-05-06, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily 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)

May 21, 2015

Book Notes - Margaret Lazarus Dean "Leaving Orbit"

Leaving Orbit

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

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, Margaret Lazarus Dean's Leaving Orbit is a thoughtful and rewarding discourse on American manned spaceflight.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Beguiled at an early age by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Dean (English/Univ. of Tennessee; The Time It Takes to Fall, 2007) deftly chronicles the history of American spaceflight and what the end of the space program means for American culture."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Margaret Lazarus Dean's Book Notes music playlist for her book Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight:


While I was writing Leaving Orbit, I thought I might write a Book Notes about the music I was listening to during the events chronicled here—mostly whatever was on Top 40 radio: Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga. But then I wrote about these artists and the strange effects of their songs within the book, and a Book Notes about them would have seemed redundant. So instead I want to reach back to the space-inflected songs of the past, distant and recent, that have some connection with the topic of the book: our emotional connections to the history of American spaceflight.


David Bowie, "Space Oddity" (1969)
A list of great space music could conceivably consist of just this song. Listen to it, right now, knowing that it was released less than two weeks before the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969. This song is about that achievement but also noticeably not about it at all; it constructs its own science fiction universe and then openly asks us to compare Bowie's fantasy with the bewildering reality. It sounds older than Apollo yet also much younger, both fresher and more cynical. It's simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and heartrendingly sincere, and, it must be pointed out, it’s a deathless masterpiece of mope rock.

Commander Chris Hadfield, "Space Oddity" (2013)
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield brought a guitar with him into space. He could have made this cover lighthearted—it's the obvious thing to do when recording a song about a late-sixties fantasy of spaceflight from within an actual orbiting space station in the 21st century. Instead, Hadfield seizes on the sincerity in Bowie's original and leans right into it, slowing it down and simplifying the instrumentation (including his own guitar and voice recorded on ISS). He has rewritten the lyrics (again avoiding the temptation to make this a goof) and in his revisions makes the song an elegy to Major Tom's voyage, now over, as indeed Hadfield's nearly was. "Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing left to do."

I happened to see a link to this on social media within a few minutes after it was posted, and I'm so glad I did. I clicked on it having no idea what I was going to see, and so was able to place the opening chords for myself. Those chords play over an establishing shot of the International Space Station in orbit, followed by the opening shot of Hadfield: in a long take over the opening instrumental, Hadfield gazes out the window at the Earth rotating below him, turns to us, and sings the first line with utter sincerity, looking as though he is losing something he loves. If you can resist that, we have nothing in common. Nothing.

Spiritualized, "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" (1997)
Yes, the lyrics have almost nothing to do with anything related to space; it's a vague love cry like so much of Spiritualized and Spacemen 3. But I always think of this song when I think of music about spaceflight because of those little transmission beeps throughout the distorted vocals. Gorgeous and perfect.

The Billy Nayer Show, The American Astronaut soundtrack (2001)
I went to see The American Astronaut without knowing what it would be: the poster showed an astronaut in full space suit carrying a pressurized kitty carrier. The film was billed as a "space western musical," and, my friends, that's precisely what it is. The American Astronaut is a strange black-and-white masterpiece about an astronaut stuck in the wrong time—but what time is he from? The film and its songs invoke the strange, mostly unspoken relationship between the space program an the American fantasy of the frontier. I'd go anywhere to see it again.

The Orb, "Supernova at the End of the Universe" (1991)
If you ever hit a dance floor in the early nineties, you will remember The Orb's breakout hit "Little Fluffy Clouds," a rambling interview of a young woman about her childhood over relentless house beats. The track that follows on the album is "Supernova at the End of the Universe," a techno concoction that mixes the sounds of Apollo 11 (mostly rocket burn and ground-to-crew transmissions) with a driving dance beat. Certain lines are picked out and spoken over and over: "Go ahead with the translunar injection burn." "Astronauts report it feels good." "You can go ahead with the TV now." And in the unmistakable voice of Buzz Aldrin: "absolutely fantastic." It's a bit sad to remember that by the late-nineties, club kids had no connection to these sounds whatsoever, and most probably had no idea what they were hearing any more than they knew that "Little Fluffy Clouds" featured the voice of Rickie Lee Jones.

Lastly, listen to all of these Bad Panda Records tracks, constructed completely from archival NASA recordings including rocket sounds, radio transmissions, and crew chatter.


Margaret Lazarus Dean and Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review
The Riveter review

Deborah Kalb interview with the author
Houston Chronicle profile of the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Time It Takes to Fall
The Riveter interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - May 21, 2015

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.


Drawn & Quarterly: 25 Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels

Drawn & Quarterly: 25 Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Drawn & Quarterly has put out a gorgeous, gigantic volume full of articles, comics, photos, and other treats together. If you've ever been curious about the publishing house's history, wanted to know more about the countless artists featured over the years, or wanted a beautiful anthology full of amazing comics, this is a must see.


Optic Nerve 14

Optic Nerve 14
by Adrian Tomine

Much-lauded cartoonist Adrian Tomine (whose work often graces the cover of the New Yorker) is back with a new instalment of Optic Nerve, timed to coincide with the comic's twentieth anniversary. In its pages can be found two short stories (and a bonus autobiographical strip), chronicling a father struggling to be supportive, questions of mortality, and a search for a former life.


King Cat 75

King Cat 75
by John Porcellino

A Toronto Comic Arts Festival exclusive, King Cat 75 is all about a real-life cat, Porcellino's Maisie. With the artist's signature clean lines and quietly beautiful storytelling, you learn about a beloved pet and companion, a wonderful addition to the King Cat canon.


Blobby Boys

Blobby Boys
by Alex Schubert

MTV praised webcomic Blobby Boys as "one of the funniest dumbest bestest webcomics we've come across in a minute" and there isn't much higher praise than that. The comic, compiled by Koyama press, tells the story of the titular Ninja Turtle/punk hybrid bandmates, and a colourful cast of characters like Aging Hipster, Punk Dad, and Cyber Surfer.


Pope Hats 4

Pope Hats 4
by Ethan Rilly

This special, full-colour issue of the Pope Hats comic brings together seven stories, diverse and each as insightful as the last. Whether he's telling the story of troubled parents or a scorched-earth colony, Rilly's work is meditative and meaningful, and it quickly becomes obvious why this series has won both an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic and a Doug Wright Spotlight Award.


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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (A List of Great Road Books by Women, Bob Weir on the Grateful Dead Reunion, and more)

The Huffington Post shared a list of great road books by women.


Bob Weir discussed the Grateful Dead reunion with Rolling Stone.


NPR Music is streaming a 100 hour playlist of soulful protest music.


Adam Thirlwell shared a reading list of books with "innocent/corrupt" narrators at Bookforum.


Stereogum ranked Yes albums.


Author Sean Doyle interviewed himself at The Nervous Breakdown.

Read an excerpt from his memoir This Must Be the Place.


Dr. Dog visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


The house where F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby is for sale.


Eugene Weekly profiled singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis.


PopMatters interviewed Evie Nagy about her 33 1/3 book on Devo's Freedom of Choice album.


Matthew De Abaitua talked to the Guardian about his new book, Self & I.

From an interview involving shooting whisky bottles and smoking “special” cigarettes to an attempt to take a short cut through Sizewell's nuclear power stations, the novelist Matthew De Abaitua is set to lift the curtain on the six months he spent as Will Self's amanuensis in Suffolk 20 years ago.


Paste listed the best musical performances on David Letterman's late night show.


Author G. Willow Wilson talked to The Frame about creating female superhero comics characters.


Paste interviewed Jessica Hopper about her book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic.


The Telegraph is keeping a list (updated weekly) of the best YA books of the year.


Follow Largehearted Boy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, 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 (Dana Falconberry, An ATO Records Sampler Album, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Bianca Caruso: Bravado album [mp3]

Birthday Girl: Rituals EP [mp3]

Dana Falconberry: The Lowering Night EP [mp3]

Gene Serene: "Singularity" [mp3] from The Polaris Experience (out July 6th)

Midnight Pilot: Midnight Pilot album [mp3]

Rivers: Rivers EP [mp3]

Strange and Primitive: "That Big City Glow" [mp3] from Strange and Primitive EP (out August 21st)

Tashaki Miyaki: Under Cover Vol. II album [mp3]

Various Artists: ATO Records Spring Sampler 2015 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Chris Forsyth: 2015-04-18, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily 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)

May 20, 2015

Book Notes - Anna North "The Life and Death of Sophie Stark"

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

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

Anna North's second novel The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is a bold and compelling exploration of art, artists, and the creative process.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"As taut and artistically ambitious as its title character, North's novel upends the trope of the lone, tortured genius, considering instead the deeply human consequences of one person’s uncompromising vision."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Anna North's Book Notes music playlist for her novel The Life and Death of Sophie Stark:


The Life and Death of Sophie Stark has six points of view, so I had to capture the perspectives of six totally different people as I was writing it. Music was one way I did this; as I worked, I started associating certain songs with certain characters, and sometimes I'd play them if I needed to get myself into a Robbie mood (serious but uncertain), a Jacob mood (contemplative with buried sadness), or an Allison mood (passionate, maybe a little angry). Jacob, Sophie Stark's husband, is a musician himself, so it was natural for me to think a lot about music while I was writing his chapter, but most of the characters came to have their own musical signatures.

Each of the songs below corresponds to a particular chapter of The Life and Death of Sophie Stark. If you listen to them in order, I think they tell the story of the book — or at least the story of how I think about each section of it.

Allison's first chapter: "Thinkin Bout You," Frank Ocean
I came to Channel Orange relatively recently, but now I love Frank Ocean's voice and the stories he's telling. "Thinkin Bout You" is sweeter than some of the other tracks, so I like it for Allison's first chapter and the beginning of her romance with Sophie. But there's some sorrow in the song too, a hint that things haven't always gone well for the speaker and his lover — as, indeed, things won't always go well for Allison and Sophie, no matter how much they love each other when they meet.

Robbie's first chapter: "This Year," The Mountain Goats
This is such a beautiful, sad, hopeful song about being a teenager. It's a song about the future, and it always makes me think of that time in adolescence when the future seems so huge compared to the present, when everything seems like it's about to happen. Robbie's a little older than the speaker here, but like him, he's full of pent-up energy and waiting for life to start. This is also just one of my favorite songs, generally. The Mountain Goats typically close shows with this, and everybody always goes wild.

Jacob's chapter: "Woman King," Iron & Wine
I thought about Iron & Wine a lot when I was writing Jacob's chapter. I think Sam Beam is sort of who Jacob wishes he could be — Jacob is an okay singer-songwriter in a folky vein, and he gets better later in the book when he focuses more on instrumentals. For me, "Woman King" captures the mood Jacob wants to capture in his music but can't quite, and also the mood of the lake house where he and Sophie meet. The whole Woman King EP is just beautiful, one of my favorite Iron & Wine albums and also, I think, a little bit of a departure from his other work.

Daniel's chapter: "If I Wanted Someone," Dawes
I don't think Daniel would listen to Dawes — musically, he and I might not agree on much. But a lot of Dawes songs seem to come out of a kind of wounded, searching masculinity that makes me think of him. I like the specificity of this song — the speaker knows exactly what he's looking for. Daniel doesn't, exactly, but by the end of his chapter I think Sophie gives him what he didn't know he needed. I think he's one of the characters in the book who gets the most from Sophie, who's helped as much as if not more than he's hurt by her.

George's chapter: "Let the Devil In," TV on the Radio
I actually listened to Return to Cookie Mountain a lot while writing my first novel, America Pacifica, and these songs are really burned into my brain. They feel science-fictional to me for some reason; I remember driving to Santa Cruz and listening to this album and imagining a woman with pterodactyl wings. George is a big sci-fi fan, and the whole album puts me in a George mood. I picked "Let the Devil In" because I like the feel of it, and because it's in no way a love song. Unlike Jacob and Daniel and Allison, George isn't in love with Sophie, at least not sexually — his relationship with her is quieter, though it still ends up causing him pain.

Allison's second chapter: "Girl in New Orleans," Sarah Dougher
I was listening to Day One all the time in the early stages of writing The Life and Death of Sophie Stark — I think I initially discovered it on a list of recommendations by John Darnielle. The album had a big influence on the first draft — "Secret Porno Collector," which is a sweet, sad song about, yes, a secret porno collector, helped me conceive of a character who I eventually cut from the book, but who got me a lot closer to understanding Sophie and her early years. "Girl in New Orleans" is a beautiful, spare song about betrayal, and it's perfect for Allison's second chapter, when she and Sophie are both a bit less innocent, but no less capable of hurting each other.

Robbie's second chapter: "Second Bird of Paradise," The Rosebuds
I listened to a lot of The Rosebuds in 2011 and 2012, both Loud Planes Fly Low and the earlier Life Like. "Nice Fox," off Life Like, is definitely a Jacob song; it helped me a lot when I was figuring out his character. But "Second Bird of Paradise" is Robbie all the way, and I think it's late Robbie — a little sadder, a little wiser than the wired, hopeful Robbie of chapter two and "This Year." Of all the songs on this list, this one is the closest lyrical match to its book chapter ("She's my sister," sings Ivan Howard, "and she floats like a bird in the canopy"), but I also just like its sort of ethereal mood.

Ben Martin's chapters: "The Man Who Sold the World," Nirvana
A friend and I were obsessed with this song in high school (the Nirvana unplugged version specifically, though the Bowie one is also good). I still love it, and now I think it captures Ben's character well — it's a song about isolation, but it also feels nerdish and intellectual in a way (maybe just because I was a nerd in high school) that makes me think of Ben's critical side. Ben's writing is in part his response to a world that's always made him feel like an outsider, and this song evokes that feeling for me.

Allison's last chapter: "Sugar Boy," Beth Orton
Beth Orton is another high-school favorite who has remained a favorite. I love Trailer Park and Central Reservation, and a lot of songs from either of those albums could have worked for Allison's last chapter. But I like the finality of "Sugar Boy," and the speaker's insistence that she's not going to let a love affair destroy her.

Bonus track: "Because the Night," Patti Smith
This one doesn't necessarily correspond to a specific chapter, but I wanted to put it on the list because I think it's important to the book as a whole. I thought about Patti Smith, especially her ‘60s and ‘70s look, when I was writing about Sophie. I've always loved "Because the Night" (though the first version I heard was the 10,000 Maniacs one, as a teenager), and now the song makes me think of Allison and Sophie. Maybe it always will.


Anna North and The Life and Death of Sophie Stark links:

the book's website
excerpt from the book

Huffington Post review
Kirkus review
NPR Books review
Publishers Weekly review

The Atlantic essay by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Google
  Web largeheartedboy.com   


1 | older