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April 16, 2014

Book Notes - Jaime Clarke "Vernon Downs"

Vernon Downs

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.

Obsession and celebrity are the themes of Jaime Clarke's impressive and fascinating novel Vernon Downs.

Matthew Specktor wrote of the book:

"All strong literature stems from obsession. Vernon Downs belongs to a tradition that includes Nicholson Baker's U and I, Geoff Dyer's Out of Sheer Rage, and—for that matter—Pale Fire. What makes Clarke's excellent novel stand out isn't just its rueful intelligence, or its playful semi-veiling of certain notorious literary figures, but its startling sadness. Vernon Downs is first rate."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Jaime Clarke's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Vernon Downs:


Most people assume Vernon Downs is about the writer Bret Easton Ellis, but in truth the main character is Charlie Martens, whose girlfriend abandons him. He clings to the knowledge that Vernon Downs (based on Ellis) was his girlfriend Olivia's favorite writer and contrives to meet Downs in the hopes of winning Olivia back, or so he tells himself. In order to evoke the sad state of affairs Charlie finds himself in—and the sad, doomed journey he undertakes—I created a playlist on my computer called the Sadness Suite, which features songs that, in one way or another, fetishize sadness. A couple of albums fit the definition and I listened to them on rotation so many times that they're a permanent fixture of my subconscious: Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons, So Tonight That I Might See by Mazzy Star, Ophelia by Natalie Merchant, everything by Evanescence and Florence and the Machine. But here are the individual tracks (with some annotation) that put me in the right sad, ruminative state needed to create Vernon Downs:

"Verdi Cries" by 10,000 Maniacs
A lot of the songs on this list are piano songs. I learned to play the piano when I was a child. I don't play anymore. You get the idea.

"Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down
Absence and longing perfectly limned.

"The One That Got Away" by The Civil Wars
First thought when this song comes on: the dude in this band looks like Johnny Depp. Second thought: great kiss off song along the lines of "The One I Love" by R.E.M. But what I'm left with is the sense that even though we know we shouldn't, we do. Over and over.

"Fix You" by Coldplay
Everyone loves to knock Coldplay, but as my wife and I say about The Beatles, "They know what they're doing." The point of view in this song, particularly, was useful in creating mood.

"St. Robinson and His Cadillac Dream" by Counting Crows
The Counting Crows put me in mind of my youth in Arizona—I once walked by a house in Tucson, where I attended the University of Arizona, and "Mr. Jones" blasted from the windows concert loud—but also the narrative in this particular song was relatable viz Charlie and his life. Also, the lyric "In a house where regret is a carousel ride/We are spinning and spinning and spinning" is illustrative.

"Pictures of You" by The Cure
Also the "Untitled" track from this album, which is a song that once meant a great deal to me.

"Precious" by Depeche Mode
The lyric "Things get damaged/Things get broken" perfectly describes the principle theme in Vernon Downs. And possibly in all books.

"When I Needed You" by Erasure
A sad song about childhood. In truth, it's too sad and I eventually removed it from the playlist because the sadness was distracting.

"You Found Me" by The Fray
Another piano song.

"No Son of Mine" by Genesis
This song about leaving home would probably be one of Charlie's anthems.

"Hey Jealousy" by Gin Blossoms
The Gin Blossoms became a national band while I was in college in Arizona, local boys made good. The helplessness of the narrator in this song, along with his wistfulness, always puts me in mind of that divide between adolescence and the imminent mistakes of adulthood.

"Here is Gone" by The Goo Goo Dolls
Great song about the fleeting nature of the moments in our lives. "I thought I lost you somewhere/But you were never really there at all" is a sentiment Charlie comes to know too well.

"Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey
Another piano song. A haunting meditation on youth. With the added bonus of being on the Gatsby soundtrack, a film based on the book that brings its own truckload of influence.

"How Far We've Come" by Matchbox Twenty
Just love the hook of "Let's see how far we've come." The depth of emotion is in your personal answer to this call and response.

"Nightswimming" by R.E.M.
The ultimate piano song. It's one of those rare songs that make you believe the moments described are actually memories from your own life.

"Run" by Snow Patrol
Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" put to music. And one of the saddest musical goodbyes I know.


Jaime Clarke and Vernon Downs links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

Harvard Crimson review
PopMatters review
Three Guys One Book review
Tweed's review

ArtSake interview with the author
GrubStreet 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)





April 16, 2014

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - April 16, 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.


A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York

A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York
by Liana Finck

Artist Liana Finck tells the story of the famous, often life-saving advice column "The Bintel Brief," a backpage feature of the Yiddish newspaper The Forward that was the staple of many immigrant Jewish households in early 20th century New York. Imaginative and moving, it reads like a fable as much as a history lesson.


The Good Inn

The Good Inn
by Black Francis and Josh Frank

Pixies frontman Black Francis joins writer Josh Frank and illustrator Steven Appleby to resuscitate and retell two obscure but significant events in early 1900s France: the demise of the battleship Iena and the filming of Le Bonne Auberge, thought to be the first pornographic film.


All the Birds, Singing

All the Birds, Singing
by Evie Wyld

Molly says: This novel is impossibly balanced -- gorgeous and graceful, dark and taut, it tells the story of Jake, a young woman who's chosen a solitary life on a cold English island. Wyld is as good at Jake's reluctant, slow-moving connection to other people as she is at depicting the kind of solitude that's sometimes necessary to process, to rebuild, and to heal.


Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists

Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists
by Hillary L. Chute

Emily says: In addition to its stunning full-color production and french flaps, this book contains interviews with Scott McCloud, Charles Burns, Lynda Barry, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Phoebe Gloeckner, Joe Sacco, Alison Bechdel, Francoise Mouly, Adrian Tomine, Art Spiegelman, and Chris Ware. Do I really need to say anything else?


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)

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists

52 Books, 52 Weeks (my yearly reading project)
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)

Shorties (A New Zadie Smith Story at The Paris Review, An Interview with Courtney Love, and more)

Read a new Zadie Smith short story at the Paris Review.


The Quietus interviewed Courtney Love.


USA Today and Flavorwire interviewed Mimi Pond about her new graphic novel memoir, Over Easy.

Pond also talked to the Hollywood Reporter about the book.


Stereogum listed the best Galaxie 500 songs.


The Guardian listed the top 10 novels of desert war.


Walter Martin of the Walkmen celebrated the novelty song at the Guardian.


The A.V. Club shared an excerpt from Black Francis's new illustrated novel, The Good Inn.


The Guardian shared a playlist of new Middle Eastern and north African music.


SPIN interviewed Murph of Dinosaur Jr.


The finalists for the 2014 Best Translated Book Awards have been named.


The A.V. Club listed the best Nickel Creek songs.


Dinah Fried's Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals is a book filled with photos of meals from literature.


Musician Scott McCaughey talked baseball, Uncle Tupelo, and more with the Riverfront Times.


James Salter remembered author Peter Mathiessen at the New Yorker.


At The Record, Carl Wilson and Ann Powers discuss why other people's tastes in music matter so much to us.


Wired broke down Amazon's purchase of digital comics app Comixology.


The A.V. Club is streaming the new album by Black Prairie, a band that features all members of the Decemberists except Colin Meloy.


Time recommended female authors you should be reading.


Record Store Day is Saturday. LA Music Blog listed the top limited edition releases.


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


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
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
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)s


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Daily Downloads (A Kill Rock Stars Compilation, Dean Wareham, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Faux Fur: "Rough Palms" [mp3] from Faux Fur (out April 28th)

The Fox and the Feather: The Fox and the Feather album [mp3]

Gia Margaret: Dark Joy EP [mp3]

Kairos: "Street Lights (Kanye West cover)" [mp3] from Kairos EP (out May 20th)

Pontiacs: Atacama Dreaming album [mp3]

So Many Animal Calls: "My Blood's Not Mine" [mp3] from Burden EP (out May 26th)

The Sad Bastard Book Club: The Crow Nose Quartet's "Carrion, My Wayward Son" EP [mp3]

Soundstatues: NoiseTrade Sampler EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Crazed MP3 Fans Vol. 1 Kill Rock Stars album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Dean Wareham: 2014-04-05, New York [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)

April 15, 2014

Book Notes - Alena Graedon "The Word Exchange"

The Word Exchange

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.

Alena Graedon's The Word Exchange is a wildly imaginative and ambitious debut novel about the future intersection of language and technology.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"A wildly ambitious, darkly intellectual and inventive thriller about the intersection of language, technology and meaning."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In her own words, here is Alena Graedon's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel, The Word Exchange:


In The Word Exchange, I try to evoke that elusive, lucid moment when we start to notice that something's been lost. It begins with a dim awareness. Something that should be there, that we view as natural and immutable, is gone. A childhood memory. A word we thought we knew. A very deep love. A parent we view as a constant who suddenly disappears.

In my own life, music is one of those stays that drifted away without my notice. When I was young, it was so close to the locus of my identity that they couldn't be separated. But at some point, things changed. What happened, I think, is that I slowly started letting the devices in my life decide what I should listen to, and in the process, I became sort of estranged from something that had once been central to me. (Part of the pleasure of putting together this playlist has been in reconnecting with a kind of creativity I'd nearly forgotten.)

A lot of good has come from our new culture of not owning things. But when everything is free, and we let machines choose our music for us, some of the thrill of discovery is lost. We also lose what can come not from buying a record, but owning it in a deeper sense—integrating it into our consciousnesses.

The Word Exchange takes place a few years in the future, at a time when bound books have become more obscure than records are now, and our dependence on devices has increased. That gave me a chance to imagine what might happen if we yielded even more to machines—not just decisions about what to listen to or read or wear or eat, but about how to behave, even what to think and say.

These are all songs that have seeped into the book in various ways, or that capture something essential about it.


Don Giovanni — Act II, Scene 5, Finale

Bart, one of the novel's narrators, explains early on that beginnings and endings can be problematic. In some ways, they get inverted in the book, so starting this list with a finale seemed to make a kind of sense. Doug, the disappeared father at the center of the story, is a man who appreciates drama and pathos, and he used to sing this piece to entertain his wife, Vera, before they separated.

Creedence Clearwater Revival — Suzie Q

Vera is a sort of Suzie Q—very easy to fall in love with. Doug still loves her on the day he disappears, more than a year after she's left him. And she has her own style of drama and glamour. She's the kind of woman who went to Woodstock as a teenager, and ended up singing this song with Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Jefferson Airplane — White Rabbit

Doug's disappearance is discovered by his daughter, Anana, who narrates the novel along with Bart. She's alerted to her father's absence by a code word Doug seems to have left behind: Alice. Shortly before he vanished, he told Anana that if anything were to happen to him, he wanted to use this name to communicate. He also gave her a vile of pills, which she eventually takes, like the Alice in this song. Anana's search for her father soon becomes Alice-like in other ways. As she tries to piece together clues in a world that's not quite the one she thought she knew, less and less makes sense. In fact, as in Alice's looking-glass world, even words and language start losing meaning.

Fela Kuti — Mr. Grammarticologylisationalism Is the Boss

Bart claims that listening to records was how he survived high school. But he also got by thanks to a friend who loved music as much as he did, and who introduced him to things he'd never heard, including Fela Kuti. This song explores the ways language and colonialism intertwine, asking who has ownership over a language, and what it means to be master of it. Those are also questions at the center of The Word Exchange.

The Grateful Dead — Friend of the Devil

Anana's ex-boyfriend, Max, is a big fan of The Dead. He likes live recordings that last at least 20 minutes. Not everyone does, though, so this is much shorter. But it's still pretty relevant to Max; he's befriended some shady characters.

The Avengers — Paint It Black

The first time Bart visits Anana's apartment, he discovers a side of her that he didn't know existed, and that she's lost track of in some ways. He's really surprised by her music collection, and that they seem to share a lot of affinities. This is a song she listened to over and over in high school, at a time when she was realizing that she wanted to be an artist. She especially liked playing it while she was painting, for probably obvious reasons.

Sylvie Vartan — M'amuser

Anana's best friend, Coco, is also an artist. Their studios are side by side, and because their shared wall doesn't go all the way to the ceiling, they can hear each other while they work. When the novel starts, Anana's heart is broken—Max has just moved out. And Coco, whose mother is French, sings her this song from the other side of the wall to bring her spirits up.

Arvo Pärt — Spiegel im Spiegel

This piece is pivotal to the book. Anana hears it when she's very sick, in the throes of a virus known as word flu. She's using a device that gives her fleeting access to someone else's memories, and this song is one of his. But hearing it triggers her own reminiscences—her mother listened to it many times when Anana was child. And that unlocks the door to other past experiences, some of which are her own, and some that she thinks may be the machine's inventions.

Donny Hathaway — A Song for You

One of the memories Anana has while using the device is from very early in her relationship with Max, and a trip they took together. One afternoon, when Anana returned to their hotel room, Max, not knowing she was there, was singing this song in the shower. Overhearing him helps convince her he's really in love, and makes her fall in love with him more deeply.

The Bulgarian Voices Angelite — Dve Pesni Ot Tchepinsko

This song is from one of the records that Bart listened to in his disaffected youth. (It's a record that I also listened to throughout high school and college. It was a gift from my coworker, Pete, at the incredible used book and record store where I used to work.) Unlike me, Bart knows lots of languages, and part of what appeals to him about this song is that he doesn't understand the words, only the feelings they engender, and not even all of those.

Neil Young — My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)

Bart can sometimes seem craven and insecure, but his soul is rock and roll. That's partly why he responds so strongly to anachronisms, like books, and music from before he was born. Neil Young is probably closest to his heart. The energy and temerity and aberrance that the music of this era evokes can sometimes seem as obsolete as the songs. But Bart is a covert optimist, and he believes that if we keep listening, they're still there.

Stravinsky: Rite of Spring Part II, The Sacrifice

This piece arrives at a climactic scene in the book. It serves as a sort of sound armor for Dr. Thwaite, a character who believes that his conversations are being recorded, and who tries to drown them out with music. And as the title suggests, he also offers himself up as a sacrifice in some ways.

John Cage — 4'33”

There comes a time in the book when silence intrudes. Silence is a complicated thing in the novel: for some people, it's an omen of death—a symptom that marks a fatal case of word flu. But it can also be part of a course of therapy for survival. In either case, it's very significant. This piece is four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence.

The Only Ones — Another Girl, Another Planet

Late in the book, Bart becomes very concerned that something has happened to Anana, and he goes looking for her. His anxiety makes it hard for him to sleep, but he finally manages to drift off while listening to this song.


Alena Graedon and The Word Exchange links:

the author's Facebook page

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review
Slate review
Toronto Star review

The Center for Fiction interview with the author
Publishers Weekly interview with the author
Word and Film 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 - Damian Barr "Maggie & Me"

Maggie & Me: Coming Out and Coming of Age in 1980s Scotland

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.

Damian Barr's Maggie & Me is an eloquently told and moving coming-of-age story, one of the most entertaining memoirs I have read in years.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"While it should be heartbreaking, Barr tells a wonderful story, demonstrating the remarkable resilience of a child not only surviving, but succeeding in such a grand way."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Damian Barr's Book Notes music playlist for his memoir, Maggie & Me: Coming Out and Coming of Age in 1980s Scotland:


Ours was not a house of books, unless you count my mum's Mills & Boon paperbacks glorying in titles like A Debt Paid in Passion and She Is His. She taught me to read with these so I am perhaps unrealistically romantic. I was heartbroken when my Mum and Dad divorced. Worse, much worse, was to come with their new loves: the creepily glamorous Mary the Canary and the murderously heavy-handed Logan. My family fractured as our community was torn apart—the closing of the last coal mines, the darkening of the vast glowing steelworks where my Dad made the sun set twice every night, the end of a way of life. Everybody bonded over their hatred of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: Maggie. She got the blame for everything and when the IRA bombed her and she dared to survive they couldn't believe it—neither could I. But I was impressed by her, not a hair out of place as she rose from the smoking ruins of the Grand Hotel. We watched her on the telly—one of the few forces bringing my sprawling, brawling family together. We sat on bare floorboards ooohing and ahhing at Carrington mansions hoping for a bitch fight between Alexis and Krystle before our electricity meter ran out of money and the lights went out. I longed for the camera to linger on the square-jawed men with their oh-so-white teeth. My soundtrack reflects Scotland's affair with American culture generally especially the telly and my 1980s childhood.

Theme from Superman The Movie
The first film I remember seeing. My Dad took me leaving my wee sister at home so it was an extra treat having him all to myself. Six foot everything, with Clark Kent curls and Superman's muscles from his job at the steelworks, he lifted me up and flew me in the air as the credits rolled. I swooped through clouds of blue cigarette smoke curling in the light from the projector.

D.I.V.O.R.C.E by Dolly Parton
Mary the Canary, my Dad's new woman, was a nurse by day and country and western singer by night. We were trained to hate her but she seemed so lovely – all dolled up with big blonde hair and bubbly friendly and wanting to be liked. She sang this the first time she met us and I still don't know if she meant it or not. My Dad knocked the record off when she got to the chorus. I persist in seeing the best in people.

The Ink is Black, The Paper is White (*available on an album called Call of Freedom)
The west of Scotland is like Northern Ireland without the bombs—historically there's no love lost between Catholics and Protestants. Catholics supports Celtic Footballs Club and the Pope and Protestants Support Ranger Footballs Club and the Queen. Simple. Except my Mum is Catholic and my Dad is Protestant. A critical factor in my outsiderness and just another reason to hate football. Caught in the middle, I went to technically non-denominational schools where we learnt hymns like this.

Chronicles of Narnia Theme by Geoffrey Burgon
Every time we moved house—and we moved a lot—I would run into the big bedroom and climb in the wardrobe hoping to find Narnia. I haven't found it—yet. These books gave me an escape into a world where good would always triumph over evil. I really thought I was the only child to work out that Aslan was supposed to be Jesus which didn't help my early evangelical tendencies. The BBC TV adaption was brilliant.

Dynasty Theme
The trilling flutes, the swooping strings, the helicopter flying in over Denver, Colorado (the most glamorous place in the world to me then). The good blonde, the bad brunette, the shoulder-pads. The limousines with some of the very first mobile phones—bullion-sized handsets for billionaires. The affairs, divorces and fights all seemed familiar but overlaid with sequins. The Colbys was never as good and Falcon Crest was almost laughable but still we watched. Even in this corner of Thatcher's Britain we were learning to want more.

I've Had the Time of My Life
Dirty Dancing was a major obsession. My best/boy friend Mark and I traded roles as Johnny and Baby and we even found a place to re-enact the famous river. This song has always made me think that everything will be alright, not just alright but amazing.

Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat
"Pushed around and kicked around I was a lonely boy…” It was years before I realised the singer was a man. Anyway, I remember hearing it on the radio when we still huddled round on a Sunday to listen to the charts. I tried taping it but didn't rewind fast enough so only caught a bit. In 1984 me and Mark wanted to run away from our small town—this became our secret anthem.

I Should Be So Lucky by Kylie Minogue
Stock, Aitken and Waterman made all the records that made our 1980s: Kyle Minogue, Jason Donovan and even Stefan Dennis. Basically, anyone who appeared on the Australian soap Neighbours, which we all watched after school, released an album. As bouncy as the spiral perm favoured by all girls and some boys. Despite everything, I have always felt lucky. This song works a charm. Only Kylie survives.

Shipbuilding by Elvis Costello
Even if, like me, you viewed some of Thatcher's evil as necessary, you couldn't ignore the impact. My Dad lost his job at the Ravenscraig Steelworks despite doing everything Maggie demanded. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost across the country—whole communities were destroyed. Some have never recovered. Some will never forgive.

The Rhythm of the Night by Corona
Seguing smoothly from 1980s to 1990s, when me and my friend Mark and our best pal Heather found Glasgow's only gay club and danced and danced and danced. We were too young to drive so we caught the train in and got changed in the toilets. Nobody knew where we were going or what we were up to and we loved imagining their faces IF ONLY THEY KNEW.

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead
Maggie united my community and divided the nation like no leader before or since. My own feelings are complex and often contradictory—she was strong, yes, but that strength became weakness. She was different, like me, and glamorous, like I wanted to be. She inspired me to become an individual. Yet I wouldn't be the man I am without all the other individuals who helped me on the way: Mark, Heather, my Mum, my Dad, my beloved teachers, Kylie even. A campaign to get this song to number one in the week after Thatcher's death—almost exactly a year ago—failed. Which just about says it all.


Damian Barr and Maggie & Me: Coming Out and Coming of Age in 1980s Scotland links:

the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book

GQ UK review
Guardian review
Independent review
Kirkus review
Sunday Times review

Public Radio International's The World 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 - April 15, 2014

Afghan Whigs

The Afghan Whigs' first new album in 16 years, Do to the Beast, is out today.

I can also recommend the following new releases: Cloud Cult's Unplug, Courtney Barnett's The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, Woods' With Light and With Love, and Zee Avi's children's album Zee Avi's Nightlight.

Reissues include two box sets, the 5-disc Bee Gees' The Warner Bros. Years 1987-1991 and the 8-CD Black Sabbath: The Complete Albums 1970-1978.


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:

AC/DC: Ballbreaker (reissue) [vinyl]
AC/DC: Stiff Upper Lip (reissue) [vinyl]
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell: Check 'Em Before You Wreck 'Em
Afghan Whigs: Do to the Beast
AJ and the Jiggawatts: AJ and the Jiggawatts
The Alchemist and Budgie: The Good Book
Alpha Consumer: Meat
Amps for Christ: Canyons Cars and Crows
Andrew Liles: Fast Forward Through Time [vinyl]
August Alsina: Testimony
Banner Pilot: Souvenir
Battle Lines: Colonies
Bee Gees: The Warner Bros. Years 1987-1991 (5-CD box set)
Ben Roy: No Enlightenment in Sobriety
Bikini Kill: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah EP [vinyl]
Bill Pritchard: A Trip to the Coast
The Black Keys: Fever
Black Sabbath: The Complete Albums 1970-1978 (8-CD box set)
Black Tape For a Blue Girl: Remnants of a Deeper Purity (reissue) [vinyl]
Bobby Bare, Jr.: Undefeated
The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo): The Both
Burnt Hills: Non Compos Mentis [vinyl]
Cannonball Adderley: Somethin' Else (reissue) [vinyl]
Chet Faker: Built On Glass
Chuck E. Weiss: Red Beans and Weiss
Cloud Cult: Unplug
Courtney Barnett: The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
The Crookes: Soapbox
Cult Leader: Nothing For Us Here
CV313: Altering Illusions 1/3
Dalhous: Visibility Is a Trap
Dan Wilson: Love Without Fear
Danny Brown: Hot Soup
Dead Kennedys: Original Singles Collection (7-disc box set) [vinyl]
Del Barber: Prairieography
Deleted Scenes: Lithium Burn
Dexter Gordon: Our Man In Paris (reissue) [vinyl]
DJ Center: DEM SAY AH
Dorian Pimpernel: Allombon
The Drip: A Presentation of Gruesome Poetics
Duck Sauce: Quack
Dylan Shearer: Garagearray
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Trilogy (reissue) [vinyl]
Emmylou Harris: Cowboy Angels
Esme Patterson: Woman to Woman
Gezan: It Was Once Said to Be a Song
Gord Downie, The Sadies, and the Conquering Sun: Gord Downie, The Sadies, and the Conquering Sun
Hecker: Articulação
Hot Jam Factory: Introducing Hot Jam Factory
Ingrid Michaelson: Lights Out
Impetuous Ritual: Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence
Jessica Lea Mayfield: Make My Head Sing...
Justin Nozuka: Ulysees
Kyng: Burn the Serum
Loops Haunt: Exits
Marshall Crenshaw: Red Wine
Maxwell August Croy and Sean McCann: I
Meyhem Lauren: Mandatory Brunch Meetings
Nas: Illmatic XX
Needtobreathe: Rivers In the Wasteland
The Oath: The Oath
Orcas: Yearling
Pharoahe Monch: P.T.S.D. - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Plague Vendor: Free to Eat
Polar: Shadowed by Vultures
Polock: Rising Up
Rodney Crowell: Tarpaper Sky
Se Delan: The Fall
The Secret Sisters: Put Your Needle Down
Slint: Spiderland (reissue) [vinyl] (6-disc box set)
Steve Gunn and Mike Gangloff: Melodies for a Savage Fix
Strung Out: Another Day In Paradise (reissue)
Strung Out: Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues (reissue)
Strung Out: Twisted by Design (reissue) [vinyl]
Strung Out: Volume One (reissue)
T.O.M.B.: Pennhurst / Xesse
The UN: UN Or U Out
Toxic Holocaust: An Overdose of Death (reissue)
Toxic Holocaust: Evil Never Dies (reissue) [vinyl]
Toxic Holocaust: Hell on Earth (reissue)
Triptykon: Melena Chasmata
Various Artists: Petty's Peculiar Picks
Various Artists: Shameless (soundtrack)
Various Artists: The Walking Dead - AMC Original Soundtrack, Vol. 2
Willie Nelson: The Storm Has Just Begun (reissue0 [vinyl]
Woods: With Light and With Love
Zee Avi: Zee Avi's Nightlight
Ziggy Marley: Fly Rasta


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

2013 Year-End Online Music 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)


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Shorties (Stephen King's Books Ranked, Greg Dulli on the Afghan Whigs Reunion, and more)

Vulture ranked all 64 of Stephen King's books.


Drowned in Sound and Flavorwire interviewed Greg Dulli about the Afghan Whigs reunion.


Wondering Sound interviewed Aimee Mann and Ted Leo about their new duo, The Both.


Roxane Gay explored the reasons we read war fiction at BuzzFeed.


Stereogum ranked Van Morrison's albums from worst to best.


The Quietus interviewed Juliet Escoria about her new book, Black Cloud.


The Boston Globe interviewed John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.


Photographer Roberta Bayley talked to Texas Monthly about photographing the Sex Pistols' 1978 swing through Texas.


The Two-Way interviewed poet Vijay Seshadri about being awarded the Pulitzer for his collection 3 Sections.


OUPblog recommended recently released jazz albums you should hear.


Morning Edition interviewed Leslie Jamison about her new essay collection The Empathy Exams.


Flavorwire interviewed Mad Men's music supervisor about her favorite musical moments in the show.


The Airship listed authors' made-up words.


Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Winners of 2014 Pulitzer prizes were named yesterday.


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


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
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
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)s


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Daily Downloads (Erin McKeown, The Belle Brigade, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Belle Brigade: When Everything Was What It Was EP [mp3]

Chatham County Line: Rendezvous album [mp3]

Elliott Moss: "Slip" [mp3]

Erin McKeown: Civics album [mp3]

Highasakite; Since Last Wednesday EP [mp3]

King Elder: "Whisky" [mp3]

Psalmships: "Flesh Turn" [mp3] from I Sleep Alone (out July 8th)

Scale Model: "Live It Up" [mp3] from Star

Vogue Dots: "Skinny Thing" [mp3] from Toska (out May 6th)


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Leos: 2014-04-13, 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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April 14, 2014

Book Notes - Liel Leibovitz "A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen"

A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen

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.

In A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen Liel Leibovitz thoughtfully examines both the legend and his creative output.

Marc Dolan wrote of the book:

“In A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen, Liel Leibovitz neatly limns the spiritual quest that underpins most of Cohen's work, from Montreal to Tel Aviv and beyond. Less about Suzanne than 'Suzanne,' Leibovitz’s book highlights the novelist behind the songwriter, the poet behind the novelist, and the would-be prophet looming over them all."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Liel Leibovitz's Book Notes music playlist for his book, A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen:


I first heard Leonard Cohen's music when I was fourteen. My father, the jovial and respectable businessman, was arrested for robbing a string of banks, and my family's comfortable upper-middle-class life fell apart. Because my friends had no idea how to relate to this radical turn of events, they stopped by and brought me CDs. Most of them were awful—this was 1990, so there was a lot of Roxette and Mariah Carey—but one of them was Songs of Leonard Cohen. It changed my life, or, more accurately, it saved it.

Because Cohen is such a magnificent songwriter, it is possible, even for fans of his, to spend years listening to his music without really diving deep and discovering the hidden gems that hide in the less illuminated corners of his albums. One of the greatest pleasures of writing a book about him was the thrill of listening to his music with a fresh pair of ears, discovering and rediscovering some sparkling songs. I still love "Hallelujah" and "Suzanne" and "Sisters of Mercy," but here are ten Leonard Cohen songs that are just as potent at mending your heart.

Field Commander Cohen

His songs are often so spare and his lyrics so profound that Leonard Cohen hardly gets credit for being genuinely funny. But it's hard to listen to "Field Commander Cohen" without cracking a smile as the deep-voiced singer riffs on the Andrews sisters and acknowledges his own reputation for being depressing by referring to himself as "the grocer of despair." The moment you think he's merely being self-deprecating, though, he dives deep again, talking about love and faith and hurt. Not a lot of songs can capture the whole gamut of human emotion, but this one comes close.

Passing Through

The tone is chatty, the tune is country, but the lyrics are as crystalline as any Cohen has ever written: told through a series of encounters with some of history's greatest men—Jesus, Adam, George Washington, FDR—each of the song's verses has a star-struck Cohen asking naïve questions only to receive different iterations of the same answer: life is hard, and we're all only passing through, but that doesn't absolve any of us of the responsibility to do our best to make our short stay as just, compassionate, and loving as possible. Amen to that.

Memories

Cohen's collaboration with Phil Spector, the 1977 album Death of a Ladies' Man, is the one entry in his body of work that even his biggest fans love to hate. The animosity is not entirely misguided, but the album does contain one brilliant and heartbreaking song: sampling The Shields' 1958 hit "You Cheated, You Lied," Cohen's "Memories" sounds like the sour sequel to the original. Instead of a young doo-wop crooner singing about a girl cheating on him but realizing that there will be other girls, other loves, and happier moments, Cohen plays the part of the same singer, now two decades older and broken, walking up to the tallest and the blondest girl and asking to see her naked body. He's old enough now to know that heartbreak isn't a sweet and passing sorrow, but a permanent state of being, and he now seeks not romance but sex. It's so sad, and so beautiful, and Spector's Wall of Sound makes it nearly unbearable.

Diamonds in the Mine

On the cover of Songs of Love and Hate, Cohen's 1971 third studio album, the singer—hair unkempt, eyes wild, head jutting out madly from a pool of blackness—looks a lot like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In "Diamonds in the Mine," perhaps the album's most spirited song, he sounds like a madman, too: his voice flat, Cohen nonetheless gets animated as he howls lyrics that could've been written by Dylan while binging on Benzedrine. It's both fun and terrifying, a snapshot of Cohen in a low point of his life, just after the charms of his early career and just before the wisdom of his later years.

Chelsea Hotel No. 1

Before there was No. 2, with its famous "we are ugly, but we have the music," there was the song's original version, which Cohen never recorded but which he played in several live shows before taking another stab at it and shaping it into perfection. The original is nowhere near as elegant and moving as its subsequent version, but No. 1 still has its pleasures. Rather than ending on a candid and cutting note by telling Joplin he doesn't think of her that often, Cohen concluded his first draft by praising Joplin's "sweet little sound," telling her "I'm thinking of you, baby." It's gossamer, but its sweet and it makes these two giants of song seem like teenaged lovers for one fleeting moment.

If It Be Your Will

The song may be too well-known to merit inclusion in a list of obscure masterpieces, but it's not nearly as celebrated as it should be. Perfectly mimicking the cadences and preoccupations of Jewish prayers, it is as moving as anything you may hear in church or at shul: "If it be your will," Cohen sang, "If there is a choice / Let the rivers fill / Let the hills rejoice / Let your mercy spill / On all these burning hearts in hell / If it be your will / To make us well." No wonder then that when he was asked in 1994 by a rock magazine which song he wished he had written, Cohen replied, "'If It Be Your Will.' And I wrote it."

Anthem

Again, this one, too, is hardly forgotten, but if you're looking for words to live by, you could hardly do better than this: "Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There's a crack, a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in."

That Don't Make It Junk

Any song that begins by stating "I fought against the bottle / But I had to do it drunk" demands—and deserves—your full attention, but if you're expecting any more barstool wisdom, Cohen is too sober to offer any. "I know that I'm forgiven / But I don't know how I know," he sings. "I don't trust my inner feelings / Inner feelings come and go." You're left to figure it out for yourself, then, with Cohen slow and ever-deepening voice as your only tool of exploration.

Un Canadien Errant

Of course, a patriotic folk song titled "The Lost Canadian" ought to feature a mariachi band. But it's no joke: Canada, Cohen once said in an interview, "has an experimental side to it. We are free from the blood myth, the soil myth, so we could start over somewhere else. We could purchase a set of uninhabited islands in the Caribbean. Or we could disperse throughout the cosmos and establish a mental Canada in which we communicate through fax machines." To underscore this idea—that nationality matters but that it isn't some ancient and sacred covenant but a more modern compact between people who get together and agree to share an identity—Cohen could do no better than to make Canada sound like Mexico and sing in his nasal French. That the pride and the patriotism come across anyway should be all the proof we need that Cohen was right.

Going Home

I had no doubt that I wanted to give Cohen the book's last word. And "Going Home" was the perfect choice. "I love to speak with Leonard / He's a sportsman and a shepherd / He's a lazy bastard living in a suit," it begins. "But he does say what I tell him / Even though it isn't welcome / He just doesn't have the freedom to refuse." It had taken Leonard Cohen 80 years to achieve this wisdom, 80 years to learn how to live with Leonard Cohen, nearly 80 years to score his first chart-topping album. There's hope, then, for us all.


Liel Leibovitz and A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen links:

Kirkus review
Washington Post review

Vox Tablet 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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Book Notes - Isla Morley "Above"

Above

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.

Isla Morley's Above is a riveting and dark novel of abduction and captivation, resilience and hope.

The Boston Globe wrote of the book:

"A compelling tale of survival, reinvention, and hope. . . . Vivid and poignant."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In her own words, here is Isla Morley's Book Notes music playlist for her novel, Above:


Blythe Hallowell is snatched by a survivalist who is convinced the world is about to end. One moment she is walking home from the Horse Thieves Picnic, the music from the bandstand still trailing in the lazy June evening; the next, she's hundreds of feet below ground in a WWII-era missile silo, having her ears cave in from the silence. Extreme prepper Dobbs Hordin has stocked the silo with seed catalogs, DNA samples, documents of historical importance, an arsenal and now a woman of sound womb. One thing not included in his stockpiles is music. Isolated from the outside world for years, Blythe will have to contend with her captor's madness, the temptation to give up, and the challenge of caring for an innocent child. Few things can dispel the frightful silence of a sterile missile chamber, even fewer can connect her to the world above. Songs. The prisoner must somehow sing.

The playlist for Above assembles the tender themes of longing, remembering and promise.

"Poor Boy's Delight" by The Infamous Stringdusters
Not quite seventeen year old Blythe is kissed for the first time at her small town's annual festival. This simple bluegrass tune evokes the innocence of young love (Would you dance with me, Molly?/Ain't I doing this right/You're fine and you're fair/A poor boy's delight) and the haunting moment before it is so brutally taken away by one who lies in wait. The devil would die if you danced one with me.

"Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire
The anger and desperation of a man demented by his visions of an imminent apocalypse are rolled up into this anthem. Disdainful of the hoarse doomsday prophets on the street corners and the protest singers plucking at guitar strings, Dobbs Hordin takes matters into his own hands.

Don't you understand what I'm trying to say?
Can't you feel the fears I'm feeling today?
If the button is pushed there's no running away
There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave.

"I Can't Wait"
Blythe knows all the flavors of waiting—patient-waiting, pleading-waiting, bone-gnawing waiting. She waits for her rescuers to come (they don't), for her kidnapper to repent (he doesn't), for the angels to carry her away (they don't). Keeping her alive is only one kind of waiting: the hoping kind.

Some day we'll roll away the stone that we've carried for so long
All our burdens will be gone, and I can't wait
We will find our way to an understanding of all views
No prayer shall be refused, I can't wait.

"Further and Further Away" by Cheryl Wheeler
Without days and nights, Blythe measures the passing of time by how dim her memories become. Still, she cannot keep reliving them—memories can lift a captive up and out of her cell, but it's a long fall back down again.

Then I shake my head, clearing my vision
I keep those scenes at bay
And I can see the place where I came from
Slipping further and further away.

"Lay Your Head Down" by Sinead O'Connor
For a boy who cannot see the moon and stars, who may never see the moon and stars, Blythe transforms her dungeon into a magical land using tinfoil, tales and lullabies. The tender notes of this song accompany the brushing of a loving hand across a boy's brow. There can't be many jobs more important than helping your child make peace with the darkness each night.

"Fields of Gold" by Eva Cassidy
There comes a time when all a mother has left to give her boy are promises. "I promise in the days we still have left/we will walk in fields of gold." Blythe's promises all begin the same way, with "One day…" She is no different from any other parent in that she will make promises she can't always keep. And yet we have to keep making them, knowing our children one day will grow tired of them and demand, "Now!"

"Tea and Sympathy" by Janis Ian
Ill-prepared to raise a child in confinement, Blythe forsakes reality and instead spins gossamer dreams, dreams she has been robbed of. Is there a time when life is no worth longer living? When I have no dreams to give you anymore is the lyricist's answer.

"Hard Times (Come Again No More)" by Mare Winningham
It's been years since I came across this song in the movie, Georgia. At different times, it's been for me a kind of chant, a voodoo spell against the bad spirits, and a prayer. Depending on Blythe's will, it is sometimes a plaintive plea and other times a declaration.

"The Great Storm Is Over" by Bob Morley
John McCutcheon wrote and recorded this song, but my husband's version is the one that makes a believer out of me. I made him sing it at his retirement bash, when the last round of edits of the book were done and when we recently celebrated Above's launch with family and friends. Love conquers the powers of hell, hear that Dobbs Hordin?

"I'll Take Care of You" by Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa
There is a certain care that only those who've suffered can administer to the battered. In the beginning of this song, help is offered, but at the end help it is insisted upon. "I just got to take care of you!" is said by someone who knows helping is also penance. Two hurts healed.

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland
A girl spends half her life dreaming about a place where everything is in Technicolor. What happens when sepia seeps through?

"Glory Bound" by the Wailin' Jennys (the live version)
This has been my favorite song for three or four years. I've listened to it a hundred times, and I could listen to it a thousand more and it will not wear thin. When I first heard it, I was almost finished writing Above. This song took me right into the final scene of the story, and it epitomizes the triumph of the human spirit that I hope is depicted in Above.

So I'm waiting for that train to come
And I know where she's coming from
Listen can you hear on the track
When I board I won't be looking back.


Isla Morley and Above links:

the author's website
excerpt from the audiobook

Bustle review
New York Journal of Books review
Publishers Weekly review

The Leonard Lopate Show interview with the author
My Book, the Movie guest post by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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


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Shorties (The Grapes of Wrath After 75 Years, An Oral History of Hole's Live Through This Album, and more)

Morning Edition reconsidered John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath 75 years after its initial publication.


SPIN shared an oral history of Hole's Live Through This album.


Gail Caldwell listed five memoirs that have shaped her writing at Biographile.


Mick Harvey listed his favorite albums at The Quietus.


Daily Intelligencer profiled six thriving NYC independent bookstores.


The Boston Globe interviewed Casey Dienel of White Hinterland.


NPR Music is streaming the Jason Molina tribute album, Farewell Transmission.


All Things Considered interviewed Julia Cooke about her new book, The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba.

Read her Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist essay for the book.


The Guardian is streaming an unreleased version of Led Zeppelin's song "Good Times Bad Times."


NPR Music is streaming Kelis's new album, Food.


The Guardian recommended the best books on Somalia.


Minneapolis live music venues will soon have to offer free earplugs.


Biographile interviewed Barbara Ehrenreich about her new book Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything.


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


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
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
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)s


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

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