Playlist You Can Read To

Today I'm over at largehearted boy (one of my favorite, favorite blogs) contributing to the long-running and venerable Book Notes feature, wherein authors provide a playlist that relates to their latest work. I tried to pick some less obvious things to highlight, and you can even listen to the ten-song playlist on spotify.

Go forth, read and hear.

(And, yes, I've added this to the master list.)

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Soundtracks Are Important

"Tuck the Darkness In" by Bowerbirds from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

Phillips* in Blackwood LOVES this band. So do I.

Thanks to Richard for the pointer to this new video. Also, thanks to the band for releasing a new album just when I'm in need of things for a shiny new playlist. (And for generally being AMAZING.)

Their last album, Upper Air, was perfect background for my gothic Roanoke Island story, and lots of its songs were on my writing playlist.** Plus, Phillips was really into music, enough so that I really had to think about what he'd listen to given his eclectic taste. And the band fit there too.

Aside: I may be absentee for a couple of days working on copy edits and the various other things of life (including taxes! they can be put off no longer). But back soon.

*I can't wait for you guys to meet these characters. I hope you like them. I should say, you might not know he LOVES them without this secret information, just that they're on one of his playlists. This is Imaginary Inside Dirt right here.

**Doubly perfect because they are a North Carolina band. Perfect squared.

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Girl With Yellow Hair

That iTunes meme via Holly. I always use shuffle, because I'm lazy about such things–I also hit skip frequently, though not now because the rules are:

My Life in Itunes


1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.


4&5. Deleted the part about tagging people, so just do it if you like.

6. Have Fun!

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Catchy Tune

I hadn't heard anything from M. Ward's new album, Hold Time, until this morning, but the situation has now been remedied. I found "Never Had Nobody Like You" totally poppy and charming, equal parts nodding at The Beatles, Nick Drake, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I hope the whole record's this good.

Here's the song, via Music for Kids Who Can't Read Good. Enjoy: "Never Had Nobody Like You."

Now that the MFA is over, I can start following a few of the music blogs again. Happy days.

p.s. Unrelatedly, I did a little interview over at Micol's Bradford Blog Bash about blogging and such as guest blogger of the day. Please excuse my typos (mostly missing ats for some reason); I plead a cold while answering. Also, do not mock my woodenness in the graduation photo–relaxed scholarly owl stance was not taught in advance!

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Throw Your Muse

HershKristin Hersh’s Learn to Sing Like a Star is her best album in ages (and I’ve liked the recent albums a great deal). Think Limbo-era Throwing Muses crossed with Strange Angels; great arrangements, great gravel-voiced sing-alongs, great contrasts of loud and quiet. I am a total sucker for the marriage of quiet and loud–see my Catherine Wheel fixation (particularly the B sides and the early stuff).

Adrian Pannett nails something in this review that I’ve always said about Hersh’s work (usually to people who I’ve recommended her to that have hated whatever album they tried):

As with any Kristin Hersh long-player, Learn To Sing Like A Star will of course take a dozen or so spins to reveal its true merits to listeners. Whilst such a heavy investment may seem like a stiff proposition at first – especially in these MP3 shuffle-play days – it will pay back more dividends than most albums released in 2007 will ever manage.

This is one of the things I love best about Hersh. Even though I’m loving this album already, I don’t know it yet. I won’t know it for weeks of repeats, but I know it has layers upon layers, waiting for familiarity to bring them forth.

I can think of very few musicians whose work always gives up something new when I go back to it, but I spent last week revisiting Hips and Makers and fell in love with it all over again, for completely different reasons than back in 1998. (I bought it in 1994 when it first came out, and was guilty of the same thing I’m talking about here — it took four years of chances to get it.)

This latest is as good a Hersh record to start with as any, though, if she isn’t one of your favorite favorites. If she is, well, you’ve probably already bought it.

Try out some tracks at or the Hype Machine.

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