Here’s a Death Don’t Have No Mercy playlist I made for the Book Notes Series on Largehearted Boy. Always one of my favorite things to check out and to do. I started making notes for my Gravesend playlist the day I started the book. No shit. Same thing with the novel I recently finished. This collection was a little different because I wrote these stories over eight years and there were a wide range of musical influences and phases of listening. I also mention a bunch of songs specifically, especially in the earlier stories, so it was impossible to get to everything. Instead, I aimed for some balance between songs that impacted the creation of the stories, songs that appear in the stories, and songs that match the tone of what I’m trying to do. My great hope in making a playlist is that folks will find something they’ve never heard before and go buy records; I really hope I can be responsible for someone picking up Tyler Keith’s Alias Kid Twist or the latest Jim Mize.
Hard to believe Jason Molina’s gone two years. No artist matters more to me. Here’s an essay I wrote the week he died.
A lot of people ask me where to start with Molina. Can’t really go wrong, but I usually point folks to the North Star Blues Session, a live set from a radio show in Belgium. It’s Molina at his rawest and most haunting.
And I just read about this book over on the Magnolia Electric Co. site and ordered it right away: Meet Me Where We Survive: Jason Molina Interviews, 1998-2002. Always good to have Molina’s words. Can’t wait for this to come in the mail. (There’s also info on a new tribute record called Through the Static and Distance.)
Last thing: Another favorite record of the year is Jake Xerxes Fussell’s s/t debut from Paradise of Bachelors. Here’s a profile I wrote of Jake over at No Depression: “The Dave Van Ronk of SEC Country.”
Hammer down, pals.
I took this picture of the Terminal Hotel building in Coney Island in the spring of 2010. It was an actual hotel until the 1970s. Growing up, I was always in love with the signs and the boarded-up windows that remained (the upper floors were abandoned and the first floor was occupied by a series of restaurants). There was a bad fire in the building a few months ago, and it was demolished. The last story in my new book, “Here Come the Bells,” takes place at some mythical version of the Terminal (and takes its title from a Lou Reed song). I always looked at the place with wonder. I could go there and a whole story would just show up in my mind. That’s what I did with “Here Come the Bells.” I’m sad the building’s gone. I really loved it.
My new book, Death Don’t Have No Mercy, is out today. Eight stories about broken men making bad decisions. Stories about doom and despair and death. A lot of dark comedy but not your thing if you like “characters you can root for” or “good people who help each other out.” You can buy it on Amazon now. When you’re buying that jug of wolf urine you need or some tampon flasks for the big game, throw it in your cart. The 2-3 week shipping thing is likely bullshit; it’s available. Should be coming to Kindle soon. Should be available through other channels in the next few days.
Also, my pal Bobby interviewed me for Nerve.com about the book and booze and what music I’m listening to. Thanks, Bobby.
Last thing for now: the book is up on Goodreads, and I’m doing a giveaway that ends May 4th.