1. "I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs do eventually get tangled up with certain characters." http://powells.us/1sFD1Li

     
  2. And, of course, it’s fear that makes us reject art, both individually and in its grand project. In a sense, I think, there’s a way in which Els comes to the realization that close listening, the embrace of things that seem dangerous and troubling and unlikeable, is a way past fear into freedom. You know, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago makes a T-shirt that says, “Fear no art.” Of course they’re right. If we can get to the point where even the scariest art is exciting to us, because it allows us to reflect on the safety that we’ve pulled like blankets and shawls around us, to reassure ourselves about the capacities of our lives, if we can let those go and use the danger and the strangeness and the provocation and the scariness of art to open us up again to experience and to make us hear things that we thought were ugly or noisy or strange or troubling, we don’t lose what we loved already, we’ve expanded our love. We’ve found a kind of freedom to take all kinds of things on the spectrum that we initially were protecting ourselves from and to use them as love.

    —Richard Powers, from our interview about his upcoming novel, Orfeo. Read the entire interview here — he’s one of our favorite people to talk to.

     
  3. We are beyond excited about this one. Subscribe or get more info here.

     
  4. Submitted by: Anonymous

    Oooh, we do this all the time.

    (Source: littlebookthings)

     

  5. "The Kinks’ ‘Waterloo Sunset’ is like a secret that you want to share far and wide, a song about not needing friends just as you realize how much you need friends, a song that taught this writer a thing or two about emotional connection and atmosphere and what it feels like to fall in love with other people’s love."

    Read more of Richard Melo’s original essay on the Powell’s blog: http://powells.us/14GDMpt

    (Source: Spotify)

     

  6. Jill, Powell’s Books: I also read somewhere that you listen to music while you write. What was on the soundtrack for In the House?

    Matt Bell, author of In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods: I listened to an album called By the Throat. It’s electronic music by Ben Frost. It’s very aggressive in a certain way. If I listen to it with headphones with it turned up, it actually makes me feel uncomfortable in my stomach. It discomfits me at this really high level that music rarely does, and there’s something good about having this way to put yourself in that discomfited position. By rote, almost, I could put that on and it would get me in this place that was productive for writing.

    I listened to that the most. I listened to a lot of similar stuff. Tim Hecker, The Antlers. Especially for the first draft. A lot of these would fall out and get replaced, once I burned out on them. I’m really attracted to writing to things that are droning, like Jim O’Rourke albums, like Happy Days and Bad Timing. They keep me in the chair, but they’re also not distracting by being lyrical.

    Read more of our interview with Matt Bell: http://powells.us/144hEF1

     

  7. “You can never underestimate that moment of somebody explaining your life to you, something you thought was inexplicable, through music.” - Carrie Brownstein

     
  8. pitchfork:

    Watch the animated video for “Before We Run”, a sun-struck new track from Yo La Tengo— the band’s forthcoming album Fade is out January 15 via Matador.

     
  9. Josh Ritter wrote a novel. And it’s good! Jill at Powells.com talked to him about his unusual, darkly funny book, titled Bright’s Passage. Read the interview.

     

  10. "In the absence of solid ground, the whirlwind becomes a whirlpool, and Bon Iver, Bon Iver is Justin Vernon returning to former haunts with a new spirit. The reprises are there – solitude, quietude, hope and desperation compressed – but always a rhythm arises, a pulse vivified by gratitude and grace notes, some as bright as a bicycle bell. The winter, the legend, has faded to just that, and this is the new momentary present. The icicles have dropped, rising up again as grass."
    — Author Michael Perry in an essay he wrote for record label Jagjaguwar about the new album coming in June from his friend and neighbor, Bon Iver.