We Kill the Flame: My Favorite Music of 2016

A hell of a lot of great music this year. A true masterpiece from Nick Cave. An indispensable album from Leonard Cohen—amazing that this last is one of his absolute best. Bowie went out with an incredible record too. Lots of my others favorites came through in big ways: Koz probably pissed a lot of people off with his journal-like ramblings on the Jesu/SKM LP, but that album hit me hard from the get-go and I’ve listened to it pretty non-stop (I don’t even skip the parts where he reads fan letters); Tyler Keith, JPKS, and Angel Olsen put out records I’ll never stop spinning (damn excited that I got to write the liner notes for the Tyler Keith LP); Richmond Fontaine’s last ever is also one of their greatest; the new Bon Iver was pretty divisive, I think, but I loved it; Margo Price is my favorite new artist of the year, and I keep finding new things to love about her and her debut; Drive-By Truckers made a really fucking important record, one that needed to be made, and it’s brilliant; A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul both made terrific records, making me feel like it’s the ‘90s again in the best way possible. I could keep going. The top records I’ve listed here are the ones I’ve returned to the most, the ones I’ll keep returning to. A really horrible year too. So many heroes gone. Bowie, Prince, Merle Haggard, Guy Clark, Phife Dawg, Leon Russell, Lemmy, Sharon Jones, Mose Allison. The loss of Leonard Cohen hit hardest for me. I heard “Everybody Knows” at twelve-years-old, and it changed my life. On top of that, we have this other Darkness-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named currently burying us. Scares the hell out of me. Feels good to be able to get lost in music, to sense in music a cure.

My Favorite Records of 2016:
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, SKELETON TREE
Leonard Cohen, YOU WANT IT DARKER
Richmond Fontaine, YOU CAN’T GO BACK IF THERE’S NOTHING TO GO BACK  TO
Tyler Keith and the Apostles, DO IT FOR JOHNNY
Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, CONSTANT STRANGER
Jesu/Sun Kil Moon, S/T
David Bowie, BLACKSTAR
Angel Olsen, MY WOMAN
Margo Price, MIDWEST FARMER’S DAUGHTER
Bon Iver, 22, A MILLION
A Tribe Called Quest, WE GOT IT FROM HERE… THANK YOU 4 YOUR SERVICE
Drive-By Truckers, AMERICAN BAND
Beach Slang, A LOUD BASH OF TEENAGE FEELINGS
William Tyler, MODERN COUNTRY
Charles Bradley, CHANGES
De La Soul, (AND THE ANONYMOUS NOBODY)
Okkervil River, AWAY
Lambchop, FLOTUS
Adam Torres, PEARLS TO SWINE
The Gunshy, PORTERHOUSE
Robbie Fulks, UPLAND STORIES
John Doe, THE WESTERNER
Lucinda Williams, THE GHOSTS OF HIGHWAY 20
David Bazan, BLANCO
Sturgill Simpson, A SAILOR’S GUIDE TO EARTH
Tindersticks, THE WAITING ROOM
Eric Bachmann, S/T
The Handsome Family, UNSEEN
Hiss Golden Messenger, HEART LIKE A LEVEE
Freakwater, SCHEHERAZADE
Lydia Loveless, REAL

My Favorite Reissues of 2016:
Washington Phillips, WASHINGTON PHILLIPS AND HIS MANZARENE DREAMS
Jessie Mae Hemphill, S/T
Gillian Welch, BOOTS NO. 1: THE OFFICIAL REVIVAL BOOTLEG
Terry Allen, JUAREZ and LUBBOCK (ON EVERYTHING)
Stevie Nicks, BELLA DONNA and THE WILD HEART
Lift to Experience, THE TEXAS-JERUSALEM CROSSROADS
Marah, ANGELS OF DESTRUCTION
Jim Dickinson, DIXIE FRIED
Lee Moses, TIME AND PLACE
MUSIC OF MOROCCO, RECORDED BY PAUL BOWLES, 1959
Big Star, COMPLETE THIRD
Bob Dylan, THE 1966 LIVE RECORDINGS
Various Artists, THIS IS FAME 1964-1968
Angelo Badalamenti, TWIN PEAKS SOUNDTRACK
The White Stripes, PEEL SESSIONS
Crooked Fingers, BRING ON THE SNAKES and S/T
The Replacements, THE SIRE YEARS
Hayden, EVERYTHING I LONG FOR
Ryan Adams HEARTBREAKER
Tori Amos, BOYS FOR PELE
My Morning Jacket, IT STILL MOVES
Little Wings, LIGHT GREEN LEAVES
Grifters, CRAPPIN’ YOU NEGATIVE
Jay Reatard, BLOOD VISIONS

My Favorite Tracks of 2016 (A Mix, in no particular order):
“You Want it Darker,” Leonard Cohen
“Hey Lucinda,” Tindersticks
“I Should Have Volunteered,” The Gunshy
“For You Always,” Minor Victories w/ Mark Kozelek
“A Night in the City,” Richmond Fontaine
“Half Broke,” Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster
“Ramon Casiano,” Drive-By Truckers
“Keep It Between the Lines,” Sturgill Simpson
“Okkervil River R.I.P.,” Okkervil River
“Shut Up Kiss Me,” Angel Olsen
“Mercy,” Eric Bachmann
“The End of the Things,” Bob Mould
“Rings of Saturn,” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
“33 ‘GOD,’” Bon Iver
“QACHINA,” Damien Jurado
“Destroyer,” Kevin Morby
“Future Mixtape for the Art Kids,” Beach Slang
“Trouble with Boys,” David Bazan
“Ultralight Beam,” Kanye West
“Drone Bomb Me,” ANOHNI
“Giving Up Early (On Tomorrow),” The Paranoid Style
“Dorks,” Aesop Rock
“European,” Lydia Loveless
“Whateva Will Be,” A Tribe Called Quest
“Destroyed by Hippie Powers,” Car Seat Headrest
“Juniper Arms,” Adam Torres
“Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out,” Connor Oberst
“Cracked Windshield,” Hiss Golden Messenger
“St. Anne’s Parade,” Shovels & Rope
“Change for the World,” Charles Bradley
“The Gospel,” Alicia Keys
“333,” Against Me!
“Expensive Proposition,” Tim Lee 3
“Number One With a Bullet,” Freakwater
“Lazarus,” David Bowie
“A Song of Shadows,” Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
“Back in My Day,” The Handsome Family
“Where Do You Roam?,” Dex Romweber
“I Need You,” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
“Needed,” Robbie Fulks
“The Great Pretender,” Sean Rowe
“Since You Put Me Down,” Margo Price
“I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore,” Lucy Dacus
“Down I-5,” case/lang/viers
“Opposite House,” Cass McCombs
“NIV,” Lambchop
“We Aren’t the World (Safety Girl),” Wilco
“Sister,” Angel Olsen
“Age Don’t Mean a Thing,” Robert Finley
“Here in After,” De La Soul
“8 (circle),” Bon Iver
“Paraguay,” Iggy Pop
“New York is My Home,” Dion & Paul Simon
“Sunlight,” John Doe
“Kristi Rae,” Austin Lucas w/ Kelly Smith
“The Dirt, the Bells, & I,” Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster
“Let’s Hit One More Place,” Richmond Fontaine

Link to Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/williamboyle4444/playlist/0jTerSRx8KfY4kI4zGmxER

Other records I really liked:
Austin Lucas, BETWEEN THE MOON AND THE MIDWEST; Beyoncé, LEMONADE; Wilco, SCHMILCO; Tim Lee 3, TIN, MAN; Lucy Dacus, NO BURDEN; Velo Sun, HANGS UPON NOTHING (ORIGINAL SCORE); Shovels & Rope, LITTLE SEEDS; Kevin Morby, SINGING SAW; Minor Victories, S/T; Alicia Keys, HERE; case lang veirs, S/T; Bonus, II; Car Seat Headrest, TEENS OF DENIAL; Iggy Pop, POST POP DEPRESSION; Damien Jurado, VISIONS OF US ON THE LAND; Mothers, WHEN YOU WALK A LONG DISTANCE YOU ARE TIRED; Anohni, HOPELESSNESS; Dinosaur Jr., GIVE A GLIMPSE OF WHAT YER NOT; Robert Finley, AGE DON’T MEAN A THING; Sean Rowe, ALL WE CAN DO (EP); Danny Brown, ATROCITY EXHIBITION; Jim James, ETERNALLY EVEN; Wussy, FOREVER SOUNDS; Cass McCombs, MANGY LOVE; Blood Orange, FREETOWN SOUND; Connor Oberst, RUMINATIONS; Solange, A SEAT AT THE TABLE; The Paranoid Style, ROLLING DISCLOSURE; Kanye West, THE LIFE OF PABLO; Nots, COSMETIC; Daniel Lanois, GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE; Steve Gunn, EYES ON THE LINES; Bob Dylan, FALLEN ANGELS; Bob Mould, PATCH THE SKY; Aesop Rock, THE IMPOSSIBLE KID; Tim Hecker, LOVE STREAMS; John Carpenter, LOST THEMES II; M. Ward, MORE RAIN; Daughter, NOT TO DISAPPEAR; I-Don’t-Cares, WILD STAB; Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band, THE RARITY OF EXPERIENCE; Dex Romweber, CARRBORO; Prince, HITNRUN, PHASE ONE; Talbot Adams, COMMUNITY/RECESSION ERA; Tim Heidecker, IN GLENDALE; Mark Kozelek, SINGS FAVORITES; Greater Pyrenees, S/T; William Bell, THIS IS WHERE I LIVE; The Jayhawks, PAGING MR. PROUST; Bonnie Prince Billy & Bitchin’ Bajas, EPIC JAMMERS; Brian Harnetty, RAWHEAD & BLOODYBONES; Hallelujah the Hills, A BAND IS SOMETHING TO FIGURE OUT; Dead Gaze, EASY TRAVELS; Swear Tapes, CHERISH THE CABIN; Against Me!, SHAPE SHIFT WITH ME; Mekons, EXISTENTIALISM; Pixies, HEAD CARRIER; Paul Simon, STRANGER TO STRANGER; David Bazan, DARK SACRED NIGHT; The Rolling Stones, BLUE AND LONESOME; Childish Gambino, “AWAKEN, MY LOVE!”.

Imagination Running Wild

tylerkeith

The new Tyler Keith and the Apostles record, Do It For Johnny, dropped on 9/9. I wrote the liner notes. Here they are:

You’re in a movie. In the movie is where you feel right. All the women look like Diane Lane, like they’ve just come from a sock hop or had a cherry soda at the drive-thru. All the men have knives, combs, leather jackets. In the movie, you’re in a bar. The bar is called a man’s name. Rufus’s. Gus’s. Something like that. Pool table, skanky bathroom, graffiti on the walls. There’s a house band: Tyler Keith and the Apostles. They V out on the small stage like something that’s come to do you harm. They’re drunk, and they tear into their songs. The action bends to the music. Your life in the movie is just beginning. The music is what you needed. Now you can fight, love, maybe die.

Do It For Johnny peels off the line like that primer grey ’55 Chevy from Monte Hellman’s Two Lane Blacktop. It’s gritty and raw and muscled up, punk country noir at its best. When I live inside these songs, as I do often, I live inside a perfect movie. A dark dream. Hellfire and hot rods, pool cues and switch blades, doom-drenched desire on the mystical slick side streets. I feel menaced. I feel damned. I feel like I’m being yanked around town by Jerry Lee Lewis and Jim Thompson. It’s criminal that these songs aren’t on every last radio in the savage, whiskey-loosened American night.

Buy the album here:

 

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No Sleep ’till Brooklyn

Thanks to Sebastien Bonifay for these kind words about GRAVESEND.

Postcards from Hell

Publié cet année auréolé de l’honneur d’être le numéro 1000 de la prestigieuse collection Rivages/Noir, Gravesend est un premier roman, signé par William Boyle. C’est également un chant funèbre, une ode désenchantée à un quartier de Brooklyn devenu le tombeau des espoirs de ceux qui y sont nés. On peut sortir un homme du quartier, on ne peut pas sortir le quartier d’un homme..

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MysteryPeople Q&A with William Boyle

Thanks to Scott Montgomery for interviewing me over at the MysteryPeople blog. Really excited to be back in Austin a week from today.

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

I’m looking forward to introducing our readers to William Boyle this upcoming Tuesday, August 2nd, at 7 PM at our New Voices of Noir panel discussion. Boyle joins Bill Loehfelm, Alison Gaylin, and Megan Abbott for the panel discussion. His short stories and Gravesend, his first novel, feature hard-luck people stuck in life. To give you an idea of him, here’s a quick interview we did.

MysteryPeople Scott: Gravesend is an ensemble novel, set in a decaying working class part of New York that is a character itself. Did you start with the idea of the place or the people?

William Boyle: I grew up in the neighborhoods of Gravesend and Bensonhurst. I knew I wanted to write about the place. I’ve mostly lived away from Brooklyn since college, though my family’s still there—I’ve spent time in the Hudson Valley, in Austin, in The Bronx, in…

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Gravesend: Some Kind of Sad

Thanks to Douglas Graham Purdy for these kind words.

Douglas Graham Purdy

‘Gravesend’ is a sad, downtrodden ballad to Brooklyn. No tongue-in-cheek subversive commentary about the new trendified and gentrified borough – that self-mocking shit can take a hike. This is hard life in earnest: stories of losers, chumps, and failures. The tales within come from a place where Hubert Selby and David Goodis inhabit – the no-exit school of storytelling – but Boyle makes the tragic template his own. ‘Gravesend’ is a deceptively simple novel that spits in your face, layers in a heartfelt desire of becoming somebody you’re not, whether abandoning your neighborhood in hopes of bigger and better things, or trying to make an old high school crush fall in love with you. But second chances don’t reach that far into the grid of Boyle’s Brooklyn, where certain corners, blocks and storefronts slightly change, but the characters stay the same – lives of stasis and carrying the same hand-me-down…

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