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The Earworm Edition
A playlist of the week's best new albums, interviews with Ayana Mathis & Justin Torres, Caroline Polachek’s Tiny Desk Concert, an excerpt from Will Hermes' Lou Reed biography, and more
How do you get rid of an earworm?
This week I spent most of my workdays proctoring student assessments. In a quiet room for hours, even though my eyes are on the students and their work, my mind often wandered. At some point every day, earworms crept in.
Earworms aren’t always a bad thing. Earlier this week the “creamy version” of Guided By Voices’ “Choking Tara” was stuck with me all day, and hearing it continually was refreshing in an almost meditative way.
Other earworms this week included DEVO’s “Working in a Coal Mine,” Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby,” and Milli Vanilli’s “Blame It on the Rain,” not as pleasant experiences.
If my headphones are around, I queue up some music I know and love, and that usually clears the earworm from my consciousness. In the classroom, I don’t have that luxury, and just thinking of another song doesn’t help.
When my partner gets a song suck in her head, I often “help” by mentioning an even worse, more ubiquitous song from the ‘80s like a television or cartoon theme song. That works, but not for the better.
How do you get rid of earworms?
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A Playlist of the Week’s Best New Albums (20 albums, 219 songs, 12 hours and 11 minutes)
This week’s best new music includes albums from boygenius, L’Rain, Land of Talk, Jenn Champion, Metric, Squirrel Flower, and much more.
Jennifer Croft’s debut novel, The Extinction of Irina Rey
3. Rafael Frumkin’s short story collection, Bugsy
Barnes & Noble’s best books of 2023
The Breeders Beyond the Ripple of “Last Splash”
Deal believes that, unlike previous reissues, this is perhaps the definitive-sounding version of Last Splash. “I usually hate remasters because I like a certain sound,” she says. “So when something gets remastered, it’s usually a clean digital remaster where all the highs are pumped really loud, so they sound better on streaming and stuff. This isn’t really a remaster. What it is, is an analog recording done half speed to two discs that get played at 45 RPM. So these big fat grooves on that vinyl should sound better. And that’s what, for me, was important.”
Jonathan Lethem discussed eating on a book tour
You start each book tour as Mark Twain, and by the end, you slump home as Hal Holbrook.
Justin Torres on the ending of his new novel, Blackouts
I think that there’s another kind of pleasure that comes through being challenged. It’s not the kind of easy pleasure of a tidy ending, but it is preferable to me. One of the things that I was really determined to do with this book was to do something really different than my last book.
Matthew Binder on his new novel, Pure Cosmos Club
When I started writing about the art world, it may have appeared like I was satirizing it, but I wasn’t satirizing anything. I was writing about these characters in an honest way, but their lives were absurd, so the work comes out absurd.
Thurston Moore discussed his memoir with The Quietus
"I needed to strike a balance between writing about events the readership would be interested in, and those that were personally significant for me", he says. "I wanted it to be the story of a personal adventure, an investigation of why music became my vocation, and why it was this subversive, marginalised music, as opposed to anything else. And I don’t think I ever really answered that question"…
I was in grad school when I wrote my first book, so there was a lot of feedback. You constantly rub up against other people’s opinions, which really helps you define your work. But for second books, it’s like, OK, now you’re a real writer, you’re on your own. You’re bouncing around in your brain for a very long time. I think it makes the process slower in a certain way, which I’m grateful for, actually—it does sharpen, rather punitively and painfully, your sense of discernment.