Six Reasons to Be Excited for May (Four Books and Two Albums)


morelsIf you’re stereotypically bookish, perhaps you’re not bursting with enthusiasm over the changing season.  Perhaps you won’t be one of those people rushing at the first opportunity to wear shorts. Perhaps you’re only happy when it rains. That’s why I’ve taken it upon myself to provide you folks (my people) with a few reasons to get excited over the next month. After all, the beach is just another excuse to sit and read all day, and paperbacks as well as the newer e-readers fit very nicely into the pocket in your cargo shorts. Here are four forthcoming books to look forward to as you fight through your allergies during the coming month, as well as two new albums to listen to when you’re done.

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The Morels by Christopher Hacker on April 30
Once again Soho Press shows that they are the new go-to spot for edgy literary fiction with a novel that asks questions about identity and art in life and society.  It tells of Arthur Morel, a happy family man living in New York City as he publishes his second novel, a novel that shows his own family in a harsh light.  Not unlike Bret Easton Ellis’s Lunar Park, The Morels plays with the idea of identity and truth within fiction.

saving italySaving Italy by Robert Edsel on May 6
In 1944, Dwight Eisenhower empowers an artist and a scholar to embark on a treasure hunt for the ages. Their mission is to return priceless art stolen from Italy by the Nazi army only a year prior. Author of The Monuments Men, Robert Edsel shows unparalleled knowledge and research in this story of these two men tracking billions of dollars worth of art by the likes of Botticelli, Donatello and Michelangelo

 The Lake House by Marci Nault on May 7
One young woman returns to the small lakeside town she once promised never to leave after a pilgrimage to Hollywood. Another leaves her glamorous life in the city as well as a controlling relationship to settle in the same idyllic town. The two become unlikely friends as they deal with big demons in a small town. The Lake House is a book about two different people look for the same thing: a second chance.

famesharkFame Shark by Royal Young in early June
Royal Young, NYC native, man-about-town and writer for Interview, Jewcy, The Rumpus and many more, releases his debut novel about growing up in the Lower East Side. It’s a novel that Freelance Life favorite, Francis Levy called “American Psycho meets Call it Sleep.” No doubt, Fame Shark is destined to become one of those debut novels that people remember.

While I’m endorsing, allow me to also recommend two Brooklyn-based singer-songwriters with new albums and upcoming shows to add to your early summer soundtrack.
I wrote about Laura Stevenson’s first album, A Record for NY Press, and since then she’s exploded onto the indie music scene. I speculated in my article that she was about to give the press no choice but to pay attention to her.  Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was dead on.  Her new album The Wheel is produced by Titus Andronicus and Swans producer Kevin McMahon and was released at the end of April. What I really like about Stevenson is the subtle rebellious punk rock side to her music.  Though it’s often obscured by soft and pretty music, it comes out in sharp bursts throughout her work. Stevenson began jamming early in her career with Brooklyn’s dearly departed punk fiasco Bomb the Music Industry and also released a split with the band. It’s also worth mentioning, that if you like to be on top of the next big thing music-wise, Stevenson’s label, Don Giovanni Records has recently brought us Screaming Females, and Waxahatchee. They’re bound to strike gold again soon. Stevenson will rock the Bowery Ballroom on May 24 with Field Mouse.

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper,  Ripley Pine
Speaking of punk coming out in bursts, I cannot speak to Aly Spaltro aka Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s influences, but she has a tendency to get all Keith Morris in the middle of an idyllic and soft tune. Lady Lamb has many moments throughout her music where she reminds me of the things I loved about Modest Mouse up until their most recent records.  Her music is introspective and beautiful yet it also focuses on imperfection and dissonance in a way that’s wholly unique and often electrifying. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper will rock the Glasslands on May 11

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