Cameron Dezen Hammon’s Playlist for Her Memoir "This Is My Body"

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This Is My Body

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Cameron Dezen Hammon’s memoir This Is My Body is an engaging and unforgettable story of feminism and faith.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

“With a rare combination of candor and grace, the author exposes some of evangelicalism’s frailties without disparaging or dismissing those who are still believers, making her narrative accessible to a wide audience. . . . A generous and unflinchingly brave memoir about faith, feminism, and freedom.”

In her own words, here is Cameron Dezen Hammon’s Book Notes music playlist for her memoir This Is My Body:

“Funeral” by Phoebe Bridgers

“Jesus Christ I’m so blue all the time and that’s just how I feel. Always have and I always will.”

In “Funeral,” Phoebe Bridgers writes about singing at the funeral for a young person, which is identical to the scene that opens This Is My Body. I was standing on the stage at a megachurch singing at the funeral for a teenage girl, and I was terrified that the people I was singing to knew that I was a million miles away in my head. I was doubting if I could continue to call myself a Christian, yet I was leading a religious funeral; I was doubting I could remain in my marriage, yet my husband stood beside me playing his acoustic guitar; I was losing my identity in the church I’d built my life around. And then Bridgers sings “wishing I was someone else / feeling sorry for myself / when I remembered someone’s kid is dead.” The most profound loss in that room was for the parents and loved ones of the young woman who’d died, but I was too stuck in my own head to see that then.

“Mended” by The Autumn Film

“Mended” was written by my friend Latifah Alattas for her band at the time “The Autumn Film,” and the megachurch pastor I was working for asked me to sing it at the young girl’s funeral. It’s about mending a friendship between living people, but the pastor read it as about the “mending” of a Christian body once that body has passed over into death. It’s a kind of death-denial that pervades a lot of evangelical thinking about death. It can suggest to those who are grieving that they should shunt their devastation and instead focus on the eternal hope of heaven. I didn’t want to sing “Mended” at the funeral—I thought the young woman’s family had the right to spend time in their sadness—but the pastor was my boss. I submitted to his authority, as was expected of me. Mended remains one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever had the occasion to sing, and despite my discomfort singing it that day, I hope it offered some comfort, however small.

“Telemiscommunications” by Imogen Heap and deadmau5

“This is just so unlike us . . . contact versus telemiscommunications”

In the first chapter of my memoir, I’m achingly distant from my husband, whom I love, while sending and receiving intimate text messages from a man who is not my husband. For me, this song is about how living in our phones changes the nature of love, trust, and intimacy. It was harder for me to be honest with myself, and with the man standing beside me, than it was for me to be honest and vulnerable with the man who lived inside my phone.

“Nightcall” by London Grammar

The spooky arpeggiated piano and Hannah Reid’s whispered alto that open “Nightcall” perfectly communicate the growing urgency I felt about the secrets I was keeping—about my romantic obsession, about profound religious doubt, and about the misogyny I was experiencing in the church that I was finding harder and harder to remain silent about. As the song progresses it launches into a double-time layered rhythm section with the vocals stacking up, octave upon octave, finally culminating in Reid’s signature caterwaul. “I’m giving you a night call to tell you how I feel.” I sang that line at the top of my lungs while pounding my steering wheel more times than I can count.

“No Rest for the Wicked” by Lykke Li

“They’ll be no rest for the wicked / no song for the choir”

While I was writing This Is My Body, I was listening to Lykke Li’s 2014 album I Never Learn more than any other piece of music. My producer and I tried very hard to capture the reverb-heavy drum sound and the layered ’60s girl group vocals of this album on the record I was making at the time, Words Don’t Bleed. This song more than others (I mention “I Know Places” in the book), with its reference to the song-less choir spoke eerily to the alienation I felt from the sacred music I’d been performing for more than a decade, and to what I saw as my own “wickedness.”

“Asking for Flowers” by Kathleen Edwards

“[I’m] a walking declaration of everything I couldn’t get right. . . . Asking for flowers is like asking you to be nice.”

In the darkest days of our marriage, we’d stopped even trying to communicate—or at least I did—what I needed physically, spiritually, and emotionally. There were forgotten birthdays and anniversaries, there were requests for attention, and yes, requests for flowers, that just felt so defeating. I think this song speaks to the struggles fairly common in a long marriage. It speaks to the way we retreated into our corners, resentment building, obsessions and addictions waiting to fill the empty space between us.

“Addicted to Love” by Cameron Dezen Hammon (written by Robert Palmer)

Part of This Is My Body takes the reader into my experience in recovery for sex and love addiction. When I confessed to my therapist that I had feelings for the other man, she told me that she thought I should go to a 12-step meeting for “Sex and Love Addiction.” I didn’t know much about SLAA, and confused it immediately with sex addiction, which it is not. I went to the meetings as instructed, mostly to prove to my therapist that I didn’t need to be in them. But I saw so much of myself in the stories of the women I met there—stories of people who made lovers or potential lovers into gods. I recorded this song in the midst of that—mostly as a safe way to talk about what I was going through by reimagining a much darker version of the 80s pop classic.

“Liberator” by Noah Gundersen

“Was it something special or just another way out.”

Throughout my memoir, the man who is not my husband is identified by a changing set of titles. First he’s “the man I might love.” At the beginning of the story, I believed that title was true for him. As I moved through it, I learned more about the ways I was looking for someone to rescue me from my life, and understood that the man who lived in my phone and in my head was a construction of my own design. This song was one I listened to obsessively during that time. It was almost aspirational—“honey I’m not thinking of you, not the way you want me to.” I wanted to have five free minutes of not thinking about him. Five turned to ten, turned slowly to days, weeks, and months, until I was finally ready to let him go and look at my husband, who was real and standing beside me, to look at my complicity in my own unhappiness and try to do better. Ultimately, as I began that hard work of rebuilding my marriage and my sense of the divine and my place in the church, his name changes again to “the man I thought I might’ve loved . . . the phantom lover I thought could rescue me.” That changing title was a way to release him, I think, from what was an unreasonable and unfair expectation I placed on him.

“Texas” by The Damnwells

My brother, Alex Dezen, is the main songwriter for Brooklyn band The Damnwells, and he wrote this song for Matt and me when we were living 1600 miles apart—him in Texas and me in New York—and trying to find a way to be together. The song was prophetic in so many ways. Eventually I’d move to Houston, and we would spend so much of our marriage “driving . . . driving” across the great state of Texas, trying to connect, trying to give each other the support, the attention, the love that we both so desperately needed. Our friend, the Nashville songwriter Mando Saenz, performed it at our rainy-night wedding in 2002, under a canopy of flowers and candles. “You just steal my broken faith and put it back together / you’re cheating on the weather with me . . . / I’m singing in my sleep, driving across Texas with you and you look so good.” It seems the best possible epilogue to a story we’re still writing, day by day.

Author and musician Cameron Dezen Hammon’s writing appears in The Kiss anthology from W. W. Norton, Catapult, Ecotone, the Literary Review, the Houston Chronicle, NYLON, and elsewhere; and her essay “Infirmary Music” was named a notable in The Best American Essays 2017. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University and is a writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools in Houston, where she lives with her family. This Is My Body is her debut book.

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KC Gilmore delivers magnetic rework of ‘Teach Me How to Touch Me’ [Stream]

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KC Gilmore delivers magnetic rework of ‘Teach Me How to Touch Me’ [Stream]56935259 2267419086879278 3524515442305531904 O 1

KC Gilmore‘s 2019 single, “Like That” had dual utility: it concluded Gilmore’s production hiatus and, with its potent house technics, foreshadowed the smooth underground course that he would follow in his subsequent releases. If “Like That” was Gilmore’s pledge that his catalog would only continue to expand with high caliber house productions in 2020, then the KC Gilmore remix of Soane’s “Teach Me How To Touch Me” is proof that what Gilmore promises, Gilmore delivers.

In its untouched form, “Teach Me How to Touch Me” is the antithesis to body work. Not so in Gilmore’s inventive retooling, which transforms Soane’s original into a magnetic deep house showing with irrefutable dance appeal. A number of tasteful revisions, such as Gilmore’s division and implementation of a driving arrangement, render this conversion possible. Under Gilmore’s direction, “Teach Me How to Touch Me” flourishes into a lively house record primed for club play, as Gilmore once more–and unsurprisingly–asserts his sonic prowess.

NMF Roundup: Disclosure continue string of releases, Duck Sauce reveal ‘Get to Steppin’ + more

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NMF Roundup: Disclosure continue string of releases, Duck Sauce reveal ‘Get to Steppin’ + moreDisclosures First Set DWP By Rukes 2

It’s most important day of the week: New Music Friday. With the overwhelming amount of tunes hitting the airwaves today, Dancing Astronaut has you covered with the latest edition of The Hot 25.

As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed this NMF.

Photo credit: Rukes

Freejak places a danceable disco house spin on Gianni Blu’s ‘Secret Lover’ [Stream]

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After ensnaring streamers with the deep house allure of “Secret Lover,” Gianni Blu extends the single’s appeal with an official remix from Freejak. Contrary to the covertness of the track’s title, there’s nothing clandestine about Freejak’s re-imaginative expertise.

On Freejak’s take, Blu’s sleek, pulsating original adopts an old school disco soul. The remixer’s genre-expanding edit converts Blu’s house release into a dance floor-destined disco house hybrid. Vivacious chords add a sense of animation to the retro restyling that Freejak fluidly brings to life in his revamp. Freejak’s flavorful remix follows recent Blu originals, “In The Jungle,” “Magic City,” and “Somebody Like You.”

Premiere: Berlin’s Mat.Joe deliver grooving new ‘Dancin’ Dancin’ Dancin” video [Watch]

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Premiere: Berlin’s Mat.Joe deliver grooving new ‘Dancin’ Dancin’ Dancin” video [Watch]UPhrmctg

Everyone has had this moment. Some of us even experience it daily. That moment where one puts their headphones on in public and immediately starts to fight the urge to dance-walk through the day. There’s something about that first tune queued up that invokes the need to dance like nobody’s watching…even if they are. That’s exactly the vibe Mat.Joe struck for their new “Dancin’ Dancin’ Dancin’” video, wholly encapsulating the perfect Friday mood.

The Berlin-based production duo’s latest track gets a visual accompaniment that impeccably capture’s the song’s simple, yet ultra-catchy vocal hook. The Armada-championed “Dancin’ Dancin’ Dancin’” video needs not overstate its purpose, featuring a blend of backdrops, from beachside boardwalks to cityscapes, where one could presumably throw their earbuds in and bust a quick move, simply because it feels good. Watch Mat.Joe’s new video below.

New Deep-Sea Creature Named After Metallica

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Two people were shot during Major Lazer’s Carnival performance—Diplo shares statement

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Two people were shot during Major Lazer’s Carnival performance—Diplo shares statementDiplo Grammys 2020 Photo Credit Emma McIntyreGetty Images

“This is a tough country…it’s almost bulletproof, maybe even invincible,” expressed Diplo about Brazil. This was the opening to a statement he shared following a shooting that rocked São Paulo’s Carnival celebrations.

He and his Major Lazer bandmates had been booked to play the famed Brazilian street celebration on Tuesday, February 26, when a shootout interrupted their performance at its beginning. The show, and later the whole party, was cancelled as a result. Witnesses told Remezcla that the violent altercation took place when one audience member attempted to rob another. Two people were injured from the incident, but no deaths were reported. Diplo and his bandmates escaped unscathed, protected by security at the time.

Diplo has plans to return next year.

H/T: DJ Mag

Photo credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty

Shorties (The International Man Booker Longlist, New Music from Palehound, and more)

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also at Largehearted Boy:

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previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week’s best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Flash Dancers (authors pair original flash fiction with a song
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musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

High Sierra Music Festival 2020

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Celebrating its 30th year in 2020, High Sierra Music Festival is continuing to add to its milestone-year party, returning to Quincy, CA, on July 2nd-5th, 2020.

High Sierra Music Festival 2020
Alex Young