the turntable interview
13

Author Mark Yarm on the History of Grunge

If you ever want to know anything about the history of grunge music, Mark Yarm is the guy to ask. His book Everybody Loves Our Town (out now in paperback) is the definitive oral history of the ‘90s music scene. He stopped by Turntable.fm to talk with us about Nirvana, Pearl Jam 20, and how smiley faces make the world go round.

Melissa Locker started playing "The Man Who Sold The World (Live)" by Nirvana

Mark Yarm: Hey … OK, let's go! ML: Do you think grunge came to the mainstream world thanks to Nirvana? MY: Yes, you can't overstate the impact "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had on [...]

9

YACHT's Claire Evans on First Concerts and Cryptozoology

Claire Evans and Jona Bechtolt's electro-pop band YACHT is more than just a band: they create music, videos, and books, and their live shows are more experiences than concerts. (Go to one if you can!) Their 2009 album See Mystery Lights won a "Best New Music" badge from Pitchfork, and their followup offering, Shangri La — also great — is out now. On the brink of another world tour, Claire took some time to spin tunes on Turntable.fm and chat about Sasquatch, dweebiness, and the other Sasquatch.

Claire Evans started playing "Sex And Dying In High Society" by X

Melissa Locker: Hi Claire! Claire [...]

25

Colson Whitehead on Sandwiches, Bunker Songs, and the Zombie Apocalypse

There have been many books written, movies made, and graphic novels turned into television shows about the undead. Yet when novelist Colson Whitehead tackles the subject, it feels like no one else has noticed that an inevitable zombie apocalypse looms over us. (Don't worry, he knows that sounds really depressing.) In his new book Zone One, the remainders of humanity battle the walking dead in lower Manhattan, and so we talked him into battling the walking dead or spinning some tunes with us on Turntable.fm. Topics include: R. Kelly, Edith Piaf.

Melissa Locker started playing "Love Zone" by Billy Ocean

Melissa Locker: Hi! Colson Whitehead: Hey there [...]

21

Girl Author Blake Nelson on YA Fiction and Lana Del Rey

Blake Nelson has a knack for writing from a teenage girl's perspective, which has made his young adult fiction some of the most fun and realistic on the market. His first novel, Girl, was published as a serial in Sassy before becoming a book and, eventually, a movie. His much-longed-for follow-up novel, Dream School, came out in December — fittingly enough, also as a serial, although it's now in book form, too. Blake stopped by Turntable.fm to spin tunes and chat about Kathleen Hanna, teenage girls, and why the Plain White Ts are the best band in America.

Melissa Locker started playing "Hold The Line Feat. Mr. [...]

27

Cartoonist Jessica Abel on Graphic Novels, Jungle Music, and Tequila

Back in the '90s, Jessica Abel wrote a series of graphic novels called Artbabe. The short stories told tales of quintessential twentysomethings living in Chicago, going to shows, dating, etc., and they were perfect. (If you haven't read any, I'd start with Mirror, Window (An Artbabe Collection).) With all the '90s nostalgia floating around these days, I pulled out my copies of Artbabe and Jessica's later graphic work, including La Perdida, Radio (with Ira Glass), and Life Sucks, which follows vampires working in an all-night convenience store. The stories immediately drew me back, so I did the only logical thing and pestered Jessica to do an interview. Jessica, [...]

15

Sloane Crosley on Travel Music, Polly Pocket, and ODB

As the editor of The Best American Travel Writing 2011 (out today), Sloane Crosley is an incidental authority on traveling tunes. So we hopped on to Turntable.fm to talk to the author of New York Times bestsellers I Was Told There'd Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number about music, traveling, and what you should listen to when you're running from the police.

Sloane Crosley started playing "Starry Eyed" by Ellie Goulding

Melissa Locker: Is this song on your road trip driving mix? Sloane Crosley: Actually, it's not. I just put a bunch of stuff up in here, some of which was played on [...]

15

Author Leigh Stein on Her First Novel, The Fallback Plan

“In June, the monsoons hit Bangladesh. Chinese police discovered slaves in a brickwork factory who couldn’t be sent home because they were too traumatized to remember anything but their own names, and Dr. Kevorkian was released from prison. In other news, I moved in with my parents.” That's how we meet Esther Kohler, the twenty-something star of Leigh Stein's debut novel The Fallback Plan. The book follows Esther through the summer of her discontent — she's out of school, uncertain, and babysitting for a family that's just lost a child. It offers a glimpse at a generation of young people who have no idea what to do next — [...]

36

Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia on TV Glamour and Putting Birds on It

Carrie Brownstein is very busy, what with touring with her band Wild Flag and starring in Portlandia alongside Fred Armisen (their season-one DVD is out today, and would make a lovely gift). But despite the constricts of these (incredibly awesome) day jobs, she very generously found the time to spin some tunes and talk to us on Turntable.fm. Among the topics covered: Heavy Metal Parking Lot, George Michael, and whether she's planning to throw any furniture from buildings.

Melissa Locker started playing "With A Girl Like You" by The Troggs

Melissa Locker: Hi Carrie! Carrie Brownstein: Hi. ML: Thanks for coming to play [...]

85

Record Collecting for Girls Author Courtney E. Smith on Mix Tapes and Makeout Music

You probably have a lot of opinions about music, but Record Collecting for Girls author Courtney E. Smith has even more. In her music-nerd manual (which comes out today), Smith tackles such pressing musical issues as guilty pleasure songs, Top Five Lists, and what it means to like The Smiths too much. And since each essay in the book comes with a playlist, the only way to do this interview properly was to head over to Turntable.fm to spin some tunes and chat about music.

@courtneyesmith started playing "Lowdown" by Boz Scaggs

woolyknickers: Wow. This is not where I thought we would start this interview. @courtneyesmith: Yes, really. [...]