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Friday, 9 December 2011

The music that words make.

Lots of interesting books in the store right and they're aimed directly at the heart of the music connoisseur.
First and foremost, Will Herme's account of NYC during the key musical era of '73-'77 when groups like the Talking Heads, Television and Blondie were just starting to gain some footing in the music scene. Brand new and critically acclaimed, Love goes to Buildings on Fire is a necessary read for anyone even remotely interested the scuzzy, early seventies NYC's rock and loft-jazz scene.

Music know-it-all Simon Reynold's treatise on modern pop's need to feed upon itself has been talked about all year long. Where did it start? Where does it end? Where the hell are we? Though it provides no easy answers, Retromania does an admirable job at contextualizing recent trends and after reading it you may up with a better idea than most of what exactly is going down with viral sensation and indie pinup Lana Del Rey.

Nope, not a book about music, but the book the band borrowed their name from. Keeps getting filed in the music section though, so I thought I'd put it here. It's actually about "sexual deviancy" in America , which we don't have a section for so I guess the music section is as good as any. Ever read Hammer of the Gods?

There a little or a lot of deviancy of sorts going on this book though. Peter Hook was the bassist for Joy Division and New Order and he also helped run (into the ground) the legendary Manchester nighclub, The Hacienda, where Madonna, the Smiths, Oasis, and others all played shows early in their careers. If you've seen the film 24 Hour Party People and loved it, this book will twist your melon, man.

On the gentler side of things, Rob Young's acclaimed book on British electric (and otherwise) folk is masterful and leaves no mossy stone unturned. As expected, Nick Drake and Fairport Convention are covered here, but Electric Eden also spends time on lesser-knowns like Bob Fay, Coil and Talk Talk. An all-around winner, it's been a steady seller at the shop throughout the year.

Nothing much needs to be said about this. 1/3 of Hüsker Dü writes a book on his experiences in the music biz? Gimme! Mould's a class-act though so don't expect too much backstabbing, instead expect lots of juicy details of what it was like to be in a working band when major labels were just beginning to figure out what the smart kids liked and then proceeded to ruin it.

A book on one the earliest -and best- of the American Psychedelic bands. Anyone who loves the Elevators knows there isn't all that much out there written about them. In the last couple of years though, their star has risen and the availability of a book like Eye Mind is a welcome result.

A definite contender for music book of the year, Kevin Avery's Everything Is An Afterthought is the biography of pioneering rock critic Paul Nelson who was an early champion of of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, the Sex Pistols, and the Ramones and a vocal supporter of Dylan's electric phase. He also worked for Mercury records (signing the New York Dolls while there) and then -in the early eighties- he let it all go and dropped out of sight, and was all but forgotten by the time he died in 2006. It's a fascinating story of an important writer and recommended to anyone who has an interest in sixties and seventies rock 'n roll and music writing in general.

Personally, I can't understand people who still have a hate-on for disco. The vilification of the genre was as embarrassing then as it is now, and speaks more about a person's biases than of the quality of the music which was some of the most innovative and pleasurable music ever made. Nevertheless, anybody who truly loved music, loved Chic, and Nile Rodgers' guitar playing was a definite highlight of that group. Chic's influence was gigantic, with artists as seemingly disparate as Duran Duran and the Rolling Stones aping their sound. Le Freak is Rodger's memoir and it's a vivid recollection of the rise and fall of disco and Chic's role not only in shaping that era's sound, but their influence post coke and mirrors.



Lots of great music books down here at the Librairie, grab a couple, head home, fire up the tunes and read about what you're hearing.

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