Darklands: Post-punk Reading for Pre-Spring Days

We got through February, guys! Only weeks to go before an ill-advised dinner date on a patio in anticipation of warmer weather!

Before then, how 'bout we hunker down and get dark with a few  good reads about the bands that best soundtrack these cold times?

The battling brothers Reid are touring again (no Montreal stop though, shame!) and this is the first worthy bio of the Beach Boys-obsessed, pre-shoegaze noise-makers. They, as Jack Black says in High Fidelity "pick up where your precious Echo [and the Bunnymen] left off!"

From Cocteau Twins to Pixies to Grimes to Ariel Pink, 4AD has released records that best exemplify ethereal weirdness and I can't think of a label that has most influenced the bands we love the most these days.  Aston's book deals with the label's formative years and delves into famed co-founder Ivo Watts-Russell's depression leading to the sale of the label in 1999.

Last night I spent some time with the Factory Records documentary and, even though Tony Wilson's legendary "business" venture counted Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays in its ranks, you have to wonder how disappointing it was to not  be able to land either The Smiths and The Fall when both were operating at the same time in Manchester. Anyway, The Big Midweek is an account of what it was like to work in one of the best rock bands of all-time under the thumb of irascible genius Mark E. Smith (for 19 years!), A must-read for even a casual fan (if there exists such a thing).

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