"Italy's politically radical clubs of the '60s, New York City's disco scene, Detroit and Chicago's house and techno paradises, Ibiza's counterculture communal retreats, Britain's rave culture, and Berlin's techno scene" find their place in the new book 'Temporary Pleasure: Nightclub Architecture, Design and Culture from the 1960s to Today' by John Leo Gillen, who insists that the industry’s ​“one constant is change”. "The book wants to transform our expectations of club spaces. With cities, scenes and clubs in constant flux, they suggest we embrace that ephemerality through extensive photos and interviews" - The Face points out.

"Each chapter is filled to the brim with insights, new information, and powerful writing. McCormick clearly had high literary aspirations at this juncture in his life. I suspect that he was trying to capture something similar to Truman Capote’s 'In Cold Blood', the most celebrated ‘true crime’ book of the era. McCormick presents himself in these pages as a musical detective on the trail of the most elusive guitarist in history, and successfully conveys all the uncertainty and suspense of his investigation" - music writer Ted Gioia presents 'Biography of a Phantom: A Robert Johnson Blues Odyssey', a book about the famous delta blues guitarist written by his friend Mack McCormick. The published book is the early version of the manuscript. The later version argued that Mississippi guitarist named Robert Johnson—admired all over the world today—didn’t actually make those famous blues recordings or anything really. Gioia explains.

"Whatever the environment, dance is about joy. No one dances and feels rubbish after – unless, maybe, you’ve slipped over onto your arse. But go to any club night worth its merit and you’ll be confronted with people from all walks of life. And that is the dancefloor at its most powerful" - The Face presents Emma Warren's new book, 'Dance Your Way Home: A Journey Through the Dancefloor'. It "places direct emphasis on movement. It’s not all about clubs; it’s about dancing as a primal need." The author writer “there’s evidence that shows when people move in synchrony together, they rate each other more highly, after swinging their arms about together in the same way. That obviously has an effect on relationships between people who experience the world differently.”

"If you were to put together a perfect black metal book, one that captures that essential complexity while also providing historical and personal insights, it would be 'Black Metal Rainbows', a sprawling collection of essays, interviews, band and label profiles, and all kinds of art for both the true kvlt and the curious. It sets the new standard for how we should think about this music” - The Creative Independent reviews the new book which shows the true colors - antiracist and pro-diversity - of black metal.

Greg Prato interviewed over 20 musicians, friends, and admirers of his music for his latest book 'Lanegan' about the iconic frontman of Screaming Trees and solo artist. Nick Oliveri (ex-Queens of the Stone Age, ex-Kyuss) has an interesting story to tell: "Mark said he wrote some lyrics on 'Something in the Way' with Kurt on 'Nevermind'. But Kurt had played on some of Mark’s solo stuff, 'The Winding Sheet'. So, instead of getting paid, they just did this thing where, 'Hey man, I added a lyric on your song and you added a lyric on my song. Let’s just call it even. Whatever happens, happens.' Little did Mark know, if he would have had publishing on 'Something in the Way' on 'Nevermind', he would have had a lot of money. I remember him kicking himself in the butt a little bit about that – 'If I had that ‘Something in the Way’ publishing…'" Consequence picks out several quotes.

"'Bone Music' is a history of technical ingenuity, censorship, courage, tragedy, and a profound love of music" - Dan Fox highly recommends the "fascinating new illustrated book" by the British musician Stephen Coates and photographer Paul Heartfield. It tells the history of "bone records", music pressed on X-ray during the communist regimes which banned western music. Since 2013, Coates and Heartfield have produced a touring exhibition, an online archive, a documentary film, and a BBC radio programme. 'Bone Music' brings to light new material about the origins of bone records in 1930s Hungary.

Providing insight from artists such as Nile Rodgers, Four Tet, Radiohead’s Philip Selway, and others, the new book 'Touring and Mental Health: The Music Industry Manual', is looking at the impact touring can have on musicians' mental health, JamBase reports. Written by psychotherapist and former booker, Tamsin Embleton, in over 600 pages the manual attempts to cover a variety of psychological difficulties that can occur whilst on a tour that includes addiction, performance anxiety, group dynamics, relationship problems, and more. Contributing advice and knowledge to the book are experts including psychotherapists, performance coaches, dieticians, sexual health experts, and many more to cover all basis.

Listen and read!
December 19, 2022

Variety chooses the best music books of 2022

There are many, many great books released this year - Variety introduces its list of the best music books released in 2022. "Bono writes beautifully about his relationship with his parents and his wife... Tom Breihan’s new book looks at how 20 top tracks affected the culture, and/or changed the game, musically and sociologically... Stunning 'The Byrds: 1964-67', a comprehensive oral history and a gorgeous coffee-table photo book all in one...  In his first book, the ace New York Times reporter Coscarelli puts a microscope on the thriving and enormously influential Atlanta hip-hop scene".

Dan Runcie talks to New York Times music reporter Joe Coscarelli about his new book, 'Rap Capital', in the latest Trapital's podcast. The key, Coscarelli believes, is Atlanta rappers' adoption of modern tech: “I love to see when art lines up with the technology of the moment. These Atlanta rappers were in the perfect place at the perfect time to take advantage of that explosion". Also, the reporter sees broader liberties: “Artists have found freedom…your audience is going to find you. You can still have as much of a footprint but not in the same everybody-knows-the-same-10-people way. It’s almost healthier for some of these artists to say ‘I’ve seen what happens on the fame side and I don’t want that part. I just want to make my music and play for my fans.’ That’s become more and more of a possibility without having to play the game with the gatekeepers”.

"Dan Charnas’ book, 'Dilla Time', is a fascinating, immersive look at J Dilla’s impact both during his lifetime and beyond: the producer’s relationships and upbringing, his musical interventions, and the contentious dispute over who gets to control his posthumous legacy" - Pitchfork presents the new book about the late hip-hop producer. They also share an excerpt.

Pitchfork likes the new documentary 'Meet Me in the Bathroom', based on Lizzy Goodman’s 2017 book chronicling the New York City’s early-millennium rock boom: "It’s a thrill seeing the Strokes wow stage-jumping British fans, revisiting the uncanny brilliance of TV on the Radio’s 'Ambulance', and witnessing LCD Soundsystem becoming a band in real time in an unhinged rendition of 'Daft Punk Is Playing at My House' where Murphy howls like Jim Morrison".

Remembered after reading
December 29, 2021

Rolling Stone recommends 22 music books released this year

"This year, many of the books we loved most used music as a lens through which to examine broader issues of politics, history, and identity — whether it was the story of capitalist circulation as heard by Joshua Clover in the Modern Lovers’ 'Roadrunner', Hanif Abdurraqib riffing on everything from 'Soul Train' to 1920s dance crazes in his panoramic 'A Little Devil in America'or Eric Harvey exploring depictions of African American life in Eighties pop culture" - Rolling Stone starts the introduction to their selection of the best 22 music books released this year.

The Quietus presents a new book about hip hop’s relation to reality TV, 'Who Got the Camera? A History of Rap and Reality' by Eric Harvey. "Harvey’s central idea, borrowed from French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, that reality rap be understood as a 'hyper-reality'. By this phrase Baudrillard had in mind a world where spectacle and reality become indivisible, where media presentations of the Gulf War or of King’s beating, for instance, overwhelm any actual event. It’s an idea that serves Harvey’s understanding of the King tape, rap music, and reality TV, insofar as all amount to instances where reality and its representation become more or less indiscernible".

Some interesting thoughts by The Roots' drummer Questlove about history in his new book 'Music Is History': "I can relate the history dispassionately. That’s something to practice. It’s important. If you let all your emotions in all the time when you’re giving historical accounts, you may find yourself too often overcome by sorrow, rage, and wonder... At the same time that it’s worth being honest about the importance of personalizing history, it’s vital not to limit ourselves to personal points of entry... Understanding history begins with learning history, and learning history begins with being able to see both inside yourself and outside yourself". Rolling Stone brings the excerpt.

"In a postmodern pop cultural moment, when notions of purism and authenticity seem irredeemably old-fashioned, it may seem like an odd time to write a book that is not only a history of popular music’s defining categories – rock, R&B, country, punk, hip-hop, dance and pop – but an unapologetic defence of them" - Guardian writes in a review of a new book 'Major Labels' by Kelefa Sanneh, about music’s top categories. The G concludes that "devotion to a sound, whether hip-hop or hardcore, is essentially about community and belonging; a way to signify our togetherness and signal our difference, often through allegiance to one style at the expense of all others".

Journalist Ciaran Thapar's debut book 'Cut Short: Youth Violence, Loss and Hope in the City' follows the story of four individuals to observe how youth violence, policing, gentrification and the media have affected their lives. The book is based on Thapar’s research, interviews and the relationships he’s formed as a youth worker. Each chapter title of 'Cut Short' is named in reference to a song lyric - which is the basis of The Face interview with Thapar.

Exploring British youth culture of the time, 'Scorcha!: Skins, Suedes and Style From The Streets 1967 -1973' is "a hefty book by Paul Anderson and Mark Baxter. Covering the rise of first the suedeheads and then the skinheads on British streets, it is a fascinating, lovingly compiled piece tracking in detail the fade from the musicality of the modish, ska-loving suedeheads – who were bravely swimming against the prevailing hippy tide in 1967 – into the more brutish skinheads. The attention to interview detail and mountains of picture research is monumental" - The New Cue recommends a new book.

"Jazz has somehow rediscovered its roots as populist music, embarking on a new and unscripted dialogue with mainstream culture. To some extent, jazz has even turned into a kind of talisman for forward-looking sounds in commercial music" - jazz music writer Ted Gioia writes in the third edition of his great book 'The History of Jazz', out now. "Artists as different from each other as Kamasi Washington, Esperanza Spalding, Shabaka Hutchings, and Robert Glasper have shown that they can draw on the full range of current-day song styles without losing their jazz roots, and attract a young crossover audience who are energized and excited by this give-and-take".

A paper thorn
August 12, 2021

Dolly Parton to release her first novel

Dolly Parton has teamed up with author James Patterson for her debut novel 'Run, Rose, Run', People reports. The 448-page book - out March 7th, 2022 - is country star's first work of literary fiction and it “combines my love of storytelling and books". Parton also announced she has "a new album to go along with the book. All new songs were written based on the characters and situations in the book".

Former Maccabees guitarist and current member of Tailender podcast team, Felix White has written a memoir 'Always Summer Somewhere' about his band's breakup, about being the inspiration of an entire Florence Welch album, and his obsession with cricket. "It’s a brilliant book, funny, reflective, sad, funny again, dealing with the worst things life can throw at you with a real lightness of touch" - The New Cue gives its verdict. They also talked to the guy. White said that "some of the hardest stuff to write, that I really wasn't sure that I should or not, was the stuff about being a nice guy in a band but knowing that I'm being a nice guy in a band, because it was from a position of power".

Current rock star Bruce Springsteen and former American president Barack Obama are publishing a book titled 'Renegades: Born in the USA' (is that title ironical?!?). Based on their podcast conversations, it comes in an oversized, illustrated format, with handwritten Springsteen lyrics, annotated Obama speeches, and other archival material, AP reports. It's out October 26.Aud

"An inspiring, provocative vision of the many ways popular music matters- how caring writers have addressed its meanings, pleasures, mysteries, racism, sexism, populism, democratic vistas, conflicts of interest, angles of entry, leaps of faith, tricks of fate, joking around, stormy Mondays, mother fuyers, weary blues from waiting, reasons to be cheerful, simple twists of fate, sexy bits, and did I mention racism?" - Robert Christgau writes about new book 'Songbooks: The Literature of American Popular Music' by (one of his best friends) Eric Weisbard. There are two narrative lines in the book - "the shifting dialectic of vernacular and sentimental and the flowering and wilting of music journalism as a profession".

Jefferson Airplane

Medium wants us to read more, so they've made a list of the most popular songs inspired by books. There are: 'Pet Sematary' written by the Ramones (1989) after Stephen King himself asked the band to write a song for the 1989 film adaptation of his novel; 'The Ghost of Tom Joad' by Bruce Springsteen (1995) iwas nspired by John Steinbeck’s novel 'The Grapes of Wrath'; 'Shiver Me Timbers' by Tom Waits (1974) pulls from Herman Melville’s 'Moby Dick' and Jack London’s novel 'Martin Eden'; 'Ramble On' by Led Zeppelin (1969) is deep into 'Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings'; 'White Rabbit' by Jefferson Airplane (1967) is Lewis Carroll’s 'Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking-Glass' set to music.

"You have generations of Black artists who have been wary of where and how their material archival life-worlds are handled” - author Daphne A. Brooks says in Audiofemme interview about her new book 'Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound'. The book is divided into two sections (“Side A” and “Side B”), crisscrossing through time as Brooks connects writer and singer Pauline Hopkins, who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with Janelle Monáe. Brooks is a Yale professor who previously wrote 'Bodies in Dissent' and the 33 1/3 book on Jeff Buckley’s album 'Grace'.

"An essential read" - Music Journalism Insider says about the new book 'Ten Cities: Clubbing in Nairobi, Cairo, Kyiv, Johannesburg, Berlin, Naples, Luanda, Lagos, Bristol, Lisbon, 1960–Present', a big international project about club music in these ten African and European cities. The authors say that "through 21 essays, playlists and photo sequences the book shows the pursuits and practices that assembling around and communing over music generated in the time before COVID-19. It is a retrospective testimony to the spirit of creative communities, a rhythm-analysis mediated by sound and night".

AllMusic made a selection of books released this year. Included are: 'This Isn't Happening' about how Radiohead made their album 'Kid A' that changed so much; 'The Meaning of Mariah Carey' about one of the biggest stars being surrounded by some of the most powerful people in the music industry; 'Larger Than Life' about the phenomenon of boy bands; 'How to Write One Song' with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy offering straightforward advice on the process of writing a song...

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