"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.”

"Scott was one of the finest arts and culture writers in the country, engaged and passionate and capable of delivering insightful articles at short notice on almost any subject... Somehow he combined a deep earnestness and total dedication to his craft with a childlike innocence" - music writer Ted Gioia writes in the introduction of the posthumous collection of writings by Scot Timberg, entitled 'Boom Times for the End of the World', including texts about jazz, pop and classical music. "Here he still survives in the role he played best: the passionate and earnest culture writer".

"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.

"The Brits have always been good at repacking Black American music and then selling it back to the US. If you think about the Beatles and the whole British Invasion of the ’60s, those artists were all massively inspired by rhythm and blues and other forms of Black American music, but the white audiences that loved them wouldn’t necessarily go back and support the records that inspired these groups in the first place. The same thing happened with dance music" - Matt Anniss told First Floor. He also talks about the "Ibiza origin myth", music journalism, “hardcore continuum”... Anniss is the author of 'Join the Future', a history of bleek techno, which is being reissued this month.

"'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".

Turn the pages
December 12, 2022

Five recent music books worth reading

usic books released recently. Among them are 'Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music' by Ann Powers - "an ambitious and brilliant examination of US pop that puts sex front and centre in the importance of music", as well as 'Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm' by Dan Charnas, the "rare biography that explains the how and why of the music".

Music lining
November 23, 2022

Pitchfork chooses 15 books of 2022

The best music books this year kept it personal" - Pitchfork points out introducing the best 15 books of 2022. Among them are "affable, conversational, and always funny, with surprising insights and ear-catching phrasings gliding in from every direction" book 'The Number Ones' by Tom Breihan about American No. 1 pop hits, as well as "an astoundingly intimate book-length conversation on art and grief" with Nick Cave by Sean O'Hagan. and 'Queer Country' by Shana Goldin-Perschbacher who draws "a vivid portrait of a movement at a point of breakthrough".

Composer Ned Rorem celebrated his 99th birthday this week. Music writer Ted Gioia, however, highly recommends composer's diaries - "the most remarkable firsthand documentation we have of a musical life—surpassing those of Charles Burney, Sergei Prokofiev, Benjamin Britten, or whomever else you care to cite. Not even Mozart’s voluminous letters can match the scope and depth of Rorem’s six decades of journaling. He operates on a larger sphere, up their with Pepys and Boswell and others at the pinnacle of the diary as a literary genre".

Gioia also offers a choice of aphorisms:

  • “The best music must be nasty as well as beautiful.”
  • “Wagner, too, I love, if I don’t have to listen to him.”
  • “Americans say what they think, the French think what they say.”
  • “The end of love is like the Boléro played backwards.”

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”.

The New Cue has shared an excerpt from Ted Kessler's new book 'Paper Cuts' describing how he lost his Doc Marten's boots in Paris metro: "'Where are you from?’ asks one.
‘London,’ I say, ‘but I live here.’
‘Ah, OK,’ says the mod-skin. He sizes me up. ‘Is that where you get those Docs from?’
‘Let’s swap.’
I look at his feet. He has massive old canvas army boots on, covered in stains. They look terrible.
‘No thanks.’"

"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.

Pitchfork made a selection of 11 best new music books. Among them: 'A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance' by Hanif Abdurraqib because of "language that evokes possibility; memoir that is both vulnerable and instructive; cultural analysis that deftly rejects linear historicizing; unlikely connections that tilt a reader’s understanding of the world"; 'Crying in H Mart', the debut book from Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner - "a gutting music memoir disguised as literary mukbang"; 'In Defense of Ska' by Aaron Carner "is a lovingly written defense of a vibrant, diverse musical underground that stayed afloat against all odds".

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".

"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".

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".

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".

“YOU NO TALK! YOU NO TALK! YOU NO PLAY! YOU COST ME! WHY YOU NO PLAY? YOU WANT ME KILL YOUR FRIEND?” - a supposed boss of supposed Taipei mafia was yelling on Richard Marx's phone in 1989 when the singer postponed his Taipei show due to heavy rain. He describes in his new memoir how they took his agent Randy Garelick hostage, demanding Marx to play two shows the day after, no matter the weather. He agreed, of course. Rolling Stone brings an excerpt of the book.

"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".

“In the wake of criminalisation, our nighttime and festival industries had become a massive success... It was still rave, at the end of the day. The spirit was still alive and kicking in the people who chose to get fucked up and go dancing together at every possible opportunity” - author and rave veteran Matthew Smith writes in his new photo-book of ​’00s clubs. Music journalist Simon Reynolds goes beyond the obvious: "In the public but intimate setting of the rave, private fantasies that can’t be expressed within the strictures of routine existence are enacted... We see people both losing themselves and finding themselves, building a collective dreamworld under the cover of night”. The Face invites us to step inside 'Full On, No-Stop-All Over'.

"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'.

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