Is music your thing? Here’s five new music books that might take your fancy:
[Most of the links below take you to our catalogue where you can reserve a copy online]
1971 – Never a Dull Moment: Rock’s Golden Year Hardcover – 7 Apr 2016
A rollicking look at 1971 – the busiest, most innovative and resonant year of the 70s, defined by the musical arrival of such stars as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Joni Mitchell
On New Year’s Eve, 1970, Paul McCartney told his lawyers to issue the writ at the High Court in London, effectively ending The Beatles. You might say this was the last day of the pop era.
The following day, which was a Friday, was 1971. You might say this was the first day of the rock era. And within the remaining 364 days of this monumental year, the world would hear Don McLean’s “American Pie,” The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” and more.
David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and well regarded critic, was twenty-one in ’71, the same age as many of the legendary artists who arrived on the scene. Taking us on a tour of the major moments, the events and songs of this remarkable year, he shows how musicians came together to form the perfect storm of rock and roll greatness, starting a musical era that would last longer than anyone predicted. Those who joined bands to escape things that lasted found themselves in a new age, its colossal start being part of the genre’s staying power.
“Never a Dull Moment” is more than a love song to the music of 1971. It’s also an homage to the things that inspired art and artists alike. From “Soul Train “to “The Godfather,” hot pants to table tennis, Hepworth explores both the music and its landscapes, culminating in an epic story of rock and roll’s best year.
Porcelain: A Memoir by Moby Paperback – 2 Jun 2016
There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene of the late 1980s and early 90s. This was the New York of Palladium, of Mars, Limelight, and Twilo, an era when dance music was still a largely underground phenomenon, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos. And then there was Moby-not just a poor, skinny white kid from deepest Connecticut, but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler, in a scene that was known for its unchecked drug-fueled hedonism. He would learn what it was to be spat on, literally and figuratively. And to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City … And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated the end of things, in his career and elsewhere in his life, and he put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would be in fact the beginning of an astonishing new phase in his life, the multimillion-selling Play.
Porcelain is about making it, losing it, loving it, and hating it. It’s about finding your people, and your place, thinking you’ve lost them both, and then, finally, somehow, creating a masterpiece. As a portrait of the young artist, Porcelain is a masterpiece in its own right, fit for the short shelf of musicians’ memoirs that capture not just a scene but an age and something timeless about the human condition. Push play.
Dig : Australian Rock and Pop Music, 1960-85 Paperback – 16 Jun 2016
A comprehensive and highly readable history of the first quarter-century of Australian rock and pop music, Dig appeals to everyone with more than a passing interest in rock ‘n’ roll. Those whose knowledge of Australian rock and pop does not extend far beyond the Easybeats, AC/DC, Little River Band and Nick Cave can discover a wealth of music beyond those star names; while even those familiar with the work of the Missing Links, Pip Proud, Radio Birdman and the Moodists learn much about the scenes and connections that produced these bands and dozens of others.
C86 and All That : The Birth of Indie, 1983-86 Paperback – 16 Jun 2016
ONE OF THE DEFINING INDIE MOVEMENTS OF THE 20TH CENTURY
C86 AND ALL THAT chronicles the birth of arguably the most influential free mixtape of all time: NME’s C86, which featured The Pastels, The Wedding Present, Half Man Half Biscuit and Primal Scream, among many others.
“Between 1983 and 1986 a revolution took place in indie music, with a sudden explosion of new bands, record labels, fanzines and clubs. Bored with the synth(etic) drivel of the charts, The June Brides, Shop Assistants, The Pastels, Yeah Yeah Noh, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Big Flame, the Wedding Present, Miaow, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Bogshed, The Membranes, Fuzzbox, A Witness, The Wolfhounds and dozens of others reached out, fusing punk ethics and pop art tactics to created a DIY sound unequalled since the time of punk.
The music was played in clubs like The Living Room, The Cellar Bar at Thames Poly, Bay 63 and Room At The Top and released on labels like Creation, Pink, Ron Johnson, Vinyl Drip, 53rd & 3rd, Subway Organisation, Vindaloo and In Tape. Hundreds of fanzines sprang up to document the moment.
Yet incredibly there has been no comprehensive book on the music or period that many recognise as ‘the birth of Indie’. Until now. I was fortunate to be witness to and write about many of the bands and key moments of the period – I was there when the records came out, when the riots took place, and I co-compiled the legendary NME tape C86 which codified the music and 28 years later remains a powerful cultural icon. For every one of those 28 years I have wanted to write in depth about those times and bands – almost all of whom I interviewed for the NME – and the time has now come to do it!”
Sure to be one of the music books of the year, C86 AND ALL THAT is a vital document featuring some of the greatest bands of the century.
RAVE: Rave and its Influence on Art and Culture Paperback – 30 Jun 2016
‘RAVE’ is one of the first publications to critically engage with the historical rave movement of the 1980s and 1990s as it relates to contemporary art and visual culture. Following the death of industrial Europe, Rave emerged as Europe’s last big youth movement. This book considers the social, political and economic conditions that led to the advent of rave as a counterculture across Europe, as well as its aesthetics, ideologies and influence on contemporary art and beyond. Combining specially commissioned texts, interviews and factual material, the book represents a broad range of artistic practices, including the work of Jeremy Deller, Rineke Dijkstra and Daniel Pflumm, amongst many others. In addition to artistic contributions, the book features texts by Mark Fisher and Nav Haq, as well as interviews with Walter van Beirendonck, the famous Belgian fashion designer; and Renaat Vandepapeliere & Sabine Maes, who run the legendary R&S Record label. Published in partnership with Modern of Modern Art, Antwerp.
David Bowie and Philosophy: Rebel, Rebel (Popular Culture and Philosophy) Paperback – 12 Jul 2016
The philosophically rich David Bowie is an artist of wide and continuing influence. The theatrical antics of Bowie ushered in a new rock aesthetic, but there is much more to Bowie than mere spectacle. The visual belies the increasing depths of his concerns, even at his lowest personal moments. We never know what lies in store in a Bowie song, for there is no point in his nearly 30 albums at which one can say, “That’s typical Bowie!” Who else has combined techno and hard rock, switched to R&B love songs (with accompanying gospel) to funk to jazz-rock fusion and back again? Among the topics explored in David Bowie and Philosophy are the nature of Bowie as an institution and a cult; Bowie’s work in many platforms, including movies and TV; Bowie’s spanning of low and high art; his relation to Andy Warhol; the influence of Buddhism and Kabuki theater; the recurring theme of Bowie as a space alien; the dystopian element in Bowie’s thinking; the role of fashion in Bowie’s creativity; the aesthetics of theatrical rock and glam rock; and Bowie’s public identification with bisexuality and his influence within the LGBTQ community.