Aphex Twin’s “Selected Ambient Works Volume II” by Marc Weidenbaum

saw 2

33 1/3 are a wonderful imprint of books. The premise is – each little pocket size book is about a single famous album. The full list is very diverse ranging from Dusty Springfield to industrial legends Throbbing Gristle to the Super Mario Bros soundtrack. The issue, however, with each album being a different beast, and each book by a different author that the quality can vary hugely, as can the format of the books – the PJ Harvey book, for example, was less a critical music book and instead viewed the album through short stories. Most however are music journalism.

This book, by Marc Weidenbaum, however fails to capture the record for me. It didn’t really illuminate for me one of my favourite records (and certainly my favourite going to sleep record), didn’t put forth any new tidbits really, bar an interview with the guy who named the famously unnamed tracks.

I don’t know – the book just didn’t gel. While it picked up later, the first lengthy chapter discusses other critics who maintain that the album is beatless despite Weidenbaum asserting that it isn’t, or is, honestly I’m not quite sure (for the record: it isn’t beatless, there are beats, and it is an ambient record, these things can co-exist!). However having such an in-depth, and some may say pointless argument heading the book left me a little exhausted. The expected interviews crop up but nothing in this book extended my reach of the album. Now, I understand that this is a difficult album to talk about BUT I didn’t decide to write a book about it. A missed opportunity.

You can reserve a copy of this book at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

[However, I still love 33 1/3 and would recommend these:
#15 – Radiohead’s OK Computer
#36 – My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless
#54 – Throbbing Gristle’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats
Next up on my list to read is #120 – Angelo Badalamenti’s Soundtrack from Twin Peaks – I’ll let ye know how I get on!]

5 New Music Books to Watch Out For

Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains (13 May 2017)

The first book ever produced with full access the Pink Floyd archive. Published to accompany the V&A’s major summer exhibition, Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains, celebrates 50 years of one of the greatest bands of all time. Five essays tackle different aspects of their far-reaching legacy in music and the visual arts. Authors including Jon Savage, Howard Goodall and Rob Young examine what makes the band truly special, from the mythology underpinning their output, through to their experimentation with technology to create new sounds. their epic staging and performance impact will also be explored, along with the anti-authoritarianism that infuses their lyrics.The book is heavily illustrated throughout, emphasizing the essential role that visual material played in supporting the music and creating the lasting Pink Floyd phenomenon.

Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, the Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin by Paul Hockenos (23 May 2017)
An exhilarating journey through the subcultures, occupied squats, and late-night scenes in the anarchic first few years of Berlin after the fall of the wall.
Berlin Calling is a gripping account of the 1989 “peaceful revolution” in East Germany that upended communism and the tumultuous years of artistic ferment, political improvisation, and pirate utopias that followed. It’s the story of a newly undivided Berlin when protest and punk rock, bohemia and direct democracy, techno and free theater were the order of the day.
In a story stocked with fascinating characters from Berlin’s highly politicized undergrounds–including playwright Heiner Muller, cult figure Blixa Bargeld of the industrial band Einsturzende Neubauten, the internationally known French Wall artist Thierry Noir, the American multimedia artist Danielle de Picciotto (founder of Love Parade), and David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust incarnation–Hockenos argues that the DIY energy and raw urban vibe of the early 1990s shaped the new Berlin and still pulses through the city today.
Just as Mike Davis captured Los Angeles in his City of Quartz, Berlin Calling is a unique account of how Berlin became hip, and of why it continues to attract creative types from the world over.

vinyl freak.jpg
Vinyl Freak by John Corbett (2 Jun 2017)
From scouring flea markets and eBay to maxing-out their credit cards, record collectors will do just about anything to score a long-sought-after album. In Vinyl Freak, music writer, curator, and collector John Corbett burrows deep inside the record fiend’s mind, documenting and reflecting on his decades-long love affair with vinyl. Discussing more than 200 rare and out-of-print LPs, Vinyl Freak is comprised in part of Corbett’s long-running Downbeat magazine column of the same name, which was devoted to records that had not appeared on CD. In other essays where he combines memoir and criticism, Corbett considers the current vinyl boom, explains why vinyl is his preferred medium, profiles collector subcultures, and recounts his adventures assembling the Alton Abraham Sun Ra Archive, an event so all-consuming that he claims it cured his record-collecting addiction. Perfect for vinyl newbies and veteran crate diggers alike, Vinyl Freak plumbs the motivations that drive Corbett and collectors everywhere.

once upon a time in shaolin.jpg
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of Wu-Tang Clan’s Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America’s New Public Enemy No. 1 by Cyrus Bozorgmehr (11 Jul 2017)
The untold story of the world’s most controversial album—a surreal tale of secret recordings, baffled customs agents, the world’s most hallowed art institutions, and a villain of comic book proportions.

In 2007, the innovative young Wu-Tang producer, Cilvaringz, took an incendiary idea to his mentor the RZA. They felt that the impact of digitization threatened the sustainability of the record industry and independent artists, while also shifting the perception of music from treasured works of art to disposable consumer products. They needed to fight back. Together they conceived a work of art so radical that it would unleash a torrent of global debate. They would create a sole copy of an album in physical form, encase it in gleaming silver, and sell it through an auction house for millions as a piece of contemporary art.

The execution of this plan raised a number of complex questions: Would selling an album for millions be the ultimate betrayal of music? How would fans react to an album that’s sold on the condition that it could not be commercialized? And could anyone ever justify the selling of the album to the infamous Martin Shkreli?

What unfolds is an extraordinary adventure that veers between outlandish caper and urgent cultural analysis. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin twists and turns through the mayhem and the mischief, while asking profound questions about our relationship with art, music, technology, and ultimately ourselves.

Musical Theatre: A History by John Kenrick (27 Jul 2017)
Musical Theatre: A History is a new revised edition of a proven core text for college and secondary school students – and an insightful and accessible celebration of twenty-five centuries of great theatrical entertainment. As an educator with extensive experience in professional theatre production, author John Kenrick approaches the subject with a unique appreciation of musicals as both an art form and a business. Using anecdotes, biographical profiles, clear definitions, sample scenes and select illustrations, Kenrick focuses on landmark musicals, and on the extraordinary talents and business innovators who have helped musical theatre evolve from its roots in the dramas of ancient Athens all the way to the latest hits on Broadway and London’s West End. Key improvements to the second edition: * A new foreword by Oscar Hammerstein III, a critically acclaimed historian and member of a family with deep ties to the musical theatre, is included * The 28 chapters are reformatted for the typical 14 week, 28 session academic course, as well as for a two semester, once-weekly format, making it easy for educators to plan a syllabus and reading assignments. * To make the book more interactive, each chapter includes suggested listening and reading lists, designed to help readers step beyond the printed page to experience great musicals and performers for themselves. A comprehensive guide to musical theatre as an international phenomenon, Musical Theatre: A History is an ideal textbook for university and secondary school students.

Brilliant Book Titles #87

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah…”


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah Yeah tells the chronological story of the modern pop era, from its beginnings in the fifties with the dawn of the charts, vinyl, and the music press, to pop’s digital switchover in the year 2000, from Rock Around the Clock to Crazy In Love. It was more than just music – it could be your whole life.

Yeah Yeah Yeah covers the birth of rock, soul, punk, disco, hip hop, indie, house and techno. It also includes the rise and fall of the home stereo, Top Of The Pops, Smash Hits and “this week’s highest new entry”. Yeah Yeah Yeah is the first book to look back at the entire era: what we gained, what we lost, and the foundations we laid for future generations.

There have been many books on pop but none have attempted to bring the whole story to life, from Billy Fury and Roxy Music to TLC and Britney via Led Zeppelin and Donna Summer. Audacious and addictive, Yeah Yeah Yeah is essential reading for all music lovers. It will remind you why you fell in love with pop music in the first place.

5 Music Books to Watch Out For

When Broadway Went To Hollywood by Ethan Mordden (1 Jan 2017)

The Wizard of Oz, Gigi, Top Hat, High Society – some of the most popular movie musicals ever made were written by Broadway songwriters. The Sound of Music, Chicago, West Side Story, The Music Man, Grease – some of the other most popular movie musicals were adaptations of Broadway shows.

From the very first talkies to the present, Broadway’s composers and lyricists have given much of their best work to the movies – but with varying results. In the 1930s, Rodgers and Hart’s Love Me Tonight, with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald at their sexiest, is a masterpiece of fairytale sophistication. But Hallelujah, I’m a Bum, an Al Jolson vehicle about tramps in Central Park, is one of the outstanding flops, partly because Rodgers and Hart wrote it as a kind of opera that is spoken instead of sung.

Or take the big films based on Broadway shows in the 1960s. After The Sound of Music, Hollywood sought to fill the screen with lots of scenery, lots of drama, and lots of Julie Andrews. But Camelot and Hello, Dolly! had too much scenery, Paint Your Wagon was the hippie musical, and Song of Norway was simply loony. Even Julie Andrews couldn’t save the Broadway bio film called Star!, all about the adventures of Gertrude Lawrence. Who?

As historians have begun to consider the movie musical along with the stage musical, Ethan Mordden explores just how influential such writers as Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and Stephen Sondheim have been when they moved from Broadway to Hollywood. Are the welcomed? Do they get to experiment, using the freedom of the camera to expand the very geography of song? Or do movie producers resent that New York sophistication? Broadway excels in the bittersweet “Send in the Clowns.” But Hollywood wants it simple: “White Christmas.”

With his usual combination of scholarship and wicked wit, Ethan Mordden tantalizes us with anecdotes and fresh observations. He discusses many unusual titles as well – Viennese Nights, The Boys From Syracuse, Anything Goes, with Ethel Merman preserving her classic stage part as Reno Sweeney, the swinging evangelist. The first of its kind, this book is made for the moviegoer and theatre buff alike.

Hank: The Short Life and Long Country Road of Hank Williams by Mark Ribowsky (6 Jan 2017)
After he died in the backseat of a Cadillac at the age of twenty-nine, Hank Williams?a frail, flawed man who had become country music’s most compelling and popular star?instantly morphed into its first tragic martyr. Having hit the heights in the postwar era with simple songs of heartache and star-crossed love, he would, with that outlaw swagger, become in death a template for the rock generation to follow. But unlike those other musical giants who never made thirty, no legacy endures quite like that of the “Hillbilly King.” Now presenting the first fully realized biography of Hiram King Williams in a generation, Mark Ribowsky vividly returns us to the world of country’s origins, in this case 1920s Alabama, where Williams was born into the most trying of circumstances, which included a dictatorial mother, a henpecked father, and an agonizing spinal condition. Forced by his overbearing matriarch to do odd jobs-selling peanuts, shining shoes-young Hank soon found respite in street-corner blues man Rufus “Tee Tot” Payne, who showed him how to make a guitar sing. It wasn’t long before young Hank found his way onto those nascent American radio airwaves, where his melodic voice and timely tunes slowly garnered a following. On that dusty path to early stardom, Hank was indefatigably supported by his overbearing mother, who would shepherd his band, the Driftin’ Cowboys, to shows along backroads of the Jim Crow South. Yet it was a different woman who would supply Hank with the fuel he needed to explode out of the local spotlight: his sometimes wife, Audrey Mae Sheppard. As Ribowsky brilliantly evokes, their fiery relationship-as abusive as it was passionate-would inform nearly every song he ever wrote, and provide a template for country music for generations to follow. In chronicling Hank’s rise to stardom, Ribowsky also explores all those cautionary tales that have, until now, remained secreted beneath the grooves of his records. Drawing from new interviews, Ribowsky connects those seemingly eternal afternoons and nights spent choked in booze and desperation to the music that Williams would create. With remarkable nuance and insight, Ribowsky allows us to witness the man behind the tipped cowboy hat-the charismatic troubadour who hid the wounds of his domestic quarrels, relied on painkillers to get through the day, and was always teetering on the edge of tragedy, even when he saw the light. Tracing the singular rise of a music legend from the street corners of the Depression-era South to the now-immortal stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and finally to a haunting, lonely end on New Year’s Day 1953, Hank uncovers the real man beneath the myths, reintroducing us to an American original whose legacy, like a good night at the honkytonk, promises to carry on and on.

Bop Apocalypse: Jazz, Race, the Beats and Drugs by Martin Torgoff (10 Jan 2017)
Bop Apocalypse, a narrative history from master storyteller Martin Torgoff, details the rise of early drug culture in America by weaving together the disparate elements that formed this new segment of the American fabric. Channeling his decades of writing experience, Torgoff connects the birth of jazz in New Orleans, the first drug laws, Louis Armstrong, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, swing, Lester Young, Billie Holliday, the Savoy Ballroom, Reefer Madness, Charlie Parker, the birth of bebop, the rise of the Beat Generation, and the launch of heroin in Harlem. Having spent a lifetime immersed in the overlapping worlds of music and drugs, Torgoff reveals material that has never been disclosed before.Bop Apocalypse is a truly fresh contribution to the understanding of jazz, race, and drug culture.

How to Make it in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician by Ari Herstand (12 Jan 2017)
Forget everything you think you know about the odds of “making it” in the music industry. Today, odds mean nothing and success is not about lucky breaks. It’s about conquering social media, mastering the art of merchandising and simply working harder and being smarter than everyone else. We are living in the midst of an industry renaissance, one that has left the record companies desperately struggling to maintain their prominence, as a subculture of dedicated, DIY (do-it-yourself) musicians have taken over. These days talent is a given and success has to be earned. In 2008, Ari Herstand boldly turned in his green Starbucks apron to his manager, determined to make a living off his craft as a singer/songwriter. Almost a decade later, he has become a founding member of the new DIY movement and a self-sustaining musician, all without the help of a major label. Now, drawing from years of experience, Herstand has written the definitive guide for other like-minded artists, the ones who want to forge their own path and not follow the traditional markers of success, like record sales, hits on the radio or the amount of your label advance. Incredibly comprehensive and brutally honest throughout, How to Make It in the New Music Business covers every facet of the “new” business, including how to: * Build a grass-roots fan base-and understand the modern fan * Book a profitable tour, and tips for playing live, such as opening vs. headlining etiquette, and putting on a memorable show * Become popular on YouTube, Spotify and SoundCloud * Get songs placed in film and television * Earn royalties you didn’t know existed and reach your crowdfunding goals Musicians will not only be introduced to all the tools available today but will be shown how to effectively leverage them to actually make money. More important, they will develop the mindset to be aware of new advancements both online and in the real world and always stay in tune with a constantly evolving landscape. There has never been a better time to be an independent musician. Today, fans can communicate with their idols by simply picking up their phones, artists are able to produce studio-worthy content from their basement and albums are funded not by “record men” but by generous, engaged supporters. As result, How to Make It in the New Music Business is a must-have guide for anyone hoping to navigate the increasingly complex yet advantageous landscape that is the modern music industry.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash: David Litvinoff and the Rock’n’Roll Underworld by Keiron Pim (26 Jan 2017)

David Litvinoff was one of the great mythic characters of ‘60s London.

Flitting between the worlds of music, art and crime, he exerted a hidden influence that helped create the Krays twins’ legend, connected the Rolling Stones with London’s dark side, shaped the plot of classic film Performance – and saw him immortalised in a portrait by Lucian Freud.

Litvinoff’s determination to live without trace means that his life has always eluded biographers, until now. Intent on unravelling the enigma of Litvinoff, Keiron Pim conducted 100 interviews over five years, speaking to Eric Clapton and Marianne Faithfull, James Fox and ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser. The result is an extraordinary feat of research that traces a rogue’s progress amongst aristocrats, gangsters and rock stars.

5 New Music Biographies

born to run.jpg
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (27 Sep 2016)
‘Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.’ —Bruce Springsteen, from the pages of Born to Run
In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began. Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humour and originality found in his songs.
He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger and darkness that fuelled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as ‘The Big Bang’: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candour, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song ‘Born to Run’ reveals more than we previously realized.
  Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll. Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs (‘Thunder Road’, ‘Badlands’, ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’, ‘The River’, ‘Born in the U.S.A.’, ‘The Rising’, and ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’, to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.

Lonely Boy by Steve Jones
(17 Nov 2016)
Without the Sex Pistols there would be no Punk. And without Steve Jones there would be no Sex Pistols. It was Steve who formed Kutie Jones and his Sex Pistols, the band that eventually went on to become the Sex Pistols, with his schoolmate Paul Cook and who was its original leader. As the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of Punk – the influence and cultural significance of which is still felt in music, fashion and the visual arts to this day – Steve tells his story for the very first time.

Steve’s modern Dickensian tale begins in the streets of Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush, West London, where as a lonely, neglected boy living off his wits and his petty thievery, he is given purpose by the glam art rock of David Bowie and Roxy Music and becomes one of the first generation of ragamuffin punks taken under the wings of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. For the very first time Steve describes the sadness of never knowing his dad, the neglect and abuse he suffered at the hands of his step father, and how his interest in music and fashion saved him from a potential life of crime spent in remand centres and prison. From the Kings Road of the early seventies, through the years of the Sex Pistols, Punk Rock and the recording of Never Mind the Bollocks (ranked number 41 in Rolling Stone magazine’s Best Albums of All Time), to his self-imposed exile in New York and Los Angeles where he battled with alcohol, heroin and sex addiction – caught in a cycle of rehab and relapse – Lonely Boy, written with music journalist and author Ben Thompson, is the story of an unlikely guitar hero who, with the Sex Pistols, changed history.

Publication coincides with the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols first record, ‘Anarchy in the UK’, and of Steve’s infamous confrontation on Bill Grundy’s Today programme – that interview ushered in the ‘Filth and the Fury’ headlines that catapulted Punk into the national consciousness.

Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Famous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace
(24 Nov 2016)
“”If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman/ My mother once told me she would have named me Laura/ I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her.””-“The Ocean”
A searing account of her search for identity and true self, TRANNY reveals the struggles and victories that Laura Jane Grace, the lead singer of the cult punk rock band Against Me! experienced in her quest for gender transition.
Illuminated by Laura Jane’s never-before-published journal entries reaching back to childhood, TRANNY is an intensely personal and revelatory look inside her struggles with identity and addiction. Grappling with everything from sex, drugs, failed marriages, music, and soul of a punk rock star, this memoir paints a vivid portrait of one of the most revolutionary transgender icons of our time.

syd barrett
Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd: Dark Globe
(30 Nov 2016)
Syd Barrett was an art-school student when he founded Pink Floyd, with whom he served as vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter in the original line-up. Famous before his twentieth birthday, Barrett led the charge of psychedelia onstage at London s famed UFO club and his acid-inspired lyrics became a hallmark of London’s 1967 Summer of Love.
Improvisatory and whimsical, Zen-like and hard-living, Barrett pushed the boundaries of music into new realms of artistic expression while battling his inner-demons. This probing and comprehensive biography, a full ten years in the writing, features a wealth of interviews with Syd’s family, intimates, friends and band mates, providing an unvarnished look at Barrett’s life and work.
Author Julian Palacios authoritatively traces Barrett’s swift evolution from precocious youth to psychedelic rock star, examining both his wide-ranging inspirations and his influence on generations of musicians, and presenting an extensive overview of his musical, artistic and literary influences. A never-to-be forgotten casualty of the excess, innovation and idealism of the 1960s, Syd Barrett channeled the “gestalt” of the era and is one of the most heavily mythologized men in rock. “Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe” offers a rare portrayal of this unique spirit in flight and freefall.”

sinatra's century
Sinatra’s Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World by David Lehman
(1 Dec 2016)
In celebration of his one-hundredth birthday, a charming, irresistibly readable, and handsomely packaged look back at the life and times of the greatest entertainer in American history, Frank Sinatra.

Sinatra’s Century is an irresistible collection of one-hundred short reflections on the man, his music, and his larger-than-life story, by a lifetime fan who also happens to be one of the poetry world’s most prominent voices. David Lehman uses each of these short pieces to look back on a single facet of the entertainer’s story—from his childhood in Hoboken, to his emergence as “The Voice” in the 1940s, to the wild professional (and romantic) fluctuations that followed. Lehman offers new insights and revisits familiar stories—Sinatra’s dramatic love affairs with some of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood, including Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Ava Gardner; his fall from grace in the late 1940s and resurrection during the “Capitol Years” of the 1950s; his bonds with the rest of the Rat Pack; and his long tenure as the Chairman of the Board, viewed as the eminence grise of popular music inspiring generations of artists, from Bobby Darin to Bono to Bob Dylan.

Brimming with Lehman’s own lifelong affection for Sinatra, the book includes lists of unforgettable performances; engaging insight on what made Sinatra the model of American machismo—and the epitome of romance; and clear-eyed assessments of the foibles that impacted his life and work. Warm and enlightening, Sinatra’s Century is full-throated appreciation of Sinatra for every fan.


The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

art of asking

I don’t really listen to audiobooks. They always seem like a huge time investment compared to reading books (which they aren’t) but more so, I can’t do anything else when listening to audiobooks (whereas when reading, I’d normally listen to music also). Anyway, my main criteria for listening to an audiobook is who is reading it, and like this one, I tend to only listen to ones read by the author and of author’s I’m interested in.

I’m a long term fan of Amanda Palmer and her former band, The Dresden Dolls, who I’ve listened to for well over a decade now, so I was looking forward to getting this book. I initially got it in paperback but I didn’t get very far with it; I was distracted, and also I wasn’t mad about reading it, however, I ended up getting it through Audible and due to some unusual circumstances, I found myself in the position to listen to hours and hours of an audiobook.

And I was very glad I did. The book completely comes alive when Amanda reads it. More than that, she has punctuated sections with her own music, and occasionally, the music of others, the conceit of which works really well when she’s talking about a specific song.

The book stemmed from her crowdfunding over $1million for her record, Theatre is Evil, and the subsequent TED talk she was asked to give which introduced her to a whole new audience. It’s about much more than that though. Part memoir, part journey through an artist connecting with her fans, part self-help at times (in a good way), this book starts with her working in an icecream shop in Boston and on her days off being a living statue, the 9ft tall “The Bride”, replete in white facepaint and an old wedding dress. She talks about this and how it was good training for connecting with an audience and more than that, being unafraid to ask for help when needed, being unafraid of connecting with someone.

There is so much in this book that I could go on and on about it for ages. Like she is in her music and online, she doesn’t hold anything back, going into detail about her relationship with Neil Gaiman, her abortion, what it was like being hated on the Internet, but more than anything, this book is about a musician seeking to connect, seeking to be an artist, and not feeling ashamed for either. Recommended.


You can reserve a print copy of this book on South Dublin Libraries’ online catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #33

Who doesn’t love a good pun (and a good music book!)?

cowboys and indies

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

COWBOYS AND INDIES is the story of the ‘record men’ – the mavericks and moguls who have shaped the music industry from the first sound machines of the 1850s through to today’s digital streams.
Men like John Hammond, who discovered Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen; Sam Phillips and Berry Gordy, founders of the Sun and Motown labels; Chris Blackwell, who brought Bob Marley and reggae music into the mainstream; Geoff Travis who built Rough Trade and launched The Smiths; or genre-busting producer Rick Rubin, who recorded Run DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash.

Gareth Murphy has drawn on more than 100 interviews with music business legends, as well as extensive archive research, to bring us the behind-the-scenes stories of how music gets made and sold. He explains, too, how the industry undergoes regular seismic changes. We may think the digital revolution is a big deal, but in the 1920s the arrival of radio and the Wall Street Crash wiped out 95 per cent of record sales. But, as we all know, you can’t stop the music …


Brilliant Book Titles #28

Although I’m not a fan of the band (I still hold a grudge against what they did to Napster, #neverforget), I really like this title.


birth school

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Metallica have sold in excess of 100 million albums and won seven Grammys. Their journey from scuzzy Los Angeles garages to the stages of the world’s biggest stadia has been an epic and often traumatic one, and one of the few truly great rock ‘n’ roll sagas.

No music writers have been afforded greater access to Metallica over the years than Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood, two former editors of Kerrang. Having conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with the band, they have between them gained an unparalleled knowledge of the group’s history and an insiders’ view of how their story has developed: they have ridden in the band’s limos, flown on their private jet, joined them in the studio, been invited to the quartet’s ‘HQ’ outside San Francisco and shared beers and stories with them in venues across the globe. There are countless memorable stories about the band never before seen in print, tales of bed-hopping and drug-taking and car-crashes and fist-fights and back-stabbing that occur when you mix testosterone and adrenaline, alcohol and egomania, talent and raw ambition.

Perceptive, emotionally attached, and intellectually rigorous, Birth, School, Metallica, Death will be the essential and definitive story of this extraordinary band. Volume I takes us from the band’s inception through to the recording and eve of release of their seminal, self-titled, 1991 album.