A blog about Bloomsbury Academic's 33 1/3 series, our other books about music, and the world of sound in general.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A present for your ears

LD Beghtol has a posted a podcast with Stephen Merritt of the Magnetic Fields on the Village Voice site. Perfect for a little holiday listening. And by 'perfect,' I mean that there don't appear to be any holiday songs on the playlist, which is just fine by me.
And as LD conveniently points out, he wrote the very stocking-friendly book on 69 Love Songs.

See you in 2007.
--John Mark

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A question

Assuming we sign up some new books for the series in the first part of next year, should we stick to the "one album per artist" rule, or would it be interesting to see future books on other albums by Bowie, the Stones, Radiohead, etc? I'm tempted to stick to the rule for as long as possible, but has the series reached that point already? All comments welcome.

And here's Nik Dirga on two of the recent books, by Mark Polizzotti and John Dougan.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The League Table

Notable movers and shakers over the last few months: the NMH book (again), Bill Janovitz's Exile book, Dan LeRoy's Beasties book - and Mark Polizzotti's excellent Dylan book is off to a flyer, too.

LD's 69 Love Songs book is out, but hasn't arrived in the UK yet, so it's too soon to appear on this chart.

1. The Smiths
2. The Kinks
3. Neutral Milk Hotel
4. Pink Floyd
5. Joy Division
6. Velvet Underground
7. Rolling Stones
8. The Beatles
9. Radiohead
10. Love
11. Neil Young
12. Beach Boys
13. Dusty Springfield
14. DJ Shadow
15. Jimi Hendrix
16. Led Zeppelin
17. The Replacements
18. David Bowie
19. The Band
20. Beastie Boys
21. Jeff Buckley
22. Prince
23. Pixies
24. The Ramones
25. R.E.M.
26. Bruce Springsteen
27. Bob Dylan
28. Elvis Costello
29. James Brown
30. Abba
31. Jethro Tull
32. Nirvana
33. Sly and the Family Stone
34. The Who
35. The MC5
36. The Stone Roses
37. Guided By Voices

Question: would any of you buy a book about f#a# by GYBE?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's all downhill from here...

It's weird enough returning to work from a perfect honeymoon (Banderas Bay, Mexico), but weirder still when you find out that (a) one of your editors quit while you were away and (b) the company chairman stepped down, too. Anyhoo, I've almost caught up with the backlog of stuff now, so we should have a few posts over the next few days - and many thanks to John Mark for taking care of business these last few weeks.

We should have an updated 33 1/3 sales table tomorrow. Has the Ott/Meloy fiasco prompted any sales?? Mmmmmmm, no, not really.

Sad news about Ahmet Ertegun. More on that tomorrow too, if I have the time.

Also, if you're interested in writing one of these books, we'll be putting out a call for proposals on this blog, some time in January or February. Consider yourselves warned.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Thanks for reading the past couple weeks... David will be back in on Monday.

Dylanologists, start your engines

I saw a link to this over at Whitney Matheson's Pop Candy blog. Apparently Slate is debuting the new Bob Dylan video and running a contest that can win you a guitar autographed by Dylan himself. It doesn't say what kind of guitar they're giving away--it's always a little sad to see a legend's signature on a $79.99 guitar--but it might be worth checking out.

On a related note, I just opened up a review for The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia that came in the mail from Goldmine.
Erudite, idiosyncratic, witty and caustic--like its subject--Michael Gray's The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia provides more than 850 entries on sidemen, songs, friends, family and more, reaching from "Aaronson, Kenny" (Dylan's 1988-89 bassist) to "Zimmerman Family, the."
I wonder if Slate would let the winner throw in a few extra hundred thousand to upgrade to the Gibson on the front of Nashville Skyline?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

New 69 Love Songs website...

LD Beghtol has launched a beautiful new website for the 33 1/3 on The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs. It is still under development, so keep checking back. There should be even more on the way soon.

Also, the book is now available from Amazon and other booksellers, even if it had a Dec 11 pub date. Honestly, this is the kind of thing I wish I could give several of my friends for Christmas, but since I work for Continuum the gesture might ring a little hollow. Oh well...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"got $126,204.03 in my hand..."

If you'd like to hear what $126,204.03 worth of original Velvet Underground acetate sounds like without actually shelling out the cash, the good folks at Moistworks have you covered. And if you're into Lou Reed and martial arts, you can check out his workout dvd here. If you'd like a concise behind-the-scenes look at how the influential record was created, look no further than Joe Harvard's book on the subject.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stone Roses & 69 Love Songs

Alex Green will be on KYMC 89.7 in St. Louis talking with Matt Distelrath about the Stone Roses this Wednesday, December 6th at 6:15pm CST. Their website is under construction so there doesn't appear to be an audiostream, so if you're not in the St. Louis area you might try busting out the short wave radio.

...and over at the Whine Colored Sea blog, there's a nice write up about Pantone 292 and LD Beghtol's forthcoming 33 1/3 on The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs:
"My love affair with the 33⅓ series is only getting more intense. LD Beghtol's entry on 69 Love Songs just came in the mail and based on my initial browse, it might just be my favorite entry yet."

Zappin' Poj 2006

Looks like Jackin' Pop, Idolator's answer to the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop poll, is ruffling some feathers. Michelangelo Matos, author of the 33 1/3 on Prince's Sign O' The Times is the Jackin' Pop editor.

Sean Nelson interviewed on KUOW

Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger fame is also author of the forthcoming book on Joni Mitchell's Court & Spark. On November 9th he sat down and talked with The Beat on KUOW in Seattle. You can find the link to the archive on this page.
I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet--my work computer doesn't like to cooperate with certain streaming audio--but it looks good. There's also a segment on Chinese rock (not the Johnny Thunders kind) on the same program.

Greatest Hits in Memphis

Stephen Deusner has a nice write up of 33 1/3 Greatest Hits in last week's Memphis Flyer.
"Like most best-of compilations, 33 1/3 Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 is only a partial portrait of a larger subject, in this case Continuum's popular series that features writers from different backgrounds extolling the virtues of their favorite albums. The series' greatest virtue is its breadth: Contributors include academics, critics, and musicians, who expound on rock, pop, funk, hip-hop, soul, folk, dance, alternative, and Prince. Admirably, editor David Barker dictates no approach to the albums, allowing the writers to consider the music academically, historically, or autobiographically. The result is a diverse and multifaceted series that covers not just the range of popular music but the gamut of pop-music criticism."
I would put up the whole review if I were cutting and pasting, but I'm typing this out by hand, so I'll have to stop there...

"got $26 in my hand..."

Looks like this guy is going to get a pretty decent return on his investment.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Time Magazine's top 100 albums

2006 seems an odd year to look back at the top 100 albums of all time. I guess they couldn't wait for a nice round number.

Of course these lists are always a little ridiculous, but it does seem a little strange to me that many of the best albums since 2000 are retrospectives and box sets of artists from the 50s and 60s. I guess that's Time's demographic speaking there... And only one jazz record (A Love Supreme) on the list? Please.

Hard to argue with these selections, though:

OK Computer
Paul's Boutique
The Stone Roses
Sign O' The Times
The Ramones
Songs in the Key of Life
Exile on Main St.
Led Zeppelin IV
Velvet Underground & Nico
Pet Sounds
Highway 61 Revisited
Live at the Apollo

The Dylan Daily Revisited

Gerry at the Dylan Daily (mentioned here on Tuesday) has made his way through all 161 pages of Mark Polizzotti's Highway 61 Revisited and has this to say:
The groaning Dylan shelves house a few books that are virtually unreadable, many that are merely OK, and a few which are, appropriately considering their subject, so well written that reading them is an unalloyed pleasure.

The new Highway 61 Revisited, by Mark Polizzotti (Continuum 2006, 162pp, 33 1/3 series, no 35, £6.99/$9.95), is a welcome addition to the pleasure givers.

Polizzotti’s analysis of Dylan’s landmark 1965 album, one of the most important releases in popular music history (and ranked third in the recent poll of Dylan Daily readers), speculates on the genesis of the songs, examines their lyrical content and, more prosaically, outlines the recording process. Crucially, he places the great album in the context of what was happening in Dylan’s world in the mid-1960s.

This might seem like an oft-ploughed furrow but, thanks to a formidable intellect, Polizzotti makes some telling observations not encountered elsewhere. He writes with intelligence and flair. And his text has a depth which would fully engage you over several slow, careful reads.

Highway 61 Revisited is more convincing than the other books I’ve read from the 33 1/3 series (Harvest, Exile On Main St. …), and I preferred it to Like A Rolling Stone, last year’s Greil Marcus book covering similar territory.

A fine new book: highly recommended.