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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Links for Tuesday...

Hi there. I just wanted to take the time to point you toward a few links that are well worth checking out...

* John Darnielle has begun his guest blogging stint over at the Powell's blog. Do check it out here. You will be rewarded with metal.

* I've been a fan of the blog 20 Jazz Funk Greats for a while now, which is neither a blog about jazz funk greats, nor a blog solely about Throbbing Gristle, but I suppose it does make sense that they would dedicate a post to Drew Daniel's 33 1/3 on Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats. Some great tracks are embedded in the post!

* Next up is Max Abelson's Super Groovy Music/Video Spectacular, which is a daily dose of youtube links loosely curated along these lines: Monday 60s, Tuesday 70s, Wednesday 80s, Thursday 90s, Friday 00s. Whenever I start playing around on youtube I always end up watching that lady fall over while stomping grapes, so it's nice to have someone steer me in a more worthwhile direction (still love the grape lady though).

* And finishing things off today is the following OpEd from the Morning News, Two Minutes and 42 Seconds In Heaven, in which the author weighs in on the ideal length of a pop song. Good stuff.
"Three minutes is where bloat starts to set in. Where the band thinks: Hey, let’s do the chorus seven times. Hey, let’s give the saxophone guy a real moment to shine on this one. Hey, let’s add another bridge."

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Great Truth of Metal

Popmatters just put up a really great interview with John Darnielle about working with kids in psych wards, his book on Black Sabbath, and metal in general. It's really an excellent read...
“But yeah—metal was a place young people went to feel like not everybody thought they were dumbasses, you know, where adults could look at them from a place of success and position and say, ‘The things you value have value, no matter what they are or how weird they seem to other people, and anybody who tells you otherwise is an asshole.’ Which is the great truth of metal, as far as I’m concerned.”

In other Sabbath news, John will be reading at Housing Works in NYC on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 7:00 PM.

And starting on Monday, he'll be doing a week of guest blogging over on the Powell's site.

Still Talking About Love

By which I don't mean Forever Changes (today's Pitchfork review of the new, new reissue certainly resonates with Andrew Hultkrans's book on the album for the series), but a little more Celine.

There's an excellent review of Carl's book in the "Summer Reading" section of The Mac Weekly: MacAlester's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1914, the review being written by Peter Valelly. Here's a short clip:

It may not sound like it if you're not a total music geek like me, but this book is outrageously entertaining and funny, and it probably won't take you more than three days to read. And while I personally still find Celine Dion's music indefensibly putrid, the book may prompt you to think for about two extra seconds before plugging your ears the next time you find yourself in the dismal situation of hearing "My Heart Will Go On."

And you can read the whole review right here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Revised, Updated, and Award-Winning

I'm very pleased to announce that Michael Gray's wonderful Bob Dylan Encyclopedia was recently awarded the C.B. Oldman Prize by the International Association of Music Libraries. The prize is given "for an outstanding work of music bibliography, music reference or music librarianship by an author resident in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland."

The revised and updated paperback edition of the book has just shipped out from our US warehouse, and will be on sale on bookstores any day now, and on Amazon, right here. (It says temporarily out of stock, but they have many more copies en route...)

Friday, April 18, 2008

NEW BOOK: Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, by John Darnielle

Available and on sale now is volume number 56 in the series. The book is available from all the usual stores that carry the series, and from Amazon right here. In the meantime, here's the back cover copy:


Imagine that you are a man from space! And you don't speak English and you never heard of weed, and you landed in California and the first person you met up with took you to his house and said "Hey check out this band." And then he played you "Sweet Leaf." In my opinion, the man from space would hear that song, just the crunchy guitar sound and those bass notes, Geezer Butler is the best bassist it sounds like his strings are made from lime jello salad, and he would start banging his head! Because the riff on "Sweet Leaf," that is something anybody could understand. ANYBODY.

Black Sabbath's Master of Reality has maintained remarkable historical status over several generations; it's a touchstone for the directionless, and common coin for young men and women who've felt excluded from the broader cultural economy. John Darnielle hears it through the ears of Roger Painter, a young adult locked in a southern California adolescent psychiatric center in 1985; deprived of his Walkman and hungry for comfort, he explains Black Sabbath as one might describe air to a fish, or love to an android, hoping to convince his captors to give him back his tapes.

John Darnielle was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and was raised by southern California. He sings, writes songs, and plays guitar for the Mountain Goats and writes South Pole Dispatch monthly for Decibel magazine. He lives with his wife in Durham, North Carolina.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: Swordfishtrombones

David Smay's Tom Waits entry in the series is thoughtfully reviewed by Eric Whelchel on Blogcritics today:

"In many ways Smay’s book is actually a better study of Waits’ music and life than the few recent (and much longer) biographies. The major elements of Waits’ music, and how many of those elements originated with Swordfishtrombones, are all addressed with a mixture of well-researched information and hilarious anecdotes and interpretations."

You can read the entire review here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NEW BOOK: Patti Smith's Horses, by Philip Shaw

Available and on sale now is volume number 55 in the series, which comes in a delicious shade of blue. The book is available from all the usual stores that carry the series, and from Amazon right here. In the meantime, here's the back cover copy:

That Patti Smith was operating in a different realm entirely to that occupied by her sisters in the genre was made obvious when one removed the vinyl from its plain paper sleeve. Placing the record on the turntable, putting the needle into the groove, none of the ritualistic operations of the act of listening to a record could prepare the listener for the visceral and intellectual disturbance of "Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)." A live highlight from the CBGBs sets, the song's opening lines, adapted from the poem "Oath," have lost none of their power to shock.

Horses, to many of those who heard it upon its release in late 1975, was a revolutionary album and marked the debut of an astonishing talent. Here, British scholar Philip Shaw details the early life and career of its creator, Patti Smith, looking closely at her poetry and performances from the early 70s through to the album's genesis. The result is an insightful and revealing study of one of rock music's landmark records and the artistic milieu from which it sprang.

Philip Shaw is a Reader in the English Department at the University of Leicester, where he specializes in the teaching of nineteenth-century literature and critical theory. In his spare time he writes songs and plays guitar in the group Alberteen.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The League Table, and Quiz Results

It's that time of year again. Early April. Still very chilly in New York City, although I did manage to pick up a nice sunburn at Coney Island on Saturday.

Here's the new 33 1/3 series league sales table, current through the end of March.

1. Neutral Milk Hotel
2. The Kinks
3. The Beatles
4. The Smiths
5. The Rolling Stones
6. Joy Division
7. Velvet Underground
8. Led Zeppelin
9. Radiohead
10. Pink Floyd
11. Neil Young
12. Jeff Buckley
13. The Beach Boys
14. Dusty Springfield
15. Love
16. David Bowie
17. DJ Shadow
18. Beastie Boys
19. Bob Dylan
20. My Bloody Valentine
21. The Pixies
22. Jimi Hendrix
23. Bruce Springsteen
24. The Replacements
25. The Band
26. Prince
27. R.E.M.
28. The Ramones
29. Sonic Youth
30. Elvis Costello
31. James Brown
32. Celine Dion
33. The Who
34. Captain Beefheart
35. Nirvana
36. Steely Dan
37. Magnetic Fields
38. Guided By Voices
39. The Byrds
40. The Minutemen
41. Stone Roses
42. Jethro Tull
43. Sly and the Family Stone
44. Abba
45. The MC5
46. Joni Mitchell
47. Belle & Sebastian
48. Stevie Wonder
49. PJ Harvey
50. Nick Drake
51. Tom Waits
52. Guns N Roses
53. U2
54. A Tribe Called Quest
55. Throbbing Gristle

Strong moves from the Beefheart, Steely Dan, and Magnetic Fields books, and it's early days yet for several of the very new titles. Having said that, the Celine Dion book enters the chart at number 32, which is pretty impressive after four months. Nobody predicted 32 in our competition, but Brian Castro went for number 33 and Matt Elliott cunningly countered that with a guess at number 31. So we have two winners, and congratulations to Brian and Matt - I'll email you separately to ask for your list of 10 free 33 1/3 books each. (A pat on the back also for Dave Heaton, who was perilously close with his guess of number 30.)


Upcoming events in Baltimore and the Northwest

Drew Daniel will be reading from his Throbbing Gristle book at Red Emma's in Baltimore, at 7.30pm on Thursday April 17th. He'll also be DJ'ing from 6pm onwards, in a bar around the corner. Full details can be found here!

And way out west, Matthew Stearns has lined up a handful of dates to read from his Sonic Youth book - and the events in Seattle and Portland will include music from a Sonic Youth cover band, too.

Friday April 11th at 7pm: Village Books, Bellingham WA
Friday May 2nd at 7pm: University Bookstore, Seattle WA
Saturday May 3rd at 7pm: Reading Frenzy, Portland OR