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

Friday, June 26, 2009

Design contest anyone?

One thing I love about the series design is how easy it is for people to play around with. Last year, Tom Scharpling came up with this one on Kriss Kross (got the cropping wrong, though). And last year Hayden Childs, author of the 33 1/3 on Richard and Linda Thomson's Shoot Out The Lights came up with a series of great covers over on the Powell's blog. Now Jim A. has come up with some great covers for the best of the worst possible 33 1/3s. Click here for the full set (via NY Magazine's Vulture). I also really like the Prince idea.

How about this? Make your own hypothetical 33 1/3 cover, put a link to the image in the comments of this post, we'll pick a winner* some time after the July 4th holiday, and the winner will get some recent 33 1/3s, some doo-dads we have around the office, and maybe a copy of A Cultural Dictionary of Punk which is just off the press, and has already gotten plenty of compliments in the cover design department.

*Just so there is no confusion, this is a contest to make an amusing 33 1/3 book cover that will (most likely) never become a book, not an open call for proposals for new books in the series.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Elliott vs. Celine / Matt LeMay vs. Carl Wilson

May I have your attention, Torontonians*!

I just wanted to take a break from watching old Cop Rock clips on youtube to bring your attention to the following event happening at

Soundscapes in Toronto
Sunday, June 28th at 2:00pm

Reading and discussion with two writers from the 33 1/3 series of short books about albums:

1. New York's Matthew LeMay, Pitchfork writer and author of "XO," a book about Elliott Smith's, arguably, greatest record and the myths and misunderstandings that surround his popular image.

2. Toronto's own Carl Wilson of Zoilus.com and The Globe and Mail, author of "Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste," a book about the Celine Dion album with that Titanic song on it, the deep and dubious reasons why people hate Celine Dion, and why Elliott Smith thought they shouldn't.

For more info, visit the Soundscapes website here.

*Abby, Continuum's resident Torontonian, assures me that this is in fact the correct term for a person from Toronto. She might be pulling my leg though.

Monday, June 08, 2009

33 1/3 audiobooks

We probably don't mention it enough around here, but a number of 33 1/3s are available as audiobooks. 25 of them to be exact...

Big Star's Radio City
REM's Murmur
Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis
Led Zeppelin's IV (or 'Runes,' or 'Old Guy with the Sticks and What Have You')
Beach Boys' Pet Sounds
Pink Floyd's Pipers at the Gates of Dawn
Flying Burrito Bros.'s Guilded Palace of Sin
Abba's Abba Gold
Jeff Buckley's Grace
Radiohead's OK Computer
The Beatles' Let It Be
Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street
Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited
David Bowie's Low
The Kinks - Village Green Preservation Society
Love's Forever Changes
Neil Young's Harvest
Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Nick Drake's Pink Moon
Nirvana's In Utero
The Smiths' Meat is Murder
Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life
The Velvet Underground's Velvet Underground & Nico
Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures
u2's Achtung Baby

You can either get these through Audible.com or go to your friendly neighborhood iTunes store and search for "33 1/3" and narrow that down to audiobooks. I've never been much of an audiobook person since I don't have a car and work requires me to be around talking people, but I can tear up some podcasts doing the laundry, so I'm giving it a shot and...so far so good. Like having someone read you bedtime stories, but for the laundry.

Free Stuff Alert:
The good folks at Audible are running a promotion in conjunction with Rolling Stone where you can download the 33 1/3 on Paul's Boutique for free. So try that out if you are so inclined. [note: some people complain in the comments about having to download software to get the free audiobook, but I didn't have this experience.] They are going to be doing another promo with the Beach Boys Pet Sounds book at some point. I'll keep you up to date on that.

Has anybody out there listened to any 33 1/3 audiobooks? Any suggestions on the best ones to start with?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Elliott Smith reading this Sunday in Brooklyn

Sunday, June 7th at 7:00pm
Barb├Ęs and Continuum present the last in a series of multimedia readings

The very name "Elliott Smith" often seems to conjure images of a drug-addled, powerless "sad sack," but Smith's 1998 major label debut XO masterfully defies these stereotypes in both content and execution. Matthew LeMay will read from his book, Elliott Smith's XO, and will supplement his reading with snippets from rare demo and live recordings, as well as video interviews from around the time of XO's release. In seeing and hearing these materials, one begins to get a clearer picture of Elliott Smith the confident and capable craftsman.
This should be a lot of fun. Come out and say hello, have a pint, and stick around afterward for some gypsy jazz ala Django Reinhart. This is the final installment of the multimedia reading series at Barbes, and we would like to thank Olivier, Jeff, Claire, and all of the staff at Barbes for being so patient and accommodating. If you are in NYC and haven't visited the bar before, be sure to check out the event schedule for the back room. On any given night, they are bound to be putting on some of the more interesting live music in the city... if only all reading venues had such a fine selection of beers on tap.

As a complement to the Stevie Wonder drum solo below, here's another one in technicolor times nine (with a "Prisoner" vibe) to take you through the weekend.