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Music

Unite and Fight! England's Punk-Reggae Hybrid

When Bob Marley went to London in 1977 he discovered, documented, and reveled in the punky reggae party.

Recent
Books

Wendy Carlos: Musical Pioneer, Reluctant Icon

Amanda Sewell's vastly informative new biography on musical trailblazer Wendy Carlos is both reverent and honest.

Music

Punk Hybrids: Wham! Bam! Glam-Punk!

Glam Punk is "Rock 'n' roll with lipstick on," sneered John Lennon.

Books

Love Songs: The Hidden History (Excerpt)

What do evolutionary biology and its founding father, Charles Darwin, have to do with love songs? As it turns out, quite a lot. Enjoy this excerpt of Ted Gioia's Love Songs: The Hidden History, courtesy of Oxford University Press.

Ted Gioia
Music

The New Old Flower-Power Fantasy of Greta Van Fleet

If Greta Van Fleet are that wonderful horrible thing called zeitgeisty, that zeitgeist is defined by desire to escape to a fantasized past where the battles were cleaner and the battle lines simpler than today's appear to be.

Music

How the Staple Singers Became the Soul of Protest Music

The Staple Singers' Stax recording, Come Go with Me, captures their transformation from the church-wrecking gospel highway to the soul-filling pop charts.

Books

Stephen Tow's 'London, Reign Over Me' Is a Must-Read Tour of '60s British Rock

Historian Stephen Tow's London, Reign Over Me is an insightful, thorough, and welcoming exploration of '60s-era British rock.

Jordan Blum
Music

Punk Hybrids: Back in the Garage

Punk's idea(l)s may have been fostered in Art schools, but its musical foundations were cultivated in garages.

Books

The Curmudgeonly King of Noir Chronicled in 'Notes From the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed'

Howard Sounes' Notes From the Velvet Underground is a beautifully considered book, with enough detail about the life and career of Lou Reed for the geeks, enough context for the historians, and just enough juicy stuff for everyone else.

Books

Music History, the Conspiracy Theory: On Ted Gioia's Music: A Subversive History

Although enjoyable in that sweeping big picture kind of way, there is nothing subversive to be found in Ted Gioia's Music: A Subversive History.

Books

'God Save the Queens' Addresses the Gender Imbalance in the Story of Rap

Kathy Iandoli's personable history, God Save the Queens, shows how women in rap face up to the battles.

Books

Irving Berlin: New York Genius (By the Book)

Exploring the interplay of Irving Berlin's life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self-made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. Enjoy this excerpt of Kaplan's book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius.

James Kaplan
Film

The Spitfire Rumble of the Rolling Stones: Director Oliver Murray on 'The Quiet One'

For director Oliver Murray, music exists in the air, but the emotional archives of former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman gives viewers a tactile experience of this band's story in The Quiet One.

Books

By the Book: 'Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles'

In Solid State, acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack offers the most definitive account yet of the writing, recording, mixing, and reception of Abbey Road. (excerpt)

Film

The Kid Is Alright: Andrew Slater's 'Echo in the Canyon'

Music documentary Echo in the Canyon beautifully captures Jakob Dylan's search for the best lessons in collaboration from pioneering California Sound supergroups.

Books

Vivien Goldman's 'Revenge of the She-Punks' Doesn't Gloss the Reasons We Still Have to Rage

In her history of women in punk music, Revenge of the She-Punks, Vivien Goldman hefts the scene's virtues and the vices into one heap and concludes that some of it was necessary, some of it was fun, and some of it was evil.

Books

'Pick Up the Pieces' Is a Primer in Music as Cultural Memory

John Corbett's writing is often poetic in Pick Up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music, with each essay being a resonant reflection on the music, artists, scenes, and memories seemingly etched deeply in his being.

Books

By the Book: Pick up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music

In this excerpt of '70s music, Pick up the Pieces, John Corbett puts his critique of Kraftwerk's Autobahn to poetry and pogos with his conflict for the Clash and their album, The Clash.

Books

By the Book: 'A Hidden Landscape Once a Week'

In this excerpt of a history of the UK music press, A Hidden Landscape Once a Week, Tony Stewart recalls his time as writer and deputy editor at NME (1971-85) — the strengths and pleasures of teamwork and the vital role of the visual in the energies of a rock paper.

Books

'Half a Million Strong' Studies the Intersection of Crowds and Power at Rock Festivals

Gina Arnold's research into rock festivals in the US, Half a Million Strong, reveals that it's about the music, yes, but it's also very much about you.

Music

New Wave: Turning Rebellion into Money

If 1977 was New Wave's breakout year, by 1979 it had become an industry force, all but replacing punk as a viable vehicle or term of currency.

Books

You Can Feel the Venue's Heartbeat on Every Page of 'Showtime at the Apollo'

How do we measure the status of a performer's Holy Grail like the Apollo Theater in 2019? Ted Fox and James Otis Smith's beautifully realized, updated graphic history brings this rich history to life.

Books

'Smash!: Green Day, The Offspring, Bad Religion, NOFX, + the '90s Punk Explosion'

Ian Winwood's story of how punk rock music came to be so popular in the '90s is sewn together like a patchwork quilt of unlikely rises to fame and the ordinary people whose dedication made it possible.

Books

'A&R Pioneers' Highlights Unsung Pivotal Figures at the Birth of Recorded Pop Music

Well before artists were their own entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs became rock stars, A&R pros improvised a blueprint for the workings of the modern music industry.

Books

'Novel Sounds' and the Southern Institution’s Rock 'n' Roll Problem

In Novel Sounds, scholar Florence Dore is interested in how a mass cultural phenomenon like rock 'n' roll can help illuminate realities about institutionalized high culture.

Books

Chris Stamey's Homage to the New York Music Scene of the '70s

A Spy In The House of Loud works best on quiet stages, taking singular trips down clearly paved roads with definite endings.

Music

'Black Cowboys' and 'The Best Country Blues You've Never Heard' Chart New Trails through Old-Time Music

Black music's past is a rabbit hole more than big enough for these two vastly different excursions into its secret riches.

Books

Emo, Mascara Scars and All

The founder of Washed Up Emo brings together ten podcast interviews in print form to document the history of one of rock's most misunderstood genres.

Books

'Live Wires' Offers Inconsistent but Interesting Electronic Music History

This work serves as a preliminary resource, but it's certainly not the definitive history of electronic music.

Books

The Weirdos Are the Heroes in This Brief History of Electronic Music

Live Wires rips open the definition of 'electronic' to tell the story of the how those tapes and wires and transistors came to transform music into what we take for granted today.

Books

A Brief History on the Creation and Life of Handel's 'Messiah'

Award-winning author Jonathan Keates whips up a brief but highly specialized work on why Handel's "Messiah" was so special from the start.

Books

'The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums' Is Not the Last Word on the Subject

Will Friedwald writes subjectively in The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums, and is not afraid to be cheeky when he thinks audiences have misunderstood an artist or a release.

Music

This Next Number Will Be a Blues: Son House, Endings, Restarts, and a Delta Triptych

If you haven't heard the 80th anniversary CD of Son House's first session, you have one of the most visceral, galvanizing musical experiences awaiting you.

Colin Fleming
Music

Textbook Oppositions and Alternatives: Re-Thinking the Role of Race in '60s Rock and Soul Music

Black rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, and Arthur Lee (Love), as well as white soul musicians in the racially integrated bands playing on recordings of singers like Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, existed during the '60s. So why is rock and soul so black and white?

Music

Who Owns Punk History?

A folkloric examination of the interview manuscripts of punk historian Jon Savage and The England's Dreaming Tapes.

Books

'Cigar Box Banjo' Is a Nice Parting Gift From One of Canada’s Most Talented Writers

Cigar Box Banjo is less a memoir than it is an epitaph: Paul Quarrington wanted to be taken seriously as a bluesman, less so as an author.

Books

Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd by Glenn Povey

In an oversized edition, lavishly illustrated, this is a book that will put Floyd fanatics over the dark side of the moon.

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