Music

Not for You: Pearl Jam and the Present Tense by Ronen Givony - Book Review

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$16.95
ISBN: 9781501360671
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - October 21st, 2021

A backstage pass to the story of Pearl Jam, written by a fan trying to understand why this band means so much to him and how they came to be one of the most influential bands of a generation. Givony covers their journey from playing small Seattle clubs to selling out massive arenas, all while maintaining the integrity of the influential music they continue to make. There is a lot of emphasis on the live performances which have made Pearl Jam legendary, as well as their willingness to stand up for progressive causes even when doing so hurt their career. Givony doesn't shy away from the contradictions of a band that claims to not want fame while at the same time seeking to become the biggest band in the world; a goal they actually achieved. A must read for any Pearl Jam fan and anyone looking to understand the culture they influenced with their music and their activism. ~ Reviewed by Allen Boulet


Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest (American Music) by Hanif Abdurraqib - Book Review

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$16.95
ISBN: 9781477316481
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Published: University of Texas Press - February 1st, 2019

Few music books can overwhelmingly capture my full attention, make me smile, bring me to tears, and simultaneously teach me about myself, the author, and the music, but Go Ahead in the Rain managed to do that and feel like an exceptionally warm embrace from the author to his beloved A Tribe Called Quest, arguably the best rap group of all time. Whether you are familiar or not with A Tribe Called Quest, this book will make you fall in love with them, their movement, and 90s hip hop. As a first time reader of Abdurraqib's work, I definitely know this will not be my last. ~ Reviewed by Laura Knapp


Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967-1975 by Richard Thompson - Book Review

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$27.95
ISBN: 9781616208950
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Published: Algonquin Books - April 6th, 2021

Like his lyrics Thompson weaves magic into simple honest review of his early life, music and the people who helped or inspired him along the way. The man can write a lyric that twists your heart and lingers in your soul. Red Molly and "Beeswing" are more than flights of fancy but spirits that hug your imagination and leaves me wanting more. I read the book in one sitting. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan


A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib - Book Review

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$27.00
ISBN: 9781984801197
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Published: Random House - March 30th, 2021

“The problem with approaching history in America is that too many people measure things by distance and not by impact.” This should be the book that catapults Abdurraqib to public intellectual. A gorgeously written, deeply moving, and intellectually rigorous collection of essays that is also a memoir and a topical meditation on the black experience and the history of black performance in America from the acclaimed poet and music writer. From the formally experimental essay in the form of a poetic crown that juxtaposes Mike Tyson and Bernie Mac,to essays on Joesphine Baker, Beyoncé, and Merry Clayton the haunting backup singer on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” to the essay “Sixteen Ways of Looking at Blackface,” Abdurraqib always takes the reader on a journey through culture and history, both American and personal. He explores how Black Lives Matter as a statement is “commodif[ied] into silence,” the “weapons people disguise in small talk,” and how “if you are Black, and you are twice as good as a lot of [white] people doing [the same thing], it serves you to remind the public of your greatness from time to time.” Come for the intellectual engagement with Aretha or Lando or self-congratulatory Hollywood movies where race relations are sanitized, stay for the memories of Abdurraqib’s late mother, for his poetic prose, and moments like the one late in the book in which an embrace saves a life. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


Jimmy Page: The Anthology by Jimmy Page - Book Review

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$60.00
ISBN: 9781905662616
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Published: Genesis Publications - October 20th, 2020

This is a hefty work that may require a team lift to even get onto your lap. But that is no small coincidence given what is contained within. This is not just a juicy compilation of Zeppelin/Page memorabilia; one does not have to be a fan of the group or artist to fully appreciate the depth of what is offered here. The photos of Page's extensive personal collection of memorabilia along with his accompanying notes are a true insider's guide to a significant slice of Rock and Roll history. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


The Hard Times: The First 40 Years by Matt Saincome - Book Review

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$20.00
ISBN: 9780358022374
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Published: Mariner Books - October 29th, 2019

Reductively, this is The Onion for music, and music-adjacent interests. Not only are the "headlines" eye catching and chuckle-worthy, but the articles are extremely clever and full of Easter eggs for those in the know. I'd go so far as to say this might be a must-buy for those interested. ~ Reviewed by Chris Linendoll


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