Recent Posts in books
February 25, 2015
Contemporary composer great Philip Glass has a memoir on the horizon. Words Without Music traces his formative years as an artist, from growing up in post-World War 2 Baltimore to finding mentors while living in '70s NYC, as well as stories behind such seminal works as Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha. The book is due out April 6.
To celebrate the release of the autobiography, Glass will discuss the book with NPR's Kurt Andersen as part of BAM's "Unbound" literary series (which featured several other greats last year). The talk takes place April 20 at Howard Gilman Opera House. Tickets are currently on sale for BAM members and go on sale to the general public March 4.
February 23, 2015
Willie Nelson will release a new memoir, titled It's a Long Story: My Life, which is set for release on May 5. It's not his first book about his life -- he's published several, his first being 1988's Willie: An Autobiography. This one will touch on his childhood growing up during the Great Depression in Texas, his music career, tax problems, being a proponent of marijuana legalization and more.
Willie will also be touring for much of 2015, and is playing a
free Celebrate Brooklyn! show in Prospect Park on August 12 with Old Crow Medicine Show. Tickets go on sale Friday (2/27) at noon with an OCMS presale on Tuesday (2/24) at noon, and BRIC Arts and AMeX presales on Wednesday (2/25) at noon. All dates are listed below.
Celebrate Brooklyn! hasn't provided their full 2015 schedule yet, but it kicks off June 3 with Chaka Kahn and also includes the Interpol show on July 21 (tickets). Another show was just announced: Damien Rice on June 17 . That's a ticketed show which benefits the concert series. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (2/27) at noon with a BRIC Arts presale on Wednesday (2/25) at noon and a Ticketmaster presale on Thursday (2/26) at noon. Damien also plays Beacon Theatre on April 4 which is sold out.
All Willie Nelson tour dates are listed, along with Old Crow Medicine Show dates, below...
February 20, 2015
Kim Gordon's new memoir Girl In A Band comes out next week (2/24), and it's seeming like it's gonna be pretty awesome (not that we would've thought otherwise). A few excerpts have come out where Kim has less-than-nice things to say about Lana Del Rey, Courtney Love, Billy Corgan, and her split with Thurston Moore. One also appeared where she had nice things to say about Kurt Cobain (whose birthday is today, happy birthday Kurt). Catch up on those excerpts below.
Today a new Billboard podcast came out where Kim reads a part from her memoir about Sonic Youth's final show, and she also debuts a new solo track, "Close Your Eyes," on the podcast. Listen to that below too (song starts at 18:29).
February 19, 2015
by Bill Pearis
Super Furry Animals keyboardist Cian Ciaran and partner Estelle Ios are Zefur Wolves and will release their debut album via Strangetown Records on April 13. While you might expect, given Ciaran's role in SFA, that the duo would make synthpop or something, Zefur Wolves produce sludgy guitar pop. You can stream two songs and watch the album trailer below.
In other SFA side project news, drummer Dafydd Ieuan's other band, The Earth (not to be confused with Seattle drone trio of the same name), has a new single "Married 2 Me" where singer Dionne Bennett duets with Gruff Rhys. You can stream that below as well.
While, Super Furry Animals are still on hiatus. You can read their story in Ric Rawlins' officially sanctioned book Rise of The Super Furry Animals which was released this week as a paperback. It features new interviews with all the members as well as Pete Fowler's instantly recognizable artwork. Here's what Gruff says about it:
Revolutionary, crazed and beautiful musical events and conversations that originally happened through the medium of a cracked youthful version of the Welsh language are presented here for the first time in quality English. Ric lifts the lid on these millennial events through comic re-enactments, cosmic speculations and passionate research for the recordingsYou can watch a trailer for the book, below. 1996 will mark the 20th anniversary of SFA's debut album, Fuzzy Logic, so maybe we'll get some official band activity then. Or at least some vinyl reissues? Stay tuned.
Streams and videos below...
February 11, 2015
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Dead Heavens / Cayetana @ Saint Vitus - 2/10/2015
Post-hardcore legend Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Rival Schools, etc) began a residency for one of his two recently-formed bands, Dead Heavens, at Brooklyn's Saint Vitus last night (2/10). Dead Heavens sees Walter & co. tapping into the heavy psych and garage rock sounds of the late '60s (and one member -- Paul Kostabi of White Zombie, etc -- really looks the part), and while you don't always see guys who used to write minute-long hardcore songs wailing on wah-pedal guitar solos, Walter is as much a natural with this stuff as he is in his other bands.
Opening was Without who count The Hold Steady's Bobby Drake as a member (and who I missed), and Philly indie rock trio Cayetana who sounded as great as they did two weeks ago at Baby's. Pictures of all three bands are in this post.
In related news, Walter and fellow NYHC vet Richie Birkenhead (Underdog, Into Another, Youth of Today) will join Tony Rettman, author of the new NYHC: New York Hardcore 1980-1990 book, for an NYU-presented discussion at 20 Cooper Square on February 24. It's on the fourth floor and starts at 6:30 PM. Kelfa Sanneh (New Yorker, New York Times) will moderate.
In more related news, Cayetana recently put out the video for "Scott Get The Van, I'm Moving" from their 2014 debut, Nervous Like Me. Watch that, with more pictures from Vitus below...
January 17, 2015
Marky Ramone will take the stage at the Gramercy Theater on 1/17 to celebrate the upcoming publication of his memoirs, Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone. Sitting behind the drums for one of the greatest bands in rock history for fifteen years provided more than enough perspective for the Brooklyn native who will turn 59 later this year. The timing is especially poignant given that last July saw the death of Tommy Ramone who'd been the last surviving member of the original lineup. It was Tommy who would recommend Marky to replace himself when he left the band in 1978, setting in motion another chapter for a band that had already established itself as one of punk rock's most iconic groups. I recently spoke with Mark to discuss the book release show (featuring Andrew W K), his earliest days with another genre-defining band, and why punk rock is still the best form of exercise.
BV: Let's talk about the book for a second, Mark. What made you feel this was the right time for an autobiography?
Marky: Well, it took five years in the making, and the process of writing it was a year and a half. I read all the Ramones books, and there were a lot of exaggerations, and I just wanted to clear them, so in my book I did. I just don't like when people try to change history for their own reasons. I'm not gonna mention names. I'm just saying that I believe what happened happened and that's what happened. To change history for one's idea of sensationalism I think is wrong. On the Internet, especially these days, a blog or a writer can say anything and then everybody believes that, y'know what I'm saying? I'm sure you've experienced that. That's where a lot of people unfortunately get their news. In my book it's my whole life story beginning with the music scene plus growing up in Brooklyn, New York, and then later on after me, Johnny, and Joey decided to retire in '94 and then our last show was in '96. It's a lot more informative. Obviously it has a lot to do with time being in the band for fifteen years and doing 1700 shows. I absorbed everything and what you read, that's the result.
January 9, 2015
Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, no stranger to authoring books, is releasing a new memoir on February 24 via Dey Street Books called Girl In A Band, presumably named for the ill-advised question female musicians are often asked in interviews that Kim sarcastically sang about on "Sacred Trickster" ("What's it like to be a girl in a band? I don't quite understand!"). She's now announced a book tour in support of it, which has her being interviewed by different people at each stop.
The tour begins around release day, with two NYC appearances. First, she'll be at Brooklyn's Greenlight Books/BAM Cinematek on February 23 with Margaret Bodde (executive producer of a 2011 George Harrison documentary), and then at The Strand on February 24 with novelist/Vanity Fair contributing editor Elissa Schappell. To get into the Strand date, you need to purchase a copy of the book or a $15 Strand gift card. Stay tuned for more info on the Greenlight Books date.
Other stops on the tour will have Kim interviewed by Carrie Brownstein, Aimee Mann, Jon Wurster, Sub Pop's Bruce Pavitt (who also just released a book), and more. All dates are listed below...
January 2, 2015
by Bill Pearis
I do not read as many books as I'd like (or should) but I did manage to finish a couple of post-punk related memoirs over the holidays, both of which I highly recommend. The first was Viv Albertine's Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys. Albertine was guitarist in The Slits, who also dated Mick Jones pre-Clash (and during), and later became a filmmaker (and a solo artist). While her being in The Slits is what got me to read the book, there's definitely much more to it than music, including her heartbreaking attempts to have a child (which she finally did, her daughter is now 15). It's also funny, very frank and you don't even have to know who The Slits were at all to find it compelling. Highly recommended.
The other book I read was The Big Midweek, Steve Hanley's recounting of his 20 years as bassist in The Fall. While the Fall's frontman Mark E Smith is known his revolving door policy on bandmembers, Hanley was the rock during the band's most prime years. (His brother, Paul, was on drums, for many of them). Hanley's a level-headed and very funny man, and the book goes from his pre-Fall teenage years, through joining the band, countless tours, countless Mark E Smith girlfriends/wives, multiple bust-ups, trips to Iceland and America, dozens of other band members, and the infamous onstage fight at NYC club Brownies in 1998 that ended his two decades in the band. You also get some insight on The Fall's songwriting process (and MES's often inscrutable lyrics). Maybe not for the casual Fall fan, but The Big Midweek is very well written with more than a few laugh-out-loud moments and is miles better than your average rock memoir (Bernard Sumner, I'm looking at you).
In related news, the writing of The Big Midweek reconnected Hanley with Brix Smith-Start, who was guitarist (and MES' wife) during The Fall's most high-profile (and I say best) years in the mid-'80s -- the ones which gave us such classic albums as The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall and This Nation's Saving Grace. She and the Hanley brothers are playing together now as Brix & The Extricated, doing songs from their years together in The Fall. Their first-ever show was for The Big Midweek's release party last month in Manchester. The set included "Big New Prinz," "2x4," "Cruiser's Creek," "Lay of the Land" and "L.A." which there's video of (and "2x4") below. Brix & the Extricated are playing UK shows this year, and those dates are listed below...
December 4, 2014
Lookout! Records pop punk vets The Mr. T Experience haven't released an album since 2004, but this week they dropped a new song, "King Dork Approximately," that you can stream below. The song shares a name with MTX frontman Dr. Frank Portman's new book, which is the sequel to his previously released King Dork. The book comes out on December 9 and can be ordered here.
To celebrate the release, Dr. Frank is having a release party in Oakland on Sunday (12/7) and another in NYC the day it comes out. The one in NYC happens at Housing Works, and will feature him playing live. Joining Frank is the always busy comedian Chris Gethard, punk everywhere-man Mikey Erg, musician/writer Zachary Lipez (Publicist UK, Freshkills), former MTX member Joel Reader, and a handful of other writers including Emily Gould, Jami Attenberg, Beth Lisick, Gayle Forman, Liz Prince and Maeve Higgins. The event starts at 7 PM and admission is free.
Stream the new Mr T Experience song below...
October 22, 2014
The Strand is a NYC institution, selling "18 miles of books" for 87 years. They've just announced that some of that yardage will now be devoted to vinyl:
We cater to bibliophiles, now we need to cater to audiophiles. Stop by Strand's main floor and basement to browse some of our carefully selected LPs. You'll find 140gram,180gram, and colored vinyl, classic rock LPs from The Beatles to the Rolling Stones, contemporary artists like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Modest Mouse, and Fleet Foxes, not to mention all the classic R&B, Blues, and Jazz that you've been craving to hear in high-fidelity. So sit back, put the needle to the groove and crack open your favorite book from the Strand.You can check out their (what looks to be new) wares at The Strand's website too which also sells music related readables like The Pitchfork Review and Bob Stanley's great Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop.