Recent Posts in books - Page 7
November 14, 2013
Johnny Marr @ Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 (more by Tim Griffin)
Having influenced everyone from The Stone Roses to Radiohead to Deafheaven, Johnny Marr's guitar sound is easily one of the most recognizable, unfolding and swelling its notes, layer upon layer, with a melody that's as dense in its bombast as it is playful in its simplicity. A mere twenty-six years after leaving The Smiths, Marr released his first solo record, The Messenger, earlier this year. It's not to say there wasn't anything going on for Marr during the time between, however. In fact, while much of Smiths fandom has continued to revel in mourning and reunion speculation, Marr has spent the time since simply defining the terms of his own artistic progression. Membership in bands such as Modest Mouse, The Cribs, Electronic, The The, and innumerable guest spots for those artists who mince no words concerning the obvious influence for them has allowed Marr to properly illuminate the evolutionary arc of his career as a thankfully unfinished piece. I had the opportunity to talk with Johnny, who is on tour now, about The Messenger as well as his creative process and what his thoughts are on writing an autobiography.
For The Messenger, I'm curious as to what kind of worked as a creative catalyst for you with the album. Why a solo album now? Was the creative process for the album different here than with your other projects?
Johnny Marr: Well, the reason the record happened when it did is because I had the ideas for the songs. I always have ideas for music and riffs and guitar parts, but over the touring years with Modest Mouse and The Cribs, I got a lot of ideas for things I wanted to sing about. It's a good start, so this album is actually driven mostly by lyrical concepts - ideas for what I wanted to sing about. That kind of ruled out the idea of me handing over the music to someone else to write lyrics, so it just fell together that way. It certainly wasn't my thinking that now would be a good time to do a solo record or have a solo career and then try and go about doing it. I just heard the songs first. I couldn't wait to get in the studio after coming off the road and just see if these things would turn into tracks. And the actual writing and recording of the record happened really quickly. I was demoing a song a day, and I ended up writing almost thirty songs - like, twenty-six or twenty-seven songs for it. It was a very inspired time. As for the creative process, I'd forgotten that I would be the producer. I was just working in the studio with my friend Doviak, and I had decided to do these songs. As I said, the demoing started to happen pretty quickly, and then I realized that the decisions of what microphones to put on the cymbals and what bass sounds to use was on me, and I'd not been in a position before where I was writing the lyrics and singing and playing the guitars and keyboards and finding the right microphones for cymbals. Technically, I was kind of a challenge I hadn't considered. It made me a bit of a grumpy person to be around for a couple of weeks [laughs]. Whereas in the past, you see, I was always fine with doing that - with being the first person in the studio and the last person to leave. It's a different thing when you're singing and writing the words. You need to be in a different headspace. I found that somewhat of a challenge for the first week or first few weeks. But now I've done it, and I'm proud that we managed to pull that off. I roped Doviak as co-producer to stop me going completely out of my mind or killing everybody in the building when I couldn't find the mic to put on the kick drum [laughs].
November 7, 2013
NYC photographer Tod Seelie has been taking pictures of New York City since 1999 (including some for BrooklynVegan), and he's now compiled selections from his 14 years of photographing the city into a new book, Bright Nights. In a piece on the new book, Animal New York writes:
[Tod] has been shooting iconic New York -- not your shiny postcard tourist New York, not your banal work-a-day New York. Seelie shoots sweaty basement DIY shows, firey tall-bike jousting Bike Kill, Swoon's Swimming Cities trash-art-rafts on the Hudson River, lawless block parties, artists, train-hoppers, anti-heroes -- our heroes. He's kayaked to abandoned hospitals on New York's lesser known islands, crawled down subway tunnels and climbed bridges. Name a place. He knows how to get there. I've asked him, "How?"The book is being celebrated with a party in Brooklyn at Silent Barn tonight (11/7), which includes sets from local rock bands The So So Glos, Unstoppable Death Machines, Ken South Rock, Amour Obscur, and Japanther, whose Ian Vanek contributed an essay to the book. Advance tickets to tonight's show are off-sale but there may still be tickets at the door..
"If you see an island and there's water in the way, get a boat," he says, smiling. "Figure it out."
For two months, Seelie sifted through 14 years of New York photographs, film rolls and negative stacks, mating deliberate diptychs for the book. "That's at my ex-girlfriend at my old apartment in Bed-Stuy in 2003... That's my friend Porkchop in Staten Island on the train tracks in mid-2000s. It was like a playground out there."
Why now? "I'm trying not be an art handler anymore. I have to start having a career," he says. "There're all these hacks doing boring photography. I'm doing something wrong."
Tonight's party is about a week and a half ahead of Tod's book tour, which includes dates in Asbury Park and Philly but no other NYC dates at the moment. All dates (many venues still TBA) are listed below...
November 4, 2013
by Bill Pearis
Morrissey on Morrissey
A couple Morrissey tidbits for your Monday. In a somewhat cryptic note on Moz mouthpiece site True to You, they note that the former Smiths singer was "discharged from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles following treatment for concussion, whiplash and an arm injury." No information about how he sustained these injuries, but "Morrissey would like to thank the medical staff at Cedars-Sinai for their 'outstanding level of care and attention'." Feel better, Moz.
In other news, Penguin Classics UK has announced that the audiobook version of Morrissey's Autobiography will, sadly, not be read by the man himself. They have gotten, however, another Morrissey to read it: actor David Morrissey who you may know as "The Governor" on The Walking Dead or from the BBC series State of Play. He will certainly bring a gravitas to the proceedings the soft-spoken singer probably wouldn't have. We shall hear -- the audio version is out December 5 in the UK.
October 29, 2013
by Bill Pearis
Moz & Lou (via Morrissey-Solo)
It should come as no surprise that Morrissey was a big Lou Reed fan. He was one of the many musicians to eulogize Reed, who died on Sunday, offering up some nice words via Moz mouthpiece True to You, quoting Irish poet Patrick McGill:
'Oh Lou / why did you leave us this way?'In other news, you may be aware that Morrissey's Autobiography came out a couple weeks ago in the UK via Penguin Classics, and became the fastest-selling artist memoir since online sales records began in 1998, besting Keith Richards' Life which was the previous record-holder. Autobiography has now secured US distribution through G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Sorry, Moz, you may have written the lyrics to the "Greatest Album of All Time" but you're not a "classic" in America. No release date has been set yet for the American release.
No words to express the sadness at the death of Lou Reed. He had been there all of my life. He will always be pressed to my heart. Thank God for those, like Lou, who move within their own laws, otherwise imagine how dull the world would be. I knew the Lou of recent years and he was always full of good heart. His music will outlive time itself.
We are all timebound, but today, with the loss of liberating Lou, life is a pigsty.
'7 glasses used to be
called for six good mates and me
now we only call for three'
Reviews for Autobiography have been mixed. Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley (a former music journalist) reviewed the book for Faber Social:
"Anything is forgiven of anyone who makes us laugh" says Morrissey, quite aware of his own, often well-deployed, comic talent. Yet Autobiography feels as if it were written in two, or possibly three, different sittings, and the laughs come hard the longer it goes on. It's hard to believe that the man who sees the giddy daftness of accidentally starting an LA riot by singing You're the One For Me Fatty - "hardly an Altamont rallying cry to the social underbelly" - would expend any energy on trying to take down "little pinched Irish madam" Henry Kelly. Yes, that Henry Kelly, the one from Going For Gold and Classic FM. The schizophrenic nature of the book prevents it from being the classic he presumably thinks it is. - [Faber Social]Someone once said "it takes strength to be gentle and kind." I picked up an import copy of the book but haven't had time to read it yet. Have you?
October 24, 2013
Not only is the book real, it's selling really well:
Morrissey's memoir has outsold the latest Bridget Jones novel to top the best seller charts in its first week.Content in the book (not to mention all the lyrics on the first Smiths album) has left some wondering if Morrissey is homosexual. Morrissey, master of coy semantics, has since clarified via a statement that reads: "Unfortunately, I am not homosexual. In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But, of course ... not many".
The paperback, called Autobiography and published by Penguin Classics, sold just short of 35,000 copies according to sales figures in trade magazine The Bookseller after its release on Thursday.
Helen Fielding's new Bridget Jones novel, Mad About the Boy, sold around 32,000 copies. [Belfast Telegraph]
Is Morrissey's autobiography any good? Amy Lamé, Tim Lott and Jon Snow try to decide in the video below...
October 10, 2013
Daniel Johnston: here is an in-depth photographic study of legendary singer-songwriter and visual artist Daniel Johnston by New York City Based documentary and portrait photographer Jung Kim. the culmination of an intimate five-year collaboration and friendship, Daniel Johnston: here captures rare and beautiful moving moments of one of the most compelling artists today. The photographs not only chronicle Johnston's life on the road during his worldwide tours, but also his prolific life at home in Waller, Texas. An exhibition will launch in conjunction with this first0ever photography book on Johnston. The photographs are a selection from thousands of photographs captured on film from 2008 to present.There will be a photo book and exhibition of Daniel Johnston: here tonight at Williamsburg's 7 Dunham gallery from 7 - 10 PM. On view will be 16 photographs from the book and there will be live performances from Glen Hasnard, Sean Bones and J. Spaceman (who soon plays with Spiritualized for Mexican Summer 5th Anniversary).
The event is free but you do need to RSVP by sending an email to email@example.com.
The book was funded via Kickstarter and you can watch the video from that below.
"breaking news! i really like david bowie! (well, that's not news, but...)" - James Murphy
James Murphy, who just collaborated with David Bowie on the new Arcade Fire song and might have picked up a thing or two from him while writing LCD Soundsystem songs, has now continued his love affair for Bowie by offering up a 10+ minute remix of "Love Is Lost," which will appear on the expanded version of Bowie's Mercury Prize-nominated 2013 album, The Next Day (due out 11/4). You can listen to the new remix below.
In related news, Open Book Toronto recently published a list of David Bowie's 100 favorite books (via FACT). Geoffrey Marsh, curator of the exhibit at Art Gallery of Ontario that Bowie is featured in, "describes Bowie as 'a voracious reader' who is reputed to read as much as 'a book a day'." He also spoke about "Bowie's interest in the life of the mind and its power to transcend the rigid class barriers of postwar England, the era where Bowie honed the early versions of his musical and cultural persona." You can browse the full list below.
In NYC this Saturday (10/12), Le Poisson Rouge hosts BowieBall 2013 which features a number of artists paying homage to the artist. Tickets for that are on sale now.
That same day, James Murphy DJs the free Times Square show as part of CBGB Fest with Grizzly Bear, My Morning Jacket, Divine Fits, and The Wallflowers.
Remix stream and Bowie's list of books below...
October 3, 2013
The biggest literary mystery of the year -- Who, If Anyone, Is Publishing Morrissey's Memoirs and When? -- has been solved, according to Moz mouthpiece True to You. Whether he actually had a deal with them before or not, the site reports that Morrissey's Autobiography will be released in the UK via Penguin Classics on October 17.
Ray Davies most recent album was 2010's collaborative See All My Friends. No follow-up has been announced, but Ray does have a new book, Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story, which will be out October 15. From the jacket:
As a boy in post-War England, legendary Kinks' singer/songwriter Ray Davies fell in love with America--its movies and music, its culture of freedom, fed his imagination. Then, as part of the British Invasion, he toured the US with the Kinks during one of the most tumultuous eras in recent history--until the Kinks group was banned from performing there from 1965-69. Many tours and trips later, while living in New Orleans, he experienced a transformative event: the shooting (a result of a botched robbery) that nearly took his life. In Americana, Davies tries to make sense of his long love-hate relationship with the country that both inspired and frustrated him. From his quintessentially English perspective as a Kink, Davies--with candor, humor, and wit--takes us on a very personal road trip through his life and storied career as a rock star, and reveals what music, fame, and America really mean to him.Americana is Ray's third book, having published his "unauthorized biography," X-Ray, in 1995 and then the Waterloo Sunset series of short stories in 1997. You can watch a short promotional video about the book and video of Ray being interviewed about it on BBC Breakfast, below.
Those in NYC can see Ray Davies in person this month as he'll be at Barnes & Noble Union Square on October 25 at 7 PM. Not many details but it is free. Maybe someone will ask him what he thinks the odds of a Kinks reunion in 2014 are?
September 26, 2013
If there is a word that is synonymous with Andrew WK, it is "party." It's in his signature song, it's in the name of the NYC venue he owns (where Joan Jett is playing soon), it is woven throughout the very fibre of his white-wearing being. If you've ever tried to party as hard as Andrew WK and failed, he is now here to help via his first book, The Party Bible. Says AWK:
This book is the culmination of my entire career as a professional partier. In fact, this book is the culmination of my entire life. Everything that has ever and never happened has led to me being in the perfect position to receive the contents of The Party Bible and write it down, once and for all. This is a powerful and dangerous feeling, but it is definitely meant to happen. I'm grateful to all my party friends for requesting this book. This is our book.How did Andrew come to write this book? Who can really say, but a video dramatization (some might call it promotional material) is in this post.
Andrew WK, who played Riot Fest Chicago recently, is currently finishing up his "Party Messiah" solo tour. The Party Bible, which will come with a soundtrack CD, will be published by Simon & Schuster, date TBA.
Tour dates are listed, along with video, below...