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Books

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happening Right Now: A Tiny Amount of Party Up for Grabs

Posted by on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Out and about on Capitol Hill? Want to be 1.5% less sober? If you hurry, someone was nice enough to leave a tiny amount of party on this Stranger box right near our office. An inch of Pepsi, a quarter inch of rum... what are you waiting for? This is your Thursday.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Here's What You Need to Do If You Want to Write a 33 1/3 Book

Posted by on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 9:48 AM

My favorite 33 1/3 book, so far.
  • My favorite 33 1/3 book, so far.

Bloombsbury—which publishes the addictive 33 1/3 series of books devoted to analyzing one important album per volume—has put out a call for submissions and laid out its guidelines for doing so.

Bloomsbury is demanding a lot from its potential authors. Know right now that you will need to deliver 30,000 words within an 8-12-month timespan. Don't even think about submitting an idea unless you can complete your manuscript between January and June 2015. Also, Bloomsbury lists 10 requirements for your pitch, including the first draft/intro chapter of your proposed tome (2000 words) and 50-500 words outlining each chapter of it.

Prospective authors have until 9 am EST March 3 to fulfill all of these requirements. You'll probably need to quit your day job now and devote a month of long days at the word processor to accomplish all of this—and even then, you may get rejected. Go here for the complete lowdown. Good luck.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Punk Isn't Dead, Putin Just Threw It in Jail for a While

Posted by on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 12:31 PM

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By now, you know: On February 21, 2012, five women in colorful dresses and masks entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow to stage a "punk prayer." Three of the women were arrested, tried, and sentenced to two years in prison. Russian prison.

I kept careful tabs on the events (one of my first Stranger pieces was on Pussy Riot), but still craved information. These faraway stories and sterile news reports were so disconnected from what I really wanted to know. Who are these women? Masha Gessen's Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot wastes no time in answering that question, intimately detailing the rise of Pussy Riot by profiling each member and the events that led to their crusade.

Pussy Riot's founder, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (Nadya), was an obsessively studious child. Her somewhat immature father, Andrei—who tells Gessen things like "I am an expert in the upbringing of girls"—encouraged her to be more rebellious. Teenage Nadya took up radical activism in university, like when five couples videotaped themselves having sex in the Biology Museum (Nadya was nine months pregnant at the time; her daughter Gera was born four days later).

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Morvern Callar Author Alan Warner Takes on Can's Tago Mago

Posted by on Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 12:40 PM

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  • Bloomsbury Books
As an admirer of Alan Warner's 1995 novel Morvern Callar, which centers on a coolheaded Scottish drifter, I was pleased to see that he's preparing a 33 1/3 entry on Can's 1971 opus Tago Mago. That's an album—a double album, no less—that could benefit from literary exploration (though Ege Bamyasi remains my favorite Can record).

Can plays a part in Morvern's story just as they do on the soundtrack to Lynne Ramsay's 2002 adaptation. Her first feature, Ratcatcher, knocked me out to the extent that I immediately grabbed a copy of Warner's debut novel when I found out that she would be adapting it.

After catching the film, in which Samantha Morton plays the title character, I picked up the soundtrack. Naturally, it includes Can, but also two solo selections from singer-bassist Holger Czukay (Ramsay has since adapted a second novel, Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin).

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Steely Dan's Donald Fagen Cancels Nov. 7 Town Hall Appearance

Posted by on Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 2:04 PM

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Donald Fagen has canceled his Nov. 7 appearance with Ross Reynolds at Town Hall for "personal reasons." The notoriously perfectionist keyboard player/singer/lyricist for Steely Dan recently published Eminent Hipsters, a witty and illuminating collection of reminiscences about his major cultural influences and an extensive diary from his 2012 tour with the Dukes of September Rhythm Revue with Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald.

Eminent Hipsters is recommended for serious Dan fans and people who want to learn about the daily smooth grind of super-wealthy musicians on a nationwide tour. As anyone who's pored over one of his lyrics knows, Fagen is a superbly observant writer blessed with a caustic, self-deprecating sense of humor. There are plans to reschedule this event. Ticket holders will automatically receive refunds through Stranger Tickets.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kicks Books: Unleashing Kim Fowley, in Three Volumes

Posted by on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 3:45 PM

I know I'm no Paul "Boobie" Constant when it comes to books, being a Tumblr fashion superstar, or a HOT DOG EATING CONTESTANT, but a Kicks Books press release for a Los Angeles-area Kim Fowley reading just landed in my inbox!

KIM VINCENT FOWLEY (born July 21, 1939) is an American record producer, impresario, songwriter, musician, film maker, and radio actor. He has been described as "one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock & roll" and as "a shadowy cult figure well outside the margins of the mainstream." ...In the first of a three volume “hip pocket paperback” series, Kim Fowley recalls his early days as an unwanted child, as a polio victim (twice), as a teenage hoodlum, as a young cat in the California rock n’ roll scene, and as… a poet.

Lord of Garbage is Fowley's FIRST of three volumes, AKA the Garbage Trilogy; his second book, Planet Pain, is due out next spring. This LA reading on Saturday Oct. 5, 7pm, at La Luz de Jesus Gallery and Soap Plant is evidently the official launch of Fowley's first book for Kicks Books; it was actually released back in February of this year. Also coinciding with this year's kick off of Fowley's Kicks Books trilogy are three Norton Records Fowley compilations: One Man's Garbage, Another Man's Gold, and King Of The Creeps.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kylie Minogue's Weird Fashion Book: Kylie Fashion

Posted by on Wed, May 29, 2013 at 4:36 PM

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I don't really know anything about fashion, but I know it when I see it... and a leather bikini and red jeans is not a fashion.

I dont think so.
  • I don't think so.

Just literally say anything and we will put it on the back of this book.
  • Just literally say anything and we will put it on the back of this book.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Road to Sasquatch!

Posted by on Fri, May 24, 2013 at 4:08 PM

It wouldn't be the road to Sasquatch without a stop at Bob's Summit Deli* at the pass. And wouldn't you know they have the best book selection! Do I get both? They also had one called Northwest Disasters, but I can't imagine anything more boring than reading about forest fires and fully-clothed firemen.

Bobs Summit Deli Lit
  • Bob's Summit Deli Lit

*100% gas station, 0% deli.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bordering on the Ridiculous: A Book on Traveling Musicians' Travails

Posted by on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 12:20 PM

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Do You Have Anything to Declare? is a compendium of musicians' anecdotes about crossing borders while on tour. Music journalist Kevin Stewart-Panko and Vitriol Records owner Justin Smith conducted interviews with 75 bands and solo artists, including Dillinger Escape Plan, Fear Factory, Atheist, Zoroaster, Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates/Disfear/etc.), Eugene Robinson (Oxbow), Jucifer, Aaron Turner (Isis), and Rich Hoak (Brutal Truth). So much bullshit is encountered and endured at these stations, so it's pretty certain there'll be some hugely entertaining and maddening stories—and maybe some substantial schadenfreude sandwiches—to digest.

If you ask me, Stranger/Line Out contributors Lars Finberg (The Intelligence, Thee Oh Sees) and Brian Cook (Russian Circles) should be in this thing. Read more about Do You Have Anything to Declare? here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Homosexual Agenda: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Tuck Rides Again, Jake Shears's Amazing Ass

Posted by on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 10:15 AM

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FRIDAY 3/29

MEETING MATTILDA

We are so busy this weekend! (Start chugging that Gatorade now, lady, or your liver is gonna petrify.) I think it's a nice idea to ease our way into it early with something calmer and lower-octane than we're generally accustomed to: How about a lovely book reading? How charming! How pointy-headed! How sexishly booky! A little literary prefunk to titillate our fagbrainz, starring a lovely new transplant from San Francisco who I'm just dying for you to meet: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of such winsome titles as Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? and Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity. Mattilda is a gender-fucking tower of pure pulsing purple fabulous, and tonight she will read from her newest work, The End of San Francisco, which they are calling "part memoir, part elegy." Mattilda is a thrilling addition to our queer little pond. I can't wait! (Neither can you!) Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free, all ages.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Punk Iconoclast Richard Hell Gets Autobiographical @ the Rendezvous

Posted by on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Punk-rock catalyst/poet Richard Hell will be reading from his excellent autobiography I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp and discussing it with local music scholar/critic/occasional Stranger freelancer Chris Estey at the Rendezvous tonight at 7. (Read Estey’s review of the book here.)

A member of important NYC groups like the Neon Boys, Television, the Heartbreakers, and the Voidoids, the Kentucky-bred Hell (real name: Richard Meyers; current age: 63) ran away from a Delaware boarding school to New York City, where he met up with his fellow delinquent pal Tom Miller (later Verlaine) and they schemed and dreamed their way to literary and musical notoriety. Hell’s haphazardly spiky haircut and safety-pinned, torn and frayed T-shirts as well as his preternaturally cool demeanor and whip-smart lyrics planted fertile ideas in the mind of Malcolm McLaren, which led to the conception of the Sex Pistols.

Hell’s memoir also serves as a sharply observed portrait of New York’s world-historical music-biz actions during the ’70s, from the perspective of an impecunious poet/musician working at indie book and video shops. He also dishes some dirt on the Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, and other key figures of NYC’s late-’70s/early-'80s musical milieu. In the process, Hell’s famous formulation, the “Blank Generation,” comes off as paradoxically rich. (He also has a fantastic way with describing the effects of the drugs he used.)

Hell paves his Destiny Street with vivid, arresting prose, unspooling incisive observations and anecdotes up through 1984, two years after the release of the album of that name, at which point his musical career was effectively over. An epilogue depicting a chance meeting with Verlaine—several years estranged from Hell—looking at books in a dollar bin is incredibly touching—healing, even.

More info on tonight’s event here.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cosey Fanni Tutti’s Songs to Strip By

Posted by on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:54 AM

In addition to playing guitar for COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle, and later Chris & Cosey and other TG/C&C spinoff projects, Cosey Fanni Tutti (Christine Newby) worked as an erotic dancer during the '70s. In Drew Daniel’s 33 1/3 book on Throbbing Gristle’s classic 1979 LP 20 Jazz Funk Greats (which I’m currently reading and enjoying), Tutti lists the songs she preferred moving to while removing her clothes. No matter your stance on stripping, the selections are fascinating. She even breaks it down to which songs accompanied which routines.

PVC outfit: “Hard Working Man” – Captain Beefheart, “Heaven” – Pere Ubu
School girl outfit: “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” – Ian Dury and the Blockheads, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” – Crystal Gayle
Pink satin shorts etc.: “Easy” – Commodores
Some topless dance tracks: “Native New Yorker” – Odyssey, “Instant Replay” – Dan Hartman, “Lady Maramalade” – Labelle, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” – Sylvester, “Disco Inferno” – The Trammps

Now you know.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Speaking of Black Sabbath...

Posted by on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Not stickers.
  • Not stickers.

Yeah yeah about adorable Germans covering Black Sabbath, Nipper. Because there's FINALLY an unauthorized Black Sabbath "rockography" that is mostly just pictures (the dregs of public domain, to be sure) and 25 point type! You can read it in four minutes!

Review: At first I thought it was a book of Black Sabbath stickers. Unfortunately it's not, but the amount of unrelated clip-art on each page is stunning.

Hot Tip: The author has compiled other "books" on Aerosmith, the Clash, and the Rolling Stones. All with equally trippy covers. Great gift idea.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pat Thomas' Listen, Whitey! Racks Up Accolades in TIME and SPIN

Posted by on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Former Seattle author/A&R man Pat Thomas' book Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 (Fantagraphics) and its and accompanying compilation on Light in the AtticListen, Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power 1967-1974—have earned positions on some important publications' year-end lists. TIME placed the album at #7 in its 2012 list and SPIN ranked the book at #4 in its round-up of music-oriented tomes. Thomas vividly and accessibly places the subject into historical context and displays acute curatorship on the LITA LP. The accolades are well-deserved.

SPIN's list and a clip about the LITA comp after the jump.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Iggy Pop on Two of His Favorite Albums

Posted by on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 2:47 PM

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Jeff Gold's 101 Essential Rock Records/The Golden Age of Vinyl From the Beatles to the Sex Pistols is another one of those Baby Boomer-oriented round-ups of the best rock albums, but this one comes with a twist: It has essays from musicians on their favorite LPs from the time period outlined in the title. The book's publisher has made a chapter by Iggy Pop available for media, and it's interesting enough to share with you here. Iggy reminisces about the impact Them's The Angry Young Them and the Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out! made on his own music and includes some fascinating anecdotes about the Mothers' Frank Zappa. Also, I did not know that Mr. Pop was into Robert Ashley and Harry Partch. (It should be noted that "America Drinks and Goes Home” is not on Freak Out!, as Iggy writes, but rather on Absolutely Free.)

Read Iggy's excerpt after the cut. Check out the 101 albums included in the book here. Notice how the 13th Floor Elevators' best album, Easter Everywhere, and the Byrds' best album, Notorious Byrd Brothers, and Tim Buckley's best album, Starsailor, aren't included, or anything by Neu!? Plus dozens of other nits you can pick (that Fleetwood Mac album is titled Rumours, not Rumors), because you have nothing better to do.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Charles Manson, To Marilyn Manson + Damien Echols in Seattle

Posted by on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Check out this letter ole' Charlie recently mailed to Marilyn:

To Marilyn Manson –

It’s taken me a long time to get there from where I could touch M. Manson. Now I got a card to play – you may look into my non-profit, ATWA, and give Manson what you think he’s got coming for Air, Trees, Water, and you. Or I will pay Manson what you think Manson got coming – the music has make Manson into Abraxas Devil, and I’m SURE you would want some of what I got from what I got. It’s a far out balance. Beyond good and bad, right, wrong. What you don’t do is what I will do – what you did a sing-along, and let it roll and said how you saved me a lot of steps – I don’t need, it’s not a need or a want. Couped – coup. Ghost dancers slay together and you’re just in my grave Sunstroker Corona-coronas-coronae – you seen me from under with it all standing on me. That’s 2 dump trucks – doing the same as CMF 000007

- Charles Manson

Postcard, August 2012



On a vaguely related noteDamien Echols, who was wrongly convicted and sent to prison (sitting on death row for 18+ years because a bunch of crazy-heads and rednecks were scared of him 'cause he vaguely looked like Marilyn Manson when he was a teenager) is reading from his new book Life After Death at Seattle's Town Hall tomorrow, Friday the 28th. I read the book, and it is beautiful and incredible. The Town Hall event is $5 and starts at 7:30 pm.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quentin Rowan Is Very, Very Sorry He Wrote an Awesome Mash-Up Novel

Posted by on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 11:04 AM

1. Yesterday, writer Quentin Rowan spoke at a Words & Ideas talk titled Remix, Theft or Plagiarism? Kirby Ferguson, who made the wonderful web series Everything Is a Remix, was supposed to talk too, but he wasn't there. One in five people made a painfully noisy exit from the theater when this news was announced.

2. There are two schools of thought around "remix culture" nowadays—pro-remix and anti-remix. Pro-remix folks want artists to draw from everything and everywhere, and not apologize. Anti-remix thinks pro-remix is full of shit.

3. In 2011, Quentin Rowan wrote a spy novel called Assassin of Secrets. Within months of its release, internet sleuths discovered that it had been composed almost entirely from quotations of passages from other spy novels. People freaked out, the publisher recalled the book, and Rowan's world was temporarily fucked.

4. Before its publication, Assassin of Secrets was widely praised by a number of critics and authors. Spy novelist Jeremy Duns called it an "instant classic."

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Monday, August 27, 2012

ESP EP and ESP-Disk

Posted by on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM

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  • The band/Force Field PR
  • L.A. three-piece ESP
I don't tend to plan these things out, but on Saturday I decided to listen to the new EP from this LA trio at the same time I was reading an article about the adventurous NYC label ESP-Disk in the Los Angeles Review of Books (Jesse Jarnow builds his piece around a review of Jason Weiss's Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk, the Most Outrageous Record Label in America).

During the label's heyday, founder Bernard Stollman released records from Sun Ra, the Fugs, the Godz, and other envelope-pushing artists. Says David Utevsky, host of KCBS's "Straight No Chaser" (a show he originated at KCMU*), "I cherish my ESP LPs, which helped introduce me to free jazz." I'm right there with him, though I've got some catching up to do (The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One is an enduring favorite).

I didn't notice a connection between the label and this electronic outfit, but the shared acronym caught my eye, even if the ESP part of ESP-Disk stood for Esperanto, with which Stollman was obsessed, and not Extra Sensory Perception.

* I took over the show for a few months after he left the station in 1991.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

David Byrne Explains How Music Works

Posted by on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Former Talking Heads frontman, ace Brian Eno collaborator, and quirky filmmaker David Byrne has written a book titled How Music Works for McSweeney's (out Sept. 12). An excerpt from the press release reveals the gist.

He explains how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and how the advent of recording technology forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music. Acting as historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, he searches for patterns—and tells us how they have affected his own work over the years with Talking Heads and his many collaborators. Touching on the joy, physics, and the business of making music, he also shows how it is inextricably linked to its cultural and physical context. His range is panoptic, taking us from La Scala to African villages, from his teenage reel-to-reel recordings to his latest work in a home music studio. How Music Works is a brainy, irresistible adventure and an impassioned argument about music's liberating, life-affirming power.

Byrne will be performing with St. Vincent Wed. Oct. 17 at City Arts Fest at the Fifth Avenue Theatre.

Please listen to one of the greatest albums ever after the cut.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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