• MUSIC

The Dylanologists

Detectives on the trail of a musical enigma, Bob Dylan’s most tenacious fans prove nearly as intriguing as the elusive artist they revere. A study in the rewards of devotion and the price of obsession from Pulitzer-winning journalist David Kinney.

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A Man Called Destruction

The fate of the "cult" musician is to be rediscovered early and often.  Such was the journey of rambling man Alex Chilton, singer of the influential bands Big Star and the Box Tops.  Holly George-Warren's thorough interviews and crisp prose dig deep into the hero behind the myths.

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  • MUSIC

Rock She Wrote

Where is the female Lester Bangs or Greil Marcus?  Right here, in the pages of an electric collection assembled by editors Evelyn McDonnell and Ann Powers, who've pillaged the pages of pop music journals from the 1960s to the present in search of the best writing by women on the people's music.

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  • MUSIC

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism

Satchmo's iconic voice and evocative horn sing out in Thomas Brothers's trenchant study of Armstrong's shift from New Orleans sideman to worldwide sensation, while race, food, and romance form the rhythm.

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  • MUSIC

Black Music

Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) "wrote with ecstasy—highly informed and intricate—about ecstatically complex music", says Richard Brody of this raucous collection of essays on modern jazz giants (Coltrane, Monk, Sun Ra and more) and their sonic elucidation of the African-American experience.

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  • MUSIC

Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story

Ray Davies, the musical genius behind "Lola," "Victoria," "Waterloo Sunset" and scores of other immortal tunes now tells all, sharing with fascinated fans the successes and disappointments, scandals and artistic pinnacles of a career that stretches from 1964 to a rumored Kinks reunion today.

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Respect Yourself

Anyone who has ever danced alone in their pajamas to the soul-stirring music of Booker T. & the M.G.s or a dozen other phenomenal groups on the Stax label will take feverish delight in this history of the trend-setting record label.

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See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody

The genre of rock musician biographies receives a winning contribution with this no-holds-barred and revelatory memoir from Bob Mould, the leader of Hüsker Dü.  The punk era has never before seemed both so ancient and so perpetually happening.

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  • MUSIC

Please Kill Me

In memory of Lou Reed (1942-2013), we return to Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's definitive oral history of punk rock, which opens with pioneer Reed stating of the movement, "The music gave you back your beat so you could dream."

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Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group

Punk rock crooner Ian Svenonius (Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up) pens a wry “how-to” guide to stardom, via tongue-in-cheek séances with deceased musicians and sincere lessons in swagger.

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  • MUSIC

The First Four Notes

A work as ubiquitous as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony casts a nimbus that can prevent unclouded appreciation, but Matthew Guerrieri aims to strip away the clouds to reveal the beauty and significance of the work afresh.  In a book nearly as compelling as its musical subject, he delves into the symphony's legacy, its champions and detractors, and its significance to listeners of all walks of life.

 

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  • MUSIC

Van Halen: Exuberant California, Zen Rock 'n' Roll

Diamond Dave as a Zen master? Eddie Van Halen as musical monk? That's the case John Scanlan makes -- tongue only partly in cheek -- in this learned but lively take on Van Halen's rise to the pinnacle of rock stardom, improvising all the way. Philosophy you can dance to.

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Old Ideas

With dates announced for his upcoming Old Ideas concert tour, we celebrate the inimitable Leonard Cohen: bard, survivor, legend. His most recent album is a return to form for the balladeer, exploring signature themes of lust and longing, spirituality and struggle, all overlaid with a droll sense of humor as familiar as Cohen's prophetic voice.

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  • MUSIC

Squeeze This!

Polka, Zydeco, and Italian treacle: if this is your idea of the only genres wherein the accordion flourishes, prepare to be enlightened by this entertaining history of that robust instrument's odyssey across the American musical landscape. Herself an accordionist, Marion Jacobson exhibits a music-lover's passion along with her in-depth scholarly knowledge of the instrument's rise, fall, and contemporary renaissance.

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  • MUSIC

The Natural Mystics

Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer: Colin Grant follows the founding fathers of reggae on a musical and historical journey deep into Jamaican culture, emerging with revealing insights into the spiritual and material paths these three visionaries charted. Getting the reclusive Bunny Wailer to talk on record about the seminal band formed by the trio is a coup that makes this an especially important read for music lovers.

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  • MUSIC

See a Little Light

This is an age of marvelous memoirs from rockers of a certain vintage:  Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Patti Smith. Now comes a standout entry from a slightly younger musician. Bob Mould, born 1960, came to prominence during the mid-80s with his band Hüsker Dü. He lays bare the trials and tribulations behind the trio's success, and charts his subsequent solo career with insightful poetry and a gravitas that matches his famous sonic assaults.

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Fire and Rain

David Browne documents the recording of four landmark albums in 1970--Let It Be by The Beatles, Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel, Sweet Baby James by James Taylor, and Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. But what this colorful, captivating blend of history and music criticism really depicts is the end of the heady, idealistic energy of the 1960s and the beginning of a new era of rock & roll.

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  • MUSIC

Music

In this large-format, striking volume, Andrew Zuckerman combines words and pictures to evoke the power of music. With stunning photographic portraits and telling interviews with 50 musicians—including Fiona Apple, David Crosby, Philip Glass, Herbie Hancock, Ozzie Osbourne, Kid Rock, Iggy Pop, and Itzhak Perlman—Zuckerman examines the meanings and mysteries of creating, performing, and listening.

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  • MUSIC

Why Mahler?

In his own lifetime, Gustav Mahler was a celebrated conductor whose massive symphonic works were tolerated with barely veiled embarrassment by the musical cognoscenti. Norman Lebrecht explains why they were wrong, and how Mahler's musical imagination has informed and changed our culture in the century since his death.

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  • MUSIC

Bob Dylan in America

Pulitzer-winning historian (and Grammy-nominated liner note scribe) Sean Wilentz provides a revelatory mapping of the roots and branches—and even the knotholes—of Bob Dylan's American art. Personal, analytical, and compelling.

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  • MUSIC

Jasmine

Love songs steeped in loveliness by two jazz luminaries, Keith Jarret and Charlie Haden. The relaxed affinty of pianist and bassist elicits emotional eloquence from such standards as "For All We Know," "Goodbye," and "Body and Soul." Read more...

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Sinatra Jobim Complete Reprise Recordings

The original 1967 collaboration between Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Brazilian musician whose compositions were the best international ambassadors of bossanova, is quite simply one of the most beautiful realizations of popular music you'll ever come upon. In Rio slang "bossa" means "shrewdness," and Sinatra, recognizing no doubt that the new shrewdness, in its gentle, intimate undulations of sound and sense, gave fresh life to the old one, of which he was past master, tums in the most concentrated performances of his later career. This welcome reissue includes ten tracks from a less well-known session recorded two years later, with arrangements by Eumir Deodato; it's not quite as good as the first set, but then almost nothing is. Read more...

  • music

No Such Things as Silence: John Cage's 4'33

A composition without any music -- or any composed sound at all -- John Cage's 4'33" is so simple that it resonates with a symphonic array of aesthetic and philosophical issues, as Kyle Gann illustrates in this intriguing book. Read more...

  • MUSIC

San Patricio

The Chieftains enlist the help of Ry Cooder to explore the legacy of the San Patricios, a band of immigrant soldiers who, in 1846, deserted the American army during the Mexican-American War to fight for the other side. The result is part historical expedition, part cultural inquiry, and -- in its entirety -- a musically ebullient festival of creative imagination. Read more...

July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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