Home Read News Next Week in Music | June 3-9 • New Books

Next Week in Music | June 3-9 • New Books

Looking for something to read between playlists? Here are the releases on tap.

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I couldn’t read music if you put a gun to my head. But I have no trouble reading about music. Here are the biographies, memoirs and other music-related books due this week:


Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly
By Jim DeRogatis

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In November 2000, Chicago journalist and music critic Jim DeRogatis received an anonymous fax that alleged R. Kelly had a problem with “young girls.” Weeks later, DeRogatis broke the shocking story, publishing allegations that the R&B superstar and local hero had groomed girls, sexually abused them, and paid them off. DeRogatis thought his work would have an impact. Instead, Kelly’s career flourished. No one seemed to care: not the music industry, not the culture at large, not the parents of numerous other young girls. But for more than eighteen years, DeRogatis stayed on the story. He was the one who was given the disturbing videotape that led to Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial, the one whose window was shot out, and the one whom women trusted to tell their stories—of a meeting with the superstar at a classroom, a mall, a concert, or a McDonald’s that forever warped the course of their lives. Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly is DeRogatis’s masterpiece, a work of tenacious journalism and powerful cultural criticism. It tells the story of Kelly’s career, DeRogatis’s investigations, and the world in which the two crossed paths, and brings the story up to the moment when things finally seem to have changed. Decades in the making, this is an outrageous, darkly riveting account of the life and actions of R. Kelly, and their horrible impact on dozens of girls, by the only person to tell it.”


Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
By Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow

THE PRESS RELEASE:Robert Johnson’s recordings, made in 1936 and 1937, have profoundly influenced generations of singers, guitarists, and songwriters. Yet until now, his short life—he was murdered at the age of 27—has been poorly documented. Gayle Dean Wardlow has been interviewing people who knew Johnson since the early 1960s, and he was the person who discovered Johnson’s death certificate in 1967. Bruce Conforth began his study of Johnson’s life and music in 1970 and made it his mission to fill in what was still unknown about him. In this definitive biography, the two authors relied on every interview, resource, and document, much of it material no one has seen before. This is the first book about Johnson that documents his lifelong relationship with family and friends in Memphis, details his trip to New York, uncovers where and when his wife Virginia died and the impact this had on him, fully portrays the other women Johnson was involved with, and tells exactly how and why he died and who gave him the poison that killed him. Up Jumped the Devil will astonish blues fans worldwide by painting a living, breathing portrait of a man who was heretofore little more than a legend.”


More Fun in the New World: The Unmaking and Legacy of L.A. Punk
By John Doe and Tom DeSavia

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Picking up where Under the Big Black Sun left off, More Fun in the New World explores the years 1982 to 1987, covering the dizzying pinnacle of L.A.’s punk rock movement as its stars took to the national — and often international — stage. Detailing the eventual splintering of punk into various sub-genres, the second volume of John Doe and Tom DeSavia’s west coast punk history portrays the rich cultural diversity of the movement and its characters, the legacy of the scene, how it affected other art forms, and ultimately influenced mainstream pop culture. The book also pays tribute to many of the fallen soldiers of punk rock, the pioneers who left the world much too early but whose influence hasn’t faded.”


Rocking Toward a Free World: When the Stratocaster Beat the Kalashnikov
By András Simonyi

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In Rocking Toward a Free World, Andras Simonyi charts the struggle of growing up in 1960s Hungary, a world in which listening to his favorite music was a powerful but furtive endeavor: records were black-market bootlegs; concerts were held under strict control, even banned; protests were folded into song lyrics. Get caught listening to Western radio could mean punishment, maybe prison. That didn’t matter to Simonyi, who from an early age felt the tremendous pull of rock and roll, the lure of American popular culture, and a burning desire to buck the system. Inspired by the protest music coming out of the West, he formed a band and became part of Hungary’s burgeoning rock scene. Then came the setbacks: tightening of control by the state, the seemingly inescapable weight of an authoritarian system, and the collapse of Simonyi’s own dreams of stardom.”


Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us about Economics and Life
By Alan B. Krueger

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The music industry is a leading indicator of today’s economy; it is among the first to be disrupted by the latest wave of technology, and examining the ins and outs of how musicians create and sell new songs and plan concert tours offers valuable lessons for what is in store for businesses and employees in other industries that are struggling to adapt. Drawing on interviews with leading band members, music executives, managers, promoters, and using the latest data on revenues, royalties, streaming tour dates, and merchandise sales, Rockonomics takes readers backstage to show how the music industry really works–who makes money and how much, and how the economics of the music industry has undergone a radical transformation during recent decades.”


Woodstock Live: 50 Years
By Julien Bitoun and Michael Lang

THE PRESS RELEASE: “3 days. 33 concerts. 2 deaths. 2 births. 500,000 people. And another 250,000 stuck in traffic trying to get in. Woodstock was a festival like no other. Now, on its 50th anniversary, relive every moment. Detailed text and evocative photographs tell the full story of every single act that performed – when they took to the stage, what songs they played, who was there, what they were like. From The Who to Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane to Creedence Clearwater Revival, every single second is an experience to enjoy over and over again. Also includes fascinating features on the stories around Woodstock, from the unique social and political context to the drugs, the free love, the film, the albums and the legacy.”