Home Read News Next Week in Music | June 8-14 • New Books

Next Week in Music | June 8-14 • New Books

Read all about it: Robert Johnson, Billie Eilish, XXXTentacion & more musical tales.

474

From Robert Johnson to Billie Eilish, from Prince to XXXTentacion, from cult heroes to musical crossroads; this week’s musical reads cast a wide net. See if anything below catches your eye:

 


Brother Robert: Growing Up with Robert Johnson
By Annye C. Anderson

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Though only 27 years young and relatively unknown at the time of his tragic death in 1938, Robert Johnson’s enduring recordings have solidified his status as a progenitor of the Delta Blues style. And yet, while his music has retained the steadfast devotion of modern listeners, much remains unknown about the man who penned and played these timeless tunes. Few people alive today actually remember what Johnson was really like, and those who do have largely upheld their silence — until now. In Brother Robert, nonagenarian Annye Anderson sheds new light on a real-life figure largely obscured by his own legend: her kind and incredibly talented stepbrother, Robert Johnson. This book chronicles Johnson’s unconventional path to stardom — from the harrowing story behind his illegitimate birth, to his first strum of the guitar on Anderson’s father’s knee, to the genre-defining recordings that would one day secure his legacy. Along the way, Anderson not only shares personal anecdotes, but also colorful recollections of Johnson passed down by members of their family — the people who knew him best. She also outlines the contours of Johnson’s working life in Memphis, never-before-disclosed details about his romantic history, and all of his favorite things, from foods and entertainers to brands of tobacco and pomade. Together, these stories don’t just bring the mythologized Johnson back down to earth; they preserve both his memory and his integrity. For decades, Anderson and her family have ignored the tall tales of Johnson “selling his soul to the devil” and the speculative to fictionalized accounts of his life that passed for biography. Brother Robert is here to set the record straight. This book paints a vivid portrait of an elusive figure who forever changed the musical landscape as we know it.”


Look at Me!: The XXXTentacion Story
By Jonathan Reiss

THE PRESS RELEASE: “At the age of 20, rapper Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy — aka XXXTentacion — was gunned down during an attempted robbery on the streets of Deerfield Beach, FL, mere months after signing a $10 million record deal with Empire Music. A rising star in the world of SoundCloud rap, XXXTentacion achieved stellar levels of success without the benefit of a major label or radio airtime, and flourished via his passionate and unfettered connection to his fans. In Look at Me!, journalist Jonathan Reiss charts the tumultuous life and unguarded songwriting of the SoundCloud sensation. Unlike most rap on the platform, XXXTentacion’s music didn’t dwell on money, partying, and getting high. He wrote about depression, suicide, and other mental health issues, topics that led to an outpouring of posthumous appreciation from his devoted fanbase. It was XXXTentacion’s vulnerability that helped him stand apart from artists obsessed with being successful and “cool.” Yet these insecurities also stemmed from — and contributed to — his fair share of troubles, including repeated run-ins with the law during in his teen years, a disturbing proclivity towards violence, and a prison sentence that overlapped with the release of his first single. Through the memories of the people who knew him best, Look at Me! maps out the true story of an unlikely cultural icon and elucidates what it was about him that touched the post-millennial generation so deeply.”


Prince and Popular Music: Critical Perspectives on an Interdisciplinary Life
By Mike Alleyne & Kirsty Fairclough

THE PRESS RELEASE:Prince’s position in popular culture has undergone only limited academic scrutiny. This book provides an academic examination of Prince, encompassing the many layers of his cultural and creative impact. It assesses Prince’s life and legacy holistically, exploring his multiple identities and the ways in which they were manifested through his recorded catalogue and audiovisual personae. In 17 essays organized thematically, the anthology includes a diverse range of contributions — taking ethnographic, musicological, sociological, gender studies and cultural studies approaches to analysing Prince’s career.”


Cult Musicians: 50 Progressive Performers You Need to Know
By Robert Dimery & Kristelle Rodeia

THE PRESS RELEASE: “What makes a cult musician? Whether pioneering in their craft, fiercely and undeniably unique or critically divisive, cult musicians come in all shapes and guises. Some gain instant fame, others instant notoriety, and more still remain anonymous until a chance change in fashion sees their work propelled into the limelight. In Cult Musicians, Robert Dimery introduces 50 musicians deserving of a cult status. The book will cover a plethora of genres and boundary-breakers, from afrobeat and art pop to glam rock and proto punk – Bjork and PJ Harvey to Aphex Twin and Wiley. Discover little knowns with small, devout followings and superstars gracing the covers of magazines: each musician is special in their individuality and their ability to inspire, antagonise and delight. The musicians: Alex Chilton, Alice Coltrane, Aphex Twin, Arthur Lee, Arthur Russell, Betty Davis, Bjork, Bobbie Gentry, Brian Eno, Brigitte Fontaine, Captain Beefheart, Delia Derbyshire, Edith Piaf, Fela Kuti, Frank Zappa, Gil Scott-Heron, Iggy Pop, J Dilla, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kat Bjelland, Kool Keith, Laurie Anderson, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Lili Boulanger, Lydia Lunch, Manu Chao, Marianne Faithfull, Mark E. Smith, Mark Hollis, Moondog, Nick Cave, Nick Drake, Nico, Patti Smith, Peaches, PJ Harvey, Robert Wyatt, Roky Erickson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sandy Denny, Scott Walker, Serge Gainsbourg, Sixto Rodriguez, Sun Ra, Syd Barrett, The Slits, Tom Waits, Wiley, Yoko Ono.


Crossroads: In Search of the Moments that Changed Music
By Mark Radcliffe

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Standing at the Mississippi crossroads of Robert Johnson and the devil’s infamous meeting, Mark Radcliffe found himself facing his own personal crunch point. Aged 60, he had just mourned the death of his father, only to be handed a diagnosis of mouth and throat cancer. This momentous time in his life, and being at the most famous junction in music history, led Radcliffe to think about the pivotal tracks in music and how the musicians who wrote and performed them — from Woody Guthrie to Gloria Gaynor, Kurt Cobain to Bob Marley — had reached the crossroads that led to such epoch-changing music. In this warm, intimate account of music and its power to transform our lives, Radcliffe takes a personal journey through these touchstone tracks, looking at the story behind the records and his own experiences as he goes in search of these moments.”


Billie Eilish: The Essential Fan Guide
By Malcolm Croft

THE PRESS RELEASE:Billie Eilish: The Essential Fan Guide tells the story of one of the most unique and exciting pop stars on the planet. Through lively text and brilliant pictures, it follows the rise and rise of Billie from bedroom singer to festival headliner with the No. 1 album in the world, detailing her songwriting process, her life in the spotlight, and how she developed her unique sense of style. Filled with quotes from Billie and her closest collaborators, discussing fame, fashion, fans and more, Billie Eilish: The Essential Fan Guide takes you onstage, in the studio and behind the scenes with the most hyped artist of her generation.”