Home Read News Next Week in Music | Aug. 31-Sept. 6 • New Books

Next Week in Music | Aug. 31-Sept. 6 • New Books

We're playing by the numbers this week — just like every other week, I guess.

From a trio of 33 1/3 instalments to 666 great metal songs, this week’s music books are all about the numbers — though really, that’s what they’re about every week, isn’t it? Anyway, read all about ’em:


If You See Me: My Six-Decade Journey in Rock and Roll
By Pepé Willie

THE PRESS RELEASE: “From the 1960s R&B scene in New York City to the Minneapolis Sound of the 1980s, Pepé Willie has been up close and personal with some of the most explosive American-grown music and musicians of the latter half of the twentieth century. The nephew of Clarence Collins of Little Anthony and the Imperials, Pepé Willie spent his Brooklyn youth surrounded by groundbreaking R&B and soul musicians. He worked as a valet for Little Anthony and the Imperials and the many legendary acts who shared the stage with them ― from Ray Charles and Patti LaBelle to The Four Tops and Supremes. Pepé rubbed elbows with the hottest stars of the day and got an up-close look at the inner workings of the music business. The experience inspired him to pursue his own musical dreams. After meeting and marrying a Minneapolis native, Pepé moved to Minnesota in 1974. He was brought to a family gathering to see a performance by the band featuring his wife’s cousin, Prince Rogers Nelson. From this first exposure to Prince and his band Grand Central, Pepé knew that this precocious teenager had extraordinary talent, and he set out to take the youngster under his wing, educating him on the ins and outs of songwriting and music publishing. In December 1975, Pepé brought his cousin-in-law into the studio for a session with his band 94 East. This first recording of Prince, the so-called Cookhouse Five sessions, was a pivotal moment in the rise of an unparalleled musician. While he continued to serve as mentor, confidante, advocate, and, briefly, manager for Prince, Pepé Willie left his own indelible mark on the burgeoning Minneapolis Sound with 94 East. (The 94 East song If You See Me opens the definitive compilation album, Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound.) He also became a mentor to other musicians in Prince’s circle, such as André Cymone, Morris Day and more. Pepé himself was inducted into the Minnesota Black Music Hall of Fame in 1988. In this autobiography, Pepé Willie tells of his journey through the music industry and chronicles working alongside Prince, helping the rising star make his own way in the business.”

33 1/3 | Suicide’s Suicide
By Andi Coulter

THE PRESS RELEASE: “New York City in the 1970s was an urban nightmare: destitute, dirty, and dangerous. As the country collectively turned its back on the Big Apple, two musical vigilantes rose out of the miasma. Armed only with amplified AC current, Suicide’s Alan Vega and Marty Rev set out to save America’s soul. Their weaponized noise terrorized unsuspecting audiences. Suicide could start a riot on a lack of guitar alone. Those who braved their live shows often fled in fear — or formed bands (sometimes both). This book attempts to give the reader a front-row seat to a Suicide show. Suicide is one of the most original, most misunderstood, and most influential bands of the last century. While Suicide has always had a dedicated cult following, the band is still relatively unknown outside their musical coterie. Arguing against the idea of the band’s niche musical history, this book looks at parallels between Marvel Comics’ antiheroes in the 1970s and Suicide’s groundbreaking first album. Andi Coulter tells the origin story of two musical Ghost Riders learning to harness their sonic superpower, using noise like a clarion call for a better future.”

33 1/3 | Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope
By Ayanna Dozier

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The question of control for Black women is a costly one. From 1986 onwards, the trajectory of Janet Jackson’s career can be summed up in her desire for control. Control for Janet was never simply just about her desire for economic and creative control over her career but was, rather, an existential question about the desire to control and be in control over her bodily integrity as a Black woman. This book examines Janet’s continuation of her quest for control as heard in her sixth album, The Velvet Rope. Engaging with the album, the promotion, the tour, and its accompanying music videos, this study unpacks how Janet uses Black cultural production as an emancipatory act of self-creation that allows her to reconcile with and, potentially, heal from trauma, pain, and feelings of alienation. The Velvet Rope’s arc moves audiences to imagine the possibility of what emancipation from oppression — from sexual, to internal, to societal — could look like for the singer and for others. The sexually charged content and themes of abuse, including self-harm and domestic violence, were dismissed as “selling points” for Janet at the time of its release. The album stands out as a revelatory expression of emotional vulnerability by the singer, one that many other artists have followed in the 20-plus years since its release.”

33 1/3 | Various Artists’ I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
By Ray Padgett

THE PRESS RELEASE: “When I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen hit stores in 1991, Leonard Cohen’s career had plummeted from its revered 1960s high. Cohen’s record label had refused to release his 1984 album Various Positions — including the song Hallelujah — in the United States. Luckily, Velvet Underground founder John Cale was one of the few who did hear Hallelujah, and he covered it for I’m Your Fan, a collection of Cohen’s songs produced by a French fanzine. Jeff Buckley adored the tribute album and covered Cale’s cover in 1994, never having heard Cohen’s still-obscure original version. In 2016, one prominent music website labeled the tribute album “possibly the most universally derided format in pop music.” However, without a tribute album, you wouldn’t know the song Hallelujah. Through Buckley through Cale, Hallelujah is now one of the most often-performed songs in the world — and it wouldn’t be without this tribute album. I’m Your Fan thus offers a particularly notable example of a much broader truth: Despite all the eye-rolling they inspire, tribute albums matter. They can resuscitate legends’ fading careers, or expose obscure artists who never had much of a career to begin with.

The Beatles Finally Let It Be
By Bruce Spizer

THE PRESS RELEASE:The BeatlesGet Back/Let It Be sessions and the resulting unreleased and released albums and bootlegged recordings are among the most interesting and confusing aspects of The Beatles’ recorded legacy. Bruce Spizer’s fourth installment in his Beatles album series, The Beatles Finally Let It Be covers the January 1969 rehearsals and recording sessions, the unreleased Get Back albums, Let It Be and Let It Be…Naked, along with American, British and Canadian perspectives. The book relies on articles from 1969 and 1970 magazines and newspapers to report on what fans knew about the sessions and the planned albums that were never issued, as well as reviews of the unreleased and released albums. There are also chapters on 1970 current events and music and film, plus a detailed breakdown of all of the songs released from the sessions. The fan recollections chapter includes stories from those were fortunate enough to be up on the roof for The Beatles’ final public performance on Jan. 30, 1969, along with one from a fan on the ground.”

Surf By Day, Jam By Night
By Ash Grunwald

THE PRESS RELEASE:Surf by Day, Jam by Night is seasoned bluesman and surfer Ash Grunwald’s deep dive into the extraordinary. Ash takes to the road, interviewing 15 of the world’s top surfer–musicians. From Kelly Slater to Stephanie Gilmore, Jack Johnson to Dave Rastovich, Pete Murray to G. Love, and many more, like Ash, these are people doing life their own way. Soulful and candid, these conversations offer insights into the lives and minds of some masters of both surfing and music. Spanning stories of heavy wipe-outs and heaving crowds and riffs on style, the flow state, career longevity, and jamming vs shredding, this book is an often light-hearted, wide-ranging meditation on what it really takes to live your dreams. If you’ve ever found yourself in any kind of rut and wondered if there’s something more out there, here’s a call to wake up, take your life into your hands, and dare to follow your passions.”

666 Songs to Make You Bang Your Head Until You Die: A Guide to the Monsters of Rock and Metal
By Bruno MacDonald

THE PRESS RELEASE:666 Songs to Make You Bang Your Head Until You Die delves into the dark corners of hard rock and metal, unearthing hidden treasures and shining fresh light on old favourites. From pioneers like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, through million-sellers like Van Halen and AC/DC, to skull-crushers like Pantera and The Prodigy, and young bucks like Bring Me The Horizon and Paramore, the selection charts the evolution of the genre over the last 60 years. Each entry is packed with reviews from contemporary musicians, quotes from bandmates and fascinating trivia. Written in an informed, entertaining and irreverent style, 666 Songs to Make You Bang Your Head Until You Die is a must-have for metal lovers.”