Home Read News Next Week in Music | Sept. 21-27 • New Books

Next Week in Music | Sept. 21-27 • New Books

Cowboy Junkies, Soft Cell, Canadian Blues, Soviet Rock & more; read all about it.

Are you ready to read? I can’t hear you — I said, ARE YOU READY TO READ? Well, you’d better start prepping: There’s another shelf-load of musical books on the way, covering everything from Cowboy Junkies and Soft Cell to Canadian blues and Soviet rock. Here’s the lineup:


Music is the Drug: The Authorised Biography of The Cowboy Junkies
By Dave Bowler

THE PRESS RELEASE:Cowboy Junkies came to the attention of the world in 1988 when the beguiling sound of The Trinity Session found its way into more than two million homes. Drawing on the work of the 20th century’s greatest songwriters in order to find their own voice, the band have gone on to produce one of the most consistent bodies of work in rock music, their own varied take on the Great American Songbook, with plenty more to come. The story of three Timmins and an AntonMike, Margo, Pete and Alan — is one of following the sounds and the stories in their heads wherever they lead, of taking the songs to the people, of staying true to the substance, not the surface. In this authorised biography of the band, Dave Bowler shows how, after 35 years, several hundred songs, 200 (thousand and) more miles down the road, the music is still the drug.”

My Life in the Purple Kingdom
By BrownMark, Cynthia M. Uhrich

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In the summer of 1981, Mark Brown was a teenager working at a 7-Eleven store when he wasn’t rehearsing with his high school band Phantasy. Come fall, Brown, now called BrownMark, was onstage with Prince at the Los Angeles Coliseum, opening for The Rolling Stones in front of 90,000 people. My Life in the Purple Kingdom is BrownMark’s memoir of coming of age in the musical orbit of one of the most visionary artists of his generation. Raw, wry, real, this book takes us from his musical awakening as a boy in Minneapolis to the cold call from Prince at 19, from touring the world with The Revolution and performing in Purple Rain to inking his own contract with Motown. BrownMark’s story is that of a hometown kid, living for sunny days when his transistor would pick up KUXL, a solar-powered, shut-down-at-sundown station that was the only one that played R&B music in Minneapolis in 1968. But once he took up the bass guitar — and never looked back — he entered a whole new realm, and, literally at the right hand of Twin Cities musical royalty, he joined the funk revolution that integrated the Minneapolis music scene and catapulted him onto the international stage. BrownMark describes how his funky stylings earned him a reputation (leading to Prince’s call) and how he and Prince first played together at that night’s sudden audition — and never really stopped. He takes us behind the scenes as few can, into the confusing emotional and professional life among the denizens of Paisley Park, and offers a rare, intimate look into music at the heady heights that his childhood self could never have imagined. An inspiring memoir of making it against stacked odds, experiencing extreme highs and lows of success and pain, and breaking racial barriers, My Life in the Purple Kingdom is also the story of a young man learning his craft and honing his skill like any musician, but in a world like no other and in a way that only BrownMark could tell it.”

Electronic Boy: The Autobiography of Dave Ball
By Dave Ball

THE PRESS RELEASE: “After over 15 years of ‘radio silence’ from synthpop super-band Soft Cell (perhaps best known for their hit song Tainted Love), Dave Ball and Marc Almond reformed to play in front of a sell-out crowd in 2018 at London’s O2 arena. This is Dave Ball’s story, covering his life and illustrious career, beginning with his childhood in Blackpool, his friendship with fellow band member Marc Almond, to his journey with Soft Cell and his life after the band.”

It Takes Blood and Guts
By Skin, Lucy O’Brien

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Lead singer of multi-million-selling rock band Skunk Anansie, solo artist, LGBTQ+activist and all-around trailblazer — Skin is a global icon, and she has been smashing stereotypes for over 25 years. Her journey from Brixton to the top of British rock is nothing short of extraordinary. ‘It’s been a very difficult thing being a lead singer of a rock band looking like me and it still is. I have to say it’s been a fight and it will always be a fight. That fight drives you and makes you want to work harder … It’s not supposed to be easy, particularly if you’re a woman, you’re black or you are gay like me. You’ve got to keep moving forward, keep striving for everything you want to be.’ Born to Jamaican parents, Skin grew up in Brixton in the 1970’s. Her career as an artist began in the ‘90s, when Skunk Anansie was formed in the sweat-drenched backrooms of London’s pubs. Since then she has headlined Glastonbury and toured the world, both as lead singer of Skunk Anansie and as a solo artist. Her success has been groundbreaking in every way, which has come at a personal cost. She has always been vocal about social and cultural issues, and was championing LGBTQ+ rights at a time when few artists were out and gay. Told with honesty and passion, this is the story of how a gay, black, working-class girl with a vision fought poverty and prejudice to write songs, produce and front her own band, and become one of the most influential women in British rock.”

Canadian Blues: Reference & Collector’s Guide
By Mike Carr

THE PRESS RELEASE:Canadian Blues is the second in a series of reference and collectors guides from Rock My World Canada! This guide contains all things Canadian blues. This issue contains 215 full colour pages, over 700 artists and nearly 2800 album covers. Although it is not a full discography of each artist, collectors may find this a valuable resource and starting point when on the search for Canadian blues artists. New in this guide are lists of blues festivals, societies, record labels and for those that like live music, there is now an autograph page.”

On the Record: Music Journalists on Their Lives, Craft, and Careers
By Mike Hilleary

THE PRESS RELEASE:Rolling Stone, Creem, the Village Voice, SPIN, Billboard, Stereogum, Pitchfork. How did the music journalists who write for these popular publications break into the business? How have they honed their writing and interviewing techniques? How have they managed to thrive amid major changes in the industry, as print magazines have declined and digital publications have emerged? What does it take to turn a love of music into a professional writing career?”

Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground
By Joanna Stingray, Madison Stingray

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The inspiring and poetic memoir of the young New Wave musician whose improbable Cold War heroics opened the clandestine world of Leningrad punk and rock to the West. Joanna Stingray was only 23 years old when she first set foot in the USSR and started meeting now-legendary musicians and artists of the Soviet underground like Boris Grebenshchikov, Sergei Kuryokhin and Viktor Tsoi. By 1985, she was writing and recording with them, and smuggling their music to the West in order to produce the groundbreaking album Red Wave: 4 Underground Bands from the USSR. This is her testimony of youthful fortitude and rebellion, her love story, and proof of the power of music and youth culture over stagnancy and oppression. The book, written with her singer/songwriter daughter, Madison, includes Stingray’s extensive collection of photographs, artworks, and interviews with the musicians.”

A Field Guide to Punk
By Steve Wide

THE PRESS RELEASE: “What makes punk… punk? We might all know The Sex Pistols from the opening bar of their songs. But how do we place the punk movement in the context of the wider zeitgeist of the time? And how do the various offshoots of punk — American, British, Australian — intersect and overlap? Well, that’s precisely what DJ and author Steve Wide explains in this book.”

A Field Guide to Post-Punk & New Wave
By Steve Wide

THE PRESS RELEASE: “What makes New Wave… New Wave? It’s the catchall name of punk’s poppy offshoot, born in the ’70s, simultaneously in the United States and United Kingdom. But how would you describe New Wave’s context in the zeitgeist of the time, or explain how this new electro-rock made people feel? Well, that’s precisely what DJ and author Steve Wide explains in this handy book. In these pages, Steve explains the social and music industry climates of the ’70s and ’80s, unpacking the influence of the punk genre on NYC-based groups like The Velvet Underground and New York Dolls. There’s also a timeline on the usage of the term New Wave — for a long chunk of the ’70s it was used almost interchangeably with punk. There are breakdowns on the key record labels, DJs, producers, engineers and magazines — all of which stitched their own layer on the New Wave patchwork. There are deep dives into controversies, rivalries, and messy band breakups. And lastly, there’s a dissection of how ripples of New Wave are still felt today, in recorded music and across wider pop culture.”