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Next Week in Music | Feb. 28 – March 6 • New Books


Dylan and the Dead, gunk punk and drama trauma, turntables and tropes, riddim and roadtrips — welcome to the music books of your immediate future. Read all about ’em:


We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988–2001 (Expanded Edition)
By Eric Davidson

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Nirvana, The White Stripes, Hole, The Hives — all sprang from an underground music scene where similarly raw bands, enjoying various degrees of success and luck, played for throngs of fans in venues ranging from dive bars to massive festivals, but were mostly ignored by a music industry focused on mega-bands and shiny pop stars. We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988–2001 tracks the inspiration and beautiful destruction of this largely undocumented movement. What they took, they fought for, every night. They reveled in ’50s rock ‘n’ roll, ’60s garage rock, and ’70s punk while creating their own wave of gut-busting riffs and rhythm. The majority of bands that populate this book — The Gories, The Supersuckers, The Dwarves, The Mummies, Rocket from the Crypt, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and The Muffs among them — gained little long-term reward from their nonstop touring and brain-slapping records. What they did have was free liquor, cheap drugs, chaotic romances, and a crazy good time, all the while building a dedicated fan base that extends across the world. Truly, this is the last great wave of down-and-dirty rock ‘n’ roll.”

Bob Dylan in the ’80s: Decades
By Don Klees

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “No period of Bob Dylan’s six-decade career confounds fans more than the 1980s. The singer began the decade with Saved, the second in a trio of explicitly religious records, and a tour in which he declined to play his older songs because of concern they were anti-god. Dylan’s ambivalence about the songs that made him an icon was mirrored by fans, many of whom found his post-conversion messages strident and judgmental. This made Saved his worst-selling album in years and set a pattern for the next several years. Despite being a prolific time, in which the singer released seven studio albums, the decade was defined by inconsistency. Throughout the 1980s, some of his most profound work alternated with lackluster compositions and indifferent performances — sometimes on the same album. However, even as Dylan struggled artistically, all of his albums contained reminders of why he continued to be celebrated. By the end of the decade, his perseverance — both on stage and in the studio — and a spontaneous collaboration with some of his peers coalesced into his best received releases since the 1970s. Rather than closing a book, the combination of Oh Mercy and the first Traveling Wilburys record pointed to new chapters. The 1990s began a remarkable run of success that few popular artists have managed at any stage of their careers.”

Were They Ever Here at All? More Epic Tales of The Grateful Dead
By Scott W Allen

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Were They Ever Here at All? More Epic Tales of The Grateful Dead is author Scott W. Allen’s third and final biography of the famed San Francisco group, updating the Dead’s history through October 2021. Were They Ever Here at All? completes a series of biographies written by Allen that are among the most detailed, encompassing, and up-to-date histories of the Dead ever written. The Foreword to Were They Ever Here at All? is written by the late acclaimed civil libertarian and Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow. Were They Ever Here at All? focuses on the last years of Jerry Garcia’s life. Allen shares intimate details and information from Garcia’s former wife and a core group of his closest friends who openly discuss on record how The Grateful Dead treated Garcia in the post-1992 world, refusing his requests to leave the band while increasing the number of concerts they played. Garcia spent the final two years of his life asking the band to release him from his contract and allow him to exit. Long-time personal friend Joe McCord confirms this: “One of the things that is very important for people to know is that Jerry wanted to quit the Dead.”

Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma & Rock ‘n’ Roll
By Elise Krentzel

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In this fast-paced memoir, Elise Krentzel shares how she took charge of the tumultuous 1970s by making a name for herself as a rock journalist when still a teenager. As a kid, she was encouraged by her parents to sing, play music, and write, but she wasn’t allowed to be herself. Alienated, she hid her heart and learned to become a stranger in her own skin as the torment of early childhood taught her to mistrust everyone, especially herself. As an adolescent traveling in Europe, she came to realize there was more to life than sex, money, and fame. With newly instilled vigor and drive, Elise set out to break her toxic cycles, determined to become someone people would notice. At 19 years old — the youngest journalist on the KISS Japan Tour — she negotiated a plum job with one of the biggest players in the Japanese music industry, desperately trying to fill the gaping hole left by feeling unheard and unloved by those she depended on most: Her family. Spanning three continents and twenty years, Under My Skin tells the story of a street-smart, vulnerable Jewish girl from the Bronx and how she changed her life forever.”

Turntables & Tropes: A Rhetoric of Remix
By Scott Haden Church

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The creative practice of remix is essential to contemporary culture, as the proliferation of song mashups, political remix videos, memes, and even streaming television shows like Stranger Things demonstrates. Yet remix is not an exclusively digital practice, nor is it even a new one, as there is evidence of remix in the speeches of classical Greek and Roman orators. Turntables and Tropes is the first book to address remix from a communicative perspective, examining its persuasive dimensions by locating its parallels with classical rhetoric. Through identifying, recontextualizing, mashing up, and applying rhetorical tropes to contemporary digital texts and practices, this groundbreaking book presents a new critical vocabulary that scholars and students can use to analyze remix. Building upon scholarship from classical thinkers such as Isocrates, Quintilian, Nāgārjuna and Cicero and contemporary luminaries like Kenneth Burke, Richard Lanham and Eduardo Navas, Scott Haden Church shows that an understanding of rhetoric offers innovative ways to make sense of remix culture.”

Run The Riddim: The Untold Story of ’90s Dancehall to the World
By Marvin Sparks

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Remember when dancehall riddims were king? Run The Riddim: The Untold Story of ’90s Dancehall to the World is the first definitive story of the golden era. Told through seminal riddims, Marvin Sparks explores the sound origins, identity, tragedies, triumphs and lasting legacy. Read about the rise and importance of Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Lady Saw, Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Garnett Silk, Beres Hammond, Dancehall Queen Carlene, Sizzla, Capleton, Steely & Clevie, Dave Kelly, Tony “CD” Kelly, Danny Browne, Red Rat, Baby Cham, Sean Paul and many more. The author — a lifelong dancehall student — weaves lived experiences and observations with quotes from over 30 recorded conversations with founding producers, prominent artists, well-known DJs and other industry figures who share memories and reveal personal stories beyond the beat – providing a space for them to set the record straight.”

Western Skies
By Darden Smith

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Part prose, part album, and part photographic essay, Western Skies is singer-songwriter Darden Smith’s stunning homage to the mythologies of Texas and companion to his music release of the same name. Amid a series of road trips across West Texas, Smith — Austin-based musician, author, and creative — found himself writing songs at the wheel and taking Polaroid photographs of the stark and ghostly terrain. Inspired by the spirit of the landscape, Smith scribbled his observations in a notebook and found new life in old lyrics-and between the prose, the music, and the Polaroid images he captured with his camera, Western Skies came vividly to life. The perfect companion piece to his latest album of the same name, this arresting travelogue celebrates the sights and sounds of West Texas in a truly immersive and transportive way.”

Girl On Fire
By Alicia Keys, Andrew Weiner & Brittney Williams

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “From New York Times bestselling author and 15-time Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys comes a new authentic and poignant coming-of-age young adult graphic novel, about finding the strength within when your whole world changes in an instant. Lolo Wright always thought she was just a regular 14-year-old dealing with regular family drama: her brother, James, is struggling with his studies; her dad’s business constantly teeters on the edge of trouble; and her mother … she left long ago. But then Lolo’s world explodes when a cop pulls a gun on James in a dangerous case of mistaken identities. Staring down the barrel, with no one else to help, Lolo discovers powers she never knew she had. Using only her mind, she literally throws the cop out of the way. Problem is that secrets like Lolo’s don’t stay a secret for long. Skin, a dangerous dealer with designs on taking over the neighborhood, hears of Lolo’s telekinetic abilities and decides that he needs her in his crew. Skin might not have Lolo’s powers, but he’s got nothing to lose and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. And what he wants is Lolo. Lolo’s not willing to let Skin use her to hurt the people — and neighborhood — that she loves. But it’s going to take a whole different kind of bravery to stand up for what’s right, especially after Lolo’s mom returns suddenly and turns Lolo’s whole world upside-down. For too long, it’s true, Lolo’s had her head in the clouds, but this time, it’s on her … and she’s not backing down. Girl on Fire is a young adult graphic novel about a girl who’s a flame.”