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Next Week in Music | Jan. 2-8 • New Books

Adele, Vashti Bunyan, Rush & Simple Minds are at the top of your 2023 reading list.


Adele, Vashti Bunyan, Rush and Simple Minds — along with musical visits to Louisiana and Cambodia — open the cover on 2023. Read all about ’em:


Themes For Great Cities: A New History of Simple Minds
By Graeme Thomson

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Released last year in the U.K. but finally available in North American, this illuminating biography of one of Britain’s biggest and most influential bands was written with the full input and cooperation of Simple Minds, shedding new light on their dazzling art-rock legacy. Themes For Great Cities features in-depth new interviews with original band members Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, Mick MacNeil and Derek Forbes, alongside key figures from within their creative community and high-profile fans such as Bobby Gillespie, James Dean Bradfield and Mogwai‘s Stuart Braithwaite. The book reclaims and revivifies the magnificence of Simple Minds’ pioneering early albums, from the glitchy Euro-ambience of Real to Real Cacophony and Empires and Dance to the pulsing, agitated romance of Sons and Fascination, New Gold Dream and beyond. Emerging in 1978 from Glasgow’s post-punk scene, Simple Minds transitioned from restless art-rock to electro-futurism, mutated into passionate pop contenders and, finally, a global rock behemoth. They have sold in the region of 60 million records and remain a worldwide phenomenon. The drama of their tale lies in these transformations and triumphs, conflicts and contradictions. Themes For Great Cities tells the inside story of a band becoming a band. Inspiring, insightful and enlightening, it celebrates the trailblazing music of one of Britain’s greatest groups.”

Wayward: Just Another Life to Live
By Vashti Bunyan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 1968, Vashti Bunyan gave up everything and everybody she knew in London to take to the road with a horse, wagon, dog, guitar and her then partner. They made the long journey up to the Outer Hebrides in an odyssey of discovery and heartbreak, full of the joy of freedom and the trudge of everyday reality, sleeping in the woods, fighting freezing winters and homelessness. Along the way, Vashti wrote the songs that would lead to the recording of her 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day, the lilting lyrics and guitar conveying innocent wonder at the world around her, whilst disguising a deeper turmoil under the surface. From an unconventional childhood in post-war London, to a fledgling career in mid-’60s pop — recording a single written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards — to the despair and failure to make any headway with her own songs, she rejected the music world altogether and left it all behind. After retreating to a musical wilderness for thirty years, the rediscovery of her recordings in 2000 brought Vashti a second chance to write, record and perform once more. One of the great hippie myths of the 1960s, Wayward: Just Another Life to Live, rewrites the narrative of a barefoot girl on the road to describe a life lived at full tilt from the first, revealing what it means to change course and her emotional struggle, learning to take back control of her own life.”

Adele: To 30 and Beyond – The Unauthorized Biography
By Danny White

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The trademark authenticity of Adele’s songs has been hard earned: she was raised by a single mother and has been tested by bereavements and a string of breakups. Just when she seemed to have left the pain behind, a harrowing divorce and a career-threatening throat injury brought new darkness and doubt to her doorstep. This book takes you behind the scenes of her highs, her lows and everything in between. Separating the myths from the truth, it examines the real Adele: a shrewd and ambitious star who approaches her career with an iconic blend of tradition and innovation. The superstar is back in the spotlight with a new album and a fresh look. But will Adele ever find happiness, or will she always be followed by what she calls her ‘very dark side?’ ”

Moving Pictures: How Rush Created Progressive Hard Rock’s Greatest Record
By Will Romano

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “There’s nothing like it in the Rush catalog — or, indeed, in the entire prog-rock canon. Stylistically expansive and intellectually ambitious, 1981’s Moving Pictures was a landmark release, one that helped define the progressive genre and that ensured Rush’s place in the rock pantheon. In this definitive account of the album’s creation and legacy, author Will Romano explores the rare alchemy behind a record that continues to inspire musicians and listeners even today. While Permanent Waves and Hemispheres were important releases in Rush’s evolution as a band, Moving Pictures marked a turning point for the Canadian trio in more ways than one. It was not only a creative triumph but a commercial one, with sales and airplay that blasted them into the stratosphere of rock stardom. Beyond the individual power of its seven songs, however, the key to its lasting significance is the distinctive overarching vision that Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart brought to the album. As Romano shows, Moving Pictures reconciled opposing creative sensibilities to a remarkable degree, giving the record real thematic depth while at the same time rendering it the very antithesis of a “concept album.” Each track was carefully layered with cinematic and multisensory meaning, paradoxically using music to evoke experiences beyond the strictly aural. Consistently insightful and frequently surprising, this book is filled with behind-the-scenes details based on new research and interviews, and it guides readers through the album’s dizzying array of allusions and inspirations. Newbies and fervent Rush fans alike will find this an illuminating exploration of one of the band’s most enduring achievements.”

Hidden History of Louisiana’s Jazz Age
By Sam Irwin

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “New Orleans’ early jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory and Buddy Bolden had fascinating careers, but Hidden History of Louisiana’s Jazz Age is filled with tales of murder, lust and adventure. Clarinetist Joe Darensbourg of Baton Rouge ran away and joined the circus three times before the age of 20. The Martel Band of Opelousas witnessed a legal public hanging of a convicted serial murderer in 1923 Evangeline Parish. Trumpeter Evan Thomas of Crowley could have been a rival to Satchmo but was cut down on the bandstand in the Promised Land neighborhood of Rayne, La. Author Sam Irwin explores the odd and quirky in these fascinating stories of the Roaring ’20s.”

Away From Beloved Lover: A Musical Journey Through Cambodia
By Dee Peyok

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In the swinging 1960s, after nearly a century of colonisation, Cambodia had gained its independence and was ready to rock. Young musicians from the countryside flocked to the vibrant cosmopolitan capital city of Phnom Penh. Teenagers cycled along the Mekong River, guitars slung across their backs, on their way to rehearse Khmer covers of The Beatles or Pink Floyd. The city was a melting pot of sound: old fashioned rock ’n’ roll, early heavy metal, crooners and swooners and love duets. The music stopped on April 17, 1975 when the Khmer Rouge army captured Phnom Penh, ending the civil war and beginning the genocide. Around 90% of the musicians died in the killing fields. But a few fled, to the U.S. or France, taking what remained of their music with them. In Away From Beloved Lover, Dee Peyok travels across Cambodia, piecing together the story of the country and its golden era of music. She interviews surviving superstars and their relatives in places as disparate as a traditional house on stilts by a rice paddy, an artist’s studio deep in the ancient forests, and a café in the new, divided Phnom Penh. Away From Beloved Lover is a musical travelogue that tells the story of Cambodia, past and present, in a thrilling new way. It is an immersive exploration of a country set to a soundtrack too long silenced, and finally able to play.”

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