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Next Week in Music | Aug. 14-20 • New Books

Rod, Humble Pie, Depeche Mode, Killing Joke and more names for your readling list.


Dave’s back pages, Rod’s glory days, romantic ballads with a twist, and the complete works of The Beat, Humble Pie, Depeche Mode, Killing Joke and more. If. you wanna rock ’n’ roll all night and read every day, this is your week:


Kick Out the Jams: Jibes, Barbs, Tributes, and Rallying Cries from 35 Years of Music Writing
By Dave Marsh

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Spanning three decades worth of astute, acerbic, and overall astounding music writing, Kick Out The Jams is the first large-scale anthology of the work of renowned critic Dave Marsh. Ranging from Elvis Presley to Kurt Cobain, from Nina Simone to Ani DiFranco, from The Beatles to Green Day, the book gives an opinionated, eye-opening overview of 20th century popular music — offering a portrait not just of an era but of a writer wrestling with the American empire. Every essay bears the distinct Marsh attitude and voice. That passion is evident in a heart-wrenching piece on Cobain’s suicide and legacy; a humorous attack on “Bono’s bullshit;” an indignant look at James Brown and the FBI; deep, revelatory probes into the work of underappreciated artists like Patty Griffin and Alejandro Escovedo; and inspiring insight into what drives Marsh as a writer, namely “a raging passion to explain things in the hope that others would not be trapped and to keep the way clear so that others from the trashy outskirts of barbarous America still had a place to stand — if not in the culture at large, at least in rock ’n’ roll.” If you want to explore the recent history of pop music — its politics as well as its performers — Kick Out The Jams is the perfect guidebook.”

Rod Stewart: The Classic Years
By Sean Egan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Many have long found it difficult to take Rod Stewart seriously. However, once we get past the awkward stuff — leopard-skin leggings, bum-wiggling stage schticks, and a hairstyle unseemly for a man of his age — there remains the undeniable fact that the “Caledonian Cockney” is responsible for some of the greatest recordings ever made. Again and again, the combination of his heartwracked songs and gravelly, sensitive vocal delivery have conjured sonic magic. The bulk of Stewart’s classic recordings were made in the 1970s. His string of albums for the Mercury label across the first half of that decade sent critics into raptures. His 1971 album Every Picture Tells A Story is considered by some of them to literally be the best album of all time. Said semi-decade also saw Stewart front The Faces, whose likeably ramshackle albums gave his fans a double dose of their idol each year. On top of this are solo-Stewart classics that are neglected because he released them after a point where his increasingly outlandish image caused some of his original fans to disdain to any longer take him seriously. They include the splendid 1976 LP A Night On The Town and his peerless confessional love songs of 1977 You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim) and I Was Only Joking. Sean Egan has interviewed at length many of Stewart’s colleagues, collaborators, and cohabitees from the period, including musicians Micky Waller, Pete Sears, Ray Jackson, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones and Jim Cregan, recording engineer Mike Bobak, manager Billy Gaff, and Stewart’s then-girlfriend and muse Dee Harrington. The result is a striking and evocative portrait of the most fecund and vital stage in the life and career of one of popular music’s most important artists.”

Tainted Love: From Nina Simone to Kendrick Lamar
By Alex Coles

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Titled after Soft Cell’s version of the original 1965 Gloria Jones track, Tainted Love is the first book-length inquiry into the subject of the twisted romantic ballad, giving a sense of both its history and contemporary currency. Sometimes extreme, this twist to the conventional romantic ballad spans across gender and generational boundaries to subvert our understanding of both the genre’s function and its behavior. Each chapter of Tainted Love takes a deep dive into a single twisted ballad, examining both its inner workings — lyrics, melody, and vocal approach — and its broader cultural resonance. Featuring an analysis of songs by Kendrick Lamar, Nina Simone, Roxy Music, Joni Mitchell, The Velvet Underground, Frank Sinatra, Soft Cell, Paul McCartney, Charlotte & Serge Gainsbourg, PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, and Little Simz, this book turns on the question: What compels songwriters to compose — and us to listen to — these warped songs?”

The Beat, General Public and Fine Young Cannibals: Every Album, Every Song
By Steve Parry

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Bursting out of industrial Birmingham in the late 1970s and hitching a ride on the 2Tone bandwagon for their first single, The English Beat answered the question of whether punk and reggae should mix better than anyone else. Their stunning first album in 1980 was an immediate success in their home country and even as they charted an unexpected course through the early years of the new decade, they retained a loyal following of roots, radicals and rockers. They additionally began to build a reputation in the U.S. through hard work on the road, but, in 1983, the pressure of maintaining a career strung across the Atlantic tore the group apart. Front men Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger formed the slick and initially successful General Public, but they were completely eclipsed by Fine Young Cannibals, the soul-pop outfit created by guitarist Andy Cox and bassist Andy Steele whose second album sold millions worldwide. This book covers the tumultuous period 1979-89 when this trio of groups poured forth a torrent of brilliant music and covers every album and every track, scooping up along the way the hits that never were, experimental B-sides, remixes and guest appearances. It is a truly idiosyncratic creative flare path lighting up a strange but exciting decade.”

Depeche Mode: Every Album, Every Song
By Brian J. Robb

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For four decades, Depeche Mode dominated electronic music, from the naïve melodies of 1981’s Speak & Spell through to 2023’s Memento Mori. Through changing lineups featuring Vince Clarke, Alan Wilder and Andy Fletcher, singer Dave Gahan and main songwriter Martin Gore have been the band’s core. Starting as teenagers and now in their 60s, they have survived worldwide fame, addictions to drink and drugs, and near-death experiences, while continuing to innovate as technology and the music business evolved. An acclaimed live band, it is through their 15 studio albums that Depeche Mode have best expressed themselves, from the industrial darkness of Black Celebration (1986) to their popular breakthroughs with Music For the Masses (1987) and Violator (1990) and the emotional upheaval of 1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion. The band survived the chaotic fallout from that album and tour in the mid-1990s, with Gahan experiencing a near-fatal drug overdose, to regroup with Ultra (1997). They continued their explorations of love, death, sex, and politics on acclaimed albums Playing the Angel (2005), Delta Machine (2013) and Spirit (2016). Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020, proven survivors Depeche Mode’s story is here told in song by song detail.”

Humble Pie: Every Album, Every Song
By Robert Day-Webb

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The hard-rocking British supergroup Humble Pie were fronted by Steve Marriott, possessor of what is generally regarded as one of the finest ever rock and blue-eyed soul voices. They achieved global success in the early 1970s and earned themselves a reputation as one of the best live bands of the era. As fate would have it, however, this enormous success was to be short-lived and the group initially disbanded in 1975. There were to be subsequent reformations and reunions, but the heady days of the early 1970s were not to be repeated. Ultimately, rock music history books have tended to somewhat overlook the band in favour of some of their contemporaries — the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Faces, Free and Bad Company — but Humble Pie’s influence on the rock and metal bands that followed in their wake cannot be denied. This book examines all of Humble Pie’s recorded output in detail — album by album, track by track — covering every chapter of the band’s musical story, from the early carefree and democratic days of genre experimentation through to their halcyon period of hard-rocking R&B. The various subsequent reformations and reunions are also covered in detail, bringing the band’s story bang up-to-date in the 21st century. Ultimately, this detailed guide offers fans, old and new alike, a fully comprehensive look at the band’s musical legacy.”

Killing Joke: Every Album, Every Song
By Nic Ransome

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Forged in a West London fire ritual in 1979 and reborn with their original lineup in 2008, Killing Joke have been creating uncompromising music for 44 years. In addition to their incandescent self-titled debut in 1980, they have released essential albums in each of the past four decades: Night Time (1985), Pandemonium (1994), Killing Joke (2003) and Pylon (2015). But Killing Joke are more than a band; they are a primal force that exerts an intangible gravity on both its members and its fans. They have influenced countless groups across multiple genres — including Metallica, Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails — while their own style ranges across post-punk, dub, industrial, world music, electronica and alt-metal.Their equally eclectic lyrics traverse social alienation, dystopian futures, the folly of hubris, Cold War dread, paganism and the occult. Above all, their work embodies a process of self-discovery whose aim is nothing less than the revelation and integration of our darkest urges. This book covers the 15 studio albums and almost 200 songs of Killing Joke’s vocation to date. It’s a celebration of a band who are often challenging, always provocative, but ultimately life-affirming.”

Dominance and Submission: The Blue Öyster Cult Canon
By Martin Popoff

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In Dominance and Submission: The Blue Öyster Cult Canon, three-time BÖC author Martin Popoff turns the microphone away from himself to moderate a gathered and esteemed panel of Cult experts for deep-dive discussions on every Blue Öyster Cult studio album. No stone is left unturned, as we look at the personalities in the band, every song, every album cover, the band’s highly regarded lyrics as poetry, their music as ground-breaking and genre-defying. Dominance and Submission is set up in Q&A format, allowing for pure and piercing prose that is also conversational and easy-access. In the end, the author is confident that the wise words from this cabal of music authorities ― with Popoff not pulling any punches either, joining in the fun when the door is opened ― will have you playing the band’s canon with a renewed appreciation as to the complexity laced throughout such albums as Tyranny and Mutation, Agents of Fortune ― with its career-defining hit (Don’t Fear) The Reaper Spectres, Fire of Unknown Origin and the daunting Imaginos. But have no fear, Martin and his team have taken us right up to the band’s effusively received comeback album, The Symbol Remains, bringing band and fan full circle ― umlauts included, of course. Finally, augmenting the learning (and listening) experience, Dominance and Submission provides a plethora of images that make these essays on the band’s 15 albums that much more visceral. Bottom line: if you thought Martin had covered everything you need to know in Agents of Fortune: The Blue Öyster Cult Story, think again.”

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