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Next Week in Music | Dec. 4-10 • New Books

The latest lineup of new music books would like to be on a first-name basis, please.

Jimi and Ella. Taylor and Mariah. Harry and Dee. Next week’s books would like to be on a first-name basis. Read all about ’em:


Loaded: The Life (And Afterlife) Of The Velvet Underground
By Dylan Jones

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Rebellion always starts somewhere, and in the music world of the transgressive teen — whether it be the 1960s or the 2020s — The Velvet Underground represents ground zero. Crystallizing the idea of the bohemian, urban, narcissistic art school gang around a psychedelic rock and roll band — a stylistic idea that evolved in the rarefied environs of Andy Warhol’s Factory — the Velvets were the first major American rock group with a mixed gender lineup. They never smiled in photographs, wore sunglasses indoors, and invented the archetype that would be copied by everyone from Sid Vicious to Bobby Gillespie. They were avant-garde nihilists, writing about drug abuse, prostitution, paranoia, and sado-masochistic sex at a time when the rest of the world was singing about peace and love. In that sense they invented punk and then some. It could even be argued that they invented modern New York. Drawing on interviews and material relating to all major players, from Lou Reed, John Cale, Mo Tucker, Andy Warhol, Jon Savage, Nico, David Bowie, Mary Harron and many more, award-winning journalist Dylan Jones breaks down the band’s whirlwind of subversion and, in a narrative rich in drama and detail, proves why the Velvets remain the original kings and queens of edge.”

Jimi And Me: The Experience Of A Lifetime
By Jonathan Stathakis & Chris Epting

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 1969, a 20-something screenwriter with one movie credit to his name was approached by Jimi Hendrix’s management after the legendary guitarist saw the obscure indie film in London and had the idea to collaborate on a project of his own. Jonathan Stathakis had no idea how thrilling the next 18 months would be, as he and Hendrix formed not just a working partnership but a unique friendship. Hendrix ushered Jonathan into his world, where plenty of sex and drugs surrounded the rock ’n’ roll. From Woodstock to Electric Ladyland, Jonathan leads readers inside one of the craziest trips ever taken in music history. While writing their script, Jonathan and Hendrix talked about life and where their roads were leading. Hendrix the performer was a flamboyant unpredictable force of nature. But Hendrix the friend was a thoughtful, frustrated, dedicated artist who oftentimes just needed somebody to talk to. Sadly, Hendrix’s journey ended far too soon, and his last phone call to Jonathan — just two days before his death in London — almost seemed to foretell his fate. With many never-before-told stories and never-before-seen photographs, Jimi Hendrix comes back to life as you’ve never experienced him before. Backstage, on stage, and everyplace in between, get ready to ride through the purple haze and experience one of the most creative and powerful cultural eras in history. It’s Almost Famous with a Hendrix twist.”

Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song
By Judith Tick

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996) possessed one of the 20th century’s most astonishing voices. In the first major biography since Fitzgerald’s death, historian Judith Tick offers a sublime portrait of this ambitious risk-taker whose exceptional musical spontaneity made her a transformational artist. Becoming Ella Fitzgerald clears up long-enduring mysteries. Archival research and in-depth family interviews shed new light on the singer’s difficult childhood in Yonkers, New York, the tragic death of her mother, and the year she spent in a girls’ reformatory school — where she sang in its renowned choir and dreamed of being a dancer. Rarely seen profiles from the Black press offer precious glimpses of Fitzgerald’s tense experiences of racial discrimination and her struggles with constricting models of Black and white femininity at midcentury. Tick’s compelling narrative depicts Fitzgerald’s complicated career in fresh and original detail, upending the traditional view that segregates vocal jazz from the genre’s mainstream. A masterful biography, Becoming Ella Fitzgerald describes a powerful woman who set a standard for American excellence nearly unmatched in the 20th century.”

Blondie: Against The Odds
By Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Connor

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Combining an imaginative take on an oral history of the band, interspersed with artistic interpretations of 10 songs from their catalog, Blondie: Against The Odds captures the friction of New York City as the band fought their way to prominence in the punk heyday of the 1970s, as well as the power and energy contained within the songs that fueled their rise to legendary status.”

Shake Some Action: My Life in Music (And Other Stuff)
By Stuart Coupe

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “First as a music writer and then as an editor, promoter, manager, broadcaster, publicist and author, Stuart Coupe has experienced the giddy highs and crushing lows of a life lived in the creative fast lane. Shake Some Action is your backstage pass to his remarkable story, from starting his first magazine at the age of 14 to hoovering heroic amounts of cocaine before interviewing Boy Dylan (who asked him where he got his drugs from). From getting garbage bags full of fan (and hate) mail as the music critic for the teen magazine phenomenon Dolly to managing The Hoodoo Gurus and Paul Kelly — he has been at the centre of Australian cultural life for over four decades. This is a book about fandom. About excitement. About some very bad behaviour. About writing. About talking. About being driven. About loving music and words and trying to explain that love to others — and having a myriad of adventures and encounters in the process. This is the wild life and times of the a man who has never anything by halves. Get ready to kick out the jams!”

He’s Not Gonna Take It
By Dee Snider, Frank Marraffino & Steve Kurth

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The name of Dee Snider is synonymous with the battle for freedom of expression in the arts. This new graphic novel will follow the impact of it throughout Dee’s life. From a childhood where he was frequently silenced, through the early efforts to stifle his band’s music, to the open warfare of the PMRC hearings in Washington, D.C., and his current efforts on social media, He’s Not Gonna Take It tells the story of why free speech is so important to this man who has fought for it. Even when it endangered everything that was important to him.”

Confessions Of A Rock N Roll Name Dropper
By Laurie Kaye

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On Dec. 8, 1980, 20-something rock journalist Laurie Kaye entered the legendary Dakota apartments in New York to interview her longtime idol John Lennon. It was the last interview Lennon would ever give — just hours later, outside that same building, Lennon was shot dead by a 25-year-old assassin whom Kaye herself had encountered after finishing the interview and stepping outside. Kaye has beaten herself up ever since over her failure to recognize that he posed a danger and should have been reported. Here, Kaye recounts not just her unfortunate brush with history, but also her turbulent early years growing up in L.A. and her fascinating, star-packed journey from radio intern to acclaimed writer/producer who interviewed with such titans of the music industry as Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Talking Heads, The Ramones, David Bowie and Mick Jagger.”

Harry Styles: As It Is
By Carolyn McHugh

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Harry Styles is an English singer, songwriter, and actor. His musical career began in 2010 as a solo contestant on the British music competition series The X Factor. Following his elimination early on, he was brought back to join the boy band One Direction, which went on to become one of the best-selling boy bands of all time. Styles released his self-titled debut solo album through Columbia Records in 2017. It debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. and the U.S., and became one of the best-selling albums of the year. Its lead single Sign of the Times topped the U.K. singles chart. Styles’ second album Fine Line (2019), debuted atop the U.S. Billboard 200 with the biggest first-week sales by an English male artist in history. Harry’s new album Harry’s House was released in 2022 and achieved No. 1 on The Billboard 200, breaking records along the way. He is the first U.K. male artist to debut at No 1 on the Billboard Chart with his first three albums.”

Why Mariah Carey Matters
By Andrew Chan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “When it comes to Mariah Carey, star power is never in doubt. She has sold hundreds of millions of albums and cut more chart-topping hits than any other solo artist — ever. And she has that extraordinary five-octave vocal range. But there is more to her legacy than eye-popping numbers. Why Mariah Carey Matters examines the creative evolution and complicated biography of a true diva, making the case that, despite her celebrity, Carey’s musicianship and influence are insufficiently appreciated. A pioneering songwriter and producer, Carey pairs her vocal gifts with intimate lyrics and richly layered sonic details. In the mid-1990s, she perfected a blend of pop, hip-hop, and R&B with songs such as Fantasy and Honey and drew from her turbulent life to create the introspective masterpiece Butterfly. Andrew Chan looks beyond Carey’s glamorous persona to explore her experience as a mixed-race woman in show business, her adventurous forays into house music and gospel, and her appeal to multiple generations of queer audiences. He also reckons with the transcendent ideal of the voice that Carey represents, showing how this international icon taught artists around the world to sing with soul-shaking intensity and a spirit of innovation.”

Taylor Swift: The Biography
By United Library

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Taylor Swift’s readers are invited to embark on an intimate journey through the remarkable life and career of one of the most influential figures in contemporary music. Taylor Alison Swift, born on Dec. 13, 1989, has not only redefined the boundaries of songwriting but has also left an indelible mark on the music industry and popular culture as a whole. This meticulously researched biography traces Swift’s extraordinary path, from her early beginnings as a 14-year-old aspiring songwriter to becoming a global superstar and cultural icon. Swift’s ability to connect with audiences through her lyrics, musical versatility, and artistic reinventions is explored in depth, showcasing her as a prominent cultural figure of the 21st century. The book delves into Swift’s evolution as an artist, starting with her country music roots under the Big Machine Records label and her journey through various musical genres. From country to country pop, rock influences, electronic experimentation, synth-pop, and even hip-hop, Swift’s evolution is a testament to her fearless creativity. The book explores her personal and professional growth, her commitment to artists’ rights and women’s empowerment, and her record-breaking achievements, including 12 Grammy Awards.”

Live From The Underground: A History of College Radio
By Katherine Rye Jewell

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Bands like R.E.M., U2, Public Enemy and Nirvana found success as darlings of college radio, but the extraordinary influence of these stations and their DJs on musical culture since the 1970s was anything but inevitable. As media deregulation and political conflict over obscenity and censorship transformed the business and politics of culture, students and community DJs turned to college radio to defy the mainstream-and they ended up disrupting popular music and commercial radio in the process. In this first history of U.S. college radio, Katherine Rye Jewell reveals that these eclectic stations in major cities and college towns across the United States owed their collective cultural power to the politics of higher education as much as they did to upstart bohemian music scenes coast to coast. Jewell uncovers how battles to control college radio were about more than music-they were an influential, if unexpected, front in the nation’s culture wars. These battles created unintended consequences and overlooked contributions to popular culture that students, DJs, and listeners never anticipated. More than an ode to beloved stations, this book will resonate with both music fans and observers of the politics of culture.”

The Island Book of Records Volume I: 1959-68
By Neil Storey

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Island Book of Records brings the early years of this iconic record label to life. A 15-year labour of love, the volumes will fully document the analogue era of Island. Offering a comprehensive archive of album cover design and photography, together with the voices of the musicians, designers, photographers, producers, studio engineers and record company personnel that worked on each project, the volumes show in unique depth the workings of the label, covering every LP. Featuring material from recent interviews and from media interviews of the time, and each including a comprehensive discography of 45s, the books are lavishly illustrated with gig adverts (very many at venues which no longer exist), concert tickets, flyers, international LP variants, labels, LP and 45 adverts and other ephemera. These LP-sized editions are a collector’s dream, offering a truly unparalleled resource for those interested in music history and a perfect gift for any music lover.”

The Resurrection Of The Crazed
By Paul Wainwright

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Join the author as he journeys back to those mutant rockin’, venue wreckin’, snakebite sodden days of the psychobilly/neo-rockabilly scene of the 80’s. His fanzine The Crazed was right there, reporting on the scene as it grew and writing about bands such as The Meteors, GuanaBatz, Demented Are Go, King Kurt, Long Tall Texans and Restless. Travel back through those articles and interviews and revisit the experience. Enjoy noisy nights at The Klub Foot, mecca of all things psychobilly, where many of these interviews were conducted after sweaty gigs. Read the bands’ own words, full of enthusiasm, excitement and optimism about what the future might hold, and discover what it was like to produce and edit a fanzine back then. The scene meant so much to so many and The Crazed was there to document it. This book recaptures how it felt at the time. After lying dormant for over 30 years The Crazed has now been resurrected.”

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