book Archive

Book Review: A Voice of the Warm

Every so often, some of my Facebook friends and I engage in a little game. You might call it Dreadful Earworms: we try to outdo each other by rattling off the titles of some of the most annoying, saccharine, maudlin and just downright awful songs. If you’re a boomer (or perhaps even the child of

Book Review: Begin the Begin: R.E.M.’s Early Years

Considering the influence which the group exerted on popular music – most notably in the category once known as “college rock” – it’s remarkable how much little of consequence has been written in book form about R.E.M. Many books have focused on the music scene in Athens, but few dug into the personalities of the

Book Review: Bruce Iglauer’s ‘Bitten by the Blues’

Launched in 1971, Chicago-based indie label Alligator Records would grow to become one of the most significant forces in the commercial revitalization of blues. Founded by Bruce Iglauer (who remains at the label’s helm to this day), Alligator has been at the forefront of support for blues artists old and new. Iglauer’s new memoir, Bitten

A Conversation with Laura Davis-Chanin, Author of ‘The Girl in the Back’ (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… I thought that your citing the Rashomon effect was really effective. Since the book has come out, have you heard — either directly or indirectly —from any of the characters in it that, “Hey, that’s not the way I remember it”? Oh, my God. You have no idea. We had a

A Conversation with Laura Davis-Chanin, Author of ‘The Girl in the Back’ (Part One)

Laura Davis-Chanin is in a unique position to write a personal chronicle of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s New York rock scene. As the drummer in the Student Teachers, she experienced firsthand the scene happening in places like CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City. She got to know many of the main players in that scene.

Book Review: John Borack — Shake Some Action 2.0

In 2007, John M. Borack (later the author of Life is What Happens) put together a compendium of album reviews in book form. Shake Some Action explored the narrow slice of the pop-rock world that is powerpop, that oft-maligned subgenre where Raspberries, the Knack, Greenberry Woods and others live. As so many critics seem unable

Book Review: Richie Ramone — I Know Better Now

Wait a minute: which one’s Richie? Oh, yeah: he’s one of the few Ramones who’s still alive. All four members of the band’s original lineup – Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy – are gone from this place. Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh wrote I Slept With Joey Ramone nearly a decade ago, but that book

Book Review: World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story

Author: Gillian G. Gaar Publisher: BMG, 150pp The stories of record labels are intricately woven into the more generalized history of pop culture. Theirs are a mixture of commerce and creativity, especially when focusing on independent labels. One of the most important and consequential indie labels of the modern era is Seattle-based Sub Pop. Part

Book Review: Rev. Keith A. Gordon — Broken Record

One of my favorite lines of dialogue comes from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It: “Sell when you can; you are not for all markets.” Though the line is delivered with sarcasm, it’s as apropos today as it was 400-plus years ago. It provides a useful guide to creative types, too: not everything you do

Book Review: Anthony DeCurtis — Lou Reed: A Life

There have been a number of books written about Lou Reed and/or the Velvet Underground. Victor Bockris’ Transformer: The Lou Reed story hit shelves nearly a quarter century ago, at a time when Reed’s creative renaissance hadn’t yet fully flowered. And although Bockris recent published an updated version of his bio, unless he rewrote the