Music Notes May 2015 – Literary Edition

May 31, 2015 at 1:25 pm (Uncategorized)

Ooh, time to listen with your eyes now.

Kim Gordon – Girl in a Band

Very fond of Sonic Youth, so there was really no doubt I would read Kim Gordon’s autobiography. She’s had a pretty interesting life before, after and during Sonic Youth. There’s plenty of gossip and cool connections in the book (I suppose if you travel in certain circles, you meet people in certain circles). Still, I have to confess a little disappointment as the writing is a little flat. A matter-of-fact style, unlike say the earlier collection of work Is It is My Body. She really doesn’t like Courtney Love though. Thurston Moore understandable comes in for a few shots too.

John Lydon – Anger is an Energy

Volume two of Lydon’s memoirs, which cover the same ground as Rotten, but take the story through the PIL years to the present day. Like the Kim Gordon book, there was almost no chance I wouldn’t read this, and like that, it’s both fascinating and disappointing. Fascinating for the wealth of details about people and personalities we all know, but sometimes Lydon’s words get the better of him, and you lose sympathy for his perspective. Something we’ll all guilty of I suppose. An essential read.

3. Dave Wise – The End of Music

A hard-to-find piece written in 1978 about punk rock and ultra-leftism. Plenty to argue about for sure. For a long time an incomplete version circulated in the AK Press collection What is Situationism? This is a slightly different version (it’s billed as the “original” on the site.). Provocative, fascinating stuff.  And there’s plenty of other good stuff on the Revolt Against Plenty site.

4. Chris Stein – Negative: me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk

Sure, sure, I own those early Blondie records, and listening to them again, they hold up pretty well.  This is a pretty coffee table book of photographs Stein took in the history of Blondie (there’s a lot of Debbie Harry), but like some of the others mentioned today, there are lots of shots of other cool people too. A fun way to spend a couple of hours.

5. Dave Laing  – One Chord Wonders

Originally published in 1985, One Chord Wonders is available again through PM Press and features an introduction by TV Smith from whose band, the Adverts, the book takes its title. Great attempt to look at the meaning behind punk placing it in the context of broader subcultures.

6. Andrew Bolton – Punk: From Chaos to Couture

Despite the fairly interesting pieces by John Lydon, Richard Hell and Jon Savage, this picture book which traces how punk inspired designer fashions is depressing. Watch in glorious photos how a rebellion was turned into a commodity.

7. Randal Doane – Stealing All Transmissions

Just got this and haven’t had a chance to read it, but it sure as hell looks interesting: A secret history of the Clash. How could I resist?

8. John Cooper Clarke – Snap Crackle and Bop

Yes, the one with “Evidently Chicken Town ” and “Beasley Street.” But basically I wanted to mention that the ‘Bard of Salford’ is playing a show at the Garrison in Toronto in September. Already got my ticket. Very excited about this one.

9. Leon Rosselson – The World Turned Upside Down

Fantastic. This collection, which traces Rosselson’s work from the sixties to present day, is a four-CD package with an 80 page book of explanations behind each song. Lovely personal political folk music.

10. BB King

Not a literary note really, but let’s pause to mourn the loss of BB King who died May 14. No words will adequately sum up his contribution. The best thing to do is just to listen to his work.

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