Category: Recent picks

New Books on popular music

A lot of intriguing books on popular music have been added to our collection. They include Total Records, which is the wonderful art book about album covers, and Uproot : travels in twenty-first-century music and digital culture. Fantastic biographies about Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog give you a great summer reading selection. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverTotal records : photography and the art of the album cover / edited by Antoine de Beaupré, Serge Vincendet, Sam Stourdzé.
“The history of photography is teeming with portraits of musicians made iconic by their album covers: Thelonious Monk by W. Eugene Smith, Miles Davis by Irving Penn, Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude, Laurie Anderson by Robert Mapplethorpe. The history of album cover art also includes collaborations between prominent figures, such as Mick Rock and David Bowie, Annie Leibovitz and John Lennon, Lee Friedlander and John Coltrane, Nobuyoshi Araki and Bjork, Anton Corbijn and U2, and Robert Frank with the Rolling Stones–not to mention Francis Wolff’s legendary work with Blue Note, the record label he cofounded.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashion + music : fashion creatives shaping pop culture / Katie Baron.
“As twin agents of creative expression fashion and music have long shared a powerful mutual attraction: from the Sex Pistols to Madonna, Kylie Minogue to Lady Gaga, fashion has consistently amplified our understanding of the band (and in many cases the brand) – fuelling the fantasy, giving context to the sound and adding depth to artists’ wider agendas. From pop videos to editorial shoots, via the evolution of some of the industry’s most significant and era-defining pairings/collaborations this book will focus on the power of fashion as a make-or-break tool within the music industry’s creative process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of songwriting / Andrew West.
“How do you turn songwriting talent into a professional career? This essential guide tackles that question, alongside many others, taking songwriters through all the developmental phases and commercial experiences along the way in order to inspire and encourage the reader to find their own voice and write successfully within their chosen genre. Collating the best-available expertise with fresh ideas about the industry, Andrew West equips the reader with what every productive songwriter needs to know. Armed with this knowledge, the songwriter is able to engage creatively and financially to make the most of their potential.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI can sing, but where is my voice? : a modern singer’s guide / Ricci Carr.
“Wondering how you can get to sing that song you always wanted to without running out of breath, and sing it all in tune? Need to sing at your best friend’s wedding or maybe in a school production? Perhaps you want to sing with a band. Start a professional career or maybe you are a grandparent who just wants to know that every time you sing to your grandchildren you are singing those family songs in tune. With this book finally there is a guide for the student who wants to know how to sing well. This guide will help you to identify what it is you need to know and gives you the tools to apply the skills required. Advice that works given time and genuine input from you – the singer.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUproot : travels in twenty-first-century music and digital culture / Jace Clayton [aka DJ Rupture].
“In 2001 Jace Clayton was an unknown DJ who recorded a three-turntable, sixty-minute mix and put it online to share with friends. Within weeks, Gold Teeth Thief became an international calling card, whisking Clayton away to play a nightclub in Zagreb, a gallery in Osaka, a former brothel in Sao Paolo, and the American Museum of Natural History. Just as the music world made its fitful, uncertain transition from analog to digital, Clayton found himself on the front lines of creative upheavals of art production in the twenty-first century globalized world. Uproot is a guided tour of this newly-opened cultural space. With humor, insight, and expertise, Clayton offers an unparalleled understanding of music in the digital age.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn to run / Bruce Springsteen.
“In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs. He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrince : purple reign / Mick Wall.
“Prince was an icon. A man who defined an era of music and changed the shape of popular culture forever. There is no doubt that he was one of the most talented and influential artists of all time, and also one of the most mysterious. On April 21, 2016 the world lost its Prince. This book will open a door to Prince’s world like never before – from his traumatic childhood and demonic pursuit of music as a means of escape, to his rise to super stardom, professional rivalries and marriages shrouded in tragedy, internationally bestselling music writer Mick Wall explores the historical, cultural and personal backdrop that gave rise to an artist the likes of which the world has never seen – and never will again.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHero : David Bowie / Lesley-Ann Jones.
HERO: DAVID BOWIE is an intelligent exploration of the man behind the myths and the makeup told from the very beginning. Respected music journalist and biographer Lesley-Ann Jones knew David Jones from the days before fame, when he was a young musician starting out, frustrated by an industry that wouldn’t give him a break and determined to succeed. Here she traces the epic journey of the boy from Bromley born into a troubled background to his place as one of the greatest stars in rock history. Drawing on this new material and meticulous research, This is Bowie as you’ve never seen him before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA tribute to Keith Moon : (there is no substitute) / compiled by Ian Snowball & the estate of Keith Moon.
“With an introduction by Pete Townshend, There Is No Substitute is a tribute to The Whos late drummer Keith Moon, compiled by Ian Snowball with the authorisation the Keith Moon Estate and Keiths daughter Amanda de Wolf. The book includes a collection of seen and unseen photographs and contributions from friends and fans of Keith – a diverse cross section of drummers, musicians, fans, writers and people that knew him. The book concentrates on Keiths influence as a drummer and musician and the impact he has had on rocknroll, and all reflect the deep affection that his madcap genius inspired in everyone with whom he came into contact.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAgnetha Fältskog : the girl with the golden hair / Daniel Ward.
“Her iconic blonde looks, stunning voice and songs of loneliness and melancholy have endeared her to millions, yet Agnetha Fältskog remains an enigmatic and distant figure. From her success as a teenage singer and songwriter in Sweden in the late 1960′s to her years of global superstardom with pop giants ABBA and beyond, Agnetha has fascinated generations of fans. Agnetha Fältskog–The Girl With The Golden Hair is the first full-length biography dedicated to the life and career of the one of the most beloved and successful performers in music history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGood vibrations : my life as a Beach Boy / Mike Love with James S. Hirsch.
“As a founding member of The Beach Boys, Mike Love has spent an extraordinary fifty-five years, and counting, as the group’s lead singer and one of its principal lyricists. The Beach Boys, from their California roots to their international fame, are a unique American story — one of overnight success and age-defying longevity; of musical genius and reckless self-destruction; of spirituality, betrayal, and forgiveness — and Love is the only band member to be part of it each and every step. A husband, a father, and an avid environmentalist, Love has written a book that is as rich and layered as the Beach Boy harmonies themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlue Man world / creative director and head writer, Laura Camien ; editor, Becky Koh, Black Dog & Leventhal ; contributing writers, Chris Wink [and fifteen others].
“The first-ever Blue Man Group book, published on the occasion of their 25th anniversary. As entertaining and hilarious as the show itself, Blue Man World reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the Blue Men, but couldn’t get them to tell you. Blue Man Group is a global entertainment company best known for the award-winning Blue Man Group show. A dynamic combination of music, comedy, and technology, the show appeals to a broad ranges of age groups and cultural backgrounds. It is continually refreshed with new music, stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music offer fascinating memoirs including Roger Shepherd, founder of Flying Nun records, and Sylvia Patterson, who has interviewed rock stars over the past three decades. Also check out the intriguing studies of jazz in 30-second Jazz.

Syndetics book coverIn love with these times : my life with Flying Nun Records / Roger Shepherd.
“A personal memoir by the founder of the Flying Nun record label based originally in Christchurch, describing the development of the label and the artists and bands associated with it.” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverPorcelain : a memoir / Moby.
“In 1989, while hoping to make it as a DJ in New York, Moby squatted in an abandoned factory in Connecticut. In 1991, he had a surprise hit record, Go, in the U.K. Moby lovingly recreates a dystopian Manhattan dominated by AIDS, drugs, and gang violence and vividly describes the rave scene with its glow sticks, Vicks VapoRub, and smiley faces, not to mention the Ecstasy, ketamine, and heroin. The nineties conclude with Moby, a bald, has-been musician, dating strippers, missing his mother’s funeral, and having sex on a dance floor surrounded by drag queens dressed as Stevie Nicks. This engrossing memoir is an often unflattering, self-loathing peek at the period before Moby’s breakthrough album, Play, launched him into superstardom.” (adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverI’m not with the band : a writer’s life lost in music / Sylvia Patterson.
“This is a three-decade survivor’s tale …a scenic search for elusive human happiness through music, magazines, silly jokes, stupid shoes, useless blokes, hopeless homes, booze, drugs, love, loss, A&E, death, disillusion and hope – while trying to make Prince laugh, startle Beyonce, cheer Eminem up, annoy Madonna, drink with Shaun Ryder and finish off Westlife forever (with varying degrees of success). From the 80s to the present day, I’m Not with the Band is a funny, barmy, utterly gripping chronicle of the last thirty years in music and beyond. It is also the story of one woman’s wayward search for love, peace and a wonderful life. And whether, or not, she found them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaul McCartney : the biography / Philip Norman.
“The first biography written with McCartney’s approval and with access to family members and friends closest to him. Covers Paul McCartney’s life from his boyhood and the death of his mother – the formation of the Beatles – the creative relationship between Paul and John Lennon resulting in so many of their hit songs – the Band’s success and the resulting fame – the breakup of the Beatles and it’s impact on Paul and his relationship with the other three Beatles – Linda and the formation of Wings – his life with Linda and his family – Linda’s death – through to his romance with Heather Mills and their well publicised divorce.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Cavern club : rise of the Beatles and Merseybeat / Spencer Leigh ; foreword by Paul McCartney.
“The Cavern saw the birth of the Beatles and Merseybeat, and more. Respected author, music journalist and Merseybeat historian Spencer Leigh tells the Cavern’s history by talking to the owners, hundreds of musicians who played at the club, the backroom staff and fans. Spenser paints a vivid picture of the Cavern from its days as a jazz club through the Beatles years to the present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYour favorite band is killing me : what pop music rivalries reveal about the meaning of life / Steven Hyden.
“For those who have argued late into the night with their friends about why one band is better than another, this title will grab them from the minute music critic Hyden starts with Oasis vs. Blur. He covers 19 rivalries going all the way back to the obvious Beatles/Rolling Stones, but the majority of the chapters examine bands that have been prominent during the past quarter century. The author uses the rivalries as a jumping-off point to talk about not only the musicians, but also the meaning of the conflicts, skillfully applying the arguments to a discussion of his own experience. This is a wide-ranging, hilarious, and smart look at both expected and surprising matches mixed with autobiography.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book cover30-second jazz : the 50 crucial concepts, styles and performers, each explained in half a minute / editor, Dave Gelly ; contibutors, Charles Alexander, Kevin LeGendre, Chirs Parker, Brian Priestly, Tony Russell ; illustrator, Steve Rawlings.
“Jazz can be difficult for the novice, but 30-Second Jazz proves the ideal companion for the newcomer to the subject, taking readers from the African-American roots of jazz all the way to today’s global mix of musicians and styles. Along the way, it looks at the shape, style and instruments of jazz, at key personalities and recordings in the jazz canon – and at what might be expected next from this most diverse and lively of musical forms.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to listen to jazz / Ted Gioia.
“Pianist, author (The History of Jazz; The Jazz Standards), music columnist (The Daily Beast), and educator (formerly music, Stanford Univ.) Gioia has written a concise guide to jazz appreciation. Unlike some books of this type, the focus of this work is on relatively easy-to-discern distinctions between the jazz styles and leading performers. The author provides minimal biographical information on the musicians, preferring to concentrate on the music than on the personal details of his subjects’ lives. The result is a fresh, clearly written, and infinitely usable book that should put the jazz novice on track.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverKill ‘em and leave : searching for James Brown and the American soul / James McBride.
“McBride, mainly known for his bestselling 1995 memoir, The Color of Water, returns to nonfiction with an investigation into the life, times, and death of James Brown, the “hardest-working man in show business.” Though the soul singer’s musical legacy is ingrained in the collective American unconscious, many details about Brown’s personal life and the lives he touched along the way remain obscure. McBride reveals them while seeking to correct misconceptions perpetuated by the recent film Get On Up. The power of McBride’s subject matter shines through in this solid work of journalism.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverNever a dull moment : 1971, the year that rock exploded / David Hepworth.
“David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and well regarded critic, was twenty-one in ’71, the same age as many of the legendary artists who arrived on the scene. Taking us on a tour of the major moments, the events and songs of this remarkable year, he shows how musicians came together to form the perfect storm of rock and roll greatness, starting a musical era that would last longer than anyone predicted. Those who joined bands to escape things that lasted found themselves in a new age, its colossal start being part of the genre’s staying power.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGetcha rocks off : sex & excess, bust-ups & binges, life & death on the rock ‘n’ roll road / Mick Wall.
“Hanging out with rock stars, trying to steal their chicks, or throwing up over their guitars after launching into the hospitality a little too enthusiastically, Mick Wall spent much of the 1980s sprawled in limos and five-star hotels with the biggest rock bands in the world, including Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Motorhead and more. It is the kind of book you need to put on your leather jacket to read, open that bottle of Jack and reach for the Charlie. And let the good times roll …” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sun & the moon & the Rolling Stones / Rich Cohen.
“For Cohen, a cocreator of the HBO series Vinyl, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, and author (Tough Jews; The Fish That Ate the Whale), the Rolling Stones have been a profound influence. The author worshipped the band in his youth, met and wrote about them as a journalist, and formed relationships with group members many fans would covet. Here Cohen interweaves his personal experiences with a history of the Stones. This group biography offers glimpses into the band’s development-playing in small blues clubs, breaking big in England and the rest of the world, etc.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverLife on tour with Bowie : a genius remembered / Sean Mayes.
“”When David sat down later, he tucked one leg up under him and I noticed that the sole of his shoe was as clean as the day he’d bought it. OK, maybe the shoes were new, but it struck me that he hardly ever sets foot in the street. It’s all hotel, limousines, sterilized airports – the life I was about to lead. I shivered, feeling poised at the top of a rollercoaster about to sweep across the world.” In 1978, Sean Mayes toured the world with David Bowie. Travelling first class and performing each night with one of the world’s greatest rock stars at the height of his fame was an amazing experience – fortunately, Sean had the foresight to document it. Here, for the first time in complete book form, Sean’s tour diary is presented.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe age of Bowie : how David Bowie made a world of difference / Paul Morley.
“Respected arts commentator and author Paul Morley, an artistic adviser to the curators of the highly successful retrospective exhibition ‘David Bowie is’ for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, constructs a definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, influenced others, invented the future, and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley captures the greatest moments from across Bowie’s life and career and offers a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy.” (adapted from dust jacket)

New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music offer some fascinating studies, including Here She Comes Now (women in the pop music world), Every Song Ever (listening habits in the digital era) and Your Song Changed My Life (songs that have inspired listeners’ lives). The Eurovision Song Contest tells all about this phenomenal event and is fun to read.

Syndetics book coverHere she comes now : women in music who have changed our lives / edited by Jeff Gordinier and Marc Weingarten.
Here She Comes Now brings together some of America’s best music writers – such as Susan Choi, recipient of the inaugural PEN / W.G. Sebald award, Daniel Walters, whose credits include the screenplay for Heathers, and Alina Simon, whose novel Note to Self was described as ‘hilarious’ by Amanda Palmer – to explore incredible women in popular music. Often wryly amusing – even occasionally heart-rending – and covering artists from Dolly Parton and Nina Simone to Bjork, Taylor Swift and Riot Grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna, this is a feisty celebration of the transformative power of musicians who have truly rocked our world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEvery song ever : twenty ways to listen in an age of musical plenty / Ben Ratliff.
“What is listening in the digital era? Today, new technologies make it possible for us to roam instantly and experimentally across musical languages and generations, from Detroit techno to jam bands to baroque opera–or to drive deeper into the set of tastes that we already have. Either way, we can listen to nearly anything, at any time. In Every Song Ever, the veteran New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff reimagines the very idea of music appreciation for our times. It is a definitive field guide to our radically altered musical habitat.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe underground is massive : how electronic dance music conquered America / Michaelangelo Matos.
“Rooted in American techno/house and ’90s rave culture, electronic dance music has evolved into the biggest moneymaker on the concert circuit. The Underground Is Massive charts for the first time the birth and rise of this last great outlaw musical subculture. Full of unique insights, lively details, entertaining stories, dozens of photos, and unforgettable misfits and stars — from early break-in parties to Skrillex and Daft Punk — The Underground Is Massive captures this fascinating trend in American pop culture history, a grassroots movement that would help define the future of music and the modern tech world we live in.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEngland’s hidden reverse : a secret history of the esoteric underground : Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound / David Keenan.
“Based on several years’ worth of exclusive interviews and unprecedented access to all three bands’ personal archives, this is the first, definitive, biography of Coil, Current 93 and Nurse With Wound. Together, the bands represent the real English underground in all its sexual, cultural and artistic variety. A shadowy scene whose work accents peculiarities of Englishness through the links and affinities they’ve forged with earlier generations of outsiders. The three groups have maintained a symbiotic, yet uneasy relationship with the mainstream of pop culture.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1966 : the year the decade exploded / Jon Savage.
“The pop world accelerated and broke through the sound barrier in 1966. In America, in London, in Amsterdam, in Paris, revolutionary ideas slow-cooking since the late ’50s reached boiling point. A unique chemistry of ideas, substances, freedom of expression and dialogue across pop cultural continents created a landscape of immense and eventually shattering creativity. After 1966 nothing in the pop world would ever be the same. Jon Savage’s 1966 is a monument to the year that shaped the pop future of the balance of the century.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe secret life of the American musical : how Broadway shows are built / Jack Viertel.
“For almost thirty years, Jack Viertel has been a major figure in the Broadway theater world–he’s helped create shows like Hairspray, Angels in America, and Into the Woods; served as dramaturg of the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; and is currently senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which host such shows as The Book of Mormon and Jersey Boys. The book draws on a range of examples–from Carousel to Wicked , The Music Man to The Book of Mormon –and personal encounters to paint a picture of how Broadway musicals are made, from opening numbers to finales.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Eurovision Song Contest : the official celebration / John Kennedy O’Connor.
“A nostalgic and resplendent official celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest. The fun and the feuds, the high points, the dismal lows, the scandals, the most outrageous outfits, the innovators, and the copy cats, this glorious book captures the singular flavor of Eurovision, charting its journey from the first competition in 1956–just seven entrants, broadcast from a tiny venue in Switzerland with a studio audience of 200–to the international extravaganza watched by millions of viewers that it has become today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGoodnight and good riddance : how 35 years of John Peel helped to shape modern Britain / David Cavanagh.
“How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain is a social history, a diary of a nation’s changing culture — a man who can legitimately be called the most influential figure in post-war British popular music. Without the support of John Peel, it’s unlikely that innumerable artists — from David Bowie to Dizzee Rascal, Jethro Tull to Joy Division — would have received national radio exposure. But Peel’s influence goes much deeper than this. Just like a Peel show, Good Night and Good Riddance is warm, informative and insightful, and wears its enthusiasm proudly.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaybe I’m doing it wrong : the life & music of Randy Newman / David & Caroline Stafford.
“Rich with biographical notes and key background facts, Maybe I’m Doing It Wrong explores the more unlikely topics and characters to be found in Randall Stuart Newman’s inimitable songs. Though he once wrote catchy pop songs covered by Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones and Joe Cocker, it was his own albums that introduced the world to a haunting musical sensibility inclined to veer between irony and romanticism, self-deprecating humour and joyous celebration.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHamilton : the revolution : being the complete libretto of the Broadway musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America / by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.
“Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation. It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYour song changed my life : from Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, thirty-five beloved artists on their journey and the music that inspired it / Bob Boilen.
“From the beloved host and creator of NPR’s All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts comes an essential oral history of modern music, told in the voices of iconic and up-and-coming musicians, including Dave Grohl, Jimmy Page, Michael Stipe, Carrie Brownstein, Smokey Robinson, and Jeff Tweedy, among others–published in association with NPR Music. Is there a unforgettable song that changed your life? NPR’s renowned music authority Bob Boilen posed this question to some of today’s best-loved musical legends and rising stars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComplicated game : inside the songs of XTC / Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt.
“Complicated Game offers unique insight into the work of XTC founder Andy Partridge, one of Britain’s most original and influential songwriters. It is also an unprecedentedly revealing and instructive guide to how songs and records are made. This fascinating book also includes pages from Partridge’s songwriting notebooks and reproductions of his original artwork designs; a guided tour of his hometown of Swindon; and a foreword by Steven Wilson, the guitarist, songwriter, and record producer best known as the founder and leader of Porcupine Tree.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDelta lady : a memoir / Rita Coolidge ; with Michael Walker.
“The two-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter bares her heart and soul in this intimate memoir, a story of music, stardom, love, family, heritage, and resilience. She inspired songs–Leon Russell wrote “A Song for You” and “Delta Lady” for her. She co-wrote songs–”Superstar” and the piano coda to “Layla,” uncredited. She sang backup for Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and Stills, before finding fame as a solo artist with such hits as “We’re All Alone”. Following her story from Lafayette, Tennessee to becoming one of the most sought after rock vocalists in LA in the 1970s, Delta Lady chronicles Rita Coolidge’s fascinating journey throughout the ’60s-’70s pop/rock universe.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLives of the poets (with guitars) : thirteen outsiders who changed modern music / Ray Robertson.
Lives of the Poets (with Guitars) picks up where Samuel Johnson left off nearly 250 years ago, collecting biographical and critical portraits of 13 of rock & roll, blues, folk, and alt-country’s most inimitable artists. These often irreverent essays offer a riotous, toe-tapping and original take on how each musician shaped their genre, while looking into their tumultuous lives.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Popular Music

Another exciting line-up for new books on popular music includes the fantastic biography of Nina Simone and The Faces. A Freewheelin’ Time tells intriguing backstory about the folk movement in the 60s and Woodstock which contains marvellous photographs by Baron Wolman is simply unmissable. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverWhat happened, Miss Simone? : a biography / Alan Light.
“Inspired by the Academy Award-nominated Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? , an intimate and vivid look at the legendary life of Nina Simone, the classically trained pianist who evolved into a chart-topping chanteuse and committed civil rights activist. From music journalist and former Spin and Vibe editor-in-chief Alan Light comes a biography of incandescent soul singer and Black Power icon Nina Simone, one of the most influential, provocative, and least understood artists of our time. Harnessing the singular voice of Miss Simone herself and incorporating candid reflections from those who knew her best, including her only daughter, Light brings us face to face with a legend, examining the very public persona and very private struggles of one of our greatest artists.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCobain on Cobain : interviews and encounters / edited by Nick Soulsby.
Cobain on Cobain places the reader at the key moments of Kurt Cobain’s roller-coaster career, telling the tale of Nirvana entirely through his words and those of his bandmates. Each interview is another knot in a thread running from just after the recording of their first album, Bleach, to the band’s collapse on the European tour of 1994 and Cobain’s subsequent suicide. Including many interviews that have never before seen print, Cobain on Cobain will long remain the definitive source for anyone searching for Kurt Cobain’s version of his own story.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHad me a real good time : Faces : before, during and after / Andy Neill.
“Forty years ago one of the world’s best-loved rock ‘n’ roll bands, The Faces, formed from the ashes of The Small Faces and the Jeff Beck Group, featuring a charismatic, raspy-voiced frontman in Rod Stewart alongside Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones. They offered a welcome antidote to the more serious excesses of the early seventies, being as devoted to the mayhem as they were to the music. This is their story…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEdith Piaf : find me a new way to die : the untold story / David Bret.
“Published to mark the centenary of Edith Piaf’s birth, this biography contains new and shocking revelations about Piaf, drawn from exclusive interviews with those who knew her best–friends, lovers, colleagues, and songwriters. This new book will mean a significant revision to the Piaf myth.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA freewheelin’ time : a memoir of Greenwich Village in the sixties / Suze Rotolo.
“Suze Rotolo reflects on her experiences in Greenwich Village during the 1960s, focusing on the growing popularity of folk music in the area and her relationship with Bob Dylan.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoul serenade : rhythm, blues & coming of age through vinyl : a memoir / Rashod Ollison.
“A coming-of-age memoir about a young boy in rural Arkansas who searches for himself and his distant father through soul music. Growing up in rural Arkansas, young Rashod Ollison turned to music to make sense of his life. The dysfunction, sadness, and steely resilience of his family and neighbors was reflected in the R&B songs that played on 45s in smoky rooms. Steeped in the sounds, the smells, the salty language of rural Arkansas in the 1980s, Soul Serenade is an original and captivating coming-of-age story set to an original beat.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBritish black gospel : the foundations of this vibrant UK sound / Steve Alexander Smith ; foreward by Noel Robinson.
“From the roots and pioneers to today’s young talent, the story of a spiritual hunger expressed in fine music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEyes wide open : true tales of a Wishbone Ash warrior / Andy Powell with Colin Harper.
“In 1969, Andy Powell was one of four founding members of progressive rock pioneers Wishbone Ash. Forty-five years later, with no sabbaticals, he is still a member of Wishbone Ash. And he has seen a lot of interesting things along the way. Honest, unpretentious, and often wryly amusing, it draws on half a century of mingling with the great and the good–not to mention the occasional nutcase. It’s a book that will appeal strongly to fans of Wishbone Ash but also to anybody with even a passing interest in classic rock of the 70s and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCalvin Harris : the $100 million DJ : the unauthorised biography / Douglas Wight.
“He’s worth $100 million, is the richest DJ in the world and has worked with all of the top names in pop. But just who is Calvin Harris?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWoodstock / photographs by Baron Wolman ; with Michael Lang ; foreword by Carlos Santana ; edited by Dagon James.
“Baron Wolman’s evocative and stunning photographs of Woodstock are published here for the first time. Wolman captured the atmosphere of Woodstock like no other photographer. More interested in the crowd than the performers, his photographs are hugely evocative and offer an insight into this legendary event that is rarely seen. Wolman writes, ‘everything was totally different, the behaviour was new and unexpected.’ With interview with Woodstock creator, Michael Lang, and a foreword by musician Carlos Santana, this exceptional volume is not to be missed.” (Syndetics summary)

All About Superstars – New books on Popular Music

Our selection of new books on popular music is all about superstars. It includes Sir Paul McCartney, Tom Jones and the jazz legend Herbie Hancock, and gives you incredible insight into their musical achievements as well as their even more intriguing personal lives. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverConversations with McCartney / Paul du Noyer.
“In June 1989, Paul Du Noyer was contacted by Paul McCartney’s office in London and asked to interview the star as they had met once before and enjoyed a good rapport. In the years that followed, Paul Du Noyer continued to meet, interview and work for Paul McCartney on a regular basis, producing magazine articles, tour programmes, album liner notes, press materials and website editorial. It’s likely that Du Noyer has spent more hours in formal, recorded conversation with McCartney than any other writer. Conversations with McCartney is the culmination of Du Noyer’s long association with McCartney and his music. It draws from their interview sessions across 35 years, coupling McCartney’s own, candid thoughts with his observations and analysis.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKate : inside the rainbow / John Carder Bush.
Kate is a collection of beautiful images from throughout Kate Bush’s career. It includes outtakes from classic album shoots and never-before-seen photographs from The Dreaming and Hounds of Love sessions, and rare candid studio shots and behind-the-scenes stills from video sets. These stunning images will be accompanied by two new essays by John Carder Bush: “From Cathy to Kate”, describing in vibrant detail their shared childhood and the early, whirlwind days of Kate’s career, and “Chasing the Shot”, which vividly evokes John’s experience of photographing his sister. Each of these images forms part of a golden thread that shoots through the visual tapestry of Kate’s remarkable career.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJohnny Marr : the Smiths & the art of gun-slinging / Richard Carman.
“1) This is the world’s first and only biography of Johnny Marr. 2) This year sees the 20th anniversary of the seminal Smiths album, The Queen Is Dead, which will guarantee a high profile for all Smith-s related books and artists. 3) Similar books on Morrissey are proven strong sellers and The Smiths’ fanbase remains fanatical. 4) This title will also appeal to fans of the artists Marr has collaborated with as well as music fans in general.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverHerbie Hancock : possibilities / Herbie Hancock with Lisa Dickey.
“This brilliant memoir looks at musician and composer Hancock, whose life and career spans some seven decades. It reveals the method behind this remarkable jazz performer, from his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work with the Miles Davis Quintet and his later career forming his own band and providing music for films such as Harlem Nights and ‘Round Midnight. Hancock relates anecdotes about his musical influences, his happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspired his music. This book’s message is that people can turn any adversity or struggle into something of value.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverMarianne Faithfull : a life on record / editors, Marianne Faithfull & François Ravard ; introduction, Salman Rushdie ; essays, Will Self & Terry Southern ; creative direction, Marc Ascoli.
“A tribute to the life and work of one of the great musical icons of the twentieth century, reflected through the lenses of the world’s greatest photographers. Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the release in 1964 of her ground-breaking debut single As Tears Go By, this is the definitive book on Faithfull, one of the most beloved singers of the twentieth century.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverOver the top and back / Tom Jones.
“Jones tells of his life and his work as a singer and puts it all in the context of the importance of family. Sure, there are the name checks, including his encounters and relationships with Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Engelbert Humperdinck, Stevie Wonder, and Sting, to name a few, but this book is really all about Jones: what he experienced and felt on the way to superstardom in the 1960s, on through the subsequent waxing and waning of his popularity. The honesty and openness with which Jones shares his life and career make it a must-read.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe universal tone : bringing my story to light / Carlos Santana with Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller.
“An intimate account by the rock music artist traces his hardscrabble youth in Mexico and early days as a promising guitarist through his influential collaborations with fellow Latin stars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSam Phillips : the man who invented rock ‘n’ roll / Peter Guralnick.
“The author emphasizes Phillips’s contributions to rock and roll’s 1950s emergence in the racially charged South and his personal and professional relationships with not only the many famous singers and musicians who benefited commercially and artistically from his vision, encouragement, and technical skills but also the obscure rockabilly, blues, country, and pop artists who were given an opportunity to express themselves on vinyl. Drawing primarily from new interviews with Sun musicians, family members, and even a few former girlfriends, Guralnick presents a well-told, well-rounded biography of an innovative and influential pop culture pioneer with an unorthodox and oftentimes rocky personal life.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverLee Brilleaux : rock ‘n’ roll gentleman : the adventures of Dr Feelgood’s iconic frontman / Zoë Howe.
“Lee Brilleaux, the uniquely charismatic star of proto-punk R&B reprobates Dr Feelgood, was one of rock’n’roll’s greatest frontmen. But he was also one of its greatest gentlemen – a class act with heart, fire, wanderlust, and a wild streak. Exploding out of Canvey Island in the early 1970s – an age of glam rock, post-hippy folk and pop androgyny – the Feelgoods, with Lee Brilleaux and Wilko Johnson at the helm, charged into London, grabbed the pub rock scene by the throat and sparked a revolutionary new era, proving that you didn’t have to be middle class, wearing the ‘right clothes’ or living in the ‘right place’ to succeed.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSinatra : the chairman / James Kaplan.
“The great singer-actor contains multitudes in this vast, engrossing biography of Frank Sinatra’s mature years. Completing his bestselling Frank: The Voice, Kaplan follows the 17-year span from Sinatra’s Oscar-winning role in 1954′s From Here to Eternity to his (first) retirement in 1971, a period when he was a commanding Hollywood star. Kaplan delves with gusto into Sinatra’s seething contradictions: swagger and insecurity; sensitivity and callousness; deep loneliness amid a perpetual throng of cronies; an omnivorous sexual appetite that encompassed polar opposites Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow; lordly generosity combined with tyrannical control and a violent compulsion to push people around.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

New CDs for March

Exciting new CDs feature from the up-and-coming talents such as Savages and Grimes to the rock legend Neil Young. The Roy Orbison’s 13 CDs-set has been added to our extensive box set collection. Fantastic new music keeps coming. Check them out here, and reserve the items you like.

B016Z8K7US_02___SCMZZZZZZZ_Savages – Adore life
“Savages’ second album Adore Life was recorded in RAK Studios, London in April 2015. Johnny Hostile was the producer and Richard Woodcraft the engineer. Anders Trentemoller took care of the mixing in Copenhagen. All songs were written and played by Savages – Ayşe Hassan (bass), Fay Milton (drums), Gemma Thompson (guitar), Jehnny Beth (vocals). Lyrics by Jehnny Beth.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageGrimes – Art angels
“Grimes already defied easy classification on Visions, a collection of dreamy electronic collages that resembled pop just enough to make it one of 2012′s most acclaimed albums. When she returned three years later with Art Angels, her music was even more paradoxical; Claire Boucher’s fourth album is wilder, more ambitious, and — at least on the surface — more accessible than her breakthrough.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

cover imageTindersticks – The waiting room
“Tindersticks release their new album ‘The Waiting Room,’ a milestone not just numerically, but musically and creatively. Their first studio album since 2012’s critically acclaimed ‘The Something Rain’ (9/10 DiS, 8.1 pitchfork, 8/10 the Quietus, 8/10 DIY, 4/5 Guardian, 4/5 Independent on Sunday, 4/5 Uncut, 4/5 Q, 4/5 Observer) is the most ambitious, diverse and elaborate album you’ll have heard from Tindersticks in recent years. 2 decades into their musical voyage Tindersticks, established masters of restraint and poetic human emotion, are a band now confidently making the best songs of their career.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageMegadeth – Dystopia
“Dystopia, the 15th studio album by metal legends Megadeth, is mostly an aggressive return to thrash. Written over nearly two years, the band recorded 14 songs for the set, but included 11 on the standard edition.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageNeil Young – Bluenote Café
“Neil Young has announced that the latest Performance Series release from the Neil Young Archives is Bluenote Café. The album collects various performances captured during Neil’s 1988 tour. This superb live 2-CD set documents one of Young’s most funky and heartfelt periods and features seven unreleased songs: “Soul of a Woman,” “Bad News Comes to Town,” Ain’t it the Truth,” “I’m Goin’,” “Crime of the Heart,” “Doghouse,” “Fool for Your Love,” and a searing 19+ minute version of the immortal “Tonight’s the Night” from The Pier in New York City.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageMiguel – Wildheart
“•A complete anthology of Miguel’s featured appearances released — or disseminated, as the freaky wordplay lover might call it — between Kaleidoscope Dream and this would be assorted, to say the least. It would include appearances on a crop of major R&B and rap songs, a cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” and a highlight turn on Hudson Mohawke’s Lantern. A few of the extracurricular moves pointed toward his next solo step, but the clues remained clearest in the darker corners of Kaleidoscope Dream.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

cover imageJeremih – Late nights : the album
“The great magnitude of Jeremih’s extracurricular successes, combined with slips the singer pinned on himself and his label, made the five-year separation between All About You and Late Nights: The Album an odd one. It’s apparently truer to Jeremih’s vision than his first two albums, though only the most attentive listening reveals an artist with more dimensions — or more vocal ability — than the one who sang “Birthday Sex” and “Down on Me.”” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageSia – This is acting
“This Is Acting, a collection of songs originally written for — and rejected by — clients such as Adele, Rihanna, and Beyonc. But as the album title hints, there’s more going on here than recycling. Sia’s skill at crafting songs full of drama and vulnerability that feel real, no matter how loud they get, is in full force on This Is Acting.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

RecentPicks1Suede – Night Thoughts
“Night Thoughts is a quintessentially Suede title: specific yet vague, a notion that seems either romantic or sad depending on perspective. Twenty years, a decade of which was spent in a split, certainly has shifted Suede’s perspective, particularly that of leader Brett Anderson. With that past behind them, Suede can still dwell on big issues of love and mortality, but now that the past is in perspective, it all means a little bit more and what lies ahead is a little more precious, and that wide view makes Night Thoughts all the more moving.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageRoy Orbison – The M.G.M. years – 1965-1973
“This MGM Years box set is a summation of that marvelous work 13 full-length albums including the long sought-after The Fastest Guitar Alive soundtrack (Roy starred in the film) and a new collection of B-Sides & singles that have never before appeared on a full-length Roy Orbison album. This collection is the largest compilation of Orbison music to date.” (adapted from amazon.com)

New Books on Popular Music

A lot of fascinating studies have been added to our collection of books on popular music. They include Vinyl : the art of making records (history and current trends of vinyl records) and The song machine (an interesting insight into making hit songs). As always, biographies, including about Grateful Dead and Ronnie Wood offer great reads. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverVinyl : the art of making records / Mike Evans.
“In our increasingly digital world, audiophiles know that the real recording is on vinyl. That’s why sales of vinyl continue to soar. Mike Evans offers a sumptuous visual celebration of this medium’s fascinating history and triumphant rebirth. From weighty 78s to feisty 45s, from eccentric EPs to legendary LPs, he brings vinyl recordings off the shelves and out of the crates.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rap year book : the most important rap song from every year since 1979, discussed, debated, and deconstructed / by Shea Serrano ; foreword by Ice-T ; illustrated by Arturo Torres.
“The Rap Year Book takes readers on a journey that begins in 1979, widely regarded as the moment rap became recognized as part of the cultural and musical landscape, and comes right up to the present. Shea Serrano deftly pays homage to the most important song of each year. The Rap Year Book is both a narrative and illustrated guide to the most iconic and influential rap songs ever created.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1001 songs you must hear before you die / general editor, Robert Dimery ; preface by Tony Visconti.
“From Tin Pan Alley to the Brill Building, Bob Dylan to Kurt Cobain, and Joni Mitchell to Amy Winehouse, gifted songwriters have crafted a cherished body of music that has become part of our lives. 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die picks through nearly a century of music to bring you an inspiring selection of some of the greatest recordings ever made.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe song machine : inside the hit factory / John Seabrook.Proxy Error
“There’s a reason hit songs offer such guilty pleasure–they’re designed that way. Over the last two decades a new type of hit song has emerged, one that is almost inescapably catchy. Pop songs have always had a “hook,” but today’s songs bristle with them: a hook every seven seconds is the rule. Painstakingly crafted to tweak the brain’s delight in melody, rhythm, and repetition, these songs are highly processed products. Going beyond music to discuss money, business, marketing, and technology, The Song Machine explores what the new hits may be doing to our brains and listening habits, especially as services like Spotify and Apple Music use streaming data to gather music into new genres invented by algorithms based on listener behavior.” (Adapted from book jacket)

Syndetics book coverMagical musical tour : rock and pop in film soundtracks / K.J. Donnelly.
“The popular music industry has become completely interlinked with the film industry. The majority of mainstream films come with ready-attached songs that may or may not appear in the film but nevertheless will be used for publicity purposes and appear on a soundtrack album. In many cases, popular music in films has made for some of the most striking moments in films and the most dramatic aesthetic action in cinema. Kevin Donnelly explores the history of the intimate bond between film and music, from the upheaval that rock’n’roll caused in the mid-1950s to the more technical aspects regarding ‘tracking’ and ‘scoring’.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJazz / John Fordham.
“The jazz paradox: why has an art that has so transformed the world’s music in barely 100 years, remained so widely misunderstood? This book shines light on the subject for those intrigued by its influence and creativity, but also mystified by its occasionally esoteric habits.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Now that’s what I call music book / Pete Selby and Andy Healing.
“Everyone remembers their first NOW!
Each edition of the NOW That’s What I Call Music series captures the essence of the pop charts at that precise moment in music history, striking a chord with music fans since 1983.
Charting the story of NOW through album covers, detailed track listings and interesting trivia about each album all the way up to NOW 91, The NOW That’s What I Call Music Book is the perfect nostalgic gift for music lovers!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bag I’m in : underground music and fashion in Britain 1960-1990 / Sam Knee ; with a foreword by Bobby Gillespie.
“Youth subculture in twentieth-century Britain was a unique phenomenon. Throughout the decades, young people sought to define themselves sartorially, reflecting their identity in terms of regionalism, class and crucially, musical taste, through their clothes. This book is a comprehensive survey of forty-five “tribes” that roamed the streets of Britain from the ’60s to the ’90s. From Mod to Skinhead and Rocker to Rudeboy, the look of each movement is captured in meticulously researched, previously unpublished archive photography. Explanatory texts by Sam Knee as well as an illustrated “look-book” appendix make this an important resource for fashion students, musos and cultural historians.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe B side : the death of Tin Pan Alley and the rebirth of the great American song / Ben Yagoda.Proxy Error
“Everybody knows and loves the American Songbook. But it’s a bit less widely understood that in about 1950, this stream of great songs more or less dried up. All of a sudden, what came over the radio wasn’t Gershwin, Porter, and Berlin, but “Come on-a My House” and “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” Elvis and rock and roll arrived a few years later, and at that point the game was truly up. What happened, and why? In The B Side, acclaimed cultural historian Ben Yagoda answers those questions in a fascinating piece of detective work.” (adapted from publisher’s web site)

Syndetics book coverThis is all a dream we dreamed : an oral history of the Grateful Dead / Blair Jackson and David Gans.
“In This Is All a Dream We Dreamed , two of the most well-respected chroniclers of the Dead, Blair Jackson and David Gans, reveal the bands story through the words of its members, their creative collaborators and peers, and a number of diverse fans, stitching together a multitude of voices into a seamless oral tapestry. You’ll hear stories you haven’t heard before, possibly from voices that may be unfamiliar to you, and the tales that unfold will shed a whole new light on a long and inspiring musical odyssey.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow can it be? : a rock & roll diary / Ronnie Wood ; foreword by Charlie Watts.
“Before he was a Rolling Stone, a Face, or a member of the Jeff Beck Group, Ronnie Wood flew the nest aged just 17 with his first band, the Birds. Featuring cameos by legends such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart and Pete Townshend, Ronnie’s adventures on the road to superstardom were handwritten in his private diary of 1965. Now, celebrating 50 years in rock ‘n’ roll, Ronnie Wood guides us through the pages of his rediscovered journal. With his entertaining new commentary, hand-drawn illustrations, and rare photos and memorabilia, Ronnie’s trip through the Sixties is introduced by his Stones bandmate Charlie Watts. A download code for Ronnie’s accompanying ‘How Can It Be?’ single is included. ‘A chance to witness music history.’ – The Sunday Times” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Who : the official history / Ben Marshall with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.
“The only official history of The Who–created with the full cooperation of Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, and spectacularly illustrated with rare photographs and memorabilia–published in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the band’s first album, My Generation, and their celebratory world tour. The Who includes approximately 500 color and black-and-white photos, band and fan memorabilia, and archive material; Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are writing the captions, providing an extra layer to the book; and there is a special pullout feature spreads providing vivid background social history and context.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSugar man : the life, death and resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez / Craig Bartholomew Strydom and Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman.
“In the summer of 1972, during a compulsory stint in the South African military, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman heard the music that would forever change his life. A decade later, on yet another military base, Craig Bartholomew Strydom heard the same music. It would have a profound effect. Who was this folk singer who resonated with South Africa’s youth? No one could say. All that anyone knew was his name — Rodriguez — and the fact that he had killed himself on stage after reading his own epitaph. After many years of searching in a pre-internet age, Strydom with support from Segerman found the musician not dead but alive and living in seclusion in Detroit. Even more remarkable was the fact that Rodriguez, no longer working as a musician and struggling to eke out a blue-collar existence, had no idea that he had been famous for over 25 years in a remote part of the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOlly Murs : on the road / words by Matt Allen.
“Go backstage with Olly Murs. This official, illustrated book is filled with hundreds of exclusive pictures and tales from behind the scenes of life on the road. This book will show a side to Olly that we have not seen before and provides an in-depth and intimate portrait of one of the UK’s biggest artists filled with intellegence, honesty and humour. With exclusive uncensored access, we learn how Olly copes with being on tour: the preparation, how he deals with the pressure to perform, what it is like being away from his family and friends, how he manages his nerves and lots more. A must for all of Olly’s fans, On The Road is fly-on-the-wall look at his time on the road, and taking you closer to Olly than ever before.” (Syndetics summary)

New CDs for January

Fantastic new music keeps coming to our shelves. They include The Chills’ first album in almost two decades which has received rave reviews overseas, and the exciting live album by Drive-By Truckers. Check them out!

cover imageThe Chills - Silver bullets
“Following on from The BBC Sessions on Fire Records, The Chills release their first full length album in nearly two decades. Silver Bullets’ hails the return of one of New Zealand’s most respected exports; Bursting with chiming Dunedin-pop anthems, melodic rock and Phillipps’ playful punk-rock tendencies, the thrilling new album brings them to the next chapter. Recorded at Albany Street Studios in Dunedin, the album instantly reaffirms Phillipps’ aptitude for writing intelligent and timeless pop songs delivered with conviction.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageColdplay - A head full of dreams
“The album, recorded in Malibu, LA and London, was produced by Norwegian duo Stargate together with the band’s long-time collaborator Rik Simpson. It features more guests than any previous Coldplay record, with Beyoncé, Noel Gallagher, Tove Lo and Merry Clayton among those appearing across its 11 tracks. Revitalised, they’ve made an album that’s bursting with energy, colour and big, life-affirming moments such as the deliciously ebullient first single Adventure Of A Lifetime and the rocket-powered Hymn For The Weekend.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageAmy : the original soundtrack
“Introducing the official soundtrack to the highest grossing British documentary of all time. It incorporates Pinto’s moving original score & never previously released versions of Amy’s tracks. A once-in-a-generation talent and a pure jazz artist in the most authentic sense, Amy wrote and sung from the heart using her musical gifts to analyse her own problems. The combination of her raw honesty and supreme talent resulted in some of the most original and adored songs of the modern era, making her a six-time Grammy winner.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageEllie Goulding - Delirium
“Ellie Goulding is catching up with herself. No longer running to stand still (well, not all the time, away), she has arrived at a point in her career, in her life, where the songs she is writing bear witness to the place she is in now, after five tumultuous years of professional and personal transformation. Ellie s bold and brilliant new album, Delirium, represents an almighty step change, shaping a new narrative for the next stage in this remarkable singer s journey.” adapted from amazon.com)

cover imageBob Dylan - The cutting edge 1965-1966 : the bootleg series vol. 12.
“Between 1965 and 1966 Bob Dylan recorded three albums that many believe changed the course of modern music. The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 takes you inside the studio during the recording of those three albums. With a staggering wealth of unreleased songs, outtakes, rehearsals and alternate versions – The Cutting Edge provides a unique insight into a legendary icon’s creative process. The six-CD deluxe edition features over 100 previously unreleased tracks. Includes alternate versions of songs such as “Desolation Row”, “Visions Of Johanna”, “Highway 61 Revisited” and the complete 16-take session for “Like A Rolling Stone”. 3. It is packaged in a slipcase with a separate 120-page hardcover book with exclusive photography and liner notes.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageEL VY – Return to the moon
“EL VY (pronounced like a plural of Elvis; rhymes with ‘hell pie’) is the musical collaboration between Matt Berninger, vocalist and lyricist of The National, and Brent Knopf, the Portland musician and producer best known for his work in Menomena and his more recent band, Ramona Falls. Their debut album Return To The Moon will be released on October 30th via 4AD. The album is a project Berninger and Knopf have been thinking about for years. Their friendship spans nearly a decade, starting back when the National and Menomena played small half-empty clubs along America’s west coast. Feeling an immediate musical kinship, the pair kept in touch, Brent sending Matt occasional rough sketches of music and Matt responding with melodies and lyrics. Finally, in the winter and spring of 2014-15, they actually got together to make an album.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover imageDrive-By Truckers – It’s great to be alive! (Box Set)
“Drive-By Truckers long awaited live album was recorded over three nights at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco CA. The bands long-time Producer, David Barbe, acquired the necessary mobile gear to record and flew out to San Francisco to capture their three-night stand in November of 2014. They hired some horns, sold some tickets and played three special and unique shows. From those shows the group have the groups life’s work into one cohesive whole.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageJanet Jackson – Unbreakable
“Music icon, multiple Grammy Award-winner and multi-platinum selling artist Janet Jackson returns with her new album Unbreakable. It is her first new music in seven years and leads with her new single “No Sleeep” on Rhythm Nation / BMG, the new label formed under her recent, barrier-breaking deal with BMG. Producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Prince, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson), commenting on the album said, “It’s wonderful to be creating again with Janet. From songwriting, producing, arranging, singing, dancing, acting, she deftly does it all and truly personifies the word artist. Unbreakable is a gift to all of her fans who have steadfastly stood by her.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageThe Beatles - 1 [bonus DVD]
“The Beatles “1” was originally released in 2000 and quickly became the fastest selling album of all time. Featuring 27 of the band’s most significant singles, all of which reached #1 in the US or UK charts, this brand new CD/DVD edition features all 27 tracks on CD and all 27 promo videos on DVD. All the videos have been beautifully restored up to 4K resolution by a team of film and video technicians and restoration artists who have undertaken painstaking frame-by-frame cleaning, colour-grading, digital enhancement and new edits that took months of dedicated, ‘round-the-clock work to accomplish.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageKurt Cobain - Montage of heck : the home recordings
“Hailed as one of the most innovative and intimate documentaries of all time, Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck is the only fully authorised portrait of the famed music icon. The highly anticipated soundtrack album, comprised from various early and raw cassette recordings made by Kurt alone, allows a rare, unfiltered glimpse into Cobain’s creative progression from early song snippets and short demos to musical experiments and ultimately, pieces of songs or lyrics that eventually appeared on later Nirvana albums. This 13 track standard soundtrack focuses on the music discovered on Cobain’s personal cassettes.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

cover imageSpectre : original motion picture soundtrack
“Like its predecessors, “Spectre” will feature a stunning soundtrack, which is set to be hugely successful. Co-written and performed by multi-platinum selling artist Sam Smith, the theme track to the film is entitled “Writing’s On The Wall”, which also credits GRAMMY Award Winning Jimmy Napes. The soundtrack, composed by Thomas Newman who has previously composed for the Bond films, also features an instrumental version of the track.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music feature fascinating inside stories of stars, from the current diva Beyoncé and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein to rock legends such as Lou Reed and Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, and offer a great summer read. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverBecoming Beyoncé : the untold story / J. Randy Taraborrelli.
“Beyoncé Knowles is a woman who began her career at the age of eight performing in pageant shows and talent contests, honing her craft through her teenage years until, at the age of 16, she had her first number one record with Destiny’s Child. That hit-making trio launched Beyoncé’s successful solo career, catapulting her, as of 2014, to #1 on Forbes annual list of most wealthy celebrities–the same year she made the cover of Time. Becoming Beyoncé is not only the story of struggle, sacrifice, and what it takes to make it in the cut-throat record industry, it’s the story of the great rewards of such success and the devastating toll it often takes on the human spirit.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNotes from the Velvet Underground : the life of Lou Reed / Howard Sounes.
“In this in-depth, meticulously researched and very entertaining biography, respected biographer Howard Sounes examines the life and work of this fascinating man, from birth to death, including his time as the leader of The Velvet Underground. Written with a deep knowledge and understanding of the music, Sounes also sheds entirely new light on the artist’s creative process, his mental health problems, his bisexuality, his three marriages, and his addictions to drugs and alcohol. This book brings Lou Reed and his world alive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHunger makes me a modern girl : a memoir / Carrie Brownstein.
“Bookended with sea changes in the life of Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein’s memoir is as much about the band as it is about herself (minus her Portlandia fame). Brownstein flips easily from brainy ruminations on nostalgia, fandom, and record labels to trenchant stories about sexism, music journalism, and how a soy allergy not drugs or alcohol brought her to her knees on tour. Sleater-Kinney fans went nuts late last year when the trio broke their years-long hiatus, and Brownstein’s memoir will give them more to salivate over.” (adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverFrank & Ava : in love and war / John Brady.
“Their wild affair broke all the rules of the prudish era as Frank left his wife and children and pursued Ava on an international stage. They became romantic renegades, with the press following them from location to location. The love story of this couple has never been fully explored or explained until now. Frank & Ava delves deeply into the lives of these two iconic stars and their turbulent lifelong relationship. More than anything else, this is the story of a romance lived out under battlefield conditions.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFoo Fighters : learning to fly / Mick Wall.
“Everyone from Sir Paul McCartney and Jimmy Page to Queens of the Stone Age now relishes the chance to share a stage with Dave Grohl and his legendary Foo Fighters. With exclusive testimony from true insiders (including Krist Novoselic, Grohl’s bass-playing partner in Nirvana, ex-girlfirends, record company executives, tour photographers and confidantes), this book is an exploration of the real story behind Grohl and the Foo Fighters – the only serious literary biography of the group and its leader, one of the most famous and critically bulletproof rock figures of the 21st century.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnfaithful music & disappearing ink / Elvis Costello.
“This memoir, written entirely by Costello, offers his unique view of his unlikely and sometimes comical rise to international success, with diversions through the previously undocumented emotional foundations of some of his best-known songs and the hits of tomorrow. It features many stories and observations about his renowned cowriters and co-conspirators, though Costello also pauses along the way for considerations of the less appealing side of fame. The idiosyncratic memoir of a singular man, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink is destined to be a classic.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPetty : the biography / Warren Zanes.
“An exhilarating and intimate account of the life of music legend Tom Petty, by an accomplished writer and musician who toured with Petty. This is a book for those who know and love the songs, from “American Girl” and “Refugee” to “Free Fallin’” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” and for those who want to see the classic rock and roll era embodied in one man’s remarkable story. Dark and mysterious, Petty manages to come back, again and again, showing us what the music can do and where it can take us.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLong promised road : Carl Wilson, soul of the Beach Boys : the biography / Kent Crowley.
“No life in popular music touched on as many major musical milestones as that of The Beach Boys’ Carl Wilson. While he is often unjustly overlooked as a mere adjunct to his more famous brothers Brian and Dennis, Carl was a major international rock star from his early teens. This major new biography reveals the true story of modern rock’n’roll, lived from the center of the most important decades of popular music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOn the road with Janis Joplin / John Byrne Cooke.
“From 1967 to 1970, Cooke was the tour manager for Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, giving him a first-hand view of Joplin’s ascent to stardom, her reaction to fame, and her untimely death from a drug overdose. As someone who worked for and also befriended Joplin, Cooke has a unique perspective, writing both about his own experiences on the road and painting a picture that covers the full spectrum of Joplin’s personality as an artist and a person, as well as the world she lived in. The key to Cooke’s success in writing about such a dynamic character lies in the fact that he, too, is a strong presence.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

1594480184_02___SCMZZZZZZZ_The Wu-Tang manual / the RZA with Chris Norris.
“The enigmatic State Island hip-hop collective offers a definitive introduction to the mysteries and complexities of the Wu-Tang Universe, revealing the intricate web of personalities and alter egos, warrior codes, numerological systems, and Eastern spiritual and philosophical concepts that define their world. Original.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLive wire : Bon Scott : a memoir by three of the people who knew him best / Mary Renshaw, John D’Arcy and Gabby D’Arcy.
“From his early days with The Valentines, through to the rise of AC/DC, Live Wire gives us the real story of what it was like to be Bon Scott’s friend, tour with him, and be part of the close-knit world out of which one of biggest bands of all time emerged. With Bon, there was always sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, but this deeply personal insight also shows the humor, intelligence, and warmth of the man. From dilapidated apartments in inner Melbourne, through to the legendary early years of AC/DC, Live Wire is a revealing portrait of Bon, told by three of the people who knew him best.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJohn Farnham : the untold story / Jane Gazzo.
“John Farnham is nothing less than an Aussie icon. In a career spanning almost five decades, the likeable, charismatic star has entertained countless Australians of every generation, selling millions of records along the way. But his extraordinary story is as much about tackling adversity as it is about topping the charts. Former teen idol, Australian of the Year, the man known across the nation as ‘The Voice’, John Farnham has earned his reputation as a genuine legend of the local entertainment industry.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCan I say : living large, cheating death, and drums, drums, drums / Travis Barker ; with Gavin Edwards.
“Travis Barker’s soul-baring memoir chronicles the highlights and lowlights of the renowned drummer’s art and his life, including the harrowing plane crash that nearly killed him and his traumatic road to recovery–a fascinating never-before-told-in-full story of personal reinvention grounded in musical salvation and fatherhood. His pulsating memoir is as energetic as his acclaimed beats. It brings to a close the first chapters of a well-lived life, inspiring readers to follow the rhythms of their own hearts and find meaning in their lives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSounds like me : my life (so far) in song / Sara Bareilles.
“Sara Bareilles shares the joys and the struggles that come with creating great work, all while staying true to yourself. Imbued with humor and marked by Sara’s confessional writing style, this collection tells the inside story behind some of her most popular songs. More than a privileged view inside the experience of a remarkable musical talent–this is a moving tribute to the universal search for growth, healing, and self-acceptance.” (Syndetics summary)

New CDs for December

Exciting new CDs include the hotly anticipated new albums by Adele and one of our most beloved bands Fat Freddy’s Drop. The Doobie Brothers’ 10 CDs-set and Grateful Dead’s 4 discs live document have been added to our extensive box set collection. Fantastic new music keeps coming. Check them out here, and reserve the items you like.

Cover imageLed Zeppelin – Coda [deluxe remaster]
“Coda is the only Led Zeppelin deluxe edition to include two companion discs, featuring 15 tracks recorded between 1968 and 1974. The oldest song in the collection is also perhaps the most interesting. The frenetic blues jam “Sugar Mama” was recorded in 1968 at Olympic Studios during sessions for the band’s eponymous debut. The song was completed but never officially released until now. “Baby Come On Home” from the same session is also included in the set. Also included is the previously unreleased “St. Tristan’s Sword,” a rollicking instrumental recorded during the Led Zeppelin III sessions in 1970.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageFat Freddy’s Drop – Bays
“Following the worldwide success of Blackbird in 2013, the New Zealand based seven-piece are back with BAYS, a 9-track LP recorded at the bands BAYS Studio in Kilbirnie, Wellington a former 1950s HMV vinyl pressing plant. The predominantly studio written album draws on the lexicon of genres that have come to epitomize the bands sound. The album exudes a confidence of a band truly comfortable in their skin. It’s been a more creative process writing this album in the studio rather than recording songs which have been well roadtested, Freddy’s vocalist Joe Dukie said.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover imagePaul McCartney – Tug of war [deluxe ed.]
“Tug of War, originally released in 1982, is the third solo album by Paul McCartney. The album was produced by George Martin and includes numerous guest musicians, including Stevie Wonder, Carl Perkins, and Ringo Starr. Tug of War reached #1 on both the US and UK charts and received a Grammy nomination for “Album of the Year” in 1983.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageRyan Adams – 1989
“Sometime in August 2015, Ryan Adams let everybody in on a secret: he’d decided to cover Taylor Swift’s 1989 in total. Nevertheless, there’s no disguising how Ryan Adams flips Taylor Swift’s 1989 upside-down, turning a moment of triumph into bedsit introspection, a concept that is undoubtedly theoretically interesting, but the record works because Adams doesn’t play this as a stunt.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageElvis Costello – Unfaithful music & soundtrack album
“Unfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album is a compilation underscoring Elvis Costello’s new memoir “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink”, compiled and sequenced by Costello himself. This 38-track, 2-CD set contains a selection of hits and Costello’s favourite songs, including two previously-unreleased titles; “April 5th” – written and recorded with Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson and John Leventhal – and one of Costello’s earliest solo recordings, “I Can’t Turn It Off” from 1975.The collection also features three exclusive, “audio book sketches” – that do not appear in the published memoir – and a 28-page booklet providing the complete lyrics and many unseen photographs, several of them from the MacManus family album.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageJoanna Newsom – Divers
“The music of Divers is a wonder of considered arrangements, immaculately sequenced for telescoped brevity. The music speeds with dissociative dread over montaged cityscapes; it hoofs with delight among the collaged quotations and sepia-toned codices of Popular Song; it ambles its carefree citational course through the public domain and down into the dustier corners of municipal parks, to lionize infamous airmen and anonymous Dutch Masters, to mourn pearl divers and Poorwills, and to elegize the ineluctable tragedy of relativity…” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

RecentPicksCDs4The Doobie Brothers – The Warner Bros. years 1971-1983
“This expansive box set from Rhino features all nine of the Doobie Brothers’ studio albums from their original 1970s Warner Bros. run plus their 1983 Farewell Tour live album. Beginning with their 1971 self-titled debut, when the band was fronted by founding singer/guitarist Tom Johnston, through 1980′s Michael McDonald-led One Step Closer, it covers their two major eras as they slowly shifted from boogie rock bar band into the soulful soft rock giants of their later years.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageGrateful Dead – 30 trips around the sun : the definitive live story 1965-1995
“Initially released as a limited-edition box set so lavish it was on the verge of being absurd, 30 Trips Around the Sun is a deep exploration of a simple idea: tell the Grateful Dead’s story through unreleased live performances taken from every year of their life. This concept reaches its full fruition in its 80-CD incarnation, containing a full unreleased show for every year between 1966 and 1995, but the four-CD distillation operates in a similar fashion and may seem more attractive to Deadheads unwilling to immerse themselves in a monthlong listening session.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageTracey Thorn – Solo: songs and collaborations 1982-2015
“It is hard to find a recent decade where Tracey Thorn s voice and song-writing has not been influential and in celebration. ‘This album deliberately isn t called The Best of Tracey Thorn,’ says Tracey of the collection, ‘You have to have a story to tell, a unifying theme, and here the idea is contained in the single word of the title, Solo.’” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover imageAdele – 25
““My last record was a break up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make up record. I’m making up with myself. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did.” Adele’s highly anticipated new album, 25 will be available globally on Friday November 20th and is the first new music from her since her Oscar winning single ‘Skyfall’ in 2012.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)


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