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)