New Books on Popular Music

Check out our exciting new books on popular music. They include How music got free which is the intriguing study of digital music industry today, and In the all-night café in which Stuart David, co-founder of musical collective Belle and Sebastian, tells all about their early days. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverHow music got free : the end of an industry, the turn of the century, and the patient zero of piracy / Stephen Witt.
“Journalist Stephen Witt traces the secret history of digital music piracy, from the German audio engineers who invented the mp3, to a North Carolina compact-disc manufacturing plant where factory worker Dell Glover leaked nearly two thousand albums over the course of a decade, to the high-rises of midtown Manhattan where music executive Doug Morris cornered the global market on rap, and, finally, into the darkest recesses of the Internet. Through these interwoven narratives, Witt has written a thrilling book that depicts the moment in history when ordinary life became forever entwined with the world online — when, suddenly, all the music ever recorded was available for free. How Music Got Free isn’t just a story of the music industry–it’s a must-read history of the Internet itself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic / Jessica Hopper.
“Jessica Hopper’s music criticism has earned her a reputation as a firebrand, a keen observer and fearless critic not just of music but the culture around it. With this volume spanning from her punk fanzine roots to her landmark piece on R. Kelly’s past, The First Collection leaves no doubt why The New York Times has called Hopper’s work “influential.” Not merely a selection of two decades of Hopper’s most engaging, thoughtful, and humorous writing, this book documents the last 20 years of American music making and the shifting landscape of music consumption. Through this vastrange of album reviews, essays, columns, interviews, and oral histories, Hopper chronicles what it is to be truly obsessed with music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRockwiz decades : the greatest songs of our time / Toby Creswell.
“Rockwiz Decades is a comprehensive guide to, and documentation of, the best songs of each decade dating as far back as the 1950s. Author Toby Creswell reminds us of the great songs that the last 65 years have offered us, delving into the untold stories behind some of the best songs of all time_from Bob Dylan to Joan Baez, Pulp to Leonard Cohen, Pet Shop Boys to Beach Boys to Beyonce_no rolling stone is left unturned.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn the all-night café : a memoir of Belle and Sebastian’s formative year / Stuart David.
“”One afternoon in 1994, I had an idea.” So begins Stuart David’s charming, evocative memoir about the indie pop band Belle and Sebastian. Determined to make his living writing stories and songs, Stuart had spent several years scraping by on the dole in his small, industrial hometown. Then he had the fateful idea to learn bass guitar, and to head for Glasgow in search of likeminded artists. In the All-Night Café describes his fortuitous meeting with the group’s cofounder Stuart Murdoch in a course for unemployed musicians. It tells of their adventures in two early incarnations of Belle and Sebastian and culminates in the recording of their celebrated debut album, Tigermilk . This portrait of the group and its origins will resonate with anyone who has put together–or thought of putting together–a band.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeing Conchita : we are unstoppable / as told to Daniel Oliver Bachmann.
“With the song “Rise Like a Phoenix,” Thomas Neuwirth–better known to the world as Conchita Wurst–stormed to victory in 2014’s Eurovision Song Contest. The bearded drag queen’s winning words, “We are unity and we are unstoppable,” were a pointed riposte to overt Russian hostility and Eastern European homophobia, and a watershed moment for LGBT campaigners. Her victory stirred massive support right across the continent in the gay community and beyond, and Conchita’s inspirational book will undoubtedly attract that same support and goodwill. This is Conchita’s full story from rural childhood to recording artist, Gaultier Couture model and cultural icon.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big midweek : life inside The Fall / Steve Hanley and Olivia Piekarski.
“The first insider’s account of life inside seminal British rock band, The Fall. Hanley’s story unfolds like a novel; from 1979 when he joined The Fall with his schoolmates Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon, up to and including an infamous on-stage fight.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPsychedelic bubble gum : Boyce & Hart, the Monkees, and turning mayhem into miracles / Bobby Hart with Glenn Ballantyne.
“From the man who wrote the songs that outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in 1967-1968, comes the story of the first decades of his life in Hollywood and New York . Immerse yourself in Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award nominated songwriter Bobby Hart’s world as he shares the story behind his success; from humble beginnings comes a musical goliath. Psychedelic Bubble Gum is a rollercoaster ride through the 1960s and 1970s during America’s whirlwind era of free speech, mysticism, and psychedelic pop culture , and, of course, rock ‘n’ roll.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAllen Klein : the man who bailed out the Beatles, made the Stones, and transformed rock & roll / Fred Goodman.
“The story of notorious manager Allen Klein, revealing new, behind-the-scenes details about some of the biggest rock bands in history Allen Klein was like no one the music industry had seen before. The hard-nosed business manager became infamous for allegedly catalyzing the Beatles’ breakup and robbing the Rolling Stones, but the truth is both more complex and more fascinating. As the manager of the Stones and then the Beatles–not to mention Sam Cooke, Donovan, the Kinks, and numerous other performers–he taught young soon-to-be legends how to be businessmen as well as rock stars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMusical wit : quips and quotes for musicians and music lovers / with text contributed by Vicky Edwards ; illustrations by Kath Walker.
“Whether you’re a regular Rolling Stone or bananas about Beethoven, this cacophony of quips and quotes will have your ears ringing with laughter. Perfect for when you’ve hit too many bum notes and need a little harmony.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageNice work if you can get it : notes from a musician’s diary / Don Franks.
Tales from a NZ musician. Don has played at restaurants, dances, pubs, festivals, weddings and funerals. He’s taught music in schools, night classes, prisons, and to private students. He’s performed at protests and picket lines and recorded two albums of his protest songs. Don produces a weekly Access Radio programme of music and social commentary.

Image from Steele RobertsJack! : celebrating Jack Body, composer / edited by Jennifer Shennan, Gillian Whitehead & Scilla Askew.
Internationally renowned composer and ethnomusicologist Jack Body is 70 — celebrate his birthday and unswerving commitment to New Zealand music with this beautiful volume. Featuring more than 120 contributions, Jack! is an astounding collection of memories, photos, paintings, art and music from friends and colleagues such as Vincent Ward, Slamet A Sjukur, Geoff Chapple, Martin Lodge, Tan Dun, Charles Te Ahukaramu Royal, Gao Ping, Ian Wedde, Gareth Farr, Budi Putra, Jose Evangelista and Richard Nunns. Woven between the stories is a transcript of Jack’s comprehensive Radio NZ ‘Composer of the Week’ interview with Elizabeth Kerr. A must for lovers of contemporary New Zealand music.

New Books on Popular Music

Along with biographies, new books on popular music this month offer something unique. How to write about music is essential for those who want to be a music writer whereas The concise guide to hip-hop music offers everything you should know about hip-hop music. As always, a number of biographies have arrived on our shelves which include Billie Holiday (2015 is the centennial of her birth), Neil Young and Alex Chilton. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverHow to write about music : excerpts from the 33 1/3 series, magazines, books and blogs with advice from industry-leading writers / edited by Marc Woodworth and Ally-Jane Grossan.
“How to Write About Music offers a selection of the best writers on what is perhaps our most universally beloved art form. Selections from the critically-acclaimed 33 1/3 series appear alongside new interviews and insights from authors like Lester Bangs, Chuck Klosterman, Owen Pallet, Ann Powers and Alex Ross. How to Write About Music includes primary sources of inspiration from a variety of go-to genres such as the album review, the personal essay, the blog post and the interview along with tips, writing prompts and advice from the writers themselves. How to Write About Music is an invaluable text for all those who have ever dreamed of getting their music writing published and a pleasure for everyone who loves to read about music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe concise guide to hip-hop music : a fresh look at the art of hip-hop, from old-school beats to freestyle rap / Paul Edwards.
“In 1973, the music scene was forever changed by the emergence of hip-hop. Masterfully blending the rhythmic grooves of funk and soul with layered beats and chanted rhymes, artists such as DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash paved the way for an entire new genre and generation of musicians. In this comprehensive, accessible guide, Paul Edwards breaks down the difference between old school and new school, recaps the biggest influencers of the genre, and sets straight the myths and misconceptions of the artists and their music. Fans old and new alike will all learn something new about the history and development of hip-hop, from its inception up through the current day, in The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBillie Holiday : the musician and the myth / John Szwed.
“When Billie Holiday stepped into Columbia’s studios in November 1933, it marked the beginning of what is arguably the most remarkable and influential career in twentieth-century popular music. Her voice weathered countless shifts in public taste, and new reincarnations of her continue to arrive, most recently in the form of singers like Amy Winehouse and Adele. Most of the writing on Holiday has focused on the tragic details of her life—her prostitution at the age of fourteen, her heroin addiction and alcoholism, her series of abusive relationships—or tried to correct the many fabrications of her autobiography. But now, Billie Holiday stays close to the music, to her performance style, and to the self she created and put into print, on record and on stage.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverNaked at the Albert Hall : the inside story of singing / Tracey Thorn.
“In her bestselling autobiography Bedsit Disco Queen , Tracey Thorn recalled the highs and lows of a thirty-year career in pop music. But with the touring, recording and extraordinary anecdotes, there wasn’t time for an in-depth look at what she actually did for all those years: sing. She sang with warmth and emotional honesty, sometimes while battling acute stage-fright. Part memoir, part wide-ranging exploration of the art, mechanics and spellbinding power of singing, Naked at the Albert Hall takes in Dusty Springfield, Dennis Potter and George Eliot; Auto-tune, the microphone and stage presence; The Streets and The X Factor. It offers a unique, witty and sharply observed insider’s perspective on the exhilarating joy and occasional heartache of singing.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYoung Neil : the Sugar Mountain years / Sharry Wilson.
“Young Neil is a detailed chronological narrative of the early life of iconic Canadian musician Neil Young. Exploring a time in this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s life that has yet to be documented with such depth of research, Young Neil is an exhaustive document of his “Sugar Mountain” years, from 1945 to 1966. From his birth in Toronto through his school years in Florida, Ontario, and Manitoba, the book examines the development of Young’s unique talent against a backdrop of shifting postwar values, a turbulent family history, and a musical revolution in the making. Includes many previously unseen photos, memorabilia, and set lists.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTom Jones : the life / by Sean Smith.
“From bestselling biographer Sean Smith comes the fascinating and tumultuous true story behind Sir Tom Jones, the nation’s treasure, sage of The Voice and living music legend. Now approaching his 75th birthday, Tom Jones’ life has been an unforgettable rollercoaster ride. From starting out in a little Welsh mining town where he married his sweetheart at just 16, who could have known that seven years later he would go on to become a major musical hit that would propel him to Bel Air? Through intimate interviews, Smith uncovers all this and more, including the years Tom spent as little more than a Vegas lounge singer, before being rediscovered in the late ’80s and becoming a maestro on the music scene once again. As revealing as it is entertaining, this is the definitive story of a great talent who is showing no signs of slowing down.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe last balladeer : the Johnny Hartman story / Gregg Akkerman.
“Just after recording with John Coltrane in 1963, baritone singer Johnny Hartman (1923 1983) told a family member that something special occurred in the studio that day. He was right the album, containing definitive readings of Lush Life and My One and Only Love, resides firmly in the realm of iconic; forever enveloping listeners in the sounds of romance. In The Last Balladeer, author Gregg Akkerman skillfully reveals not only the intimate details of that album but the life-long achievements and occasional missteps of Hartman as an African-American artist dedicated to his craft. In the first full-length biography and discography to chronicle the rhapsodic life and music of Johnny Hartman, the author completes a previously missing dimension of vocal-jazz history by documenting Hartman as the balladeer who crooned his way into so many hearts.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRock & roll’s hidden giant : the story of rock pioneer Charlie Gracie / Charlie Gracie with John A. Jackson.
“Charlie Gracie’s hit song “Butterfly” topped the American and British music charts in 1957, selling over three million copies. Charlie was part of the birth of rock & roll, and his unique style influenced some of the most important artists in rock history, including The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Van Morrison, and countless others. Rock & Roll’s Hidden Giant uncovers Charlie’s inspiring story, tracing his rise to the top of the charts through to his fall from fame. From his upbringing on the streets of Philadelphia to the tragic death of his friend Eddie Cochran to experiencing the dark side of Dick Clark and the early days of the music industry, we learn that Charlie’s unfaltering integrity and talent were the constant guides in his life. Rock history would not be the same without Charlie Gracie, and this remarkable, uplifting account is essential for all fans of rock & roll.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA man called destruction : the life and music of Alex Chilton, from Box Tops to Big Star to backdoor man / Holly George-Warren.
“A brilliant and influential songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, the charismatic Alex Chilton was more than a rock star; he was a true cult icon. Award winning music writer Holly George-Warren’s book is the first biography of this enigmatic artist, who died in 2010. Covering Chilton’s life from his early work with the chart-topping Box Tops and the seminal power-pop band Big Star to his experiments with punk and roots music and his sprawling solo career, this is the story of a musical icon and a richly detailed chronicle of pop music’s evolution.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeal : my three decades of drumming, dreams, and drugs with the Grateful Dead / Bill Kreutzmann with Benjy Eisen.
“The Grateful Dead are perhaps the most legendary American rock band of all time. For thirty years, beginning in the hippie scene of San Francisco in 1965, they were a musical institution, the original jam band that broke new ground in so many ways. Bill Kreutzmann, one of their founding members and drummer for every one of their over 2,300 concerts has written an unflinching and wild account of playing in the greatest improvisational band of all time. Everything a rock music fan would expect is here, but what sets this apart is Bill’s incredible life of adventure that was at the heart of the Grateful Dead experience. Bill’s life is a chronicle of American music and pop culture history and his epic personal journey is one of sonic discovery and thrilling experiences.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJourney to the centre of the Cramps / Dick Porter.
“Based upon work and materials compiled for the acclaimed and now much sought after 2007 Cramps biography A Short History of Rock’n’Roll Psychosis, Journey To The Centre Of The Cramps goes far beyond being a revised and updated edition” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBowie on Bowie : interviews and encounters with David Bowie / edited by Sean Egan.
“Bowie on Bowie presents some of the best interviews David Bowie has granted in his near five-decade career. Each featured interview traces a new step in his unique journey, successively freezing him in time in all of his various incarnations, from a young novelty hit-maker and Ziggy Stardust to plastic soul player, 1980s sell-out, and the artistically reborn and beloved elder statesman of challenging popular music. In all of these iterations he is remarkably articulate and also preternaturally polite as almost every interviewer remarks upon his charm. The features in this book come from outlets both prestigious– Melody Maker, MOJO, New Musical Express, Q, Rolling Stone — and less well-known–t he Drummer, Guitar, Ikon, Mr. Showbiz –but no matter the renown of the magazine, newspaper, or website, Bowie lets us approach the nerve center of his notoriously creative output.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMr Mojo : a biography of Jim Morrison / Dylan Jones.
“In Paris’s Père-Lachaise cemetery, Jim Morrison’s graffiti-scrawled tombstone is a place of pilgrimage for local devotees, adolescent hedonists and wayward backpackers alike. Found dead in his bathtub aged only 27 having achieved worldwide stardom as lead singer of The Doors, Morrison was quickly immortalised amongst the rock and roll deity such as Hendrix and Joplin. In death, however, this debauched ‘rock poet’ remained more stubbornly enigmatic than ever. In this colourful and intimate biography, Dylan Jones strips bare the skin-tight leather suit of Jim Morrison’s Lizard King persona, and offers a frank and honest appraisal of a much beloved and often-romanticised counter-cultural icon. Mr Mojo is littered with little-known anecdotes from fellow stars, spurned lovers and industry moguls. It is a refreshingly honest portrait of a self-indulgent artist with a penchant for pageantry and public self-destruction.” (adapted from

Jack! : celebrating Jack Body, composer / edited by Jennifer Shennan, Gillian Whitehead & Scilla Askew.
“Internationally renowned composer and ethnomusicologist Jack Body is 70 — celebrate his birthday and unswerving commitment to New Zealand music with this beautiful volume. Featuring more than 120 contributions, Jack! is an astounding collection of memories, photos, paintings, art and music from friends and colleagues such as Vincent Ward, Slamet A Sjukur, Geoff Chapple, Martin Lodge, Tan Dun, Charles Te Ahukaramu Royal, Gao Ping, Ian Wedde, Gareth Farr, Budi Putra, Jose Evangelista and Richard Nunns. Woven between the stories is a transcript of Jack’s comprehensive Radio NZ ‘Composer of the Week’ interview with Elizabeth Kerr. A must for lovers of contemporary New Zealand music.”(Syndetics summary)

New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music this month highlight great stories about ever popular Ed Sheeran, the Falls and Kate Bush. Also, unique studies on the legendary albums such as Can’s Tago Mago and Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson from popular 33 1/3 series, which give deep insight into the rock music masterpieces, have been added. Check them out.

Syndetics book coverEd Sheeran : a visual journey / by Ed Sheeran x Phillip Butah.
“Ed Sheeran is the soulful singer-songwriter from England who has captivated American audiences. With words by Ed Sheeran and illustrations by his childhood friend, artist Phillip Butah (who produces artwork for Sheeran’s albums and singles), and accompanying photos, Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey is an exclusive, fully authorized, first-person account by Ed of how he became an internationally renowned singer-songwriter. The book reveals what drives and inspires Ed as he continues to evolve as an artist, while coping with stratospheric success.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big midweek : life inside The Fall / Steve Hanley and Olivia Piekarski.
“The first insider’s account of life inside seminal British rock band, The Fall. Hanley’s story unfolds like a novel; from 1979 when he joined The Fall with his schoolmates Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon, up to and including an infamous on-stage fight.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe walrus & the elephants : John Lennon’s years of revolution / James A. Mitchell.
“In late 1971 John Lennon left London and pop stardom behind and moved to New York City, eager to join a youth movement rallying for social justice and an end to the Vietnam War. Settling in Greenwich Village, the former Beatle was soon on the front lines of the antiwar movement, championing causes and inspiring solidarity and suspicion. His story is told by the unlikely cast of friends, among them the members of Elephant’s Memory. Exclusive interviews include writer and feminist leader Gloria Steinem and Congressional Black Caucus co-founder Ron Dellums.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder the ivy : the life & music of Kate Bush / Graeme Thomson.
“This latest edition of Under The Ivy is fully updated to include analysis of Bush’s stunning return to live performance in August 2014. Her run of London concerts was the most unexpected and eagerly awaited pop event of the 21st Century. An acclaimed study of one of the world’s most enigmatic artists, Under The Ivy combines a wealth of new research with rigorous critical scrutiny. Featuring over 70 new interviews with those who have viewed from close quarters both the public artist and the private woman, this compelling biography offers numerous fresh perspectives on a unique and elusive talent.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRay Davies : a complicated life / Johnny Rogan.
“Ray Davies, legendary frontman of The Kinks, is one of the all-time greatest rock ‘n’ roll musicians – and also one of its most troubled and enigmatic. Davies wrote a string of enduring classics – ‘All Day and All of the Night’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘Waterloo Sunset’, ‘Lola’. But Ray’s journey from working-class Muswell Hill to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame was tumultuous in the extreme, featuring breakdowns, bitter lawsuits, spectacular punch-ups and a ban from entering the USA for almost four years. This richly detailed and revelatory biography presents the most frank and intimate portrait yet of Ray Davies, and promises to be the definitive biography of this most fascinating and complicated life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCollabro : our story / text writen by Martin Roach.
With exclusive access and behind-the-scenes photos, Collabro : our story is the first official look at how a restaurant worker, a labourer, a sales assistant, a kitchen salesman and a hospital worker converged to form one of the most exciting bands in pop history. Singing together for just one month when they entered Britain’s Got Talent, Collabro are now the biggest musical theatre group ever and well on their way to the top of the charts with their all-conquering covers of some of the greatest musical songs of all time.

Syndetics book coverSimply thrilled : the preposterous story of Postcard Records / Simon Goddard.
“They had just a few hundred pounds, one band missing a drummer, a sock drawer for an office, more dreams than sense, and not a clue between them how to run a record company. But when Alan Horne and Edwyn Collins decided to start their own label from a shabby Glasgow flat in 1979, nobody was going to stand in their way. Postcard Records was the mad, makeshift, and quite preposterous result. Launching the careers of Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, and cult heroes Josef K, the self-styled “Sound of Young Scotland” stuck it to the London music biz and, quite by accident, kickstarted the 1980s indie music revolution.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIt’s a long story : my life / Wille Nelson with David Ritz.
“The definitive autobiography of Willie Nelson “Unvarnished. Funny. Leaving no stone unturned.” …So say the publishers about this book I’ve written. What I say is that this is the story of my life, told as clear as a Texas sky and in the same rhythm that I lived it. It’s a story of restlessness and the purity of the moment and living right. Of my childhood in Abbott, Texas, to the Pacific Northwest, from Nashville to Hawaii and all the way back again. Of selling vacuum cleaners and encyclopedias while hosting radio shows and writing song after song, hoping to strike gold. It’s a story of true love, wild times, best friends, and barrooms, with a musical sound track ripping right through it. My life gets lived on the road, at home, and on the road again, tried and true, and I’ve written it all down from my heart to yours. Signed, Willie Nelson” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI found my friends : the oral history of Nirvana / Nick Soulsby.
“I Found My Friends recreates the short and tempestuous times of Nirvana through the musicians and producers who played and interacted with the band. The guides for this trip didn’t just watch the life of this legendary band-they lived it. Soulsby interviewed over 150 musicians from bands that played and toured with Nirvana, including&nbspwell-known alternative bands like Dinosaur Jr., The Dead Kennedys, and Butthole Surfers, as well as scores of smaller, but no less fascinating bands.In this groundbreaking look at a legendary band, readers will see a more personal history of Nirvana than ever before.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKurt Cobain : the last session / by Jesse Frohman ; contributions by Jon Savage, Glenn O’Brien.
“In August 1993, when Nirvana was in New York to perform at the legendary Roseland Ballroom, Jesse Frohman photographed them for the London Observer’s Sunday magazine–the last formal photo shoot in which Cobain participated before he committed suicide on April 5th, 1994. Over the course of ninety photographs, Cobain seems an almost feral creature, by turns gentle, playful, defiant, suffering, or absorbed in his music. There’s a diverse range of shots of Cobain with fellow band members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl and on his own, posing, performing, and greeting fans. Jon Savage’s original interview, which appeared with Frohman’s photographs in the Observer is also reproduced, giving us Cobain in his own words.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSelected ambient works volume II / Marc Weidenbaum.
“Extravagantly opaque, willfully vaporous — Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II , released by the estimable British label Warp Records in 1994, rejuvenated ambient music for the Internet Age that was just dawning. Faithful to Brian Eno’s definition of ambient music, Selected Ambient Works Volume II was intentionally functional: it furnished chill out rooms, the sanctuaries amid intense raves. Choreographers and film directors began to employ it to their own ends, and in the intervening decades this background music came to the fore, adapted by classical composers who reverse-engineer its fragile textures for performance on acoustic instruments. Simultaneously, “ambient” has moved from esoteric sound art to central tenet of online culture.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTago mago : permission to dream / Alan Warner.
“This hugely unique and influential album deserves close analysis from a fan, rather than a musicologist. Novelist Alan Warner details the concrete music we hear on the album, how it was composed, executed and recorded–including the history of the album in terms of its release, promotion and art work. This tale of Tago Mago is also the tale of a young man obsessed with record collecting in the dark and mysterious period of pop music before Google. Interviews with the two surviving members: drummer Jaki Liebezeit, keyboardist Irmin Schmidt and bassist Holger Czukay make this a hilariously personal and illuminating picture of Can.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHistoire de Melody Nelson / Darran Anderson.
“Gainsbourg was an eclectic, protean figure; a Dadaist, poète maudit, Pop-Artist, libertine and anti-hero. His masterpiece is arguably Histoire de Melody Nelson, an album suite combining many of his signature themes; sex, taboo, provocation, humour, exoticism and ultimately tragedy…  its score of lush cinematic strings and proto-hip hop beats, combined with Serge’s spoken-word poetry, has become remarkably influential across a vast musical spectrum; inspiring soundtracks, indie groups and electronic artists. In recent years, the album’s reputation has grown from cult status to that of a modern classic with the likes of Beck, Portishead, Mike Patton, Air and Pulp paying tribute.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmile / Luis Sanchez.
“In the early 1960s, The Beach Boys rose from the suburbs of Hawthorne, California to become emissaries of a post-war American dream that fused middle-class aspiration and mobility with images of youth. By 1966, the encroaching counterculture added new dimensions of creative possibility to popular music. Looking to revise and expand, Brian Wilson sought collaboration with a brilliant musician named Van Dyke Parks. Together they began work on Smile , an ambitious album of music that refracted The Beach Boys’ naïveté into a visionary exploration of American consciousness. Smile edged so close to greatness it seemed destined to become one of the most significant musical advances of its time.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSigur Rós’s ( ) / Ethan Hayden.
“Words like “inspiring,” “expansive,” and “moving” are regularly used to describe Sigur Rós’s ( ) , and yet the only words heard on the record itself are a handful of meaningless nonsense syllables. The album has no title–or rather, its title is no title: just an empty pair of parentheses. The intention being that listeners will fill in the parentheses with their own title, their own interpretation of the sounds on the record. Ethan Hayden’s book doesn’t try to fill in the gaps between the album’s parentheses, but instead explores the ways in which listeners might attempt to do so. Examining the communicative powers of asemantic language, the book asks whether music can bring sense to nonsense.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Popular Music in April

A wide variety of books, from Rock guitar and drum heroes, to iconic rock photographs capturing 60s San Francisco, and fantastic biographies on George Harrison, Peter Tosh and more have all been added to our collection. Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon’s highly-anticipated first memoir gives a great read for both her fans and those who don’t know her. Also, the ever popular For Dummies musical instruction series offers interesting lessons on banjo, fiddle and more. Have a go!

Syndetics book coverThe Haight : love, rock, and revolution : the photography of Jim Marshall / written by Joel Selvin ; preface by Donovan ; foreword by Jorma Kaukonen ; afterword by John Poppy.
“Covering one of the most unforgettable moments in modern history – including images of The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Allen Ginsburg, and more – The Haight is an indispensable gallery of legendary photographer Jim Marshall’s Sixties-era San Francisco photography. In this one-of-a-kind book, the full extent of Marshall’s Haight-Ashbury photography is stunningly displayed. Written by bestselling music journalist Joel Selvin, the story behind each of these incomparable images is disclosed through a revealing narrative, lending the images a fascinating context and prospective.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRock guitar heroes : the illustrated encyclopedia of artists, guitars and great riffs / foreword by Brian May ; consultant editor Rusty Cutchin ; contributing authors Rusty Cutchin [and 4 others].
“Featuring over 180 of the world’s greatest guitar superstars, Rock Guitar Heroes is a definitive guide to those guitarists whose talents helped change the face of music forever and touched the lives of millions. From the heroes of classic blues rock with the likes of Hendrix, Clapton, Page and Beck to modern artists such as Jack White and Matt Bellamy, this comprehensive catalogue of guitarists covers a wide range of musical styles… this is the ideal book for any aspiring guitar hero, and will satisfy even the most die-hard of music fans.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn to drum : the truth about the world’s greatest drummers–from John Bonham and Keith Moon to Sheila E. and Dave Grohl / Tony Barrell.
“”What do you call the guy who hangs out with a group of musicians? The drummer.” There are lots of jokes about drummers, but drummers are no joke. They are often the hardest-working members of a band, maintaining the fundamental rhythm upon which the rest of the music depends. The author tries to find common traits these musicians may share, and how those characteristics influence other parts of their lives. He speaks with such luminaries as Phil Collins, Ginger Baker, and Butch Vig and discusses at length legends such as John Bonham, Keith Moon, and Ringo Starr.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverGirl in a band / Kim Gordon.
“Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll. Gordon takes us back to the lost New York of the 1980s and ’90s that gave rise to Sonic Youth, and the Alternative revolution in popular music. But at its core, Girl in a Band examines the route from girl to woman in uncharted territory, music, art career, what partnership means—and what happens when that identity dissolves.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverGeorge Harrison : behind the locked door / Graeme Thomson.
“Published to co-incide with what would have been the 70th anniversary of George Harrison’s birth. Explores Harrison’s work both within and without the Beatles and at the same time examining in detail his private and public passions, from Eastern spiritualism to horticulture, from comedy to film-making, from fast cars to working with UNICEF. His career renaissance in the 80s with the Travelling Wilburys. His last few years which were scarred by two bouts of cancer and a knife attack which almost killed him. His legacy, including his final album and memorial concert.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverDream weaver : a memoir : music, meditation, and my friendship with George Harrison / Gary Wright.
“Music legend Gary Wright reflects on his professional collaboration, friendship, and spiritual journey with “quiet Beatle” George Harrison, and releases for the first time a recording of a song they wrote together. Best known for his multiplatinum hits “Dream Weaver” and “Love is Alive,” Gary Wright came to prominence as a singer and songwriter during the golden age of rock in the 1970s. At the heart of this memoir is the spiritual conversion and journey that Wright experienced alongside his close friend George Harrison. Also available is a deluxe e-book featuring an audio recording of “To Discover Yourself”.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe life of Peter Tosh : steppin’ razor / John Masouri.
“One of reggae’s most extraordinary stories, the life of Peter Tosh came to an end when he was brutally murdered in 1987. Now revered second only to Bob Marley among reggae audiences worldwide, Tosh was awarded the Order of Merit as Jamaica celebrated 50 years of independence. Tracing his recording career, we learn of his encounters with Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker, and volatile relationships with Bob Marley and Lee “Scratch” Perry. Tosh’s darker side is also revealed in tales of the singer’s fascination with the occult and in unprecedented detail, his untimely and tragic demise.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJohnny Cash : walking on fire / Helen Akitt ; foreword by Paul du Noyer.
“Johnny Cash cuts an iconic figure in music history. With his humble demeanour, sombre outfits and that distinctive deep voice, he crossed multiple genres with great success – gospel, rock and roll and of course country. Known for legendary songs about regret and redemption, such as ‘I Walk the Line’ and ‘Ring of Fire’, his life was a whirlwind of music, passion, addiction and absolution. This book takes an in depth look at the enthralling life of one of America’s most influential artists.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverJerry Lee Lewis : his own story / Rick Bragg.
“Award-winning author Bragg could probably write about nearly anything, in his gorgeous and evocative prose, and readers would swoon. Here he writes about musician Jerry Lee Lewis, who made women swoon but also storm the stage and rip off his clothes, and who made men riot and swear and drink. Rocker Lewis was (with Elvis and a few notable others) the naughtily provocative face of rock ‘n’ roll from the 1950s onward, and, in a literary almost-conversation with Bragg, Fans of Lewis’ music will snap this up, but those seeking an unstinting exploration of a true phenomenon of American culture will find it a fine read as well.” (adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverFacing the music : and living to talk about it / Nick Carter.
“The author shares his experiences as a member of the boy band Backstreet Boys, the health and substance abuse problems that followed, his road to recovery, and the untimely death of his younger sister, as well what he learned from it all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrums for dummies / by Jeff Strong.
“Whether you’re dreaming of starting a band, striking the snares, or simply playing a hand drum, this interactive book-and-CD package makes it easy to pick up the basics. Complete with new information on contemporary rock styles and beats as well as rhythms from around the world, this guide is all you need to become a talented, versatile drummer. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPiano & keyboard all-in-one for dummies / by Holly Day, Jerry Kovarsky, Blake Neely, David Pearl, and Michael Pilhofer.
“Piano & Keyboard All-in-One For Dummies makes it easier and more fun than ever to make music! If you don’t know how to read music, this book explains in friendly, uncomplicated language all the basics of music theory, and applies it to playing the piano and keyboard. And if you’ve been playing for awhile?or took lessons when you were a child but haven’t played since?you can pick up some valuable tips to improve your playing, or use the book as a refresher course.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEasy piano songs for dummies / performance notes by Adam Perlmutter.
“Want to learn to play easy popular hits? Then this is the book for you! It’s an easy-to-use resource for the casual hobbyist or working musician. It includes 40 easy piano arrangements with guitar chords and lyrics plus performance notes for each song detailing the wheres, whats, and hows all in plain English! Songs include: Back to December * California Girls * Candle in the Wind * Defying Gravity * Fever * God Only Knows * Hey, Soul Sister * If I Were a Carpenter * Layla * Leaving on a Jet Plane * Let It Be” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverFiddle for dummies / by Michael Sanchez.
“Tackling a new instrument can be intimidating, but with this easy-to-use guide, you’ll have no trouble at all! From selecting, tuning, and caring for your fiddle to mastering various music styles, Fiddle For Dummies walks you step-by-step through everything you need to start playing the fiddle like a pro. The fiddle is a popular instrument across many continents, and is a favorite for many because it is small and portable. Playing the fiddle can expose you to a range of musical styles from all over the world, such as Irish, Scottish, Celtic/Cape Breton, country, folk, bluegrass, and more.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBanjo for dummies / by Bill Evans.
“Whether you’re a new picker or an experienced player looking for new ideas and styles, this guide have everything you need. From choosing a banjo that’s right for you to advanced right- and left-hand techniques, you’ll find advice and examples to help you enhance your playing.”(Syndetics summary)

New books on popular music

New books on popular music this month once again feature fantastic biographies about legends including Gil Scott-Heron, Lenny Kravitz, Aretha Franklin and many more. The Amy Winehouse story penned by her mother offers fascinating insights into the much missed singer. Also, Rock ‘n’ roll Love Stories tells you all the gossip about the famous couples you should know. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverRock ‘n’ roll love stories : true tales of the passion and drama behind the stage acts / Gill Paul.
“The music world has seen some of the most iconic partnerships of all time the reader feels almost on a first-name acquaintance with many of them: Sonny and Cher, Mick and Marianne, Elvis and Priscilla, Ike and Tina…. Rock n Roll Love Stories looks at 14 of the best, taking us from the 1950s all the way up to the early 2000s. Along the way we see behind the public face of a whole range of relationships, from the straightforwardly romantic to the messily divided, and from the famous (and infamous) to the relatively unknown. All are engaging, full of contemporary detail, and come imbued with the energy and the spirit of the music world over the last half century.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover100 years of British music : a photographic tribute to some of the greatest songwriters and composers of all time / new photography by Lucy Sewill ; text by Christopher Welch.
“From Sir Edward Elgar to Adele, great composers and songwriters have been at the heart of the musical landscape of the last 100 years. Showcased in this photobook are composers of film music, opera, symphonies and stage shows, as well as the writers behind the greatest hits of rock and pop.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGil Scott-Heron : pieces of a man / Marcus Baram.
“Yet, while he was exalted by his devoted fans as the “black Bob Dylan” (a term he hated) and widely sampled by the likes of Kanye West, Prince, Common, and Elvis Costello, he had never really achieved mainstream success. This book will trace his southern roots from Tennessee to New York City; to his becoming a prolific writer and musician as well as the struggle with drugs that led to his untimely death. By charting a musical odyssey, a drug addict’s twisted path to redemption, and an African-American’s political awakening, this book will finally put this very complicated but iconic genius into full focus.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLoving Amy : a mother’s story / Janis Winehouse.
“Arguably the most gifted artist of her generation, Amy Winehouse died tragically young, aged just 27. With a worldwide fanbase and millions of record sales to her name, she should have had the world at her feet. Instead, in the years prior to her passing, she battled with addictions and was often the subject of lurid tabloid headlines. But who was the real Amy? Amy’s mother, Janis, knew her in a way that no-one else did. Packed with exclusive material that has never been seen before, such as extracts from Amy’s teenage diaries, photos and notes, Loving Amy offers a new and intimate perspective on the life and death of the phenomenon that is Amy Winehouse.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLenny Kravitz / [Lenny Kravitz] ; foreword by Anthony Decurtis ; conversation with Pharrell Williams ; afterword by Marla Hamburg Kennedy ; [Jessica Fuller, editor].
“A visual celebration of one of rock’s sexiest, most magnetic stars. Lenny Kravitz is the quintessential rock god: he has musical chops, glamorous style, and sex appeal for miles. Kravitz’s talents as a writer, producer, actor, and multi-instrumentalist are without question. This book includes photographs spanning Kravitz’s time in the public eye, from his earliest days kicking around in New York City in the 1980s to traveling the world; from shots of Lenny composing in hotel rooms to performing in front of massive crowds; and from fashion shoots to intimate personal settings–and it is easy to see why the camera loves him. Lenny Kravitz illustrates the raw sensual power that has captivated his fans all over the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRocks : my life in and out of Aerosmith / Joe Perry with David Ritz.
“In this riveting inside account of his life in rock-and-roll band Aerosmith, Joe Perry opens up for the first time to tell the story of his wild, unbridled life as the band’s lead guitarist. He delves deep into his volatile, profound, and enduring relationship with singer Steve Tyler, and reveals the real people behind the larger-than-life rock-gods on stage. It’s an intimate account of nearly five decades of mega highs and heartbreaking lows. The story of Aerosmith is not your average rock-and-roll tale. It’s an epic saga, at once a study in brotherhood and solitude that plays out on the killing fields of rock and roll. Perry takes a personal look into the two stars behind Aerosmith, the people who enabled them, the ones who controlled them, and the ones who changed them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRespect : the life of Aretha Franklin / David Ritz.
“The definitive biography of the Queen of Soul from acclaimed music writer David Ritz. Aretha Franklin began life as the golden daughter of a progressive and promiscuous Baptist preacher. Raised without her mother, she was a gospel prodigy who gave birth to two sons in her teens and left them and her native Detroit for New York, where she struggled to find her true voice. It was not until 1967, when a white Jewish producer insisted she return to her gospel-soul roots, that fame and fortune finally came via “Respect” and a rapidfire string of hits. She has evolved ever since, amidst personal tragedy, surprise Grammy performances, and career reinventions. David Ritz gives us the definitive life of one of the greatest talents in all American culture.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove becomes a funeral pyre / Mick Wall.
“Think you know how Jim Morrison died? Think you know who wrote all their hits? Think you know why Morrison fled to Paris, never to return? Well now you will with the definitive biography, Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre , of the legendary rock band and their iconic frontman Jim Morrison, written by Mick Wall, one of our most revered music writers and one of the last journalists to interview Ray Manzarek. Yet the story of The Doors ended as badly as did the 1960s: a startling decade the music and story of The Doors both defined and helped vilify. Along with evoking the cultural milieu of Los Angeles, in Love Becomes A Funeral Pyre Mick Wall captures the true spirit of that tarnished age with a brilliantly penetrating and contemporary investigation into the real story of The Doors.” (Syndetics summary)

Continue reading “New books on popular music”

New books on Popular Music

A wide variety of new books on popular music offer an entertaining read. They include the history of music in fifty instruments, Great lost albums and Future days which is a unique study of Krautrock. As always, a number of fascinating biographies have been added as well. Check them out.

Syndetics book coverThe history of music in fifty instruments / written by Philip Wilkinson.
The History of Music in 50 Instruments outlines musical history in well-written nuggets of information. Profiling one instrument at a time, it describes the history of music since the 1700s, when orchestras first took the formal shape familiar to us. The concise text explains the role of each instrument in the orchestra and its importance in the development of music in general. For musicians, teachers and students, and all who enjoy music, this book is a beautiful and informative tour of the orchestra and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreat lost albums / Mark Billingham, David Quantick, Stav Sherez, Martyn Waites.
“We can all name the classic rock and pop albums of the last fifty years. But what about the great lost albums? The albums that, in a very real sense, have been completely made up by the authors of this book? From the 60s to the 00s, with track-listings, full histories and (genuine!) interviews with musicians and rock journalists, Great Lost Albums reveals the recordings that – just perhaps – never existed, but really should have done. Albums include: · Bob Dylan’s legendary collaboration with Liberace; Joy Division’s ‘musical theatre’ period; Coldplay’s IKEA Sessions , including ‘Conscious Uncoupling (See Leaflet for Details)’ and ‘In my Place (There’s a Lovely HEMNES Shelving System)’…and much, much more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPopular music & society / Brian Longhurst and Danijela Bogdanovic.
“The third edition of Popular Music and Society is fully revised and updated, deftly exploring the study of popular music in the context of wider debates in sociology and media and cultural studies. Astute and accessible, it continues to set the agenda for research and teaching in this area. Packed with up-to-date examples and data on the contemporary production and consumption of popular music, the book includes overviews and critiques of theoretical approaches to this exciting area of study and outlines the most important empirical studies which have shaped the discipline.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIsle of noises : conversations with great British songwriters / Daniel Rachel.
“Isle of Noises features brand-new, exclusive, in-depth conversations with twenty-seven of the UK’s greatest living musicians. Artists discuss their individual approach to writing, the inspiration behind their most successful songs, and the techniques and methods they have independently developed. It is an incredible musical journey spanning fifty years, from ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by Ray Davies to ‘The Beast’ by Laura Marling, with many lyrical and melodic secrets revealed along the way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFuture days : Krautrock and the building of modern Germany / David Stubbs.
“West Germany after the Second World War was a country in shock: estranged from its recent history, and adrift from the rest of Europe. But this orphaned landscape proved fertile ground for a generation of musicians who, from the 1960s onwards, would develop the experimental and various sounds that became known as Krautrock. Faust, Neu!, Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Düül II, Can, Kraftwerk ­- the influence of these groups’ ruminative, expansive compositions upon Western popular music is incalculable.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of asking : or, How I learned to stop worrying and let people help / Amanda Palmer ; foreword by Brené Brown.
“‘Imagine standing on a box in the middle of a busy city, dressed as a white-faced bride, and silently using your eyes to ask people for money. Or touring Europe in a punk cabaret band, and finding a place to sleep each night by reaching out to strangers on Twitter. For Amanda Palmer, actions like these have gone beyond satisfying her basic needs for food and shelter – they’ve taught her how to turn strangers into friends, build communities, and discover her own giving impulses. In The Art of Asking, Palmer expands upon her popular TED talk to reveal how ordinary people, those of us without thousands of Twitter followers and adoring fans, can use these same principles in our own lives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Beatles in 100 objects : the story of the world’s greatest rock and roll band through the items they used, created and inspired / Brian Southall.
“From the time they were formed in 1962, through to their break-up eight years later, the Beatles were associated with a multitude of items, places and people. This illustrated collection focuses on 100 of the most important of those ‘objects’ – which heralded landmark moments, career changing achievements or curious episodes in the life of a Beatle. From tickets to records, instruments to memorabilia, clothes and the stories and histories behind them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChapter and verse : New Order, Joy Division and me / Bernard Sumner.
“Founding member and guitarist of Joy Division and the lead singer of New Order, Bernard Sumner has been famous over the years for his reticence. Until now. An integral part of the Manchester music scene since the late 1970s, his is the definitive version of the events that created two of the most influential bands of all time. Chapter and Verse includes a vivid and illuminating account of Bernard’s Salford childhood, the early days of Joy Division, the band’s enormous critical and popular success, and the subsequent tragic death of Ian Curtis.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDylan : the biography / Dennis McDougal.
“Bob Dylan is a music hero to generations. He’s also an international bestselling artist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and an Oscar winner for “Things Have Changed.” His career is stronger and more influential than ever. How did this happen, given the road to oblivion he seemed to choose more than two decades ago? Dylan’s 72, and this final act of his career is more interesting than ever–yet the classic biographies like Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades and even his own Chronicles: Volume One came too soon to cover this act. Now this groundbreaking biography digs deep into Bob Dylan lore.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe musical theater of Stephen Schwartz : from Godspell to Wicked and beyond / Paul R. Laird.
“As the composer/lyricist for such projects as Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked, Stephen Schwartz has enjoyed one of the most important careers in the American musical theater for more than four decades. Schwartz has also achieved success on the big screen, contributing to such films as Enchanted, The Prince of Egypt, and Pocahontas. For his work, he has received six Tony nominations, three Grammys, and three Academy Awards. The Musical Theater of Stephen Schwartz: Collaboration and Composition is a detailed consideration of the various projects that Schwartz has worked on throughout his career.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe beat of my own drum : a memoir / Sheila E. with Wendy Holden.
“From the Grammy-nominated singer, drummer, and percussionist who is world renowned for her contributions throughout the music industry, a moving memoir about the healing power of music and spiritual growth inspired by five decades of life and love on the stage. She was born Sheila Escovedo in 1957, but the world knows her as Sheila E. This memoir is a unique glimpse into a world-famous drummer’s singular life-a treat for both new and longtime fans of Sheila E.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBilly Joel : the definitive biography / Fred Schruers.
“In Billy Joel, acclaimed music journalist Fred Schruers draws upon more than one hundred hours of exclusive interviews with Joel to present an unprecedented look at the life, career, and legacy of the pint-sized kid from Long Island who became a rock icon. Exhibiting unparalleled intimate knowledge, Schruers chronicles Joel’s rise to the top of the charts, from his working-class origins in Levittown and early days spent in boxing rings and sweaty clubs to his monumental success in the seventies and eighties. Comprehensive, vibrantly written, and filled with Joel’s memories and reflections. This is the definitive account of a beloved rock star’s epic American journey.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeonard Cohen : everybody knows / Harvey Kubernik.
“Published to co-incide with his 80th birthday in September 2014, this book celebrates the life, music and poetry of Leonard Cohen. It features new interviews with Cohen’s band, producers and collaborators and is illustrated with hundreds of photographs.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlay on : now, then & Fleetwood Mac, the autobiography / Mick Fleetwood & Anthony Bozza.
Play On sheds new light on Fleetwood Mac’s raucous history, describing the highs and lows of being in the band that Fleetwood was determined to keep together. Here he reflects on the creation of landmark albums like Rumours and Tusk , the great loves of his life, and the many incredible and outrageous moments of recording, touring and living with Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood describes these moments with honesty and immediacy, taking us to the very heart of this multi-layered journey that has always been anchored in music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA woman like me / Bettye LaVette with David Ritz.
“Acclaimed R&B singer Bettye LaVette celebrates her storied career in show business with her stunning memoir, A Woman Like Me. Bettye LaVette’s career has been a one-of-a-kind roller-coaster ride through the world of music; it has taken her from the peaks to the pits and back. In this unflinchingly honest memoir, she boldly recounts her freewheeling childhood, her short-lived conquest of the R&B world in the 1960s, her decline into poverty and despair, and her recent comeback and career revival, with two Grammy-nominated CDs and numerous appearances on major television talk shows.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music this month feature excellent biographies on Nick Cave and Stevie Nicks, as well as interesting studies about the history of rock ‘n’ roll and pop music through individual songs. Also, Do not sell at any price offers a fabulous read about the world of 78 rpm records. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverThe greatest albums you’ll never hear / general editor, Bruno MacDonald.
The Greatest Albums You’ll Never Hear untangles the twists of fate, the fights and the sheer bad luck that prevented these sonic gems from being pressed. A Pink Floyd album with no instruments. A Sex Pistols record more incendiary than Never Mind The Bollocks. A sci-fi rock opera by Weezer. Rock ‘n’ roll history is littered with intriguing albums that never saw the light of day, let alone the charts. Self-destructive ambition, intra-band turmoil, record-company politics and even death have all played their part in creating a fascinating sub-genre of mythic masterpieces. Spanning more than half a century of music from all genres, these tales take in legends such as The Beatles, cult heroes like Brian Eno, and contemporary artists, including Green Day and Dr Dre.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDo not sell at any price : the wild, obsessive hunt for the world’s rarest 78 rpm records / Amanda Petrusich.
“Before MP3s, CDs, and cassette tapes, even before LPs or 45s, the world listened to music on 78rpm records — those fragile, 10-inch shellac discs. While vinyl records have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, good 78s are exponentially harder to come by and play. Through fascinating historical research and beguiling visits with the most prominent 78 preservers, Amanda Petrusich offers both a singular glimpse of the world of 78 collecting and the lost backwoods blues artists whose 78s from the 1920s and 1930s have yet to be found or heard by modern ears.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover“The history of rock ‘n’ roll in ten songs / Greil Marcus.
“Selects ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008 that embody rock and roll as a thing in itself — in the story each song tells, inhabits, and creates in its legacy.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYeah! yeah! yeah! : the story of pop music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé / Bob Stanley.
“As much fun to argue with as to quote, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is a monumental work of musical history, tracing the story of pop music through individual songs, bands, musical scenes, and styles from Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock around the Clock” (1954) to Beyoncé’s first megahit, “Crazy in Love” (2003). It covers the birth of rock, soul, R&B, punk, hip hop, indie, house, techno, and more, and it will remind you why you fell in love with pop music in the first place. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is like the world’s best and most eclectic jukebox in book form.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKylie la la la / William Baker & Kylie Minogue.
Kylie la la la includes over 300 photos, most of which have never been seen before. Some originate from Kylie’s personal archive, and show Kylie at her most relaxed and natural. And then there are the extraordinary photoshoots that have defined Kylie as a style icon, taken by the world’s foremost photographers. This whole collection documents a remarkable career spanning over fifteen years. Written by Kylie and William Baker, who is one of Kylie’s closest friends who has worked as her stylist and creative director for nearly a decade. William’s unique position and personal relationship with Kylie, as well as his experience in fashion and design, make him a wonderfully informative and sharp commentator on the diva’s dizzying rise to fame.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA little history : photographs of Nick Cave and cohorts 1981-2013 / Bleddyn Butcher.
“When Bleddyn Butcher first saw The Birthday Party play, back in 1981, he was astonished. And then enthralled. He set about trying to catch their lightning in his Nikon F2AS. That quixotic impulse became a lifelong quest. Collected here for the first time, A Little History is an extraordinary document, tracing Nick Cave’s creative career from the apoplectic extravagance of The Birthday Party to the calmer disquiet of 2013’s Push The Sky Away. It mixes the candid and uncanny, the spontaneous and the patiently staged, and includes eyeball encounters with Cave’s baddest lieutenants, men for the most part who long since burned their own bridges down. It’s a splendid testament to two brilliant careers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStevie Nicks : visions, dreams & rumours / Zöe Howe.
“Lyrical visionary, enduring style icon and one indispensable fifth of post-Peter Green megaband Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks is one of the most recognisable figures in rock n roll history. While she once made headlines with her hedonistic lifestyle, part of Nicks’ irresistible appeal is her youthful vulnerability and mystical aura, making her an artist with whom fans have an unbreakable emotional connection. Crowned The Reigning Queen Of Rock And Roll by Rolling Stone, and with gold and quadruple platinum solo albums under her beaded belt, Stevie Nicks has enjoyed the ultimate in rock n roll success in her life as a recording artist – but this charmed life has come as a result of hard graft, self-belief and a devotion to creativity above all; hers has been a journey of intense highs and .” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverClothes, clothes, clothes, music, music, music, boys, boys, boys / Viv Albertine.
“In 1970, Viv Albertine knew she wanted to be in a band, but had never seen a woman play electric guitar. Seven years later, she was the guitarist in the hugely influential all-female punk band, the Slits. This is the story of how, through sheer will, talent and fearlessness, she forced herself on to a male-dominated music scene and became part of a movement that changed music.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe Killers : days & ages / Mark Beaumont.
“The ultimate story of The Killers’ rise from Las Vegas croupiers to million selling global superstars headlining festivals throughout the world. Featuring interview transcripts with the band as well as new interviews with them and those around them right up to their new album Battle Born.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverElvis has left the building : the day the King died / Dylan Jones.
“The King departed this world during the month of punk rocks apotheosis. Elvis Presley has permeated the modern world in ways that are bizarre and inexplicable: a pop icon while he was alive, he has become almost a religious icon in death, a modern-day martyr crucified on the wheel of drugs, celebrity culture, junk food and sex. In Elvis Has Left the Building, Dylan Jones takes us back to those heady days around the time of his death and the rise of punk. He evokes the hysteria and devotion of The Kings numerous disciples and imitators, offering a uniquely insightful commentary on Elvis’s life, times and outrageous demise.” (adapted from

New Books on Popular Music

This month’s selection offers intriguing reads including a unique study of “American cool” and the new edition of Music 4.0 which is a kind of guide book on making and selling music in the internet era. Some fantastic biographies on Joni Mitchell and Miley Cyrus are also available now. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverAmerican cool / Joel Dinerstein, Frank H. Goodyear III.
“What does it mean when we say someone is cool? This luminous collection of portraits and film stills sheds new light on the term, its origins, and its evolution – with some surprising and provocative results. The term “cool” has become such a part of America’s modern lexicon that it seems to have lost its meaning. This stellar collection of photographs from the National Portrait Gallery and from prominent artists, museums, and archives nationwide would argue otherwise. Exploring cultural icons, this volume encourages readers to find new meaning and depth in the idea of American cool.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMusic 4.0 : a survival guide for making music in the Internet age / Bobby Owsinski.
“Featuring the latest music business and social media concepts as well as brand-new interviews with a variety of the industry’s top movers and shakers, Music 4.0 is a completely updated version of the previous best-selling editions. How has streaming music impacted the artist and the industry? Why do traditional record labels, television, and radio have increasingly less influence in an artist’s success? How should music be marketed and distributed in this new world? All these questions (and more!) are answered in this updated version of Music 4.0, along with some new high- and low-tech tips for inexpensive marketing and promotion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSongwriters on songwriting / Paul Zollo.
“This expanded fourth edition of Songwriters on Songwriting includes ten new interviews–with Alanis Morissette, Lenny Kravitz, Lou Reed, and others. In these pages, sixty-two of the greatest songwriters of our time go straight to the source of the magic of songwriting by offering their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on their art. Representing almost every genre of popular music, from blues to pop to rock, here are the figures that have shaped American music as we know it.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCowboys and indies : the epic history of the record industry / Gareth Murphy.
Cowboys and Indies is nothing less than the first definitive history of the recording industry on both sides of the Atlantic. From the invention of the earliest known sound-recording device in 1850s Paris to the CD crash and digital boom today, author and industry insider Gareth Murphy takes readers on an immensely entertaining and encyclopedic ride through the many cataclysmic musical, cultural, and technological changes that shaped a century and a half of the industry. Remarkable in scope and impressive in depth, Cowboys and Indies chronicles the pioneers who set the stylus on the most important labels and musical discoveries in history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJoni Mitchell : in her own words / conversations with Malka Marom.
“When singer, musician, and broadcast journalist Malka Marom had the opportunity to interview Joni Mitchell in 1973, she was eager to reconnect with the performer she’d first met late one night in 1966. More conversations followed over the next four decades of friendship, and it was only after Joni and Malka completed their last recorded interview, in 2012, that Malka discovered the heart of their discussions: the creative process. In Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words, Joni and Malka follow this thread through seven decades of life and art, discussing the influence of Joni’s childhood, love and loss, acclaim and criticism, glamorous triumphs and tragic mistakes… This riveting narrative is shared in the hope of illuminating a timeless body of work and inspiring others.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiley Cyrus : good girl, bad girl / Chloé Govan.
“Charting the controversial journey of a shy, chaste child star from America’s Deep South: from early fame on the Disney TV series Hannah Montana to her sexually liberated pop image that later made headlines worldwide. Exclusive interviews with figures from Miley’s past, from close childhood friends to those who attended church with her in a quiet and close-knit village-like community and got to know her well. These interviews will help to separate fact from fiction, publicity stunt from personality growth, will explore the psychology behind her dramatic transformations and will ultimately get to the bottom of exactly what makes the multi-faceted Miley Cyrus tick.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverA voice undefeated / Collin Raye ; with a foreword by Governor Mike Huckabee.
“When Collin Raye’s powerful, golden voice dazzled the country music scene in 1991 with his #1 hit single Love, Me, country music listeners fell in love with one of the great voices of our time. Raye’s autobiography gives readers a down-to-earth account of the author’s personal and professional life. From his childhood in Arkansas and Texas through his days with the Wray Brothers Band in Oregon and Reno, this book is both a journey to the top of the music world and an intimate diary of a soul that has suffered great professional and personal losses. Includes DVD of never-before-seen personal interview and two songs written by Collin that are intimate to his story.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAin’t it time we said goodbye : the Rolling Stones on the road to exile / Robert Greenfield.
“Although they did not know it then, when the Rolling Stones embarked on their farewell tour of Great Britain in March 1971 after having announced they were about to go into tax exile in the south of France, it was the end of an era. For the Stones, nothing would ever be the same again. For ten days on that tour, the Rolling Stones traveled by train and bus to play two shows a night in many of the same small town halls and theaters where they had begun their career. Based on Greenfield’s first-hand account as well as new interviews with many of the key players, Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye is a vibrant and thrilling look at the way it once was and would never be again in the world according to the Rolling Stones.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDusty : an intimate portrait of a musical legend / Karen Bartlett.
“Dusty Springfield was one of the biggest musical stars of the 20th century. From the launch of her solo career in 1963, and until her departure for Los Angeles a decade later, she was Britain’s biggest female star, with a glamour and voice that propelled her into a different league. She was, in almost every way, ahead of her time. This title tells the life story of this musical legend.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy beautiful dark twisted fantasy / Kirk Walker Graves.
“In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Kanye West created the most compelling body of pop music by an American artist during the period. Having risen from obscurity as a precocious producer through the ranks of Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella records, by the time he released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF) in late 2010, West had evolved into a master collagist, an alchemist capable of transfiguring semi-obscure soul samples and indelible beats into a brash and vulnerable new art form. Sampling and ventriloquizing the pop music past to tell the story of its future – very much a tale of our culture’s wish for unfettered digital ubiquity – MBDTF is the album of its era, an aesthetic self-acquittal and spiritual autobiography of our era’s most dynamic artist.” (Syndetics summary)

All About Stars: New Books on Popular Music

She won the Grammy at the age of 17, and her biography has already arrived! This month’s new books on popular music are all about stars, including our awesome Lorde, Leonard Cohen, and Muse. The story about Jon Ronson, who was FRANK of the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band, offers intriguing insight to this unique and bizarre band and the time, which became the movie, Frank. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverLorde : your heroine / Marc Shapiro.
The unauthorised biography of the New Zealand teen superstar, Lorde by a New York Times bestselling author. New Zealander newcomer Lorde reached the top of the modern rock/alternative and rock albums charts, and the lead single ‘Royals’ won the 2014 Grammy Award for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA broken hallelujah : rock and roll, redemption, and the life of Leonard Cohen / Liel Leibovitz.
“Leibovitz presents a thoughtful examination of the music of Leonard Cohen, the elegant Canadian wordsmith and musician, through a strong Jewish perspective. Tellingly, Leibovitz calls Cohen a prophet. He examines the musician’s life and work through the angles of Jewish eschatology, Zen Buddhism, Canadian poetry, and American rock and roll, as well as lust and lucre. Yes, there are biographical details here, but A Broken Hallelujah offers something else: a finely etched musical portrait of a complicated man both highly spiritual and sensual and the often exquisite music that he has created over many decades, austere and melancholy songs that dare to find beauty amid ugliness.” (adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverBathed in lightning : John McLaughlin, the 60s, and the emerald beyond / Colin Harper.
“On February 16 1969, John McLaughlin flew into New York, from London, in a snowstorm. The following day, Miles Davis, his hero, invited him to play on a record. Two years later, on the path of Bengali mystic Sri Chinmoy, John launched The Mahavishnu Orchestra-an evocation in music of spiritual aspiration and extraordinary power, volume and complexity, far beyond anything else in jazz or rock. Drawing on dozens of exclusive interviews and many months of meticulous research, author and music historian Colin Harper brings that unrepeatable era vividly to life.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverNirvana : in the words of the people who were there / Carrie Borzillo.
“Written by a leading journalist, it’s as near as possible to a day-by-day log of every significant event from the band’s inception right through to Kurt Cobain’s tragic early death. Spawned in the intensely fertile music scene that blossomed in and around Seattle in the late 1980s, Nirvana instantly distinguished itself by virtue of the singular passion that drove its leader, Kurt Cobain. The singer was imbued with incredible personal magnetism, as well as an uncommon gift for articulating the chaotic emotions of what has been called a lost generation, but his extreme distaste for the attention attracted by those talents proved overwhelming.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe Dylanologists : adventures in the land of Bob / David Kinney.
“Since he stumbled upon Dylan’s Biograph album as a teenager long after the album came out, Kinney has been consumed with the enigmatic bard from Hibbing, Minn. He eventually discovers he’s not alone in this fixation and uncovers an “entire nation of unreformed obsessives” like himself who are so fanatical about knowing more about Dylan that they collect bootleg tapes, travel on pilgrimages to Hibbing, and even dig through Dylan’s garbage in search of clues that will reveal his identity. Kinney chronicles some of the reasons that they can’t get Dylan’s voice and music out of their heads, hearts, and homes. They discover over and over just why Dylan’s music means so much to them.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverFrank : the true story that inspired the movie / by Jon Ronson.
“In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong. Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie is a memoir of funny, sad times and a tribute to outsider artists too wonderfully strange to ever make it in the mainstream.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverOut of this world : the story of Muse / by Mark Beaumont.
“From a battle of the bands contest in Teignmouth to the first band ever to sell out the new Wembley Stadium, the story of Muse’s stratospheric rise is one of UK rock’s most fascinating and incendiary tales.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI never met a story I didn’t like : mostly true tall tales / Todd Snider.
“For years, Todd Snider has been one of the most beloved country-folk singers in the United States, compared to Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, John Prine, and dozens of others. He’s become not only a new-century Dylan but a modern-day Will Rogers, an everyman whose intelligence, self-deprecation, experience, and sense of humor make him a uniquely American character. In live performance, Snider’s monologues are cheered as much as his songs. Running the gamut from personal memoir to shaggy-dog comedy to rueful memories of his troubles and triumphs with drugs and alcohol to sharp-eyed observations from years on the road, I Never Met a Story I Didn’t Like is for fans of Snider’s music, but also for fans of America itself.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverI’m talking / Kate Ceberano.
“In her own unmistakable voice, Kate Ceberano takes us on a very personal journey from her surburban childhood, her immersion in the Melbourne club scene of the eighties and her rise to stardom at the age of fourteen when she fronted the wildly popular funk band I’m Talking, to the life of a female performer and recording artist in London, Los Angeles and New York. With parallel careers as a pop and jazz singer and songwriter, Kate has recieved the highest awards in the Australian music industry including the ARIA for Best Female Artist… and made a triumphant debut for Opera Australia in ‘South Pacific’. Now she reveals, for the first time, just what that was like.”(adapted from

Syndetics book coverRemember the time : protecting Michael Jackson in his final days / Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, with Tanner Colby.
“While much is known about his life, very little is known about the “true” man. Although his former bodyguards Whitfield and Beard’s first-person vignettes provide little-known facts about Jackson, this title raises more questions than can be gleaned from their two-and-half-year security detail. Written with Tanner Colby, this book attempts to showcase Jackson’s “humanity” while leading the reader to speculate about those things that kept him imprisoned by paranoia and isolation. Whitfield and Beard present Jackson as a “normal eccentric” who craved stability and relationships while remaining distrustful of most; a childlike, doting father whose naivete in certain situations (e.g., finances) is both baffling and fascinating.” (adapted from Library Journal)

New Books on Popular Music

Kiwi rock icon Dave McArtney, Paul McCartney and Joy Division are just some of the names featured in this month’s new books on popular music. You’ll also find new talent Bruno Mars, the legendary soul label Stax Records, the longtime music columnist and interviewer Lisa Robinson’s memoir, and Mad World, which is a unique study of new wave music in the 80s, offering intriguing reads. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverGutter black : a memoir / Dave McArtney.
“An intimate, raw memoir by a founding member of one of NZ’s iconic rock bands, Hello Sailor; a tale of creativity, misadventure, success and excess. Dave McArtney was one of New Zealand’s best known musicians and songwriters. As a founding member of the legendary Hello Sailor, he wrote or co-wrote most of their best known songs, including ‘Gutter Black,’ one of the country’s best known and best loved hits. In this long-awaited memoir, completed just weeks before his untimely death, Dave gives the reader an access-all-areas pass to the life of a working rock’n’roll musician. ‘Gutter Black’ is the definitive account of the man, the bands and the music that rocked a nation” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnknown pleasures : inside Joy Division / Peter Hook.
“One of the progenitors of what became alternative rock, Joy Division pioneered a sound that would reverberate for decades, inspiring a litany of bands in its wake. The recording career of the band was tragically cut short by the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis . Founding member and bassist Peter Hook recounts the history of Joy Division, offering insight, righting wrongs, and separating fact from fiction. Hook is humble and affable and his tone is more like that of a lengthy discussion with a pal at the pub, rather than a studied, academic assessment of the band and its legacy. This warts-and-all approach results in a warm, occasionally melancholy reminiscence, as Hook discusses the band’s process, as well as its members’ willful ignorance of Curtis’s declining mental state. Hook has written one of the warmest, most honest musical memoirs in recent memory.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverMan on the run : Paul McCartney in the 1970s / Tom Doyle.
“The 1970s were not kind to Sir Paul McCartney. Blamed for the breakup of The Beatles, critically savaged by rock critics for seemingly inconsequential LPs and silly love songs such as “Silly Love Songs,” McCartney seemed as lost and obsolete as his fellow ex-Beatles by the decade’s end. But accomplished rock journalist Doyle (The Glamour Chase) presents a solid, detailed, and, above all, honest reappraisal of McCartney’s work that tells a compulsively readable tale “of a man living outside normal society and, for better or for worse, acting on his own tangential whims, during a chaotic and fascinating period of his life.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverRocks off : 50 tracks that tell the story of The Rolling Stones / Bill Janovitz.
“In this glimmering set of unabashed fan’s notes, guitarist and music writer Janovitz (Exile on Main Street) enthusiastically and movingly traces the evolution of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band, song by song. Although the Stones started out as a cover band, they soon ascended to pantheon of rock music history as a result of their original compositions. Janovitz points out that “the music of the Stones has mirrored and provided a soundtrack for their own generation”. Reading Janovitz is like sitting with a friend in a basement surrounded by albums, and spending the entire day listening to, arguing about, and worshipping the many licks that have become part of our musical vocabulary.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverRespect yourself : Stax Records and the soul explosion / Robert Gordon.
“In the late 1950s, Jim Stewart, and his sister, Estelle Axton, moved their little fledgling recording studio into the defunct Capitol Theater in Memphis, Tenn., opening their doors and establishing the record label that gave birth to gritty, funky soul music. A masterful storyteller, music historian Gordon (It Came from Memphis) artfully chronicles the rise and fall of one of America’s greatest music studios, situating the story of Stax within the cultural history of the 1960s in the South. Gordon deftly narrates the stories of the many musicians who called Stax home, from Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, and Otis Redding to Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave, and the Staples Singers, as well as the creative marketing and promotional strategies-the Stax-Volt Revue and Wattstax.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverBruno Mars / Emily Herbert.
“Bruno Mars has sold over 115 million records worldwide as a singer, producer and songwriter. Two of his singles, Just The Way You Are and Grenade, are the two most sold singles digitally of all time. Mars is a Grammy and Brit Awards winner and is second only to Elvis Presley in the speed with which five of his singles got to number one. He performed during the half time show at the 2014 Super Bowl. The book includes Mars’ childhood in Honolulu and finding fame as a child star from the age of four, his signing to Motown, then Atlantic Records and songwriting for stars including Alexandra Burke and the Sugababes, and the story behind the debut album Doo-Waps and Hooligans in 2010 and the immediate global success, spawning hit singles and an international tour. It also details his Grammy nominations and the music collaborations that followed, his second album Unorthodox Jukebox and his continued world wide success and interviews with family, friends and music producers.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverThere goes gravity : a life in rock and roll / Lisa Robinson.
“During her 40 plus years as a music writer and columnist (New Musical Express, NY Post, Vanity Fair), Robinson has conducted a wealth of high-profile interviews-Patti Smith, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Jay Z, Eminem. These immersive tales from the hotels and backstage rooms of many larger-than-life musicians form a fly-on-the-wall adventure through the last half century of music. She had early success with interviews because, initially, she didn’t see herself as a rock critic (often writing gossip about fashion) and was cautious to judge, leaving the drug exposes to others. Tellingly, although she was entertained by the likes of Jagger and enthrall by Led Zeppelin, when Robinson was in New York she would head straight to CBGB’s to see Television and The New York Dolls, of whom she has been a longstanding champion. For Robinson, writing about the scene “felt like a ‘calling’.” Whether I was in a private plane with the Rolling Stones or standing in two inches of CBGB’s-it was exactly where I wanted to be.” Her excitement is palpable and will leave you wanting to put your lighter in the air.”(adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverMad world : an oral history of new wave artists and songs that defined the 1980s / Lori Majewski, Jonathan Bernstein ; foreword by Nick Rhodes ; afterword by Moby.
“Writing an oral history of new wave music is an appreciably tall order given its sheer breadth and lack of distinct genre boundaries. Clearly recognizing this, coauthors -Majewski and Bernstein (Pretty in Pink) have taken a generally sound approach in this book. Eschewing a comprehensive take, they instead focus on one song per artist included and use introductory descriptions, interviews, and where-are-they-now updates to provide a snapshot of where the song (and artist) fit within the movement. Their selections lean more toward new wave’s pop-heavy and audience-friendly period in the early 1980s, which means that bands closer to the post-punk spectrum, goth rock groups in particular, receive less attention. Yet they demonstrate a strong knowledge of their subject without (mercifully) being overly glib or snarky in tone. Fans looking for juicy specifics likely won’t be disappointed with the detail-laden interviews, particularly with verbal grenades lobbed between A Flock of Seagulls and many other artists.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverGlen Campbell : life with my father / Debby Campbell & Mark Bego.
“Debby Campbell writes her story of a father and his devoted daughter from her heart, and from her diary. She has shared some of the most rewarding years in her father’s life. And now, for the first time, she blows the lid off all of Glen Campbell’s family secrets. It is about a family bound together by Glen’s talent, and ultimately torn apart in the name of money and power.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverFace the music : a life exposed / Paul Stanley.
“Before Stanley cofounded the rock band KISS, he was Stanley Harvey Eisen, a boy born partially deaf with a stump for an ear. Kids were unkind, and he had an unhappy childhood and unsatisfying family life. College wasn’t for him, but he found his calling in writing and performing music, not letting his birth defect stop him. After working hard and hanging out with the right people, KISS became larger than life for a time, but drugs and egos interfered. Stanley never gave up, though, and managed to keep the band alive as musicians came, went, or lost focus and as the music scene changed. This year marks the 40th anniversary of KISS’s first album, and Stanley has seemingly found happiness and stability with the current lineup of members, his children, and his second wife. The author is the last of the founding KISS members to tell his story in a book and the result is entertaining and revealing.” (adapted from Library Journal)