To mark the New Zealand Music Month why don’t we read books related to music? It’s a subject that I love and the first two books in the list are my favourites.
Eleanor & Park / Rainbow Rowell.
“Bono met his wife in high school, Park says. So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers. I’m not kidding, he says. You should be, she says, we’re 16 . What about Romeo and Juliet? Shallow, confused, then dead. I love you, Park says. Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers. I’m not kidding, he says. You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.” (Syndetics summary)
Playlist for a broken heart / Cathy Hopkins.
“When Paige finds an old mix CD in a local charity shop, she can’t help but wonder about the boy who made it and the girl he was thinking of when he chose the songs. The tracks tell the story of a boy looking for his perfect girl, a story of being alone, being let down, misunderstood and not knowing where to turn. Following the clues of the music, Paige sets out to find the mysterious boy, going from gig to gig and band to band, hoping to track him down. But will who she finds at the end of the trail, be the boy she’s imagined?” (Syndetics summary)
Hold me closer : the Tiny Cooper story / by David Levithan.
“Especially for those of us who ordinarily feel ignored, a spotlight is a circle of magic, with the strength to draw us from the darkness of our everyday lives. Watch out, ex-boyfriends, and get out of the way, homophobic coaches. Tiny Cooper has something to say–and he’s going to say it in song. Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers, Hold Me Closer is the no-holds-barred (and many-bars-held) entirety of the beloved musical first introduced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson , the award-winning bestseller by John Green and David Levithan. Tiny Cooper is finally taking center stage . . . and the world will never be the same again.” (Syndetics summary)
Coda / Emma Trevayne.
“Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem-the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid. Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and freewill. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?” (Syndetics summary)
so claims a song by CSS (they’re pretty rad).
For some people, music is what keeps them going. It can be an essential part of coping and survival and can help people in ways even they can’t understand. It could be the melody, an intense beat or the maybe lyrics blasting through your headphones which make you think the song was written just for you. For whatever reason, music makes us feel things both good and bad. For some characters in the books below, music is what keeps them going through some especially difficult times.
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
“Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.” (goodreads.com)
Eleanor has a pretty difficult home life, and Park enables and encourages her obsession with music. It helps her get through some pretty traumatic times and the 80s tunes Eleanor connects with relate just so to her life and surroundings. AND Rainbow Rowell herself published some playlists on her blog that inspired and represent each of the main characters, so you could listen to those while you read this amaaaazing book and truly immerse yourself in the experience! Just a suggestion. (You can find the playlists here at Rainbow Rowell’s blog)
P.S. We also have this as a book on cd!
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
“It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.” (goodreads.com)
Nick and Norah’s first connection is formed via the playlists Nick makes for his then-girlfriend Tris, who is also Norah’s friend. Tris couldn’t care less about the thought and effort put into these playlists for her, but Norah feels a connection to the person who compiled them and… well you’ll see when you read it 🙂 We also have the dvd, which is just 80c to issue using your YA library card!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
“Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.” (goodreads.com)
We have the movie version of this too! These music books sure lend themselves well to film adaptations, huh?
The Vinyl Princess, Yvonne Prinz
“Allie, a sixteen-year-old who is obsessed with LPs, works at the used record store on Telegraph Ave. and deals with crushes–her own and her mother’s–her increasingly popular blog and zine, and generally grows up over the course of one summer in her hometown of Berkeley, California.” (WCL catalogue)
The Vinyl Princess covers a bunch of niche areas – LP collecting, zine-making, blogging (although these are all becoming pretty ubiquitous) – so if you relate to any of these pasttimes, this may just be the book for you!
Fat Kid Rules the World, K. L. Going
Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius. Soon, Curt has recruited Troy as his new drummer, even though Troy can’t play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy’s own life, forever. (edited from goodreads.com)
Fat Kid Rules The World achieves something great in the way music, and particularly the energy of drumming is described. It could so easily fall flat, but Going really captures the energy and essence of a punk drummer.
Chopsticks, Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
This one looks like it’ll all be sunshine and happiness, but don’t be fooled: “In a love story told in photographs and drawings, Glory, a brilliant piano prodigy, is drawn to Frank, an artistic new boy, and the farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness until the only song she is able to play is ‘Chopsticks.'” So it’s kind of a graphic novel – there’s something for everybody!
We hope you’ve enjoyed NZ Music Month 2014, maybe came to one (or more!) of our library music events and we look forward to doing it all over again next year! If there were any highlights of NZMM that you’d like to tell us about, please do so in the comments! I’ll be back to regular scheduled posting next week – who’s excited for TFIOS? 😉
We’re past the halfway mark through NZ Music Month now, so better make the most of it! Don’t forget we have Harriet and the Matches performing at Newtown library this Friday the 23rd of May, we’ll see you there at 7pm!
In the mean time, have a dance party in your living room to these fab songs and videos from NZ artists!
Here’s Lorde performing Tennis Court at the Billboard Music Awards the other day
Settle Down by Kimbra
Apple Pie Bed by Lawrence Arabia
It’s Choade My Dear by Connan Mockasin
Dominion Road by The Mutton Birds (an oldie but a goodie)
40 Years by The Phoenix Foundation (this one’s directed by Taika Waititi who directed the movie Boy)
And finally Just A Boy by Pikachunes
This post was brought to you by Gina at Newtown library’s genius (Gina-us?) suggestions! With much enthusastic nodding and encouragement from myself.
Hopefully you’re celebrating NZ Music Month with us by listening to more local artists! I thought I would highlight a few recent-ish NZ releases we have in our collection, with some help from very music-savvy fellow librarian Kim. Let us know what you agree or disagree with, and please leave us some of your favourite NZ artists in the comments!
The Love Club EP by Lorde
Dating earlier than her hit album Pure Heroine, The Love Club EP (first released for free on SoundCloud) contains the ubiquitous ‘Royals’ along with four other songs not on her full length album. ‘Bravado’, ‘Biting Down’, ‘Million Dollar Bills’ and ‘The Love Club’ are all excellent songs, and have a slightly different sound to Pure Heroine – perhaps a little cheekier? In any case, any Lorde fan needs to listen to this EP.
Brightly Painted One by Tiny Ruins
I saw Tiny Ruins a.k.a Hollie Fullbrook when she opened for Calexico last year and they were both excellent! Morphing from gentle and folky to classical-sounding with strings and looping back around again, Tiny Ruins keeps it interesting. She has been compared to Beth Gibbons from Portishead AND Nick Drake, so if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.
Goin’ Steady by Newtown Rocksteady (adult collection, costs $1)
13-piece Newtown Rocksteady’s extended EP documents their musical progression over the last four years, representing and reinventing the 60s Jamaican vibe known as rocksteady. Rocksteady mixes together reggae, dub, ska and dancehall music, all perfect for a good boogie which they provided in droves at the Newtown and Womad festivals earlier this year. If you get the chance to see them live, do! They provide amazing entertainment and you’ll be blown away by their collective talent, not to mention their 5-piece horn section.
Louis Baker by Louis Baker (adult collection, costs $1)
Wellington local Louis Baker is sometimes mellow and completely soulful. His sound has been compared to Jeff Buckley – these are some amazing comparisons being made to our local talents! He’s very talented and grew up in Coromandel Street, Newtown. His self titled EP made it to number 8 in the NZ charts, check it out for yourself!
And then we have some faves that don’t have CDs out in the library yet:
Brockaflower Saurus-Rex (and the Blueberry Biscuits)
This 9-piece band’s first album is full on but spacious, allowing everyone their own instrument space – an impressive feat with so many people and instruments demanding attention. But they make it work, and very harmoniously, too. As for genre, they’re a bit funk, a bit psychedelic and a bit “neo-soul” (who even names music genres these days?) and they’ll keep you grooving with each song full of energy. They have an album out titled “Build It” but we sadly don’t have it in the library. You can listen to it in full here on SoundCloud though!
Speaking of genre names, Estère’s probably takes the cake – “electric blue witch hop”. She is a singer/songwriter/beatmaker/producer from Wellington and this whole album was made and recorded in her bedroom. She uses loops of live instruments, has an MPC named Lola and has been likened to Erykah Badu with her sometimes raspy and always stunning vocals. Although we don’t have her album here in the library yet, you can listen to it on SoundCloud for free, and even download it for free from Estère’s Bandcamp page!
Yes, that means it’s already May! WHAT? How did this happen?! Four months of the year have already gone past in a complete blur, and here we are at NZMM 2014. There are so many events happening up and down the country, and lucky for us we have a whole bunch of events happening in our libraries! More events may be added to this list later, check back to keep up to date with the scheduled library events.
Thursday 8th 12pm Amiria Grenell (Kids stuff) – Central Children’s area
Saturday 17th 11am Kitty Hart – Central Library Mezzanine Bridge
Friday 22nd 12pm Amiria Grenell (Adults stuff) – Central Library YA area
Friday 23rd 5pm Andy Gibson – Central Library YA area
Friday 23rd 7pm Jessie Moss – Newtown Library
Thursday 29th 12pm Mahinarangi Maika – Central Library YA area
Friday 30th 12pm Mat Enright – Central Library YA area
There will also be a whole lot of events out in public places, such as Courtenay Place near Tommy Millions (yum!), the Courtenay Place tripod, Cuba Street near the Body Shop, Lambton Quay, the train station and more. You should be able to find some information on these in your local library. You can also check out the full schedule of NZMM events at the official website.
And to finish off, here’s a video for “St Louis” featuring Gemma Syme by The Shocking Pinks that a couple of my very clever friends worked on:
I’ll be featuring music-centred posts all through May, so check back next Tuesday for more NZMM goodness!
Kia ora folks!
Wintry splendour is raining down on us with things to do this weekend. It’s a pretty special one because we get one more day than usual – sweet! It’s the Queens Birthday (but not really, her real birthday’s in April. We’re just kind minions and let her have two). One way you could spend your extra day off is revelling in the glory of our monarch or you could do some of these things:
Te Papa re-opens the Visa Platinum Gallery with an Andy Warhol exhibit. “Warhol: Immortal” celebrates Mr. Pop Art himself. He did all sorts of really great things and liked Campbells Soup too. Not to be confused with The Dandy Warhols.
Less Dance Dance Revolution more… real dance? Stage Challenge/J-Rock hit Wellington (starting tonight).
Another Film Festival is in town. Out Takes with the pun-tastic byline, “reel queer film festival” is screening a few choice youth flicks.
To end NZ Music Month Shapeshifter release “Delta” just in time for the weekend playlist.
It’s still New Zealand Music Month! There are so many awesome New Zealand acts around right now, but have you heard of Black City Lights?
They’re a Wellington duo consisting of Calum Robb and Julia Catherine Parr, a producer and vocalist respectively, and they are certainly on the way to making it big. Just over a year ago they released their debut EP called Parallels (which you can listen to here) and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength. They’ve opened for Grimes, Baths and Van She, and done a whole bunch of headlining shows too. They received two highly sought-after grants which allowed them to make this stunning video for their song Parallels:
Their song Rivers is a personal favourite, so check that one out too! Black City lights are just about to begin releasing their new material (a new single is being released on Thursday) leading up to their debut album release in August. AND they’ll be heading to the States shortly touring the East and West coasts for three months! Phew!
If you get a chance, check them out playing live as they are incredible! I’ve seen them at least three times and they impress me more every time.
R n R
Brr! What a week. Floods, a (very tiny) earthquake and although the great day star showered us in splendour the mercury hasn’t climbed very high. It’s probably safer indoors with weekend warmers. We’re going for a blog in two halves today Wellington’s what’s on closely followed by a continuation of last weeks NZ music scrape over.
High note… Geddit? Music puns are such fun. Since you’ve all been reading about music after last week’s list in honour of New Zealand Music Month, this week we thought we’d let you know what’s happening!
Unfortunately for us, Auckland seems to be getting most of the action 🙁 HOWEVER, based on this list of Wellington events, at least lots of the events here are free 🙂
NZ Music Month is a promotion run by the NZ Music Commission that takes place each May, in association with other organisations including NZ On Air, RIANZ, APRA, Independent Music NZ, and the Radio Broadcasters Association. You can find out more about the organisers here. NZ Music Month is a 31 day celebration of our homegrown talent across the length and breadth of the country. So get involved! Go to a gig, buy some merchandise, or just rent some New Zealand music from the library this month! Here are our personal favourites:
Flight of the Conchords because, if nothing else, we love a good laugh. And because Bret McKenzie was in the library the other day. But mostly because no one combines comedy and music quite like they do. Don’t believe us? Check out our exstensive collection in the library or check out this rather amusing charity song written for Cure Kids last year.
Essentially that video plays like a who’s who of New Zealand music, including the wonderful Brooke Fraser. We love her, not only for her incredible talents as a singer and songwriter, but also for her willingness to use her fame to get behind a cause. As well as Cure Kids, there’s World Vision (which inspired the song “Albertine”) and in 2010 while on tour in the States, she raised over $54,000 for charity: water to build clean water wells in Ethiopia.
The favourite that you may not have heard of: Ivy Lies. I fell in love with these ladies after hearing “Never Enough” and it’s safe to say the rest of their album, Little Mind Games, is just as good. The girls of Ivy Lies have perfected pop-rock with high energy, aggressive drums and assertive rock guitar, making music that makes you pound your invisible drum sticks.
Not your thing? Come check out the New Zealand music selection here at the library. In case you didn’t know, the YA CDs are FREE on your YA card so really, what’s to lose?
We’ll leave you with some photos of NZ Music Months gone by…
R n R
is when one of your senses is triggered but it causes an involuntary response by one or more of your other senses. In this case, we hope you’ll be reading words but hearing music! Or something. It’s a serious disease though.
In a roundabout way, this is a welcome to New Zealand Music Month, and we’re kicking it off with novels about music, musicians and playlists! It’s a challenging thing to write about musicians or bands in a way that is engaging for readers, since the author has to somehow describe the feeling, tone, content and emotion of something which is expressed purely through sound. Here we’ve selected ten who we think have done this pretty well.
Fat Kid Rules the World, K.L. Going
Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius, the stuff of which Lower East Side punk rock legends are made. Never mind that Troy’s dad thinks Curt’s a drug addict and Troy’s brother thinks Troy’s the biggest (literally) loser in Manhattan. Soon, Curt has recruited Troy as his new drummer, even though Troy can’t play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy’s own life, forever.
Lemonade Mouth, Mark Peter Hughes
Be warned, this is not the same book as the Disney movie. As is often the case, the character’s in the book are much more complex although the gist remains. This is the story of how five outcasts in Opoquonsett High School’s freshman class found each other, found the music, and went on to change both rock and roll and high school as we know it. Wen, Stella, Charlie, Olivia, and Mo take us back to that fateful detention where a dentist’s jingle, a teacher’s coughing fit, and a beat-up ukulele gave birth to Rhode Island’s most influential band. This is a book that utilizes multiple points of view really, really well. Especially during the concert chapters, where the point of view changes between about 10 different people.
6X: The Uncensored Confessions, Nina Malkin
Four teens suddenly rise to stardom in their band 6X, taking the world by storm and learning the truth first-hand about the real backstabbing world of show biz. The band is made up of 4 members, contradictory to what the book title suggests. There’s Kendall (The Voice), Rich (The Body), Stella (The Boss) and A/B (The Boy) and together they’re on the fast track to pop-rock superstardom. Along the way though, they’ll have to do some serious soul searching, face some hard truths and learn to survive in the glamorous, backstabbing world of pop music.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
This high-energy romance follows two high-school seniors through a single, music-fueled night in Manhattan. Nick, the nonqueer bassist in a queercore band, is playing with The Fuck Offs, when he spots his ex-girlfriend, Tris. Once offstage, he propositions a girl he has never met, hoping to make Tris jealous: Would you mind being my girlfriend for five minutes? Norah, also heartbroken (and hoping Nick will drive her home), agrees. What begins as a spontaneous ploy turns into something surprising and real in the course of one night as Nick and Norah roam Manhattan, listen to bands, confront past hurts, and hurtle toward romance. What we loved about this one is the characters’ wild yearning for love, and music, which feels powerful and true.
The Disenchantments, Nina LaCour
Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans – and Colby – to start college in the fall. But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next?
Naked, Kevin Brooks
Britain in the 1970s sounds like an incredible place to be. Chaos and punk culture went hand in hand and this book is set right in the middle of it: summer of 1976. It was the summer of so many things. Heat and violence, love and hate, heaven and hell. It was the time I met William Bonney – the boy from Belfast known as Billy the Kid. William’s secrets have been kept for a long time, but now things have changed and the truth is coming out. The story begins with Curtis Ray; hip, cool, rebellious Curtis Ray. Without Curtis, there wouldn’t be a story to tell. It’s the story of a band, of life and death . . . and everything in between.
This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen
Raised by a mother who has had five husbands, eighteen-year-old Remy believes in short-term, no-commitment relationships until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician. Remy goes on a whirlwind ride, avoiding, circling and finally surrendering to Cupid’s arrows. More than the summer romance of this novel, we loved the cast of idiosyncratic characters who watch from the sidelines. There’s the trio of Remy’s faithful girlfriends, all addicted to “Xtra Large Zip” Diet Cokes practical-minded Jess, weepy Lissa, and Chloe, who shares Remy’s dark sense of humor as well as Dexter’s entourage of fellow band members, as incompetent at managing money as they are at keeping their rental house clean. Potential spoiler: it’s far from the fairytale happily-ever-after ending.
Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway
California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous! Now rabid fans are invading her school. People (magazine) is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi. Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.
Five Flavors of Dumb, Antony John
High school senior Piper, who began to lose her hearing at age six, has mixed feelings about her parents dipping into her college fund to pay for cochlear implants for her hearing-impaired baby sister. But one thing is clear: Piper has to replenish the funds. Opportunity knocks when a disorganized rock band named Dumb invites her to be their manager. However, it soon becomes apparent that the members’ egos are more substantial than their talent. Although Piper’s hearing is a characterizing detail that could have been used solely as a gimmick, her abilities are seen as assets: while lip reading allows her access to public conversation, she is not above using sign language to obscure her intentions. The parallel attention to Piper’s hearing family and the strain her parents’ decision to treat her sister with cochlear implants adds to the greater story and informs the novel’s direction and ending in a satisfying way.
Rock Star Superstar, Blake Nelson
Music is Pete’s life. He’s happiest when he’s playing his Fender Precision bass, whether he’s jamming with his dad at 2 a.m. or covering Top 40 hits. Pete doesn’t care about playing the hottest club or getting the cutest girl. For him, it’s all about the quality of the music. Until he meets the Carlisle brothers. Pete could play circles around Nick and Billy Carlisle-the guys are amateurs. But there’s a power in their sound that’s exciting, and they need a new bass player. Pete joins their band, not quite sure what to expect. Before he knows it, he’s on a wild ride that transforms him from jazz band geek to potential rock god. Is Pete ready for superstardom? More importantly, is it even what he wants?
Hopefully that’s enough to kick of 2013 New Zealand Music Month for y’all! Stay tuned for updates and our favourite homegrown acts.
R n R