Analog Reads: Books for Smart Music Lovers (Part 1)

As I’ve mentioned in a post, music is a passion and a discipline for anyone serious about it. Extensive listening, attending workshops and reading books are three of the essential ways to expand one’s knowledge and musical experience. I’ve spent part of my holidays raiding the music section of book stores in the hopes of finding potential reads. Fortunately, I’ve found some and can’t wait to bookworm on them. Part 1 consists of books on rock music, mainly.


1 | Mainlines, Blood Feasts and Bad taste: A Lester Bangs Reader

For those unfamiliar with Lester Bangs, he was a music writer back in the 70s. Brutally honest and raw in his style, he inspired today’s music journalism. He wrote reviews, did interviews and worked for magazines like The Rolling Stones and Creem. He’d write about acts like The Velvet Underground, Brian Eno and Blondie. I came by Mainlines purely by chance in PowerBooks (TriNoMa) while mindlessly browsing through a shelf of New York Times bestsellers. Edited by John Morthland, it’s a collection of some of Bangs’ writings on various musical matters back in his day. It’s supposed to be a companion to Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, which I wish to acquire soon.


2 | Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984

Postpunk and new wave are two of my favorite genres arising in the late 70s and early 80s. It’s rather disappointing how the postpunk era is frequently overlooked by postmodern music historians and critics. Punk gave birth to a child that lacked affection then died young. With bands like Joy Division, Siouxsie & the Banshees and Mission of Burma, the music then was rich but enveloped in shadow. Author Simon Reynolds shares the same sentiments. In a word, Rip It Up is an analysis and portrait of the short-lived period. I already had a copy of its “companion” book, Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews (#3) and had lost much hope in finding this one. I was astounded to see it sitting on the music shelf in PowerBooks. Cheers to lucky days.


3 | Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews

Being the follow-up to Rip it Up, Reynolds includes the parts that he had to cut out. I had begun reading until the Public Image Ltd. interviews then decided to stop since I had and could read the first book already. The content is heavy on conversation (apparently) whose nuances subtly weave together the bits that make up the culture of punk in its wake and the lives of the artists in focus. The exchanges are the bricks forming the wall that is the era. From what I’d read, postpunk was full of colorful figures, and again, it breaks my heart to know that the era was short-lived.


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