World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story (RPM Series)

You’d be hard pressed to find a recent musical genre that’s been dissected more in the past two decades than Grunge. Countless books, articles, documentaries, and radio and TV interviews dig into the Seattle-based phenomenon and just about every single discussion on the topic eventually comes around to the ground-breaking indie label Sub Pop. So, it’s surprising there was any new material left to report about the label, let alone an entire book’s worth. But, Gillian G. Gaar manages to find plenty to cover in this latest book about the label. Continue reading “World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story (RPM Series)”

The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, The MC5 & My Life of Impossibilities

Wayne Kramer and his bandmates in the MC5 helped put down the foundations of punk rock, alongside fellow Detroiters Iggy Pop and The Stooges, paving the way for everyone from The Ramones to The Clash to make careers out of their music. Unfortunately, Kramer was in a federal prison in Lexington, KY, serving time for a botched drug deal when punk was just taking off. And at the time, the term “punk,” inside the walls of a prison was not what you wanted to be known as. Continue reading “The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, The MC5 & My Life of Impossibilities”

The Clash: All The Albums, All The Songs

The Clash’s record label once dubbed the group as “the only band that matters” in the promotional materials introducing them to the U.S. and while the phrase was certainly polarizing at the time, you can’t help but find their influence stronger today than ever before. Whether it was adding strong, sing-able melodies to punk rock – heard in bands like Green Day and every Green Day clone since; their strong political lyrics, since adopted by everyone from Bad Religion to the Manic Street Preachers; or their mix of ska and Reggae to punk rock on their second and third albums, pretty much handing Rancid their musical template, The Clash is just as relevant 30 years after their demise. Continue reading “The Clash: All The Albums, All The Songs”

Lemon Jail: On the Road with The Replacements by Bill Sullivan

Over the years, Bill Sullivan has served as tour manager for bands like Soul Asylum, Bright Eyes, Yo La Tengo, The New Pornographers and many more. All were clearly a walk in the park, compared to his first gig in music, a roadie for The Replacements, quite possibly the most self-destructive band in the history of rock. Continue reading “Lemon Jail: On the Road with The Replacements by Bill Sullivan”

The Yacht Rock Book

Ah, Yacht Rock – the guiltiest of all the musical guilty pleasures. That 1970s soft rock sound best associated with Southern California (though the bands were from all over). Think linen sportscoats and espadrilles; soft jazz, clean vocals, catchy hooks and maybe a little white boy R&B. Kenny Loggins? Yup; Hall & Oates? Sure thing; Christopher Cross? Are you kidding me? He had a song called “Sailing,” so, yeah; Rupert Holmes? The “Pina Cola Song” is the Yacht Rock national anthem! Continue reading “The Yacht Rock Book”

Trouble In Mind: Bob Dylan’s Gospel Years by Clinton Heylin (Book)

One of the most interesting phases in the life of one of music’s most interesting talents was Bob Dylan’s conversion from a Jewish liberal to an Evangelical Christian. Although the phase seemingly lasted only a few years, it’s a spiritual move that’s still being dissected more than 30 years later. Continue reading “Trouble In Mind: Bob Dylan’s Gospel Years by Clinton Heylin (Book)”

Hit So Hard – A Memoir By Patty Schemel

You know you’ve got a drug problem when Courtney Love – circa the late ‘90s – is taking part in your intervention. Continue reading “Hit So Hard – A Memoir By Patty Schemel”

Hellraisers: A Complete Visual History of Heavy Metal Mayhem

From the tight jeans and mullets uniform of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the cringe-worthy hairspray and glitter era, to the burning churches and scary-as-fuck Norwegian Black Metal sect, Axl Rosenberg and Chris Krovatin have managed to break down just about every imaginable subgenre of Heavy Metal in their satisfyingly thorough Hellraisers. This massively heavy hardcover is crammed with hundreds of color photos, playlists and essays throughout. Continue reading “Hellraisers: A Complete Visual History of Heavy Metal Mayhem”

Lighters in the Sky: The All-Time Greatest Concerts, 1960-2016

Corbin Reiff must have known what he was setting himself up for when he decided to tackle a list of the best concerts, year by year. No matter how spot on his picks are – and with a couple of nitpicks here and there they are – there are bound to be people who have a problem with his selections. The only thing music nerds like more than talking about music is arguing about music. Continue reading “Lighters in the Sky: The All-Time Greatest Concerts, 1960-2016”