Over the next few days, we'll be posting theme-based holiday picks lists for your shopping enjoyment. We start off with a Music Books Shoppers Guide!
A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths by Tony Fletcher
If you know someone who loves The Smiths, this book is the end all/be all, clocking in at about 700 pages. This is the complete history of the working-class Manchester band that left behind a legacy of fantastic records and a seemingly insurmountable, mutually shared hostility.
Baltimore Sounds by Joe Vaccarino
This new edition of the encyclopedia of Baltimore music from 1950 updates its listings through 2000. Vaccarino painstakingly documents every Baltimore-area pop band of the last half of the 20th century - loaded with history, photos, and more. When you pick this book up, it's very easy to lose several hours just hopping around from listing to listing.
Gainsbourg: The Biography by Gilles Verlant / Paul Knobloch (translator)
Gainsbourg was more than just the beloved French pop superstar - he was a sexual provocateur, the ugly man who loved gorgeous women. Serge was an icon of scandal and song who not only transformed a nation's music - he transformed the world with his music, and this thorough biography is loaded with interviews and stories every bit as entertaining and worthy as the subject himself.
I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons
definitive account of poet, novelist, artist, musician and icon,
Leonard Cohen. The book follows Cohen hopping around the world, through
the counter cultural sixties and seventies - through his 90s retreat to a
monastery and up through his reemergence as a distinguished folk
Song Reader by Beck
decided to go totally old school with the release of his new record -
in that he didn't release it as a record. Or a download. Or a CD. Or a
cassette. Song Reader is a McSweeney's book of sheet music for play
along at home fun. So if you know anyone who plays or reads music, or
just likes to support Scientologists, Song Reader makes a great gift -
loaded with great illustrations by Marcel Dzama and others.
The Sound of Tomorrow: How Electronic Music Was Smuggled into the Mainstream by Mark Brend
The Sound of Tomorrow tells the history of the rise of electronic music. It's the story of artists experimenting with technology to bring boundary-pushing sounds to the masses. From the Beatles to the theremin and beyond!
How Music Works by David Byrne
Byrne has spent a lot of time thinking about how music works. Here, he presents his findings, mixed with social science, history, cultural anthropology and more. It's a heady yet accessible and fascinating look at how music does what it does.
We Got Power!: Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980s Southern California by David Markey / Jordan Schwartz
We Got Power! was an early '80s hardcover fanzine that documented the emergence of bands like Black Flag, Social Distortion, The Minutemen, Suicidal Tendencies, and even Husker Du. This beautiful Bazillion Points hardcover collects the zine, loaded with many, many photos that are stunning in their documentation of an era.
Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince" Billy by Will Oldham / Alan Licht (editor)
Collecting a series of conversations between Oldham and Licht, this book provides a fascinating look into a challenging and fascinating artist - complete with a discography. Also, Oldham has said this book will be his last interview. It probably won't be. But still.