The 33 1/3 thread.... (the book series)

yukbon

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I’ve been meaning to pick some of these books up—what are some good initial recommendations?

  • Throbbing Gristle’s “20 Jazz Funk Greats” by Drew Daniels (of Matmos). An excellent read consisting mostly of a description of the track/album followed by commentary on it by both Daniels and the band members, from snippets of interviews Daniels conducted with each, separately. There’s a lot of good insight on the tracks and themes behind the music and no overlap with the other books about TG (“Wreckers of Civilisation” or RE/search stuff etc). Daniels’ back-of-the-book blurb says his day job is as a professor and the writing shows it, but thankfully he’s also a fan of the band, it’s music and specifically this album. It really feels like he wrote the book he would have wanted to read, as a fan.
  • The Minutemen’s “Double Nickels on the Dime” by Michael T. Fournier. There’s bits of fanboy on this, but the enthusiasm gets funneled into good writing and interesting insights, with appropriate interviews. I learned that my CD copy has tracks missing from the original double album. I wonder when SST will get off it’s ass and put out a deluxe version of it. If you're reading this, you really owe it to yourself to listen to Watt's appearance on Marc Maron's WTF podcast.
  • My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” by Mike McGonigal. Extensive info on and from everyone (except Colm), a great read especially if you don’t want to read the book about Rough Trade just for the MBV bits.
  • R.E.M.’s “Murmur” by J. Niimi is hands-down the best book in the series. Organized and well-written, broken into distinct sections that have a logical flow, even if you don’t like the band, this is a worthwhile read. The content about the artwork and lyric content is particularly great.
  • David Bowie’s “Low” by Hugo Wilcken. Good but focused pretty strictly on Low (although it does touch slightly on “Station To Station”), with very few mentions of thematic ties to the Berlin trilogy. The quotes from Eno and engineers on the album are quite interesting although it does show Bowie at his most paranoid assholish worst (e.g. denying Visconti producer credit on a whim, etc.)
  • The Beatles’ “Let It Be” by Steve Matteo. Covering the Let It Be and Abbey Road periods (Abbey Road was released first, but recorded after Let It Be — there’s material from each recording session on the albums), with a lot of background on the dissolution of the band and it’s effect on the bandmembers. Not a great deal of demonizing of Yoko beyond fact-stating (“yoko was at this session, beatleX was annoyed at her” etc).
  • The Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main St.” by Bill Janovitz. A song-by-song breakdown of the Stones’ Americana-influenced album.
  • The Beastie Boys’ “Paul’s Boutique” by Dan Leroy, the addition of the info on the singles and B-sides is really great.
  • Belle and Sebastian’s “If You’re Feeling Sinister” by Scott Plagenhoef, short and sweet, although if you’ve read anything about the band or this album in another book, it’s unlikely that you’ll find something amazingly new or brilliant.
  • Nirvana’s “In Utero” by Gillian G. Gaar. Quotes from Albini and info on the videos from this album make this a nice little read.
  • Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” by Amanda Petrusich, good but suffers from that there is so little known about Drake, there’s quote from musicians on how the album affected them spread out through the book and they wind up feeling like padding.
  • Velvet Underground’s “The Velvet Underground and Nico” by Joe Harvard, a lot of quotes from other musicians but this doesn’t feel like padding, mostly. Excellent info and history on early days of the band and it’s Warhol period.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Kim Cooper, a close contender with the ‘Murmur’ book for best-in-series; a lot of info about a group and album that not much is known about. Everyone interviewed and lots of info about the songs and the band proper.
  • Pixies’ “Doolittle”: aside from no Kim Deal involvement, everything you could ask for in a book that focuses on just this one Pixies album. Covers the reunion, extensive Frank Black interviews.
  • Grateful Dead "Workingman's Dead" -- wonderful, wonderful book in every way. Goes into the history, song analysis, in-depth on the album (as opposed to band bios like "long strange trip" which touch on the albums here and there but don't go deep.
 

imtheocean

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Finished the Pearl Jam Vs. one, which went into depth exploring the interpersonal dynamics of the band at the time and how that impacted the music. Not to mention their sudden fame and how they (mostly Eddie) wanted to retreat from it. All in all, a good read.

In the midst of reading Steely Day Aja now. Some places are super dense on theory and arrangements, but all in all pretty informative.
 

MikeH

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Anybody read the Kinks' Village Green book? I think I'm going to pick up a trio of them (the publisher website has free shipping over $35 and they are $13 a piece...)
 

yukbon

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Anybody read the Kinks' Village Green book? I think I'm going to pick up a trio of them (the publisher website has free shipping over $35 and they are $13 a piece...)
it's been on my to-do list, i've heard good things about it from kinks/village green obsessives
 

MikeH

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i ended up ordering 6...thanks for the recommendations y'all. I got:

Diamond Dogs
Tim Maia Racional Vols 1 & 2
Big Star's Radio City
Pink Moon
Murmur
Highway 61 Revisited

if anybody has an interest in a book swap at some point, let me know! i'd probably be down to trade/lend some out after I read them and read some others I didn't get. I had probably 20 in my cart at one point of titles I'd be interested in.
 

imtheocean

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There's some really interesting sounding ones on the publishers website that I wasn't familiar with. My Neighbor Totoro and Super Mario Bros soundtrack ones both caught my eye as something to look up in the future.
 

CrazyDiamond84

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i ended up ordering 6...thanks for the recommendations y'all. I got:

Diamond Dogs
Tim Maia Racional Vols 1 & 2
Big Star's Radio City
Pink Moon
Murmur
Highway 61 Revisited

if anybody has an interest in a book swap at some point, let me know! i'd probably be down to trade/lend some out after I read them and read some others I didn't get. I had probably 20 in my cart at one point of titles I'd be interested in.
I can send you a duplicate copy I have of Velvet Underground & Nico if that's one you're interested in. I haven't read it yet so I can't tell you if it's good or not. Then if you have one you want to get rid of further down the road, I'd take it!
 
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