Why the Beach Boys Matter (Tom Smucker)

Release date, Oct. 2, and breathlessly awaited by some (i.e., me). Table of contents is here, and is fetching (“Harmony and Discord,” “Innocence and the Second-Best Pop Album Ever,” “Summer’s Gone, the Endless Summer”). The Beach Boys matter to me enormously–more than the Beatles, more than the Velvets, more than Prince, Chuck Berry, Elvis Costello, and many others (well, at least if “mattering” is best … Continue reading Why the Beach Boys Matter (Tom Smucker)

“Wenners and Losers”

Jessica Hopper reviews Joe Hagan’s Jann Wenner bio in Bookforum: “Sticky Fingers opens with the sort of scene that becomes its defining feature: Jann Wenner sells someone out, transacting on a relationship for whatever gain could be exacted. We meet Wenner as he is poisoning his friendship with no less than John Lennon, betraying Lennon’s trust for a $40,000 book advance. This is grimglorious rock … Continue reading “Wenners and Losers”

Under My Thumb

“Discussions and analyses of music—whether on TV, in books or in the music press—have always been full of the stories of men. When female fans appear in these stories it is often through the eyes and from the perspectives of men – as muses, groupies or fangirls—meaning that women’s own experiences, ideas and arguments about the music they love are marginalized or glossed over. Women … Continue reading Under My Thumb

Review: Lou Reed bio by Anthony DeCurtis

“While [DeCurtis is] skillful at assembling the biographical building blocks that reward interest at a casual level, his book isn’t just short on dirt. It’s short on resonance, advocacy, identification, deep-dive cultural spelunking, provocative arguments, nuance, fervor, and everything else that sums up the difference between perspective and an actual point of view, particularly when the subject is an artist as gnarly and passion-provoking as … Continue reading Review: Lou Reed bio by Anthony DeCurtis

This Used to Be Clint’s Playground: The Dynamic, Explosive, Super Bad World of K-Tel Records

Winnipeg businessman Philip Kives died on April 27. You may not know Kives by name, but if you (or, um, your parents) came of age as a pop fan anytime within close proximity of those loopy years between “Gimme Shelter” and “Blitzkrieg Bop,” you surely are familiar with one of Kives’s key contributions to the (then nascent) “random shuffle” aesthetic: K-Tel Records. Kives founded the … Continue reading This Used to Be Clint’s Playground: The Dynamic, Explosive, Super Bad World of K-Tel Records

Richard Goldstein releases memoir

Richard Goldstein, one of the founders of rock criticism, has recently published his memoir, Another Little Piece of My Heart. Planning to read it soon, with followup to come on this site, but in the meantime, there’s a very entertaining live interview with Goldstein at Word magazine. (Main page of Word podcasts is here; direct Goldstein link here.) Also: If you’re in New York, Strand … Continue reading Richard Goldstein releases memoir