New Books Network

Kevin Avery, “Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson” (Fantagraphics, 2011)
Paul Nelson, the Rolling Stone writer and Mercury Records A & R guy who signed the New York Dolls, is quoted in Kevin Avery‘s Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson (Fantagraphics, 2011) as saying, “I’ve always led my life like it was a work of... Read More
Alice Bag, “Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story” (Feral House, 2011)
I saw “The Decline of Western Civilization,” Penelope Spheeris’s film documenting the late seventies punk scene in Los Angeles, when it was first released in 1981/82. Performances by the “popular” bands like Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, X, and Fear were instantly memorable. I’ve seen the movie many times since,... Read More
Roberto Avant-Mier, “Rock the Nation:  Latin/o Identites and the Latin Rock Diaspora” (Continuum, 2010)
In Rock the Nation: Latin/o Identites and the Latin Rock Diaspora (Continuum, 2010), Roberto Avant-Mier challenges the traditional historical notion of rock and roll and rock being the result of the converging of white and African-American musics only. Instead, he argues, the history of rock is replete with Latin/o culture.... Read More
Sean Wilentz, “Bob Dylan in America” (Doubleday, 2010)
From carrier of the folk torch to electric rebel, lyrical genius to literary thief, white-faced minstrel to born-again Christian-Jewish singer of Christmas carols, Bob Dylan is an enigmatic giant of American popular music. In Bob Dylan in America (Doubleday, 2010), historian Sean Wilentz presents Dylan as an artist deeply rooted... Read More
Lester K. Spence, “Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics” (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
Hip-hop has, within a short time span, moved from a free-flowing expression of urban youth to a global–and highly marketable–musical genre. Its influence in culture, fashion, film, and music is ubiquitous, and theories about hip-hop’s importance in the political sphere abound. But what, exactly, is the relationship between hip-hop and... Read More
Kevin Fellezs, “Birds of a Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk, and the Creation of Fusion” (Duke UP, 2011)
To introduce his book Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk, and the Creation of Fusion (Duke, 2011),Kevin Fellezs quotes Jeff Beck: “For Christ’s sake, I wish somebody would make up a name for this kind of music, ’cause it ain’t jazz and it ain’t rock.” Beck’s words echo Fellezs’s argument,... Read More
Heather Augustyn, “Ska:  An Oral History” (McFarland, 2010)
“Before reggae there was rock steady, and before that, ska,” writes Cedella Marley in the foreword to Heather Augustyn’s 2010 book Ska: An Oral History (McFarland, 2010). By way of interviews with dozens of ska musicians, Augustyn traces the history of the music from its Jamaican roots, through its 2Tone... Read More
Kimbrew McLeod and Peter DiCola, “Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling” (Duke University Press, 2011)
One hallmark of important art, in any medium, is a thoughtful relation with artistic precursors. Every artist reckons with heroes and rivals, influences and nemeses, and the old work becomes a part of the new. In Adam Bradley’s seminal monograph on hip-hop lyrics, Book of Rhymes, legendary MC Mos Def... Read More
Jim Tuedio and Stan Spector, “The Grateful Dead in Concert: Essays on Live Improvisation” (McFarland, 2010)
In a career that spanned three decades the Grateful Dead are rock music’s ultimate jam band. To jam, of course, is to improvise, to engage in “spontaneous, extemporaneous expression.” In The Grateful Dead in Concert: Essays on Live Improvisation (McFarland, 2010), Jim Tuedio, professor of philosophy at California State University-Stanislaus,... Read More