All posts filed under: Books

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2015: ANOTHER FINE YEAR!

So it’s the time of the season, when I get into that reflective mood and begin working my way backwards over the year’s music, books, movies, etc.  And 2015 was equally as rich as 2014 was, so I thought I’d share some of what I feel are the highest of nearly-innumerable high points over these last twelve months.  I acquired quite a lot of music – some purchased, some sent for review; I saw as many shows as my schedule would allow and read as much as my free time would give – which, of course, also means that my own new album is slower in coming along than I’d hoped (actually, it’s just stalled at the station for the time being), but it’s worth it.  And this year-end review is to help turn some of you on to these good/great/amazing things, in case you hadn’t heard about them previously.  So let us begin: TOP 3 ALBUMS FOR 2015:  these were the three albums that I listened to most often, after their respective releases.  There …

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BOOK REVIEW: Chrissie Hynde, “Reckless: My Life as a Pretender”

I’m a Pretenders fangirl, not an objective reviewer. Like Chrissie Hynde, I grew up in Northeast Ohio. I was in high school when “Brass in Pocket” came out, and when the DJ said that the lead singer grew up in Akron, quit her waitressing job, and bought a ticket to London to be in a band, I was blown away. She was proof that the world was full of possibility. No one had to stay where they were if they didn’t want to. Naturally, I preordered Reckless: My Life as a Pretender. I liked it, but there are good reasons why you might not. I write a lot of profiles and do a little ghostwriting, so I tend to read a lot of memoirs by musicians. It’s a good way to learn more about writing this sort of book, and musicians are willing to be interesting. (Corporate executives want to be dull role models.) You don’t have to be a fan of Donny Osmond’s music to appreciate his conflict between the music his fans wanted to hear and …

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BOOK REVIEW: Ben Marshall, “The Who: 50 Years – The Official History”

With all the incredible events, programs, releases and moments we’ve been fortunate enough to see, hear and experience this year, the 50th that The Who (as we knew and like to remember them), it was only fitting and appropriate that there would be a commemorative book – an official history.  And thus, there is.  The Who: 50 Years – The Official History, overseen by author Ben Marshall and sanctioned/assisted by Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey has been released as the last piece of the puzzle. A beautiful, 320-page hardcover volume, it attempts to trace the history of the band from their beginnings as a friendship between Townshend and the late, great John Entwistle and Entwistle’s chance meeting with Roger Daltrey, who invited Entwistle to join his band.  The stories and legends are there – the beginning of the journey with other-worldly drummer Keith Moon; the changeover to Mod and becoming “The High Numbers” and the ascent, along with being managed by Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp.  The stories and legends are all well-known; there are …

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COMICS REVIEW: Bitch Planet, Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine

Bitch Planet makes no bones about being a dangerous object. The bold, garish cover art seems made to be viewed under a black light. The color registration is purposely off, for an artful shoddiness recalling the look of a low-budget samizdat tract. But peer beyond the lurid exteriors of Bitch Planet — the first five issues of which are collected in the new trade paperback Extraordinary Machine — and you’ll find in its back pages footnotes on intersectional feminism, and a discussion guide for book clubs. Plainly, there’s more going on here than cheap thrills. But it is a thrilling work. Co-created by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro, Bitch Planet is a righteous, riotous hoot, a pitch-black spoof with a deathly serious feminist theme. For DeConnick, it’s a career best — the breakthrough that will propel her from cult figure to superstar. It’s the very definition of a passion project: audacious, subversive, fairly glowing with love and anger. And it’s the most exhilarating comic I’ve read in years. The action of …