Thursday, January 28, 2016

CULTURAL MASH-UP: The Wu-Tang Clan & 19th-Century Prairie Writers [UPDATED]


Last week, a Ghostface Killah called out a Vole-Faced Dwarf. That is, the popular Wu-Tang rapper and Couples Therapy alumni expressed his displeasure at universally loathed Big Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli plopping down a cool $2 mil for Once Upon A Time in Shaolin, the Clan's hella rare new double album.

Flashback to 2014: The nine-man Staten Island rap collective used footage of protests from the open (and still festering) racial wound of Ferguson, Missouri in its video for "A Better Tomorrow," the title track from its first album since 2007's 8 Diagram. They also revealed that, in celebration of their 20th anniversary, that co-producers The RZA and Morocco-based Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzougarh had spent the intervening six years secretly compiling the 128-minute, 31-track Shaolin. There were just two catches. First, there would be only one copy of the double album in existence—all physical and digital backups would be destroyed. Second, the album came with an 88 YEAR "non-commercialization clause."

As Cilvaringz ("Silver Rings" -- get it?) explained to Forbes: “After 88 years the copyright, which includes public and commercial rights, automatically transfers to the owner of the work. However, it will still be his or her choice at that [point] to release it or not release it.” RZA elaborated in a tweet that the bizarre time frame "means corporations can't buy it & mass produce it"—unless the richest Wu-Tang fan on Earth appeared out of the clouds to pay for it.

Before Shaolin made its first "physical" appearance at Paddle8, an online auction house that also represented famous NY artists like Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel, it sat locked like the Pink Panther diamond inside a vault in the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakesh. It was impermeable and unreachable from file-sharers, music-biz hacktivists and blogosphere reviewers inside a silver-and-nickel-plated box designed to by British-Moroccan artist Yahya Rouach, whose works have been commissioned by Saudi princes.


Predictably, the 'net went nanners. Faithful fans of the Wu felt left out of what appeared to be a cynical (if not fiendishly brilliant and game-changing) cash grab from a group whose current collective relevance hovered somewhere between Jah Rule and Zima. Many voices in the hip-hop press decried the Wu as "elitist sell-outs" and declared Shaolin as light years away from the gritty Queensbridge projects that birthed the Wu's singular spaghetti-Western-mystical-kung-fu aesthetic. (Never mind that Jay-Z was making whole short films about debuting raps in über-cool New York art galleries.) The RZA defended the project as a "radical statement" on the de-evaluation of art in the technological age that was inspired by a 2004 trip with Cilvaringz to the Pyramids of Giza, which got him thinking on the singularity of such ancient creations: "The idea that music is art has been something we advocated for years, and yet it doesn’t receive the same treatment as art in the sense of the value of what it is, especially nowadays when it’s been devalued and diminished to almost the point that it has to be given away for free.”

Shaolin drew barbs from members of the Wu itself. In an interview with XXL, Method Man groused: "When music can’t be music and y’all turning it into something else, fuck that. Give it to the people, if they want to hear the shit, let them have it...that ain’t making nobody rich or poor." Mr. Man seemed to place the blame on the muddled PR rollout of the project on RZA and Cilvaringz, whom he dubbed a "B-level Wu guy." (One can feel his pain: The story of how the producer became entangled with the group brings up hashtags like #stalker #wannabe, #interloper). "Eighty-eight years is a long fuckin' time," agreed Meth's obviously confused bandmate Raekwon, before appearing to be confronted by some sense of mortality: "That means we won't be around...shit, what the fuck you want me to say?"

Of course, no one dreamed that it would be snapped up last November by the "Pharma Bro" who bumped up the price of the popular AIDS drug Daraprim 5000 PERCENT, a man-child who enjoys comparing himself to the "robber barons" of the Gilded Age like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, a slavish worshiper of swag whose other rich-guy trophies include $1,000 bottles of Lafite-Rothschild as well as a vintage Nazi Enigma machine. ("It's like owning a gas chamber," Shkreli remarked to Vanity Fair. He's famous for saying things like that.)



Short story long: All this got the Beast to thinking about the arts, specifically the ever-evolving fortunes of music and literature in the eAge colliding with the very concept of time. (For a less pretentious version of this gist, see Belloq's speech about the silver pocketwatch from Raiders of the Lost Ark.) For the Beast, this was enough of a six-degree relationship between the influential spooky-rappers and two long-dead but recently relevant Anglo-Saxon writers -- both of whom, in their own times, were living in an uneasy renaissance of 1% robber barons -- from the racially confused State of Missouri.

So, if you will, flashback another 80 years to Fall 1937: Laura Ingalls Wilder travels to Detroit from her Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri (about 200 miles SW from Ferguson) to speak at a book fair sponsored by J.L. Hudson department stores. The 70-year-old author is nervous, confessing to a friend that she "had never lost her timidity with strangers," but her daughter Rose emphasizes the value of branding ("Everyone who meets or sees you will buy your books"). Accompanied by her husband Almanzo, whose childhood she had detailed four years earlier in her book Farmer Boy, Wilder rallies and takes the lectern in Michigan with a serious of remarks detailed in pencil on the same lined paper she uses for her classic Little House on the Prairie series of children's books. The story she chooses to tell to the assembled crowd won't be published for 41 years:

The Benders lived halfway between [our farm] and Independence, Kansas. We stopped there, on our way in to the Little House, while Pa watered the horses and brought us all a drink from the well near the door of the house. I saw Kate Bender standing in the doorway. We did not go in because we could not afford to stop at a tavern. 

There were Kate Bender and two men, her brothers, in the family and their tavern was the only place for travelers to stop on the road south from Independence. People disappeared on that road. Leaving Independence and going south they were never heard of again. It was thought they were killed by Indians but no bodies were ever found.

Then it was noticed that the Benders’ garden was always freshly plowed but never planted. People wondered. And then a man came from the east looking for his brother, who was missing. He made up a party in Independence and they followed the road south, but when they came to the Bender place there was no one there. There were signs of hurried departure and they searched the place.

The front room was divided by a calico curtain against which the dining table stood. On the curtain back of the table were stains about as high as the head of a man when seated. Behind the curtain was a trap door in the floor and beside it lay a heavy hammer. In the cellar underneath was the body of a man whose head had been crushed by the hammer. It appeared that he had been seated at the table back to the curtain and had been struck from behind it. A grave was partly dug in the garden with a shovel close by. The posse searched the garden and dug up human bones and bodies. One body was that of a little girl who had been buried alive with her murdered parents.

"You will agree," she added, "that it is not a fit story for a children's book. But it shows that there were other dangers on the frontier besides wild Indians."


Arguably, such dark revelations are part of the reason The South Dakota Historical Press could barely keep up with the demand for copies of the wildly (and unexpectedly) popular publication in December 2014 of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, which Wilder wrote in 1930 before any of the Little House novels. Wilder, born two years after the end of the Civil War, grew up poor and although she included several cleaned-up scenes of tragedy and violence in her Little House books -- her sister's Mary's blindness and a nasty scene with a knife-wielding wife among them -- she never wrote about the death of the little brother Charles Frederick. She does in Pioneer Girl -- along with noirish encounters with child molesters, rapists, alcoholism, divorce, philandering, financial ruin, mental illness, domestic abuse, out-of-wedlock births and familial disintegration and yes, an encounter with a family of serial killers who ran their own grisly version of the Bates Motel. Not surprisingly, Pioneer Girl has made Wilder the most unexpected bestselling writer of the last year. (So far, it's sold around 150,000 copies and counting and made several New York Times bestseller lists.)

Laura Ingalls Wilder:
Bestselling rapper--uh, author of 2015

It's been a quite remarkable feat of reanimation; the intervening years had not been necessarily kind to Wilder. Critics took her (posthumously) to task for the casual racism (mostly towards Native Americans) of her published work. ("I would not want my child to read Little House on the Prairie," wrote the Osage writer Dennis McAuliffe, Jr. "I would shield him from the slights [it] slings upon his ancestors.") Oddly, Wilder is more reserved about racial issues in her autobiography, possibly because it was all there in the Little House books. In one scene, Pa Ingalls -- elevated into sainthood by his portrayal by the Farrah Fawcett-haired Michael Landon on the '70s Little House TV series -- sings a song, accompanying himself on the fiddle:

There was an old darkey
And his name was Uncle Ned,
And he died long ago, long ago
There was no wool on the top of his head.

Unlike Wilder, Mark Twain didn't shy away from commenting in print and public -- usually working a cheroot and sounding drunk -- about America's self-delusions, particularly having to do with race. His Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is STILL is controversial 131 years after it was published; the novel's unabashed use of the N-word still offends partially because Twain himself wrote about it as he experienced it -- a boy of the South who enjoyed the "Uncle Remus" stories and saw nothing wrong with it because he knew nothing else. As he writes in his autobiography: “In my schoolboy days, I had no aversion to slavery. I was not aware there was anything wrong about it."

Twain's politics and writings, however, attempted to come to terms with the wrongness into which he had been indoctrinated. Aside from Twain's published work, the first volume in his massive three-volume Autobiography of Mark Twain published in 2010 (the third was released last October) elaborates Twain's private anger over the racist and imperialist agendas of his home country. He deplores military intervention in Cuba and The Philippines -- even calling American soldiers "uniformed assassins." He trash talks John D. Rockefeller and Teddy Roosevelt. He sees scoundrels in Washington who wrap themselves in the flag and greedy skinflints oozing into Wall Street. He criticizes sending Christian missionaries to Africa in favor of dealing with the growing problem of lynching in the South. (He also uses "heathens" and "savages," unlike Wilder, as terms of, for lack of a better term, patronizing affection.)


Twain dictated his subversive rants to his personal stenographer nearly every day from January 1906 to December 1909. There was 250 sessions that produced more than half a million words. Yet Twain, right before his death in April 1910, issued a handwritten letter with a unique stipulation: He didn't want it published until 100 YEARS after his death. “A book that is not to be published for a century gives the writer a freedom which he could secure in no other way," he explained to an interviewer in 1899. "In these conditions you can draw a man without prejudice exactly as you knew him and yet have no fear of hurting his feelings or those of his sons or grandsons."

Waiting for the first volume would be the tantalizing torment of nearly seven generations of Twain fans and scholars. But even Twain couldn't resist a little leakage, publishing 25 excerpts in the North American before his death, each of which was preceded by a note: “No part of the autobiography will be published in book form during the lifetime of the author." But after his death, his 100-year gag order began to be taken a little more loosely when none other than the man Twain entrusted with keeping his secrets, his official biographer Albert Bigelow Paine. His successors Bernard DeVoto and Charles Neider were of no stronger mien, leaking further excerpts in 1940 and 1959 respectively. (Ingalls' memoir, in possession of Rose Wilder after her mother's death in 1957, endured no such picklocks, as few knew it existed.) Yet when Volume 1 of Twain's book was released, its publisher had to print six runs to keep up with the demand.

The leakage over time, arguably, did not matter in terms of either projects' market value. Which brings us back to present day, and a statement made by Cilvaringz on the bankability of Once Upon A Time in Shaolin: “One leak of this thing nullifies the entire concept.” Yet the leaks sprung up anyway
(an art gallery listening party in Queens garnered some reviews) before robber baron Shkreli snatched up the single copy. This would be the equivalent of J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford or Cornelius Vanderbilt snapping up the rights to Twain or Ingalls' work.

The terminally mercenary Shkreli just couldn't help himself, allegedly musing out loud: “I don’t know. I’ll probably never even hear it. I just thought it would be funny to keep it from people," Then he was arrested for securities fraud, and the wild speculation over whether the record would be confiscated and held in some sort of legal limbo led even the Feds to send perhaps the greatest tweet of 2015: No seizure warrant at the arrest of Martin Shkreli today, which means we didn't seize the Wu-Tang Clan album.

Nevertheless, what Bloomberg News once called "one of the greatest sales pitches the music industry has ever heard" was now being called by Forbes "a horrible mistake." Yet, Shkreli did exactly what Raekwon seemed to endorse ("You gotta remember the concept of it is whoever buys it -- it's yours. You hang it in your house and you do what you do.") and simply put in on his coffee table.


Once Upon a Time in Shaolin might very well become what Ingalls and Twain's books already have, reinvigorators of dying forms, powerful reminders of vanished worlds, as well the vanished value of art, music and literature. (All three are lavishly and beautifully designed to sit on one's shelf with conspicuous permanence, and the first edition printing of Ingalls' book now goes for around $600.) Nowadays, with terrestrial books and music being marketed as objets d'art for wealthy collectors, it is the artifact and not necessarily just the content that piques and intrigues. The necromancers of the frozen post-apocalyptic wasteland will come across it, and worship it like the Catholic monks in A Canticle for Leibowitz worshiped a shopping list, like the subterranean monks in Beneath the Planet of the Apes worshiped the atom bomb, or, truer to the Wu, like the Buddhist monks of the Shaolin Temple worshiped martial arts.

UPDATE (8:07am, 1/28/16): This just keeps getting better. In a just-posted VICE profile "Why Is Martin Shkreli Still Talking?", the evil squirrel himself is on house-arrest, zipping around his penthouse on a hoverboard and taking sips of a $15,000 bottle of wine. "With the Wu-Tang album playing in the background," reports Allie Conti," Shkreli says he vacillates between wanting to destroy the record and dreaming of installing it in some remote place so that people have to make a spiritual quest to listen. 'I'm not just the heel of the music world,' he says. 'I want to be the world's heel.'"

UPDATE (11:01am, 1/28/16): Shaolin Wars IV: The Revenge of Kylo Shkreli

UPDATE (10:48am, 2/9/16): Shaolin Wars V: The Killah Strikes Back (and what took him so long?)

UPDATE (7:48am, 5/7/16): Humpf. Now it looks like John Malcovich is getting in on the "Creative Project in a Vault" act.

UPDATE (6:18am, 6/9/15): Now it's officially gotten REAL WEIRD.

UPDATE (6:47am, 10/9/16): Martin Shkreli Premieres Unreleased Wu-Tang Clan Music After Trump Win

Saturday, January 23, 2016

We Assure You: No One Dies in This Post


Hey ya. Last October, the Beast was interviewed by New York Times journalist Adam Shatz for a profile of the hottest thing in jazz right now: saxophonist Kamasi Washington. Unfortunately, none of our quotes were used but the piece is still enlightening and a good summation of Washington's Epic ascendancy. You can check it out here.

There's a new interview with guitarist Nels Cline over at Products of the Mind, "a podcast about the intersection of business and creativity."

Two New L.A.-centric music documentaries are coming down the pike: Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words, which premieres this week at the Sundance Film Festival; and East Los, an examination of East L.A.'s vital backyard-punks scene doe Vans' Living Off the Wall series.

Anyone who remembers jazz in the '80s remembers guitarist Stanley Jordan, whose intricate and intimate "touch tone" style of playing earning him much critical genuflecting. A rather timely article on Jordan appeared this week in Jazz Times in which he talks of his "androgynous" sexuality.
In the hour of The Danish Girl and Caitlin Jenner, notes writer David Adler, "Jordan’s story speaks to issues of gender and sexuality that go far back in the history of jazz yet often go unacknowledged."

Wow, THIS is exciting: Director Todd Haynes, recently snubbed by the Oscars for his lesbian period drama Carol, has announced he is showrunning a new series about L.A.'s own Source Family, the musical cult that ran the famous Source Restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. The Beast once interviewed the filmmakers of a recent documentary about the crunchy (and kind creepy) crew.

Monday, January 11, 2016


"There was never a time we were alive when he wasn't.
He was like a parent that way."

























Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Data Dumptruck


(WALL ST. JOURNAL)

(SISTER FROM ANOTHER PLANET)

(URB)

(NEW YORK TIMES)

(SALON)
(PREPARED GUITAR)
(DANGEROUS MINDS)
(THE SPACE)

(THE NEW YORKER)

(CHART ATTACK)

(BOINGBOING)

(POPMATTERS)

(THE STRANGER)
(THE TALKHOUSE)
(THE PITCH)

(SLATE)
(UCLA ETHNOMUSICOLOGY REVIEW)

(INDIANA PUBLIC MEDIA)

(CHICAGO READER)

(PITCHFORK NEWS)

(CUEPOINT)

(YOUTUBE)

(VICE)

(PITCHFORK MEDIA)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

REST IN TEMPO: Paul Bley (UPDATED)


The news that the great jazz pianist Paul Bley has passed has sent me into some deep reveries, sent my mind and heart on a few choice tangents. You see, Paul Bley has had a tremendous impact on my way of thinking about music, improvisation, and so-called jazz.

I think I first heard his solo piano record "Open, To Love", the now-legendary ECM recording from the 70s. It contains pieces by Carla Bley and Annette Peacock that I still play to this day, as anyone who has followed my concerts over the last three decades or so may know. Songs like "Touching", "Ida Lupino", and "Albert's Love Theme" sent me to a moody and beautiful realm and they still do. Paul Bley, apparently not a composer - pieces attributed to him seem to be spontaneous improvisations - seemed to have, by virtue of his intimate relationships with these two singular composers, perhaps implicitly commissioned these works to showcase his uniquely blues-inflected and harmonically probing playing style, which was, by this time, quite free.

I became quite obsessed with Paul Bley after this and, seeing as how I ended up working in a record store around this time that had tons of cut-out and obscure jazz records, I started catching up on the man's recorded output. His seminal trio recording "Footloose" (with Steve Swallow and Pete LaRoca), which even the generally ungenerous Keith Jarrett credits generously as an influential record, was a crucial step in my learning about how Bley had freed his trio of playing over song form/set chord progressions. This was no doubt an outgrowth of his intimate exposure to the music of Ornette Coleman, whom he hired (along with Ornette's entire band!) in 1958 at Los Angeles' Hillcrest Club (the move got him and the band canned). Bley had come out of be-bop, highly influenced by Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. His adaptation of Ornette's "free jazz" seems to be the beginning of a lifelong path of playing songs with ultimate freedom and spontaneity. One can hear these recordings from 1958, as Bley used to cart around a reel-to-reel tape recorder and record gigs and rehearsals, leaving the world with invaluable documents of his work. ECM Records eventually released some of these "home recordings" on "Ballads" and "With Gary Peacock", two of my all-time favorite records. By the time I caught up with "Mr. Joy" (with Gary Peacock and the amazing and almost totally overlooked Billy Elgart) and "Turning Point" (with Gary Peacock, John Gilmore in one of his rare non-Sun Ra appearances, and Paul Motian), I was happily lost in Paul Bley's world. Even the photos for the "Mr. Joy" album had me reeling - the shot of Bley, ubiquitous smoke billowing as Annette Peacock stretches in the window of their New York City loft… I started trying to write and improvise pieces that mimicked these compositions, tried to play guitar improvisations based on my neophyte impressions of Bley's style, his melodic and harmonic singularity and deep mood. This was maybe 1976 or '77 when I was maybe 21 years old, playing in the back room of my parents' house with my twin brother Alex (who really GOT what Barry Altschul and Billy Elgart were up to in this music) and our friend Lee Kaplan, who was just starting to play the acoustic bass and, as such, could play slowly enough to let the mood hang, suspend… It was probably pretty lame, but we were INTO IT, and I felt a genuine pull towards this mode of expression. If you go back and listen to recordings by my first Trio and by The Singers, you will find that every one of these records has some floaty ballad that is directly influenced by this music I am writing about. Pieces like "The Rite", "Lucia", "The Divine Homegirl", "Recognize I & II", The Androgyne"… Records that followed on Bley's own I.A.I. (Improvising Artists Inc.) like "Virtuosi" (more ballads!) and "Alone (Again)" - perhaps just as great as "Open, To Love", fueled my obsession.

I only saw Paul Bley play 'live' on one occasion, and that was in the mid-70s. My friend Lee - mentioned in the above paragraph - and I flew to San Francisco late one night to catch him in what we thought was to be a duo concert with Gary Peacock, who was also one of our musical heroes and who had an amazing track record of serious chemistry with Bley. Back in those days, one could fly standby at 11PM from Los Angeles to San Francisco for $17! And Bley, having lived for many years in the 50s in Los Angeles, seemed to avoid it like the plague now, so north we headed, staying with a voracious jazz collector Lee knew named Michael Rubinoff, who had an apartment in Diamond Heights (note: it was during this stay that I ended up hearing a super-rare record called "The Horizon Beyond" by the Attila Zoller Quartet, another revelatory and long-lasting musical awakening). The concert was at The Great American Music Hall, and it could not have been a more perfect venue. But it turned out that this was a solo concert, not a duo gig with Gary Peacock, which probably had my bassist friend Lee whimpering inside with disappointment. I, too, felt a pang of woe. But the concert was unadulterated, classic Paul Bley solo piano. I had heard that he always put a New York City phone book on the piano bench to achieve extra height, and indeed he WAS sitting on a phone book, his legs coolly crossed, though I have no idea if it was really of the NYC strain. But I do remember a particularly harsh, polytonal rendering of "Mr. Joy", and a moving and almost funky version of "Ida Lupino". I was in heaven… Lee was also doing a bit of music writing back then and seemed to have entree to all sorts of backstage situations, which usually left me feeling awkward and self-conscious. But backstage we went, wherein I guess I shook Paul's hand at some point - I really don't recall. Bley was such a daunting figure - a legendary hustler, exuding supreme command and self assurance, pulling the strings, as it were. I was afraid of him! I ended up outside with the guitarist Bill Conners, with whom I had been ready to study until he strangely blew me off, and had a completely weird almost-conversation with him until Bley emerged and exclaimed, "Come, William!" and they were gone. Bill Conners - a fantastic and fascinating guitarist - had been playing some with Bley at that time, as he did on the I.A.I. release "Quiet Song", which also included Jimmy Giuffre…

Paul Bley went on to release dozens and dozens of recordings, many of them solo piano improvisations or reinterpretations of jazz warhorses or the Carla Bley/Annette Peacock canon. In the late 80s he reunited with ECM and released two recordings of The Paul Bley Quartet with John Surman, Bill Frisell, and Paul Motian that are, to my mind, miracles of deep listening. When things get a little too hooked-up, too unified or extemporaneously tonal, Bley tosses in some new idea to skew the tonal center, to push the music forward. He also reunited with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian (one of my favorite rhythm sections of all time) as well as with Gary Peacock for some wonderful recordings.

I read that Paul died of natural causes at his home in Florida, surrounded by his family, after teaching and continuing to play and record for many years. I guess I lost the thread a bit and need to catch up on some of this later work. But his influence on me continues to be strong, pervasive. The great guitarist Jeff Parker and I, when we discovered that we both adore the record "Turning Point, started a quartet with Nate McBride and Frank Rosaly to play those songs together, which we still are able to do occasionally. And my upcoming double record "Lovers", to be released this summer, features three pieces that became known to me because of Paul Bley: "Cry, Want" by Jimmy Giuffre, and two Annette Peacock compositions done as a suite, "So Hard It Hurts" and "Touching". The 'live' disc from my band The Singers' CD "Initiate" has a version of Carla Bley's "And Now The Queen", which Paul Bley interprets so beautifully on "Alone (Again)". I am still trying to absorb this music and let it infiltrate my work. I find it to be sublime.

When I was working at the record store back when, there was a painter who came in all the time to buy jazz records, which he listened to while he worked. We would often end up in discussions and gently heated bouts of opinion regarding records, and I was always trying to get him to get into Paul Bley. But he always said the same thing: "His stuff is just too…COOL for me", by which I think he meant both cool as in hip and cool as in icy. There is no doubt in my mind that Paul Bley was, musically-speaking, the hip kind of cool. Just take a listen and look at the man circa 1966! But icy?… I think "considered" is what describes what may be mistaken for "icy" - his cogent use of space, dissonance, all with a decidedly bluesy, neo-Ellington inflection - which is just fucking cool, yes. But beyond these coolness considerations, I feel drawn into a very personal world, an intimate state of reverie informed by highly developed musicality and restrained yet palpable emotion. Maybe you can dig what I am saying - if you listen.

Paul Bley, rest in peace. Thank you for your music.


NELS CLINE
New York City
(1.7.16)
Paul Bley with Bobby Bradford, Pasadena 1976
[photo courtesy of Mark Weber]

 Reportage

Interview


Friday, January 1, 2016

The 45 Best Music Books of 2015

DEAR ME: Memoirs We've Been Waiting For Since the late-1970's
Reckless: My Life as a Pretender by Chrissie Hynde

DEAR YOU: Memoirs of Musicians from Other Musicians
Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chestnutt by Kirstin Hersh
Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes

BIZARRE BAZAAR: The Fiber Optics of the Music Industry
Piracy by Stephen R. Witt

SKULLS + ROSES: More Than You Will Ever Need to Know About the Grateful Dead

GET GROKKED: The Sixties, Man
by Doug Bradley & Craig Werner

THE PRICE OF THE TICKET: Music and America's Racial Divides
by Mark Ribowsky

GOTHAMISTS: "New Nork, New Nork"
ed. by Richard Kraft & Joel Biel

GURRLS

FOR THE HIPSTER COFFEE TABLE
It All Dies Anyway: L.A., Jabberjaw, and the End of an Era
by Brian Ray Turcotte, Michelle Carr & Gary P. Dent

INDIER THAN THOU

SUBBACULTCHA
by Oliver Wang

OUTLIERS
Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and His Music ed. by Renee Levine Packer & Mary Jane Leach

SKIPPETY-BOP!
Free Jazz/Black Power (reprint) by Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli,

FUTURE PULSES
by Michaelangelo Matos