I knew I was going to make this a staff pick before I even bought it. The list of contributors is both impressive and inspiring. Uniquely presented in a combination of short stories, interviews, graphic memoirs, and other formats, this collection gives perspective on the Black punk experience (and a kick-ass list of bands that you should be listening to). The pieces of this anthology exhibit the creation of community out of places of loneliness, of belonging out of otherness, of acceptance out of rejection of and by family, society, and the punk scene itself. And what’s more punk than rejecting boxed-in notions of what punk is while proclaiming your punkness?
A most comprehensive and truly sweet memoir, manifesto, and ode to a movement, a genre, the Cure's origins, and Goth music and culture as a whole. Goth is and always has been more than cobwebs and heavy synths and black eyeliner and screamo and religious motifs and ethereal motions, and is a recognition and admiration of a darkness that's always there. It's a wondrous attempt to find, create, and give meaning to pre-established invitations of anti-authority, etc. from punk, etc. Get in the car kids—we're blasting 'Bela Lugosi Is Dead' and getting ice cream on the way to the cemetery.
"I owe the boldness that I tapped to the poor women in my blood." pg. 59
My grandma, Brenda Joyce, was a big fan of dancing barefoot in the kitchen--especially when Dolly came on. This book felt like talking with her.
Pairs well with too-sweet tea and the song Here You Come Again.
ARMY unite! A journalist from The Atlantic, Lenika Cruz (who we love dearly in the BTS community) documents her deep descent into loving BTS. She goes from trying to learn each of their names after watching them perform on TV to the first time to seeing them live and interviewing them herself. She writes with honesty and a whole lotta love for them, especially to the majority of The Atlantic readers who wouldn’t look twice at an article about BTS (or K-Pop in general). This little collection is a must for ARMY or for those who are fascinated by K-Pop popularity. Her articles make known the thousands of reasons why we love BTS with our whole hearts – and to why we ride or die when it comes to these 7 incredible people.
Is this book about Nina Simone's gum? Of course it is, and the story behind that piece of music history is worth reading alone. But it's also about the multi-instrumentalist and beautiful weirdo Warren Ellis and the magic in his collected talismans over the years as a member of the Bad Seeds and Dirty Three.
Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back at the RiotGrrl movement of the 90s reveals as many flaws as it does strengths - it was a safe space for women tackling issues of sexuality, violence, and anger during a political period when teenage girl autonomy was the monster lurking under the bed of puritanical America. But only a safe space predominately for girls of a certain type (white, cisgender, straight.) Despite the shortcomings, the DIY culture it sparked continued on, and the doors it opened for women to scream their hearts out into microphones still reverberates today in bands that break the mold that Riotgrrl created.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland meets Vesper Flights in this whimsically melodic collection of animal based essays. Amy Leach and her ensemble will undoubtedly win you over with bouts of incredulous laughter and many moments of awe. If everyone should lend them an ear, we'd all care a little more and learn a lot too.
Perfect for any Janis fan or someone into the 60's music scene. A good slow burn toward fame from a Texas girl who just wanted to paint but then discovered Bessie Smith. And like the cover says, it's about her life and her music, not harping on her death which already takes up too much space when she was such a fantastic vocalist and songwriter that inspired many.
You may have no desire to know the intimate backroad histories of old LA, you might not be a film buff, but I'm telling you... you don't have to be much of anything to fall in love with this book. I couldn't stop until I found its author, the inimitable Matthew Specktor, in possession of success or happiness or peace or something that resembles those impossible objects. These aren't just essays about Fitzgerald, Warren Zevon, Thomas McGuane, Renata Adler; this is a book about what it is to be an artist in America. Specktor's story is both erudite and crafty magic.
Abdurraqib masterly balances the informational and the personal in this exploration of black performance from the vaudevillian-turned-spy Josephine Baker to the vulnerability of Wu-Tang Clan to poem-like entries "On Times I Have Forced Myself to Dance." (Did you know, even after singing about wanting to dance with somebody, Whitney Houston couldn't really dance? Check out the 1988 Grammy's.) Anyway, check this out if you want a beautifully entertaining book on entertainment.