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London’s Burning: True Adventures on the Front Lines of Punk 1976-1977


Author: Dave Thompson
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Review by Jeff Muendel
Posted January 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Dave Thompson is a fun and energetic writer, and this is the tale of his experience in the London punk scene of ‘76 and ‘77. It is essentially the story of British punk rock as it happened, stripped of hindsight and future legend, and laid bare. Bands bubbling into existence include The Damned during their early gigs and The Sex Pistols swearing through their prime-time television debut. Lesser known groups like The Adverts and Tom Robinson Band are covered, the latter of which are represented by a story wherein the group leads a club full of skinheads through a sing-along anthem called “Glad to Be Gay.” Yes, there are some seriously wild and funny antics.


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The Velvet Underground: New York Art


Author: Johan Kugelberg
Publisher: Rizzoli Press
Review by Jeff Muendel
Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Documenting the formative years of the band, Kugelberg includes newly published photographs starting with the group’s first live show in New York. Andy Warhol is referenced, especially with regard to his Velvet Underground cover and poster designs. Lou Reed’s handwritten music and lyrics are included, and underground press clippings, flyers, handbills, and posters, are added as well to complete a uniquely comprehensive survey of the first rock group ever to transcend genre and embrace subterranean American culture.


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Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves


Author: Jason Bitner
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Review by Jeff Muendel
Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Mix tapes have been described as “an art form that combines the skills of a DJ with the intimacy of a letter.” Today, the cassette tape has been rendered obsolete, and the art of crafting these sonic calling cards has been relegated to back of the closet, thirty-something nostalgia. Now, thanks to Jason Bitner, the middle-aged can relive lost youth and lost loves. In this book, sixty writers and musicians wax poetic about their own experiences with these charming artifacts and the relationships that inspired them.


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Led Zeppelin: The Neal Preston Collection


Author: Neal Preston
Publisher: Omnibus Press
Review by Jeff Muendel
Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Another coffee table book, this photo collection focuses on one of the greatest (and also thoroughly overplayed) bands ever, the mighty Led Zeppelin, While many of the photographs have been widely published, the collection is nonetheless a great record of Zep at their peak.


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From Zero to Rock Hero in Six Weeks


Author: Owen Edwards
Publisher: Collins Design Books
Review by Jeff Muendel
Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm

The cover of this book looks more like a manual for the Rock Band video game, and that may be precisely the point. For the love of Pong, kids, if you’re going to invest all that time into playing a game about playing rock music, why don’t you invest it in really playing rock music? This book is nicely illustrated and with an accompanying CD that comes together as a six-week crash course that will turn beginner musicians into hot rock guitarists and teach them to play in the styles of the world’s most famous bands. Guitar teacher and musician Owen Edwards shares the styles of legendary rockers such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica, allowing readers to build a repertoire of both classic and modern-day rock songs.


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Trust: Photographs of Jim Marshall


Author: Jim Marshall
Publisher: Omnibus Press
Review by Jeff Muendel
Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:08 pm

If you love rock’n'roll, you probably have an affinity for rock photography as well. So many iconic rockers earned their stardom not only because they were musical, but because they were also photogenic. That’s the way it should be because live rock’n'roll—at least the good stuff—isn’t about music alone. It is a craft that incorporates and embraces many elements of theater, dance, cinema, and of course photography. For the first time, images from rock photographer Jim Marshall’s extensive color archive are published together in book form and include many rare images.


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Michael


Author: Jason Fine
Publisher: Harper Collins
Review by Jeff Muendel
Posted December 15, 2009 at 7:57 pm

It almost goes without saying that this book attempts to tell the story of Michael Jackson’s epic life. It is, essentially, an amalgamation of several rolling Stones stories (usually cover stories) along with more recent text and over 100 photos to bring it all together. There are multiple writers represented in the book under the editorial eye of Jason fine, but Ben Fong-Torres is one of the best writers at Rolling Stone Magazine. He gives us our first glimpse of a young star on the rise in an article that would be the first of many Rolling Stone cover stories on Jackson.


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