best books on indie

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trevor machine
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best books on indie

Post by trevor machine » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:40 am

Anyone got any good recommendations for books on indie? To give you an idea of what I'm thinking of, I'll try and list a few that I've read and liked:

1). David Cavanagh - The Creation Records Story - My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize

An epic struggle between crud and weevil, this plot broiler will last you until next xmas, and unto the grave.

2). Dean Wareham - Black Postcards

An epic struggle between...etc. It does get a bit ground hog day this, as the ex-500 guy gets lashed to the write->record->tour treadmill - and yet it always reads well.

3). Luke Haines - Bad Vibes

Cantankerous non-singer Haines pours neat vituperation into the mind of the reader, and they thank him for it. If somewhat grudgingly.


There are probably more but you get the gist. Ideally I'd like something a bit more low flying than these "big boys" - honest books about where indie came from, where it's going and why. I dunno. Maybe an Our Band Could Be Your Life based in the UK and focusing on indie. Is there such a tome, and if not why? The thing John Robb could possibly write, but I don't really want him to cos I don't enjoy his style that much.
Like others hither and yon, I fanny around at music - my band is always on the look out for other bands to split releases with. Any cockamamie idea considered - cassette, 7" vinyl, yellow flexi disc, wax cylinder and shellac 78s. PM me. ; - )

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Re: best books on indie

Post by kofi » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:04 am

trevor machine wrote:Anyone got any good recommendations for books on indie? - honest books about where indie came from, where it's going and why. I dunno. Maybe an Our Band Could Be Your Life based in the UK and focusing on indie. Is there such a tome, and if not why? The thing John Robb could possibly write, but I don't really want him to cos I don't enjoy his style that much.
I'd be well up for reading this, if it existed. sort of a continuation from 'Rip It Up'? Who would warrant a chapter in it though? The Smiths, Manics, Radiohead and Pulp have all had their own books.

I'd want a chapter on Huggy Bear and one on Comet Gain; I'd expect one on Belle and Sebastien. anyone else?

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Re: best books on indie

Post by Trev » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:09 am

John Robb already did his 80s UK version of 'Our Band Could Be Your Life':

Death To Trad Rock - Concentrates on the more awkward 80s thing - The Three Johns, A Witness, June Brides, Membranes, Stump, Big Flame etc.

http://musicblog.merseyblogs.co.uk/2009 ... d-roc.html

http://thequietus.com/articles/03280-de ... an-extract
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Re: best books on indie

Post by indiansummer » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:38 pm

is that any good, trev?

i go off and on with john robb's writing
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Re: best books on indie

Post by Trev » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:44 pm

indiansummer wrote:is that any good, trev?

i go off and on with john robb's writing
I think it's great and it helps that a lot of it is interviews with the bands etc. But I know what you mean about his writing, too.
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Re: best books on indie

Post by kofi » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:28 pm

it had pretty mixed reviews to say the least but if you recommend it I'll check it out. I didn't know Prolapse were in it. Big Flame, the Ex, really I should have this already. it looks like it's more in the style of 'Burning Britain' and 'The Day the Country Died' than 'Our Band..' though?

If you were to follow on from it through the 90s and 00s, who would you include?

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Re: best books on indie

Post by Trev » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:35 pm

kofi wrote: If you were to follow on from it through the 90s and 00s, who would you include?
Hmmmm, tough. If it was just UK bands.....

Urusei Yatsura
Belle & Sebastian
The Delgados
Huggy Bear
The Yummy Fur (they get a brief mention in the DTTR book)
Sarandon (already featured)
Prolapse (again, already featured)
Comet Gain
Hefner
Magoo
Six By Seven
The Broken Family Band
Tompaulin
The Loves
Ballboy
The Manhattan Love Suicides
Pocketbooks
The Just Joans
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Re: best books on indie

Post by carney » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:02 pm

John Robb is a proper wally.

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Re: best books on indie

Post by indiansummer » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:14 pm

he's only ever been thoroughly lovely to me - my old band ended up playing with and hanging out with gold blade an awful lot, and he was always enthusiastic, friendly and encouraging about everything

Louder Than War is a terrible website though, and he desperately needs an editor
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Re: best books on indie

Post by linus » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:19 pm

I'm currently re-reading robb's 'punk rock: an oral history' and it's a brilliant book... much less about punk as a fashion movement and more about it's roots, the music, the excitement of it, the social aspects of it and the street level thing it became... it puts everything into context far more adeptly and honestly than jon savage's 'england's dreaming' which is a great book but full of myth-making, very much on a talcy malcy tip, all that swindle caper... robb's book brings the period back to life and he interviews a really interesting and wide ranging bunch... in terms of indie, diy, the roots are all there... I loved reading about the slits, siouxsie, subway sect, buzzcocks, the prefects, mark perry, crass, etc and considering what followed... the other great thing about robb's book is the irreverance and humdrum reality of it, bands like the damned and the stranglers take on even greater appeal compared to the pistols and the clash... both reminding me of how the beatles and the stones come over in pete doggets excellent 'there's a riot going on'... iconic bands, some arguably top tunes, a lot of big talk but ultimately a lot of wind, career minded, in hoc to the music industry/the money

so, in short, perhaps robb is a wally, I don't know, but t'membranes were ACE and he seemed like a lovely fella when I chatted to him briefly outside a pastels gig one time, this book is great, I still- to my shame- have yet to read 'death to trad rock'

there's worse things in the world than being a wally

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Re: best books on indie

Post by sideburnsjim » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:38 pm

It doesn't really fit your remit, but I loved Young and Foolish by Alistair Fitchett. It's basically one mans thoughts on all the indie bands he has loved over the years.

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Re: best books on indie

Post by Tomb » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:13 am

I always enjoy rummaging through Martin Strong's Great Indie Discography.

Murray

Re: best books on indie

Post by Murray » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:20 am

a fog of ideas wrote:I'm currently re-reading robb's 'punk rock: an oral history' and it's a brilliant book... much less about punk as a fashion movement and more about it's roots, the music, the excitement of it, the social aspects of it and the street level thing it became... it puts everything into context far more adeptly and honestly than jon savage's 'england's dreaming' which is a great book but full of myth-making, very much on a talcy malcy tip, all that swindle caper... robb's book brings the period back to life and he interviews a really interesting and wide ranging bunch... in terms of indie, diy, the roots are all there... I loved reading about the slits, siouxsie, subway sect, buzzcocks, the prefects, mark perry, crass, etc and considering what followed... the other great thing about robb's book is the irreverance and humdrum reality of it, bands like the damned and the stranglers take on even greater appeal compared to the pistols and the clash... both reminding me of how the beatles and the stones come over in pete doggets excellent 'there's a riot going on'... iconic bands, some arguably top tunes, a lot of big talk but ultimately a lot of wind, career minded, in hoc to the music industry/the money

so, in short, perhaps robb is a wally, I don't know, but t'membranes were ACE and he seemed like a lovely fella when I chatted to him briefly outside a pastels gig one time, this book is great, I still- to my shame- have yet to read 'death to trad rock'

there's worse things in the world than being a wally
Totally agree with this; it's a fantastic read.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the American equivalent - Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil, (and have just seen something else on Amazon which looks interesting - Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's: A Secret History of Jewish Punk)

It's not indie (although I've sneaked many of their short instrumentals onto mix-CDs without any hostility directed my way) but I really enjoyed Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Everett, better known as E from Eels. You don't need to be a fan to enjoy it as it focuses mainly on his fucked up family. I loved its warmth, wit and honesty. (Mind you, what do I really know; it could all be lies!)

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Re: best books on indie

Post by indiansummer » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:51 am

that oral history of punk is ace

i never realised how careerist some of the 70s punks were... funny stuff
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Re: best books on indie

Post by tonieee » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:01 pm

Murray wrote:I also thoroughly enjoyed the American equivalent - Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil
That's the best book about music I've ever read. I think I'll have to check out the John Robb one.

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Re: best books on indie

Post by alongwaltz » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:14 pm

Murray wrote:It's not indie (although I've sneaked many of their short instrumentals onto mix-CDs without any hostility directed my way) but I really enjoyed Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Everett, better known as E from Eels. You don't need to be a fan to enjoy it as it focuses mainly on his fucked up family. I loved its warmth, wit and honesty. (Mind you, what do I really know; it could all be lies!)
That's the one that Pete Townshend said told him more about the music business than any book about Elvis or Bowie. I feel like that's all the recommendation you need.

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Re: best books on indie

Post by carney » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:23 pm

I should point out that in my calling John Robb a wally, that doesn't preclude him from being a nice man. He's just a bit too convinced of his own importance for my liking. Thinks that he defines the rules of punk. If you've got plenty of time to kill check out this thread on collective-zine http://www.collective-zine.co.uk/cboard ... -this.html You'll need to keep with it for a few pages.

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Re: best books on indie

Post by indiansummer » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:41 pm

i can't believe i read all of that.

wait, so someone pretended to be john robb and then denied it, then john robb sent an email saying that taking the piss out of him was faintly libellous?

ummm, i liked Stevie Chick's Sonic Youth book, getting back on topic
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Re: best books on indie

Post by linus » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:58 pm

carney wrote:He's just a bit too convinced of his own importance for my liking. Thinks that he defines the rules of punk.
That doesn't come across in the book, it's very even-handed and the range of interviewees means you get many different viewpoints

I think Gedge is only in there to big up the Membranes though

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Re: best books on indie

Post by indiansummer » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:48 pm

a few years ago my old band was playing an extra-poorly attended gig in whitby with goldblade

afterwards we sat off in the promoter's living room (the promoter crestfallen, thinking of the money he'd lost, and us somewhere between sympathy, guilt for not being a bigger draw and annoyance that it had been so shit)

we talked about fugazi for a long time and i asked about john's book about punk. he started talking about how he was going to write a book about the membranes. pete goldblade (briefly in the nightingales as well, 80s awkward fans) interjected "...which no fucker will buy!"

i imagine this is what evolved into the 'post-punk' book

dunno why i mentioned that, my best guess is a flawed attempt to look hep, with it or in the know. or something

"he's not a very good turn," mutters the crowd
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