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Music

Unstrung

Unstrung

$24.95
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Iconoclastic guitar player Marc Ribot offers up essays and stories in this darkly funny and subversive debut collection.

"A slim yet powerful book in which Marc Ribot blends bits of memoir with strange little fictions, many of which are based on his own life and career."
--Wall Street Journal

"Ribot . . . produced a book that is much like his musical output: difficult to categorize but fascinating and engaging."
--Inside Hook

Throughout his genre-defying career as one of the most innovative musicians of our time, iconoclastic guitar player Marc Ribot has consistently defied expectation at every turn. Here, in his first collection of writing, we see that same uncompromising sensibility at work as he playfully interrogates our assumptions about music, life, and death. Through essays, short stories, and the occasional unfilmable film "mistreatment" that showcase the sheer range of his voice, Unstrung captures an artist whose versatility on the page rivals his dexterity onstage.

In the first section of the book, "Lies and Distortion," Ribot turns his attention to his instrument--"my relation to the guitar is one of struggle; I'm constantly forcing it to be something else"--and reflects on his influences (and friends) like Robert Quine (the Voidoids) and producer Hal Willner (Saturday Night Live), while delivering an impassioned plea on behalf of artists' rights. Elsewhere, we glimpse fragments of Ribot's life as a traveling musician--he captures both the monotony of touring as well as small moments of beauty and despair on the road. In the heart of the collection, "Sorry, We're Experiencing Technical Difficulties," Ribot offers wickedly humorous short stories that synthesize the best elements of the Russian absurdist tradition with the imaginative heft of George Saunders. Taken together, these stories and essays cement Ribot's position as one of the most dynamic and creative voices of our time.

Unti Bruce Dickinson

Unti Bruce Dickinson

$28.99
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"Originally published as What Does This Button Do? in the UK in 2017 by HarperCollinsPublishers"--Title page verso.
Unti Conversations with Stephen Sondheim

Unti Conversations with Stephen Sondheim

$20.99
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An intimate portrait of a genius: the late Stephen Sondheim in a series of illuminating and deeply personal interviews from the last years of his life--conversations that show the composer-lyricist as he has likely never been seen before.

In 2017, New Yorker staff writer D.T. Max began working on a major profile of Stephen Sondheim that would be timed to the eventual premiere of a new musical Sondheim was writing. Sadly, that process - and the years of conversation - was cut short by Sondheim's own hesitations, then the global pandemic, and finally by the great artist's death in November 2021.

Now, Max has taken the raw version of these conversations and knit them together into an unforgettable work of literature and celebration. Finale reveals Sondheim--a star who disliked the spotlight--at his most relaxed, thoughtful, sardonic, and engaging, as he talks about work, music, movies, family, New York City, aging, the creative process, and much more.

Max brings you into the room and gives you a front row seat for their unusual and intimate three-year-long "pas de deux." The two bond, spar, separate, and reunite, as Max elicits from Sondheim a candor and vulnerability he seldom displayed in public.

This is a unique portrait of an artist in his twilight, offering remarkable insight into the mind and heart of a genius whose work changed American musical theater and popular culture forever.

Untouchable

Untouchable

$20.00
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"The first deep-dive narrative by a veteran journalist covering the King of Pop's convoluted final years on earth . . . [Untouchable] helps cast Jackson in a new light."--Los Angeles Times

"A dishy Michael Jackson biography that makes the exhaustively covered King of Pop fascinating all over again."--People

"A tale of family, fame, lost childhood, and startling accusations never heard before."--ABC Nightline

Delivering exclusive information and a compelling psychological portrait, Untouchable is the story of Michael Jackson from his boy idol childhood to the final four-year odyssey of his tumultuous adult life. Beginning with his last departure from Neverland, Sullivan captures Jackson's final years shuttling around the world, and plans to recapture his wealth and reputation with a comeback album and planned series of fifty mega-concerts. Sullivan delves deep into Jackson's past, depicting a man both naive and deeply cunning, a devoted father whose parenting decisions created international outcry, a shrewd businessman whose failures nearly brought down a megacorporation, and an inveterate narcissist who desperately wanted a quiet, normal life. Sullivan has never-before-reported information about Jackson's business dealings, the pedophilia allegations that besmirched his reputation, and the fate of his billion-dollar-plus estate, and exclusive access to inner-circle figures including Jackson's former attorneys and managers. Untouchable is a remarkable portrait of the man who still reigns as King of Pop.

"Randall Sullivan more than tells the story of Michael Jackson--he relives it. . . . Sullivan leaves few stones unturned."--The Daily Beast

Untypical Girls

Untypical Girls

$29.95
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In an industry traditionally dominated by men, women in music have often had to shout to be heard. This book traces the sounds, attitudes, and looks of women who refused to be silenced. Starting in the punk and post-punk scenes in Britain and following the journey over the Atlantic to grunge and eventually Riot Grrrl, Untypical Girls is a celebration of all things female in independent music. Beautifully presented, this book features hundreds of previously unpublished photos of key personalities and bands including Primitives, Bratmobile, Kim Gordon, and Courtney Love. An introduction by Julie Cafritz of Pussy Galore completes the package. Because the future is female--but the past was, too.

Up Jumped the Devil

Up Jumped the Devil

$30.00
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  • The Penderyn 2020 Music Book Prize (UK edition)
  • Living Blues Critics Choice Best Blues Book of 2019
  • Living Blues Readers Choice Best Blues Book of 2019
  • Certificate of Merit in the Best Historical Research in Recorded Blues, Soul, Gospel, or R&B category from ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections)
  • An essential story of blues lore, black culture, and American music history

    Robert Johnson's recordings, made in 1936 and 1937, have profoundly influenced generations of singers, guitarists, and songwriters. Yet until now, his short life--he was murdered at the age of 27--has been poorly documented.

    Gayle Dean Wardlow has been interviewing people who knew Johnson since the early 1960s, and he was the person who discovered Johnson's death certificate in 1967. Bruce Conforth began his study of Johnson's life and music in 1970 and made it his mission to fill in what was still unknown about him. In this definitive biography, the two authors relied on every interview, resource, and document, much of it material no one has seen before.

    This is the first book about Johnson that documents his lifelong relationship with family and friends in Memphis, details his trip to New York, uncovers where and when his wife Virginia died and the impact this had on him, fully portrays the other women Johnson was involved with and tells exactly how and why he died and who gave him the poison that killed him.

    Up Jumped the Devil will astonish blues fans worldwide by painting a living, breathing portrait of a man who was heretofore little more than a legend.

    Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal

    Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal

    $18.95
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    The bestselling, vivid and energetic history of Van Halen's legendary early years featuring 230 original interviews -- including with former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and power players like Pete Angelus, Marshall Berle, Donn Landee, Ted Templeman, and Neil Zlozower "Fascinating (even for non-VH fans) ... A book almost anthropological in its level of detail." -- Vulture "It's the tale of hardworking kids with nothing in common learning to fuse pop and heavy metal into a new sound that completely changed the music world. It also vividly shows that the personality clashes that would later destroy the band were there from Day One." -- Rolling Stone "A fascinating read." -- Pasadena Star News "The book is fantastic." -- Ted Templeman, Grammy-winning music producer for Van Halen and David Lee Roth "If you've got it bad, got it bad, got it bad for Van Halen, get Van Halen Rising." -- Martha Quinn, original MTV VJ, Sirius XM host After years of playing gigs everywhere from suburban backyards to dive bars, Van Halen -- led by frontman extraordinaire David Lee Roth and guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen -- had the songs, the swagger, and the talent to turn the rock world on its ear. The quartet's classic 1978 debut, Van Halen, sold more than a million copies within months of release and rocketed the band to the stratosphere of rock success. On tour, Van Halen's high-energy show wowed audiences and prompted headlining acts like Black Sabbath to concede that they'd been blown off the stage. By the year's end, Van Halen had established themselves as superstars and reinvigorated heavy metal in the process. Combining exhaustive research and original interviews, Van Halen Rising reveals the untold story of how these rock legends made the unlikely journey from Pasadena, California, to the worldwide stage.
    Van Morrison in the 1970s

    Van Morrison in the 1970s

    $22.95
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    After the singularity of Astral Weeks in 1968, the 1970s were the formative years for the solo career of one of the acknowledged giants of modern music. Van Morrison was one of the music legends who defined the decade, with every album bringing out different aspects to Morrison's vast musical spectrum. His story in the 1970s is a chronicle of a Belfast artist coming to terms with the voice, the call, the dream of America. The decade saw Morrison work through the promise of the land of the blues and jazz, westerns and railroads, big cities and backwoods. It also saw his own spiritual quest and the reimagining of a nordic North European heritage and Caledonian Irish roots alongside the realisation of emigration and exile. Morrison forged a rich and complex artistic catalogue that continues down the years to the present day. Beginning with smash hit Moondance in 1970, his output in the decade continued through Tupelo Honey via Hard Nose the Highway to 1979's Into the Music. By the end of the 1970s, he was again using Europe to recast his music and imagination for another half century in the business, but throughout most of the decade his songs centred on America as he created the foundation of an unparalleled legacy.
    Vaudeville Melodies

    Vaudeville Melodies

    $27.50
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    If you enjoy popular music and culture today, you have vaudeville to thank. From the 1870s until the 1920s, vaudeville was the dominant context for popular entertainment in the United States, laying the groundwork for the music industry we know today.

    In Vaudeville Melodies, Nicholas Gebhardt introduces us to the performers, managers, and audiences who turned disjointed variety show acts into a phenomenally successful business. First introduced in the late nineteenth century, by 1915 vaudeville was being performed across the globe, incorporating thousands of performers from every branch of show business. Its astronomical success relied on a huge network of theatres, each part of a circuit and administered from centralized booking offices. Gebhardt shows us how vaudeville transformed relationships among performers, managers, and audiences, and argues that these changes affected popular music culture in ways we are still seeing today. Drawing on firsthand accounts, Gebhardt explores the practices by which vaudeville performers came to understand what it meant to entertain an audience, the conditions in which they worked, the institutions they relied upon, and the values they imagined were essential to their success.

    Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran the Swinging Sixties

    Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran the Swinging Sixties

    $28.99
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    Concentrating on the friendship between impresario Larry Parnes, Beatles manager Brian Epstein, and showbiz solicitor David Jacobs, the book details how they shaped the Swinging 60s, along with their associates including songwriter Lionel Bart (author of the hit musical Oliver!), record producer Joe Meek, Sir Joseph Lockwood (the head of EMI), Vicki Wickham (manager of Dusty Springfield and assistant producer on the influential TV show Ready Steady Go), and more. Drawing on rare and unpublished archive material, personal diaries, and new interviews from some of the survivors of that turbulent decade, The Velvia Mafia shows how--in the period leading up to the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality and the founding of the Gay Liberation movement--LGBT professionals in the music industry were working together, supporting each other, and changing history.
    Venetian Curiosities

    Venetian Curiosities

    $25.00
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    In a city as ancient as Venice, myths and legends passed down from generation to generation are the storehouse of a city's mores, emblems of its identity. In Venetian Curiosities, acclaimed novelist Donna Leon recounts some of Venice's most intriguing tales: an elephant brought in for Carnival wreaks havoc upon the city before seeking refuge in a church; the city employs prostitutes in an attempt to prevent homosexuality; innocent men are mistakenly condemned to death; a gambler bets the family palazzo. In an introduction and seven essays, Leon offers enchanting details and astute insights into Venetian customs of the past and present.

    Venetian Curiosities is beautifully illustrated, and like Handel's Bestiary, it comes with an accompanying CD. Here the music is by Antonio Vivaldi, with tracks for each section of the book, expertly recorded by Il Complesso Barocco. With the splendid music, the delightful images, and the perceptive, amusing words of Donna Leon, Venetian Curiosities is a harmonious exploration of one of the world's most beloved cities.

    Verdis Shakespeare

    Verdis Shakespeare

    $16.00
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    Look out for a new book from Garry Wills, What the Qur'an Meant, coming fall 2017.

    Riveting . . . a double-barreled salvo that hits two bull's-eyes. --The New York Times Book Review

    This dazzling study of the three operas that Giuseppe Verdi adapted from Shakespeare's plays takes readers on a wonderfully engaging journey through opera, music, literature, history, and the nature of genius. Verdi's Shakespeare explores the writing and staging of Macbetto (Macbeth), Otello (Othello), and Falstaff, operas by Verdi, an Italian composer who could not read a word of English but who adored Shakespeare. Delving into the fast-paced worlds of these men and the hands-on life of the stage that at once challenged them and gave flight to their brilliance, Wills, in his inimitable way, illuminates the birth of artistic creation.

    Verve

    Verve

    $75.00
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    Verve signed practically every major jazz artist of the 1950s and 1960s and is home to some of the greatest music ever recorded. Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, and Ella Fitzgerald all released records through Verve.

    This superb new volume presents some of the rarest records and unseen ephemera from the label that helped define the world of jazz. Hundreds of the best examples of iconic seven-inch, ten-inch, and twelve-inch records appear, along with publicity reports, news clippings, ledger books, telegrams, and contracts.

    The ultimate music guide, the book includes features on key artists as well as infographics and timelines that reveal the connections between leading artists and Verve. Looking beyond the music scene, the book discusses segregation in America, the missions to take jazz to Europe and the world, the clubs, the places, and the people who made jazz vital. Commentary from the biggest names in jazz today, including some of Verve's own artists, complements the text.
    Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself

    Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself

    $16.99
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    (Piano/Vocal/Guitar Artist Songbook). 18 pop-punk faves off the compilation album from the sexiest sneerer of the '80s: Catch My Fall * Cradle of Love * Dancing with Myself * Eyes Without a Face * Flesh for Fantasy * Hot in the City * L.A. Woman * Mony, Mony * Rebel Yell * Sweet Sixteen * White Wedding * and more.
    Vibrate Higher

    Vibrate Higher

    $27.00
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    LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY LITERARY PRIZE

    From one of the most lyrically gifted, socially conscious rappers of the past twenty years, Vibrate Higher is a firsthand account of hip-hop as a political force

    Before Talib Kweli became a world-renowned hip-hop artist, he was a Brooklyn kid who liked to cut class, spit rhymes, and wander the streets of Greenwich Village with a motley crew of artists, rappers, and DJs who found hip-hop more inspiring than their textbooks (much to the chagrin of the educator parents who had given their son an Afrocentric name in hope of securing for him a more traditional sense of pride and purpose). Kweli's was the first generation to grow up with hip-hop as established culture--a genre of music that has expanded to include its own pantheon of heroes, rich history and politics, and distinct worldview.

    Eventually, childhood friendships turned into collaborations, and Kweli gained notoriety as a rapper in his own right. From collaborating with some of hip-hop's greatest--including Mos Def, Common, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Kendrick Lamar--to selling books out of the oldest African-American bookstore in Brooklyn, ultimately leaving his record label, and taking control of his own recording career, Kweli tells the winding, always compelling story of the people and events that shaped his own life as well as the culture of hip-hop that informs American culture at large.

    Vibrate Higher illuminates Talib Kweli's upbringing and artistic success, but so too does it give life to hip-hop as a political force--one that galvanized the Movement for Black Lives and serves a continual channel for resistance against the rising tide of white nationalism.

    Video Slut

    Video Slut

    $16.00
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    When video killed the radio star, Sharon Oreck was calling the shots.

    Video Slut takes an irreverent look behind the scenes of the music-video industry during its eighties heyday. Oreck, one of the top producers of all time, bluffed her way into the business with no experience whatsoever and went on to produce more than six hundred video shoots with Madonna, Sting, Mick Jagger, Prince, and several members of the increasingly unstable Jackson family--not to mention a cadre of delinquent caterers, deranged interns, self-absorbed record executives, and malfeasant animal trainers.

    Oreck also shares the at turns hilarious, biting, and poignant story of her origins as a single teen mother, disowned by her middle-class parents, and of her journey from welfare to kung fu movie sets to film school. She approaches her own delinquency and that of the superstars she encountered with humor and candor. The result is an acerbic but sympathetic account of the outrageous effects of fame, power, and money on people in the entertainment business. No one is spared, especially herself.

    Vintage Guide to Classical Music

    Vintage Guide to Classical Music

    $18.95
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    This is the most readable and comprehensive guide to enjoying over five hundred years of classical music--from Gregorian chants, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Johannes Brahms, Igor Stravinsky, John Cage, and beyond.
    The Vintage Guide to Classical Music is a lively musical history and an insider's key to the personalities, epochs, and genres of the Western classical tradition: Among its features:
    chronologically arranged essays on nearly 100 composers, from Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377) to Aaron Copland (1900-1990), that combine biography with detailed analyses of the major works while assessing their role in the social, cultural, and political climate of their times
    informative sidebars that clarify broader topics such as melody, polyphony, atonality, and the impact of the early-music movement
    a glossary of musical terms, from capella to woodwinds
    a step-by-step guide to building a great classical music library
    Vinyl Countdown: Album from LP to iPod and Back Again

    Vinyl Countdown: Album from LP to iPod and Back Again

    $16.95
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    VINYL MAY BE FINAL NAIL IN CD'S COFFIN ran the headline in a Wired magazine article in October 2007.

    Ever since the arrival of the long--playing record in 1948, the album has acted as the soundtrack to our lives. Record collections--even on a CD or iPod-are personal treasures, revealing our loves, errors in judgment, and lapses in taste.

    In The Vinyl Countdown, Travis Elborough explores the way in which particular albums are deeply embedded in cultural history or so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible. While music itself has experienced several different movements over the past sixty years, the album has remained a constant. But the way we listen to music has changed in the last ten years. In the age of the iPod, when we can download an infinite number of single tracks instantaneously, does the concept of the album mean anything?

    Elborough moves chronologically through relevant periods, letting the story of the LP, certain genres, youth cults, and topics like sleeve designs, shops, drugs, and education unfurl as he goes along. The Vinyl Countdown is a brilliant piece of popular history, an idiosyncratic tribute to a much-loved part of our shared consciousness, and a celebration of the joy of records.