For most people across the country, this has been a dreary summer. Where I live, we’ve had exactly one day where the temperature has reached 30 C. New York had its coldest June since 1958. And a recent web posting from an Accu-Weather meteorologist (http://bit.ly/pmkYy) cites more than 3,000 low-temperature records across North America in July.
This all explains why I’m off to Cuba tomorrow in search of some sun. I also need a week to catch up on my reading in preparation for the fall season of my radio show, The Ongoing History of New Music.
If you have some vacation time coming and you’re looking for a few books on music, here are a few suggestions:
Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music by Greg Milner (Faber and Faber): Not so much a history of recorded music, but a history of how we’ve tried to capture music perfectly. It’s filled with anecdotes and fun history. I learned a lot. My favourite music book of the year so far.
Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age by Steve Knopper (Faber and Faber): A breezy look at how the record industry was blindsided by Napster and everything that came after. Some excellent insight into various mistakes, miscalculations and “what if” scenarios.
Dirty Little Secrets of the Record Business: Why So Much Music You Hear Sucks by Hank Bordowitz (Chicago Review Press): An unabashedly biased look at the state of the American music industry. Bombastic in places and idealistic to the point of naïveté in others, but an interesting insider’s peek into the business.
Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music by Greg Kot (Scribner): Just like the title says: How the music consumer went from paying $17.99 for a CD to paying
nothing at all in just ten years.
Unleashed: The Story of Tool by Joel McIver (Omnibus Press) With Tool, it’s always been very difficult to separate the fact from the fiction and the truth from the mythology. McIver does his best with the first-ever biography of one of rock’s most enigmatic bands.
Woodstock Vision: The Spirit of a Generation by Elliott Landy (Backbeat Books): With the 40th anniversary of Woodstock coming up in three weeks, this reissued coffee table book is a nice piece of nostalgia.