Book Bits (Blowout Edition)


It’s that time again… The Metro Times Blowout will take over the Library on Friday and Saturday nights. Attendees must purchase all weekend wrist bands for entry (info here)

We thought we’d follow the themes of live music, rock n roll, guitars and all of those inherently exciting, dangerous, glamorous and edgy elements by rocking-out some recommendations of our favorite music books!


Louder than hell : the definitive oral history of metal

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From Sabbath to Slipknot, Louder Than Hell is the definitive oral history of heavy metal, straight from the mouths of those who defined it. The book was crafted from more than four hundred interviews conducted over the past twenty-five years by music journalists Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman.


 Detroit rock city : the uncensored history of rock ‘n’ roll in America’s loudest city 

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Detroit Rock City is an oral history of Detroit and its music told by the people who were on the stage, in the clubs, the practice rooms, studios, and in the audience, blasting the music out and soaking it up, in every scene from 1967 to today.
From fabled axe men like Ted Nugent, Dick Wagner, and James Williamson jump to Jack White, to pop flashes Suzi Quatro and Andrew W.K., to proto punkers Brother Wayne Kramer and Iggy Pop, Detroit slices the rest of the land with way more than its share of the Rock Pie.


How music works

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How Music Works is David Byrne’s remarkable and buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about. In it he explores how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and he explains how the advent of recording technology in the twentieth century forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music.Acting as historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, he searches for patterns-and shows how those patterns have affected his own work over the years with Talking Heads and his many collaborators, from Brian Eno to Caetano Veloso. Byrne sees music as part of a larger, almost Darwinian pattern of adaptations and responses to its cultural and physical context.


Super-natural strategies for making a rock ‘n’ roll group 


Ian Svenonius’s experience as an underground rock musician – playing in such groups as The Make-Up and The Nation of Ulysses – gives him special insight on techniques for not only starting but also surviving a rock `n’ roll group. Now he has written an instructional guide, which doubles as a warning device, a philosophical text, an exercise in terror, an aerobics manual and a colouring book. This volume features essays on everything the would-be star should know to get started: Sex and Drugs, Sound, Group Photo, The Van and Manufacturing Nostalgia.

Out of the vinyl deeps : Ellen Willis on rock music



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An important essayist of her time who for decades channeled her thoughts on culture and politics, Willis (1941-2006) really began her career with music. Hired as the first popular music critic for The New Yorker in 1968, she wrote about Bob Dylan, Elvis, and Lou Reed. This work has been overshadowed because she focused on music mainly only in the 1970s, while her male contemporaries built a lifetime of commentary. But what clearly sets Willis apart is how she integrates her feelings into the essays. Many critics write as if their opinions are definitive interpretations; a personal connection to the music elevates her work and creates a touchstone to the moment of the music. 


Roots and blues : a celebration

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Through poems and poetic prose pieces, acclaimed children’s author Arnold Adoff celebrates that uniquely American form of music called the blues. In his signature “shaped speech” style, he creates a narrative of moments and joyous music, from the drums of the ancestors, the red dirt of the plantations, the current of the mighty Mississippi, and the shackles, blood, and tears of slavery. Each chop of the ax is a beat, each lash of the whip fashions another line on the musical staff. But each sound also creates the chords and harmonies that preserve the ancestors and their stories, and sustain life, faith, and hope into our own times.


 The fifth Beatle : the Brian Epstein story

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The Fifth Beatle is the untold true story of Brian Epstein, the visionary manager who discovered and guided the Beatles – from their gigs in a tiny cellar in Liverpool to unprecedented international stardom. Yet more than merely the story of “The Man Who Made the Beatles,” The Fifth Beatle is an uplifting, tragic, and ultimately inspirational human story about the struggle to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Brian himself died painfully lonely at the young age of thirty-two, having helped the Beatles prove through “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” that pop music could be an inspirational art form.


Wish you were here : an essential guide to your favorite music scenes–from punk to indie and everything in between 

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A snarky, fact-filled look at the people and places that made the indie/punk scene what it is today. The American underground music scene is exploding everywhere—not just in New York City and L.A. (although it’s got those cities covered too!)

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