Book Musik 035 – A Sound Mind discussion with author Paul Morley

"A Sound Mind" discussion with Paul MorleyTosh and Kimley are joined by writer Paul Morley to discuss his latest book A Sound Mind: How I Fell in Love with Classical Music (and Decided to Rewrite Its Entire History). Paul is a man after our own heart with wildly eclectic taste in music, an insatiable curiosity and a willingness to challenge his own assumptions. He is a well-established and highly respected pop/rock writer who’s been covering the scene since the 70s. In his 50s he realized that pop music wasn’t giving him the jolt it once did and decided to explore classical music. He discovered that its newness to himself made it as exciting if not more so than the latest pop phenomenon. It’s a fascinating adventure and the book is a passionate call to never stop expanding one’s horizons.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 034 – I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (33 1/3) by Ray Padgett

I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen by Ray Padgett

Tosh and Kimley discuss I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (33 1/3) by Ray Padgett. Tribute albums are often derided and tend to elicit a love/hate reaction. When done right, they can illuminate a song and boost an artist’s career as did this one for Leonard Cohen. Padgett looks into not only the specifics of this Leonard Cohen tribute album but the history of the genre in general and some of the key players like producer Hal Willner and frequent contributor Juliana Hatfield. When one great artist covers another great artist it can be sublime. Or it could make your ears bleed. Art is always a gamble…

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 033 – Recombo DNA-The Story of Devo or How the 60s Became the 80s by Kevin C. Smith

Recombo DNA-The Story of Devo or How the 60s Became the 80s by Kevin C. SmithTosh and Kimley discuss Recombo DNA-The Story of Devo or How the 60s Became the 80s by Kevin C. Smith. Smith takes a deep dive examining just what made Devo tick and twitch. From 1970 to 1979, he takes us through the background and influences of this Ohio band who experienced the Kent State shootings, discovered Dada, enjoyed manipulating the ideas of de-evolution, experimented with film and multimedia shows and ultimately became a band with top 40 appeal. They managed to find themselves in the company of the people best suited to further their cause from Toni Basil to Brian Eno to Neil Young. Talent and timing is everything.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 032 – Sweet Dreams: From Club Culture to Style Culture, the Story of the New Romantics by Dylan Jones

 "Sweet Dreams: From Club Culture to Style Culture, the Story of the New Romantics" by Dylan JonesTosh and Kimley discuss Sweet Dreams: From Club Culture to Style Culture, the Story of the New Romantics by Dylan Jones. The 80s are back! Whether or not this makes you cringe, it was nevertheless an interesting era of Thatcherism, gender fluidity, rampant consumerism, and a hugely creative group of young people looking to conquer the world. This book goes well beyond the superficial veneer of the big hair, the big shoulder pads, and the hyper-stylized MTV videos. Jones gives us a seriously in-depth look at the nucleus of the scene in England as well as contextualizing it in the broader social and political sphere, not just in England but throughout the world. No haircut is left unexamined!

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 031 – Suicide’s Suicide (33 1/3) by Andi Coulter

Suicide's Suicide 33 1/3 book coverTosh and Kimley discuss Suicide’s Suicide by Andi Coulter from the 33 1/3 series. Suicide was a band comprised of Alan Vega on vocals and Martin Rev as the sole multi-instrumentalist. Spawned from the wreckage of 1970s New York, the band never seemed to find a wide audience but those in the know who were lucky enough to have seen them perform live were the participants in a show that surely would not be forgotten. Typically described as an assault to the senses with a strong vibe of imminent violence, most people didn’t quite know what to make of them. But as so often happens with cult artists, their influence casts a wide net and continues to do so to this day.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 030 – Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music by Alex Ross

Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music by Alex Ross Cover graphic

Tosh and Kimley discuss Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music by Alex Ross. A famous quip goes “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.” Whether you find Wagner’s music to be sublime or bombastic, this is an essential read. It is not a biography or an examination of his music but, more interestingly, it’s a very deep dive into the enormous cultural and political influence Richard Wagner has had on his contemporaries and everyone since, from writers to painters, dancers, philosophers, politicians, and filmmakers. The diversity of those who’ve come under the spell of Wagnerism is beyond compare. And this is despite Wagner’s well-known antisemitism and association with Hitler and the Nazi regime. Cancel culture hasn’t quite figured out what to do with Wagner but Ross leaves no stone unturned in this enormous and hugely satisfying read.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 029 – Judy Garland’s Judy at Carnegie Hall (33 1/3) by Manuel Betancourt

Judy Garland's Judy at Carnegie Hall 33 1/3 bookTosh and Kimley discuss Judy Garland’s Judy at Carnegie Hall by Manuel Betancourt from the 33 1/3 series. This live double album was a milestone in pop-culture history. Recorded in 1961, the album is an homage to the American songbook, was on the Billboard charts for over 70 weeks, won four Grammy Awards and has never been out of print. It was a highwater mark both in terms of Garland’s career and as part of the cultural and sociological zeitgeist of the 60s. Garland looms large as an old-Hollywood film icon and as one of the most celebrated gay icons. Her life was full of tragedy and triumph and this album is undoubtedly at the pinnacle of her many triumphs.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 028 – Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation of Power Pop by Paul Myers and S. W. Lauden

"Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation of Power Pop" CoverTosh and Kimley discuss Go All the Way: A Literary Appreciation of Power Pop by Paul Myers and S. W. Lauden. This compilation of short essays by a wide range of writers (including Michael Chabon and Allison Anders among others) explores the minutiae of what constitutes power pop exactly, whether or not it is even desirable to be lumped into this subgenre and which bands are considered power pop, with bands like Bad Finger, The Raspberries, Big Star, and Cheap Trick generally being considered the prototypes. Despite its effervescent appeal, fans of power pop are deadly serious about its nuances. Both celebrated and maligned, power pop is a nebulous genre and after reading this book things still seem murky to us. But like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart pronounced in an attempt to define porn, we know it when we see it!

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 027 – Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Frantz

Remain in Love by Chris FrantzTosh and Kimley discuss Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Frantz. Frantz is a founding member of Talking Heads and as the drummer he was half of the rhythm section along with his wife Tina Weymouth on bass. They were at the epicenter of the infamous CBGB scene in 1970s New York along with The Ramones, Television, Blondie, and Patti Smith to name just a few. They broke fresh creative ground on what a rock band could be – quirky, geeky, arty, possibly too smart for their own good and oddly clean-cut but with a twist. Lester Bangs famously said they were so uncool that they were cool. Frantz adds his firsthand perspective on a time in rock ‘n’ roll history of which we can never get enough.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17


Book Musik 026 – Niche: A Memoir in Pastiche by Momus

Niche: A Memoir in Pastiche by Momus coverTosh and Kimley discuss Niche: A Memoir in Pastiche by Momus. Nick Currie who performs under the name Momus (the Greek god of satire and mockery) has enlisted no less than 217 dead narrators of questionable reliability to tell his life story. His selection of an eclectic mix of writers, artists, musicians, philosophers, and assorted ne’er-do-wells probably tells us more about Momus than the actual narration. It seems both his work and his life borrow a little from this and steal a little from that and he makes sure to pilfer from only the best sources to create his own unique pastiche.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17