Book Musik 019 – It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track by Ian Penman

It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track by Ian Penman CoverTosh and Kimley discuss It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track by Ian Penman. Penman is a well-established British music journalist who has been writing since the 70s. This book of some of his more recent longform essays covers the mod music scene of the 1960s and seven additional essays on music icons James Brown, Charlie Parker, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Fahey, Steely Dan/Donald Fagen and Prince. Penman digs deep and examines the broader cultural context of each of these amazing musicians. This is the book that every smart music junky craves.

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


Book Musik 16 – Bowie’s Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie’s Life by John O’Connell

Tosh and Kimley discuss Bowie’s Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie’s Life by John O’Connell. Any serious Bowie fan knows that Bowie was a voracious reader and the epitome of an autodidact. In 2013 the Victoria & Albert museum had a David Bowie exhibit and Bowie graced us with an additional memento which was this list of 100 books that changed his life. John O’Connell dissects each of these books and tries to surmise the specifics of influence and import to Bowie. It’s an impossible task but an amusing one that leads to further discussion on one of our favorite topics: David Bowie!

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

Book Musik 15 – Tony Conrad Writings

Tosh and Kimley discuss Tony Conrad Writings with special guest Andrew Lampert who co-edited the book with Constance DeJong. Conrad is primarily known for his work as a musician/composer, an experimental filmmaker and artist. He was a hugely influential key figure in the early minimalist music scene in New York in the 1960s. Wanting to explore other modes of creativity he then pushed up against the confines of the film-going experience with films like “The Flicker” and “Yellow Movies.” Always curious, always questioning, Conrad never ceased to be doing something new and unexpected. His Writings give us just one more wonderful chance to go down the rabbit hole with him.

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

Book Musik 14 – Wendy Carlos’s Switched-On Bach by Roshanak Kheshti

 

Tosh and Kimley discuss Wendy Carlos’s Switched-On Bach by Roshanak Kheshti from the 33 1/3 series. Switched-On Bach, an album of Bach compositions played on a Moog synthesizer, is one of the bestselling classical recordings of all time. In the 1960s Carlos worked with Robert Moog to further the synthesizer’s capabilities and with the 1968 release of Switched-On Bach she pioneered an entirely new way of making music. She also wrote powerful scores to several films including Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. And she was one of the first public figures to come out as transgender. She’s groundbreaking in both her professional and private life and yet she’s maintained an air of mystery and intrigue that we find very compelling.

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

Book Musik 13 – Scott Walker and the Song of the One-All-Alone by Scott Wilson

Tosh and Kimley discuss Scott Walker and the Song of the One-All-Alone by Scott Wilson. This will most likely be the smartest book you’ll ever read about a singer-songwriter/musician. But Scott Walker is probably also the smartest singer-songwriter/musician you’re ever likely to encounter. From his early pop idol days as a member of The Walker Brothers in the 1960s to his highly experimental solo albums, Scott Walker is someone who will always challenge and intrigue. Never one to hide his intellectual inclinations, his music has always had strong political and philosophical leanings. Scott Wilson doesn’t hesitate to dig deep into this genius’s work and the well never runs dry.

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

Book Musik 12 – Face It by Debbie Harry

Tosh and Kimley discuss Face It by Debbie Harry of Blondie fame, probably the most well-known band from the legendary 70s CBGB music scene in New York. Harry was hugely influential as one of the first women to lead a rock band and has spent most of her life hanging out with the denizens of the creative worlds of NYC. Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and Jean-Michel Basquiat are just a few of the intriguing people who show up in this memoir. She has some tales to tell but we were left with the nagging feeling that there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

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

Book Musik 11 – This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division: the Oral History by Jon Savage

Tosh and Kimley discuss This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division: the Oral History edited by Jon Savage. Joy Division seems to be the poster band for the doom and gloom of the industrial city of Manchester, England. This book is a lively telling of their relationship to the city and the development and twists and turns of a young band. Equally important are the key players who helped them along the way including the engaging entrepreneur Tony Wilson, the brilliant producer Martin Hannett and the iconic graphic designer Peter Saville.

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

Book Musik Episode 10 – Golden Hits of the Shangri-Las by Ada Wolin

Tosh and Kimley discuss Golden Hits of the Shangri-Las by Ada Wolin from the 33 1/3 series. The Shangri-Las were a teenage girl group of the 1960s with a reputation for coming from the mean streets of Queens, NY. Their world was bleak and things always ended badly in the melodrama of their biggest hits like “Leader of the Pack” and “Remember.” They had a huge influence on a diverse group of musicians from The NY Dolls and The Damned to Blondie and Alex Chilton. We venture down the path of their dark world.

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

Book Musik Episode 8: “A Voice of the Warm-The Life of Rod McKuen” by Barry Alfonso

 

Tosh and Kimley discuss A Voice of the Warm: The Life of Rod McKuen by Barry Alfonso. Rod McKuen was a bestselling poet (an oxymoron if ever there was one!) and singer-songwriter/recording artist. In the 1960s and 70s he was at the summit of the mainstream pop cultural zeitgeist. He was generally loathed by critics and the serious literary community and yet after discussing this book we have concluded that Rod McKuen is an essential cultural link to all that we hold dear.

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

Book Musik Episode 7: “Doctor Faustus” by Thomas Mann

Tosh & Kimley tackle a work of fiction on this episode – Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann. A twentieth-century, German composer (very loosely based on Arnold Schoenberg) makes a devilish deal. We get into the esoteric weeds on this one and focus on the themes of what it means to be an artist in society and why the work of an artist is so mysterious and mythologized. A little Nietzschean nihilism, some blood, sweat and tears and a backdrop of warfare drive this conversation. This book is far too deep for us to cover in full, but we have fun scratching a bit of the surface.

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