Monday, March 5, 2012

A Look Ahead at the Rock & Roll and Horror Cinema Books of 2012

Here’s a quick look at some of the interesting upcoming books I plan to review here on Psychobabble throughout 2012. If you can’t wait to read my crazed assessments to check out these titles, you can pre-order them now with the Amazon links provided. Some of these are new editions of previously published books, so you may be able to score copies of certain titles today.

Brian Wilson (Icons of Pop Music) by Kirk Curnutt
Publication Date: April 30
Publisher’s Description:
Brian Wilson is a genius. Ever since British press agent Derek Taylor launched a publicity campaign with that theme to promote the landmark LP Pet Sounds in 1966, some variation of that claim has been obligatory when discussing the significance of the Beach Boys' founder and chief composer. Originally designed to liberate Wilson from his outmoded image as a purveyor of sun-and-surf teen pop so the symphonic sophistication of his music might be properly appreciated, the assertion has been repeated so often in the forty-plus years since as to render it virtually meaningless. Indeed, if anything, the label today seems an albatross around the man's neck, inasmuch as Wilson's slow-but-steady reemergence as a working musician since the mid-nineties after three decades of mental illness and drug abuse, has been freighted with expectations that he again produce something as epochal as "Good Vibrations" to justify the adoration he inspires in impassioned defenders.
Brian Wilson interrogates this and other paradigms that stymie critical appreciation of Wilson's work both with the Beach Boys and as a solo artist. This is the first study of Wilson to eschew chronology for a topical organization that allows discussion of lyrical themes and musical motifs outside of any prejudicial presumptions about their place in the trajectory of his career. The book emphasizes the often overlooked point that, despite his status as a "living legend," Brian Wilson does not always fit neatly into the paradigms of taste and value by which critics grant certain artists entry into the pantheon of pop and rock importance.

Authorship and the Films of David Lynch: Aesthetic Receptions in Contemporary Hollywood by Antony Todd

Publication Date: May 8
Publisher’s Description: This important new contribution to studies on authorship and film explores the ways in which shared and disputed opinions on aesthetic quality, originality, and authorial essence have shaped receptions of Lynch's films. It is also the first book to approach David Lynch as a figure composed through language, history, and text.
Tracing the development of Lynch's career from cult obscurity with Eraserhead, to star auteur through the release of Blue Velvet, and TV phenomenon Twin Peaks, Antony Todd examines how his idiosyncratic style introduced the term "Lynchian" to the colloquial speech of new Hollywood and helped establish Lynch as the leading light among contemporary American auteurs. Todd explores contemporary manners and attitudes for artistic reputation building, and the standards by which Lynch's reputation was dismantled following the release of Wild at Heart and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, only to be reassembled once more through films such as Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire. In its account of the experiences at play in the encounter between ephemera, text, and reader, this book reveals how authors function for pleasure in the modern filmgoer's everyday consumption of films.

Pink Floyd (New Edition) by Marcus Hearn

Publication Date: June 12
Publisher’s Description: Featuring over 150 iconic, rare and previously unpublished images of Pink Floyd, this book captures the legendary rock group at every stage of their epic career. From some of their first photo sessions in 1967 to their triumphant reunion at Live 8, this book is a unique chronicle of five enigmatic musicians, and their journey from experimental psychedelia to stadium pageantry.

Graphic Horror: Movie Monster Memories by John Edgar Browning

Publication Date: June 28
Publisher’s Description: Freddy, Jason, Frankenstein, and Dracula are just a few of the thrilling movie monsters in this illustrated, collectible reference guide. Monsters from major as well as minor horror films are brought back to life through domestic and international posters, movie stills, and publicity shots. Engaging commentary from leading horror fiction writers, editors, anthologists, and scholars accompany more than 400 movie posters and publicity stills from the early 20th century through to the present day. Not only will you revisit such iconic movies as The Shining, Child's Play, Halloween, Godzilla, and Jaws, to name just a few, you will also learn about the cultural and technological developments that have played a role in the history of the indelible movie monster. Whether you're a screenwriter, producer, director, actor, or just a fan, this reference guide is an invaluable resource about one of our greatest movie genres.

Punk Rock: An Oral History by John Robb

Publication Date: July 1
Publisher’s Description: Vibrant and volatile, the punk scene left an extraordinary legacy of music and cultural change, and this work talks to those who cultivated the movement, weaving together their accounts to create a raw and unprecedented oral history of punk in the United Kingdom. From the Clash, Crass, Henry Rollins, and John Lydon to the Sex Pistols, the Stranglers, and the Buzzcocks, this reference features more than 150 interviews that encapsulate the most thrilling wave of rock and roll pop culture ever seen. Ranging from its widely debated roots in the late 1960s to its enduring influence on modern bands, fashion, and culture, this history brings to life the energy and anarchy as no other book has done.

The Who by Marcus Hearn

Publication Date: July 10
Publisher’s Description: From the pub gigs of summer 1964 to the group's triumphant performance at Live 8 in summer 2005, this book traces the progress of The Who from sharp-suited mods to psychedelic stars and pioneers of the rock opera.
Following the band on the road and during the recording of numerous television shows, as well as stunning images of The Who's festival appearances at Monterey and the Isle of Wight, plus shots from performances at such diverse venues as the Marquee Club and Wembley Stadium. 

A Very Irregular Head: The Life of Syd Barrett by Rob Chapman

Publication Date: August 28
Publisher’s Description: In A Very Irregular Head, journalist Rob Chapman lifts the veil of secrecy that has surrounded the legend of Syd Barrett for nearly four decades, drawing on exclusive access to family, friends, archives, journals, letters, and artwork to create the definitive portrait of a brilliant and tragic artist. Besides capturing all the promise of Barrett’s youthful years, Chapman challenges the oft-held notion that Barrett was a hopelessly lost recluse in his later years, and creates a portrait of a true British eccentric who is rightfully placed within a rich literary lineage that stretches through Kenneth Graham, Hilaire Belloc, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, John Lennon, David Bowie, and on up to the pioneers of Britpop.
A tragic, affectionate, and compelling portrait of a singular artist, A Very Irregular Head will stand as the authoritative word on this very English genius for years to come.

Bowie: Rock n’ Roll with Me by Paolo Hewitt

Publication Date: Autumn 2012
Publisher’s Description:
  • Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Bowie's groundbreaking album The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders from Mars
  • Featuring every album cover reproduced at full vinyl record size, 12x12 inch, and previously unpublished photographs
  • Foreword by Robert Elms, with editorial consultancy by Kevin Cann, the world's leading authority on David Bowie
David Bowie is often referred to as 'pop's great chameleon'. In fact he is more like a house-of-fun mirror, reflecting what's in front of him, twisting it, enlarging it, turning the ordinary into something extraordinary. He is quite simply the most influential, enigmatic and interesting recording artist in modern music.
Since 1967, Bowie's 27 studio albums have both reflected and informed contemporary culture. From psychedelia and music hall, through glam, rock, pop, blue-eyed soul and electronica, there are few genres he hasn't played with and even fewer that he hasn't left his finger prints on. Year-zero punks, androgynous new romantics, suited soul boys, eye-lined goths, art-school experimentalists and Generation X grungers - most have, at some point, cited Bowie as an influence.
Examining every one of David Bowie's studio albums in fine detail, David Bowie: Rock 'n' Roll With Me includes commentary from those who worked on each record, including musicians, engineers and Bowie himself; contemporary reviews and interviews; every album cover reproduced at full vinyl record size, 12x12 inches; and a wealth of rare and previously unpublished photographs.
Published in 2012 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of David Bowie's breakthrough album, The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust, and ahead of the 2013 anniversary of his first UK number-one album, Aladdin Sane, the book is written by noted author Paolo Hewitt, with world-leading Bowie expert Kevin Cann as consultant editor. Opening with a foreword by broadcaster and writer Robert Elms, this book presents unrivalled authority and is the ultimate celebration of an incomparable catalogue of music. It is, in short, an essential addition to every Bowie fan's library.
Ordering info to follow…

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