Rant ’n’ roll from D.C. musician/writer/broadcaster Svenonius (Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group, 2013, etc.), who’s not at all happy with the world as it is.
The author might (or might not) balk at the term, but there’s a certain Leninist streak in this screed: if the right-wing media is going to blast out its bilge, if Hollywood is going to churn out “imperialist apologia,” and artists continue with their head-in-the-sand escapism, well, then it’s time to start censoring them—and to hell with the First Amendment and its guarantees of self-expression, which “is a parlor trick, designed by the lords of capital, with extraordinary, insidious implications.” Svenonius doesn’t seem to be saying that it’s not cool to shout fire in a crowded Haymarket Square but instead that anything that doesn’t accommodate his idea of resistance is suspect—unless it can be explained by anomie, in which case the sort of bilious trolling seen in Facebook comments is OK, since it’s simply misguided resistance of a false-consciousness ilk. Sans-culotte fervor is all to the good, though this collection of scattered observations might come with a trigger warning for fans of the Grateful Dead and similar rock bands, responsible for the banishment of dancing from concerts by musicians “who insisted that their audiences sit obediently and consume drugs en masse whilst trapped in enormous arenas, raceways, pastures, and superdomes.” Throughout the book, the author delivers a healthy dose of NPR–is-a-cultural-imperialist and Wikipedia-is-the-antichrist sort of stuff. In advancing such theories, Svenonius gets off a lot of nice slogans and apothegms (“For the Beatles, perhaps sex and death are intertwined, as in so many of the world’s religions”), but it doesn’t go much further than that on the logical-development, sustained-argument front.
For the author’s fans and disaffected teenagers of vaguely leftist impulses.
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").