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  • Books like Music to your Ears

    With International Music Day on October 1st ringing in the month, we’re celebrating with this hefty list of auto/biographies, novels, poetry collections, and even a few book/CD combos we’ve assembled for your reading – and listening – pleasure.

    All Books in this Collection

    Showing 1–16 of 27 results

    • A Love Supreme


      Omar Snow is a struggling musicologist trying to finish a book of jazz biographies about Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane. When he reaches the Coltrane section strange things start happening around him and to him. Coltrane’s music, or some other new urgency in Omar’s life, triggers a series of ecstatic visions that lead him down a path he never dreamed existed. A Love Supreme is a peculiarly charged disquisition on the relation between music, solitude, and romanticism. It not only remarks poignantly on where our culture has most recently been, but likewise hints at a new sensibility that may yet become the hallmark of the new century.

    • Battle of the Five Spot, The


      This is a new-format reprint of a successful jazz book documenting the debate over ground-breaking jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Coleman revolutionized jazz when he first started playing at The Five Spot in New York City in 1959. Lee investigates this time, considering both the changes within the art and within the society of the time.

    • Boring Girls


      A visceral story of friendship, music, and bloody revenge

      Rachel feels like she doesn’t fit in — until she finds heavy metal and meets Fern, a kindred spirit. The two form their own band, but the metal scene turns out to be no different than the misogynist world they want to change. Violent encounters escalate, and the friends decide there’s only one way forward . . .

      A bloodstained journey into the dark heart of the music industry, Boring Girls traces Rachel’s deadly coming of age, Fern at her side. As the madness deepens, their band’s success heightens, and their taste for revenge grows ravenous.

    • Burning Daylight


      Musical theatre meets poetry in Burning Daylight, a poetry collection and song cycle drawing together the Yukon Gold Rush of the early 20th century and the Arctic iron ore mining mega-projects of the modern day. Through a feminist lens, it examines dislocation, isolation, family and frailty, reflected in our relationship with the ever-changing northern landscape.

    • Edgar Gets Going


      As bass player for the ’80s one hit wonder, Rock Viper, Edgar Martin toured the world, had sex with groupies and made thousands of people deaf. But the band broke up years ago and Edgar’s now middle-aged, out of work and desperate for cash. His luck seems about to change however when his old manager calls and offers him a hot new gig. There’s just one thing — he band plays children’s music while dressed as giant forest creatures. Edgar would be the bee. Edgar swallows his pride and takes the gig. After all, it’s just one show. Little does he know he’s just taken the first step on a journey involving bribery, substance abuse, attempted murder and, of course, songs about squirrels.

    • Elvis Is King


      An explosive, groundbreaking album that crowned a new king of rock in just 33 minutes

      Before Elvis Costello was one of Rolling Stone’s greatest artists of all time, before he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was Declan P. McManus, an office drone with a dull suburban life and a side gig in a pub rock band. In 1976, under the guidance of legendary label Stiff Records, he transformed himself into the snarling, spectacled artist who defied the musical status quo to blaze the trail for a new kind of rock star with his debut album, My Aim Is True.

      In Elvis Is King, Richard Crouse examines how the man, the myth, and the music of this arrestingly original album smashed the trends of the era to bridge the gap between punk and rock ’n’ roll.

    • Evenings and Weekends


      Hamilton has always been known for its music scene. From blues singer Long John Baldry to punk rock groups like Teenage Head, musicians, and music have made their home here. But Andrew Baulcomb is charting a new group of performers in Evenings & Weekends. A generation of musicians that came of age with “renters and boomerang basement-dwellers,” those students who left university just as the bottom dropped out of the global economy.

      Baulcomb starts the story in 2006 when he was the senior arts editor at The Silhouette, McMaster’s student newspaper, and singer Max Kerman pressed him one of his first CDs. He ends it when Kerman took the stage at Supercrawl with the Arkells in 2014 before a crowd of thousands. But the Arkells are only one part of the vibrant music scene Baulcomb captures in this book. From innovative DJs to venue owners to radio hosts to punk rockers, he interviews them all and weaves the story of an explosion of music in Hamilton with that of a generation adrift. This is a coming-of-age story that puts a human face on the people who made music happen, and on those who listened to it.

    • Fallsy Downsies


      Winner of the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction

      Lansing Meadows has one last shot to get it right. With the clock ticking, he sets out on the road one last time, to sing his songs to anyone who’ll listen, and to try to right his wrongs, before it’s too late.

      Fallsy Downsies is a novel about aging, art, celebrity and modern Canadian culture, told through the lens of Lansing Meadows, the godfather of Canadian folk music; Evan Cornfield, the up and comer who idolizes him; and Dacey Brown, a young photographer who finds herself along for the ride.

    • Gods of the Hammer


      ‘Teenage Head changed the face of music in this country. I would not be who I am today without their first record … In 1979 they were the only band that mattered.’—Hugh Dillon

      In the late 1970s and early 1980s, no Canadian band rocked harder, louder or to more hardcore fans than Hamilton, Ontario’s own Teenage Head. Although usually lumped in the dubiously inevitable ‘punk rock’ category of the day, this high-Â?energy quartet Â?Â?consistingof four guys who’d known each other since high school Â?Â?were really only punk by association. In essence they were a full-Â?on, ballsÂ?-toÂ?-the-Â?wall, three-Â?chord, kick-Â?out-Â?the-Â?jams band that obliterated categories and labels with the sheer force of their sonic assault, and everywhere they played they converted the merely curious to the insanely devoted.

      And they almost became world famous. Almost. This is their story, told in full and for the first time, and by those who lived to tell the tale.

      Praise for Gods of the Hammer:

      ‘A riot of a good read on Teenage Head … the writing is fast-paced and lively, told from the laudatory perspective of a frustrated fan trying to explain why such a great band never got its due.’

      The Hamilton Spectator

      ‘I loved it! Wanted it to last forever! Geoff Pevere has done an ace portrait of all that isgreat and dirty in rock and roll.’—Bruce McDonald

      ‘Pevere’s is an on-the-ground fan’s account of how the band enamoured a country and how if just that one last, special piece fell into place – if they were managed better, if an American record deal came sooner, if guitarist Gord Lewis hadn’t been laid up for half a year at their very peak by a back-breaking car accident – songs like “Picture My Face” and “Let’s Shake” would be played before face-offs and stocked in jukeboxes from St. John’s to San Francisco. The Head were always just a centimetre away from super-stardom. To a generation of hip music fans, they’re as classic as The Cars, but instead of ubiquity, their story is a distinctly Canadian Almost Famous.’

      —Chart Attack

      Praise for Geoff Pevere:

      ‘After almost 30 years of writing about the movies, Geoff Pevere’s anti-establishment views are just as strong as ever, but now he wears them as comfortably as an old leather jacket. He has always been more interested in broadening people’s interests than in trying to narrow them. In an age with almost unlimited access to film, just one stream in an onrushing tide of media, this is daring. For the boy who once had to wait months to see Citizen Kane, however, it’s simply a gesture of generosity.’

      Toronto Screen Shot

    • I Was There the Night He Died


      I Was There the Night He Died

    • Jim Guthrie


      Jim Guthrie: Who Needs What tells the story of a musician whose twenty-year career has been spent either at the forefront of Canada’s indie rock renaissance or in the background of some of the most popular indie games, films, and ad campaigns of the past decade. Through interviews with Jim, his collaborators, and fans, this book explores how a self-described “Seabiscuit” earned a cult following and became a major influence to musicians at home and abroad-all without really having to leave his basement.

      “Music lovers are lucky to have Hood behind the wheel.”—The Bookshelf

    • Joni Mitchell


      When singer, musician, and broadcast journalist Malka Marom had the opportunity to interview Joni Mitchell in 1973, she was eager to reconnect with the performer she’d first met late one night in 1966 at a Yorkville coffeehouse. More conversations followed over the next four decades of friendship, and it was only after Joni and Malka completed their most recent recorded interview, in 2012, that Malka discovered the heart of their discussions: the creative process.

      In Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words, Joni and Malka follow this thread through seven decades of life and art, discussing the influence of Joni’s childhood, love and loss, playing dives and huge festivals, acclaim and criticism, poverty and affluence, glamorous triumphs and tragic mistakes . . .

      This riveting narrative, told in interviews, lyrics, paintings, and photographs, is shared in the hope of illuminating a timeless body of work and inspiring others.

    • Lives of the Poets (with Guitars)


      Lives of the Poets (with Guitars) picks up where Samuel Johnson left off nearly 250 years ago, collecting biographical and critical portraits of 13 of rock & roll, blues, folk, and alt-country’s most inimitable artists. These often irreverent essays offer a riotous, toe-tapping and original take on how each musician shaped their genre, while looking into their tumultuous lives.

    • Lyrics and Poems, 1997-2012


      Often cited as one of the finest contemporary lyricists, singer, songwriter and poet John K. Samson captures the essential images of contemporary life. Whether on the streets of his beloved and bewildering hometown of Winnipeg, an outpost in Antarctica, or a room in an Edward Hopper painting, he finds whimsy and elegance in the everyday, beauty and sorrow in the overlooked.

      This collection gathers together Samson’s writing, starting with his band The Weakerthans’ 1997 debut album Fallow, through Left and Leaving, Reconstruction Site, and the award-winning Reunion Tour. It also features lyrics from Samson’s newly released solo album, Provincial, and selected poems.

    • Maple Leaf Rag


      Maple Leaf Rag is a dynamic, jazz-infused riff on Canadian culture. With rhythm and edge, Kaie Kellough’s verbal soundscape explores belonging, dislocation and relocation, and national identity from a black Canadian perspective. This collection of poems is both written word and musical score-a dictated dub replete with references to African Canadian and African American culture (current and dated), Canadian history and politics, and characters ranging from dancers to piano players to boxers.

    • Minor Dedications


      Minor Dedications is the first collection of songs and poems of Montreal singer-song writer J.F. Robitaille. Brimming with the fullness of his language, these texts are interspersed with playful line drawings by Robitaille and responses to his lyrics by 11 contemporary photographers that illuminate the soulfulness of his verse in provocative ways. Together with a copy of Robitaille’s newest album Palace Blues that comes with the book, Minor Dedications will give fans and new listeners alike the opportunity to experience an orchestration of J.F. Robitaille’s artistry that affirms him as a master of desire with a perceptive eye and ear powerfully attuned to his generation.