It’s September, time to say goodbye to your Tevas and tank tops and hit the books. We asked a handful of artists releasing music this Fall to find out what’s on their reading list. Here, Matt Mondanile of Real Estate and Ducktails gives us his top picks.
Marquee Moon by Bryan Waterman
This is one of those 33 1/3 books. Waterman thoroughly explains the NYC art punk scene focusing on Television and Patti Smith, etc. Marquee Moon is one of the most important rock records ever made and the simplicity from which it arose is described. I love books about that era of CBGBs New York, but this one really dives deep into Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine’s relationship. I love the idea of Richard Hell and Verlaine sneaking away from their parents’ houses and then buying cheap Jazzmasters in the Lower East Side by Bowery. Pretty sick book and Bryan Waterman is a professor at NYU.
Retromania by Simon Reynolds
My good friend Emilie Friedlander (Visitation Rites/Altered Zones) informed me that this book is on her syllabus in her NYU journalism masters program. That kinda threw me off guard. It reads like a dumbed-down history of memory and music focusing on made-up genres like chillwave, glo-fi, etc. He covers certain topics like “rock reunion tours” and “classic album tours,” record collecting in the age of cheap digital copies, the rise of “curators” specializing in all byways of pop music and other art forms, and the fact that this retro consciousness actually manifested itself in Japan in the 1980s before its full rise to prominence in Europe and the Americas. It also groups a bunch of my friends’ bands into one category. Academic music students will finally read about The Skaters (James Ferraro, Spencer Clark) and Ariel Pink for the first time and equate Ghostbusters as some sort of god-like ritual i.e. David Keenan “Hypnagogic Pop.”
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
This book was made into a movie starring Bill Murray in 1985, the same year Ghostbusters was released. I’ve heard a rumor that Bill Murray only agreed to do Ghostbusters if they agreed to fund The Razor’s Edge. The book tells the story of Larry Darrell, an American pilot traumatized by his experiences in World War I, who sets off in search of some transcendent meaning in his life. The novel is supposed to be based on the life of Guy Hague, an American mining engineer. This is a pretty sick book for anyone that loves to travel or is in search of something. I hope one day I can be like Bill Murray in India chilling out hard.
The Man in the Ceiling by Jules Feiffer
This is my favorite book ever, especially when I was a kid. I daydreamed all throughout school and drew cartoons. I really wanted to be a cartoonist, but then I took drum lessons in the 3rd or 4th grade, and my passion switched to music. If you are a dreamer, read this book!