Monday, February 16, 2009
I grew up in rural New Hampshire. While it's by no means a cultural wasteland, it was a hard place for a lover of underground and electronic music to grow up. I could count on one hand the number of people I went to school with who even knew who Depeche Mode was, let alone actually liked them. Everyone else stuck to a pretty strict diet of classic rock. Needless to say, without some sort of 'mentor', it was tough for me to find new bands I might like, or to know about some important older bands I might have missed.
Thankfully, I had my Trouser Press Record Guide. I bought 3 different editions of it and each one ended up dog-eared and worn the hell out. The Trouser Press was a New York based music magazine from the 80's known mostly for their very opinionated record reviews mostly of alternative rock and new wave bands. I often disagreed with the reviews, but they were so well-written and enjoyable to read, that it didn't bother me at all. The Record Guide was basically an encyclopedia of those reviews, and actually lasted longer than the magazine itself did. At any rate, this thing was my bible throughout high school and college and filled my brain with more useless trivia and musical history than any music book I've owned before or since.
I mention this because all of the reviews from the guide are now online (and actually have been for many years now). Just point your browser over to http://www.trouserpress.com/reviews.php and enjoy! The book does cover a lot of electronic releases, but mostly it will be appealing to anyone who grew up in the 80's or even just has a fondness for the music of that period. And if you really find yourself enjoying it, copies pop up on Ebay fairly regularly.