4ad

FEATURES, REVIEWS AND BOOK-RELATED MATERIAL:

PRIMARILY DRIVEN BY POPULAR MUSIC, BUT ALSO WITHOUT CHORDS AND BEATS – LGBT, SPORT, COMEDY, FILM…

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My new book BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS OF HEARTACHE: HOW MUSIC CAME OUT is published on OCTOBER 13th 2016, by Constable, an imprint of Little, Brown.

It’s a comprehensive history – spanning a hundred years, starting in 1920s Harlem – of the queer pioneers of Popular Music with over 90 new interviews.

There have been essay-based books on this subject, but never a chronological narrative – so as with my 4AD book, there’s only likely to be one such book, so best to be as definitive as possible: hence it’s another brick of a book, at 540 pages.

Popular music’s gay DNA is inarguable: from Elvis in eye shadow to k.d. lang’s female Elvis; from Little Richard’s ‘Tutti Frutti’ to David Bowie’s bisexual alien; from Frankie Say ‘Relax’ to House music godfatherFrankie Knuckles; from Kurt Cobain in a dress to punk icon/couture model Beth Ditto, but most of the pioneers are forgotten, their bravery and risk-taking going widely unreported at the time – such as Baltimore’s lesbian rockabilly trio The Roc-A-Jets, from the 1950s. Or Britain’s gay glam – and new wave – band Handbag. There are numerous incredible, fascinating stories, that have never, or rarely, been told, certainly not in a book, and it’s a privilege to be able to tell them, and to uncover fantastic music.. I’ll be creating a Spotify playlist for the occasion.

The initial press release is here

 

And on the subject of books:.

FACING THE OTHER WAY - THE STORY OF 4AD

A 2013 MUSIC BOOK OF THE YEAR: NME • ROUGH TRADE SHOPS • SPIN • TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT • DAILY TELEGRAPH

4AD gets the lavish label history they deserveMOJO

The book is an exquisite reflection of 4AD itself – extravagant, atmospheric, and rich in texture and timbre’”    PITCHFORK”

“One of the greatest stories to emerge from rock and roll’s modern history” DROWNED IN SOUND

Available in hardback and paperback. The limited edition of a thousand copies, that splits the boo into two separate volumes, adds two CDs (4AD 1980s and 1990s, chosen and sequenced by the author) is sold out, though I have one remaining copy in my archives to sell if anyone is interested.

 

 


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  • Latest News

    AUGUST 2016
    TANYA DONELLY: My 4AD 'Foreword' feature on Tanya Donnelly, titled Rhode Island Odyssey, clocks her Throwing Muses/Breeders/Belly/solo incarnations, to celebrate the reformation of her band Belly

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    MAY 2016
    RADIOHEAD: The new album A Moon Shaped Pool is to be released in a bells-and-whistles box set this September: here are nine other Radiohead vinyl collectables, for The Vinyl Factory site.

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    MAY 2016
    MIRACLE LEGION: My lachrymose memories of the New Haven., Connecticut band, inspired by the band's forthcoming tour - their first shows in 20 years- for The Guardian (Cult Heroes section)

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    MARCH 2016
    JEFF BUCKLEY - "How Grace sparked the legend of Jeff Buckley and a problematic release legacy." My opinion piece on yet another posthumous record by the great Jeff Buckley can be found at The Vinyl Factory website.

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    JANUARY 2016
    DAVID BOWIE: THE MAN WHO CHANGED MY WORLD
    Not a great way to file the first post of 2016.. On the morning the news of David Bowie’s death broke, I was asked to write a piece on the artist I consider to have had the most impact, for the longest time, on my life. I’ve never had to write something whilst blubbing, and shocked to the core, but this is what came out – my tribute to the Man Who Changed My World.

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    SEPTEMBER 2015
    PATTI SMITH - MOJO COVER FEATURE
    With the 40th anniversary tour of Horses in full swing, I have interviewed Patti Smith, John Cale about producing Horses, and written a guide to all Smtih's albums for for MOJO's October 2015 issue. Unrelated to Horses, a 'How to Buy' guide to Cocteau Twins and interviews with rising Northern Irish singer-songwriter SOAK and Alice Cooper about his Hollywood Vampires project also have my name on it this month

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    JUNE 2015
    FINALLY, LIFE AFTER 4AD...
    On June 1st, Little Brown imprint Constable emailed a press release to the UK book trade:

    Andreas Campomar, publishing director at Constable (Little, Brown), has signed up Martin Aston for his book on the queer pioneers of popular music and how they helped change the world. Campomar bought World Rights from Matthew Hamilton at Aitken Alexander Associates. "HOW MUSIC CAME OUT" will be published in autumn 2016. See the News page for full details.

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    JUNE 2015
    VINYL FACTORY FEATURES - MAY/JUNE
    I have written a label profile on, yes, 4AD, based on my book, but also an 'Essential Guide' to Kate Bush for the website - www.thevinylfactory.com. Next up is a Flying Nun label profile.

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    MAY 2015
    RED HOUSE PAINTERS FEATURE
    Timed with the release of Red House Painters' box set (beautiful design, Chris), I have written an extended feature about the band's 4AD eraand about how they ended up there (via a demo that I happened to give the label...). The piece is up on 4AD's website now, under 'Sleevenotes'

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    SEPT 2015
    KATE BUSH TOP 50 SONGS - MOJO MAGAZINE
    In the October (no. 251) issue of MOJO, I've covered four Kate Bush songs for the Greatest 50 Songs feature, and interviewed singer-songwriter Adam Cohen on the Greek island of Hydra where his dad Leonard bought a house in 1960.

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    SEPT 2014
    END OF THE ROAD 2014
    I reviewed the End Of The Road festival for MOJO, where improv-leaning Brit-folk genius David Thomas Broughton (ably backed by the Juice Vocal Ensemble) is the shock Saturday night highlight that few people see as they're mostly winding down from The Flaming Lips' main-stage spectacular...

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    JUNE 2014
    JIMMY SOMERVILLE - ATTITUDE MAGAZINE
    I interviewed Jimmy Somerville for Attitude's July 2014 issue, on the 30th anniversary of Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy," one of the most striking, important and moving singles in all of British pop.

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    JULY 2014 FACING THE OTHER WAY - IN PAPERBACK
    The paperback edition of Facing The Other Way: The Story Of 4AD is published by HarperCollins imprint The Friday Project on July 17th in the UK (£12.99) and August 19th in the US ($19.99). Vaughan Oliver (v23) has revamped the artwork from the hardcover edition for this version.

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    APRIL 2014
    JEFF BUCKLEY - Q MAGAZINE
    My 3000-word 'oral history' of Jeff Buckley is part of a 17-page special in Q Magazine's June issue on the late singer, 20 years after his landmark album debut Grace.

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