July 14, 2011
Pitchfork picks "How to Wreck a Nice Beach" as one of its "60 Favorite Music Books"
by Kelly Burdick
We are pleased as punch that the music website Pitchfork selected Dave Tompkins’ How to Wreck a Nice Beach (which we co-published with Stop Smiling) as one of its “60 Favorite Music Books” of all time. About the book, Pitchfork reviewer Nate Patrin notes:
Between the evocative side-tours into parallel pop-culture lines and a tendency to take unexpected turns into astounding field-reporter digressions (“The last time I saw Donnie Wahlberg, he was missing his eyebrows, shivering in his underwear in Bruce Willis’ bathroom after escaping from a mental institution…”), the book provides a background of the electronic voice in pop music that fractures technological, political, and musical lore into strange, rambling shards of moments in time. The musical lineage from A Clockwork Orange to Kraftwerk and beyond is given due attention– as is the vocoder’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis and Nixon’s White House– but what could have been the simple, dry R&D-to-R&B story of a scientific advancement turns out to be a giddy, irreverent, and somewhat arcane look into a technology that didn’t so much evolve as mutate.
Kelly Burdick is the former executive editor of Melville House.