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The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Music

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Note: Despite several name changes, these are several editions of the same book. 1st Ed. (1983) published as The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records. 2nd Ed. (1985) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide. 3rd Ed. (1989) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide (Revised Edition). 4th Ed. (1991) published as The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide Note: Despite several name changes, these are several editions of the same book. 1st Ed. (1983) published as The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records. 2nd Ed. (1985) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide. 3rd Ed. (1989) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide (Revised Edition). 4th Ed. (1991) published as The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Music. 5th Ed. (1997) published as The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock. "The Trouser Press Record Guide" has been hailed by music fans and the record industry as "the bible" of nonmainstream rock, stretching across the stylistic boundaries of punk, grunge, indie-pop, techno, noise, avant-garde and ska into hip-hop, new country, metal, roots rocks, folk, modern dance and world music. All new and bigger than ever, "The Trouser Press Record Guide to '90's Rock" definitively covers 2,300 of this decade's most innovative and influential artists, reviewing 8,500 records -- insanely obscure and familiar alike -- from all over the world. Each insightful entry contains pungent critical analysis, biographical information and a complete album disography. Selected praise for "The Trouser Press Record Guide to '90's Rock" "My trustworthy fact checker, be-all-and-end-all arguement settler and the last word on modern rock. I don't go on the air without it." -- Gary Cee, WLIR-FM "Still the most comprehensive guide through the labryrinth of indie and alternative rock. WHen you need a refresher course on all of Steve Albini's bands, or if you just want to know what Boy George did after Cultrue Club, this is the book to grab." -- David Browne, "Entertainment Weekly"


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Note: Despite several name changes, these are several editions of the same book. 1st Ed. (1983) published as The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records. 2nd Ed. (1985) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide. 3rd Ed. (1989) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide (Revised Edition). 4th Ed. (1991) published as The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide Note: Despite several name changes, these are several editions of the same book. 1st Ed. (1983) published as The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records. 2nd Ed. (1985) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide. 3rd Ed. (1989) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide (Revised Edition). 4th Ed. (1991) published as The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Music. 5th Ed. (1997) published as The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock. "The Trouser Press Record Guide" has been hailed by music fans and the record industry as "the bible" of nonmainstream rock, stretching across the stylistic boundaries of punk, grunge, indie-pop, techno, noise, avant-garde and ska into hip-hop, new country, metal, roots rocks, folk, modern dance and world music. All new and bigger than ever, "The Trouser Press Record Guide to '90's Rock" definitively covers 2,300 of this decade's most innovative and influential artists, reviewing 8,500 records -- insanely obscure and familiar alike -- from all over the world. Each insightful entry contains pungent critical analysis, biographical information and a complete album disography. Selected praise for "The Trouser Press Record Guide to '90's Rock" "My trustworthy fact checker, be-all-and-end-all arguement settler and the last word on modern rock. I don't go on the air without it." -- Gary Cee, WLIR-FM "Still the most comprehensive guide through the labryrinth of indie and alternative rock. WHen you need a refresher course on all of Steve Albini's bands, or if you just want to know what Boy George did after Cultrue Club, this is the book to grab." -- David Browne, "Entertainment Weekly"

30 review for The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    *Sigh* My lesson number one in never giving away something until you have its replacement in hand. Hearing that Trouser Press was putting out a new edition of its alternative music guide, I gave this bad boy to a fine couple who were friends of mine, figuring it was about to become superfluous. Instead there followed "The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock," which turned out to build upon this book with more recent reviews (a sort of volume II), featuring little of the same information beyond some *Sigh* My lesson number one in never giving away something until you have its replacement in hand. Hearing that Trouser Press was putting out a new edition of its alternative music guide, I gave this bad boy to a fine couple who were friends of mine, figuring it was about to become superfluous. Instead there followed "The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock," which turned out to build upon this book with more recent reviews (a sort of volume II), featuring little of the same information beyond some band descriptions. SON OF A ... I couldn't very well ask for it back. I've never seen that book, nor any copy of this book, again. Anyway, it's a great guide, featuring some bands you've heard of, many no more than a handful of people have heard of, but writing good enough to justify the effort anyway.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    My mid-eighties copy of this book was so beat up from constant use that I had to replace it. The second dog-eared copy has miraculously survived coffee spills, margin notes, highlighting, rain, and more abuse than any book I have ever owned. The pinnacle of what a record guide should be; this book shaped who I am and what I like to listen to.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    ORIGINAL REVIEW - Read it cover to cover - provided the road-map to tour me into my various musical interests and steer me away from wastes of time. Wonderful! NEW REVIEW - I just spent the last year with this (as well as a compare/contrast with the Third Edition) as my bathroom reading, slowly working my way through it just as I had back in the mid-late 80's. Still a wonderful resource -I'll repurpose the majority of my review for the Third Edition, but add notes about how the Fourth Edition suf ORIGINAL REVIEW - Read it cover to cover - provided the road-map to tour me into my various musical interests and steer me away from wastes of time. Wonderful! NEW REVIEW - I just spent the last year with this (as well as a compare/contrast with the Third Edition) as my bathroom reading, slowly working my way through it just as I had back in the mid-late 80's. Still a wonderful resource -I'll repurpose the majority of my review for the Third Edition, but add notes about how the Fourth Edition suffers a little in comparison - with so much interesting critical thought, information (who produced what albums, etc.), and general accrued musical knowledge helping to inform the opinions. I'll skip the obligatory "dancing about architecture" line and instead comment that I realize that this book gave my young self a very solid handle on how to approach, view and *think* about music - even the genres and artists I could care less about - and thus helped me in being able to sort out my thoughts and feeling about the popular music of my times, without feeling the need to dump on or lionize the past to any great degree. From here, my next education in musical critical writing/thinking was probably THE WIRE, a British music mag still a decade in my future. The reviews are generally solid, even when you don't agree with them. The differences between this and the preceding edition are notable - gone are the entries for every obscure synthpop, punk, hardcore & new wave band, to be replaced by the still-burgeoning rockers of the "alternative" and "grunge" scenes (for good or ill), as well as more space made for rap/hip-hop (which some of the new reviewers seem to finally have a handle on, unlike the Third Edition) - and the weirder fringes of music begin to creep in, with entries for oddities like Zoviet France. Some of the dinosaurs from the 70s have been dropped as well. Even the writing about genres I don't care about (like, for example, punk and hardcore) proves interesting and thoughtful. There's less of a "sense of discovery" as well, though, as many of the oddball flash-in-the-pans and woulda-beens have been shoved out to make space. Still, all in all, a great resource with adult, critical approaches written *at the moment*, which often makes all the difference . The occasional scathing reviews or snide put-downs are usually laugh out loud funny. Supposedly, this is all available online nowadays, thank goodness for that. (Allmusic has nothing on these guys).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Martin Mulcahey

    Before there was such a thing as P2P music downloads and other ways of getting ear candy for free (hopefully just to listen before you buy the real CD from the artist you like) you had to rely on word of mouth or radio. Since radio did not play most of the great music listed here, take it from a Suicidal Tendencies/Thin Lizzy fan, this was the one way I KNEW the music I risked my money on was worth it. As far as guides go, this one surpasses them all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hank Stuever

    I suppose there's nothing in here that a Google search can't answer for you, but I still have the well-thumbed copy we shared in the Albuquerque Tribune's features/entertainment dept., and I plan on keeping it forever. I suppose there's nothing in here that a Google search can't answer for you, but I still have the well-thumbed copy we shared in the Albuquerque Tribune's features/entertainment dept., and I plan on keeping it forever.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    Dude, it's essential. Dude, it's essential.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pj Anderer

    In the glory days of music in the early 90's we had a lot of catching up to do. Every few weeks it seemed a new band would break through to the mainstream. Most of these bands were not new at all, and Trouser Press had been documenting the underground music for years in previous volumes of their Altentative Guide. Thus, when we heard a Soundgarden, Dinosaur Jr, or Soul Asylum on the radio we would rush off to learn their (sometimes long and sordid) full histories. Many times music collections we In the glory days of music in the early 90's we had a lot of catching up to do. Every few weeks it seemed a new band would break through to the mainstream. Most of these bands were not new at all, and Trouser Press had been documenting the underground music for years in previous volumes of their Altentative Guide. Thus, when we heard a Soundgarden, Dinosaur Jr, or Soul Asylum on the radio we would rush off to learn their (sometimes long and sordid) full histories. Many times music collections were expanded upon discovery of precursor albums listed in he suddenly indispensable Ultimate Guide. The guide is proudly alternative, so don't expect to find any entries for Pink Floyd or The Rolling Stones. Any more popular bands lucky enough to be covered get less focus and sometimes very unfavorable reviews. This can make for an interesting contrast to other music guides which almost are obligated to heap praise on influential bands such as those. Also entertaining was reading the various underground bands with long and detailed reviews that never did quite break through like their peers. Sometimes one would stumble upon these while searching the more popular bands. Alice in Chains, for example, is flanked by write-ups for Alice Donut and Alien Sex Fiend, who might have better names than the actual music they produced (you'll have to check the guide to find out). The fourth edition also is a pretty incredible moment captured in print for posterity. It is however, also limited by this fact as any music guide will be as music changes consistently. Nirvana is listed with only Bleach and he Blew EP. A short review highlights the retroactively popular songs from those releases and assigns the band high praise, but this only hints at their successes as Nevermind was just on the verge of being released in late 1991.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    This is ok, has a ton of info which I guess is cool... Yes its all on the internet now but it can be fun (?) to pick up this book and flip through it. A lot of the reviews are crazy though--which actually adds a new dimension of entertainment to the book if you're feeling generous. I mean, the Angry Samoans are "not funny" and "not clever"?? The first Stooges record is "moronic"??? HOWARD JONES IS THE "MARC BOLAN OF THE 80'S'"??? On second thought this book kind of sucks. This is ok, has a ton of info which I guess is cool... Yes its all on the internet now but it can be fun (?) to pick up this book and flip through it. A lot of the reviews are crazy though--which actually adds a new dimension of entertainment to the book if you're feeling generous. I mean, the Angry Samoans are "not funny" and "not clever"?? The first Stooges record is "moronic"??? HOWARD JONES IS THE "MARC BOLAN OF THE 80'S'"??? On second thought this book kind of sucks.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It's the book one read and made lists of records one wanted to buy before everything was on the internet. It is on the internet now. Sometimes, however, it is more efficient to pick up the book to check when such-and-such came out or if so-and-so was in what band, rather than go in the other room and turn on the computer. It's the book one read and made lists of records one wanted to buy before everything was on the internet. It is on the internet now. Sometimes, however, it is more efficient to pick up the book to check when such-and-such came out or if so-and-so was in what band, rather than go in the other room and turn on the computer.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marfield

    Very readable reference book. Unlike most record guides this one does not venerate blues influenced rock from the 70s. When describing amazing bands that don't play in traditional ways they don't waste their breath saying that the members don't know how to play or that they play on toy instruments (MAJOR PET PEEVE!), they get it and tell you how good the band is. Very readable reference book. Unlike most record guides this one does not venerate blues influenced rock from the 70s. When describing amazing bands that don't play in traditional ways they don't waste their breath saying that the members don't know how to play or that they play on toy instruments (MAJOR PET PEEVE!), they get it and tell you how good the band is.

  11. 5 out of 5

    christopher

    Portrait of a teenage music nerd: I spent many nights as a budding high school 'zinester, reading about the Buzzcocks and Minor Threat and Velvet Underground in the Trouser Press Record Guide. From my small town in Wisconsin, it was a window into the world of indie culture that wasn't always easy to learn about. This book turned me on to so much great music. Thank you, Ira Robbins! Portrait of a teenage music nerd: I spent many nights as a budding high school 'zinester, reading about the Buzzcocks and Minor Threat and Velvet Underground in the Trouser Press Record Guide. From my small town in Wisconsin, it was a window into the world of indie culture that wasn't always easy to learn about. This book turned me on to so much great music. Thank you, Ira Robbins!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Pretty much the bible as far as I'm concerned; record guides aren't really written this well anymore, and they especially don't have the TP's coverage. It's the rare guide that's actually good to sit down and read as opposed to merely using as a reference. Pretty much the bible as far as I'm concerned; record guides aren't really written this well anymore, and they especially don't have the TP's coverage. It's the rare guide that's actually good to sit down and read as opposed to merely using as a reference.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    The older version of my bible.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason Feinberg

    I learned more from this single book than every book i had ever read leading up to it. This shaped my musical knowledge and introduced me to 100s of awesome new bands. This was the Internet of books!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Baal Of

    I referenced this book hundreds of times over the years, especially when I was first really discovering my love for music.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tom U.

    The funnest way to discover music without headphones.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Hard to say I've "read" it, this encyclopedic guide to independent rock; but it is indispensible, and set the standard for music guides to follow. Hard to say I've "read" it, this encyclopedic guide to independent rock; but it is indispensible, and set the standard for music guides to follow.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Avis Black

    Note: The various editions of this book have somewhat different contents. Later versions have more material that earlier versions don't. Note: The various editions of this book have somewhat different contents. Later versions have more material that earlier versions don't.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    I *lived* this book in my twenties. It seriously informed my musical taste for quite some time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    CAC

    was a bible for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nate

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Gobna

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mama Coco's

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cosgrove Watt

  26. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  27. 5 out of 5

    David

  28. 4 out of 5

    Holi Bats

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dan Paquette

  30. 5 out of 5

    JHat

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