Sunday, November 8, 2015

Scott Miller

Don’t All Thank Me At Once
The Lost Pop Genius Of Scott Miller
Brett Milano
125 Books

This is a masterpiece, no other way to say it. I hope to do this book justice because it is.  One of the best books I’ve read all year, to say the least.

Scott Miller never made a bad album. And that comes through Milano’s book too, and I should add that Scott’s book Music: What Happened has that same effect.  And the stories behind each album are fascinating, since their told by those who also loved Scott, both as a musician and as a person.

And with Scott as a person, he’s great, but there wasn’t just one side, the musical side, there was him as a person, what made him human, and what made him wonderful.

My personal favorite of Scott’s albums is Lolita Nation, so a little about it here, to give an example of what I’m talking about.  My first impression of it was Sergeant Pepper, for the way and lyrics made an indelible impression, but also that the record was a blast from start to finish, and also made you think. For example, “but when you know what it is you’re doing, then you despise it,,” a watchword that will stay with you.  The music was guitar rock, “power pop,” doesn’t seem to fit, and the twin leads suited the music., as did the big melodies, hooks and otherwise, that drove everything. And not just Scott, Donnette Thayer’s contributions are essential too, particularly “Look Away,” a favorite of mine period.

And all of what is written about here underscores the tragic turn things took. Suicide  is so hard to write about, but it must be, as that’s the ending, and also the starting point here. And as sad as it is, it’s also the right one, since it informs everything that goes before Scott’s final act.  He is missed so much, and on so many levels, everyday.

This book is informative for newcomers, a tonic for Scott fans, and a must read for music fans everywhere.  Everything, sad and happy, is handled with much grace,  and is one of the many reasons you won’t be able to put this book down.
Andrea Weiss

Three Reviews

Dry Food
Explosions In Sound

Catchy, noisy, acoustic indie-pop. Ellen Kempner, all of 21 years old, from Boston, writes and sings like Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis. Fans of that band, and others like them, will enjoy this album very much, as will people who can’t get enough wry-humored songs about breakups. I like both, so this album is a treat.

French Horn Rebellion
Fooling Around EP
Ensemble Records 

I’m not big on music solely intended to dance to, but I'll make an exception for French Horn Rebellion. This duo from Brooklyn rock, or at the very least strut their stuff around the dance floor. Their lyrics are meant to think to, and thinking of joyful things predominates here.  The album’s title may hint at silliness, but there is nothing silly about this band. This is the sound of pure exuberance. 

Secret In The Dark
Other Music Recordings

Monika has been through a breakup, and a sailing accident, both sung about here. It's part of what makes this singer from Greece much better than the usual mainstream pop: there’s a lightness to these songs, instead of the usual weighty take on such things, and a minimum of drama. In the end, it's quite enjoyable. This is music to think to as well as dance to, songs that mean something, instead of just partying and sex. 

Andrea Weiss


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