Heavy Rotation, an anthology of writers’ reflections on life-changing albums edited by Peter Terzian (aka my boyfriend), is getting some great reviews. The Village Voice published a full-page playlist/teaser on 15 June, in which Zach Baron confessed that it was “a relief to read music criticism that does not employ the word ‘skronk.'” On June 19, in L Magazine, Mike Conklin called Ben Kunkel’s contribution to the anthology “the definitive piece of writing about the Smiths.” And today, June 22, the website Modern Tonic asserted that Heavy Rotation “will top the ’25 Most Played’ list on the iPod of your mind.” See below for New York City events, which start with a reading at Cobble Hill’s Book Court tomorrow night.
Update, September 24: La New-Yorkaise wrote about Colm Toibin’s and Joshua Ferris’s contributions on June 23, and today the New York Times blog Paper Cuts publishes a playlist by Peter of his favorite memory-flavored songs. A few hours later: And the New York Observer takes note of the book and of the Bryant Park lunchtime reading-concert (see below for details).
Update, September 25: In The Onion‘s A.V. Club, Michaelangelo Matos writes:
John Jeremiah Sullivan’s essay on American Primitive Vol. II is tremendous: a travelogue about going to interview John Fahey—whose label, Revenant, issued the compilation—that spins out into deeper assessments about the meanings of American song. Todd Pruzan writes a beautiful account of a longstanding friendship with a New Zealand woman set to the soundtrack of the NZ film Topless Women Talk About Their Lives. Lisa Dierbeck presents a tough account of a teen life lived in the mirror image—even before the album appeared—of the tough first Pretenders album. Asali Solomon’s sharp firsthand account of racism in the Dominican Republic is set to a Gloria Estefan record. And Pankaj Mishra’s ode to ABBA’s Super Trouper is a snapshot of a rapidly modernizing India in the early ’80s, when the tape Mishra picked up at a marketplace became a totem of a new world to be—and not just inside the album’s grooves.
And at her blog Light Reading, Jenny Davidson calls Ben Kunkel’s essay “unmissably good” and calls John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “absolutely and divinely sublime.”