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Gang of Four's Entertainment! (33 1/3) and Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville (33 1/3)
Join us as we celebrate two new releases in the excellent 33 1/3 series: Kevin Dettmar's new book Gang Of Four's Entertainment! and Gina Arnold's new book Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville.
*NOTE: Dave Allen was originally scheduled to appear at this event, but due to an unfortunate family circumstance, Dave will no longer be able to appear. We apologize for any inconvenience.
About Gang of Four's Entertainment!
Following hard on the explosion of British punk, in 1979 Gang of Four produced post-punk’s smartest record, Entertainment! For the first time, a band wedded punk’s angry energy to funk’s propulsive beats—and used that music to put across lyrics that brought a heady mixture of Marxist theory and situationism to exposing the cultural politics of everyday life.
But for an American college student from the suburbs—and, one expects, for many, many others, including British youth—Jon King’s and Andy Gill’s mumbled lyrics were often all but unintelligible. Political rock ‘n’ roll is always something of an oxymoron: rock audiences by and large don’t tune in to be lectured to. But what can it mean that a band that made pop songs as political theory actively resisted making that theory legible?
About Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville:
Although Exile in Guyville was celebrated as one of the year's top records by Spin and the New York Times, it was also, to some, an abomination: a mockery of the Rolling Stones' most revered record and a rare glimpse into the psyche of a shrewd, independent, strong young woman. For these crimes, Liz Phair was run out of her hometown of Chicago, enduring a flame war perpetrated by writers who accused her of being boring, inauthentic, and even a poor musician.
With Exile in Guyville, Phair spoke for all the girls who loved the world of indie rock but felt deeply unwelcome there. Like all great works of art, Exile was a harbinger of the shape of things to come: Phair may have undermined the male ego, but she also unleashed a new female one. For the sake of all the female artists who have benefited from her work—from Sleater-Kinney to Lana Del Rey and back again—it's high time we go back to Guyville.
"Arnold is a wonderful writer: fearless, precise, full of doubt, never taking anything for granted" --Greil Marcus in The Believer
"I found this book to be, like Ms. Phair’s album, charming and brave and unexpectedly moving. The author is excellent on so many things, including how the power of Ms. Phair’s songs grows from their grainy details, quotidian observations that other rockers so rarely give us." --The New York Times
About the series:
33 1/3 is a series of short books about popular music, focusing on individual albums by a variety of artists from James Brown to the Beastie Boys and from Celine Dion to Neutral Milk Hotel. Launched in 2003, the series will publish its 100th book in 2014 and has been widely acclaimed and loved by fans, musicians and scholars.
Kevin J. H. Dettmar is W. M. Keck Professor of English at Pomona College. He is the editor of "The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan," and co-editor of "Reading Rock & Roll: Authenticity, Appropriation, Aesthetics."
Gina Arnold is an author, journalist, and professor of writing. Her past books, “Route 666: On the Road To Nirvana” and “Kiss This: Punk in the Present Tense,” chronicled the rise of grunge and indie rock. She is currently working on a book about rock crowds and power.