Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Music (and a music heavy book!) Tuesday!

Just a quick plug for the MTV Books blog... I blogged there yesterday about the new projects I've been working on, so if you want the insider info on those, check it out here.

It's New Music Tuesday. I gotta admit, mostly I'm listening to old stuff again because I'm getting all psyched up for my Seattle trip, so bring on the Nirvana, Screaming Trees, Alice In Chains, The Gits, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney. It seems every year as the trip approaches I get particularly obsessed with one of those bands. The first year I went it was Nirvana, seeing as I was going there to remember Kurt Cobain. Last year it was Alice In Chains, the year before that was The Gits, and the year before that it was Screaming Trees. This year I'm thinking it might be Mudhoney. I broke out my reissue of Superfuzz Big Muff while I was cleaning on Sunday and got super into it. But I've also been on a Soundgarden kick lately. I haven't listened to them in a long long time, so that could be the one...

I did make one major new music discovery that I am *obsessed* with though. The Maybenauts. Yes, they were last week's Women Who Rock Wednesday feature, though has anyone read that yet? Because there are like no contest entries and trust me... you want to win this band's music. I'm giving you guys an extra week to enter because you need to hear this band. So go listen to them on either MySpace or Facebook and then go enter the contest. I don't really know how to describe them, my best approximation would be Yeah Yeah Yeahs meets Veruca Salt. I think I'm especially excited about them because they are a local band and I love love love discovering local bands that are awesome because that means I get a chance to see them live and The Maybenauts are amazing live! I just saw them at this Girls Out of the Garage showcase and as much as I enjoyed the whole thing, they were the best band there. The energy they have on stage is incredible. I love it when you can feel the passion a band has for their music and I could definitely feel it. I also like fun audience interaction and there was a ton of that. Plus the guitarist came onstage looking like an astronaut Panda. Pretty freakin' cool. Seriously, I can't say enough good things about this band, so check them out and see them live if you can.

Oh and speaking of girls who rock, I have to share one music-related thing that made me so happy this weekend. I took my 12 year old pseudo-niece (daughter of a friend, she's like the daughter I'll never have... well most likely... we're undecided abt kids but leaning towards no, unless we can clone this kid) to Guitar Center for the first time. I used to sit in Guitar Center with my evil ex boyfriend in high school and it was usually a totally annoying experience (let me see how many guitars I can play the same Nirvana song on... hey, did you notice how close this one chord progression in Smells Like Teen Spirit is to More Than A Feeling? Let me demonstrate. Let me demonstrate with special effects pedals. Even though I didn't need the demonstration because I'd noticed that a long ass time ago. yeah, lame), but with Tessa it was the most delightful thing ever. Just watching her moon over all the instruments. Of course she fell in love with a thousand dollar Martin acoustic guitar. Yes, I need to sell a lot of books so I can buy it for and help her on her path to guitar goddess. I can't help it, I totally want to spoil this kid. And I'm just so excited that she loves playing guitar!

Okay, pseudo-aunt/mom moment done, back to the sharing of new things that I'm excited about. This isn't a band, but it is filled with music--references to Irish punk to be precise, which is a genre I love and have not seen written about. It's totally evil of me to talk about this book now because I lucked out and got an advance review copy so that I can do an "interview" with the main character in the future and the rest of you won't be able to get your hands on it til May (on the 4th to be precise), but I'm not doing this to torture you. I'm doing you a favor because you need to pre-order SHADE by Jeri Smith-Ready right. freakin' now. I'm serious. Here's a link, go click pre-order. If you read my blog because you are a fan of my books, then you will love this one. If you read my blog because you are interested in books with punk character or about music, you will love this one. Okay, I'll shut up and give you the basics:

This is the summary of the book from Jeri's website:

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.
Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan’s violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.
It doesn't help that Aura’s new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart…and clues to the secret of the Shift.

Okay, back to my ravings about how awesome this is. (I warn you, I suck at reviewing books, I tend to just freak out. I talked about this a little bit and why I blog about more personal subjects over at Harmony Book Reviews on Sunday, and you can find that here in case you interested.)

I read the first fifty pages and practically hyperventilated. Cool, kick ass punk rock girl plus supernatural elements plus complicated romantic relationship with hot punk boy. This was the book I wanted to read when I was in high school. Where was it? Okay, so it's 15 years late, but at least it is finally here. And I honestly believe only Jeri Smith-Ready could have written it. She knows her shit and the way she weaves a tale is brilliant from the language to the twist and turns in the plot. I bow down. I totally bow down.

After reading the first fifty pages, I emailed Jeri and said something along the lines of OMFG this is brilliant!!!! If this doesn't debut on the NYT Bestseller list then something is fucking wrong with the world. (So, ahem, help it debut there by pre-ordering it, and make the world feel like a better place for punk girls everywhere.)

I read the rest of the book in one sitting. I stayed up way past my bedtime. I could not put it down. Umm.. when does the next one come out, Jeri???

Seriously, what I love most about this book is that the main character Aura is a very real girl and she's not a wimp. I know a lot of people love Twilight and I'm not one to slag books because I know the hard work that goes into them and I know how much it means to find that book that you love so much. But I have to say, I felt like Bella is a wimp. She's very subservient to all of the men in her life and that bothers me, especially since some of Edward's actions reminded me *a lot* of my abusive high school boyfriend. That's all I'm gonna say because to each their own, but I crave books with *real* girl characters, those who are strong, who try to figure things out on their own, who don't depend solely on men, who have their own separate identities from their lovers, etc. Basically I want my pseudo-niece and all the girls out there to have good role models. And I think Aura is one. And her story still has romance, she still has heartbreaking choices to make. And the book has an excellent soundtrack. Seriously, it makes you want to break out Flogging Molly and the Pogues and The Dropkick Murphys and the Tossers.... hmmm I hope Jeri can squeeze a Tossers reference into the sequel since I took her to see them in Chicago.

Anyway, amazing book. Like I said, I suck at reviewing, but I hope you'll still buy it because, to throw one more big statement out there, I have a feeling that this series is going to be up there with my other two favorite "children's" book (meaning YA and MG) series: Harry Potter and the Wicked Lovely series. Yes, I totally meant that. *cough* pre-order it *cough*


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Oh, how I love Jeri and her books. This one really is awesome. I was very lucky to get a shot to read quite a bit ago. I'm so buying a copy. It's amazing for sure.


Punk Rock Girl said...

I must read this book. Celtic punk is one of my major loves.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Lauren, Jeri definitely rules doesn't she :)

And Kate, yes, get it, you will enjoy it!

Liviania said...

I am so jealous right now. And yay for Irish punk - great for morning drives, great for dancing, great for providing hoodies meant for Boston rather than Texas which are thus warm enough to be worn outside in the depths of winter.

And I don't know how many people I've convinced to read WICKED GAME just by showing them the playlist.

Michael said...

Mudhoney Rules! I really like their album March To Fuzz which has a lot of their b-sides and covers. They do great covers of Black Flag, Adolescents, etc. Their cover of Hate The Police blows me away every time though.
I could never really get into Soundgarden or Pearl Jam though. I like Alice in Chains for their metal tinged stuff, and Nirvana and Mudhoney for their heavy punk influence, but Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder never hit me like the others do (but I don't mean to bash bands you love).

Irish Punk is great! If you haven't heard them (though I wouldn't be surprised if you had), there is an AMAZING celtic punk band from Chicago called Flatfoot 56. They put on a great show. I'm seeing Dropkick Murphys in a month too which will be a great way to get in the mood for St. Patricks

I've personally been having a big Ska-Punk kick the last few days with Op Ivy and Suicide Machines on my ipod the most.
This book sounds good though. I think my girlfriend in particular would really like it.

Jeri said...

Steph, thank you! It means soooo much to me that an amazing author like you loves the book. And you're right, I need to put a Tossers reference in SHIFT (which comes out May 2011, since you asked).

Lauren, you are NOT buying a copy of SHADE (unless it's for a friend ;-)! I'll send you one of my author copies, since you were kind enough to beta-read it for me early on. I can't wait to see what you think of the new ending.

Kelly said...

I'm going through blogs on the IL SCBWI listserve and found yours! Love the rockin' look of your blog!
I have Tune for Tuesdays on my blog sometimes!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Liviania, You will love Shade, I know it! And yes Irish punk is perfect for early morning drives.

Michael, I don't like Pearl Jam at all. Growing up during the time those bands all came out, it seemed you were either a PJ person or a Nirvana person and I was Nirvana. PJ is too... 70s or something and I don't like Eddie Vedder's voice at all. I really like Chris Cornell's voice, that is what makes Soundgarden for me, though I prefer their early pre-major label stuff which was a lot heavier and more metal tinged. But I will def have to check out the band you mentioned, sounds cool! And yes, your gf will love love love Shade :)

Jeri, your book freakin' rocks what can I say. And I'm lookng forward to a Tossers reference :)

Kelly, welcome to the blog, I will have to check out your Tune for Tues!

Waltzing Matilda said...

The thing most people don't realize about Twilight is that it is seeped in a Mormon mindset. That group has never really embraced feminism.
Thank you for recommending a good YA book. I look forward to reading it.
Have you ever read anything by Martin Millar? He has one called The Good Fairies of New York; I think you would enjoy it. It has Scottish fairies and the ghost of Johnny Thunders.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Waltzing Matilda, that is so true abt Twilight and is one of my biggest issues with it. I will definitely check out the book you mentioned. Off to add it to my list now!