From Publishers Weekly
Sellers, who has written for GQ and the Atlantic, was born in 1970, so his radio was ready when the "indie rock" scene took off in the '80s. Even as a youngster, he had rejected his dad's favoriteBob Dylanin favor of pop music. Before long, he was trying to one-up his schoolmates by listening to only the very coolest bands. As he got older, he drank a lot of beer, went to clubs and even bluffed his way into frat parties. Ultimately, he came to understand his own musical taste: "I required complex, pretty, inscrutable songs turned up very loud to help me avoid thinking that I didn't like myself very much." He idolized many groups, including Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Pavement and Guided by Voices. He collected their music, went to their gigs and even drank beer with Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard. Pollard "drinks capably," Sellers confides, although when he doesn't, that's also "[a]wesome." Sellers carries on debates with himself in footnotes, which can go on for pages (yielding howlers like "Ian Curtis... who hung himself on his coatrack"). More a blog (his blog name is Angry John Sellers) than a book, there's little of lasting substance here.
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Useful as an update and adjunct to Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life
(2001), Sellers' memoir celebrates the self-conscious, (often) low-tech, deliberately nonmainstream, alternatively distributed (i.e., outside of the major recording companies' channels) music known as indie rock. Sellers bares his soul from the start--the refreshing opening broadside is titled "I Hate Bob Dylan"--and thoroughly explores what he finds valuable in indie rock and, for that matter, much of life. An accomplished slinger of invective, he provides a rousing evaluation of a phenomenon as ill-defined as its predecessor, alternative rock (alternative to what?), while maintaining the theme of how the mainstream music biz, whenever it's attracted by indie-rock commercial success, threatens to undercut the qualities of the music that its cultlike following most esteems. Spot-on observations and a willingness to name names and ascribe blame as well as credit make this one of the best resources to date on indie rock, whatever it is. Mike TribbyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved