There will always be that cool kid who lives to drop the names of some unheard band on their friends, maybe set the needle down on a scratchy vinyl disc, and enlighten the world to a long forgotten track that’s the epitome of rock, punk, soul or whatever. Lost in the Grooves is the Bible for that kid who’s out to save, or at least educate, the world.
For the rest of us, though, Lost in the Grooves [Routledge] is just a good, fun read. In the introduction, called, Reconsider, Baby, we’re introduced to a group of passionate zinesters that see Lost in the Grooves as “a collection of miniature love letters to albums.” And that’s right-on. The voice of zines has always been one that’s a little more personal and experiential than those high-fallutin’, glossy, corporate publications. And face it, just like a rock and roll Stepford Wife, they look pretty--but without the rough edges, without the intensity and the feeling, they have no soul. Throughout the book, the Scram gang works hard to build amusing and solid cases to justify sometimes hard-to-believe albums, like Buckner and Garcia’s 1982 release, Pac-Man Fever [CBS Records].
One of the best of more than 75 writer/critics includes editor, Kim Cooper, who always adds a personal touch--things like, “I was a teenage Velvets freak who overplayed their records until they sounded like dishwater sloshing around the room.” Among the 250-some entries, a lot of these writers, like Brian Doherty, will take you right into the song—it doesn’t matter if you’ve heard it or not--because he gives it to you with full description, lyrics, and where and how to annunciate. It’s amusing as all hell to read and really, just great writing. There are even a couple reviews [Pere Ubu and The Tubes] by the famous novelist, Rick Moody, who’s been known to dabble in music from time to time.
Lost in the Grooves hits on all kinds of music across all genres, and the thing is that even if, say, you don’t listen to country, you’re going to want to read the review for its entertainment value alone. It’s easy to pick up and put down without having to follow any story line, and hey, if you’re that kid who needs to be The Enlightened One: well, here you go.
Edited by Kim Cooper and David Smay
Illustrations by Tom Neely