333sound

New 33 1/3 Title: Phish’s A Live One

a live one Bloomsbury is extremely proud to announce the fifth of fourteen new 33 1/3 volumes…coming to a bookstore (and kindle/iPad) near you in: Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016 and Fall 2016. It was extremely difficult to select these titles from a pool of over 400 brilliant proposals so we hope you enjoy! To highlight each new title and the author behind it, we’ll announce one book each day over the next two weeks.

A Live One- Phish

By Walter Holland

Coming September 2015!

Their first four albums were lampooned by critics and ignored by everyone else. They looked and sounded like utter dorks; lyrics about electric hangmen and ‘multibeasts’(?!) didn’t help. They weren’t grunge or pop or anything else remotely contemporary, or even recognizable. In 1995, as far as the media were concerned, Phish were a bizarre footnote to the rise of patchouli-scented popstuff like Dave Matthews and Blues Traveler (or worse, a Grateful Dead knockoff). 1994’s bright shiny Hoist LP hadn’t helped: their bid for mainstream cred — complete with characteristically silly video — flew straight to America’s remainder bins.

Meanwhile, without a hit single to their name, Phish were well on their way to becoming the biggest concert draw in America, selling out ever-larger venues 200 nights a year with their ecstatically inventive live shows: a mix of weirdo acid-psych, haunted ambient moonscapes, twisted vaudevillian Americana, and riotous postpunk energy, all filtered through bandleader Trey Anastasio’s screwball compositional sensibility and the group’s astonishing, unique form of collective improvisation. Phish bottled that lightning on A LIVE ONE, their 1995 double live album. It’s challenging, experimental music that still doesn’t sound like anything else in rock — a strange, beautiful thing, full of the kind of music otherwise sensible adults would drop everything and cross the country to hear night after night.

It’s not really a great album.
This book is this first in-depth study of Phish’s music.
It’s also kind of a love letter.

A bit about the author: Walter Holland (@waxbanks) is a freelance writer/editor focusing on technology and education. He has written or co-written half a dozen books, including a collection of essays about Phish’s Fall 1997 tour called A tiny space to move and breathe. He lives with his wife and son in Cambridge MA.

3 comments

  1. D Hodges

    Wally is, without a doubt, one of the more tactfully articulate yet robustly illustrative music critics I have had the pleasure of reading and does a remarkable job of describing the indescribable (Phish’s music, music in general). Fans should make a concerted effort to be intimately familiar with his commentary.

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