Book Review: The Trouser Press Record Guide by Ira A. Robbins

 Originally published in 1983, The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide To Alternative Music (4th edition 1991) packs a punch for those of us who prefer the sprawling wilderness of the post-punk era to today's paltry offerings labeled as 'new music'. With a focus on the often unknown bands, to the well-known within the Punk, Post-Punk, New Wave and otherwise alternative bands from all over the radar. Robbins and his crew offer highly opinionated, but detailed information, providing much more insight than the usual fare given in a typical issue of Rolling Stone.

The added beauty of the book is the additional info of vinyl releases for each band, as, if you remember, the majority of popular (and not so popular) music ceased to be pressed on vinyl when the almighty CD began its reign near the end of the 80's. Leaving vinyl production (mainly) to the rare artist who insisted on a vinyl pressing or special vinyl-only release.

I am not in the habit of posting pre-written material for my blog, however, the following review by Timothy P. Young sums it up pretty well:

"What makes this book great isn't the reviewing they do (concise and well written, always) but rather the fact that Trouser Press provides histories for each band before jumping into their material, and traces the progression of bands through their careers... If you want to understand the individual formations of bands, their original vision, how and why they changed and a full critical accounting thereof, buy the Trouser Press Guides."

If you would indeed like to purchase this buried treasure of the alternative dark ages, Amazon currently has it available for a price suitable for all budgets here: The Trouser Press Record Guide 4th Edition . Ira Robbins has since published a 5th edition called The Trouser Press Guide to 90's Rock: The All-New Fifth Edition 1997 of course including the 'influential' bands of the 90's Grunge movement. And you can bet your most valuable record I will be purchasing The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records for myself this Christmas.

Trouser Press began as a fan-zine in 1974-1984 publishing 95 issues featuring rare interviews, reviews, obscure photos and much more in its 10 year life span. Highly recommended.