33 1/3 Series: Jenn Pelly “The Raincoats” Book (2017)
Details: Author and music writer Jenn Pelly for the 33 1/3 series: an in-depth look at The Raincoats’ 1979 debut on Rough Trade and the band, itself.
Short Description: “In this short book – the first on the Raincoats – author Jenn Pelly tells the story of the group's audacious debut ... Pelly builds on rare archival materials and extensive interviews ...”
Grade: M (new stock)
Full Description: “In 1979, from the basement of a London squat, the Raincoats reinvented what punk could be. They had a violin player. They came from Portugal, Spain, and England. Their anarchy was poetic. Working with the iconic Rough Trade Records at its radical beginnings, they were the first group of punk women to actively call themselves feminists.
In this short book – the first on the Raincoats – author Jenn Pelly tells the story of the group's audacious debut album, which Kurt Cobain once called “wonderfully classic scripture.” Pelly builds on rare archival materials and extensive interviews with members of the Raincoats, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Hole, Scritti Politti, Gang of Four, and more. She draws formal inspiration from the collage-like The Raincoats itself to explore this album's magic, vulnerability, and strength.”
Press: “It is a record that could only be made by women, and although Pelly doesn't labor over this, she does an excellent job of showing its truth. Pelly writes of how, without any pretension or the slightest concern for the surface fashion of the movement, The Raincoats embodied the true expressive spirit of punk, and how these four women created music that was very much of their lives rather than by using any proven yet worn-out formulas.” – Under the Radar
“The book is a seamless hybrid of criticism and reportage; Pelly spent time with the band and visited their old haunts. But what's extraordinary is that she doesn't seem to be recounting the Raincoats' early years so much as time-traveling back to the squats of late-'70s London and mind-melding with each of the four very different women who came together to make this strange, enchanting music. Over the years, The Raincoats has become a sort of talisman for feminist punks, a document that is somehow challenging and comforting at once. Pelly doesn't just describe that effect-her writing recreates it.” – Pitchfork
“Pelly's writing is a pitch-perfect blend of academic references and a genuine fan's adoration that raises both the band and their debut record to a status they very much deserve but haven't received until now.” – Record Collector: Books of 2017
“Recent years have seen some excellent additions to the [33 1/3] series ... Joining this list is Jenn Pelly's study of The Raincoats' self-titled debut album.” – The Wire
“The 33 1/3 series of books on individual albums ... is an intriguing project, and this title is a welcome addition.” – International Times
“One of the strangest and most inspiring of punk rock stories, finally brought into the light. Jenn Pelly's brilliant book is a crucial work of history, not just music history, opening up the story of how four women formed a band and created a legend, passed from fan to fan around the world.” – Rob Sheffield, author of Love Is a Mixtape and Dreaming the Beatles
“Jenn Pelly's The Raincoats brings much-needed attention to the British post-punk group's landmark self-titled 1979 album. [Pelly] adeptly traces the connections between The Raincoats' arty, playfully inventive and boldly feminist music and the male-dominated classic-rock music scene they were rebelling against, and also points out how their unpredictable songs still resonate today.” – LA Weekly
“[An] empathetic, encyclopedic, and eloquent reclamation of the musical canon. Pelly's vivid study offers a meticulously detailed look at the band's origins, influences, and legacy from their days squatting in London basements to Kurt Cobain's passionate fandom.” – Bookforum
“This book from Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series is more than a history of The Raincoats' eponymous album. It is a very comprehensive and entertaining biography up until the release of the album, that also documents the development of the British punk and post-punk scene in the 1970s.” – OX-Fanzine (Bloomsbury Translation)