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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 3 October 2012
I enjoyed this dip into the "indie" world...the author covers quite a lot of historical ground in nice chunks of chapters.
Some of the stories/info I probably knew from reading stuff like...Document And Eyewitness: An Intimate History of Rough Trade: The Rough Trade Story
Rough Trade: Labels Unlimited

andThe Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize
Alan McGee and the Story of Creation Records: The Ecstasy Romance Cannot Last
So ..I think this is a good introduction/taster for enthusiasts to reach for further reading. I particularly like the attention to 4AD...a label which were for me anyway...high profile...maybe because I worked in a record shop ..and got to see those fantastic covers...but were in fact really "Anti Record Biz".

Some great stuff about all the madmen...scary drugs stories...but covers some great labels and acts Heavenly, Domino Mute etc as well as your rough trades and creation...so Smiths..Manics...Primal Scream...Arctic Monkeys
So now I want to track down some more stuff about beggars banquet and 4ad..and I guess Mute would all be interesting reads

Highly recommended if you are a fan of Non mainstream music from late 70's until now..I guess..I never really liked the term "Indie"...it just got misused and abused as a genre type, rather than the true spirit of independence from the BIG record companies.
Well researched and a broad range of interviews.
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on 9 May 2012
... on the UK's indie labels in my opinion. The sheer wealth and quality of the interviews on their own should see to that. It's not a grand analytical overview, rather it's a wonderful narrative history: well-paced, super-informed, occasionally gossipy - but in a good way. Sort of like a Peter Buskind book, but about indie record labels, not indie filmmakers. Warning: will make you want to start a record label.
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on 5 April 2012
This is a pretty definitive read. It sits well alongside extremely well regarded books that have covered similar ground( Simon Reynolds - Rip It Up comes to mind )yet expands the stories deeper and further. It unearths new perspectives successfully on how the independent music scene has evolved across the 30 year period he chooses to cover. I grew up on artists like the Smiths, Joy Division and labels like 4AD, Factory, Mute and Rough Trade. The author has managed to talk to people from within all the labels in a really entertaining way. There's some great stories and some great insights behind the success of bands like the Arctic Monkeys that help explain some of the reasons behind their emergence into the public conciousness. It's a big page turner, highly, highly recommended.
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on 17 August 2012
if you enjoyed Simon Reynolds' Rip It Up, you'll find this the perfect counterpart - telling the fascinating story of the characters and business behind the scenes of one of the richest periods of UK creative industry.

Digestible, cohesive, exhaustive, funny; I'm sure this would be an enjoyable read even for someone only familiar with the acts (everyone will have one record or two from this book), and not the machinations.
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on 5 April 2012
I've never really known much about the history behind some of the record labels featured in this book but have long been a fan of a lot of their music. A friend of mine who works alongside one of the characters interviewed in the book recommended the book to me and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it fascinating to actually learn about the various stories behind a lot of these independent labels. Some of the characters and the stories discussed are fascinating, loved Alan McGhee, huge character! And of course as a Smiths fan, loved hearing about how they ended up signing to Rough Trade.
I've always loved music from a lot of the independent labels, but this book was such a good read and taught me a lot about the culture behind the labels, giving me a new found respect for the independent music scene. Such a depth of history there, and now keen to find out more and read more on the topics. Fascinating read that anyone interested in music would be sure to enjoy.
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on 24 May 2012
This is a well written, accessible and rich narrative of the birth of the independent music via labels such as 4AD, Mute etc. Even though I was not aware of some of the earlier names and bands cited in the earlier chapters, HSIN built into a comprehensive and cohesive description of the foundation of independent music. It also manages to capture the courageous spirit which enabled such bands and labels to flourish and because of this it is likely to interest readers from a variety of fields. A music book with a broad appeal, and arguably a timely reminder.
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on 6 April 2012
Reading this book reminded me why I got excited about music in the first place. A gripping tale of originality, creativity, madness, ego and so many great records, written in a totally inclusive manner. 100% recommended.
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on 15 July 2015
Probably being harsh on 4 stars as I found it an excellent and a really enjoyable book. It intertwines the working and development of numerous UK independent labels in a fascinating way. As T. Satchwell points out in another review some of the stories have already been told in greater detail (Rough Trade, Factory, Creation) but this book provides lots of new information and new quotes (though Alan McGee is back to myth making). What I found of more interest were the stories on 4AD, Mute, Warp, Fire, Blast First, KLF etc. - labels/bands I knew very little about or wanted to know more about. Though there seemed to be curiously little on Beggars Banquet, the label that seemed to survive most of the others (maybe it lacked the madmen/maverick vibe).

The book starts a little shakily with short vingettes that end just as they appear to get going (Throbbing Gristle/Industrial) and I was also concerned reading a page on Bob Last/Fast where the author left me scratching my head on his 'branding/post modernist' theory, fortunately the book didn't continue like this (apart from the occasional word which would have had me reaching for a dictionary had I not been in bed). The other problem I found was that quite a few of the quotes would have been helped with some clarification by the author, some used baffling 'industry speak' whilst other stories/quotes didn't make complete sense to me (eg. Seymour Stein telling Bill Drummond how to succeed financially by signing unsuccessful acts, Stein then lost money as Madonna was successful??? Didn't explain how he lost money).

As I said at the start, 4 stars probably harsh, but its well worth buying, full of new facts and information, just needs a bit a more clarity.
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on 8 May 2015
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A meticulously researched book, chronicalling the best years of the excesses and lows of the British music industry.
The KLF and madness of Fac were particular high points.
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on 5 April 2012
A lucid & erudite survey into the nutters & lunatics who were instrumental in
creating what we now call, for better or for worse, 'indie'.

Chock full of great anecdotes & stories my favourite being behind the scenes of the KLF's infamous Brits performance.

Kudos for shining a light on the lesser know names instrumental to the scene including Mick Houghton & Liz Naylor.

A rollicking read from start to finish. Top Notch Reading for the discerning music fan.
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