Denver Bar Association
May 2006
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Music Lust by Nic Harcourt

by Reviewed by Greg Rawlings

Music Lust
(Sasquatch Books, Seattle: 2005)

Nic Harcourt has, quite simply, the coolest job in America. As the host of "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on Santa Monica’s KCRW, he gets to listen to cool music, talk about cool music and play cool music — and get paid for doing it. I never go to Los Angeles without immediately setting the dial on KCRW. Harcourt is a music lover’s music lover; always hyper-informed, yet never a snob. Usually, he knows more about the bands he plays or interviews than the bands do about themselves (track down the Gang of Four in-studio performance/ interview from 2005 for true proof of this). And now he’s written a book, Music Lust, that amply justifies his rep in the music biz — which is considerable.

Music Lust is a delightful book to browse, and is formatted in a manner that makes browsing no chore. Sections on Harcourt’s icons, such as Zappa, Hendrix, and Sinatra, share space with chapters like "Happy Trails: Cowboy Crooners" or "Iceland Rocks," and a number of enjoyable lists, such as "Best of the Sixties," "Great First Albums," and "Ten Albums You Missed." All the sections are brief, to-the-point and personal, without being pushy. Harcourt calls the work a "book of recommendations," and it needs to be read as just that: the inside scoop by a fellow music lover who wants to make sure you have the skinny on a lot of great sounds.

Nic Harcourt

Harcourt hails from Birmingham, England, and grew up in a family that obviously loved music. One of the salient points in the book is Harcourt’s appreciation for a lot of English music that never quite hit it big in America, with fine sections on the "Madchester sound" — think New Order, Happy Mondays, the Buzzcocks — but also a heads-up on bands like the Blue Nile, or the Chameleons. From early jazz to late electronica, Harcourt covers one base after another with ease and style. There are sections on the best music to make out to, "Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi?" or avoid, "Ten Albums the World Could Do Without." All in all, you’ll find yourself coming back time and again to the lists, the opinions, the vast erudition, but mainly to read the simple words of someone who, simply stated, has just flat out got it made.

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