The book The Girls’ Guide To Rocking by Jessica Hopper was by no means marketed toward me or anyone in my demographic—that’s bearded twentysomething white boys, don’t ya know. However, reading excerpts of this book marked the first-ever occasion in which I said, out loud, “I wish I had a little sister who I could buy this for.”
The Girls’ Guide To Rocking is primarily comprised of advice for how teen girls can start a band. However, past the cover and the fact that author Jessica Hopper is, in fact, a girl, this is an amazing guide book for any kid looking to make music.
More importantly, it contains a thorough list of essential listening. Hopper points the reader to everything from Hank Williams to P-Funk to Rancid. She asks the reader to get on YouTube and look for videos of Nina Hagen, Loretta Lynn, and Nina Simone. It’s a Chicago audiophile’s plea for readers to keep an open mind about all genres of music (note: she recommends both Camp Rock and The Devil And Daniel Johnston).
I may not have a little sister, but I did buy the book for a close friend’s 12-year-old cousin, hoping she’ll read it and start listening to No Age. Here’s a list from Hopper, who will be reading at The Hideout tonight (8/29) with a performance from Katie Stelmanis.
1) Poco – “The Heart Of The Night” (from Poco) – “Poco wrote every song that you think is The Eagles but isn’t. I bought their Best Of (should only be four songs, tops) and it is filled to the brim with songs I thought were other bands. Being mistaken for Glen Frey is kind of a no win situation.”
2) Glasser – “Apply (Tanlines Remix)” (from Apply) – “All the Glasser tracks I have heard are kind of a very West Coast witchy solo-electro, which is great late night hot summer listening. It makes me feel like how I wanted to when I was 19 and itching to be an adult with a cosmopolitan life. Tanlines work in a great steel drum/Coke bottle rhythm track. Two great forces united.”
3) Modjo – “Lady” – “I have this horrible soft spot for the sort of club music that you hear on B96 at like 1 or 2 am on a Saturday. Like, the sort of ‘techno’ song you hear in 7-11 or at the gym and never at a ‘cool’ night or party, but when you do hear it in the club, it’s like being quenched or refreshed. ‘Lady’ is a flawless piece of Ibiza foam party pop-trash, as indelible as any Daft Punk song. I don’t drink, but this song reminds me of being drunk.”
4) Family Fodder – “Debbie Harry” (from Savoire Faire: Best Of) – “One day on the Internet, I was reading a blog and it mentioned something about Family Fodder and called the sister band to This Heat and I was like, ‘WHAT?!’ I had never heard of them, total hiccup in my post-punk knowledge and I tracked down this song and was stunned that I had somehow missed a band this good. Supposedly this only sold 100 copies when it came out originally. People in 1982 were clearly stupid if that really was the case.”
5) Emily Lacy – “Winter Dawn” – “Her voice gives me chills. A friend of a friend’s ex-roommate’s boyfriend, she passed a few of her records my way last year and they blew my mind. She’s fairly prolific, like album a year, does cool stuff like have a two day long show where she plays in a tent for 10, 20-minute sessions, and you book an appointment and come and sit in the tent and see her play. This is off her new album which is just impeccable beginning to end.”