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John Sellers
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Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  827 ratings  ·  130 reviews

1. Ian Curtis is resurrected.

2. The Smiths reunite for a private party at my favorite bar.

3. There is a new My Bloody Valentine album.

4. A new Nirvana comes along to blow away all of those fey Duran Duran emulators.

5. Radiohead stops listening to Pink F
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published (first published March 6th 2007)
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Feb 14, 2008 Danimal rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: drunk meatheads who love Guided By Voices.
Very frustrating! I expected to really relate to this book -- indie-rock saved my life too, I grew up in a bland, Top 40 town, I love Pavement and GBV. But the guy comes off as a big windbag with a lot of opinions that he never backs up. If you're going to say that a certain song is the best Pavement song ever, you've got to explain why.

This book feels like a blog entry, padded out extensively. I can see the pitch meeting now:

"I just got invited to Robert Pollard's house! No one's ever done that
matt. singer.
In his essay collection "Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs," Chuck Klosterman, America’s sharpest pop-culture writer includes a brief rant about a guy who, during a drunken conversation at a funeral for a friend who died of bone cancer, told him that in high school, punk rock had literally “saved his life.”

“Why did my friend waste all that time going to chemotherapy?” Klosterman writes. “I guess we should have just played him a bunch of shitty Black Flag records.”

Replace “punk rock” with “indie rock
Very disrespectful to women musicians (he called riot grrl "embarrassing", are you kidding me? But then he went on name drop Sleater-Kinney and Le Tigre). I would also say that all the music he references is mainstreamed without much knowledge of subcultures. It was painful to finish, but I can never abandon books.
"Perfect From Now On" was remarkably interesting after a slow start. Let's use lists, of which the author is fond, to make the points:

1. Sellers' writing is derivative of the chatty stylings of Klosterman, the lists of, uh, that guy who wrote High Fidelity (Hornby?), and the footnotes of David Foster Wallace (or Baker, according to Sellers himself). Still, after a clunky memoir-ish start, back in Grand Rapids, the book improves considerably if...

2) ...You know a lot about Joy Division, The Smith
May 30, 2008 Beth rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who needs fodder to start a grill
Recommended to Beth by: It was more or less foisted upon me.
Granted, I am merely on page 168 of the 183 legitimate (well, consecutively strung together words- the remaining 30 or so pages are 'apendix' is the plural for appendix's? apendi? And lists) pages but right now, I have enough hate and vitriol and gin coursing through my blood to write my first ever review for Goodreads....

I won't even go into the fact that there are enough effing footnotes in the book that it would even bring David Foster Wallace to his knees with cries of 'enough!!
john sellers is a nerd and doesn't really know that much about music. instead of exploring music when he was in high school he was too concerned with looking cool and what his friends were listening to. by the time he got to college, he would get hooked on one band and devote himself fully to them.
i feel for the guy-i am also from the suburbs of michigan. i guess i got the better deal-growing up in the burbs of detroit in the 90s vs. the burbs of grand rapids in the 80s. i think he disses a lot
Sarah Kathleen
Sellers is trying to be Chuck Klosterman, and even if you (like me) are not a Klosterman fan, he fails miserably. Personally, I wouldn't have had such a problem with the book if a) he didn't argue both that women don't have good taste in music AND that women are a great way for men to learn about good music, and b) he didn't list Panic(!) At The Disco as a band he would have loved to write about if only he had the space. Someone who likes Panic(!) At The Disco is not someone I care to read.
Apr 08, 2008 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Music lovers, aging hipsters
Shelves: legion-of-vermin
A highly readable book that's part memoir, part music history. If you're in your mid-to-late 30s, Sellers book hits on all the musical touchstones from late childhood to post-adolescence, which is what these days--35? The writing is enthusiastic, revealing, and very engaging. A great gift for the aging hipster in your life who thinks he knows everything.
I enjoyed this book for the mere fact that it made me nostalgic regarding my own "indie rock" transformation. I, too, had my life turned upside down by MTV's 120 Minutes and would tape it religiously so I could pour over the videos the next day (I was only 13 at the time, staying up until 2am on a school night was out of the question). As a result, I seriously considered naming my first born Mazzy Star...but settled for "Elise" as a middle name because it was mentioned in two of my favorite song ...more
My thoughts on this book in list format:

1. Dear Lord, the footnotes! Yeah, some of the asides were great, but they could have been proper chapters instead of increasingly annoying 8+ page rants.

2. The book felt incomplete. Partially because so much of the book dealt with Sellers's youth and his early musical influences and then all of the sudden he's obsessed with Pavement and GBV and boom! The end.

3. The band that penned lyrics that would become the title of the book only got a brief shout-ou
If John Sellers wanted to pick a completely random book title that had very little to do with what he actually wrote about, he should have just said "screw it" and gone with the name of the latest Nickelback album to get more sales.

As others have apparently done before me, I picked this book up based on the title, figuring Built to Spill would at least be an influence on it. Instead, I got a book that reads like a bad blog, 942 chapters on Guided By Voices, and a footnote that more-or-less said,
Mike Van Campen
Aug 20, 2007 Mike Van Campen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: music fans or anyone who has ever obsessed about anything
I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this book. Sellers writes the book any music geek wishes he or she could. He details his history of musical obsession. I love the chapter on his first encounter with U2's _War_; I could very much relate. From there he goes on to how this lead to his discovery of indie music; again, I can relate--although his definition of indie is quite broad. I share many of his tastes in music but it is his final, freakish devotion to Guided by Voices that left me cold. F ...more
Jan 19, 2008 Christina rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One!
Wow, this book stank! You would think that an 'aging hipster' would actually come across as hip. Not this guy. The footnote thing was really annoying; was he trying to make the book flow like a drunken conversation, with many asides and digressions? Didn't work. I couldn't finish it.
Wow, I could go on forever, but then I would probably begin to sound a little like John Sellers, and I would never want that.....
The one star is for name checking Ned's Atomic Dustbin
Hilarious account of a personal, musical journey through the strange wilderness of suburbia in the 80s and into the more refined indie-alternative culture of cool known as 90s college radio. *blissful sigh* Mirrors a lot of my personal experiences, and those of my friends. If you like good music and were born in the early 70s, this comes highly recommended.
A perfectly horrible book, in every way. Would give it zero stars if that was possible. I would write out why i hated it but don't feel like it's worth the effort- if you really want to know why, ask. GOD THIS BOOK SUCKED.
The book is titled Perfect From Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life, but I saw no indication of live-saving in this book. I surely related to a large chunk of Sellers' rants and quirks regarding the dynamics of being an obsessive music fan. I do believe he loves the bands he raves about (namely Guided by Voices). However, his tone is pretty snarky, and not in an endearing way. Some parts come off as snobbish and pretentious, ruling bands/music out for what I find to be arbitrary reasons. Some a ...more
Apr 05, 2009 Tremolo rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of self-indulgence
i was initially attracted to this book b/c of the title (being a built to spill fan), although i did approach it with a certain amount of scepticism. well, i should have listened to my gut, b/c what i got were the manic ramblings of a crazed fanboy. although sellers is in his late 30's, one could easily mistake his amateurish gushings for that of a 13 year old. it is abnormal, and frankily a bit creepy, for a man of his age to STILL idolize musicians to this extent. i was once a 'superfan' mysel ...more
I like a lot of different types of music but if I had to pick just ONE genre that I feel I listen to more than others, it's indie. This is why I thought, hey! I'll try this book, it's about indie music and even though often many indie fans can be annoyingly pretentious when talking about their favorite music, this book looks pretty neat.
Lo and behold, I couldn't stand this book. Took me about 7 chapters in to get to the arrrrg point. The author is judgmental, pretentious, and seems to dislike ev
Becca Loo
ok i didnt finish it. it was an appetizer to sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs which i had to wait for because the wait list was so long. but as soon as it came i dropped this book. it was alright although i wouldnt suggest reading it. i just enjoyed the lists at the end. plus it was one of the first books that gave me validation about indie music. growing up in hawaii i've only had my blogs to keep me company. and still in college i shy away from hipsters because i'm just not that outgoing and confid ...more
Apr 03, 2008 Deena rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have vague indie-rock leanings
This should have been fun.

I love indie rock. This book is about indie rock.
I like discussions on music, the value of it, the way it affects people...The book does exactly that!

Except, its not really worth a book. Seemingly a blog that was printed and bound (I've read seller's blog, its like the book. the book is like the blog. the blog is...), there's nothing really there behind the footnotes and the notes, which seem to go on for all time.

Sellers is clearly passionate about what he listens to,
What this book should have been titled - My Pants-Creaming Obsession with Guided By Voices.

I thought this book would be a book about indie rock. In a sense, it was, but mostly it was five chapters devoted to Guided By Voices. A good band, but one that could have been covered in one chapter. Two, at the most. I did appreciate the author's use of lists, so I will create two of my own:

Why this book was good
1. Sellers is from Michigan and makes abundant references to GR, Kzoo, EL, and AA.
2. I laugh
Aug 30, 2010 Alison rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rock nerds like me
8/31/10 UPDATE: After having some time to think about it, and after just finishing Rob Sheffield's "Talking to Girls About Duran Duran," I took this down a star! Sorry man.

There are some things about this book worth criticizing, but the author does a great job of pinpointing the unique mental processes that rock nerds go through as they "discover" and obsess over their favorite bands.

I would have loved more "actual storytelling narrative" (in line with what he started at the beginning, the funny&sad
Neil Dewhurst
I really wanted to like Perfect From Now On more, and I could have done, but the footnotes... oh the footnotes. Not so much the number of footnotes, but the length of some of them. Should a footnote really contain an open letter that lasts for five pages, or an account of a single day that lasts for 11? I don't know how to read footnotes that long without breaking the flow of the chapter, or feeling like I'm missing something if I read the text first, then go back over the footnotes (and really, ...more
Darin Strachan
This is the story of how John Sellers went from listening to Journey and Queen as a child to obsessively dedicating his ears to indie rock, most notable Guided By Voices. He began to listen to music to which friends and crushes introduced him. He got away from more mainstream music. The Cult, New Order, Joy Division, The Smiths, and Morrissey. He then found Pavement. And later, Guided By Voices. The last 5 chapters of this book are about his passion for that Dayton, OH, band and are what the who ...more
Andrew Thompson
A reasonably good read, but not quite as funny as it thinks it is. I don't share the author's obsession with Guided By Voices, but the portrait he paints of his developing obsession with the band is well done. The copious use of footnotes as a stylistic device does get to be a bit irritating after a while - the author himself recognises it as sort of homage to Nicholson Baker. The lists of various things (best indie rock guitarist, best albums etc) and the rock formula at the end are amusing and ...more
Ashley Reiner
Oh this book...again I was really hoping to like this and there were parts that were really great and interesting first review in a nutshell:
content = interesting
writing and humor = mildly amusing
footnotes = ridiculous and unnecessary

I think the author intended one of three things with the amount of footnotes:
1) he rambles and the editor said no way - he insisted hence the number of footnotes
2) he ran out of things to say so he added a lot of uninteresting silly details to hit his word
John Sellers is a funny writer, sure, but Perfect from Now On is all over the map. He wants you to know that he's a serious music lover who isn't above getting on a plane to seeing his favorite bands, which bounce around from U2 to New Order to The Smiths to Joy Division to Pavement to Guided by Voices. Each band is his favorite for ever and ever, or at least until something new comes along.

Sellers wants to show how deep his commitment to indie rock is, even if he was admittedly late to the part
Jun 23, 2009 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone stuck at the DMV or bored on a plane
Shelves: memoirs
ergh..i disagreed with many of mr. sellers opinions, but i'm not holding that against him. he wouldn't do the same for me, but that's fine. the good: this is an easy read, is mildly amusing from time to time, and may provide some music trivia answers to store in your brain for later use when playing trivial pursuit-music edition. the bad: gets repetitive, author contradicts himself more than once and offers no explanations, excessive footnotes (supposedly to pay homage to his favorite writer) se ...more
I read mostly bad or lukewarm reviews of this book so I figured this was one to check out from the library. I began reading it on a bus & even in that situation I found the book to be boring and Sellers' voice to be annoying. Determined to read it (after all, how can a book about being obsessed with GBV be that bad?) I've just spent the last hour or so finishing it. Hmm... although it has its moments, overall it doesn't really satisfy you if you are even remotely fans of the band as I'm sure ...more
I had to buy this*, the title demands i buy it, after reading the first chapter in store I laughed out loud and thought yeah this will be a fun read. I was expecting some deep insights into my strange obsessions with the indie/alt music scene. Sadly it's nothing more than opinions, i rapidly lost interest after chapter or two, after all it is only opinions and i have to say i enjoyed this guys opinions on music. We have similar opinions, and i bet we could argue for hours on the worthiness of th ...more
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John Sellers is the author of The Old Man and the Swamp (2011), Perfect From Now On (2007) and Arcade Fever (2001). He writes about television for The Wrap and interviews musicians for Spin magazine. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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More about John Sellers...
The Old Man and the Swamp: A True Story About My Weird Dad, a Bunch of Snakes, and One Ridiculous Road Trip Arcade Fever: The Fan's Guide to the Golden Age of Video Games PCAT: Preparation for the Pop-Culture Aptitude Test, Rad '80s Version Adventur-Cation On the Edge, an Exploration of Cattail Canyon

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