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The Trouser Press Guide to 90's Rock

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  465 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Note: Despite several name changes, these are several editions of the same book.

1st Ed. (1983) published as The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records.
2nd Ed. (1985) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide.
3rd Ed. (1989) published as The New Trouser Press Record Guide (Revised Edition).
4th Ed. (1991) published as The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide
Paperback, 5th Edition, 848 pages
Published March 7th 1997 by simon and shuster (first published 1983)
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Randolph Carter
While not always in line with my tastes, this is the essential guide to the only music that mattered from circa 1975 to 1983.
Larry-bob Roberts
I was talking to a young whippersnapper music fan the other day and I mentioned that when I was in college I read the Trouser Press Record Guide cover-to-cover. "Trouser Press?" he asked. Naturally, he had no idea what I was talking about. This guide (this one is basically a third revision) was a spin-off of a defunct "New Wave" magazine, and is pretty much the definitive review guide. They have a website with their reviews, too, but for obsessives it's nice to have it on paper. There is actuall ...more
*Sigh* My lesson number one in never giving away something until you have its replacement in hand. Hearing that Trouser Press was putting out a new edition of its alternative music guide, I gave this bad boy to a fine couple who were friends of mine, figuring it was about to become superfluous. Instead there followed "The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock," which turned out to build upon this book with more recent reviews (a sort of volume II), featuring little of the same information beyond some ...more
My mid-eighties copy of this book was so beat up from constant use that I had to replace it. The second dog-eared copy has miraculously survived coffee spills, margin notes, highlighting, rain, and more abuse than any book I have ever owned. The pinnacle of what a record guide should be; this book shaped who I am and what I like to listen to.
Martin Mulcahey
Before there was such a thing as P2P music downloads and other ways of getting ear candy for free (hopefully just to listen before you buy the real CD from the artist you like) you had to rely on word of mouth or radio. Since radio did not play most of the great music listed here, take it from a Suicidal Tendencies/Thin Lizzy fan, this was the one way I KNEW the music I risked my money on was worth it. As far as guides go, this one surpasses them all.
John Nestor
At the time it came out, it was a bible. Now, it seems more like a time-capsule; perhaps a memoir for my children. Certainly, it contains that which was most important to a teen back then. I still pull it out once in a while, to thumb through while day-dreaming about listening to the Clash's first album in a long-gone car.
My copy is peeled and dog-eared as hell, but "The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock" remains an important touchstone to the '90s music scene. There are elitist omissions and bands you still haven't heard of all over the place, but these well-written, sharp reviews remain valuable, if you can find this mofo.
Point of pride: I wrote more than 30 of the capsule reviews in the book.
Disclaimer: The earlier editions fell more pure.
Good decision(s): Ira and the rest (most?) of us didn't keep flogging metaphoric dead horses.
Dude, it's essential.
was a bible for me.
This is ok, has a ton of info which I guess is cool... Yes its all on the internet now but it can be fun (?) to pick up this book and flip through it. A lot of the reviews are crazy though--which actually adds a new dimension of entertainment to the book if you're feeling generous. I mean, the Angry Samoans are "not funny" and "not clever"?? The first Stooges record is "moronic"??? HOWARD JONES IS THE "MARC BOLAN OF THE 80'S'"??? On second thought this book kind of sucks.
Nov 15, 2008 Tremolo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 80's and 90's music afficionados
this book was highly influential for me growing up. the only negative is the limited scope- the book deals mainly with early to mid 90's indie (i think it came out in '96). that said, much of my favorite music came out during that time frame, so my copy is lovingly worn and torn. anyone else similarly inclined to the music of this era should get a lot out of it. i still refer back to it.

essential reading, in my opinion.
Portrait of a teenage music nerd: I spent many nights as a budding high school 'zinester, reading about the Buzzcocks and Minor Threat and Velvet Underground in the Trouser Press Record Guide. From my small town in Wisconsin, it was a window into the world of indie culture that wasn't always easy to learn about. This book turned me on to so much great music. Thank you, Ira Robbins!
Very readable reference book. Unlike most record guides this one does not venerate blues influenced rock from the 70s. When describing amazing bands that don't play in traditional ways they don't waste their breath saying that the members don't know how to play or that they play on toy instruments (MAJOR PET PEEVE!), they get it and tell you how good the band is.
It's the book one read and made lists of records one wanted to buy before everything was on the internet. It is on the internet now. Sometimes, however, it is more efficient to pick up the book to check when such-and-such came out or if so-and-so was in what band, rather than go in the other room and turn on the computer.
Less art, more frat than previous edition. But maybe the 90s have aged badly. Some people when they get old play bad music even though they did cool drugs and played cool music when they were 19 and these people are in here. Also some crappy Am Rep and proto-emo. 85% great stuff in here, though.
The companion to the earlier edition -- this focuses on music from '91 to about mid-'96. Frustratingly incomplete as it misses out on some high-profile records that came out towards the end of the decade; where's our new edition, Robbins? Again, more well-written, researched reviews.
The magazine shaped me, this cast the die. Once I read all this — and, yegods, I have read the whole thing — I realized you could actually do this for a living, and it could mean something. Glory be. But bible, schmible ... it's a damn handy book, too.
Oct 15, 2007 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Obsessives
Pretty much the bible as far as I'm concerned; record guides aren't really written this well anymore, and they especially don't have the TP's coverage. It's the rare guide that's actually good to sit down and read as opposed to merely using as a reference.
Hank Stuever
I suppose there's nothing in here that a Google search can't answer for you, but I still have the well-thumbed copy we shared in the Albuquerque Tribune's features/entertainment dept., and I plan on keeping it forever.
Kozmo Kliegl
This is technically a 2nd edition (the 1st was crude) but still a fantastic introduction of non-mainstream music. Still useful as later editions don't cover many of the earlier artists for the sake of modernity
Jason Feinberg
I learned more from this single book than every book i had ever read leading up to it. This shaped my musical knowledge and introduced me to 100s of awesome new bands. This was the Internet of books!
Avis Black
This book was my music Bible during the 80s and 90s, and I learned more about alternative rock from this volume than I ever could have possibly imagined. Absolutely invaluable.
My bible for several years, introduced me to great music, key information on thousands of acts, and concise music writing. Many of the entries written by editor Ira Robbins.
Ryan Sugarpants
This guide is essential to those who are fans of indie-rcok. it may be a little dated now, but this was my bible for years and never left my bed-side.
Read it cover to cover - provided the road-map to tour me into my various musical interests and steer me away from wastes of time. Wonderful!
Hard to say I've "read" it, this encyclopedic guide to independent rock; but it is indispensible, and set the standard for music guides to follow.
Baal Of
I referenced this book hundreds of times over the years, especially when I was first really discovering my love for music.
Jason Feinberg
Not as amazing as the other Trouser Press book, but still an essential music history tome.
I *lived* this book in my twenties. It seriously informed my musical taste for quite some time.
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