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Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes—from Punk to Indie and Everything in Between
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Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes—from Punk to Indie and Everything in Between

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A snarky, fact-filled look at the people and places that made the indie/punk scene what it is today

The American underground music scene is exploding everywhere—not just in New York City and L.A. (although we've got those cities covered too!):

In Washington, D.C. . . . Ian MacKaye and Fugazi inspired the straightedge culture, which had kids everywhere drawing black X's on th
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by It Books
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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 ·  229 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Start your review of Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes—from Punk to Indie and Everything in Between
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
You know those episodes of The Simpsons where Lisa meets a smart-and-sassy-but-super-cool older girl and wants desperately to be her friend? Reading this book was like listening to the dialogue the writers give to these characters, or maybe like reading their LiveJournals. It's all snark, parenthetical asides, and carefully made casual name drops in the hopes of establishing cred.

Don't read it expecting to learn much about the actual music that makes or made regional scenes. It's more about maki
Useful information from a different generation on indie rock and the emo genre. The writing is a bit snarky for me, but the highlighted bands makes reading easy. Recommended for millennials interested in indie rock scenes around the country.
May 24, 2009 marked it as to-read
Skimmed this since I checked it out from the library. Not sure what to make of the fact that Austin is not mentioned, nor is the whole Bloodshot/Hideout/Insurgent Country Chicago scene. Mabye that's a good thing because if a scene is in here, it will be mocked. Nice illustrations though. ...more
Vicente Ribes
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: música
Muy divertido y me ha hecho descubrir nuevos grupos que no conocía y recordar algunos que hace tiempo que no escuchaba. Cada capítulo está dedicado a una zona geográfica de EEUU y los diferentes movimientos musicales que salen de las mismas. El toque diferente lo pone el humor con lo que está todo tratado y la descripción desternillante que hace de algunas tribus urbanas. Viene con una guia de lugares a visitar si estas interesado en las bandas que aparecen en el libro.
Jan 27, 2022 rated it it was ok
Book not meant to stand the test of time although I think I would have been equally annoyed with it in 2009. “Snark” that demeans other woman based on talent and body. If you’re curious about any of these music scenes, literally just ask any of your musically inclined friends, they will know all of this and more.
Jameson Ketchum
Aug 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
A great travel companion! (though Leslie says its not a travel guide) and a great companion to her first book! Great tips, great snark.
Taylor Wallace
Mar 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
The snark here is distracting. What is the author trying to prove with it? It's like reading the blog of a too-cool-for-you (but actually just super insecure) high school girl. Bleck. ...more
Aug 25, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm not really sure why I read this informally written book (okay, it was because it mentions the Twin Cities) but I have been on a pop music kick lately, attempting to rectify my appalling ignorance about it. Gotta keep that edge as I get older, you know! I'm not sure how much I really learned from this amusing bit of snarky fluff, but it was a quick and fun read, and I might have gotten to know the stereotypes of the various "scenes" across the country. Leslie Simon writes with a very personab ...more
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is a review of local music scenes in several cities. You've probably heard of some of these bands and some probably not. I had a difficult time relating to this book (hence the 2 star rating), but I think this was mostly because I'm just not that into being a 'scenester'. I like music, but I'm not planning on committing my life to following my favorite local band or dedicating my time and money to such pursuits. I guess I'm too old. Anyhow, for me, most of the info is fairly trivial. I prob ...more
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I love this book nearly as much as I loved 'Everybody Hurts'. There were so many references to bands I love and listen to, and as I read it, I learnt a whole lot more about the scenes they all came from, and what made their home towns special.

I think my favourite chapter was probably the chapter on Long Island, due to the fact it talked so much about Taking Back Sunday / Brand New etc.

Leslie Simon has this snarky sense of humour that I just adore, with all her nicely placed footnotes giving inf
I loved reading about the different bands and figuring out what originated where, but I felt a large part of it was really poorly researched. For example, the whole Jenny lewis part was shit and the little picture drawn had absolutely no relevance to the actual album cover it was supposed to be. It was like the artist was too lazy to go and look up the picture so they just freehanded it from memory instead.

And a major no-no was the Twin Cities part, which is where I'm from. The author needs to
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me pretty much exactly what I wanted. It's not groundbreaking literature, it's not a definitive guide to the most underground bands or secret of scenes, it was just a really fun, entertaining overview of a handful of different metropolitan areas across the country, the bands the area has spawned, and where the cool spots to check out. It's equal arts music guide and travel guide, with the occasional fun story thrown in to spice things up.

If you're a pop punk / emo / indie / punk
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
I love it, duh. But I had to give it 4 stars because "Everybody Hurts" is my first love and I don't want it to feel as if it's been replaced in my heart.

I might have skipped some of the "mapping out" sections because it just made me huff about how I never have enough money to travel.

High five for the suburban Florida section.

Oh, and my NAME is in the acknowledgments!!! I squealed like a child when I saw that.

I heart you, Leslie Simon.
Jun 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I don't know where to start, this just wasn't very good. I picked it up on accident while looking for something else, but I gave it a go anyway.

Honestly unless you want a history of early 90s emo bands, and the scenes they came from then don't bother with this because that is literally all they talk about. They also try to be funny about it, but it doesn't work.
Jenn Estepp
meh. maybe i'm just too old for this sort of thing. it's super uneven and there's a definite air of trying-to-hard about the snark. but the good chapters definitely made me want to check out some of the name-checked bands and made me semi-nostalgic for my geeky indie rock fan days. ...more
Nov 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: music, nonfiction
The snarkiness of the writing was cute and funny for the most part. However, if you aren't living near one of the cities mentioned in the book, or you aren't fond of sarcasm, I wouldn't rush out to buy this book. ...more
Jul 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting guidebook, but it leaves out some essentials: how do you mention Minneapolis without mentioning Prince??? The album lists were helpful, though, and I loved the snarky comments.

For music fans and those wanting to be only.

(Free ARC provided by publisher)
Turi Becker
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not sure why I read this, really. I should've read Simon's guide to emo culture first, but anyway - this is a city-by-city guide to music scenes, specifically post-punk emo type stuff. I did learn a bit about a few bands I like, but I really don't think I was the intended audience for this... ...more
Aug 18, 2009 rated it liked it
I didn't learn much new in this book, but the author, formerly of Alternative Press magazine, has a great sense of humor. Waxing nostalgic for my adolescence of Fugazi and Nirvana was an enjoyable break from a much heavier work I'm about to start reading, Columbine. ...more
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Seriously awesome. If you love guides this book is awesome. If you might want to do a roadtrip in the future this book is exactly where it's at!!! ...more
Jan 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
No Detroit. No Hoboken. Way too much snark.
Dec 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was not very good.
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm not gonna lie: I only skimmed the part about the Bay area and ignored the rest. But the whole twenty pages read like they were making fun of me! Nice. Sold! ...more
Elliot Chalom
Jan 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Worst music-related book I've ever read. Check out my more detailed thoughts over at ...more
Aug 16, 2009 marked it as to-read
For those of us hoping to understand 21st century music, its movements/lackthereof, and/or simply make fun of hipsters, HERE IS (perhaps) THE BOOK WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR. ...more
May 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, music, criticism
Don't know that I'd need to buy this book, but I might have to get it from the library again to make a list of the bands mentioned. Simon hits the major scenes and evolutions therein. ...more
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, artistic, nonfic
good fun for finding new (or old) punk bands and also learning about rad towns. wanderlust anyone?
rated it it was ok
Sep 25, 2013
Paula Mirando
rated it it was ok
Feb 02, 2013
Amanda Walsh
rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2021
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Hey there, I’m Leslie. Thanks so much for visiting my GoodReads Author Page! Wanna know more about me? Take a seat. This could take a minute.

- I’m a recovering Diet Coke addict
- I think John Green is a literary God
- If I could only listen to one band for the rest of my life, it’d be The Wombats
- I get excited every time I get to clean out the lint trap in the dryer
- I like to catch solo morning mo

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