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In the Fascist Bathroom:
By now, first-generation rock critic Greil Marcus is better known as the author of highbrow pop-culture tomes (Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes) than as a workaday, keep-it-pithy critic. This collection of columns and short pieces (most rewritten to varying degrees for the book) churned out for New West, Artforum, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone presents the erudite Marcus as a periodical commentator subject to deadline and word-count pressures. As such, it gives a history-as-it-happens perspective on the music scene rather than a sweeping overview, meaning it's perhaps less provocative than Marcus's more recent efforts, but it's also more readable. Invigorated by the emergence of the Sex Pistols, Marcus delighted in chronicling the music and behavior of the first wave of punk provocateurs. Here are pieces on the import of the Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello, the Gang of Four, and (closest to the author's heart?), the Mekons, presented largely as they were originally written, with the din still ringing in the scribe's ears. --Steven Stolder [via]