Talk of the Stacks: Will Hermes

Will Hermes is a senior critic at Rolling Stone, a contributor to All Things Considered, and a former City Pages writer-editor (disclosure: Hermes and I are casually acquainted). His first book, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire (Faber & Faber), surveys various musical styles that were either hatched or fostered in New York City during the mid-'70s, when the city was nearly forced to declare bankruptcy, arson was routine in the South Bronx, and even a walk in the park was no walk in the park. The book is arranged chronologically, jumping from one style or socio-historical fragment to the next, teasing out the famous and obscure players' ascensions and declines, making one feel like the city's most tireless and omnipresent fan. Hermes's autobiographical insertions give the modest perspective of a Queens teenager besotted with music (and other things). Thirty-some years on, he's an omnivorous listener who writes with equal knowledge, sensitivity, and a refreshing lack of nostalgia about rock, salsa, loft jazz, minimalism, disco, punk, and nascent hip hop. (Photo by Adam Weiss)
Thu., Nov. 10, 7 p.m., 2011

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