cover image Appetite for Definition: An A-Z Guide to Rock Genres

Appetite for Definition: An A-Z Guide to Rock Genres

Ian King. Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper (528p) ISBN 978-0-06-268888-0

Music writer King debuts with a thoroughly researched and entertainingly written guide to the more than 200 subgenres of rock music. In short but sharp entries, King shows his appreciation for rock’s “messy confluence of events,” including the way British Invasion rockers such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were influenced by motown, how glam rock influenced punk rock, and how the blues was the basis for of heavy metal. King excels in his ability to parse the differences between newer genres such as shoegaze in the early 1990s (“heavy amounts of delay and reverb to achieve a lazy, dream-like quality”), slowcore in the late 1990s (“distorted and lead-footed... hardcore with a heavy foot on the brakes”), and chillwave in the late 2000s (“ethereal, mellow”). King also offers suggestions in each entry for “Pioneer” tracks so readers can compile their own playlists. Whether setting apart progressive rock (Genesis, Pink Floyd, Rush) from progressive metal (Dream Theater, Gojira, Opeth) or negotiating the subtle distinctions among folk rock, folk punk, folk metal, and freak folk, King brings an informative voice that will enlighten all fans of rock music in its many permutations. This encyclopedia of rock is sure to spark many heated conversations. (Nov.)