search by
artist  album title  keyword
trouser press
Home
Reviews
What's New
Trouser Press Magazine
Message Board
Links
Merchandise
Contact Us
XML
 
 

What is this?
What's the Trouser Press Record Guide?
So what reviews will I find here?
Can you give me some tips for searching the site?
What are those abbreviations in the discographical headings?
Who's in charge?
Who are the critics?
What happened to the first trouserpress.com?
For old time's sake, can I still buy the books?
Is there a new book or CD-ROM in the works?
How do you decide which artists get reviewed here?
Can I write reviews for the site?
Will you correct a factual mistake I've spotted?
Can you sell me a record Iíve read about or help me track down a copy?
What's a trouser press anyway?
How are things going for Yo La Tengo?

What is this?
Trouser Press was a New York-based rock music magazine that specialized in a number of genres — British Invasion history, new wave, progressive and independent-label releases — during its existence, which was from 1974 to 1984. In 1983, the editors of the magazine authored the first of a series of record guides. Those books are the basic content of this site.

What's the Trouser Press Record Guide?
Five books of album reviews have been published under that name, and their content forms the basis of this site.
  • The first edition, quaintly titled The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records, was published in hardcover and paperback in 1983 and covered the music's roots in groups like the Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, Flamin' Groovies and Stooges up through the techno-poppers of the early '80s.
  • The New Trouser Press Record Guide, published in 1985 in hardcover and paperback, greatly expanded and updated both the stylistic and chronological scope of the coverage, taking into account the increasing popularity of CDs and other developments.
  • The third edition was issued under the same title (but only in paperback) in 1989, reviewing more than 6,000 records by nearly 2,000 artists in 658 pages.
  • The fourth edition was published in paperback in 1991. With all the updates and revisions, it ran to 764 pages, covering 2,500 artists and nearly 10,000 records. We had reached a dead end in terms of the ability to keep adding entries and updating entries ad infinitum, so we decided to start from scratch.
  • The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock, published in early 1997, was an 846-page paperback containing almost entirely new material — 2300 bands and 8500 records — from the era that nominally began with Nirvana's Nevermind. Read the preface.
So what reviews will I find here?
The archival contents of the first four Trouser Press Record Guide books (written in the '80s, covering everything from the '60s roots of punk and new wave to the end of the '80s), which were online in a previous Trouser Press website launched in the mid-'90s in partnership with SonicNet. Also, the content of The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock, which was published in 1996. And a whole lot of updates and new entries.

Can you give me some tips for searching the site?
The search engine is literal. If you don't match names correctly, the entries won't turn up. Spelling and punctuation (but not capitalization) count. Try typing only the first part of a name if you're not confident in spelling the whole thing.

Articles. By Trouser Press convention, articles in band names are typically omitted from the headings — unless they are an integral part of the name (The For Carnation, A Band Called Bud), intentionally misspelled (Thee Hypnotics, Th Faith Healers), unlikely to be correctly presumed in context (the The) or in a language other than English (Los Lobos, Die Toten Hosen), so when you search, generally omit articles like "the."

Secondary headings (like Tin Machine under David Bowie) are searchable as well.

Try the alphabet. Another approach to finding what you want is to scan the alphabetic listings of entries.

What are those abbreviations in the discographical headings?
Click here to view an explanation of the abbreviations used on the site.

Who's in charge?
Ira Robbins. I was one of the three founders of Trouser Press magazine and the editor of all of the Trouser Press books. If you care to know more about it, here's a lengthy online interview for your perusal. Of course, I'm not alone here in cyberspace. The site was built and is maintained by Jim Glauner, one of the folks behind the excellent (but defunct) publication Oculus. The home page was designed by Kristina Juzaitis. A lot of kind people have offered their services to this endeavor, so this section will be updated as we sign up volunteers and put them to work.

Who are the critics?
Over the years, many fine writers have contributed to the Trouser Press books and have reviews posted on this site. And, now, many more critics will join them here for the first time. Click here for a complete list of contributors.

What happened to the first TrouserPress.com?
The site we created in partnership with SonicNet in 1997 was unceremoniously taken down at the end of 1999, after SonicNet was acquired by MTVi. They were very nice about sorting things out with us, and that enabled us to create the second TrouserPress.com, which took a frighteningly long time to do. This version is owned and operated independently, joining the content of the old site (but not the bulletin boards, which got lost on a server somewhere) with a second section of more modern reviews for your edification and irritation that has never been online before.

For old time's sake, can I still buy the books?
Only The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock is currently in print. Amazon sells it online, and occasionally lists copies of earlier editions as well. Copies come up on eBay occasionally, so that's worth checking.

Is there a new book or CD-ROM in the works?
No. We'll stick with the Internet for right now.

How do you decide which artists get reviewed here?
It's a highly refined scientific process that involves weighing numerous factors, listening to diverse arguments, gathering critical assessments and then making a seat-of-the-trousers decision, subject to ignorance, bias, time and energy.

Can I write reviews for the site?
Perhaps. E-mail us for submission guidelines.

Will you correct a factual mistake I've spotted?
Sure. E-mail the info to us.

Can you sell me a record Iíve read about or help me track down a copy?
At the top of each entry, next to the artist name, you'll see a link that reads (Buy CDs by this artist). Hit that and you'll be connected to Insound, a New York based oniline music retailer, to see what they can supply by that artist. If it's in print, independent label or major, chances are good they can sell it to you.

As for out-of-print, obscurities, rarities, collectible releases, etc., you might try looking in eBay or putting up a query on the Trouser Press message board to see if any of your fellow TP visitors can help you find what you're looking for.

What's a trouser press anyway?
It's an archaic (but still made and used) device used to flatten out the wrinkles and put the crease in pants. But that's only part of the answer. In late 1973, when three New York City friends got the idea of starting a rock fanzine, they named it Trans-Oceanic Trouser Press in honor of a song by the Bonzo Dog (Doo-Dah) Band. Written by Roger Ruskin Spear (who later provided us with an explanatory drawing of the device), "Trouser Press" — a track on the group's 1968 Urban Spaceman (aka The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse) album — became a good if unintended journalistic pun and conveyed the dada whimsy we envisioned for our little magazine. (The rest of the cumbersome name, which was eventually relieved of its Trans-Oceanic aspect, was an indication of our Anglo-American geo-cultural sensibilities and an acronymic tribute to England's great music television show, Top Of The Pops.)

On a related note, several organizations in the US and England began using the Trouser Press name for publishing enterprises after we did. None of them has anything whatsoever to do with us, and they should find names of their own. Granted, we took it off the Bonzos, but it was our idea to make it a publishing moniker and we trademarked it as such.

How are things going for Yo La Tengo?
While it's confusingly true that both Iras play first base in the same Manhattan softball game every summer, that's where their career overlap ends. Ira Robbins is a journalist who plays in Utensil, while Ira Kaplan is the ex-journalist in Yo La Tengo.