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Book Review: Music Lust by Nic Harcourt

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Nic Harcourt knows music. Esquire magazine says;” In the world of music, a handful of tastemakers can make or break a musician’s career. The most artistically savvy of them all is Nic Harcourt…” In his book; Music Lust (published by Sasquatch Books), Nic shares some of that savvy with the rest of us.

Nic’s musical knowledge has come from a lifelong interest in music which eventually became a career. From his childhood home in England to an extended stay in Australia to his current home in Los Angeles, music has always been an integral part of Nic’s life.

Photo from KCRW

In 1998 he became program director at radio station KCRW in Los Angeles. He hosts the “Morning Becomes Eclectic” show there, which is now being podcast. The show features live studio performances, and he has used it to help launch the careers of such artists as Norah Jones and Damien Rice. He tries to bring little-known music to the attention of his listeners, as well as featuring new artists. His audience in LA includes some movers and shakers of the entertainment world, so Nic’s opinions and choices of new talent to put on the air really do matter a great deal.

In the book Nic takes on a tone which I would compare to a friendly conversation. Picture yourself and a friend sitting in a quiet neighborhood pub talking music trivia over a couple of beers, and you will know what I mean. Music Lust isn’t an encyclopedic reference and doesn’t intend to be. It is a collection of short essays on various topics such as musical genres, time periods and artists. Titles of the essays range from “Hit The Road Jack,” which is Nic’s top 10 favorite CDs to take on a road trip, to “The Twenty Essential Albums of The Twenty-First Century (so far).”

To even pick out specific essay titles to list is doing the book something of a disservice, as all of his essays are so worth reading on their own. Make sure to check out the one about Irish artists to learn Nic’s pick for album of the current decade. (It may surprise you).

I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to the casual music fan as well as to the more serious audiophile. There is something in it for everyone and its format (short essays) makes it a book that you can either sit down and read straight through, or pursue in your free moments without losing anything. Nic says it this way:”The book is at times random, but then so is life”.
Pub:NB Edited: PC

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About Mike Johnston

  • “Morning Becomes Eclectic” was one of my favorite programs when I lived in the LA basin — thanks for the tip on this book! If it’s anywhere near as good as his radio commentary, it’ll be outstanding.