Books and Music at the Heart of Independent Publishing


Please note that the visuals in this article are mock-up representations of the limited and deluxe editions. The hand artwork by Kim Gordon may appear differently in the final product.

Limited edition
200 copies @ £100
Printed on 80gsm Munken Premium Cream
Royal 234x156mm
Thread sewn, cased, head and tail bands
Case to be covered in Popset Flame Orange 120gsm (uncoated paper), printed in black
Endpapers to be Popset Oyster (uncoated paper) 170gsm, printed in black
Slipcase to be covered in Brillianta cloth 4000 (black), blocked in silver foil (Kurz Luxor 455) on front
Signed and numbered on front endpaper
Individually wrapped in brown paper and numbered label attached
Buy your copy here


Deluxe edition
12 copies @ £350
Printed on 80gsm Munken Premium Cream
Royal 234x156mm
Thread sewn, cased, head and tail bands
Case to be covered in Brillianta 4001 white book cloth) with hand artwork by Kim Gordon.
Orange pigment blocking on spine (no jacket)
Endpapers to be Flame Orange 170gsm Popset (uncoated paper) 170gsm, printed in black
Slipcase to be covered in Brillianta cloth 4001 (white), blocked in orange pigment (Colorit 961) on front
Signed and numbered tip-in page in front
Individually boxed and numbered label attached
Buy your copy here

To celebrate the publication of Kim Gordon’s extraordinary new memoir Girl in a Band, Faber Social has 5 sets of signed Kim Gordon goody bags to giveaway.

Each goody bag includes:

– A signed Body/Head vinyl and CD
– A signed copy of the book
– An exclusive ‘Girl in a Band’ canvas bag


kim prizeV3

Sandwiched between Sandy Denny’s first home tape of ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’ and the last song she demoed, ‘Makes Me Think of You”, is an inevitably flawed overview of her work in a mere 15 songs. Three tracks from the three albums released by Fairport Convention in 1969 include ‘Fotheringay’, which first got me hooked on her still-unmatched voice. Fotheringay, the group she formed in 1970, saw her songwriting skills spiral; the otherwordly ‘Late November’ and dramatic ‘John the Gun’ remained unreleased (by Fotheringay) for 37 years but were recorded for her first solo album The North Star Grassman and the Ravens. It’s represented here by the eerie title track and ‘Next Time Around’, a cryptic portrait of ex-boyfriend Jackson C. Frank. ‘Quiet Joys of Brotherhood’ majestically multitracks Sandy’s voice; it was influenced by a 1958 recording of the Bulgarian State Choir. I simply had to include ‘Solo’ which includes the lines ‘I’ve Always Kept a Unicorn’, as well as the one-take ‘No End’ which always stops me in my tracks. The selection ends with Sandy’s return to Fairport and the astonishing ‘One More Chance’. Rendezvous’s reflective ‘All Our Days’, sung absolutely live with a full orchestra quashes any notion that Sandy Denny had nothing left to offer in the last years of her life.

– Mick Houghton
Photo credit © Ray Stevenson

On April 13 we once again join with our friends at Caught By The River to present The Poem That Took The Place Of A Mountain: Reflections On The Language of Place.

Richard King, author of the acclaimed How Soon is Now (2012) which was named Sunday Times Music Book of the Year, joins us to read from his new book Original Rockers (April 2nd). Philip Hoare has said of it: ‘A telling evocation of a lost past, so recent as to still be echoing in my ears, Richard King’s highly personal memoir in music stirs up scenes of provincial revolution, drawing together telling, disparate strands of influence – from the English idyll of Virginia Astley to Bristol shabeens, from the Colony Rooms to the stirrings of the Young Britist Artists. Was this our last utopian intent?’

We welcome back Nina Lyon to read from her first book, a meditation on the Green Man, which is due to be published by Faber in March 2016. Her essay Mushroom Season, was published by Random House in 2014 after being chosen as runner-up in the Financial Times/Bodley Head Essay Prize.

Robert Macfarlane’s new book Landmarks (March 6th) is a celebration and defence of the language of landscape – a book about the power of single words and strong style to shape our sense of place. It is both a field guide to the literature of nature, and a vast glossary collecting thousands of the remarkable terms used in dozens of languages and dialects across Britain and Ireland (from Gaelic to Shetlandic, Suffolk to the Jersey dialect of Norman) for particular aspects of terrain, weather and light.

Dominick Tyler is a photographer and writer, whose new book is Uncommon Ground: A Word Lover’s Guide To The British Landscape (Guardian-Faber, April). Matching one hundred place-words (from abri to zawn) with one hundred beautiful images, it tells the story of his journeys round the country, from the Fens to the Highlands, in search of a rich language for place.

To close out the evening we’re excited to have live music from Grasscut.  Everyone Was A Bird (Lo Recordings, April) is the third album by the acclaimed electronica duo. They have played and performed across the UK and Europe, including on the CBTR stage at Port Eliot. Landscape, the memories it keeps and loses, settlement and spectrality, and technology and its discontents are among this new album’s preoccupations, as its tracks travel from the north coast of Jersey to the Rhinog mountains of Wales, by way of the Sussex Downs.

Monday 13 April 2015

The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London, W1W 7JD

Doors 7pm, Tickets £10 in advance

Eventbrite - Faber Social and CBTR present The Poem That Took The Place Of A Mountain


Haircuts! Guy-liner! That infamous blood-and-spunk artwork! A fair proportion of Metallica’s always vocal and vociferous fan-base had already made up their minds that the Californian quartet’s controversial sixth album was an abomination long before Load dropped on June 4, 1996. The rest simply couldn’t figure out what the hell their favourite band was playing at. On the album’s inner sleeve artwork, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Jason Newsted and Lars Ulrich sported tailored shirts and make-up: on the cover their band’s iconic logo had been dramatically altered too. It was evident that change was afoot, and this made many Metallica fans – and at least one band member – uncomfortable and disconcerted. This, for the band’s beating heart, drummer Lars Ulrich, was almost certainly the intention.

From day one, Metallica were set up in opposition to the status quo. In 1981, while their peers in Los Angeles looked to US arena acts Van Halen, Aerosmith and Journey for guidance, Metallica’s founding members Ulrich and Hetfield drew inspiration from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and fashioned an aggressive, ugly and wholly uncompromising signature sound defiantly out-of-step with the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood metal scene they hoped to destroy. Ten years on, however, with the phenomenal success of their self-titled fifth album (universally known as ‘The Black Album’) Metallica became metal’s most mainstream attraction, and for Ulrich at least, a revolution – or at the very least a comprehensive re-imagining of their sound and aesthetic – was now essential.

In May of 1994, just 10 months after the completion of the 244 date Wherever We May Roam tour, Metallica re-grouped to work upon what would be their sixth studio album. Re-energised from the longest holiday of their working lives, they over-stretched, writing and demo-ing a total of 27 songs. At this point, a more clear-headed band might have called upon the assistance of management and a top-grade producer to whittle down the song selection to a more manageable 10 to 12 tracks  which would be refined and polished in the studio: the bullish Californians, however, decided they would record and release all 27 of their new compositions, over two expansive records. This was one of Metallica’s first mis-steps: a decision that would ultimately damage both band and brand.

The quartet envisaged Load and Reload as their own answer to the sprawling Use Your Illusion twin-sets released by Guns N’ Roses in 1991. Yet Metallica had already demonstrated their dominance over their former friends, now bitter rivals, on their epic US co-headline stadium tour in 1992, and this supposed power-play was ill-advised, and un-necessary, grand-standing.

With the benefit of hindsight, both Load and Reload are better albums than they appeared upon release, containing some of the quartet’s finest, and most fearless, work. Influenced by old favourites (ZZ Top Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy) and more contemporary acts (Corrosion of Conformity, Alice In Chains), the band opted for a looser, more bluesy sound – Lars Ulrich prefers the term ‘greasy’ – over their traditional disciplined snap-and-crunch with dramatic results. From the Southern Gothic drama of Until It Sleeps through to the brooding, panoramic majesty of The Outlaw Torn, from the high octane roar of Fuel to the plaintive, countrified Mama Said and the folksy Low Man’s Lyric, this was a bold and liberating re-styling of the Metallica sound. The problem, however, is that these superlative compositions are bracketed by much that is flabby, under-developed and – to borrow a term Ulrich would memorably employ on the terrific Some Kind of Monster documentary – ‘stock’. With judicious pruning, and a touch more humility, the world’s biggest metal band might have created another masterpiece, a multi-faceted, muscular, modern metal album to set them up for the new millennium. Uncharacteristically, with the world looking on as never before, they rather fluffed their lines. To mark the release of Into The Black: The Inside Story of Metallica 1991 – 2014 then we’ve selflessly decided to take that task off their hands. So let us present Download, a playlist presenting Metallica’s Load and Reload albums in a condensed, stream-lined and – dare we say it – superior single-album form, eyeliner not included. You’re welcome Lars, you’re welcome…

‘Side One’:

Bleeding Me / Fuel / King Nothing / Wasting My Hate / Until It Sleeps / Unforgiven II

‘Side Two’:

Ain’t My Bitch / Hero Of The Day / Low Man’s Lyric / The Memory Remains / Mama Said / The Outlaw Torn

Into The Black: The Inside Story of Metallica 1991 – 2014 by Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood (Faber & Faber, 2015) is available here.