Copendium by Julian Cope - the visionary musician, antiquarian and musicologist - is an alternative history of the last six decades of popular music.
Julian Cope was born in Deri, South Glamorgan, and grew up in Tamworth. After forming a succession of half-groups and writing songs with Ian McCulloch (later of Echo and the Bunnymen), he eventually formed Teardrop Explodes with Gary Dwyer in 1978. He is the author of Krautrocksampler, Megalithic European, The Modern Antiquarian, Head-On, Japrocksampler and Repossessed. His website, www.headheritage.co.uk, contains some of the most entertaining and insightful album reviews on the web.
Copendium is a collection of album reviews, exactly 10 years worth, which Cope wrote for his own Head Heritage website. He homes in on the unsung, music that is unknown, unloved, even unreleased...If, like me, you thought you knew your musical onions, if you pride yourself on knowing or just owning the work of musicians whose mothers don t even know they exist, then reading Copendium is a humbling exercise...Every essay in Copendium is an adventure -- Roddy Doyle Irish Times Here is a book of umpteen reviews by Cope of umpteen bands, a book so thick that its spine alone can accommodate not only the book's title and author, Faber's logo and a drawing of the Cerne Abbas giant waving an electric guitar, but three quotes from reviews of the book itself (from Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Roddy Doyle and Q magazine). Of these umpteen bands, I had heard of about 11. -- Nic Lezard Guardian Cult singer and songwriter Julian Cope's Copendium is a wonderful tribute to the misfits, outsiders and head-cases who have marked music's most magnificent margins. While heavyweights such as Miles Davis and Black Sabbath are loudly hymned, so are 'underpraised' artists such as the Mops and Jex Thoth. -- Rob Fitzpatrick Sunday Times, Music Books of the Year I think Julian is the best writer on rock and roll in the world today. No contest. Lester Bangs would love him if he were still alive. They'd be blood brothers. He's got the spirit alright. True faith. Bobby Gillespie Julian Cope's Copendium provides an alternative history of popular music from the Fifties to the present. Cope is the well-read jester of English pop, a real one-off, and we're lucky to have him. -- Ian Thomson The Standard, Books of the Year Inside a black tortoise-shell cover, Copendium finds the erstwhile Teardrop Explodes loon vibing about some of the most outre rock records ever made. Collated from 10 years worth monthly posts on Cope s Head Heritage website, each entry reads like a mission statement to convert you to the Arch-Drude's latest space-cake obsession. Whether raving about mid-60s proto-metallers Blue Cheer or contemporary psych troop Sunburned Hand Of The Man, Cope makes most other rock writing seem lifeless. -- Andrew Perry Q Magazine, Books of the Year Phrase by phrase, Cope is the best music writer going. He has taste, anger, wit and a resplendent supracosmic vision. His decade's writings have now been compiled as Copendium ... One hell of a book. -- Toby Litt The Herald, Books of the Year Downright irresistible -- Ben Thomson Independent on Sunday, Books of the Year A combination of fastidiousness and freakout fervour means Copendium achieves its own aim of being an alternative head's guide to all and every music. It also documents a history just passed. Cope will always make us want to listen to this music again. He has also captured why the process of discovering it has changed forever. Wire