Mark Baumgarten is a Seattle-based music writer. He serves as Editor at Large for City Arts magazine, and his work has been featured in Willamette Week, The Village Voice, Seattle Weekly, and Lost Cause magazine.
"No novelist, short of Ayn Rand, could come up with a character as
iconoclastic and idealist as Calvin Johnson, which is one reason
Love Rock Revolution is a compelling book. Mark Baumgarten
methodically details every nuance of K Records, and in doing so has
written the best book yet on the Olympia, Washington scene. Whether
you're a fan of Beat Happening, Bikini Kill, or Nirvana, this book
will help you understand a scene that changed music history."
Charles R. Cross, author of Heavier Than Heaven
"In his new book Love Rock Revolution: K Records and the
Rise of Independent Music, Mark Baumgarten explores the independent
music scene of the mid eighties to the present through the story of
Calvin Johnson's seminal record label. And although he's only
looking a few decades back, it was a different world. To find music
that wasn't on the radio, you had to search -- without Google. You
had to go to shows, get mix tapes from cousins, or ask record store
employees for "underground" bands. But once you did, there was a
whole world to explore. It was the heyday of zines and newsletters,
when independent bands toured in vans across the country, blazing
trails down the still-new interstate system, winning new fans over
one small town at a time."
Think Out Loud, Oregon Public Broadcasting "Baumgarten is not just a great writer and astute music critic; he is an impeccable storyteller, and exhibits this skill in this selection from his book. Love Rock Revolution will undoubtedly be a treasure for K Records fans and music lovers in general."
Pop Press International "It's a fascinating and thoroughly-researched book that should interest anyone curious about independent music, the Northwest, or the growth of a community or scene."
Another Rainy Saturday "It could all be called 'punk, ' but in a sense that referred to a feeling and an ethos, not a particular sound. Love Rock Revolution reflects that feeling by describing not only the music itself, but the economies of culture, resources, and personality that made it possible. Similar economies inform recent manifestations of DIY culture in niches all over the world, and this makes the book's subject larger and more important than the story of a single independent record label -- even though that story, skillfully and entertainingly told, is its major focus... Baumgarten does not pretend to be exhaustive, but his clear enthusiasm for the K millieu is contagious, making newcomers feel as though they could have been in on the scene themselves."
Los Angeles Review of Books "Baumgarten's history lessons are conversational and well-written, and he obviously has a deep love for his subject. Amid accounts of who's who, there are small revelations, like just how bizarre K Records' back catalog is: The fervent hard rock of Karp alongside the sugar-spun Softies, and Built to Spill's deft guitar epics bookended with Beat Happening's near musical incompetence. Erratic and varied, it's very much a list that represents K Records' open-door policy, where record deals are made with a handshake. Even if Love Rock Revolution doesn't lob hardballs at Johnson's psyche, it's a nourishing chunk of facts, stories, and memories of long teenage days spent listening to K Records mixtapes."
The Portland Mercury "Baumgarten manages to pull off a rather balanced and historically important label biography through the format of an oral history -- no easy feat."