My book on feminist punk band
     The Raincoats
     was published fall 2017
     01: Order                        
     02: Excerpt                       
     03: Excerpt                       


The Raincoats’ The Raincoats (Bloomsbury, 2017)

In 1979, from the basement of a London squat, the Raincoats
reinvented what punk could be. They had a violin player. They
came from Portugal, Spain, and England. Their anarchy was poetic.
Working with the iconic Rough Trade Records at its radical
beginnings, they were the first group of punk women to actively
call themselves feminists.

In this short book – the first on the Raincoats – author Jenn
Pelly tells the story of the group's audacious debut album, which
Kurt Cobain once called “wonderfully classic scripture.” Pelly
builds on rare archival materials and extensive interviews with
members of the Raincoats, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Hole,
Scritti Politti, Gang of Four, and more. She draws formal
inspiration from the collage-like The Raincoats itself to
explore this album's magic, vulnerability, and strength.


🔎 Click Here for Cover Image 🔎


The release of The Raincoats was celebrated with events
in New York and London. The 1979 lineup of The Raincoats
came together for the first time since the recording of
the album for a live discussion at Rough Trade East.

A series of three events at The Kitchen were staged in
November 2017, with films and visual art by The Raincoats,
readings, and special performances. On the final night, 
which was organized by Shirley O’Loughlin and The Kitchen,
Palmolive drummed on a Raincoats song for the first time
in 38 years. Bikini Kill also reunited as a surprise for
The Raincoats and played one song, “For Tammy Rae.”


Select interviews:

→ Bookforum
→ NTS Radio
→ Cashmere Radio
→ Oyster Magazine
→ Vol. 1 Brooklyn
Pitchfork Live
WICN 90.5 FM
Live From City Lights
→ Junior Hi Mag


What Critics Are Saying 👀

“One of the strangest and most inspiring of punk rock stories,
finally brought into the light. Jenn Pelly's brilliant book is
a crucial work of history, not just music history, opening up
the story of how four women formed a band and created a legend,
passed from fan to fan around the world.”
—Rob Sheffield, author of Love Is a Mixtape and Dreaming the Beatles

“Jenn Pelly’s mini-masterpiece THE RAINCOATS is the first book on
this little-known but legendary Rough Trade 1979 band of female
individualists... The writing is very visual, within a well-researched
historical context emphasizing that all-important freedom to
improvise (and embrace randomness and spontaneous inspiration).”
V Vale, RE/Search Publications

“The book is a seamless hybrid of criticism and reportage... what’s
extraordinary is that [Pelly] doesn’t seem to be recounting the Raincoats’
early years so much as time-traveling back to the squats of late-’70s
London and mind-melding with each of the four very different women who
came together to make this strange, enchanting music. Over the years,
The Raincoats has become a sort of talisman for feminist punks, a
document that is somehow challenging and comforting at once.
Pelly doesn’t just describe that effect—her writing recreates it.”
Judy Berman, Pitchfork

“Recent years have seen some excellent additions to the [33 1/3] series...
joining this list is Jenn Pelly’s study on The Raincoats’ self-titled debut
album... If the album conveys, as she writes, ‘the rare sound of women
destroying isolation together,’ her account of it does something similiar.”
Frances Morgan, The Wire

“[An] empathetic, encyclopedic, and eloquent reclamation of the musical canon.
Pelly's vivid study offers a meticulously detailed look at the band's origins,
influences, and legacy from their days squatting in London basements
to Kurt Cobain's passionate fandom.”
Quinn Moreland, Bookforum

“In author Jenn Pelly's telling, [The Raincoats'] version of 1970s British
punk reflects a utopian impulse expressed in modes of living, thinking,
recording, art making, and musical creation [...] as revelant to the current
moment as to the late 1970s and early 1980s.“
—Norma Coates, Journal of Popular Music Studies

“Pelly's writing is a pitch-perfect blend of academic references and
a genuine fan's adoration that raises both the band and their debut
record to a status they very much deserve but haven't received until now.”
—Hannah Vettese, Record Collector

“Stories of ’70s heroines really came of age this decade, but so did
the critics raised on them [...] Pelly provides a tender, collage-like
account of the Raincoats’ self-titled debut and how its influence lives on.”
Micco Caporale, Audiofemme “Decade’s Best Books by Women in Music”

“For anyone who has ever felt delectably off-center upon entering into the
Raincoats music, the book is revelatory, showing how da Silva, Birch,
violinist Vicky Aspinall and galloping drummer Palmolive crafted their
intimate, thrilling, teetering, empowered, messy, heart-bursting music.“
Andy Beta, Vulture

“It is a record that could only be made by women, and although Pelly
doesn't labor over this, she does an excellent job of showing its truth...
a fine addition to the 33 1/3 canon, dealing with an album that is most worthy
of being analyzed even while its very nature escapes any definite conclusions.”
Aug Stone, Under the Radar

“Among all the uncertainty and fucked-upness in the world right now,
one of the best things you could do to extricate yourself from misery
would be to read Jenn Pelly’s essential book about The Raincoats’ first album.“
Rebekah Kirkman, Baltimore Beat

“Pitchfork editor Jenn Pelly wrote a standout addition to Bloomsbury’s
33 1/3 series that focuses on the band’s self-titled 1979 album that
reaches far beyond the music into what the album signifies nearly 40 years
later. It’s a read you will fly through, even if the first time you’re
hearing this band’s name is right now—really.“
Nina Corcoran, DigBoston

“It’s been awhile since there was a 33 ⅓ that really wowed people...
[The Raincoats] is an unusual story that hadn't really been told before,
and Pelly's writing deftly captures the history and the mood.”
Leah Mandel, The Fader

“Groundbreaking [...] a vivid document of one
of the greatest punk bands to ever work.”

“For so long, the narrative of the history of punk has been dominated by
men. The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and The Clash get hailed time and time
again as the saviors of “real rock," while their fiercely creative female
peers get the short end of the retrospective stick. Books like Jenn Pelly’s
essential 33 1/3 volume on The Raincoats [...] are helping to correct
this imbalance by putting women back in that history, and pointing out
how they were pushing the sonic and aesthetic envelope just as hard as
their male contemporaries (and in some cases outclassed them completely).“
Ashley Naftule, Phoenix New Times