Tuesday, May 24, 2005
YESTERDAY'S PAPERS UNTIL JUNE.....Agony Shorthand's headed to the tropics for the rest of May. Until June, please enjoy the following links to musical skeletons from our closet, & see you in a week or two.
JOHNNY AND THE SELF ABUSERS
GREEN ON RED
DAN MELCHIOR'S BROKE REVUE
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
AGONY SHORTHAND ON: Why Lyrics Suck
THE DOOR AND THE WINDOW
THE WHITE STRIPES
YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS
“OFF THE CHARTS : THE SONG POEM STORY”
UNION CARBIDE PRODUCTIONS
THE NEON BOYS
"ELEGY FOR A CORPORATE BEHEMOTH"
CHRIS D. & THE DIVINE HORSEMEN
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
Monday, May 23, 2005
LEE “SCRATCH” PERRY: “SCRATCH ATTACK!” CD.....
This one has built a head of critical steam since I first heard about it around 2000....now it is frequently held up as a quintessential LEE “SCRATCH” PERRY dub production & a place to start building an enveloping dub fortress comprised of the man’s massive discography. It’s a two-fer containing out of print LPs: “Chapter 1” is a series of 1970-76 productions by “Scratch and Company”, attributed of course to “THE UPSETTERS”; “Blackboard Jungle Dub” is a legendary, “brain erasing” dub LP that languished on want lists for years until this release and another CD effort with just this LP. (Don’t be confused by the CD “Original Blackboard Jungle Dub”, which is a pseudo-bootleg of the original recordings on Jet Star and is just as essential). I’m not one to cut-n-paste the reviews of others and leave it at that, but there’s some good information out there on the information superhighway that will help fill in the gaps (and hopefully convince you why this one’s a must-purchase). First, from noted dub authority Jonathan E.:
“Scratch Attack! is a single CD of two vinyl albums, Chapter 1--The Upsetters and Blackboard Jungle Dub, a couple of gems from Lee Perry's golden age in the Black Ark Studio during the early-to-mid-'70s. As such, it's some pretty primeval--and prime--dub of antique Upsetter tracks mixed up with a few scattered vocals featuring artists like Johnny Love and the Towerchanters, Val Bennett, Devon Iron, and, of course, Lee Perry himself. This was all done on four-track, although as the original vinyl sleeve notes said, Scratch makes them "sound like sixteen." The results are warm, organic, sparse, majestic, echoing, horn-driven, and mysterious--the bedrock of dub as rhythm chases melody. Out of the bazillion Perry releases currently available, many of them counterfeit, Scratch Attack! belongs in the top five”.
Then, from the Amazon.com reviews page and “Locks Lion”:
"Five stars on the nose...despite the fact that these recordings were later altered by Brad Osbourne in New York, this release is still essential to any respectable reggae collection. Osbourne added some fairly inobstrusive overdubs to Scratch & Company and, for some reason, lopped a couple of tunes off of Blackboard Jungle and retitled the rest. But the damage is only superficial, and we can still enjoy - thank Jah! - a chugging, stripped down version of Caveman Skank as Setta Iration Dub (should be Apeman Skank), the chilling, creepy-crawly Blackboard Jungle Dub and its superb trombone version (should be Black Panta Dub and Version Panta Rock respectively), and many other classic recordings from the early days of the Black Ark."
Let me put in my own yeah-hup for “Scratch The Dub Organizer”, a track that would make any dub CD-R I’m likely to make to introduce others to the form. Mysterious, distant and ancient-sounding, it’s a morsel that I can listen to anytime, anywhere. I don’t know just how deep Perry’s top-shelf dub work goes, but I’m certain that this & “Original Blackboard Jungle Dub” are my favorites found in my extensive burrowing so far.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
A-FRAMES / SIGHTINGS, live 5/20/05 Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco.......
SIGHTINGS are unlike any band going, anywhere. This Brooklyn trio speak a musical foreign tongue formed at the intersection of improvisational soundscapes, balls-out rock and crude electronics held together by duct tape & baling wire. Emphasis on the electronics & effects, along with a big dose of spattering percussion. The drummer's kit is this weird half-analog, half-digital hydra; the bass sounds like it's going through 20 effects boxes and is on delay to boot, and the guitar itself is like a mushroom-fueled bad trip. If I had to split the SIGHTINGS cards between unplanned free-form experimentation and songs, they'd easily fall into the latter -- rehearsed, practiced, and planned, yet bizarre as fuck-all. Those songs don't remind me much of anyone else's. If this is indeed the sound of the 21st Century, we could do a hell of a lot worse. Crowd thought so too, & though they may have been here for the far more pedestrian sounds of the A-FRAMES, they hooted in all the right places.
I had to liberally check my pocketwatch while watching the A-FRAMES (picture above) to make sure I wasn't still standing at their May 8th, 2004 Hemlock Tavern show. The set, which was great, was nearly identical to the one rendered last time they were here. Same charge-ahead songs from their new CD "Black Forest", which were "in development" then, same hits from the past, even the exact same encore ("Radiation Generation" + the Aussie X's "Batman"). I get the feeling that these guys are comfortable right about here, in terms of popularity & audience growth -- enough to fill a hole-in-the-wall club with rowdy hipsters, yet also enough to sell merch by themselves in a dark corner, put 45s out on cool micro-underground labels like S-S & Dragnet, and play their new stuff louder, faster & more berzerk than the Sub Pop record songs. And drummer Lars Finberg is quite a stud pounder for a fairly compact young gentleman; he's also a prime mover behind fine Seattle bands THE INTELLIGENCE and THE DIPERS. Remember the name -- it's gonna be a big one someday. I'd gladly pay real cash money to see the same set again next May too, so let's plan on it, hunh?
Friday, May 20, 2005
VARIOUS ARTISTS : “GIMME DAT HARP BOY!: ROOTS OF THE CAPTAIN” CD.....
This is something of a new concept in tribute CDs: rather than a set of covers of an artists’ work, or a “Songs The Cramps Taught Us”-style selection of songs covered by the artist in question, how about a collection of songs that may or may not have inspired the artist, along with a smattering of numbers from the artist themselves? Hey, it works for me. “GIMME DAT HARP BOY” is a truly enjoyable and bizarrely hung-together cobbling of CAPTAIN BEEFHEART inspiration, be they items The Magic Band covered directly like BLIND BLAKE’s “Diddie Wa Diddie” or “Black Snake Moan” or tunes that simply rattled young Van Vliet’s world like CHARLIE PARKER’s “Koko”. The collection includes a strong helping of 1930s blues and gospel, as well as a few early jazz 78s. I haven’t read any Beefheart books (yet), so I don’t really know exactly how he came to be who he came to be outside of his California desert garage band roots (by the way, there’s a very interesting bootleg CD circulating called “The Early Years 1959-69” that’s got teenage Don recordings + some of the “Legendary A&M Sessions”-era outtakes). Certainly the compilers have responded to what they think are the man’s formative influences, stated or unstated. This also includes some of the wacky novelty stuff that reared its head throughout Beefheart’s twisted career, things like LORD BUCKLEY’s “His Majesty The Policeman” and “The Fang” by NERVOUS NORVOUS. Scattered throughout are minor Beefheart noodling tunes lifted from bootlegs, as well as non-sequiter comment snippets from the man himself. The two best tracks on here are a wild fiddle breakdown from UNCLE BUD LANDRESS WITH THE GEORGIA FIDDLE HAMMERS called “Rubber Dolly Rag”, followed by a wobbly “Tomi Tomi” from KANUI & LULU, Hawaii slack key guitar genius from the 78rpm era. Oh, and a crazy doo-wop R&B rave up called “Mope-Itty Mope” from the BOSSTONES, a must-hear. Don Van Vliet is a true American nutjob genius, and if you ever pictured him arriving fully-formed onto the planet with his addled brain as is, this collection begs to differ. Another check mark for the nurture over nature theorists.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
HOT MACHINES : "HOLE IN MY HEART / DRAW YOUR FACE" 45....
I've been listening to a nice stack of recent 45s of late; surely you've noticed. I'll get back to my late 30s/early 40s target audience in a moment, wherein we revisted "the hits of yesteryear". In the meantime, meet Chicago's HOT MACHINES. Wow, this SCIENTISTS-style knockout blues-drawler is the king of the pile for top 45 of 2005 thus far. It may be quite hard to displace. I conjured on the basis of their compilation appearances that the band had been knocking about for a while, and they may very well have been, but this new single is actually their debut release. It’s a loose, dirty crawl through a thicket of slow, fuzzing ooze and combo sweet/spat vocals from a woman whom the world wide web sites claim is but a mere 19 years old (!). Alex White’s band is not all coiled up with dark tension and feedback like The Scientists, but the general weariness & brooding of the latter fits the former to a T. At least on the fantastic A-side. The B-side’s a little more raucous and fast, & features Richard Hell from THE PONYS on panicky backing vocals. They really walk together, rock together in the Windy City, don't they?
TALES OF TERROR STORY HOUR CONTINUES....
We were really happy to get some great stories out of the punk rock olde-tymers a few months back when we posted a thing on the mighty TALES OF TERROR, a band I unfortunately never saw. Even way after the fact, more recollections have been streaming into the email box. P.S.Y.L.V.I.A. sent me two emails, the first sort of giving an update on the remaining members’ whereabouts, the second detailing a crazed 1984 show. With P.S.Y.L.V.I.A.’s permission, here goes:
“….Hi, I just ran across your webpage-thing questioning information about Tales of Terror, etc. It was pretty entertaining to read how differently we all remember things. Some of the stuff is completely off-base--but then we all have our memory lapses. I spent a whole lot of time with the Terror, as Trip was my roommate, and best friend, when he joined the band. I do know that Mike(I'm a Dick) Hunter--aka Thopper Jaw is living in the Bay area-either San Francisco, or close thereabouts. I saw RatsAss last November at a Wino's formal in SF. Trip is still doing Ding Dang and living in Sonoma County. I KNOW these last three won't let Ferguson (editor’s note: the poorly-regarded CD Presents guy) re-release their recording without causing a ruckus.
It was really a shame with Dusty--He had finally gotten back with Christy, they were gonna get married, yet he continued his drug thing. I had planned to bar-b-que with them the weekend following his death. I was pretty shaken when he died. This year--2005--is 20 (yes-TWENTY) years since Lyon was killed. I can't believe how quickly it's passed.
Anyhow--I could go on for days with stories of these guys. They've all been huge parts of my life--one still is. The saddest part is that my Terror record broke, and all I have is a second generation tape of the record that you can't hear very well.
I'll never forget the days of Tales of Terror--they changed so many lives--with acid, with music, with just being playful, silly, brilliant, young, and full of energy. Thanks for the trip down memory lane--as if any of us could forget!!!.....”
“…..I'm reminded of a show that must of been in like early 1984 at the On Broadway. Tales of Terror were playing with Fang and Code of Honor. Trip, Sammytown, some girl and I had been terrorizing Tilden Park in Berkeley on the 3rd or 4th day of what we called "carnage". This is when you take progressively more and more hits of acid for as many days as you can pull it off. So, yeah--it was like the 4th day and we got to the On Broadway in flaming psychedelia. The costumes alone are worth pages of description. Lyon had a rotten grapefruit-and other treasures-inside the back plate of his guitar. Dusty looked very dusty. Hunter was Hunter. Pat- RatsAss -was schlint. And I've yet to see anyone mention Shade Vegas. Otherwise known as Padds or Dave. Shade was the "roadie"--ha ha. Anyhow--I think it was all around the time that Trip had a great top hat--courtesy of UC Berkeley prop department. They get on stage, the place is packed, it's sweaty, smoky (you could still smoke indoors), and these guys were on fire. The crowd was so lit up! They played so fierce and so well, that for once, Fang was bummed to have to follow their set. Fang and Code of Honor followed and it is truly one of the most energetic, charged, righteous, crazy-acid-trip shows in memory. The carnage continued for a day or so."
Thanks to P.S.Y.L.V.I.A. for taking the time, and if anyone wants to add some thoughts on this unheralded but incredible hyperdrive bomber long-haired punk rock band, please do.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
THE PONYS / THE GRIS GRIS / PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE SOUND, live 5/12/05, Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco.....
Perhaps 20 time-killing minutes before this show started, I spied a PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE SOUND (pictured above) CD in a record store bin with an attached written rant, comparing them to early MONSTER MAGNET, HAWKWIND, CHROME and all that. I’d taken a nonchalant attitude toward seeing the dreaded “opening band” but thenceforth decided to floor it to the club. Though I only saw the last two numbers, they were each about 10 minutes, and they were right fucking on. The last one, which was introduced as “our biker song”, was truly this frenzied Wild Angels fuzzathon that delivered as advertised. The drummer had this terrific, metronomic Krautrock style of pounding that worked perfectly as the feedback and howl swirled around him. And not only did the freakout guitarist have a killer pair of striped “Crazy World of Arthur Brown” pants, he was sporting some awesome 1973 mutton chops that really got the good times flowing. I’m sure not much of a “space rocker”, but this crew might have me slapping on my astronaut gear after the next show. I do know that they’re also fond of “the jamz” – and I’m not. They were selling some cool-looking homemade CD-Rs at the merch table and I asked the main guy to help me select one targeted at the non-pot smoker demographic. He didn’t have one; such a question did not compute. So I bought the one that looked the best, even though it touted a meaty batch of “boombox jams”. I’ll let you know, but in the meantime – Plastic Crimewave Sound!!!
I wish I could say the same for THE GRIS GRIS, a San Francisco band that trustworthy, well-informed, impeccably-tasted individuals have been telling me I need to see for a good year now. I thought they were a total snooze, outside of a couple of 1968 San Francisco Haight Street moves a la QUICKSILVER, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, MOBY GRAPE that lent a noodly love-in vibe to the mistructured, meandering mumbling the Gris were serving up. Their disconnected, heavy art rock seemed headed in the right direction at times, but just when you'd be settling into something half-alright, the next coda in the song cycle would burst in and brutally snatch away any ill-gotten gains. Lots of faces scanned the crowd in sympathy, loads of slow strolls were taken to the bar, lots of sullen, defeated slouching proceeded toward the outside patio. Not a lot of rocking going on. These are the guys far better suited to have all the way from come from Chicago to bore a crowd of hipsters, not the other two bands. THE PONYS were rock-solid entertainment, a firing-on-all-cylinders band who will be leaping about in stadiums a year from now – maybe not as headliners themselves, but opening for The Pixies or Sonic Youth, no problem. I’m not yet fully sold on their new CD outside of a couple tracks that the girl sings + one great bouncy number called “Today” that they ripped through tonight, but live they were just bang-bang-bang tight and a lot of fun. I peg them in their 2005 incarnation as a garage punk/60s pop-tinged version of The Breeders -- and hey, I always sort of liked The Breeders. Alternative Rock of the ‘00’s! A roller coaster of a night out with some refreshing new discoveries, some bitter disappointments, and a little easy-livin' rock-and-roll from some old friends!
Friday, May 13, 2005
STRANGE NOTES, 5/13/05.....
Early last week I was in New York City meeting with some potential Agony Shorthand investors when I got the call to meet some pals at one of their private residences. We sat around drinking the best $11 six-pack of cider you'd ever tasted, shootin' the breeze and laughing about the "good times". Well, one thing led to another and sure enough, someone had to pull out some records, and then it was off to the geek factory. One of us had an LP and a 45 by an early 80s San Francisco experimental death-synth duo called THE GERMAN SHEPHERDS. I remember seeing the LP around 20 years ago, but little did I remember that the band had an obvious and dare-I-say "extreme" & unapologetic fascination with young boys. The rumor is that this was no kidding around, not one bit, and that one German Shepherd actually went to prison for child molestation & then killed himself in his cell. Talk about really living it to the hilt, am I right people? Can anyone confirm this wacky story?....I was also played a POP GROUP track I actually liked, which apparently was the intention. It's called "3.38", it's a "rare, obscure OOP" B-side to the "She Is Beyond Good and Evil" 12"EP, and it is a shimmering, heavy-funk/dub percussive instrumental that I heard as super thick and aggressive. Hey, if this is what that band was about then forget everything I said, all right?
Texas' GOLDEN BOYS are a newish band who've put out one ace 45 to date, last year's "Got No Home / Slow Down". James Arthur from FIREWORKS and A FEAST OF SNAKES is involved so at the very least you gotta pay attention. The A-side is choking with vines upon vines of dirty feedback, covering up a very nice & messed-up slow blues tune. It sounds like one of the two guitars is still in the midst of tuning up, like the song just sorta "happened" & the band rolled with it. Great. Look for a new CD on hott new label Hook Or Crook just out.....Lexicon alert! My favorite new term to describe some awe-inspiring piece of music: "Dude, it's a total brain eraser". I've heard it uttered twice now & no doubt it fits a wide breadth of sounds, insanely deep dub for starters. Watch for this as hip new critical lingo in 2005.....Another crazy 45 I just got is from the NERVOUS PATTERNS, "Beautiful Brutal / You Can't Change". Imagine my surprise when I found that what I thought were a bunch of limeys turns out to be none other than "Jay Reatard" and his female doppleganger "Alicja Trout" (great fake name)! But wait, you're saying, that guy's a one-trick screaming lunatic, right? Wrong! Nervous Patterns are this twitchy, fragmented post-punk duo that have written two top-drawer movers, one sung by him (quite well) & the other by her. Think MISSION OF BURMA's "Max Ernst" or THE FUSE! for a more recent example. Growing up & developing a functioning bullshit detector never sounded so good! I'm slapping a "strong buy" on this one -- watch it zoom like Enron, baby!....That's all I've got for you today -- keep your feet on the ground etc.!
Thursday, May 12, 2005
THE LIDS : "TOO LATE" 7"EP......
There's a woman I know named Beth Allen whom I once played in a band with many a moon ago....Beth is a real-deal punk rock wild child, totally hyperactive into her late 30s and 'core to the core. Haven't seen her in ages, but I know that somewhere she must be busting a girl-nut over this band. THE LIDS, too, are hyperactive and fast-paced, and remind me of one of Beth's old bands THE LOUDMOUTHS (who, truth be told and with all due respect, I couldn't stand). Guy singer with a sort of shout-sing delivery, backed by three squealing girlies who attempt some drunken punk rock harmonization that is in turns both charming and excruciating. The difference between this Atlanta act and The Loudmouths is that The Lids are very much at home on a tuff label like Rip Off (who've just put out a Lids LP - it's pictured above because I haven't scanned the EP) -- raw, spastic, and three steps to the cool 60s garage side of the delivery rather than the punker-than-thou sort of garbage that ends up on labels like Fat Wreckords or whatever. "No Fool For You" in particular might conjur visions of some beaned-up SUPERCHARGER being piranhaed by a giggling gaggle of teenage vixens. At least that's what I hear. It's stupid, stupid simple, but the kids won't mind.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
THE TIME FLYS : "ENERGY / PC ACTION" 45....
Recognizing that I've reviewed them in reverse order, this debut 45 from Oakland, CA's TIME FLYS isn't quite the kick in the tuchus their 2nd one was. But it's still solid. The band traffic in a 70s KBD-meets-rip-roarin' glam style and are one of those groups that're real proud papas when people leap around like addled maniacs at their gigs. "Energy" does its best to lend a pumped-up soundtrack to such antics, and I reckon it's at least good enough to make a comp tape or CD-R for a clued-in girl (provided that you've made it to "the tape-making stage" with the young lady first). "PC Action" is more HEARTBREAKERS and (snore) DICTATORS and suffers a bit by comparison. One look at this crew and you know they're either going to "break" into something well-loved very soon or they'll violently implode from infighting within a matter of months. I place my bets somewhere in the middle and hope there's an LP in 'em.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
45 GRAVE : "AUTOPSY" LP....
There was a brief period in my life, quite early in my punk fandom, when I declared to the world that the greatest 45 in the history of punk rock was this band's "Black Cross / Wax". I once stumbled onto college radio three sheets to the wind and pronounced it so, and proceeded to emit a ghoulish, gurgling on-mic scream along with Dinah Cancer during "Black Cross"'s crucial break. Only after years of ridicule and subsequent therapy can I make my fragile peace with that godforsaken evening. I bring this up because I've seen very few fans hold this band up for much of anything in the intervening years, except as one of many cool early 80s bands trolling for gigs in Los Angeles during a period in which there were plenty. Goths haven't really fully embraced them, least not last time I checked, given 45 GRAVE's -- or at least this album's -- fast, screeching, near-hardcore tempos. These tempos and the sheer power & speed of the delivery on this fine record mitigate a whole host of problems, not the least of which is the lyrics and all the bat/cave/crucifix/coffin tomfoolery they were peddling.
When "Autopsy" came out posthumously in 1987, a lot of us were truly floored, because outside of "Black Cross" we'd never heard 45 Grave play so fast. They'd made ther mark up to that time with an awful dirgy metal tune called "Party Time" that was on the "Return of the Living Dead" soundtrack, a film soundtrack notable to me in high school because, like "Repo Man", it had PUNK on it!!! But "Party Time" blew, as did the majority of the band's only official LP, "Sleep In Safety". What I didn't know until In The Red put out that fantastic CONSUMERS LP was that the early 45 Grave were a direct outgrowth of that blazing Phoenix punk band's 1977 recordings, and that the "Autopsy" recordings were 45 Grave at their very earliest, ripping it up in fine full-fidelity style like THE MISFITS and THE BAGS. Since they featured not only Paul Cutler from The Consumers but Don Bolles from The Germs & Rob Ritter from The Bags, the tear-it-up pedigree was highly refined & practiced in the legend-making punk rock dark arts. And Cutler was bold enough to swipe most of his best songs from The Consumers, and then re-record them with a female singer & his hot new band = 45 Grave.
Granted, the horror BS was/is a little much, but like The Misfits, it was a gimmick that could mostly be shunted aside if you pretended you'd recently had a partial lobotomy. Only "Dinah Cancer"'s banshee vocals and some select atrocious lyrics still make my skin crawl, now that I've mentally removed my frontal lobes. This collection nets you that wild-ass "Black Cross" 45, certainly one of the top 197 punk 45s of all time, a large batch of 90-second howlers, the novelty "Monster Mash"-like "Riboflavin Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood" and even an early "Partytime" that almost doesn't suck. I wasn't even sure this even made it out to CD until I read here that it's one of the rarest CDs going, selling on eBay for $268. Now how do you figure that? I busted the LP out last week and gave it a full-bosom nostalgia listen, and I can say that the center still held. Check your local auction listings and keep that wallet stuffed!
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
LINDA PERHACS : "PARALLELOGRAMS" CD....
It's not like I go out looking for obscure 1970s female folksingers, right, but the hype on this one was so intense and well-described that I had to pick it up. You never know, she might be another VASHTI BUNYAN, who, now that I've gotten hip to her charms three years after everyone else did, has entered my pantheon of personal favorites. If you haven't heard "Just Another Diamond Day" and you think you can stomach some very fey frolicking female folk from the 70s, by all means get on the stick and pick that CD up! LINDA PERHACS? Hmm, not so much. Her brand of whispering-pines folk is not quite as easy to nail and has very often been tagged with the scarlet "psychedelic" letter, a tag often thrown on anything even remotely trippy or, more often, difficult to write about. Don't get me wrong -- I really like this CD and its shape-shifting, mood-swinging melancholy and laid-back 1970 art/stoner/hippie vibe, but there are not enough drop-dead revelatory moments on here to justify the rapture-and-riding of the four horsemen-type praise this reissue has received in other quarters. It's just a good lost record from the 70s, nothing more. Several tracks are, for me anyway, completely unbearable, including the opening wincer "Chimacum Rain" (which is on the reissue 3 times!) and "Morning Colors", but others are totally bent and beautiful, like "Dolphin" ("Dolphin.....take me with you...." -- how about that, rocker?) and "Porcelain Baked Cast Iron Wedding" -- not to mention the title track, which morphs into something so weird and jarring it's like the scene in Ingmar Bergman's "Persona" when the actual film stock just sort of melts and implodes upon itself before all the really crazy stuff begins. Folkies of the type parodied in popular depiction would certainly have had nothing to do with Crazy Linda and her druggy, psychedelic ways on the basis of this single track. And that's cool in my book of coolness. Perhacs only made this one record and a few demos that have been tacked onto the CD, and I think it certainly is worth an unjaded hearing if you get the gumption to do so.
Monday, May 02, 2005
"NIGHT MOVES" FANZINE.....
You might say I used to be something of a fanzine reader in the 80s and early 90s. Man, I'd even buy the shitty ones like JET LAG, PUNCTURE and SUBURBAN VOICE if it meant someone might be talking about my scene, man, my scene....and I suppose I can admit that the very non-shitty ones like FORCED EXPOSURE, CONFLICT and even FLESH & BONES were formative in many ways. If I wasn't learning about it from friends or college radio, it was via the vast maw of underground 80s zines. Crybaby reactionaries have been bemoaning the fading of the fanzine for several years now, ignoring that the genre has quadrupled and exploded online, and when the cost to produce this blog = $0 vs. the hundred of dollars and months of time I used to spend on my own unread fanzine, well, selecting the digital option wasn't a difficult road to hoe. Still, finding a poorly-produced, tiny-edition print fanzine still out there that made me laugh like hell was a real treat this very afternoon. I read it on an airplane and hid the porn references from the sweet elderly lady sitting next to me.
That 'zine is NIGHT MOVES, and the only reason I'm calling it that is because that's what BLASTITUDE, who hipped me to it, calls it. There's no title on the magazine -- at one point they refer to themselves as "Gompers", so whatever. Anyway, so much of this thing is less than serious that it's not exactly the place to find out about hott new rokk bands (particularly since the bulk of the writing appears to be from 2002), but if you want to laugh almost as hard as you did at Motorbooty's "Hardcore Reenactment" or Flesh & Bones' jokes about heckling Kira from DOS by yelling "Kira's got the 10 and 1/2" at her, or posing as Springa from SSD, this is a good place to start. Some of the writing is that of the preposterously stupid rock and roll innocent, out on the town for a partytime night of heavy metal and extreme blood-curdling experimental noise. Other pieces are slightly more conventional -- a tribute to MONOSHOCK warmed the dark ventricles of my heart, particularly since Mike McGuirk, the mag's editor, interviewed me for that piece something like four years ago (and still used nothing from our chat). A terrific piece on the microscopic but brutally important music genre called "Panic Rock" by Anthony Bedard must be read multiple times & memorized as well. McGuirk and Will York, who appear to be the two guys behind this, write for what may be the single worst alternatively weekly in the United States, the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Their allegiance to the smallest slices of uber-underground shit rock has led to some pretty strange coverage in that paper, stuff that no one reads nor cares about, but which has been popping up every week in a mass-circulation weekly for something like five years now. The fellas up the ante in their zine, using some curse words, cutting and pasting the articles as if they were on mind-altering chemicals like Shermans, and generally carrying on like a couple of crrrrazy nutballs. I recommend it highly, particularly when it costs only $3 via Paypal at this web site.