(click on the picture…it’s a link…)
ON DECK: REVIEWS. REVIEWS. MORE REVIEWS.
Happy New Year to all. To ring in 2014 we’ve decided to give you reviews of some archaic formats: books and cassettes! It’s not all MP3s and e-books and blogs just yet. You can jump into to the cassette section after you read the book reviews below. I’d just like to make the additional commentary that I feel that Xerox Ferox should be on every bookshelf and if you didn’t get it for Christmas you should go spend that $20 Aunt Ruth gave you on it now. And I apologize that this tapes/demos section was so long in the making, as I tend to dread tackling the mountain of cassettes that builds up next to the desk after a few months. But I have to admit that there are more than a few quality tape releases out there these days making the format seem more and more viable and the affordability is becoming appealing as record prices continue to rise. Maybe the resurgence of cassettes doesn’t seem so ridiculous anymore…We’ll be back soon with record reviews and Best of 2013 lists.
XEROX FEROX: THE WILD WORLD OF THE HORROR FILM FANZINE (John Szpunar – Headpress)
John Szpunar’s Xerox Ferox was a long-awaited tome here at Termbo HQ. For as much as the world of music fandom (and fanzines) has been a time-consuming obsession of mine since adolescence, the world of horror fandom has been an almost equal passion and might have been my first true love. Subtitled “The Wild World of the Horror Film Fanzine”, Szpunar covers four decade’s worth of ground in a whopping 800 pages, allowing a story to spin itself over the course of forty-plus interviews with the men (and women) who created the self-published fanzines that built the foundation of horror fandom as we know it today. I was fully expecting Xerox Ferox to be a great read, filled with minutiae about magazines I’d never heard of and anecdotes about tracking down and interviewing obscure films and filmmakers, and there’s plenty of that. But as this thing unfolded I realized what Szpunar also created was something far more than just a collection of interviews. There’s a story told within that touches not just on the horror film genre, but talks to the wider subject of fandom in general, and what being a part of that community means to the individual. Every person interviewed in this book, no matter how obscure their zine, aspired to be a part of a larger whole and followed through on such aspirations in whatever way they could. Be that handwriting zines and running them off on the photocopier (or mimeograph in some ancient cases…) at work, contributing to mags that other people published or even writing for nationally distributed magazines with actual budgets and professional printing, these people did it not for money, not for acclaim, they did it to be a part of something they felt passionate about, something that they loved. I think every one of you reading this “review” knows that feeling – be it through releasing records, making music the music on those records, writing your own zine, taking photos, organizing shows, whatever it may be, all of us know this passion and have tried to do our own part to contribute to making our section of fandom prosper. Whatever thing it is that you’ve done, it might not seem like much, but the entire reason we’re all here right now is FANDOM. Reading this book I couldn’t help but think about the bigger picture we’re all a part of.
We need to talk about this book first, before I start going too wildly off topic. So, the premise of Xerox Ferox is that Szpunar tracked down just about everyone who printed or wrote for a horror fanzine that was read by more than 50 people over about the past forty years. The list is immense, packed with names and titles that I’d heard of and just as many that I’ve never even heard mentioned, and I like to think I’m somewhat immersed in this sort of thing. He talks nuts and bolts with all of the editors, which is fascinating in itself – how they laid out their zine, how they got it printed, how it was distributed. As someone who has labored over my own pages, hearing the old school tales of guys typing around images, typesetting by hand and stapling zines together in their bedrooms are always enjoyable. Every interview somehow connects with the next few via various degrees of separation – this guy wrote for that guy who traded with this guy who found about his zine via this other zine. The type of bloodline we’re all familiar with – you put on a show for a band, who give you a demo tape from their friend’s band who is on a label that this other guy runs where you find about another record he put out that this other guy you know did the artwork for, etc…it’s hard to not relate these stories to music fandom. It’s also fascinating to see where the horror crowd overlapped with punk rock. A lot of these zines would cover music as well as films, like Nick Cato’s Hardgore and Stink which covered the NYHC scene and sleaze/horror at the same time. Or guys like Nick Burrell, who started with the legendary punk zine Into the Void before moving on to horror. Or tidbits like the fact that Bill Landis was Patti Pallidin’s cousin. Musicians themselves were in on the act: Cecil Doyle of KBD legends Toxin III also did an amazing photocopied zine called Subhuman which counted none other than Rob Zombie as a subscriber. Stefan Jaworzyn is a name you should recognize from playing in Skullflower and Whitehouse and from starting the Shock Records label, but he was also the editor of one of the best European horror mags in Shock Xpress. And it wouldn’t be a book touching on the NYC underground without a Johan Kugelburg reference – yes, the Kuge himself gets some credit here for getting Mike McPadden distribution for his Happyland zine through Matador back in the Nineties. It all connects, man.
There are recurring threads/questions that run through the interviews, aside from the standard “How did you get into horror…” track of questioning. Szupnar and his subjects have an appreciation for the history of the horror zine and make sure to acknowledge it. Just about every conversation touches on the influence of the giants of horror zinedom: Forrest Ackerman and Famous Monsters (the godfather of horror fandom, who essentially sets the story of this book in motion), Chas Balun and Deep Red (who changed the game in the Eighties with his personal writing style and attitude), Bill Landis and Sleazoid Express (one of the greatest zines of any genre, a printed documentary of the glory days of Times Square/42nd Street and a zine not just about sleaze films but about sleaze as a lifestyle) and Rick Sullivan’s Gore Gazzette (the “other” NYC grindhouse zine, which seemingly made it a point to talk shit about everything and everyone, other zines/writers included). These four monsters of horror were an immense influence on their peers both as writers and as enablers for others to get printed. Their work was as much about their own voices as it was propagating and growing the zine community and voices of others as well. Sadly, Ackerman, Balun and Landis have all passed on, and Rick Sullivan basically dropped off the face of the earth after ending Gore Gazzette’s run, but their unique visions are what kept the horror fanzine afloat and their impact is still felt today.
With over 40 interviews, you’d think things would get redundant, but these individuals have distinct enough voices to give different spins to the same topics. The concerns of zine writers in the UK during the Video Nasties era were far different than their US compatriots for example. Writers from different eras dealt with available technologies in different ways and the VHS boom of course changed everything. The most impressive segments are an interview with Balun before his untimely death, artist/writer Steve Bissette spilling his guts on his decades of work, getting to hear the story of Tom Skulan of Fantaco, the Albany comic shop that printed and distributed many of these zines and organized one of the first horror conventions (and whose ads in Fangoria allowed me to mailorder hard-to-find stuff like Deep Red, Slimetime and more), talks with Jim Morton who authored the Incredibly Strange Films Re/Search book, Uncle Bob Martin (the man whose efforts made Fangoria’s glory days worth reading), the heavily opinionated Stefan Jaworzyn of the essential Shock Xpress, Jimmy McDonough (author of the Andy Milligan book The Ghastly One which is one of the best bios ever – and he’s also the author of Shakey and the best Russ Meyer bio), and Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog, perhaps the longest running and most academic of all the zines here. Some of the more fascinating segments also come from obscurities like Michael Helms (of Australia’s Fatal Visions) or Tim Mayer’s Fear of Darkness – super small print zines, often done by teenagers or isolated fans in an attempt to connect with the rest of the world.
The only drawbacks: no Rick Sullivan or Michael Weldon (Psychotronic) interviews, which Szpunar admits, as both refused to be interviewed. And the Landis chapter is an interview with that is reprinted from Creeping Flesh (also a Headpress title at least), but still bears inclusion here for anyone who hasn’t read it before. Any shortcomings are quickly forgotten within the massive international scope covered, anecdotes about everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Gene Simmons and a great layout that pays tribute to the photocopied layouts of the zines discussed. There are plenty of great pictures and the reproductions of the amateur zine covers are amazing. There’s also a bonus section that prints lost interviews with three of my favorite underground directors: Jim van Bebber (Deadbeat at Dawn), Roy Frumkes (Street Trash) and Buddy Giovinazzo (Combat Shock), which would be worth the price of admission alone.
The state of modern horror fandom is brought up often, particularly the change from print to online publishing. Many of these authors now have their own blogs, but many simply stopped writing when print ceased to be an option. I can appreciate both perspectives. The online vs. print debate is something I’ve considered quite a bit, and like many, I think there is room for both. The real question becomes the quality of the writing/content and passion of the people behind them. A shit print zine is just as useless as a shit blog and vice versa. The horror magazine itself seems to be in good shape for now, and even if much of it is still crap, you can find a lot out there – Shock Cinema, Screem and Video Watchdog can still be found on the shelves at Barnes & Noble and are all still worthwhile. Fangoria has been garbage for ten years or more now (the Entertainment Weekly of horror), and their attempt to re-launch Gorzeone as subscription-only seems good natured but ill advised – hopefully their constant Chas Balun namedropping will actually make for some writing befitting his legend. Famous Monsters has been re-booted once again, in a slick-as-shit and expensive style regrettably. Rue Morgue seems to be written by the “cool nerd” crowd that thinks post-Danzig Misfits are cool, yet still has some good columns even if you know these guys wear costumes on days that aren’t Halloween. Only Horrorhound offers a mainstream zine you can count on for some actual fanzine-style passion, and although it also suffers from some amateurish pitfalls, it’s that semi-pro attitude that lends it some real charm. There are smaller zines still out there like Lunchmeat and Weng’s Chop that offer up treats for serious fans as well. As always, the deeper you dig, the better your returns will be. It raises the possibility that now, with the over saturation of information on the internet making everything turn to white noise, is getting smaller the way to go again?
Xerox Ferox is obviously essential for the true horror fanatic who probably owns actual copies of some of the zines involved here, but I think even those not that familiar with much of the subject matter will be able to appreciate the story it tells. Those interested in zines and self-publishing in general will enjoy the journey. Even casual horror fans will appreciate the recollections of years spent growing up watching midnight movies, reading old horror comics and renting VHS tapes. Fandom is all around us these days and much like the mainstream has watered down and corrupted much of what the horror community was built upon, we can see parallels in music fandom as well. This story could have easily been told with a collection of music zine writers: Greg Shaw isn’t far off from Uncle Forry, Balun could be a Lester Bangs substitute, with folks like Byron Coley or Gerard Cosloy acting as the Landis & Sullivan. Shit, that would make a pretty good book. But I think the real message of Xerox Ferox, and something that we should all think about, is that fandom is what you choose to make of it. You get as much passion out of it as you put into it. All of the people Szpunar spoke with here made a difference, made fandom a better place or at the very least kept the blood flowing and the community alive for the next generation. It’s something to both admire and aspire to in our own lives.(RK)
(You can order directly from Headpress, who offer both a hardbound special edition and the regular softcover,alongside dozens of other recommended books and journals. You can also follow John Szpunar via the Xerox Ferox page here.)
IF YOU LIKE THE RAMONES…(Peter Aaron – Backbeat Books)
For those unaware, aside from fronting one of the finer of the Nineties NYC outfits in the Chrome Cranks, Peter Aaron is also an award winning journalist, writing for numerous Upstate NY newspapers and magazines alongside work for the Boston Herald, Village Voice, allmusic.com and more. He also did a zine called Suburban Muckraker back in his Ohio days. The guy’s credentials speak for themselves, have no doubt. I was unaware that there is a series under this premise, that “If You Like…” say Metallica, Bob Marley or even The Sopranos(?!), one of these books will show you “over 200 bands, CDs, films and other oddities that you will love” as well. In The Ramones case this will of course guide you to girl groups, bubblegum, garage rock, cartoons, heavy metal, comic books, the rest of the punk rock canon and various B-Movies and TV shows. I respect the work Mr. Aaron has done here, but let’s just admit that this book is of little use to anyone except maybe a eighth grader who just got his first Green Day record. This is introductory level pop culture for anyone with even a fleeting interest in anything remotely “rock’n’roll”. Said eighth grader might need a little help finding out about The Pagans or Death Race 2000 and could use the overview of US and UK punk and hardcore. He should probably already know about South Park and The Beatles, I imagine. Perhaps the listing of Fifities/Sixties television shows and films is something that I grew up with that the kids of today are missing out on. I can understand that inclusion. There is some pretty obscure stuff here for the uninitiated and plenty of obvious entries as well. When I was a kid I remember getting Gene Sculatti’s Catalog of Cool and tracked down stuff like Lord Buckley, Esquerita and Terry Southern after reading it. While If You Like The Ramones is a far more mainstream effort than Sculatti’s somewhat subversive book, I hope it will be of some use to youngsters out there trying to find their way. If you’re reading this website, I can guarantee you already know everything this book has to offer. But, your 12 year old nephew might need some help…
Update = four interviews from four different contributors. Round One: Chuck Barrels vs. Buck Biloxi in a hard-hitting no holds barred slugfest. Round Two: our old pal Dinosaur Mahaffey is outfoxed by the far younger and far better looking Haley Fohr aka Circuit Des Yeux. Round Three: guest contributor Cooper Bowman tangles with Jason “Nerve City” Boyer (and I’d like to add that new LP on Sweet Rot is a keeper.) Round Four: closing out the card, our own Erick Elrick goes Australian Rules against Cuntz. Follow the links above and below or on the pages. We’ll be back soon with reviews. Stay warm.
Ed.: With some time to catch up on “things” on this holiday eve here’s some info on zines that have been piling up around here. I constantly feel bad about how far behind on record reviews we are at most times, but I’ve even more severely neglected the zines that editors have been kind enough to mail us over this past year. Apologies to everyone, there are a bunch that were too old to even include here, and a lot of those included are far too late. I’m a shithead, I know.
SAVAGE DAMAGE DIGEST #3
Third issue of this classy West Coast digest-sized (duh) zine. Full color throughout, laid out effectively and peppered with vintage schlock ads that reinforce the retro viewpoint present. All interviews and articles for the most part, obviously dealing in rocking and rolling of the past, the majority of which are written by editor Cory Linstrum. The big article is a very in depth interview with Avengers guitarist Greg Ingraham that takes up a good quarter of the zine and also contains some killer pics and fliers (including a crucifixion centerfold). Other “punk” interviews are a nice little Speedies chat with guitarist Greg Crewdson (writer of “Let Me Take Your Photo” who went on to actually become a professional photographer) and a very short Jeff McDonald/Redd Kross Q&A (in which he confesses to being a Ty Segall fan, which will endear him to many Termbo readers I’m sure). For the moptops out there there’s a piece with Peter Daltrey of Kaleidoscope/Fairfield Parlor who talks more about his book and current band than what we want to hear about – which effectively teases the book I suppose – and an interview with Paul Muggleton of The Savages, the mid-Sixties garage band from Bermuda(!) responsible for the monster cut “The World Ain’t Round, It’s Square”, which is short but very very good for such an obscure band (as opposed to the Ugly Things approach of a three-issue spanning 30 page snoozefest dissecting what Cooper Bowman covered perfectly here in 3 pages). My favorite bit of this zine has always been the ‘Triple Threat’ feature, which in this issue tackles the immortal Larry Wallis in a well researched piece that was a great read. Linstrum hints that he’s running out of ammo for Triple Threats (Chuck Biscuits is supposedly next) so mail in some suggestions for him! The reviews section is barely existent (which I don’t mind at all), focuses on books/zines/films and only reviews three actual records (including Giuda, yuck) and is pretty disposable, but that’s no problem. I’m of a different breed than music fans like Cory who seem to ignore the present and live in the past, but to each his own, and I still enjoy Savage Damage very much. Worth a pick up for the Larry Wallis piece alone, plus it comes with a great Stiff Records button with Lazza’s image! An exceptional value at $6.50 ppd for 80 color pages and a badge. (RK)
The exact opposite of the Ugly Things Jr. approach of Savage Damage, Droppings main concern is the here and now. Brought to us from the masterminds behind Atlanta’s Scavenger of Death record label, it’s local-centric but not exclusive. The ATL scene report really comes in handy because it’s hard to keep track of all those damn bands Mike and Brannon from Predator are in. But seriously, there’s a high ratio of good-to-great bands in Atlanta, and it seems like there are more popping up daily – and I’m pleased to know that Ralph are still active. You get short-n-funny interviews with Joint D= and Gary Wrong but the real meat here is an in-depth chat with Total Control which is entertaining and intelligent enough to read a couple of times and a just-as-fantastic piece with Toronto’s Kremlin (who have crushed my heart and broken up recently). In between this you get some pics, SOD propaganda and the makings of an advice column for the next issue. I love the primitive B&W cut and paste layout and there’s a prevailing sense of good/gutter humor. Short and sweet. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. This pup also comes with a 12 track cassette with songs from Gary Wrong (an exclusive!), a great live Total Control cut from their Atlanta show, a crusher from ATL newcomers Dasher, unreleased demos from GG King (“Thin Boys” cover!), GHB, Predator, a killer Ryan Dinosaur cut from an upcoming release, the GG King-related Slight Shivers, classic Eighties ATL punk/core from Crooks and Neon Christ and some mysterious suburban black metal from Beatifyx. An absolute steal at $6.75 ppd in the USofA. Get it from the new SOD shop, which is now also peddling the hottest in Atlanta demo tapes as well as their own merch. (RK)
This is the first issue I’ve seen of this Austin-based zine, and I have to say that I’m impressed. Rubberneck is predominantly a photozine fleshed out with maybe 1/3 of words/interviews and I think it’s a perfect ratio. Packed with spectacular photos of both the live and portrait variety, featuring artists across the underground (from Bobby Liebling to The Impalers to Buck Biloxi & the Fucks), all of which are printed in high quality. And I should mention the entire 36 page zine is printed on some thick cardstock pages with a color cover. Very classy. As for the print section, King Khan & BBQ waste four pages talking absolute nonsense…but what would expect from those two lunatics? This is made up for by a couple of pages with our pals The Sleaze, an interview with the never-at-a-loss-for-words Scott Soriano who gives up his opinions on everything from downloading to the state of music zines and talks about the S-S label and bands as well – everyone (myself included) loves to bust Soriano’s balls about his uh…wordiness, would that be the word?…but the fact of the matter is he’s a smart dude who knows what he’s talking (a lot) about. I also love that Scott might be the only person in the world who misses Myspace. “Writing Editor” Miranda Fisher did a wonderful job with the SS interview and also gives us a good page of record reviews that actually have an opinion! Well done. There’s also a pretty funny bit where someone reviews a bunch of instructional records and a not-as-funny advice column with John Wesley Coleman. $7 ppd in the US is the nice price considering the production values here. (RK)
DEFIANT POSE #7/8
I feel like a real shitheel for having sat on these zines for so long without giving them a mention. I received three issues in the mail some time ago, and the amount of work spent on these is staggering. Based out of the UK (of course), DF #7 is subtitled “UK FANZINES 1977-84” and is just that – painstaking and in-depth coverage of classic print zines from Wales to Ireland to London and everywhere in between. Covers the heavy hitters (Sniffin Glue, Ripped & Torn, The Next Big Thing) but also delves DEEP into the countryside for hundreds of titles you’ve never even heard of. Things are arranged chronologically and regionally containing interviews with writers/editors, article reprints, reviews, some oral history type stuff and tons and tons of images – there has to be at least over a hundred zine covers included here. Layout is jam-packed in what had to be a massively time-consuming production – the pages are full of text and images to a nearly claustrophobic degree, which makes the reading rather exciting and lends some fitting chaos to the experience. This issue comes in two versions – a 77 page digest/A5 style version (which is the second edition and actually amends the scope to begin in 1976) and a 44 page full-size/A4 version which came out originally. Second pressing includes some info not in the first, but both are overhwelming works that fans of punk zines in general and/or UK first wave punk fanatics will find essential. There’s honestly enough material here for a book. The other issue I received is simply titled “LONDON GIG FLYERS 1977-97” (which I’m guessing at calling issue 8) and is 32 full-size pages of flyer repros, ticket stubs, Crass manifestos, newspaper clippings and more covering everyone from Gen X and Chelsea to Terminal Cheesecake and Conflict. I’m a sucker for flier art, and this is right up my alley. Contact Inflammable Material for copies and I believe Sorry State also has some for US distro. Startlingly good stuff that all of you should try and grab – no idea on the pricing, but whatever the cost, it’s worth it. (RK)
NIX COMICS #1 & #2
Small-time Ohio record store owner gets out of the rat race and into an even harder racket…self publishing comic books. This new venture is two issues in and seems to be a quarterly outing. Nix reads a bit like an old EC horror anthology or even something more humorous and weird like Raw. And with all anthology works, there’s varying degrees of success that will differ in the eyes from reader to reader. What I’ve taken in personally, there‘s quite a bit good stuffs in here. It reminds me of Eightiess indie rack-jobbers like the pages Arrow and Caliber Comics used to produce. Not as outright violent or vulgar as the ones I still own (Gore Shriek anyone?), but there’s still plenty of morbid ink drops inside to keep the ghouls pleased. Stories
dealing with stuff that record scum folk understand also takes the read up a notch. You’ve got the wise old bluesman mistakenly selling his soul…to a demon that may or may not be a Mississippi Records exec. Did you know that Question Marks’ real mystery is that he’s a vampire hunter? There’s drummers vs. satanists. There’s the old shock-rocker (Coop) vs. the new (Manson). And my personal fave (that has nothing to do with music); A Rev. Phelps-like Baptist preacher who meets his match against an undead…and openly gay …soldier. Fuck that guy. There’s also a recurring character based on the true stories of a bus stop goon, which is actually an idea I’ve been toying with as a comic strip for almost ten years. Dammit.
Do ya’ need an artist? Any stories? I got’em!
Editor/writer/madman Ken Eppstein pulls from his R&R friends to get some serious artists on board. The biggest name in my eyes is Darren Merinuk, whose work has graced quite a few fanzines, punk singles and garage shirts over the years. He’s a real asset in these works. The stuff drawn by Ryan Brinkerhoff gives off a Charles Burns vibe, and that’s no slump either. On the technical side of things, I’m not a huge fan of the coloring style (computer work, I believe) and the layout seems a tad stiff…but that’s just the gripe of a B&W comic fan. There’s a little segment done in what I think is alcohol markers (by Patrick Roach) that would be a great direction to take things. Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges but it’s fresh off the press and like a rock zine at heart so I can only assume the future issues will get even better. (RSF)
MONGREL ZINE #11 – latest ish of Canada’s finest zine, jam packed at 100 or so pages. Massive review section (live/record/books/etc), interviews with White Mystery, Chains of Love, Pork Magazine, La-Ti-Da Records, Weird Canada and tonnes more. My favorite bit is the “Tales of Montreal’s Seedy Underground” column by CPC Gangbang/Sexareeno Dan Pedro Dorito (aka Colonel Lingus). Obviously the coverage here is very Canada-centric and whatever they might lack in attitude they make up for with boatloads of enthusiasm. A super-sized read that covers not just music but filmmakers and graphic artists as well. I think you can probably get a package deal for the latest issue with one of their newly-started label’s 7”es as well. (RK) (www.mongrelzine.ca)
HENRY & GLENN FOREVER & EVER #2 – the publisher of this comic sent us some promotional e-mails so I asked for a review copy just for the hell of it. I didn’t really think this was a great idea from afar, and after seeing an issue up close it’s even less funny. A gag that should have been a two-pager in an issue of Cracked given way too much time and paper. Not funny in the slightest, and while I don’t necessarily have a problem with poking fun at Glenn or Henry, I think it would have at least been somewhat respectful to do it in a humorous way. I have no idea how the subjects of this zine feel about it in real life, but they should probably be insulted by the lack of yucks here. (RK) (www.microcosmpublishing.com)
LIMITED CONTRITION VOL. 1 – first issue of this Richmond based punk/hardcore zine (issue 2 is already done apparently, I’m way behind here…). Layout is clean and not very exciting visually, but I dig the stark aesthetic for what it is (i.e.something made on a computer). Mostly interviews (Pink Reason, Merchandise, TV Ghost, Rank/Xerox, etc..) with a short reviews section. There’s an emphasis on newer hardcore, in particular the Youth Attack scene, but with enough garage and other genres mixed in to make it appealing to most anyone. Some of the interviews aren’t particularly insightful or long (the YA-related stuff is done better than the “garage” stuff) and the reviews are a mixed bag (four reviewers, two of which seem to have a better grasp on things) but I like where their heads are at. They should be able to crank these out fast with this lo-frills aesthetic which should see them improving with time. (RK) (limitedcontrition.bigcartel.com)
NUTS FANZINE #11 & 12 – I’ve had a few issues of Nuts in the past. I appreciated the arty style but it was obviously very Olympia-centric – I wasn’t into a a lot of the bands they covered and some of the locals-only stuff would lose me. Plus, the newspaper-sized zine is a total pain in the ass to read even if the layout required the space. With the past couple of issues the Nuts-dude has relocated to NYC and I seem to think things have improved – or he just started covering stuff of more interest to me so now I’m paying attention. The layout is impeccable – art, photos and text all delivered with a trained and skilled eye for presentation. Combined with the NYC aesthetic I love – the Toxic State bands, Weird Luke, Crazy Spirit crowd – this makes for a visually impelling experience, the perfect subject matter for this zine. There are fold out color posters with each issue (Dawn of Humans poster!), an interview with Hank Wood & The Hammerheads in #11 and tons and tons more of interest for both reading and looking. I’d really recommend these issues to fans of the NYC weird-hardcore scene, as there might not be a better designed zine on the planet at this time. Now I just wish they could design it into a different size….(RK) (nutsfanzine.tumblr.com)
LIMITED READERSHIP #4 – this issue has also been out for some time (yeah, I’m waaay behind, sorry again), but just wanted to say this is probably my second favorite current zine behind Distort right now. Great layout, great choice of bands/subjects and a very opinionated and identifiable voice to the writing (all by the same guy). A good mix of interviews, think pieces and reviews that all flow rather seamlessly much in the same style that DX uses in Distort. Buy all issues of this zine you can find immediately. (RK)(limitedreadership.blogspot.com/)
DEGENERATE #11 & #12 – I’ve only seen a couple issues of Degenerate but I enjoy their bad attitude and somewhat pretentious delivery very much. Layout is exceptionally neurotic, and it appears this guy owns both a typewriter and Xacto blade, which I appreciate fully. Interviews (Musk, Sex Church, MARS, Scraper and more) are mixed in with some very well done reviews and a lot of editorializing/essay writing, which I also dig. Issue #12 has what might be the most re-read article I’ve come across in some time via an extremely scholarly and well-researched thesis on modern “post-punk” (which is basically a takedown of Iceage, Merchandise and others of that ilk) that had me laughing as hard as I was thinking. I’m guessing this had to be written for college credit, but if not, I’m even more impressed. And speaking of impressed, both of these issues also come with a flexi (Musk in #11 and Scraper in #12)! You should get both of these issues ASAP – they’re a great value and a great read. (RK) (www.facebook.com/degeneratezine)
EVEN SHORTER TAKES: if you want to read a killer fiction zine I would suggest picking up Repos/Ropes singer Aaron Aspinwall’s ‘PEOPLE AT WAR WITH THEMSELVES’ (aaronandhisideas.bigcartel.com) for some high quality takes on the short story……if I haven’t mentioned HUMAN BEING LAWNMOWER yet, I’m sorry. Avi Spivak’s zine is one of the best in sport today- all 3 issues and Kicksville Confidential are must-haves (www.avispivak.com)…. DX will have a new DISTORT out soon according to the latest news blast (the biggest issue yet!) plus issue #2 of ‘LIFE STINKS, I LIKE THE KINKS’ is available now (with a contribution from Douglas P!) (distortcult.blogspot.com)… big news on the print scene is that PUT THE MUSIC IN ITS COFFIN #5 is now available (in bigger full size format) and it’s the largest and supposedly last issue! Ah, The Journalist, we hardly knew ye. At 84 pages and $10 ppd this guy is really putting his balls on the line. I’m excited to read what happens as PTMIIC was (and is) always top shelf reading material (ptmiic.blogspot.com/)…and the biggest news on the print scene is SUPERDOPE legend Jay Hinman coming out of hibernation (well, not really, as the guy has had like 13 different blogs/tumblrs) to release a print version of DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE to show all you kids how it’s done. There’s of course a lengthy Flesh Eaters/Chris D piece planned, an interview with Jay’s modern favorites Sex Tide and lots of stuff about obscure all-girl DIY bands apparently. I’m looking forward to it, looks slick! (dynamitehemorrhage.com) (RK)
A good portion of this stuff can be found via our pals at FEEL IT ZINE/RECORDS distro….on deck we have more reviews (records, books and tapes) and a heap of interviews. Happy Thanksgiving to all and hopefully we’ll be spending more quality time together during the holiday season.
A good chunk of reviews here with more to come soon as we attempt to keep up with the incoming pace. We have a bunch more ready to go soon, but I had to cut the cord on this batch as it was getting late. As usual. More blogging and interviewing soon. Labels and bands, thanks for being patient and drop us a line if you want to chat. More soon.
There’s no question that Dry-Rot were one of the better (if not the best) hardcore bands of the past few years, on both a musical and even a purely aesthetical level. As smart as they were punishing. Bands that good don’t tend to last long but by the end of their tumultuous existence the had at least managed to give us more than a few EPs, a phenomenal LP and a “controversial” MRR interview to remember them by. Post-DR bands started to spring up soon after, still on their own Cold Vomit label, including the excellent Heavy Air flexi (and tape) and some demos by a band called Uranium Orchard. Last year UO released their first LP, which became one of my most listened-to records of the past year. Expanding their hardcore agressiveness to a much wider sonic template made for intriguing listening, but the real hook were the ideas. These were songs that actually had something to say, songs with ideas, songs with intelligence behind them that beckoned you to figure out their intentions or motifs. I suppose this is the point where religion comes into the conversation, but much like Dry-Rot was never a band who preached overtly through their music, the same goes for Uranium Orchard. Talking about religion or God is no different to talking about love, sex, or death in rock’n'roll as far as I’m concerned. I’m much more interested in this band’s reasons and process for creating such incredible music than I am worried about their stance on abortion. But anyway, I’m veering off topic…the LP became an obsession for me and I wanted to try an decipher some of it’s codes so I e-mailed Jordan of the band to ask him a bunch of questions, as I’ve done to him repeatedly since the Dry-Rot days. I figured that since I was asking we might as well turn it into an interview for Termbo, which was something I had been meaning to do with him since Dry-Rot was still functioning anyway. In the meantime, the band had also released the “Unchurched Shithead” EP early this year, songs I had the privelege of hearing in demo form and were thrilled to see on vinyl so quickly. It packed the same wide scope into a smaller frame, six songs of powerful music and engaging themes that is one of my favorite records of 2013. I’ll warn you in advance, if you haven’t given this band a chance you are missing out, and you should probably dip into the waters a bit or at least listen along while you read this interview. There aren’t many bands making music this interesting right now, and I urge you not to miss out. Click below to enter. (Ed: I know we promised some reviews first, but upon editing I realized half of them were bullshit, so we’re still working on it. they’ll be up soon.)
Now that an all-too-brief summer seems to sadly be over, it’s time to get back to business. Months ago I promised an All Australian update, and here it is. I had a few more things planned but time was running out, so I think maybe we’ll do this again in the near future and add some addendums to it sooner than later. What we do have to offer in the now are interviews with Owen from Straight Arrows and Lynton from from Satanic Rockers; a recap of Home Blitz’s Australian tour and some downloadable music from their radio appearance; an All Aussie record review section; and and interview we did with Brendon from NGL a few years ago and some writing from him on RIP Society’s Success Summit from 2010. These two articles were meant for publication in a print zine that never happened and I hated to see them languishing on my desktop. Without Brendon’s help I would never have been able to have such an appreciation of the modern Australian music scene that I love so much. I miss having him telling me which bands suck and which are genius, among many other things. I also need to thank DX for all of his help in keeping me current via Distort and correspondence, as well as Owen from Straight Arrowns and Al from UV Race who answered many questions for me and Rich Dropkick for his assitance and help over the years. And a GIGANTIC thanks to Bruce Saltmarsh. Without Bruce I would never have been able to hear so many great records by so many great bands. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with Aussie music, from spending my allowance on AC/DC cassettes, to hearing my first Saints records, to hearing The Scientists for the first time (both “versions”), a decades long chase/infatuation with the Black Eye Records label/”sound”, still pursuing a Waste Sausage comp to this day, a love affair with Cosmic Psychos, right up to today and driving hundreds of miles to see ECSR and reading issues of Negative Guest List and Distort front-to-back multiple times in order to squeeze every kernel of information out of them. I’m just thrilled to be able to watch the amazing scene over there from afar with the help of some very gracious human beings mentioned above. I was thinking of writing an editorial about what it is that makes Aussie music so great, but after asking a few people questions along those lines it just seemed sort of silly. We all know what the magic is, and any bunch of words I could string together (no bullshit/no frills/grunt/swamp/burl/blahblahblah) will never do it justice. Have at it here. As I said, now that the weather is less favorable for gardening and outdoor beer drinking, expect more from us more regularly: we have a tall stack of reviews just about ready to go, some long-in-the-works interviews finished and even some serious blogging coming up. Thanks as always for everything, all of you, and see you soon.
The first official release from the Gary Wrong Group, following up the ill-fated “Pollen Christ” 7” on Total Punk and the “Mayhem Troopers” 7” on Bat Shit (and its many wonderful cover variations) credited as simply Gary Wrong. Those singles were mainly one-man recording efforts (with help from Wizzard Sleeve accomplice Benny Devine), but the Group expands things to a quartet including Quintron on drums/organ and a fella named Weird Steve on synths along with Devine and Wrong. Six songs at 45 rpm, with things sounding far more deep via extensive synth squiggling from Steve, acting in a capacity much like LZR does in Human Eye, not laying down rhythms as much as adding sound effects and background noise – and this is in addition to Quintron’s more direct organ lines and Devine doubling on Casio. The dual percussive efforts produce results as well – avoiding the two-drummers-playing-the-same-thing pitfall much of the time, but alternating fills and differing their patterns enough to keep you guessing. “Post Natal Pre Death” is a lockstep march that could easily be the intro to the giant monster attack depicted in the album art, a heavy stomp with extra-dimensional synth. The parenthetical addendum to the title “Reasons To Shive (Ode to Ubu)” rears its head as an effectively repetitive downer-trip into darkness and “Heroin Beach Serpents Attack” repurposes the original for more B-movie scifi-esque mayhem. “St. Theo” is very Quintron-esque, with upbeat organ breaks cutting up the doomy repetition and sorta rapped lyrics. The tail end of this repeats “Pollen Christ” and their “Streets of Iron” cover from the 7”, which I have no beef with since barely anyone got a copy of that 7” anyway, and they seem to have tinkered with them a bit. An impressive concoction from some true Southern-fried weirdos – a bit raunchier and rockier than Wizzard Sleeve, with a Roger Corman budget and aesthetic. Scum stats: 500 copies (all gone!), with insert and fantastic silkscreened cover art that is just begging you to grab some markers and color it in. Intrepid readers should carry on with the Life and Times of Gary Wrong here…(RK)
(Total Punk // wwww.floridasdying.com)
(Jeth-Row // jethrowrecords.blogspot.com)
(Ed: For those not that internet savvy, here is a link to a Gary Wrong interview. This should tide you over for a week until we finish the Aussie issue…)
Hey now. Just a really quick post to drop this latest batch of reviews off - the Reviewables desk at HQ is getting pretty close to clean, or at least as clean as it’s been in years. The summer has been productive thus far. You’ll notice an odd lack of Aussie material in this update – that’s because we have an all-Australian special issue on deck and just about ready to go. Satanic Rockers, Straight Arrows, Homeblitz, UV Race and more will make appearance as well as a whole mess of reviews. After that we have an all hardcore section, more interviews, more blogging and other surprises. We’ll talk again soon. Thanks all for participating.
Just a brief post here to shine some light on a project I’m very excited about from Termbo alumnus Magnificent Mitch Cardwell and some co-conspirators. I don’t know how much of the bean dip I’m allowed to spill, but check out the Lets Get Hurt blog for a sampling of what will now forever be known as FLAT TIRE PUNK. Mitch has pretty much cornered the market on Japanese Punk singles from 1990-present, something I mistakenly gave up on a few years ago and will now be trying to catch up on in a hurry before the lid is totally blown off the genre. Record Shop Base here I come. Mitch has some cool posts up already, and I really look forward to seeing things in print eventually. For now, bookmark the blog and start hunting. Speaking of which, see that Zymotics record down there? I FUCKING NEED IT. HELP. We’ll be back soon with some reviews, a special Australian presentation and more bloggery.