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Being an internet zine, I often get sent link requests to other blogs/sites. Some of them are good, some bad (for the good check out the TB Blogroll or links page), and I guess this is the modern day equivalent of zine-trading that would have gone down in more innocent times. Those days when TB might have been a zine I painstakingly assembled in my bedroom late at night with an exacto knife, scissors and a lot of glue. I would mail copies to fellow zinesters, maybe get a listing in Factsheet Five , perhaps troll the MRR classifieds for some action. Sounds great, huh? Actually, I harbor no warm and fuzzy feeling for those days. TB is an online presence and I like it that way. Sure, it scares me to death that someday the whole shebang could be lost to the abyss of the interweb and there would be no physical manifestation left to remember us by. I often get asked when I am going to do a printed version of TB. The realistic answer is probably never. My hopeful answer is that someday in the future, when I finally get tired of all this, I will print up the TB Compendium as I turn the lights off on the site and settle into old-man record curmudgeon mode for the rest of my days. It could happen. And anyway, there are still good people out there fighting the good fight and printing up actual paper zines. And some of them were cool enough to send them to TB. And before I get too far, I will drop a Z-Gun reference, as it's the best thing out there right now. I'm proud to have had a small speaking role in the first issue (which is nearly sold out) and hope to have a bigger part in issue number two (which I believe will be hitting the stands in the new year). You should know all about it by now, and if you don't, it's jam-packed with insight, interviews and reviews, and is the magazine that has filled the void that was left when Horizontal Action closed its doors (sans the grainy porn, although I hear there might be a "revealing" Ryan Wells centerfold in the next issue).
New York City has been home to great punk zines in the past, and Human Being Lawnmower continues that tradition. The first issue of HBL launched earlier this year, and it's a delightful NY-centric (the closing of CBGB's is a running theme) piece of work, digest sized and a bargoon at only four bucks for sixty pages. Obviously reverential to John Homlstrom's landmark zine PUNK (and John gets a good interview in HBL's pages along with reprints of some of his comics) and the fun-loving Creem, it's a great mix of interviews, essays and lots of comics (one thing I wish TB was a better conduit for). The labor of one Mr. Avi Spivak and friends, there's a good blend of old bands and new. The old being an interview with Zero Boy #1 Paul Mahern and some face time with Dead Boy Jeff Magnum (who drops this great line when asked about billing the reunions as Dead Boys shows or under the names of the surviving members: "The Dead Boys! We're the fucking Dead Boys! Who cares if one guy died, it's still the same band. To hell with him, he's dead!"). The new being an insightful convo with TB faves the DC Snipers and a page of Q&A with the Baby Shakes (and the mandatory pin-up page!). I guess the interview with Mike Chandler of the Raunch Hands falls somewhere inbetween. My favorite piece is "Top 10 Under-Rated Records by Over-Rated Bands" from Aaron Lefkove (hey, that name sounds familiar...), the type of list/article I'm always a sucker for and always mean to write more of myself. Also of note is a well-written essay parallelling the lives of Arthur Lee and Syd Barrett from Don Bucco, a swell page of snapshots devoted to "Grave Diggers" where you're invited to send in your own pic of you at the final resting place of some of your fave deceased (Merle Allin sighting! And Johnny Ramone has an awesome tombstone!) plus a few pages of opinionated record reviews that are fun to read. And like I said, there's plenty of comics filling in the gaps, both new and reprints from classics like Viz and the already mentioned Punk. Highly recommended, this one will last you through a few ruthless duke sessions. You can cop issues at their Myspace page or contact them at thehumanbeinglawnmower-at-gmail.com.
Australia is a notoriously tough nut to crack when it comes to getting records or insight into the bands/scene down under, so I was pretty thrilled to come across the Distort Cult Hardcore Punk zine and make pals with it's creator, a man who goes by the moniker of DX. DX is also in the great Aussie HC band Straightjacket Nation and has released a few records on his own, a real Renaissance man of sorts. So, I've received quite a few issues of Distort (11 thru 16 to be exact), and they're great reading. The thing that really strikes me about it, is that it's one of those one-man jobs, so there's one driving voice behind the whole thing. And it's an interesting one. Usually one of the things that turns me off on much zine-writing is when people get all personal. Like, how this record influenced me or how this show changed my life. Stuff like that generally tends to be ham-fisted and cringe-inducing. But DX's "editorials" are great reading and insightful commentary into the life of...well, a punk-rock lifer. And don't be turned away thinking it's just a straight HC mag. Distort is just as likely to discuss Gauze and Black Flag as the Velvet Underground and MC5 in its pages. Issues are usually 14-20 pages or so of nice old school cut-n-paste work with little wasted space (I always enjoy when zinesters cram every little blank spot with lists or random pictures or flyers) and content ranges from interviews with current bands (Annihilation Time, Formaldehyde Junkies, Regulations, lots of Clev-o HC), reprints of classic punk writing and pics, reverential pieces on Poison Idea, Flag, Thought Criminals, and more, book reviews, talk about Sixities punk, insight into current Australian goings-on, REALLY opinionated and well-written reviews (DX knows his shit and makes no bones about calling out crap records and bands) and tons more. Always surprising. The interviews are legitimately hard-hitting and he goes for the throat when need be (a great Fucked Up interview in particular) and he has a nice tendencey to not just stick to the interview itself, but interject long portions of thoughtful commentary inbetween questions and answers. It's rare when the first thing I flip to are the intro/editorial pages instead of the record reviews. Distort certainly caters to the current HC scene somewhat but is also reverential to everything else that could be considered TermBo-centric that even if you're not, say, a huge Sex/Vid fan you'll still find excitement in every issue (say, some Peter Laughner talk or a Clockcleaner think-piece or a well-done GISM discography). And again, this zine hails from Australia but is probably more aware of the US scene than many people living here somehow. Real talk from a someone who is really into music. Amazingly, Distort comes out pretty regularly and I suggest getting a subscription and stocking up on back issues. I've read most of mine multiple times. You can get in touch through the Distort site and prices are more than fair for something coming at you from the other side of the globe. You might want to ask about Kill or Maim zine (a compilation of other Australian zines) and the What Gives one-sheet while you're there too.
Frequent TB mailbagger Clement sent us a copy of Dig It! fanzine some time back, and even though I don't read French, I have to say it looks great. Subjects range from Mike Lucas and Jack Oblivian to Funkadelic and Milk'n'Cookies, so if you're bilingual (or French) you should probably track issues down here. Any zine with a full page pen/ink rendering of Tina Luchessi is OK with me!.....If you caught the Plexi-3 on their summer tour, hopefully you picked up a copy of Search and Annoy Issue #2, because it's cool as shit. "The Girly Issue" tackles the Shivvers, Exene, Kim Shattuck, Holly & The Italians and other rocking females and includes tons of fun little "extras" (like Crowbar comics, a "Who's That Girl?" photo quiz, writing in the margins, "Loves & Hates with the Plexi-3", Faye Fife fashion tips, and more). Aside from being a talented musician Wendy Norton is a fanzine editor par excellence as well and she gets help from plenty of friends too. There's a Myspace page here, hopefully you can still get a copy. I think they're $3, full-size, 18 pages B&W photocopied.....Treble High, Talent Low is a nice little 20-pager photocopy job from an upstanding young Albany kid (who is actually attending school here in Buffalo) that had me hooked right from the cover shot of Dave E., with a nice little piece on the obscure post-Eels band Cool Marriage Counselors. I score it high for this article alone, but there's also good stuff involving Lean Steve, The Vicious, lotsa live/record reviews and a nice little section of zine reviews, none of which I've heard of before, and I'm thrilled to see some info on the current zine-trading scene. Good stuff, perhaps there is hope for the kids after all. Three issues out so far, I bet they're cheap, contact brandon_gaffney-at-yahoo.com for copies.....many many years ago I ordered a copy of Brutarian Magazine. Somehow, I still get them regularly to this day (it's been like five years or more now) due to some oversight in their subscription department or something. Dom Salemi has been steadily pushing this zine out to little acclaim seemingly forever. And although the record reviews are out of touch and there's a lot of bad fiction included, every issue usually has a few dozen pages of great (usually non-music) content. In the 50th(!) issue the meat being HG Lewis, John Waters and Sonny Burgess interviews and the always enjoyable Six Pack Theater column. Also, Gene Gregorits (he of the pretty great Sex and Guts and the recent Midnight Mavericks compendium) is a steady contributor, and your like or dislike of his work might influence you on this one. Pro-printed, color covers, 120 newsprint pages, $4 a pop here.......although I'm sure most of you are hip to Galactic Zoo Dossier, I just have to throw this one in here. I was always hesitant to drop nearly $20 ($16.98 to be exact) on these when they come out, but man is it ever worth it. Sets of trading cards (Astral Folk Goddesses and Damaged Guitar Gods Set Three with this ish), a double disc CD comp of psych/hard rock/folk/whatever gems, and a slickly bound 100+ page magazine that delves into dark psychedelic classics, acid blues, Mungo Jerry, Hippie horror movies, and mounds more, all hand-written and hand-drawn and just absolutely exquisite (plus #7 features a shit-ton of great comic book-related fun). If you're digging what Sniper and Collin are dishing on in the Reissue Section, this is for you. I'm a believer and just want to let anyone who'll listen know to not be scared of the cover price again. Drag City releases it and you can buy through Bomp! or Aquarius. It's one of my favorite things of late....
And I had a review of this thing written, but I think Justin is a more authoritative voice when it comes to such things:
I have to say I'm pleased to see the "Cassette Underground" making a comeback. It seems tapes have survived their period of novelty and are now seeing a resurgence as a more serious format. Well, maybe not so serious, but being utilized as a viable avenue once again for demos and such. At times it does pain me that some of this stuff isn't on vinyl (yet), but it's also pretty cool to get some use out of my tape deck and they certainly look a bit cooler than dumb-ass CD-Rs. Here's some tape that's crossed the reviews desk at TB lately...
Don't Hit Record! Records is a Memphis-based tape-only (for now) label that has released some absolutely stunning stuff semi-recently on nice-looking professionally duped cassettes. DHRR-01 is the Fag Cop "Complete Shit Vol. 1" four-song tape, released in an edition of 50. Fag Cop haven't released any vinyl yet (although I hear they will be making an appearance on a certain 7" compilation series in the near future...) and I think they come from the same family of bands that Spread Eagles and some more of the Boom Chick roster emanate from. It's an awesome fucking tape. Fidelity wise, it seems it was recorded on a boombox with one channel blown, which they then wrapped in a towel and placed in a corner. Killa. "I'm Fucking Dead" recalls the morass that Tunnel of Love are capable of bringing to the table, and hey-ho, "Tunnel of Love" is the fucking name of the next song, so you can guess how that comparison got stuck in my lazy skull. It's a filthy, filty cut of primo exploitation trash. Flippin' it over, you get "Gonna Wanna Run Away Someday", which sounds like a different band. Spider-esque perhaps or Blank Dogs-ian, full of oscillating keyboard damage and ray gun bleats. A great change-of-pace cut, which leads into the monstrous "Slave Universe", pinned-in-the-red weirdness remiscent of Human Eye with a bad case of the rabies. People would be going batshit for this release were it on vinyl...DHRR-02 is a three-song affair from the Spread Eagles who have quickly become one of my favorite modern bands. "Dark Horse" can run from Black Lips comparisons, but it can't hide. Frantically jangly and dark garage-isms with a great wildman vocal performance: sputtering, hacking, coughing, wheezing, a really well-placed "OWWW!" or two and a moany chorus. A+. "M. Osterberg" has the nicest sound of anything I've heard from these dudes, and as close to pop as they're ever gonna get. "Side B" is the near-epic "Death School", a fine example of bleargh bad-trip stomp with what sounds like a witch cackiling in the background. Again, a great fucking release from a band I can't get enough of at this point...DHRR-03 is what I guess would qualify as a cassingle from Memphis' Staags!, and it's a winner as well. Two rockers that far exceeded my expectations, "Robot" features some great monotone voxxx and on the more punk B-Side of "Get Off My Lawn" the singing turns all gibbery for a short and sweet blast. DHRR upped the run to 100 for this release and the recording quality is a great Rocket Science Audio job. Once again, this is stuff that could definitely be killing people acorss the nation on vinyl. Three tapes, three slam dunks from Don't Hit Record, you can cop their stuff here, hopefully the Fag Cop and Spread Eagles are still available. It seems they actually have a vinyl release in the pipeline as well, a split between Daily Void and the O Voids. More worthy of your cash than much of the vinyl making the rounds today...
Some great new garage trash of the Budget Rock variety has been spewing from the Bay Area again and I have a couple of tapes to prove it. The Traditional Fools "Live At Wizard Mountain" cassette is chock-full of party jams and might still be available through Wizard Mountain a small label offshoot of a Bay Area showspace that also have some other releases available. "Live..." is two sides and thirteen tracks of what sounds like one hell of a party. Lots of Redd Kross covers, "Davy Crocett" (sic) and plenty of the snazzy lo-fi fun-banging you've hopefully heard on their 1.5 vinyl releases already. Comes with a flyer from the show and a couple hand-made j-cards, one of which has a phone number that you can call if you want your money back! Plain-white tape that received a multi-colored spray paint job and is numbered out of 99 copies. I just hope I'm not reviewing this too late for your sake! Also from the same group of kids comes this Charlie & The Moonhearts five song tape available via Red Handed Recordings (they also had some copies of the Traditional Fools tape as well, so maybe you can get lucky...) that preceded the recent Goodbye Boozy 7". These kids are an absolutely ferocious garage-punk outfit that can play tight-as-hell yet still slopped-up heaters like few others, past or present. You get two cuts that appear on the 7" plus three more housed in a charming little color sleeve, limited to 100 copies they say. Quite honestly, Charlie & The Moonhearts may be one of the best new bands I heard all year. I'd be gobbling up any and all releases from this gang of young 'uns if I was you, these two "labels" have some other releases by some associated friends/bands that I'm dying to hear as well...
Cassette-listening fool that I am, I have two tape decks in the house. One in the TB bullpen with the main stereo and another in the basement by the work bench so I can jam out long-forgotten heavy metal mix tapes I made in high school while assembling bird houses and putting the finishing touches on my line of handmade hash pipes. There's a strict "Ragers Only" policy at this listening station, so the Kvaern demo tape has been in rotation down there in between all the Exodus and Sacred Reich. I should aslo note that Kvaern is spelled with that Danish(?) character where the A and E are one letter that I'm not even going to try to figure out the HTML for. Anyhow, these pups are limited to 100 copies and sort of inhabit the middle ground twixt the Regulations and HFOS/Dean Dirg perhaps. Not as reverent to the LA-HC attack of most of the Kick'n'Punch acts, and possessing a more belligerent punk attitude. Eight cuts sung in their native tongue, but one definitely has the word "skateboard" in it, so I'm calling that my favorite. Available via Rabalder Records, it's of interest to all you foreign HC heads.
Rounding out the rest of the semi-recent arrivals, if you caught The Okmoniks on their latest jaunt (I didn't, but I'm such a douchebag I somehow scabbed a copy of this...), you hopefully scored their little four-song tour tape. 99 copies, red cassettes, mandatory lo-fi packaging. Great shit on this though, bubblegummy-Ramonesy-organny garage slop from that pepperpot Helene 33 and her band of merry men. Perhaps these tunes will turn up on their forthcoming LP? Hope so, cuz "Teenage Timebomb" is a fucking hit. Where to get it? Who the fuck knows, but you can check out a couple of these tunes at the Okmoniks Myspace page and maybe beg for a copy....two of my personal fave "synth-punk" acts of the past year, The Wrists and Leper Print, spat out a keen little split tape. Three songs each, The Wrists' tunes have already turned into vinyl on their recent Rijapov Records 7", but the Leper Print cuts are exclusive to this release (unless you were on board with his CD-R releases) and includes a four-thumbs-up fucking Icky Boyfriends cover. 100 copies on the Eye Damage Records imprint.....Fresh Meat, who I believe are from Canada for some reason, mailed in a monster tape called "Summer Blowout" full of weird punk damage. Four-track recordings, could be a lone gunman here. Definitely loud and fucked and broken and a lil' pigfuckey, it's something I want to spend some more time with in their near future, but I'm giving a preliminary "check it out" based on the two listens I've been able to give it so far. They have pictures of ladies feet on their tape and some song titles are "Old Turds", "Break You In Half" and "Stab", so if that sounds up your alley contact youngstud4u69-at-gmail.com. Yes, that's the actual address they gave me.....Pittsburgh is my kind of town. I've had the pleasure of partying there a few times with real rockers with names like Rocco, Mac Apples, Chinatown Dan, Vinnie the Shitbag: monikers of dudes you know can party. And for all the loose cannons at large down there, the most sensible fella I've met is this guy Kevin, who plays drums in the Test Patterns. Nice guy, I just feel I have to mention this. So anyway, Kevin's in another band called Icon Gallery who do a unique metal-punk sort of hybrid. He describes it as "punk rock w/tasty Maiden riffs and epic female vocals" and I think that tidily sums it up. The chick really wails and can certainly belt it out and hot lixx do abound. It's a daring combination that many might not dig, but it's gutsy that they let it hang out like this. You can check it out here and ask how to get one. 250 copies, pro-duped job......Lastly, I've been receiving mail from the characters behind this little website here (warning, it's a pop-up infested Tripod site...). First it was a letter with some faux-serial killer scrawling, just rambling shit that it turns out is part of an on-line novel/project called The Absurdist, a few chapters of which are posted on the site. Looks like they're going for a Burroughs-PKD-Mirbeau sort of cut-up combination. Repeated themes seem to be white slavery, fetishism, religion, metal, whatever. The second package they sent (which I think had The Smell in LA as a return address. The first was sent from "Paramount Studios") contained a couple more letters/excerpts, a Jack Chick pamphlet and two tapes worth of "live recordings" which is collage work of someone reading from The Absurdist interspersed with music, found sounds, and other crap. I don't really have time for these shenanigans, but I gotta give 'em a mention for sheer persistence and for the fact it must've taken a little while to actually write out all this shit. I got better things to do, but maybe you don't....
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