Back in the day I wasn’t really one for splitting genres, that kind of discrimination wasn’t really of much interest to me as my taste was, and still is, really diverse – there was stuff I liked and stuff I didn’t like and that was the way it was. Since I started writing seriously and contributing to magazines however it feels like this is something I can’t avoid, in fact it’s almost necessary when you write for mags with a wide focus so you can give your readers an immediate idea of whether they will like a certain record or not, but in another way it feels like cheating or being lazy and perhaps it’s spoon feeding to a certain extent.
I might have a wide taste sure but its also true to say that I’m not generally a fan of mainstream music, you’ll not see me writing a review of the latest Kylie record for instance. However you never really know what might come your way in the world of music journalism so the genre blanket is a safe and comfortable one to cozy up to in times of need – don’t judge me too much!
OK, to get to the point – because my taste is so varied I like to read about many different styles too so this great zine which came through the door yesterday really appealed to me (it’s by Matt Average who is a contributor to MRR too); the interviews are really decent (The Secret Society of the Sonic Six/Gary Panter/Glass Candy), columns are engaging and as a fellow collector of random bits of paper, a bit on set lists struck a chord too. As is the way of things though this came out last year and already the name of the zine/blog has changed from Tastemaker to Us and Them, which is possibly not the best move as there seem to be a plethora of zines with that name already around.
Also aquired this week was Brit zine, Limited Readership, issue #3.
This is the second one of these I’ve managed to get my hands on and it’s also a solid read like issue #2. Nice classic cut and paste look and tons of content. Rob does tend to have a glass half empty feel to his editorial writing, but he needn’t as this is a quality zine and as a Brit it’s really nice to get a British take on punk as so many of the punk zines I’ve come across are American. The focus is pretty narrow – H/C punk mainly but there are plenty of current releases and bands covered and it’s done well so no complaints there as no doubt you know what you’re getting into when you buy it!
this cracking LP from San Francisco punks Neon Piss has been gracing my turntable with its melodic and memorable punk tunes. Don’t be fooled though, this is not pop punk but a heady and powerful mix of chunky/jagged/aggressive riffage and great vocals with interesting technical moments and obviously skillful songwriting ability. A real gem.
Lastly this week has seen me finally getting Snowing’s LP I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted
I’ve been meaning to pick this up for an age but finally had enough money to do it. Unfortunately Snowing are now deceased of course but this record is a favourite and still has me playing it over and over after all this time; scuzzy indie/emo loveliness that’s super addictive. I thought it was about time I got a hard copy in my hands so it actually felt like I owned it – sounds much better on vinyl and it’s a lovely colour too. Yum.
Was really looking forward to receiving this Californian zine by Sam Lefebvre as it has a Michael Gira interview inside, also, it has to be said, the cover is fantastic.
Once I started reading it I was immediately impressed with the rest of the content too. Visually he uses a classic cut and paste format (which never gets old and always looks lovely) and the interviews, reviews and editorial content are intelligently written with a warm, thoughtful tone which rings true and he always seems to have something interesting to say. I will be on the look out for issue 11 as soon as it comes out. Sam also has a great blog at blogspot which you should also check out.
My recent zine reading frenzy continues with a couple of new ones for August (so far).
Firstly the excellent Seven Inches To Freedom
this is issue 10 of the DIY HC/Punk zine and it’s a satisfying read, great articles and reviews. The ‘editorial’ perspective in this issue is very much one of finding your place in the world and trying to maintain your identity as you move into late 20s and beyond. Actually I picked up issue 9 at the same time and had to mention a great article from Bob Suren about Sound Idea, a now defunct record store and distro in America (Brandon FL) which was really well written and interesting. Joe Lachut’s zine approach aesthetically is very much on the cut and paste look which I am a huge fan of (even though the new issue is computer based it still retains that feel) with mixed, off kilter backgrounds etc and is one of the nicest zines I’ve come across; lovely to look at, very wantable and with great content.
Go to the website to order.
I also just finished reading this Brit zine:
which is also a solid read but very different. The focus with Zine & Not Heard seems generally on a mix of off beat short stories, art work and a couple of reviews / interviews – the musical focus is on emo mainly with some of my current favourite bands (the whole Cyls, Tiny Engines sound – Everyone Everywhere et al) mentioned often. I’ve previously picked up and read a couple of other issues (issue 5 was notable for a Keith Latinen interview) and this one is probably the strongest I’ve had my paws on. Personally I prefer more music-centric zines but this particular issue is one of the best mixed ones I’ve read recently.
Order from their website.
Really enjoyed reading this new Zine from Japan, written in broken but very readable English and containing some interesting insights into Japanese life. SO also seems interested in comparing Japanese H/C Punk with the rest of the world and in looking at how it all started so it makes for a pretty interesting read all round – some great pointers for you if you’re looking for new J-H/C bands too. It felt short though and ended just as I was getting stuck in to it but that’s probably because I was enjoying the experience! Would buy again, ordered from burnoutzine.net in France.
Just finished reading the first issue of this Norfolk Zine Stay A While And Listen which has a wider focus than Decapitated – an interview with Manbearpig is amusing and it also features art work and some (not) reviews as well as a mini How To Make A Zine zine at the back which is very sweet. The writing style is gentle but engaging and it also looks great which is probably what sold it to me in the first place! Ordered from strictly no capital letters which also stocks great records from Cyls and the like.