With the end of my online fanzine and podcast, Signifying Nothing, a few months I wasn’t sure if I would ever do anything like this involving hardcore ever again. I am happy to be here, it is an honor to be asked to contribute to something from someone who did Hardware Fanzine! My main focus is probably going to be not only on hardcore, but DIY culture in general. Right now, to be honest, I am much more interested in New Media and how DIY is incorporated into that than discussing the latest band’s seven inch. Hardcore is great but it is a means to an end, not an end.
Consider this column a rough draft of what I will be doing each month here. At the bottom of this column is my contact information.
Public Safety Compilation
Maximum Rock N Roll Records
For a substantial period of time this record has been hyped to death. At one point there seemed to be some mystery about who exactly was even going to be on the compilation. The long wait wasn’t really worth it for me. This isn’t a bad compilation necessarily; there are some great bands like Direct Control, Nightmare, and Signal Lost. Most of the bands don’t really seem to bring their A-Game however. Beyond that, even the bands I don’t enjoy are so unpleasant that I find myself jumping around. The best songs on here are easily Career Suicide and Signal Lost’s contributions, but even those songs feel like leftover “b-sides.” The rest of the good band’s (Limp Wrist, Nightmare, Direct Control, etc) efforts I could take or leave honestly. Still, an average Direct Control song is pretty good; but being the worst Direct Control song isn’t exactly the same as being the worst Krakdown song. If you know what I mean. In the future, I am sure these songs will be collected on various bands discographies, so I don’t foresee a desire to listen to this again. That said, Public Safety, for the rager in training, could be a useful introduction to what is going on in the hardcore scene right now. If being used for that very practical purpose however, I think Public Safety could have used a more diverse sampling of bands from outside of North America also. Perhaps when you dub this compilation for Rager Junior you should also include a CDR of the P.E.A.C.E compilation?
Life’s A Rape Fanzine #1 & #2
If you’re scratching your head about the name, so was I until I realized it from an M.D.C. song. Life’s A Rape is a promising new fanzine from the San Diego area. A lot of the things that make a great fanzine are here: cut and paste, DIY styled layouts, a lot of photos, and interesting writing. Between the two issues there are interviews with Hatred Surge, Life Crisis, Fucked Up, Hard Skin and (ugh) P. C. Death Squad. There are also some cool Cleveland hardcore stories and a reprint of an old Integrity promo picture from the mid-nineties that brought back some memories. I see a lot of potential here for a great fanzine. My only compliant is the white backgrounds-more fanzines need to have black backgrounds ala the mighty Hardware.
Carlsbad CA 92018
Slug & Lettuce Fanzine #86
Slug & Lettuce has been a mainstay in hardcore for years. #86 is no exception to the excellent quality of work this fanzine has done over the years. A lot of interesting commentary (especially about the correlation between women’s and animal rights-I want to read more about that in the future), reviews, and pictures. Tons of pictures! Pick this up and subscribe!
Slug & Lettuce
P.O. Box 26632
Richmond VA 23261-6632
Wait In Vain
This is a new band for members of Champion and Trial that does not deviate too far from those bands. Energetic, slightly metallic, hardcore with way too much chugga chug and scratchy New Age Records, circa 1994, style vocals. The stop and go parts remind me of, of all bands, Sparkmarker. If you like Trial or Champion you will like this probably. I will pass on this one. This is the kind of stuff I thought bands like Devoid Of Faith and Floorpunch pushed to the side when they came along.
The promo sheet that comes with this is hilarious: among the ridiculous statements made on it include a note about selling one thousand demos “in a market that usually supports 1/10th of that.” How are they doing in the males 18-49 demograph? Do soccer moms 35-50 enjoy it? I love the proclamation that Wait In Vain are “a return of hardcore that feels dangerous and potentially lethal to the status quo.” Yeah, sure it is. I can just hear the status quo trembling in fear. Maybe you will poll better with the “tween” market.
My favorite though is the comparisons to Burn and the Cro-Mags. Uh, no, not even close. 10/10 bands that are said to sound like either of those bands don’t.
Please send stuff for review to the address at the end of this column. I am happy to review vinyl, CD, DVD, or book/fanzine as long as your band or label is not associated with the RIAA. Please send the “final product”-I will not review advanced versions or promotional material with DRM on it. I have little interest in promo sheets and reserve the right to ridicule them.
Zone Of Influence
One of my favorite bloggers, Matthew Kirschenbaum, has a new game studies blog called Zone Of Influence. ZOI specifically deals with board games and even more specifically war games. I am very interested in gaming studies, but don’t really know that much about board games so I am going to read this one daily.
Top Five’s For 2006
2006 was a decent year for records. There were a lot of records that sounded great at the time, but by the end of the year were pretty clunky sounding. Oh well. I didn’t really post my “top five” anywhere online this year, so here they are by format:
- Mind Eraser-Glacial Reign
- Iron Age-Constant Struggle
- Home Movies-Soundtrack
- Disgust-Flashback To Trash Back
- War Cry-Deprogram
- Step Forward-Demo
- Not So Fast-Outta My Face
- Dry Rot-Permission
- Mind Eraser-Teenagers
Things I Am Looking Forward To
- Breathing Fire New Recordings
- Septic Death CD
- Infest CD/Low Profile Threat 7″/Man Pig recording (Yeah, right)
- Talk Is Poison CD
- Stop & Think CD
Finally, Top 10 For January
- Art Ensemble Of Chicago-Americans Swinging In Paris
- Calvary-Outnumbered Is Outflanked
- Youth Of Today-Break Down The Walls
- Blitz-Never Surrender b/w Razors In The Night
- Amebix-No Sanctuary
- Tragedy-Can We Call This Life?
- Discharge-Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing
- Alice Coltrane-World Galaxy
- Chumbawamba-Never Mind The Ballots
- The Good Book-Demo
William P. Wend
289 Bulkhead Ave.
Manahawkin NJ 08050
william at wpwend dot com