Thursday, December 22, 2011

Music Review: Pterodactyl

Spills Out (Brah)
Pterodactyl take the falsetto vocals of early Who, Beatles and Beach Boys, bring it to a boil in Brooklyn, then bake it in the studio for days on end before serving it to an unsuspecting public. The result is a delicious blend of shimmering pop tunes with plenty of hooks and almost more sounds than a soft squishy brain can absorb in one sitting. That’s understandable, the record is layered with vocals and guitar tracks, organs, megaphones and toy keyboards which has the tendency to send songs into the realm of otherworldliness—they seem to want to scatter and veer off into every different direction at once. Surprisingly, however, they are secured by some sort of invisible fence that keeps it all together... might be the rhythm section doing that anchoring but it's tough to tell. It's something that I'd rather appreciate without thinking too much about—Jubson Jones [Pterodactyl]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Decline of Eastern Civilization

PUNKS NOT DEAD! It was just in Indonesia.

Thanks Dan Kiss!

Music Review: Michael Yonkers with The Blind Shake

Period (S.S. Records)
Michael Yonkers is the kind of musical figure that music geeks really like to geek out over (no offense to geeks): He’s obscure, he’s got an unfortunate back story, he suffers from an unfortunate back injury and he's got a back catalog that stretches back over five decades. Yonker’s tale of failure in the mainstream music industry was the shelving of his Miniature Love record by Sire in the late 60s. Now considered a psychedelic masterpiece by more than a few aficionados of the genre, it has since been released by both De Stilj Records and Sub Pop. Yonkers wrote a series of bleak folk albums after Microminature Love which have also seen re-release on various small labels, but his work with Blind Shake is his return to form in terms of heavy, challenging pysch rock. Which brings us to their latest collaboration, Period. This eleven song album of heavy, metallic blues and crushing noise guitar is a terminal punctuation point with Yonker's deadpan vocal delivery cutting through the chaos to make us feel just a little more alienated. Not that we need any help driving in that direction. Hopefully, this period doesn't mark the end of Yonker's output but refers rather to a particular section of time. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into that title. Probably—Jubson Jones [Michael Yonkers]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Comics News: Canuck Comics Publisher Does Digital

The venerable Canadian comics publisher, Drawn & Quarterly, has partnered with Canadian e-book seller Kobo Books to release two comics on Kobo’s Vox tablet. Chester Brown gets the nod as the first comics artist to see his work move to the digital platform. Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography (which snagged Chester a Harvey Award in 2006) as well as his more recent work, Paying For It: A Comic Strip Memoir About Being a John are being offered in time for the holidays. More titles will be available in the New Year with proceeds from the sales of future e-books being split 50/50 between D&Q and the artists. Read more at Publishers Weekly.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Comic Review: My Life in Records

By Grant Thomas
My Life in Records is a comic book about Grant’s life in records. Records, as in the vinyl variety. The book is proportionate to a 45 record, but smaller, and features an A side and a B side. Side A starts with "Prologue," in which Grant waxes nostalgic on his formative years listening to, and playing music. “Side by Side” is a story, perhaps autobiographical, about three young brothers and their early love of drawing and listening to records, Bert and Ernie in particular. Side B features two more short tales on the effects music had on Grant as a kid. "Little Wooden Head" concerns Grant's Pinocchio worship and "Bad Mountain Record" recounts the time Grant played one of his parents' good records on a crappy Fisher-Price turntable. You can almost hear that needle scratchChris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cassette Review: Panda Kid

Scary Monster Juice (Already Dead Tapes)
Panda Kid is a one man band from Vicenza, Italy who bashes out batches of home recordings that will play well on blown out speakers. With a guitar (acoustic or electric), a couple drums, harmonica and maybe some keys, Panda Kid works out his lo-fi muse on fuzzy indie rock. The Kid rides alternate waves from track to track, surfing from island pop ("Surfer Girl") to catchy hooks ("Junkie Girl"), lush pop washouts ("Confidences") to short instrumental weirdness ("Panda in Space") all in the span of a ten track cassette tape. And not only that, Scary Monster Juice sports a 3-D cover. Take that James Cameron, you hack!—Jubson Jones [Panda Kid]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Comics Review: Armstrong

An On-line Graphic Novel by David Halvorson
Comics artist David Halvorson has created a three-part (so far) on-line graphic novel in which pint-sized super heroes battle evil during recess at Armstrong Elementary School. Fourth grade characters like Clinton, (the drawling cowboy sheriff), Scrap and Yoshi (super heroes in their own right) wage war against cootie plagues, schoolyard zombies and treasure hungry pirates. In addition to being a talented artist, Halvorson is a good writer and storyteller. His fantastical playground tales flow well and the writing is clever and quite funny. Creating a comic specifically for the web allows for Halvorson to execute some cool visual tricks on the page. Like their print counterparts, on-line comics are still read from top to bottom, left to right, but because you’re scrolling down, the action is hidden until you get to it. The impulse to sneak a peak at the panels of facing pages has been removed in this format. This allows the artist to create an almost cinematic visual effect, like the opening of the third chapter "Rise of The Wreckyard." The top of the page starts with a few descending word bubbles set against a blue sky. It pans down to a blazing, playground pirate ship where a fierce battle is being fought on deck. It's a nice contrast that would be difficult to pull off in an old school comic. The tales of Armstrong Elementary are still unfolding with “The Ballad of Sheriff Davenport" up next. Bookmark itChris Auman [ Armstrong]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Muggsy McMurphy's Top 20 (September 22nd, 1986)

Mötley Crüe
Iron Maiden
Judas Priest
Twisted Sister
Bon Jovi
David Lee Roth
Ozzy Osbourne
Deep Purple
White Snake
Metal Church
Van Halen
Great White

Monday, December 12, 2011

Comics Review: Dodo Comics #2

By Grant Thomas
Issue number 2 of Grant Thomas’s Dodo Comics continues in the vein of its predecessor (that’d be Dodo Comic #1, if you’ve been keeping track). There are four strips in #2. The first is an homage to Sergio Leone in which Grant duplicates the Spaghetti Western director's close-up/long-shot film-making style in comic panel form. There’s an art school inspired strip, "Drawing from Life," concerning the sketching of live nudes. Grant attempts a comics pantoum with "Visions of Johanna’s Concert," in which certain panels repeat at certain points much like the poetic form. Lastly is, “Why Have You Shut Your Eyes,” the second installment of stories Grant took from the sayings of the desert fathers and mothers—Chris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Reglar Wiglar Interview: Summer Girlfriends

Summer Girlfriends play an easy, breezy brand of rock music that connects the pop dots from the early sixties to the late 70s. They only have one summer under their belts as a band so far, but they've already released two songs via Facebook and have a full-length LP in the can (slated for an early 2012 release on Addenda Records).

What better way to get psyched for another long, cold, crappy winter than to daydream with (or about) Summer Girlfriends? Let's do that now!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Shannon Wheeler Occupies Wall Street for TCJ

 From The Comics Journal.

Zine Review: Dream Whip #1-10

Bill Brown (Microcosm)
Dream Whip is an unabridged compilation of Bill Brown's long-running zine of the same name. Seems like Bill did a lot of traveling between 1994 and 1999 and his zine chronicles that time on the road. DW is filled with short pieces, both fictional and nonfictional observations, comics, drawings and tidbits cut out of local newspapers and tourist brochures. The writing style can come off sounding like that of a freshman writing student at times. It suffers from simile overload in places and it seeks to flatter Beat writers in its imitation, but that's likely a result of a young writer trying to find a voice of his own. There's much improvement by issue number ten which Bill instructs readers to treat as a road map of his travels from Texas to Canada and back againChris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Zine Review: Hey Hey Lonesome

Adam Gnade (Punch Drunk Press)
This novella, by author and musician Adam Gnade, is intended to introduce readers to the characters that will appear in Adam’s forthcoming novel. It's a prequel, if you will, that follows the characters around San Diego in the hours leading up to a party where all of their paths will cross. It is at this point that the novel (finished but as yet unpublished) will begin. Hey Hey Lonesome is a part of a series of fiction and music that loosely ties together various characters through songs and stories. The work is intended to convey a picture of contemporary American life the way American Graffiti portrayed life in the early 60s or more recently Dazed and Confused in the mid 70s. Similarly, the characters in Hey Hey Lonesome are young, shiftless, in or out of love, bored, under the influence, or all of the above. Adam's prose style even reads like a script at times. The viewpoints of the characters are first person and we hear their inner monologues, but the scenes and action are described like stage directions, sometimes parenthetically. It is unclear at this point how the characters' lives will intersect and how they will interact with each other, but the scene has been set for the full story to begin. Stay tunedChris Auman []

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Comics Review: Dodo Comics #1

By Grant Thomas
Grant Thomas is a cartoonist and art teacher living in Champaign, Illinois and DoDo Comics is his latest comics series. Rather than simply draw autobiographical strips about life’s everyday occurrences, Grant experiments with the comics form. Using an idea expounded upon by Neil Cohen at, Grant treats his strips as visual poetry. By establishing a rhythm through the repetition of certain types of panels (polymorphic, amorphic, macro and micro refiner) at certain points, Grant seeks to create a poetic continuity while challenging his skills as an artist and storyteller. “Where Do Ideas Come From?” (they come from Idea Gnomes btw) is one such attempt where Grant employs this technique. In other strips, Grant incorporates lyrics from Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna" in his own version, "Visions of Gehenna"; he offers his own interpretation of the biblical story of the Tower of Babel as well as adaptations of pages found in the magna Lone Wolf and Cub and AkiraChris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Zine Review: Rad Dad #19

Tomas Moniz, Ed. (Microcosm)
Editor and rad dad, Tomas Moniz is back with another issue of his Rad Dad zine. The purpose of Rad Dad is to help guide dads in the raising of their kids. Actually, it's not a guide necessarily, although it does serve that purpose. Tomas's goal is to share stories, thoughts and observations on parenting with like-minded parents who have made their share of mistakes and have learned from them. The contributors are not all dads either, but they are all activists, organizers, musicians and artists. They're definitely to the left politically and the challenges they confront while parenting range from issues like early gender identity ("The Handsome Daughter" by Laura Pretnar) to food activism ("How to Turn Your Kids into Radicals" by John Chapman). There are interviews with activist/writer John Conant and Pittsburgh musician JonJon Cassagnol, as well as several pieces remembering Oscar Grant who was fatally shot by BART cops in Oakland in 2009Chris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

R.I.P. Patrice O'Neal

Joey T. Germ Presents: Cassette Reviews: Too Tough To Die

Too Tough to Die (Sire) 1984
Not the greatest Ramones record ever ever, but really, have they ever made a bad one? With the Ramones you have to embrace their faults, idiosyncracies, and quirks and love them warts and all. Considering the personalities and disorders at play in the band, any release seems like a miracle in hindsight. Plus, we got Tommy Ramone back in his spot at the controls, so there's that. While most of the tunes on Too Tough to Die won't have you jumping to your feet, shaking your fist in a beat-on-the-brat kinda way, it does have its moments. Like "Wart Hog," for example—a Dee Dee punk rock gem with a very infectious chorus. This was Dee Dee's answer to the hardcore of the day, but he just couldn't help making it a catchy tune in the bargain. "Endless Vacation" is another Dee Dee attempt to play hardcore which succeeds in the brainless and tunelessness a lot of hardcore aspired to in the mid 80s. In fact, Too Tough to Die is a mostly Dee Dee affair with the bass player contributing nine out of thirteen tracks. Non Dee Dee songs like "Chasing the Night," and "Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La)" are classic 60s ala Ramones pop songs. There are some throwaways sure, like "Planet Earth 1988" (still four years away at this point), and "Danger Zone," a forgettable if not forgivable bland rock attempt. All in all, Too Tough to Die is a return to form and remains a solid brick in the house that the Ramones built—Joey T. Germ

Dan Kiss contributed this cassette to Joey T. Germ Presents: Cassette Reviews. Thanks, Dan!

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Music Review: Wooden Shjips

Wooden Shjips (pronounced Shjips) are not afraid to sail out into a stoner rock squall. Aye, these four shjipmates are likely to throw up a jib and stretch out leeward or aft for the better part of ten minutes if they get a taste for it. Not in a jam band sorta way, mind you, but with more of a trance-like, hypnotic repetition that harkens back across time and the ocean to Brit band Loop or maybe even Monster Magnet circa Tab...25 back east stateside. “Black Smoke Rise” kicks off this seven song set with fuzzed out guitar, followed by reverb-soaked keys and vocals. That's the Shjip's template for the most part; those elements winding and wafting their way through a hazy tour of intermittent guitar solos, guitar washes and assorted studio effects. There are some slight zigs and the occasional zag of departure: “Lazy Bones” ironically enough, steps up the tempo; “Home” flirts coyly with a classic rock riff; “Looking Out” is downright bouncy like a midnight carnival on psychedelics (or quality REM sleep) and “Rising” just flips the script by being all backwards. When taken together, it all combines to make West the perfect destination for when you want to go somewhere but just don't feel like getting out your chairChris Auman [Wooden Shjips]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Music Review: Bad Cop

I Can't Slow Down Digital EP

Bad Cop are some young dudes from Nashville who do a pretty dang good bang-up job of playing garage rock. They seem to pay as much attention to the fuzz as to the hook and the chorus and the song as a whole—not always the case in the genre. This 3 song, 2 video EP is not just adrenaline pumping (there’s certainly that), but it's got substance too. Lead off track “Animal” exemplifies that previous point, reminding one of Screaming Trees, who also paid homage with tips of the hat. “Maniac" is in the middle and a smidge more manic. "Gloom Bank," is gloomy, sure, but still suitable for buggin’ out. Videos for "Gloom Bank" and "Maniac" comprise the difference. They're low budget, low brow and bloody, just how you like 'em. And it’s free to download, so download it freely here—Jubson Jones

Always read the Reglar Wiglar: check out Rebecca Seung's article on Bad Cop!

The Perfect Stocking Stuffer!

Tell Santa you want a GG Allin Bobblehead* from ROIR this year... or you'll cut his fat face!

*Feces sold separately. Merle not included.

Monday, November 21, 2011

DVD Review: Krush Groove

Let me lay down a quick plot summary for you: It’s New York in the hip hop '80s and rap is just starting to gain some respect outside of the 'hood. This is evident by the sudden success of real-life rappers RUN-DMC, Kurtis Blow and Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde—all artists on the independent Krush Groove record label run by Russell Walker. Krush Groove doesn't have the cash to keep up with demand, so Russell has to borrow money from a "bad dude"; some douche from Galaxy Records has a hard-on for the acts on Walker's fledgling label and offers RUN a chance to get paid; RUN leaves Russ for the Galaxy deal; Russ gets a beat down from thugs sent by the loan shark; RUN likes Sheila E.  who plays Prince-sounding purple soul but crosses over to rap—oh, and she likes Russ and Russ likes her and they "do it" in a really cheesy love scene with candles—and it’s all a big mess until it  isn't anymore. 

Sure, it's a bad movie. It's not well-written and the plot was tired 25 years ago when the movie came out, but it's still entertaining in a raploitation sort of way. Low lights include a performance by New Edition looking as ugly as they ever were and the acting is pretty bad across the board. Most characters play themselves and not terribly well. Russell Simmons was wise to take only a small role as a club promoter. 

It's not all bad though, just mostly. Tolerable are The Fat Boys who manage to be somewhat charming in a comedic subplot that features an "all-you-can-eat" scene at an Sbarro's. The Beastie Boys get about a minute of camera time to perform "She's On It" and a teenaged LL Cool J. wows the boys at Krush Groove with an impromptu audition of "I Can't Live Without My Radio" after barging into their offices with his boombox. 

And of course, it's all loosely based on the true life story of Rick Rubin's and Russell Simmons' Def Jam label. The high point of it all, however, is the final scene at Disco Fever where Rick Rubin can be seen DJing in the background while wearing a Hüsker Dü t-shirt which gives the entire film credibility in its final seconds—Chris Auman 

Thanks Public Library!

Friday, November 18, 2011

CD-R Review: Mike Mountain

Hiding in the Rock (75 Words or Less)
Mike Mountain (Mike Mtn. for short) is a four-piece rock band from New Bedford, MA. They play your basic blues-based rock music. Nothing new there. However, what makes this band unique from say, any number of bands jamming and drinking in garages, basements and practice spaces all across the universe right now (and there are millions) is the bizarre quality of the lyrics. Let me give you a taste from the lead-off track “Acid at the Funeral”:

Cut my feet on glass/Eighth-grade mustache
The natives in my head/have a banquet and some cash

These are either cut & paste, stream of conscious or both. The record continues in this thematic lyrical vein with "Las Vegas Waltz" which sounds like it's about Lyme disease but isn't, nor is it a waltz; "Freebird 33-1/3 " does not sound like Skynyrd on vinyl played at long-player speed; "Two Little Bossmen" is demented Dylan and "Put 'Em on Ice" name checks Slick Rick, of all people. So, if you're getting the impression that Mike Mountain is a little off, then I've done my job—Jubson Jones [Mike Mountain]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Zine Review: Burn Collector #15

by Al Burian (
Al Burian is back for another issue of Burn Collector. BC #15 finds Al living in Berlin. Like always, Al shares his thoughts and observations on life in his newly chosen city, but before that he needs to deal with a searing toothache that sends him immediately to the streets in search of a dentist. After an aborted first attempt at the dental office in the building he lives in, Al finds a caring, gentle soul who is willing to ease his pain. She of course disproves of Al's lack of preventive dental maintenance. Al returns later to plead poverty to the woman, who he hopes will fall in love with him and forgive his debt to her. Doesn't happen.

Also in this issue, Anne Elizabeth Moore contributes a piece, "When You Realize the Freedom" (title courtesy of a Hasselhoff lyric) on the selling of the Berlin Wall (more literally than figuratively). There’s an interview with fellow zine-maker and ex pat Liam Warfield on living in Berlin. Al also reviews various things like Berlin’s Tegel Airport, books on writing (Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King), people (Ronnie James Dio) as well as various records, squats and Germany’s May 1st holiday.

Always good to check in. No comics though? What's up with that, Al?Chris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Zine Review: The East Village Inky #48

by Ayun Halliday (EVI)
One-time member of the Chicago Neo-Futurists theatre company, Northwestern grad, writer of several books, zinester and native Hoosier, Ayun Halliday is now the proud publisher of forty-eight issues of The East Village Inky. EVI was begun when Ayun and husband Greg Kotis (Urinetown, look it up!) lived in an East Village apartment. Now in Brooklyn with two children, she continues to produce this hand drawn, handwritten and hand-laid-out zine. This is my first encounter with EVI and just my luck, it’s also the first ever music issue, and I like music. In this forty page mini, Ayun recounts tales of her musical listening history touching upon early influences from grade school through high school, college and beyond. I must admit, I do not have much in common with Ayun as far as musical tastes (Todd Rundgren is the zine’s centerfold for example), but I won’t dwell on that. What I can relate to is the joy of making and receiving mix tapes and I agree that movie soundtracks are good ways to discover new music that is often old music. I enjoyed the section in which a smattering of “hip” Brooklyn teens are interviewed about what they're listening to. They seem to have pretty devloped musical tastes, which is either due to living in Brooklyn, their parents, the accessibility of music on the Internet or all three—the perfect storm for "hip" in this modern age, I suppose.

EVI reads like a conversation you're having with a friend you haven’t seen in a while and you only have a short time to talk. A lot gets crammed in, topics change quickly and sometimes you lose the thread of the converation for awhile but your friend is so happy to fill you in that you really don't careChris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Magazine Review: Devastator #4

Devastator is a comedy magazine in digest form. It contains comics and other writings of a satirical nature intended to make you laugh, preferably out loud. It succeeds in this endeavor. Number four is the "Arcade" issue, although nostalgia is really the theme here. This is immediately evident from the flip side of the book, which is a parody of my beloved Choose Your Own Adventure series from the 70s and 80s. Writer John Ford skewers the genre with “Night at the Arrrrr-cade!” where the second person you gets trapped in a haunted game room. They’ve got everything down to a tee in terms of the fonts and writing style of those books and Marc J. Palm’s cover is spot on in it’s imitation.

There’s comics too, with James Kochalka delivering a Glorkian Warrior's tale in “Attract Mode,” Matt Taylor’s "Marriage Command" is good for a giggle and Edmund McMillen serves up something called “Meat Boy and Dr. Fetus” in the tradition of Goofus and Gallant.

Some of the satirical targets of Devastator are either before or after my time (probably after, sadly) like Amanda Meadows' "Mr. Do: Return of the Dino Drones" which parodies Scholastic Publishing’s Blast into Books series, of which I am unfamiliar. Judging from this piece, however, I get the gist of what those books are like. I know the type of crap education publishers try to download to developing brains.

Even the revered Atari 2600 is not spared the comedic wrath of Devastator. John Schnepp delivers a withering indictment of Atari’s 1979 game "Adventure" titled "Sadventure". And deservedly so, I mean, did they really expect us to believe that floating duck was a frickin' dragon? That game sucked on so many levels (pun intended).

And there's plenty more in this issue that a brief recap, such as this, is forced to omit. In short, Devastator showcases a mountain of talent by writers and artists who also contribute to some big names in comedy from Conan to the Onion News Network. And it looks great too—Chris Auman [Devastator]

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

R.I.P. Bill Keane

R.I.P. Heavy D

Zine Review: The CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting

The Life of Lee Harvey Oswald by Abner Smith (microcosm)
Two thousand and eleven marks the 10th anniversary of Microcosm's CIAMSFU series. This is the first one I've read, so I'm only a decade behind at this point. Issue number six is a short bio of Kennedy assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. Using declassified government documents, writer Abner Smith constructs Oswald's life from his troubled childhood in New Orleans through his troubled military career to his troubled time in the Soviet Union (and his unsuccessful attempts at defection) and his troubled marriage to a young Russian woman. Seems like Oswald was a bit troubled—a loose nut, probably not to be trusted as a spy or double agent. He was more likely than not, just a disillusioned wanna-be revolutionary and hardly someone the government would want to work with in the assassination plot of one of the most powerful men in the world. Yet something doesn’t quite fit and this is the CIA were talking about here. If you lean even slightly toward conspiracy theories regarding this pivotal part of American History, the ultimate objective was achieved and we know Oswald didn't spill his guts. Well...

An interesting read for sure, but Smith doesn't necessarily shed a lot of light on the subject for me. His writing style is a little clipped and he could have probably benefited from an editor to help organize his thoughts a little better, but this a zine not a graduate thesis so that's a gripe not a dis. It is amazing the things the CIA/FBI and the US Government think they can get away with. What would probably be even more amazing, are the things they have gotten away with that we'll never know aboutChris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

New REGLAR WIGLAR Comics Page!!!

Comics Review: Awesome Future

Stories of Victorious Action by Robnoxious (microcosm)
It’s hard not to get caught up in the optimistic feeling inspired by the prospect of an Awesome Future brought about through Victorious Action. Robnoxious makes no apologies for accentuating the positive in a series of comics and stories that share a similar theme: Punks Win. Go Punks! The book kicks off with a recounting of the time Rob and his friends found a piano on the way home from a punk rock show. There's the story of his family’s move from Colorado to Alaska in a converted school bus camper. In non-comic form, Rob describes a walk he took in Northern California, along a deserted dirt road at dusk. He also relates the tale of his vasectomy. Go Vasectomies! There's a longer piece on Rob's trip to Southern California to attend a retreat hosted by Thich Nhat Hank’s monastery. "Maxx’s Big Day" is an illustrated story about a the day in the life of Rob’s dog Maxx. Awesome Future ends with the comic "Awesome Future" in which some weird comic characters (a dolphin, a pickle, a chicken and a catfish) get jiggy with it. The future may be odd but it's certainly awesome as well. Go Awesome Future!—Chris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Music Review: AZITA

Disturbing the Air (Drag City)
The twelve songs on Disturbing the Air probably won’t get stuck in your head. Having been freed from AZITA’s mind, they aren't likely to be confined ever again. What may linger, however, is the melancholy feeling and dark mood created by her sparse piano ballads. I don't know that AZITA creates outsider art, but she definitely works on the outside of conventional music. She always has, despite her training in classical piano. From her time in no wave bands, Scissor Girls and Bride of No No, AZITA has always brought a challenge to the turntable. What was once loud, abrasive and impossible to ignore has become equally challenging and confrontational on a different emotional level. With just her voice and simple, at times atonal, piano lines, AZITA creates haunting songs of emptiness and loneliness that won’t quickly fade from your psycheChris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Zine Review: Xerography Debt #29

Davida Gypsy Breier, Editor (Leeking Ink)
Xerography Debt isn’t your father’s Factsheet Five (it’s much smaller) and it's not your mother's Zine World (the reviews are too positive), but Davida and her small band of volunteers have been carrying the torch for zinesters and the small press for almost thirty issues now.

Number 28 keeps with the familiar XD format of columns and reviews. Columnist Dread Sockett defends XD's decision to run only positive reviews; Inner Swine, Jeff Somers provides an explanation of why he keeps his opinion of other zines out of his own; Gianni Simone highlights the dying but not-quite-dead art of mail art and a handful of faithful zine readers tell us about the cream of the small press crop. Also in this issue is the second installment of the “Where Are They Now” feature which asks former zine publishers a few questions about why they stopped publishing and if they plan to ever take up the small press pursuit again. Some will, some won't and issues of time and money are invariably the reasons for stoppage—Chris Auman

Always read Reglar Wiglar!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Zine Review: So Raw It's Downright Filthy

Joshua Ploeg (Microcosm)
The last raw thing I ate was a raw radish, which was radically delicious, but other than that, I am not a vegan or a vegetarian and I am definitely not a rawcist. Therefore, there's a good chance that I will not be using any of the recipes in this zine cookbook. I like Joshua’s attitude though. Despite being a vegan/veg chef himself, he still likes to rib militant dieters, as he does in a short excerpt reprinted from his zine, A Chef's Tale: Strange Travelers Tales of Food, Sex, Random Occurrences & Other Culinary Disasters. If you’re a hard-liner, it doesn’t matter whether your hard line is politics, religion or vegetables, lighten up already! Whatever your diet dictates, many of the recipes in this zine sound pretty dang tasty: Curry Banana, Avocado Mousse and Plum Salad, etc. I do not agree, however, with the decision to include random black and white (black and pink actually) photos of things that are filthy, like the toilet on the cover. This is perhaps to tie in with the zine's title. Ok, I get it, but it's still kinda gross—Chris Auman

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Music Review: Vernon Selavy

7" (Shit Music for Shit People)
Vernon Sélavy is Vincenzo Marando (Movie Star Junkies) and Roberto Grosso Sategna (Ten Dogs) from San Salvario in Turin, Italy. Yes Italy, but listening to this record, you wouldn't necesarily know that these guys didn't live down the street from the Black Lips or The Black Keys. They don't just sing in English, they play in American. This seven inch features three tunes saturated in the sound of the American South: gospel, rhythm and blues, maybe a hint of soul and a touch of folk. These musical influences are still as sacred today as they ever were and apparently that's not a sentiment limited to these shores. Limited edition of 300 copies. Features a pretty cool two-color woodcut print by artist and fellow musician, Mojomatt Bordin—Shroudy O'Turin [Vernon Sélavy]

Always read The Reglar Wiglar!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: The Comics Journal #301

When did The Comics Journal get so freakin' fat? Weighing in at one and a half pounds, this 624 page sucker features more of what you love (or hate) about comics criticism: long, detailed interviews and reviews that will take you days to read. Absorbing, or perhaps tedious depending on your mood, this is a beast I’ve been wrestling with for a few months. This issue features an interview with R. Crumb conducted by Journal publisher, Gary Groth. The topic of discussion is Crumb’s illustrated creation story, Genesis. Groth questions Crumb on the development of his technique over the years, his creative process for this project and what led him to begin his adaptation of the ultimate beginning. The interview is followed by a roundtable barrage of praise and criticism from over a half dozen art and culture critics, who either praise Crumb or take the artist to task for a variety of sins.

Also featured in #301 are sketchbook/interviews with Tim Hensley, Stephen Dixon and Jim magazine creator, Jim Woodring, from whom Groth seeks to find an answer to the question of why Woodring is compelled to draw such repulsive images. Turns out Woodring doesn't really know.

MAD Magazine fans will appreciate the transcribed, transgenerational conversation between the 89-year-old Al Jaffee (creator of the MAD fold-in) and Michael Kupperman (a current pop culture provocateur) in which the two artists talk about art as work, art as satire and art for art’s sake.

Adding further heft to the issue is Tim Krieder's arugument with himself over the question of whether or not Dave Sim’s epic Cerebus comic should be considered a major work of art? I must admit that I haven't been swayed that it should, but I also haven't made it to the end of Krieder's article and I've only made it through Volume 1 of Sim's 16 Cerebus volumes.

But wait, there's more, including an article on comics pioneer and "Dean of Amercian Cartoonists," John T. McCutcheon; an interview with Joe Sacco concerning his graphic novel Footprints in Gaza; reprints of the "Gerald McBoing Boing," strip penned by one Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Suess; and a slew of other aritcles, criticism and opinion that I haven’t even gotten to yet—all wrapped in a fantastic Robert Crumb cover taken from his Genesis book.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Music Review: Followed by Static

Bacon Bear EP (Fuzz Pop)
Austin, Texas band, Followed by Static, play a brand a lo-fi guitar rock that contains more than a hint of psychedelicness. The four songs on the Bacon Bear EP harkens my brain back to an earlier time of Oklahoma and the young, dosed Flaming Lips circa Here it Is. But the sound actually goes back farther than that. There's a 60s garage rock influence evident on "Bacon Bear" and "Cop Gloves," which also benefit from a bouncy countrified beat. "Trash" jumps a decade forward sounding like a 70s slow churning rock monster and the eerie "Hey Skeleton," like Austin itself, just gets weird—Rick Perry

Monday, October 17, 2011

Music Review: The Sentinels

Music of the Pleistocene (Imperius Rex)
I prefer the music of the Holocene Epoch myself, but I guess they were really just building on what was already going on in the Pleistocene Epoch, creatively speaking. At any rate, Music of the Pleistocene is a strong debut from the Chicago four piece, The Sentinels. The instrumental core of the band is comprised of a few local rock veterans you may remember as being The Tuffets a few years back. The Sentinels sound nothing like that proto metalling trio. No, this band comes at you from a straight rock angle, employing the requisite riffs and rhythms to allow vocalist Liz Elle to work it out on the mic. Which she does by trafficking in such human emotions as love, loss and lusting after girls (you read that right). The record sounds great, the songs are well-thought out, the choruses are as catchy as they should be, which leads me to the conclusion that The Sentinels are, in fact, Guardians of Rock—Clyde Drexler

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Music Review: Kaspar Hauser

Archive + Spiral (Spacesuit Records)
Tom Comerford, he of the long-running Chicago outfit, Kaspar Hauser, has brought forth a solo record unto the world. Using a different cast of musician friends and peers, Tom and Company recorded the eight songs of Archive + Spiral at a place called the Glamour Hole. Despite that studio's name, the resulting record is more ragged glory than razzle dazzle. While the record sounds undoubtedly like a Kaspar Hauser album, with its well-worn Americana sound and Tom's distinctive vocal delivery, Archive + Spiral might just be a little more laid back and a touch more melancholy. The songs themselves sound more subdued than his previous work. There certainly seems to be a wider variety of instrumentation: mandolin, 12-string and baritone guitars, piano, organ, even handclaps fill out the arrangements. Traces of Tom's long-time influences: early REM and the Velvet Underground become evident at a listen, (there's even a countrified version of "Sunday Morning)" and the song "Dear Stephen Hauser" sounds like an American version of an 80s Robyn Hitchcock song. Archive + Spiral fits nicely into the Comerford/Kaspar Hauser canon of releases that sound both old and new, familiar yet unique—Chris Auman

See Kaspar Hauser and The Mediums, live @ Panchos, Wednesday October 19th

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Zine Review: Cometbus #54

Haven’t read Cometbus in awhile. I like the switch to type even though Aaron does have very legible handwriting. It's just much easier on these old eyeballs. This issue sees Aaron on tour with longtime pals Green Day. It seems that his relationship with one of the biggest bands in the world has come full circle from the Berkeley days of the early 90s. This gives Aarron pause for thought as he contemplates the way his relationship with the band has evolved. There’s some self-reflection on the views of Aaron's younger self, which may have been at tad rigid in retrospect. He also remembers that Green Day—a band that were decried as sellouts to the Berkeley punk scene—were never accepted by that scene in the first place. At the end of the day, and at the end of his brief stint on the tour, Aaron has a new found respect for his old friends. These are all revelations Aaron has as he wanders city streets in Thailand, Japan and Singapore. I was never a big Green Day fan myself, but the longevity of their career forces me to give them props, especially considering all the cookie-cutter pop punk bands they left in their wake. Aaron exposes Green Day for who they really are: regular people that other regular people put up on pedestals.

Read more gol' dang Zine Reviews.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Zine Review: Roctober #49

Another action-packed issue of the rag tag Roctober zine. Comics by John Porcellino, King Merinuk, Rob Syers. Craploads of reviews and interviews. Jake interviews his long-time musical hero Glen Danzig and tries his best not to annoy the Devil-Locked One. (Glenn’s publicist warns Jake in advance not to bring up the Misfits, or try to be funny and to exceed fifteen minutes. Does he comply with these wishes? Find out.) Jake also talks to Zero Boy’s Paul Mahern who walks Jake through each track of their blisteringly awesome 1982 record Vicious Circle. AND, if all that wasn’t enough, we get us some Nardwuar. Love me some Nardwaur. AND, if a dose of the Human Serviette isn’t enough, the interviewee is no less than the iconic John Lydon! Also included in #49 are articles, interviews, updates and columns by the likes Gentlemen John Battles and Larry Pig Gold. In summation, to quote former Governor Roddy B: "I got this thing and it's effing golden".

Read the Reglar Wiglar interview with Roctober's Jake Austen!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Comics Review: Incredible Change-Bots Part Two

Jeffrey Brown (Top Shelf)
Somebody watched a lot of cartoons when they were a kid... Here's a hint: it was Jeffrey Brown, but that's a given with the second installment of Jeffrey's Incredible Change-Bot series. The story line parallels that of the multi-million dollar franchise of movies, cartoon shows and cool morphing toys: Robots, however inadvertently, invade Earth and one poor bastard Bot gets left behind. In Jeffrey Brown's version, the two robot factions, Awesomebots and Fantasticons, struggle for control of their home planet. In Part One, these Bots crashed on Earth in an attempt to flee their embattled planet of Electronocybercircuitron. After an epic battle on Earth, in which the Awesombots were victorious, both parties departed for greener pastures. Shootertron is the ditched Fantasticon who finds himself deserted on our planet and that's where Part Two picks up. The Change-Bots once again crash into Earth and meet up with their long-forgotten pal. The Bot nation needs to learn how to get along to survive on their adopted planet. The results are quite funny and the one-liners are fired off like lasers (bew, bew) but with more frequency. Although I found the book funny, the humor is not aimed at adults specifically—at least not at the expense of younger readers. There's some groaners in there for sure, but if you appreciate bad puns you are in luck.

It seems like Mr. Brown has a lot of fun drawing his Incredible Change-Bots. There's a child-like playfulness to them (the colored markers help) and each Bot has it's own personality in addition to it's unique morphing ability. Kids and adults will find Shootertron and Company not only cool-looking but endearing, and in keeping with the Transformers tradition the story is to be continued... "probably".

Check out the Reglar Wiglar interview with the creator Jeffery Brown.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reglar Wiglar Interview: Comics Artist, Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown is a very busy man. Not only is a film that he co-wrote currently in production, he's also held the titles of music video director, NPR contributor, children's book author, comics creator, diarist, husband, father and probably a cousin to someone somewhere as well. Mr. Brown is living proof that you can make a career out of drawing pictures of robots shooting lasers. Ok, maybe he doesn't draw pictures of robots shooting lasers exclusively, but still, that's pretty cool. So, if you are someone who draws pictures of robots shooting lasers, DON"T STOP NOW!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Music Review: The Mediums

Shiny Void Blues LP (E.V.P./I.T.C)
Chicago garage psych masters, The Mediums, come heavy with the blues-based freakouts. Seems like the Mediums have moved on from the straight-up 60s garage rock sound and into a more blues-based concept. Easily recognizable riffs pop up only to veer left or right at the last minute. Side two is when the sonic fury really comes to bear with frenzied guitar riffage breaking out hither and yon and then back hither —Joey Germ

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Music Review: Bachelorette

Bachelorette LP/CD (Drag City)
Annabel Alpers is Bachelorette and as such she creates spacy, dreamy soundscapes that seem to transcend her earthly bindings. Alpers, who is from Auckland, New Zealand (down under and over), wrote and recorded the music for this record while on tour across several continents. Whatever geographic location gave inception to the songs, they seem to float untethered to any natural or imaginary borders. Alpers fuses together organic and electronic elements to create her music, which might technically be called techno or synth pop, but the strongest instrument is her own hypnotic voice. Overall, a completely digable album that cleverly sneaks into the brain where it hides and lies dormant until the most unsuspecting moments—P.C. Jones