Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ZINE REVIEW: The DIY Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfucking Sad

Adam Gnade [Pioneers Press]

Writer Adam Gnade offers us a guide for how he deals with what he calls "The Big Motherfucking Sad" aka depression.

As soon as I opened up Adam's fight guide, I instantly recognized something in myself. In the book's introduction, Adam tell us that he dreams of dissecting his life—listing how tired or sick he felt on a certain day, what foods he ate and how he felt when he got up in the morning—all in an effort to detect the patterns of his life. Three years ago, I started to keep a journal for these very same reasons. I was inspired at the time by Jesse Reklaw's daily comics journal, Ten Thousand Things to Do. I kept a daily record of what I ate, drank and the basics of what went down that particular day and what my mood was (good, bad, pissed, bummed). I wanted to see if I could recognize patterns. Was I depressed because I drank too much that particular week or did I drink because I was depressed? Did slipping into a lazy junk food diet cause my depression or did I turn to these comfort foods as a result of it? I am not someone who suffers from clinical depression, but I get bummed out like everyone else and if being in mental pain is comparable to being in physical pain, then it's important to know the cause of the affliction so that it can be corrected.

Gnade doesn't deal with the root causes of the Big Motherfucking Sad, recognizing that they vary by individual, but he does offer tips to school depression's ass. With suggestions (commands, really) on how to not let the buggers get you down. There's a "Guide to Not Freaking Out All the Time," advice on how to deal with the critics and the haters and other assorted maxims you can use to pump yourself up when you're feeling deflated. That's the purpose of this book, which undoubtedly provided the same comfort to its author.

This zine is not a cure-all for anything, it's just a tool you can use to help you continue to kick ass on a daily basis. A few months ago I stopped keeping my daily journal. Not out of laziness, but after three years I became pretty adept at recognizing the patterns I had been recording. When you know what's coming you can prepare yourself for it. So if you suffer from chronic depression, seasonal depression or stress-related sadness, you would do well to have this pocket-sized pep talk close by. Don't let it creep up on you and don't let the bastards get you downChris Auman []

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

COMICS REVIEW: Treasury of Mini Comics

Treasury of Mini Comics
by Michael Dowers (Editor) Fantagraphics

This is the second collection of mini comics compiled by editor Michael Dowers and published by Fantagraphics Books. Like its predecessor, Newave! Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s, Treasury of Mini Comics is filled to bursting with dozens of the best mini comics ever produced. It was Dowers' goal with Newave! to demonstrate the direct influence of 60s underground comics on the artists behind the mini explosion of the 1980s. With the Treasury of Mini Comics volumes, Dower continues to demonstrate this progression, bringing the series from 1969 up to present day. Also like the book's predecessor, Treasury features interviews with these comics creators about the what, when, where and why of their work in minis.

While there's still room for absurd story lines and subject matter, the work presented in this volume seems to be more focused and, dare it be said, sophisticated than in the previous volume. This is perhaps due to the growing respect minis have gained despite their small stature (typically four and a quarter by five and a half inches). The mini has enjoyed recognition and respect as a legitimate comics format rather than just a cheap way to self publish (which it certainly still is). Towards that end, there has been a little help from graphics editing software in cleaning up images and of course copier technology has vastly improved in the last forty years as well.

Some of the artists featured in this volume include Roberta Gregory, John Porcellino, Noah Van Sciver, Andy Singer, Blair Wilson, Matt Feazell, Jim Blanchard and Carrie McNinch, to name but a few. Bound in an arresting, fire engine red hardcover, this squat and sturdy book will have appeal to fans of underground comics, mini-sized or otherwise. If you're a complete-ist (so rare in comic book fans), be sure to save enough room on your shelf for Volume Two—Chris Auman

This review was originally published on Sound on Sight.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

BOOK REVIEWS: The Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook

Dan Abbott & Corbett Redford
Edited by Jason Chandler
[Microcosm][Horrible Comics]

Those living in the Bay Area may be familiar with the various antics, shenanigans and miscellaneous malarky instigated by the duo of Dan Abbott & Corbett Redford. In the guise of their alter ego band, Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits, this folk punk comedy band has been entertaining grown-up kids for over 15 years. The Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook is a big fat song book collection of over 80 BJE tunes. While the book comes complete with chords and lyrics, it's not necessarily intended for the serious musician. It serves more as a  memento for fans to remember the band by and also features trivia, pop quizzes, band pin-ups and assorted tips and treats. The book has been lovingly illustrated by a host of artists including Winston Smith,  Mitch Clem, Cristy Road, Andy Warner, Keeli McCarthy, Petr Sorfa and many others. This is a great accompaniment to the actual BJE recordings for newbies and old fans alikeChris Auman


Monday, December 02, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Meal Deal with the Devil

Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits
Pictures by Jason Chandler [Microcosm] [Horrible Comics]

Meal Deal with the Devil is a children’s sing-along book that is in no way intended for children— my favorite kind! Modeled on the "Little Golden Books" we all grew up with as little nuggits, the book is a product of Dan Abbott and Corbett Redford, the musical comedy duo known as Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits. These two satirizing punks have been skewering icons and slaughtering sacred cows for a  decade and a half.  

Meal Deal comes with a CD which features five tunes. "Naked Beach Party (On the White House Lawn)" is a surf rock rave-up D.C. style.  "Broken Bottles," is an accordion jam that seems to be about cooking broken glass. "Punk, You Let Me Down," is an old school rap-style admonishment of present day punks who just can't let go of a dated fashion trend.  The book itself is to be read while listening to tracks four and five on the CD. "Down at the Jamboree" advocates partying with furry and four-legged friends and "The Town with No Beer," is a harrowing story about a town that has run out of hops.  The book is illustrated by Jason Chandler in comical fashion. Meal Deal is suitable for adult children of all agesChris Auman


Thursday, November 21, 2013

MUSIC REVIEW: Cave, "Threace"

Threace [Drag City

Let's just call Threace what it is. It's Jazz Fusion. That tag may have bad connotations in some people's little minds and maybe it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth, but this is the heavy kind of funk and jazz meld that you used to hear drifting out of that dorm room at the end of hall (all mixed in with pot smoke filtered through a rolled up towel which smelled like bong water anyway.)

Like I said, Threace joins, or fuses, elements of rock, jazz and funk to create the five songs on this album. Now that we're all past that, let me tell you that I am no spelunker, but my past experience tells me that this is a much tighter and focused record for CAVE. They seem to have drifted further away from the drone and the psychedelic aspects of their earlier output. Maybe that has to do with the departure of their keyboard player and the addition of a second guitarist, or maybe it has to do with natural progression, or maybe both.

"Sweaty Fingers" is an extended opening exercise that kicks up and breaks down and kicks off again. "Arrow's Myth" is a bitch's brew of that funky stuff I was just talking about back a minute ago. "Shikaakwa" is just a bad-ass track with hypno-tizmic flute and funky repetition. "Silver Headband," is CAVE doing the kind of music that earned them all the CAN and Krautrock nods scant weeks and months ago. It has the drone, the unrelenting rhythm and the crunch of distorted guitars that break things up when things need to get heavy in the middle.

Listen to this just a little too loud. That's it. Review over. Thanks—Chris Auman

SONG OF THE DAY: Temples, "Mesmerise"

VIDEO: Gap Dream, "Shine Your Light"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: God is Disappointed in You

Written by Mark Russell
Cartoons by Shannon Wheeler

I have finally read the bible. Praise, Jesus! My first attempt at reading this book was abandoned pretty early—like midway through Genesis early. I quickly became hopelessly bored after the 200th "begat". A few years ago, thanks to R. Crumb, I did make it through Genesis, but even that was no walk in the garden, so to speak. It is probably not surprising either, that after roughly 15 years of forced church going, I was pretty close to being totally ignorant of just what the heck went on in this book. (Some pretty crazy shit is what the heck.) Now before you get too proud of me, let me just say that I didn't actually read the whole unabridged version of the Bible, but I did read the pithy 200 plus pages of Mark Russell's God is Disappointed in You and that counts. While this Mark Russell is certainly a satirist, he is not the piano playing political comedian, Mark Russell, you may be thinking of. No, this Mark Russell is actually funny (sorry other Mark Russell).

God is Disappointed in You boils down the essence of each and every book of the Bible, Old and New, into small digestible morsels. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and yes, by the very fact that it exists, it is irreverent, but it's the good kind of irreverence, not the sacrilegious, blasphemous variety. It's more like a gentle, good-natured ribbing to remind us what ridiculousness appears in these allegorical tales. It doesn't read like an atheist's jab at the Christian tenets of faith. The Richard Dawkins version would be very different, and humorless. This is just a lighthearted romp through hundreds of years of blood, gore, enslavement and miscellaneous human suffering. Whether you’re a fan of religion (this one or that one), a skeptical atheist or a wishywashy agnostic, whether you are Pat Robertson or  Bill Maher,  this is simply a hilarious book that keeps the morality intact. (More so the New Testament, the O.T. is just bananas, quite frankly.)

The cartoon illustrations were provided by Shannon Wheeler, whose work you may recognize from the New Yorker and his long running Too Much Coffee Man series.

Chris Auman

VIDEO: Bronchos, "Try Me Out Sometime"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Lost Team Satan Album

From the Desks of PopSkoole, PR:


MADISON, WI, October 29, 2013—In the summer of 1995, Chicago was suffering through a heat wave that would claim 600 lives and leave entire neighborhoods grumpy and without electricity. In music that year, lo-fi ruled the underground while Gangster Rap and Hootie and the Blowfish ruled the rest, and somewhere in the basement of an Edgewater two flat, Team Satan assembled. It all began innocently enough, one hung over July 4th morning. That's when Mike Wing and Chris Auman, two line cooks at the Chicago Diner, formed the band as a two-piece guitar and drum whatever. The Team soon expanded to include a third cook, Todd "T-Bux" Uzel on second guitar. Their first show was a drunken mess, as were the next several. Virginian and fellow Diner worker, Lori Kölb, joined on bass soon after. After recording an extremely lo-fi single for the OFF-White Records label and putting out a home-dubbed cassette, The Junior Wing EP, T-Bux returned to Richmond, Virginia and fellow RVA transplant John Peters filled his boots. That's when the songs that the Team had been sloppily bashing out for the previous two years finally took shape. Team Satan standards, like the tongue-in-cheek, "C'mon Baby Let's Sin," got dropped in favor of no nonsense rockers like "Henchmen" and "Team Satan Lies." The band never lost their sense of humor completely, but they definitely found a way to tighten up.

Lucifer rising? Perhaps.
On Memorial Day 1998, Team Satan recorded their first (and only) full-length record at the Lab East Recording Scenario in Humboldt Park, Chicago. Eventually titled, A Little More Down, it would be engineer Kris Poulin's first recording project in his basement studio. Unfortunately, Team Satan disintegrated rapidly after the recording and the album was never officially released. John Peters sold his amp and left town in the middle of the night (much as he had arrived) and everything turned into bright shiny shit. The Team honored their scheduled commitments, lip-synching on the dance show Chic-a-go-go as a three piece and playing their last official gig at the Empty Bottle with T-Bux. A reunion show was performed with Bux at Lounge Ax close to the end of that venue's existence, but the contract had expired on the Team and that stinky, damp towel got thrown in for good.

Which brings us to today and the release of that lost Team Satan record on the digital only SFR label. Maybe this record and these songs should be crammed back down into the basements where they were written and recorded. Lord knows, but as the Team's own motto attests, "The devil made us do it and he made us do it well," so it's probably worth a quick listen. Even after  fifteen years, it's not too late to get A Little More Down.

Mike and Lori formed the instrumental country and surf western band, Booker Noe, got married and moved to Colorado. John Peters joined RVA's Alabama Thunder Pussy (a few times), Todd "T. Bux" Uzel, formed Decibators and played in Imperial Battlesnake before moving to London (the one in the UK). Chris Auman played in Reagan National Crash Diet, then Soft Targets, then escaped to Wisconsin.


Team Satan Official Web Page


"Devil Made Us Do It" b/w "1996" 7" (OFF-White) 1997
Jr. Wing EP 6 song cassette (RoosterCow) 1997
Team Satan 1996-1998 CD-R (RoosterCow) 1999
Farewell Reunion (Live at Lounge Ax) CD-R (RoosterCow) 1999
"Apocalyptic" 0 to 60 in 73 Bands CD compilation (No!No!) 2000
A Little More Down Digital LP (SFR) 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

ZINE REVIEW: Recoup #1


The debut issue of this slender digest-sized zine is dedicated to the past: music and musicians that have been forgotten or overlooked. Music has no expiration date as publisher, Joseph Kyle, points out in his intro, so why not go back and revisit what has gone before? There's nothing new under the sun anyway and, let's face it, if the world stopped producing new music today, would anybody even notice? Probably, but anyway...

This issue features interviews with Semisonic drummer Jacob Slichter, emo band, Texas is the Reason, Pete Byrne of Naked Eyes, and brothers Lon and Derrek Van Eaton. There are reviews of albums by The Breeders, Everything But the Girl, Jawbreaker, Codeine and other bands and artists who released music many several moons ago, Kyle also writes the confessional, "I Was a Teenage Yoko Ono Martyr," explaining his early and continuing fascination with the "most famous unknown artist in the world." (John Lennon)

While the pages of this particular publication will remain in printed form only, you can read similar content on The Recoup websiteChris Auman

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Andy Singer [Microcosm]

Why do we drive? Well, it has to do with money and politics and back room deals and cronyism and greed. Cars are as American as guns and apple pie and we're about as likely to give up our guns as our cars, and it's all based on some pretty fucked logic. From pollution to congestion, noise, traffic jams, multi-car pileups and that whole dependence on foreign oil thing, the automobile industry (enabled by our artificial need for our cars) contributes to the destruction of farmland wild life and our health. Do I even have to mention how disgusting billboards are?

Why We Drive is about cars and driving and bikes and riding and feet and walking and why we do too much of one and not enough of the others. It's the history behind how we traveled to our current congested predicament. Researched, written and illustrated by bike activist, Andy Singer, Why We Drive seeks to explain it all and put the rise of car culture in proper perspective.

Singer's work may be familiar to you. His long running "No Exit" comic has been featured in 24 newspapers around the country and his comics and illustrations have been seen in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Saint Paul Pioneer Press and others. As a bike riding advocate who pedals the streets of St. Paul on a daily basis, Andy lays all these points out and also points out the absurdity of the way modern cities have been planned to accommodate—even encourage—more and more roadways, inviting traffic and congestion and resulting in more pollution and health problems.

I’ve never owned a car myself. Like Andy I've managed to get by on two legs or two wheels or public transportation, so I appreciate the effort that went into the creation of this book. Through the hard work of activists like Singer, both in and outside of government, we may see the creation of more bike friendly laws and city layouts. When short-sighted boneheads like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who turn down millions in stimulus money intended to fund the construction of light rail, start to see the economic value and heath benefits of scraping the car culture, we'll be heading further in the right direction. Until then, get on your bikes and ride!Chris Auman

Why We Drive: The Past, Present, and Future of Automobiles in America (Comix Journalism)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

MUSIC REVIEW: Scout Niblett

It’s Up to Emma [Drag City]

Scout Niblett sought solace in Rollins Band for her seventh full-length, It’s Up to Emma. That’s not necessarily evident from the music. It’s more of a spiritual kinship and the drawing of strength and inspiration. Catharsis, as it were. It’s Up to Emma, (Emma being Ms. Niblett's real first name) is a nine song dissection of a relationship gone all crumbly and awry. Very crumbly and very horribly awry. Each song on the record seems to beg a different question of how, why and what the fuck? There’s accusation, revelation, venom, confusion, wishful thinking and heartache all wrapped up in a handful of bare bones rock songs delivered with short stabs of pain and then longer stabs of anguish. There’s not much joy to be found here unless you find joy in being bummed out. "Gun" is a menacing tune that promises the threat of a revenge served hot and steaming straight out of the barrel of a gun. Like most of the tracks, “My Man” is sparse, just guitar, some strings and Scout asking, "Could we have made it somehow?” Probably not is probably the answer. “Could This Possibly Be?” is another questioning tune in which the answer this time is, yes. "Second Chance Dreams” starts off gently enough only to have the anger simmer over in Scout’s acutely enunciated syllables, which then get underlined by a martial snare drum. “No Scrubs” is that “No Scrubs” with Scout straight up calling out homeboys for their overall lack of flyness. This is a record of someone dealing with some shit, going through some shit and feeling pretty shitty, but once it's out, then it's really over. One would hopeChris Auman

Monday, September 02, 2013

Toxic Avenger Soundtrack "Is This Love"

Why? Why Not?

VIDEO: Lazy, "Party City"

COMICS REVIEW: Henry & Glen Forever & Ever #2

Henry & Glen Forever & Ever #2
(I Will Destroy You/Microcosm)
Various Artists

It seems as though the saga of Henry and Glenn has sparked somewhat of an indie cottage industry. There are Henry and Glenn t-shirts, stickers and posters commemorating the comics union of these two punk rock icons. The series has even inspired imitations, like gross out pro, Johnny Ryan, who threw his whip into the ring with a comic in Vice titled “Mark and Gary Forever” featuring Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh and the synth fiend Gary Numan staring as a not-so-ambiguously-gay duo. For the uninitiated, Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever is the further adventures in a comics compilation depicting Henry Rollins (Black Flag, Rollins Band) and Glenn Danzig (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig) as gay lovers. Before you roll your eyes (which you are certainly justified in doing), it should be noted that these comics take the joke outside and beyond the juvenile level of dirty pictures drawn on notebook paper during 12th grade history class (I wasn't the only one who did that, right?). In fact, the joke is getting funnier. Can Hank Rollins take a joke? He’s getting better at it. Can Glenn Danzig? Nah. In a 2011 interview with Nardwaur the Human Serviette, Rollins warned us of such. Henry says he believes in the 1st Amendment but, while he admits to autographing copies for fans, he's never read one. He surmises that Glenn is not a fan. Does that make this all the more guilty of a pleasure? Yes, yes it does.
In this second issue of the series curated by Tom Neely and Igloo Tornado, Neely starts us off with “Children of the Grave” which depicts Glenn as a satanic superhero who must battle his demonic mother in monster form. Neely also apes the Sunday funnies style of Nancy and Sluggo in chapter two of a story line which again has Danzig dealing with mommy issues. Ian Mackaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi) makes an appearance as a Sluggo-type bully and Glenn’s mom looks like she could count Archie and Jughead among her progeny. Other recurring characters are Hall & Oates as neighborly satanists. Why? Why not is the obvious answer here.
Next, Mark Rudolph gives us “How the Chores Kill” which features mostly Glenn performing Herculean labors at the request of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. (Glenn seems to be the focus of the comics a little more than Henry.) Josh Bayer turns in “Same Time Next Year” which follows the budding friendship of the pair starting in 1982 with a stop in 2013 and a glimpse into the wasteland that is sure to be 2038. Andy Belanger, Katie Skelly and Tom Scioli provide pinups of our heroes at the tail end of the book.
When will the joke get stale? Who knows? These characters seem to have taken on lives of their own. They never really were based on reality in the first place, so the fact that they're based on real life cultural icons is incidental at this point. It’s just an entertaining comics series and Henry and Glenn aren't powerful enough to stop the antics of their comics counterparts anyway. A third installment is already in the works so: That’s not all folks!Chris Auman

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MUSIC REVIEWS: Tyranny is Tyranny

Let it Come from Whom it May (Phratry)

Tyranny is Tyranny is a noise rock band that is, in their words: "Proudly based in Madison WI, the epicenter of class struggle." Tyranny is Tyranny keep the sound of Midwestern noise bands alive and well into the new century with a little post-hardcore help along the way.  Let it Come from Whom it May is a seven track album with heavy riffs, dark lyrics and a fair bit of screaming. It delivers  an outlet for ever present angst and anger, but the band is not afraid to get melodic when the song and mood dictates. They're left wingers for sure, and they deliver their message in an extreme medium which is a good change from the more hippie vibe a liberal college town like the Mad City can give off (East Side, I’m talking to you). If you needed further proof of their politics, the band takes its name from chapter four of Howard Zinn's eye-opening and rage inspiring book, A People's History of the United States. You see, Tyranny Is Tyranny want to bring down the walls of capitalism through decibels, brick by brick. That could take awhile, but I think I can here some crumbling. [Tyranny is Tyranny]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

MUSIC REVIEW: Landmarks, Public House Digital 7"

Public House Digital 7”’
If I am to believe what I read, the Landmarks band is a part of a larger collective known as Public House Sound Recordings which was formed by recording engineer, Dave Vettraino. This digital seven inch, while not measured in inches, covers a lot of musical space starting with the arcing jam of "Overflow". At its best the song aspires to the near perfection of Deerhunter’s "Nothing Ever Happened." At its worst it's just a damn fine tune with a driving bass line, Rhodes piano and swirling and clashing guitar lines seasoned lightly with minimal vocals. “Cuscutta” is slower and trancier with meandering vocals, another steady bass line and hints of xylophone and a not so subtle guitar with effects pedals at play. RepresentChris Auman
REMINDER: Never, ever take a critics word for anything. Download the song for free from the Landmarks Bandcamp page.

ZINE REVIEW: Les CarNets de Rastapoloulos #9

Les CarNets de Rastapoloulos #9
This is issue #9 of Robert Gauvinov's Les CarNets de Rastapoloulos zine and the second installment of the pen pal theme. I have not seen the first one, but the back story is that when Robert was a teenager in Canada in the 1980s, he signed up to become a pen pal through a Communist youth magazine. Quicker than you can say Glasnost and Perestroika, Robert had dozens of pen pals from behind the Iron Curtain. In this issue of the zine, Rob reprints some of these letters with updates from the people who wrote them. This is a pretty fascinating concept and my only complaint is that this zine merely whets my appetite for more. I’d love to find out more about these people who grew up under Communist rule: what were their lives like then? And now? What sort of future did they see for themselves then and what do they see now? More, more, more. I'm greedy. More.

Les CarNets de Rastapoloulos is a photocopied zine, laid out by hand. It's 14 pages. For more info, and to get free copy, check out Robert Gauvinov's page at We Make ZinesChris Auman

VIDEO: King Tuff, "Sun Medallion"

VIDEO: RocketNumberNine, "Lope"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ZINE REVIEW: Under the Radar

Olivier Mattson [Pioneers Press]

Now here’s an occupation I’ve given zero thought to previously: Mushroom Picker. I think I would prefer the job title of Fungus Finder or maybe Shroom Wrangler, personally. The point is this: someone is out there picking those wild mushrooms. I went morel hunting once as a kid, out there in the sticks of rural NW Illinois where I grew up. We started in the very early morning, but not too early for my much older cousin, Dickie, to crack a beer. It was fairly exciting, kinda like Easter egg hunting but harder, and nothing tastes like a breaded and fried morel. Even though they look pretty gnarly, you never forget the taste. That was a purely recreational pursuit, however, and many Mushroom Pickers rely on the picking season to support themselves year round.

Under the Radar was written by picker, Olivier Matthon, and it chronicles his time perusing the forests of the Pacific Northwest in search of edible shrooms and a hard-earned buck. (These aren't psychedelic mushrooms, btw, but the kind chefs and restauranteurs will pay good coin for).  Olivier has held a variety of jobs on the outer edges of the workforce and mushroom picker is right at home on his résumé with his other occupations as cherry picker, tree planter, clam digger and firewood hawker. 

Under the Radar alludes both to the hunted fungi that lay half hidden in the undergrowth, but it also refers to the fringe dwelling hunter. Mushroom Pickers exist off the grid and that makes them outsiders and a part of an underground economy and society of nomads. In addition to the sketchy financial rewards of pickers, there are dangers as well. Sometimes I suppose you might find yourself on the wrong side of a fence, and don't forget the marijuana growers. Where there's drugs, there's money and thugs with guns to protect them both. Also, as with many industries, there is an immigrant class who will pick for cheaper and who lack the experience and the reserve to leave the younger mushrooms alone until they can grow into a more valuable future crop.

All in all it’s a hard way to make a buck, but it seems to be about more than money for the pickers. You don’t become a mushroom picker to get rich. It’s more likely you’re already living off the land and by your wits, and this kind of work suits the type of person who doesn’t want to be tied down to one job or one place, for whatever reason. This makes Under the Radar a very engaging read if you're into subcultures as zine writers and readers often areChris Auman

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

MUGGSY'S ROCK PICK: Parquet Courts @ High Noon Saloon

Parquet Courts, Cowboy Winter, Dharma Dogs @ High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington, Madison, WI

Parquet Courts breath new life into the genre of rock and roll music. Not just indie rock or college rock or nerd rock, but slacker, pre-hardcore spunk rock, not to mention retro post-punk and stoner wave. Everyone wins on this court!

Read Joey Germ's review of Light Up Gold.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Maps to the Other Side

Sascha Altman DuBrul [microcosm]

Sascha Altman DuBrul is a writer, wanderer, punk, farmer, squatter, musician, activist and the founder of The Icarus Project — the radical mental health network that seeks to redefine the public's preception of mental illness. Sascha is himself bipolar. Instead of viewing his condition as an affliction or disease, Altman views it as a “dangerous gift,” something that can be used as a tool to create.

Maps to the Other Side is a collection of Sascha's writings over the years. Whether this was evident to him at the time or not, Sascha now recognizes these stories as guideposts in a lifelong journey. Some of these writings appeared in zines, like Slug and Lettuce and The Secret Lives of White People, some are from the column “Bipolar World” that he wrote for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and some are simply pieces Sascha wrote for himself.

The book is subtitled "The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer." In his understanding of how is own brain works, Sascha sees his mind as a map that requires navigation and time to figure out. This makes Sascha a mental mapmaker. Like most people living with bipolarism, Sascha veers off course from time to time. This is alarming and alienating to those around him when it happens and this book seeks to help people understand the unpredictable nature of mental disorders. Part memoir, part travel diary, part "how-to," Maps to the Other Side should be all parts inspirational to those charting the same course, informative to those who are not and enlightening to allChris Auman

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bronze Radio Return

From the Desks of Stunt Stunt Company:

 Bronze Radio Return Announce New Full-Length Studio Album Up, On & Over – Out June 25th


NEW YORK, NY – Hartford, CT’s own Bronze Radio Return is thrilled to announce their brand new full-length studio album Up, On & Over, due out on June 25th, 2013.  For the new album, the sextet headed down to White Star Sound studios in Louisa, Virginia where they worked with producer Chad Copelin (Ivan & Alyosha, Ben Rector) and tapped 7-time Grammy© Award Winning F. Reid Shippen (Cage The Elephant, Deathcab for Cutie, Mat Kearney) to mix.  The result is a polished collection of Bronze Radio Return’s signature sing-alongable, hand-clappable brand of country-tinged folk-pop.

Fans can already hear the first single from Up, On & Over, “Further On,” thanks to the PGA Tour who picked the track for their national TV ad campaign.  The spot has been so successful since starting to air earlier this year that  it has made “Further On” the band’s best-selling single to date. On the heels of the ad and the single’s success, “Further On” will impact AAA radio on June 3rd via a partnership with DigSin. In addition, Up, On & Over marks the band’s first full-length release since 2011’s breakthrough album Shake! Shake! Shake! – which debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Northeast Regional Heatseekers Chart.  The songs on Shake! Shake! Shake! went on to be synced more than 50 times, with each track on the record being synced at least once.  The album’s title track, “Shake, Shake, Shake,” garnered over 10 syncs of its own, including a worldwide Nissan Leaf ad, an American Idol placement, and more.  Furthermore, the song made waves at AAA radio after being the #2 most added last November, and NPR’s “All Songs Considered” highlighted Bronze Radio Return ahead of this year’s SXSW, dubbing the band “…this year’s fun.,” and earmarked them as one of 20 acts not to miss in Austin.

Bronze Radio Return has spent a majority of time since the release of Shake! Shake! Shake! touring nationally.  To celebrate the release of Up, On & Over, the band will headline a special record release show on June 27th at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom.  Keep your eyes peeled for additional summer appearances, and see below for a full list of confirmed dates.

Visit now for an exclusive album per-order, including a limited edition vinyl pressing of the album. 

May    16th, King’s, Raleigh, NC
           17th CutBait Music Festival, Columbus, GA
           18th Draft on Taft Festival, Atlanta, GA
Jun      8th  Kekoka Music Festival, Kilmarnock, VA
           13th Three Rivers Arts Fest, Pittsburgh, PA
           22nd Cupola Music Festival, Stowe, VT
           27th Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
           28th  The Hamilton, Washington, DC
           29th   Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis, MD
           30th  World Café Live Downstairs, Philadelphia, PA         
Jul        3rd  Inside Out Gallery, Traverse City, MI
            4th  Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI
            5th  Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI
            6th   Space, Evanston, IL
            18th  Firebird, St. Louis, MO
            19th  Czar Bar, Kansas City, MO
            20th  Center of the Universe Festival, Tulsa, OK
                23rd  High Watt, Nashville, TN
            26-27th  FloydFest at Blue Cow Pavilion, Floyd, VA
Sept.   21-22nd   Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Bristol, VA

Friday, May 24, 2013

COMICS REVIEW: Jack Davis, "Taint the Meat..."

Hey Mad Magazine and Horror Comics fans! Here's a review I wrote of Jack Davis' "Tales from the Crypt" Tain't the Meat... It's the Humanity! anthology over on Sound on Sight. It's pretty scary: 
Jack Davis

Thursday, May 23, 2013

VIDEO: Sic Alps, "She's On Top"

SONG OF THE DAY: Susana, "Death Hanging"

ON TOUR: Scout Niblett

From the Desks of PitchPerfect PR:



Like the record says, It's Up To Emma - and so, Emma "Scout" Niblett has her guitar and her "Gun" and all her other songs loaded up. Now she's going down the road, feeling glad - because the new album is a bogglingly visceral experience, but taking it into the clubs and in front of the people was her goal from the start. Friends old and new alike will be welcomed in with a show of her deep siren blues and a wicked grin, all put forth with just a guitar and a drumkit behind her. Make time for Scout Niblett - or she'll find you, swear to God...



SCOUT NIBLETT TOUR DATES (new dates in bold):
Fri. May 31 - Mannheim, Germany @ Maifeld Derby Festival
Sat. June 1 - Hamburg, Germany @ Kampnagel
Mon. June 3 - Berlin, Germany @ Volksbuhne
Tue. June 4 - Duisburg, Germany @ Steinbruch
Wed. June 5 - Schorndorf, Germany @ Manufaktur
Thu. June 6 - Brussels, Belgium @ Le Botanique
Sat. June 8 - Paris, France @ Point Ephemere
Sun. June 9 - Cologne, Germany @ Museum Ludwig
Tue. June 11 - Munich, Germany @ Strom
Wed. June 12 - Vienna, Austria @ Chelsea
Thu. June 13 - Graz, Austria @ Postgarage
Fri. June 14 - Innsbruck, Austria @ Die Backerei
Sat. June 15 - Luzern, Switzerland @ B Sides Festival
Mon. June 17 - Lille, France @ La Peniche
Tue. June 18 - London, United Kingdom @ Corsica Studios
Wed. June 19 - Cardiff, United Kingdom @ Buffalo Bar
Thu. June 20 - Leeds, United Kingdom @ Brudenell Social Club
Fri. June 21 - Glasgow, United Kingdom @ Broadcast
Sat. June 22 - Brighton, United Kingdom @ Sticky Mile's
Mon. June 24 - Jena, Germany @ Café Wagner
Wed. June 26 - Stockholm, Sweden @ Lilla Hotellbaren
Thu. June 27 - Oslo, Norway @ Gut Feelings Festival
Thu. Aug. 22 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza *
Fri. Aug. 23 - Vancouver, BC @ Cobalt *
Sat. Aug. 24 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios *
Thu. Aug. 29 - San Francisco, CA @ Café Du Nord *
Fri. Aug. 30 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Mezz *
Sat. Aug. 31 - San Diego, CA @ Tin Can Alehouse *
Tue. Sept. 3 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk
Wed. Sept. 4 - Houston, TX @ Mango's
Thu. Sept. 5 - New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
Fri. Sept. 6 - Atlanta, GA @ 529
Tue. Sept. 10 - Washington, DC @ Black Whiskey ^
Wed. Sept. 11 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery ^
Thu. Sept. 12 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie ^
Fri. Sept. 13 - Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus ^
Sat. Sept. 14 - Boston, MA @ Cambridge Elks Lodge ^
Mon. Sept. 16 - Montreal, QC @ Casa del Popolo ^
Tue. Sept. 17 - Toronto, ON @ The Silver Dollar ^
Wed. Sept. 18 - Cleveland, OH @ Mahall's 20 Lanes ^
Thu. Sept. 19 - Pittsburgh, PA @ The Warhol Museum (an Evening With)
Fri. Sept. 20 - Lexington, KY @ Boomslang Festival ^
Sat. Sept. 21 - Chicago, IL @ Hideout ^
Sun. Sept. 22 - Minneapolis, MN @ Ice House ^
Fri. Nov. 22-Sat. Nov. 24 - Camber Sands, United Kingdom @ ATP Festival (End of An Era Pt. 1)

 * w/ P.G. Six (Pat Gubler solo)
^ w/ Dope Body

SONG OF THE DAY: Standish/Carlyon, "Subliminally"

Friday, May 17, 2013

VIDEO: Joy Division's Iconic Unkown Pleasures Album

COOL SHIT: "College," photography by Michael Jang


Hello friends and lovers,

We are pleased to announce the SECOND EDITION of one of our best publications. This one is called "COLLEGE" with photography by Michael Jang. As the title suggests, it's photos from his college days from when he went to Cal Arts. It's the 70's. And it is wild. Cameos from his classmates, room mates, teachers, party events, and shows include Pee Wee Herman, Kramer, David Hasslehof, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Lee Friedlander, John Baldessari, and more.

The first edition had sold out in 2 days and there seemed to be some of huffing and puffing from the sleepy ones. Ye ask and ye shall receive. Welcome yourself to the second edition feast, which is twice the size of the first. And may ye behold a joyous festivity.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

VIDEO: Burnt Ones, "Web"


From the Desk of PopSkoole PR

Dzierzynski Bitz (as Dzerzhinsky Bitz) is an orchestra of sorts. They can expand their numbers and their sound with musical connections from across the European continent. The Russian band currently calls Ukraine their home. The name, Dzierzynski Bitz, takes a playful stab at a Soviet icon who was sometimes known as Bloody Felix. You can use your imagination to figure out how Old Bloody earned his nickname. Bitz is simply Beat in English, but they're more Bronski Beat than English Beat and more Beatniks than Beatles. They posses a sound that is itself a playful take on Soviet era music. They mix it with new wave. They give it a post-punk attitude and invite the London Swing to engage in a romance with preWar Poland at their Soviet Bloc Party where cocktail jazz is being served in chilled glasses by very chill players. They can whip up a stir with their music that will get your heart fluttering while your feet begin to shuffle.

Dzerzhinsky Bitz first came together in 2007, although the current line-up has been together for just over 9 months. The players are Wojciech Dzierzynski (no relation?) who provides the vocals as well as percussion; Aleksei Rodzinski plays guitar with Max Paradis on keys; Wladislaw Kazimovicz plays the trumpet; Todor Stoiczkow the bass and Krzysztof Grehuta, drums. This core group enlisted the help of fifteen additional musicians to finish their debut album. I II III was released in 2012. The recording was begun in Russia, finished in Ukraine and mixed in London by engineer Joe Hirst (dEUS, Ian Brown, Yasmin). The result is an album possessing international cachet and a global flare. With contributions from their musical friends who supplied the tunes with everything from trumpets and tubas to dulcimers and clarinets, the album has a sweeping sound and a broad appeal to fans of electronic music, pop, rock, even modern jazz. The album cover, made in Poland, adds further to the aura of a journey being embarked upon. It looks, feels and sounds like something that could have been conceived of on the Autobahn while dreaming of the Trans-European Express. It invites you to take a ride and you should.

Looking to the romance of days past is fine for creating atmosphere, but Dzierzynski Bitz are forward thinking always. They have their eyes on the road ahead. They want to bring the beat to the rest of Europe, beyond east and west. North and south as well. They've been as far as Poland but surely they can broaden their horizons further. The English-speaking world doesn't need to shy away from lyrics sung in another language. The international language of music speaks to you first, and besides, you know what these songs are about. You will if you listen.

I II III (2012)
"Podmoskovje  /  Vziat' Siloj" (2013)
"Den’ / Sex w ZSRR” (2010)



Learn More:

VIDEO: Scout Niblett, "Gun"

Ty Segall is Sleeping at the Wheel

SONG OF THE DAY: Hospital Ships, "If It Speaks"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

VIDEO: Hospital Ships, "Servants"

HOSPITAL SHIPS TOUR DATES (All dates with Appleseed Cast):
May 15th - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
May 16th - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Bar
May 17th - Los Angeles, CA @ Undertow Living Room Show (purchase tickets for location)
May 18th - Costa Mesa, CA @ Detroit Bar
May 19th - San Diego, CA @ Casbah
May 20th - Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
May 21st - Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
May 22nd - Amarillo, TX @ Undertow Living Room Show (purchase tickets for location)

Hospital Ships Online:

NEWS: Drag City to Release Andy Kaufman Comedy Album

From the Desk of Pitch Perfect PR


Andy Kaufman changed the worlds of comedy and performance in the 1970s, showing fans and friends alike a determination to follow put-ons into territory no one had ever even considered "comic" before. His fervor was so intense that when he passed away suddenly in 1984, it seemed as if the ultimate disappearing act had been staged; one that some people believe is still ongoing, with the reveal soon to come.

Among the many things that Andy achieved in his lifetime (and in the years following), a phonograph album release, the staple of stand-up comedians in his time, never happened - until now. Andy and His Grandmother is material never heard before, a skimming from 82 hours of micro-cassette tapes that Andy recorded during 1977-79. Andy regarded the micro-tape recorder as a fantastic new way of capturing his hoaxing, and carried it with him everywhere, for use at any given moment. Real life was the ultimate frontier for him, and these tapes demonstrate the heart of Andy's comedy. With gusto, he involves those closest to him, as well as total strangers, in put-ons, falsehoods and other provocations, pushing the limit on logic and emotional investment in everyday situations from the trivial to the deeply personal until any suspension of disbelief is out of the question for all involved, and everyone becomes fully immersed in whatever scenario Andy is suggesting as the new reality.

With so much material on hand, Drag City turned to a writer, producer and comedian whose resume indicated to us that he was a true child of Kaufman's twisted talent. Since the late 90s, Vernon Chatman's work has been experienced by television viewers and aficionados of South Park, Wonder Showzen, Xavier: Renegade Angel, The Heart She Holler, and Doggie Fizzle Televizzle, as well as fans of the Drag City DVD release Final Flesh. Vernon dug deeply into the tapes, working with editor Rodney Ascher (director of the notorious, controversial, and even acclaimed Room 237 documentary) to come up with a concept for a single LP that would include several dozen excerpts. Along the way, Vernon produced several tracks, adding effects to pieces that were clearly unfinished (in particular, "Sleep Comedy") and drafting SNL's Bill Hader to provide narration for the journey. The finished album, with liner notes from Vernon and Kaufman cohort Bob Zmuda is a work of comedy for our times - one that was performed over thirty years agoAndy And His Grandmother is out July 16th on Drag City.

1. Andy Is Making A Record
2. Andy And His Grandmother
3. Andy's Land Live
4. Andy Loves His Tape Recorder
5. Slice Of Life
6. Andy Goes To the Movies
7. Kick In the Pants
8. Andy Can Talk to Animals
9. I'm Not Capable Of Having A Relationship
10. Hookers
11. Andy And His Grandmother Go For A Drive
12. Sleep Comedy
13. [HONK] vs. [DOG] A
14. [HONK] vs. [DOG] B
15. Andy Goes For A Taxi Ride
16. Andy's English Friend Paul
17. I Want Those Tapes