RADIO SILENCE/A SELECTED VISUAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN HARDCORE MUSIC
Nathan Nedorostek and Anthony Papalardo
There have been plenty of books about hardcore recently but this is easily the best one. It’s a photo-led scrapbook of the two authors’ insanely comprehensive collections of artwork, shirts, flyers, old cassettes, and records. While most of the books on the topic trail off after 1984, presuming hardcore ended at when everyone wimped out and started singing about girls and feelings, this one keeps going and powers on straight through to loads of great stuff like Life’s Blood, Citizen’s Arrest, and the whole San Diego/Gravity/Heroin/Antioch Arrow-going-goth scene that fucking ruled. powerhousebooks.com
NO WAVE/NO WAVE
Marc Masters/Thurston Moore & Byron Coley
Black Dog Publishing/Abrams Image
The problem with No Wave is that the pictures that came from it are about a million times better than the majority of the music. A painful truth we realize, but also a very true one. In spite of the fact that nobody but nostalgists and axe-grinding record nerds give a shit about the music of DNA, Lydia Lunch, the Contortions, and the rest of the lot, those guys really knew how to dress, how to party, and where to get great haircuts, so both of these books are crammed with amazing photos. Although literally about a third of them are of James Chance. blackdogonline.com
Following their debut issue, which was brimming with suburban dogging, mind control paranoia, and Christian porn,
brings you a story about having tea with the BNP and the claim that LSD cures pedophilia. If you like your mini-magazines word-heavy, full of interesting interviews, funny stories, and offensive pictures rather than generic line drawings of Tony Blair fisting George Bush while Osama milks his nipples, then
is for you. As part of the Real Gold collective’s growing stable,
is distributed across the UK, as well as all over NY and LA.
Laurence King Publishing I thought this was going to be a book about stickers. But it’s actually a book of stickers. There aren’t any words. One of the upsides of this is that the book smells absolutely delicious. It’s kind of like old-fashioned furniture polish, the kind that you rub on instead of spray on. It’s a resiny, Norwegian forest aroma with a cloying petrochemical undertone. On the downside it’s nearly totally useless. I mean, luckily I don’t like sticking pictures on my pencil case anymore, but if I did I would be faced with a terrible dilemma: do I remove the stickers and use them, or leave the book intact as a reference to the fascinating phenomenon of street art stickers? If the whole idea was to really confuse and torment street art enthusiasts then I am 100 percent behind it. As it is, I am just sat here sniffing it and wondering how old the men who draw these things are. laurenceking.co.uk
MODERN HATE VIBE #2
Bryony Beynon used to play in a band called Back Stabbath. I saw them support Whitehouse once and they sounded a bit like Man Is The Bastard soundtracking a brutally bloody period. A girl named Maya used to be in that band too. I haven’t seen her for ages but she once gave me a really nice Infest shirt out of the blue. It was a really nice gift and I treasure it to this day.
Modern Hate Vibe
is a bit like that: a shot out of the blue you’re really glad you got. Bryony sings in The Sceptres these days (you should really check them out) and she certainly seems no less angry than in the Back Stabbath days. This zine features cut and paste bile and spit on various topical ills as well as an interview with possibly the best hardcore band in the UK, Mob Rules.
is a zine put out by Layla Gibbon who you might know from her columns in
Maximum Rock & Roll
. They are one of the things in there that are still worth reading. Anyhoo,
is a far more DIY affair than
It doesn’t even have any staples. It is, however, a very useful outlet for extended interviews cut and pasted onto grainy black and white live shots and cool flyers. This issue is particularly worth seeking out as it features interviews with Sex Vid (remember them from a few issues back?), Sharon Cheslow (y’know, from Chalk Circle), and Kendra Gaeta from
back from when that was a hoot a page, too.
FONT. THE SOURCEBOOK
Black Dog Publishing
While it contains a shed-load of alphabets and fonts, this book is more than just a catalog of typefaces. When this book turned up our graphic designer guy crept upstairs and started looking about the editorial area furtively. It was as if the book had some sort of graphics freak homing beacon and it had called out to him. Anyway, thanks to it being well-written you can enjoy it even if you aren’t like him and you don’t fantasise about being taken on a hot date by the man who invented Helvetica or whatever. The last section of the book is the “font resource,” an alphabetical greatest hits list of fonts with an explanation of their origins and full alphabet examples of each from Akzidenz Grotesk to Zapfino.
Soul Jazz Publishing On the heels of their amazing first outing, New York Noise, the new publishing wing of Soul Jazz Records has come up with this corker. Lesser’s photos are a far cry from what many people now associate with dancehall culture. There are no masculine girls in Jamaican-flag hotpants and hoodie suits or celebrities with soft-drink endorsement deals. Instead, this book chronicles the period in the 80s when reggae and roots started to succumb to the pull of the more aggressive, sexual, and party-orientated dancehall, becoming what is commonly known as “a bit more exciting”. Sadly, it wasn’t too long before it became “a lot more shitty”. But this book captures the golden age that existed between those two periods. These images are a bit like those early rap photo books of New York kids in Puma Suedes, rope chains, and Kangol hats on the subway would be if they hadn’t been churned out ad nauseum: A rare insight into an era that many photographers failed to document anywhere near as effectively as Lesser did. souljazzrecords.co.uk
DON’T CRY TONIGHT
Dana Lauren Goldstein
Hmm, it’s always scary when someone the same age as you is doing stuff so good it makes you want to never sleep again until you’ve resolved some way to start even trying to get within touching distance of their brilliance. We featured Dana’s work in our annual Photo issue a couple of months back and if you liked those shots you are sure to like this tidy zine. It’s a collection of snapshots that capture and reflect the day-to-day that Dana surrounds herself with. Blood-spattered pavements, beautiful boys, beautiful girls, and a black-and-white spread of the best collection of punk patches I’ve seen in a book like this.
STRANGE AND STRANGER—THE WORLD OF STEVE DITKO
The thing with comics is that they’re a lot like pool, darts and knowing about football. I call these “tipping point interests”, to a degree that it is interesting and cool to be good at or knowledgeable about them, but if you pass the “tipping point” you end up looking like a total dick. It’s cool to be able to win a round of pool, but taking your own cue to the pub is so far from impressive that you may as well show up with it hanging out of your arse. That said, up to a point comic books are great. And if you like comic books a lot you will probably like a hardback book about one of the comic book world’s greatest artists, Steve Ditko. The visual creator of characters like Hulk and Dr. Strange, Ditko is a giant in comic book history. Ditko stands apart from other artists like Jack Kirby because of his tendency to drift toward the creepy, surreal and dark side of imagery. So this is in fact maybe the best comic book coffee-table art book ever. Just look at the cover.