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Literary

Girls with tattoos are hot. Sometimes. Tattoos of girls, on the whole, are hot. And therein lies the key to Angelique Houtkamp’s unique niche of painting ladies that look like they are tattoos but aren't.
January 1, 2010, 12:00am

FREEDOM, RHYTHM & SOUND

Compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker

Soul Jazz Publishing

Should you watch any talking-head muso montage on TV, there will always be some bloke blathering on about how great vinyl records are, and how the death of the 12-inch single spelled the end of quality sleeve artwork. This is boring. Everyone knows that records look lovely and they sound “warm” and whatever. But one thing for sure is the jazz records made between 1965 and 1983 had fucking

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incredibl

e artwork. The only bad thing about this book is that it will make you want to go out and buy 200 expensive jazz records just so you can rub them all over your face and bask in their glory.

souljazz.net

CRANKING TO SONIC YOUTH

Ben Rayner

Self-published

Ben’s third zine this winter (after

Don’t Tread on Me

and

California Dreamin’

) consists of photos taken at ATP in Minehead last month, when he and a load of guys from our London office, as well as US editor Jesse Pearson, went to the festival to film interviews with J. Mascis, Pete “Sonic Boom” Kember, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon for VBS.TV. As with everything Ben does, it looks like more fun than most people have in a year crammed into a few days. There are guns, parties, music-y people, karaoke and fireworks. What more do you want?

benrayner.blogspot.com

CHURCH SIGNS ACROSS AMERICA

Steve and Pam Paulson

Overlook Press

This adds a little to my theory that if you take enough photos of any one thing then someone will publish it. Take 400 photos of cigarette butts and it’s amazing. Take 80 pictures of toilet signs and you have a bestseller on your hands. Seriously, try it. Go and take tonnes of photos of broken windows and wait for the publishing deal. What we have here is a prime example: 160-odd pages of photos of church signs with a matter-of-fact title. Roll on admiration and interest. The only flaw in my derisive theory is that this book is actually pretty good because it turns out American people tend to write funny things on church signs.

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overlookpress.com

WILD DAYZ

Beezer

Tangent Books

I am so sick of being sent photo books about 80s rap culture that I could carve “WILDSTYLE” into my thigh with a spoon at the sight of another one. But what we haven’t had before is a book about 80s rap culture in Bristol. Bit of a curveball. There are only two drawbacks to the book. One is that the best photo in the book is on the inside cover, where it kind of gets a bit overlooked. And the other is that way too much of it is given over to full-page spreads of 80s graffiti, which, compared to the absolutely amazing photos, are dull as fuck. Still, this is the best hip-hop photo book we have seen in a long time.

tangentbooks.co.uk

TATTOO MYSTIQUE

Angelique Houtkamp

Outre Gallery Press

Girls with tattoos are hot. Sometimes. Tattoos of girls, on the whole, are hot. And therein lies the key to Angelique Houtkamp’s unique niche of painting ladies that look like they are tattoos but aren’t. If you are really into nostalgic tattoos of things like Betty Boop and anchors and quite into the occasional photo of a pretty hot 30-year-old Dutch lady who has these tattoos, then this is totally for you.

outregallery.com

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: A NEW YORK ART

Edited by Johan Kugelberg

Rizzoli

Sure, there have probably been lots of books published about the Velvet Underground. Certainly hundreds. Maybe even thousands. Wait a second, let me look on Amazon. There you go, 2,869 results. That’s a lot of books about one band from New York right there, but if there was ever an act worthy of getting eulogised betwixt a pair of heavy-duty covers on glossy paper to highlight just how mind-bogglingly good they were, then the Velvets get our vote. And if you are going to buy just one book about the band it might as well be a huge, chunky one with an exhaustive amount of unpublished interviews, images and ephemera that you can leave in your loo and then time how long people spend in there oohing and aahing over it.

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rizzoliusa.com

THE JOYS OF WORK

Jake Saltiel

Self-published

Jake Saltiel lived for much of the 80s in squats around Ladbroke Grove with various anarchists, criminals and drug addicts before winding up in Hong Kong and India, where he found many other individuals of a similar bent. The body of this book is made up of a mix of snatches of prose and dialogue plonked next to italicised musings. It’s a bit like that guy in the wheelchair in

Oz

who breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience occasionally with lyrical snippets of philosophy that offer a bit of a meta-narrative. Don’t worry, though: there’s still plenty of talk of Molotov cocktails and railing against the system, the Old Bill and whatever else is at hand at any given time to make it worth a read.

lulu.com

THE HONEY LICKERS SORORITY, VOLUME 2

C

hristian Zanier

Amerotica

I am not sure what kind of magazine these people think

Vice

is, but I frankly find this shocking. A whole comic about a gang of busty, beautiful girls fucking each other. Sounds solid so far, but the odd thing is they all have massive cocks. And it’s very disturbing to find yourself looking at a cartoon of an attractive lady only to notice a millisecond too late that she has a penis the size of a baby’s arm. There is a strange bit where one of the shemales is sitting on a stone dildo that forms part of a decorative wall and it snaps off sending her falling to the floor with a half-foot of masonry up her arse. That’s the sort of filth we are dealing with here. Sickening.

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nbmpub.com

PRISON PIT BOOK ONE

Johnny Ryan

Fantagraphics

Johnny Ryan is our favourite person who makes comics in the whole wide world. That should be abundantly obvious purely by dint of the fact that we get him to draw a page at the back of the magazine each and every month. I am not going to lie, when we are putting the mag together every month it is Johnny’s page that I take a look at before anything else, just so that I can giggle uncontrollably like a three-year-old for five minutes straight. Our blind faith in everything he touches turning to gold aside, you really should go and pick up

Prison Pit.

You may remember Nick Gazin talking to Johnny about the book in the Moments Like This Never Last Issue a couple of months back. Nick knows more about funny books than most people, so heed him when he tells you that it’s the best thing Johnny has ever put his name to. It’s a violent, brutal and often truly disgusting black and white romp around what looks like the face of a moon inhabited by barbarians, wrestling aliens with regenerating heads, and worms with vaginas for faces. Sold? You should be.

fantagraphics.com

DISTORT #24

Self-published

Distort

is a punk and hardcore zine that comes out of Australia. We actually got sent issues 22 and 23 as well as number 24 in a bundle and they were all totally great. Issue 24 is basically a scrap-book issue with a tonne of great cuttings from punk pillar to post. It’s all photocopied and stuck on the page just like zines are meant to be, and ends up resembling a proper paper version of that

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Fucked Up & Photocopied

book that everyone went bananas for last year. You get flyers, interviews, reviews, photos and letters from the early 80s through to right now, from Roky Erickson & The Aliens to Cold Sweat.

Distort

is easily the best paper punk zine that has come through our letterbox in an age, and issue 25 comes with an Extortion seven-inch, in case you needed another incentive to subscribe.

distortcult.blogspot.com

PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE: THE LOST ART OF THE VHS BOX

Edited by Jacques Boyreau

Fantagraphics

While coffee-table books eulogising the lost art of the 12-inch sleeve as a palette for creativity and oddity are a dime a dozen, this may be the first book to pull together sleeves from the arguably odder world of home videos. Fantagraphics have really gone to town ferreting out films you are almost guaranteed never to have seen or heard of, including

Tentacle

(a precursor to

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

),

The Toolbox Murders

(“Bit by bit he carved a nightmare!”) and

Stunt Rock

(about a stunt man who plays guitar in a rock band). As well as scanning in both the back of the sleeve and the front, so you get the blurbs which are often stranger than the covers (“Home safety can be fun with Gary Coleman!”), the whole thing is packaged in a slip-case VHS-sized sleeve. It’s a shame Christmas has already been and gone because this would make a bulletproof gift for anyone with taste.

VICE STAFF