Monday, September 27, 2010

on the record player on repeat

weird TV
is my current obsession

I love this song by Veronica Falls from London/Brighton...

also UV race has a new tape which is gonna be an LP on arrrght i think

The Libyans new LP on Sorry State is amazing. You can listen to a song here, but the whole record is so good! On constant rotation. I tried to find a youtube but could only find some other weird HC band with the same name. who do soundtracks for video games. WEEEEIRD

las seƱoras are from Spain, and made my favorite 7" of the year so far, like Adolescents radness but with all girls! and some sorta weird fucked up art damage! yes!

Kebab are a post Crass post-punk influenced band who just got reissued, from the early 80s, really cool...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I wrote this for Bikini Kill's archival site, re: i was a teenage tearaway skinned teen

Before I saw Bikini Kill I mostly discovered music via the Melody Maker, a weekly music paper that no longer exists, and via the pages of Sassy magazine, which also no longer exists, that my American grandparents had gotten me a subscription to. I listened to bands like the Breeders, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, the Jesus and Mary Chain, went to as many shows as my mum would let me (I was 12-13 years old at this point) I felt like punk had happened, passed me by, and that although I loved the bands I was into, it wasn’t the same as “the olden days”. I always felt like I was missing out somehow. At any rate I read about BK and riot grrrl in Sassy, and immediately wanted to get involved but couldn’t figure out how as it all seemed to be happening in the USA, and I was stuck in London. I sent off for Girls Germs zine, which led to Jigsaw, and the BK zines, and Germ of Youth too-all of which I combed through for info and bands to investigate and other girls to write. THEN there was a piece on Huggy Bear in the Melody Maker, and suddenly, finally there was something happening in my town! London! Me and my friends started to go and see them play whenever we could, and they also made zines and tapes that they would give out/sell at gigs, which got us into other music and ideas , things to read, movies to watch, records to check out… Plus we all became pen pals with them (Huggy Bear) and they would make us tapes and send us letters, and send us letters written by other girls in different parts of the country to write to. We all made our own zines, and started trading them with people. It was rad!
Finally, the inevitable most dreamy thing happened-Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill toured the UK! We all bought tickets and went to every show that we could, and I think my friend Flossy told Kathleen that we were in a band (we weren’t. we had just talked about the fact we needed to do one-I had a guitar but none of us had really played music before…) Kathleen said Blood Sausage and BK were playing a show next week, and would we play?
We freaked out. We did not have a band or any songs, plus I think we were all 13/14, and couldn’t always persuade our parents to let us go out to gigs on school nights. But it was clear that we needed to do something. I don’t remember why we didn’t play that show-but we formed a band and made a tape that week. We had to come up with a band name, and had a bunch of contenders, which a girl who worked at the skate shop we hung out at (Slam City Skates!) looked at and said we should pick Skinned Teen, so we did. We gave Huggy Bear and Kathleen our tape, I think at that show, but we actually played our first show at an all girl gig, which Tammy and Jen from Linus set up, that Jo and Niki’s from Huggy Bear’s other band played, the Furbelows-they were awesome but I think they only ever recorded one song on a Huggy Nation tape?? Anyway Skinned Teen didn’t ever play with Bikini Kill but they were the reason we realized that at age 13/14 we could be a band. I didn’t ever get that feeling from listening to say, Nirvana. Bikini Kill made that world seem like something that was ours, a sound we could make rather than just consume if that makes sense. Listening to them and seeing them play was life transforming and opened up a world of possibilities, introduced me to DIY punk and making your own culture for your friends, and communicating that with other kids/punks in different places that felt the same way you did, on your own terms.
There’s a movie Lucy Thane made called Bikini Kill Changed My Life, about the BK/HB tour that you should try and watch-someone “borrowed” my copy, but on it you can see a lot of what I talked about. I feel like I haven’t talked enough about the politics of Bikini Kill maybe, the power of hearing their words of resistance and power after spending so long getting physically and verbally harassed at shows, in the pit, on the way to the show, and internalizing that. “Oh well, that’s what you get for being a girl…” and also being made to feel like my love for music wasn’t authentic or as real as some guy’s… PLus all the boring and endless explanations you had to give to clueless jerks who wanted in on riot grrrl, even though they had the rest of the “rock” world… The aggressive shitty creeps who would show up just to fuck with girls, the threatened journalists, both male and female (one women journalist made a fake zine, which was an embarrassing attempt at ridiculing riot grrrl, but her idea of feminism seemed to be from some wooden headed hippy’s description of what the women’s liberation movement was…) I just wanted to get across the idea that what Bikini Kill did for me and my friends was show us how to make our own band, our own culture, and how life changing that was. You don’t have to be Slash to pick up a guitar, you don’t have to be Thurston Moore-having an idea is sometimes more important and interesting than ability…I think Bikini Kill were my generation’s Minor Threat.

I also think girls should continue with BK and riot grrrl’s work-keep making noise, and bands, and zines, write each other, make your own girl culture…

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

early practitioners

When my Dolly Mixture double LP arrived in the mail, my first instinct was to play the godamn thing, much to the displeasure of my co-coordinators, who were polite, but it was soon apparent that this was music to be endured with a grimace rather than an indifferent shrug... This is the reissue of the much sought after Demonstration Tapes, an almost perfect vinyl reproduction of the bands only long player, originally released in 1983. I have had Dolly Mixture songs on mix tapes over the years, but when this was reissued in the ’90s on CD, it was super hard to find, plus I did not own a CD player, so this is the first time I have had all these songs in one place by this genre defining all girl indie pop group. Did they in fact invent twee? Dolly Mixture started in 1978, who knows if they were the first to twee, not me, that’s for sure... They were definitely early practitioners, and the first platter of the aforementioned double LP features the dreamiest early stuff, including a somewhat barbed ode to Jane, of Modettes fame, and her prowess with gentlemen, entitled, “How Come You’re Such a Hit With the Boys, Jane?” Along with my favorite, an ode to being the other woman, “Side Street Walker.” Their sense of melody is so incredible, and perfect, and the fact that teenage girls constructed these songs is so inspiring and cool... It’s funny, whatever I have read about the band refers to the fact that they didn’t make it, as if they were the British Go Gos that shoulda coulda woulda, but I think they are from a completely different planet from that band. This sound would not work in an arena! And as if “making it” has that much to do with history’s judgment of how good a band is…
The ’90s CD reissue of this record goes for over a hundred bucks. (’90s CD! $100!!!??!). Which is basically why I am writing this. The aforementioned reissue I was making Mariam miserable by listening to is already sold out. Dolly Mixture may not have been the English Go Gos, but more than 300 people wanted this record obviously. I think it sold out in two days! It’s a certified classic, made by three teenage girls because of, and in spite of the DIY explosion caused by punk. I am not the hugest indie pop nut; I prefer stuff to have at least some infusion of punk, some sorta early Television Personalities or Desperate Bicycles intonation... My teenage band used to play with Comet Gain a lot in the early ’90s, but I did not start liking them until they moved on from the cleanliness of the Style Council twee soul sound and incorporated more of the aforementioned punk sneer, starting with the majestic Tigertown Pictures LP. In fact their last three LPs and the Beautiful Despair 12” are close to punk-soul-perfection... I just write this random disclaimer to indicate that I am not usually swayed by the twee. I am in fact writing this whilst wearing Bruce Roehrs’ Raw Power t-shirt that he bought at a Rock Against Reagan show in ’84. There are no hair clips in my bangs, I am not sporting an anorak, nor do I own any records on the Sarah record label. I like pop music, but I like it when it’s made by a band that fucks with the constraints of twee, more Shop Assistants than Tallulah Gosh. I think that’s pretty much the rule to most music I like. I am not interested in perfection, I like mistakes, music that sounds like it couldn’t be any other way, like it had to be made. Rather than perfect constructions of musical genres. The last song by Void on the Faith/Void split is my favorite song of all time. This of course is a perfect construction. EXPLODE!!!!
Speaking of Roehrs, we are running an Agnostic Front interview this issue that was his last before he died. Before he did it, he asked our permission, in light of MRR and that band’s antagonistic history. Bruce and Tim Yo were close, and he knew that Tim would have had something to say about this interview being in the magazine. Initially we were going to send someone alongside Bruce to make sure that the questions weren’t too deferential or unchallenging, since he was not only good friends with the band members, but they were his favorite hardcore band... (Going by the band’s first two records it’s easy to see how he reached this conclusion). I think the interview demonstrates that the fears we may have had were not realized. It may not provide a voice for Tim’s ambivalent feelings towards the band, but Bruce did not shy away from controversy, or ask only easy questions. Bruce was a complex, charming and often difficult man, and the fact that he is gone is still hard to comprehend, in terms of his history with the magazine, but also in terms of my friendship with the man. I think about him often, and his absence is a void, his voice still rings in my head, his particular and peculiar turns of phrases appear out of the blue, along with the memory of the way he bear hugged everyone.
We are currently raising money to make sure he gets a permanent memorial worthy of a man of his stature and character. One of the places that he took out of town guests, (and in town guests, present company included!) was the San Francisco Columbarium. A copper domed grand Victorian building that was built to house the ashes of some of this city’s founding families, especially popular after cemeteries were banned from SF city limits. It is now a non denominational resting place; apparently San Francisco’s “Pope of Punk” Dirk Dirksen is there... Our goal is to raise $12,000 to secure Bruce a spot. We have gotten about half way there, and have a memorial nook secured. We need help to make the rest of the money, and anything you can spare would be a huge help. I know that there are some memorial benefit shows planned, and if you would be into doing something like that I know Bruce would have appreciated it. He was most at home at the front of a show, fists in the air… If you want to make a donation via paypal this is the email:, or you can send checks payable to Maximum Rocknroll—please make sure you put Bruce Memorial in the memo line of the check or MO.
layla at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tell your children

I went to a bookstore today, and the clerk was holding a copy of a comic, reviewed in this issue of MRR, called something along the lines of Henry and Glen. He asked me if I liked the Misfits/Danzig, then told me Glenn Danzig had just walked past me as I was entering the bookstore. He had gone and grabbed the zine to prevent Mr. Danzig from having to see it and thus be upset if the warning Rollins wrote on the back of said book holds any weight… Anyway, I totally did not see Danzig, or notice anyone that looked remotely Danzig-like anywhere nearby even though he allegedly brushed past me after putting all the book store clerks on the guestlist for his show tonight. I am very disappointed and am, as I write this simultaneously watching the video of “Mother” on YouTube. This isn’t because I am not presently at a Danzig concert in 2010, I think that would be a spectacle and a disappointment, plus I don’t think I would have gone to see Danzig at any point unless it was free. Just disappointed that I did not get to gawk at him. DISAPPOINTED! All caps style. I like Danzig’s voice, but my favorite vocal stylings are those of Bobby Soxx, especially when he says “Even the laydeeeeeiiiiiizzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” (Apparently he doesn’t say it like that—I say it
like that. I do, frequently). LEARN TO HATE! IN THE EIGHTIEEEEEEEEEES.

Speaking of Texas punk, I also am consumed by the Foams record, which seems to have been pilfered from the MRR kollection since I got here… Or at least “misfiled” An all girl band from Austin that served mainly to prove how music was as apt an art as any to take apart… While putting together the article on the Curse in this issue I also discovered the split record they did with the Diodes had also disappeared. I think Graham wrote this month about how crazy San Francisco Amoeba has been recently,
and about Martin’s big score. I picked up Government Issue’s Legless Bull for a dollar,
which is probably the best record score ever for that price for me. I have been attempting to put together a want list so I feel less bewildered when I go to the aforementioned former bowling alley now record store. Most of the platters I am on the hunt for tend to be shit like the Foams, and other weird punk girl bands, Teddy and the Frat Girls, y’know. I have been picking up anything that looks like it might be along those lines in those mystic 7” bins, but nothing I have grabbed has been as cool as the Ama Dots 7” which was acquired by my friend Scott about ten years ago, same location, 50c. I think my favorite punk 45s are desperate sorta repulsive hardcore
items such as Neos or Mecht Mensch or Die Kreuzen or United Mutation, or their fucked up girl counterpart art punkers...
layla at

Friday, September 10, 2010

random hippie dirge

This is a collection of random things that sprung into my brains. This is not an epic Greek poem, or a Victorian novel, this is not New Journalism, this is not bathroom graffiti. Random brains. Brain springs. We tried to watch the bio-pic cheezecore movie about Dogtown—not the Stacey Peralta documentary, but the movie with actors aping it. It was the sort of movie that whilst watching you wondered how no one involved realized how stupid and corny it was. As a punk I love teensploitation movies, from River’s Edge to Foxes, Out of the Blue to Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains, but I was not able to transmit this love into the transformation of belief required to finish watching the absolute soiled turkey that was Lords of Dogtown. Someone ollies out of their second story bedroom in one of the first scenes, an act of very believable activity for this era of skateboarding especially on a banana board. I didn’t go see the Germs movie or American Hardcore; I probably shoulda seen the latter just for big screen dynamic eye catching ferocious footage of best bands ever. I just got so annoyed by the book I figured the movie would feature that idiot that wrote it in such a way that I might need to rip my eyeballs out after viewing. Maybe movies about culture that you feel a part of that are made for mainstream appeal should just be avoided unless it’s the midnite movie and you got a crew of rowdies? “That guy would not have been wearing a Misfits shirt! Jeez... what year is this supposed to be etc etc etc” At any rate, what do you guys this about the Tater Totz 7” that Cherie Currie sings on? That also has that insane Pat Smear led overblown cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”?
When I first starting doing shitwork at MRR there was some random hippie dirge carved into the sidewalk in front of the house. Something about the spiral tribe? The viral tribe? I have forgotten what it said exactly but it included a shitty mosaic that an angry punk smashed at some point. The city redid the sidewalk, not before a scam punk carved something marking his or her presence... And someone across the street has carved in a selection of sidewalk penises. Or penii? Sidewalk messages. I am currently sitting in my room listening to the Sublime Frequency reissue of Dara Puspita, an insanely good Indonesian all girl garage band from the ‘60s. On headphones... Looking through the booklet that came with the CD and reading about how these musicians suffered for their art via brutal government oppression, weekly grillings, where they were forced to play their hits to assorted officials who would deem whether a song was too wild for the youth of Indonesia... and yet their music is at once liberated sounding, fun and refreshing. The music is sorta Girls in the Garage stylee, except these girls actually played their instruments, they were not just dollybird frontgirls with faceless session musicians or puppets performing some small town producer’s idea of rocknroll. Some of the music borrows hooks from contemporary western rocknroll songs, but they totally transform it into their own sound somehow... Cool.

I have been, as always, been thinking about girl sounds. MRR puts on a show one a month (third Thursday at Balazo!) and this month I think nearly every band had a female musician—one, Mothercountry Motherfuckers, wore masks so I was unable to discern gender. Genderpolice. In the style of previous Mike Kirsch bands witnessed by these eyes, they had a full multi media projection thing behind them and a sorta NOU-ish manifesto band thing going. I like it a lot more than Baader Brains and am excited to get a hold of a tape or other recorded artifact when it surfaces. Former member of John Henry West! No Statik are a reasonably new Bay Area band, I mighta written about them before? Not sure, at any rate I believe a record is to appear on Prank soon enough, but you can and should send off for the demo before that. So good. Most raging female local fronted hardcore since Look Back and Laugh? Possibly, could be due to the ex member of... The ex member of list for this band is sorta epic, but let’s just say they play tight and raging hardcore at volumes and with vigor that make paying attention to anything else futile. Then there was the incredible Necro Hippies show at Thrillhouse, which also featured Diane’s new band Livid, (Diane, soon to be former distro coordinator of this thing you currently hold... More on that in a bit), Livid were the best kind of basement punk, with the most compelling frontwoman, total Alice Bag delivery… The rest of the band had their own rhythm and idea of punk, so it made for a most killer combination with the snarled and stuttered vocals. Really had a most enchanting Dangerhouse situation and the idea that they have just recorded a tape makes this girl extremely happy for the state of Bay Area music. And yep, you read right, Diane is leaving the distribution coordinator position at MRR; Fred Schrunk of Thrillhouse Records will be taking over, starting in July, so if you wanna start selling MRR at shows or at your skate shop you should email Fred rules and is a long time architect of San Francisco punk, setting up the collectively run all volunteer record store and sometime show space Thrillhouse, and also tirelessly searching for a new and legit all ages space for San Francisco. We are super excited to have him as part of the coordinator power trifecta. Back to the show—Necro Hippies ruled, playing trashed out basement hardcore, timeless and true. They have a record on Raw Sugar records out of New Orleans, where they are from, and Candice, the guitarist is involved in a cool all girls show collective No More Fiction… Hardcore for the hardcore.
Anyway-listen to the song “Chronic Thoughts” by Malefice, and I promise next month this column will be less a collection of brain sewage and more a cohesive dissertation of reality.
layla at