Saturday, December 17, 2011

Single Bullets

I am writing this a million miles from MRR HQ, in the street I grew up on in London, England. My first month off in three and a half years of running the magazine, and of course everything went wrong, our main computer died, there was sickness in the compound, police brutality on the streets, frequent earthquakes, so many outside factors working against us. But even though I have not seen this issue of the magazine as it’s come together as I usually do, I know it’s going to be amazing. I know what Mariam is capable of, and I am really excited to read the magazine that she put together in the face of total disaster and endless trials, I know that’s where her strength lies. Coming up against insane odds and, you know, being triumphant. Working with Merm has been one of the funnest things about being coordinator of the magazine, she is so tough and smart and one of the most entertaining people to hang out with ever. A hard ass and a wise ass, a joker and a goof ball that you would be fool to underestimate… So yeah. I have been in Europe for a month, visiting with my mum, hanging out with various punks in various cities from Berlin to Bradford and for the first time in years not having the weight of the magazine on my shoulders.
I have been trying to leave MRR for nearly a year now, we have had some great applications and interviews, but no one has worked out yet in terms of replacing me. This job is intense and we need the right person to do it, someone who can handle the workload, who has energy and passion, who has a vision for the magazine in terms of producing the content, who is not a middle of the road indifferent slouch when it comes to declaring where they stand, and what they stand for. You must be consumed by music, by punk rock and hardcore, or garage, crust, KBD and most importantly be open minded and willing to work with a wide range of people who may have different ideas of what punk is or isn’t. The magazine is for the punks by the punks, for those who care about the culture and meaning of DIY punk, not just trends and message board boredom. If you think you can handle running the day to day operations of this magazine, which include everything from accounting to interview layouts, and you will be trained on how things work, not just expected to understand everything instantly, if you can handle dealing with all different kinds of people, from landlords to drunk radio show DJs get in touch! We are looking for motivated people with ideas and you must be a legal US citizen with nothing that would mean you couldn’t be on legal paperwork… so in short if you are an organized and inspired person who is ready for a new challenge and wants to live for free alongside over 40,000 green-taped records at the MRR compound email for an application ok?!
Writing this in my mother’s home, in a deconstructed teenage bedroom with a suitcase full of junk in front of me and a Captain Beefheart picture disc to my left is a strange feeling. When I lived here, in Brentford, under the shadow of some brutalist 1960s towerblocks, council estate youth center existence it seemed there was never anything to do. Well, I formed bands with my friends when I was thirteen, skateboarded and wrote many zines and pen pal letters, but I felt alone and marooned in a part of London where people called me a goth, even though I mostly wore 1960s mod dresses, because I just didn’t fit in with the kids I grew up around. I was considered a nerd and a freak, and punk was a lifeline to a community of similarly maladjusted nerds in various cities and towns and villages around the world. Those were different times. When we landed at the airport at the beginning of October, the first things we did was go straight to a show, in Hackney at this cool art space / show space / café called Power Lunches. We saw Weird Menace, Satellites of Love, and Roseanne Barr, unfortunately Woolf had to cancel due to a health problem, but I have heard amazing things about them. All girl London HC punk who are I think recording an LP this winter?! All of the people in the bands mentioned are in other bands, from La La Vasquez to Shitty Limits, that was one of the coolest things about being here right now, so many insanely good bands and so many of the same people doing them all… A totally different era! We were lucky as there were about five or six shows in ten days, which would have blown the mind of the teenage me. Seriously, I used to go see anything even the most bro’d out HC mosh or visiting weedy Midwestern sweater emo just to go to a show, and to have so many cool local bands playing shows was killer… London is on fire right now, no matter what people may have said to me to downplay the exciting nature of their scene. The Lowest Form cancelled their show, which was a huge bummer too, their 7” rules and I was really excited to see them play. We also planned out a trip to Berlin and Paris when Shitty Limits played their epic last show, true bad timing, we had planned it so we would make the Lowest Form and Woolf shows, both of whom cancelled. Fuckin’ punks!
However, we were in London at the same time as Mexico City’s own Inservibles so went to see them frantically, I think we went to all but two of their UK shows! One was at a squat very close to Islington, meaning that there was a large amount of time dedicated to quoting from the Islington Squatter documentary. The squat was insane, it was an abandoned office building from the ’70s that had a garden on the roof and huge art pieces through out, and a dank room full of crusties and smoke in which the show happened. We missed most of the bands, as shows actually run on time in Europe it would seem, punks gotta catch the last train home etc etc, so we missed the Wankys and Holland’s Nekromantiker (who were in the last issue of MRR courtesy of Mr Tony Gunnarsson), but Inservibles were insane. Totally blown out punk rock depravity, encapsulating the alienation of living in a city locked down by the drug war, if you have a chance to see them play ever you would be a chump to miss it. I remembered the 7”s having a sort of blown out garage sound to the mostly punk attack, but live that was not apparent at all, at any rate, whatever my hazy brain clouded memories of this band’s recorded output are I am really excited to get back to San Francisco and listen to the new LP which you should get (on Shogun/La Vida Es Un Mus). We also got to hang out with Héctor of Otan fame, who was roadying for Inservibles and filled me in on the endless adventure that is punk rock in Barcelona and Madrid right now… Next year I will be there to witness it I hope!
The Means to an End fest was happening at the long-running punk social club and venue, the 1 in 12 in Bradford, and the line up included Shitty Limits, Inservibles, and Glam so we got a car together of punkers, including Ralph and Bryony, Collette and me and the elusive and mysterious SPK fan Hubbs, and headed up the M1 to the north of England. I learned to drive in California, on huge wide suburban streets in the town my grandparents lived in, and have never driven in London and thus also cannot drive stick. The car we rented was an automatic, and Ralph who was the designated driver had never driven one of those; it was funny seeing someone as flummoxed by an automatic as I would have been by a stick shift. I hadn’t been at the 1 in 12 since I was a teenager, I can’t remember what year it was, I used to go to most of the fests and saw everyone from Acme to the Month of Birthdays there. Ah, the ’90s! It was rad being back, the space seemed way smaller, but just as cool as I remembered. Seeing a venue that was created to serve the punk community out of specific radical principles, one that still exists on the same terms was really inspiring. The food was a good and cheap as I remembered, as was the cider, though this time there were more Swedish crusties checking their facebooks on the communal computers… and I was definitely straightedge last time I was there.
As for the bands witnessed… We missed some as the epic drive meant we were hungry for Bradford curry brutality, which included a naan bread that was about the size of a human torso. Endless Grinning Skulls played, and blew me away. True veterans of the scene; I think ex members of Heresy and fuck, the singer is 51 and more hardcore and has more presence than a million MySpace crashercrusters combined. I guess they usually have a noisy almost Jap-core attack, but this show made me think of the power/impact of seeing Talk is Poison play. No joke. They were great live, I didn’t really know what to expect plus I think this was the first UK show we were at where people actually danced?! Shitty Limits played their last Northern show, and were fucking incredible. I love their last 12”, and seeing them play in SF ruled, but I guess seeing any band in an all ages space when everyone knows this is probably the last time they are gonna see them live is another matter entirely. So much energy and snot, like a teenager taking speed for the first time, it was impossible to keep still so no one did. Glam from Barcelona were also incendiary, their 7” is a constant on my turntable so having the chance to see them destroy it live was the best… Total destruccion… Paco said that the last slot at a fest here is the worst as everyone leaves to catch the last train back to Leeds, so the crowd seemed sorta thinned out when Inservibles played, but they managed to keep the frenzy going… All in all an incredible show. We were staying at our friend Charlotte’s house in Sheffield, land of brutalist architecture, “Being Boiled” and a sick mod café with an all northern soul jukebox. You can stay at the 1 in 12 after fests, which I definitely did in my youth, but I was psyched to have the chance to hang out with Charlotte who is a crazy girl band music nerd like myself, and does an awesome girl skate zine called Skate or Cry... I think she is sold out of it, but check out her blog for more info on the past and present of Sheffield punk!
The next stop on our epic journey was Paris, where we were met at the train station by a contingent of French punks, including Alex Ratcharge, Julien and Gael, who hustled us off to the longest running squatted venue in Paris where we got to see Bastard Noise. All you could hear was the drums and vocals, which made for an interesting aural experience. But it was really cool being in the space, seeing something happen in one of the storied Euro-squats that are the backbone of the DIY scene here. Also: why do bands who write brutal songs about environmental destruction do records with corporate car companies? Hmmm! Alex and Julien put together this amazing newspaper for punks who can read French called Freak Out! which you should check out. covering everything from Pink Reason to Crimen De Estado, with lot of other writing mostly about music of the mutant punk rock persuasion, it reminded me of a less art fueled Nuts! in that it is a local newspaper for the punks that assumes the punks are interesting and consumed by weird notions and obsessions…
I know I personally find tour diaries and travel journals pretty dull, so I will leave you there, sorry if I put you to sleep!
Top five!
1: The Means to an End Fest tied with the Big Takeover show at the squat!
2: Going record shopping with Paco in various London locations, also hitting the flea markets of Berlin with similar intentions. So sick! So many things crossed off the want list. Also Paris punker hang outs!
3: Hanging out with Bryony and Alex Ratcharge and hopefully Tony Gunnarsson; the Euro MRR columnist contingent rules and are as much fun in person as they are in written form!
4: Watching tons of documentaries my mum taped off the BBC about reggae in London in the ’70s and ’80s, also the classic movie Babylon. About racism, oppression, police brutality, Brixton existences and good times in London in the early ’80s. Although it’s about reggae sound system clashes, it reminds me a bit of Quadrophenia in that it’s a classic early ’80s youth culture movie, it’s as evocative. And it’s criminal that it’s not more known.
5: Going to see Cover Girl (new Trash Kit related band, Rachel Aggs=so dreamy) tonight, and going to Brighton tomorrow! We are the mod raucous.
Ha. Old columns are here: and you can write me here:

(photo by By Owen Richards)

Monday, November 28, 2011


One of the things that sucks about coordinating this magazine is sitting down at the end of the month, after working a seven day week of zillion hour days making sure the magazine is OK to get in to the printer on Friday AM, then having to pull a column outta that brain freeze malaise collapse. Things that have been occurring round these parts include staying up until the morning with oldest and best Bay Area friend and others yelling about music discoveries via the internet as opposed to older more “authentic” ways such as having to hang out with creepy dudes so you can tape their record collections when you were thirteen. The idea of punk being the possibility of DIY, the olden days of kids in Poland and Brazil making their own shit because of rumors and random discoveries as opposed to instant MySpace style connections and message board battles. But not like one is the good thing and the other is the bad... also the idea of punk as being something that you make and do, not something you dress as. Not who you know or what someone says about you behind your back, but what you fucking do! The this that presents itself to you is an adventure, freedom from boredom and a possibility or is it a rulebook, tyranny of expectations, dress codes and D-beat is the only beat. You know the eternal conversation. Off the pigs!
People who think punk should just be an outfit and a specific replication of a sound from 1982, 1976, 1979, 1992 people who think punk should be without content just an image they can adapt to their needs... Listen to “Bullet Proof Nothing” by Simply Saucer with coffee’d out brains and wooden fingers and wonder what it all means. If anything at all. If you exist for reasons other than being a fake GG or Wattie or all of the Seeds at once. Brian Jones hair cut, winkelpickers, bad breath, early death. “Dust to dust, dust to dreams, noise to stone.” If you exist to make sure the authentic Sports Bar Bro mentality is present in all situations you run rampant in, to make sure that girls are aware that they are only welcome if they can pretend to laugh at your jokes and let everything slide because they are cool like that... Weird attempted Raymond Chandler/Raymond Carver constructions, a street light flickers, cigarette ash falls, the myth of the private eye, the Hubert Selby Jnr character that’ll kill us all for being weak or indifferent, of identity and a vision that is not your own. Just an imagined take on grittiness with all those that make up the grittiness wiped out and recreated as ciphers. Tabla Rasa. The word “hipster.” So grim, it’s all so meaningless. Talking about punk constantly. Outlining what it is and isn’t, what the possibilities are and aren’t. Making it less and less appealing until one day you find yourself listening to Esplendor Geometrico and Psychic TV and wondering what that phase was all about... Can a punk get a break? When the ground is taken out from under you and you get defensive remember that that is what it’s like for punks of color and lady punkers on the regular. On the defensive, having to back up everything with fifty nine pieces of evidence because what do you know man, you’re supposed to be “cool” so things don’t get “weird.” Relax babe.
I got a hair cut, in the MRR courtyard, by columnist and general delightful human Ariel Awesome, my last hair cut came courtesy of another columnist Bryony Beynon, when she was visiting from das UK. Homemade hair cuts in desperate times! What is the reason for all this... endless discussion of not very much. The continued existence of mankind. I am leaving the country for a month, so the next issue of this mag you are reading is gonna be all Mariam Bastani creations... Edited, laid out and finalized by her fine hands. In other MRR news, we have a new distribution coordinator, Fred is handing over the reigns to Amelia, who just moved here from NYC and is not quite ready to give up the studs and spikes for Birkenstocks and the Grateful Dead... And we started figuring out the next photo issue, it’s gonna be mostly “classic” era punk photography, and we have some doozies lined up along with some that took killer pix but get no modern day recognition so watch out for that next year. I am gonna leave these bouts of insanity and give you a top ten of sorts!
1-See my review of the Vixens demo in the demo section this month. Band blew my brains out and didn’t bother to put em back.
2-Staring Problem tape: I feel as if I am gonna fall into a lake of my own hyperbole but this is totally great nervous sounding post-punk that’s quiet and unsettling, Allison Stratton vocals and really, the person that is writing these words out is so psyched that there are ladies making sounds as transcendent and rife with possibility / fear / otherworldliness as this.
3-Ke Mal Vivimos tape: Beautifully put together compilation of obscure ’80s world punk from Uruguay’s INSURRECCION to Norway’s TERROR, lots of classic Basque punk, in short this is a ahem, world class compilation of punk and hardcore, it’s not for sale, rather you have to make Teo a mix tape or send him a tape of your band’s noise destruction and he will send you this in return. Do it or lose!
4-Household are gonna have a 12” on Dull Knife and a tape on Wild Isle, and you should get both. Even though they are done as a band, their music is so good, like Christina Billotte bands, seriously, Autoclave!!! Who can capture the unease of post-punk girls with their own identity and take on the ideal, it makes me psyched to know such band ideas exist! And also Talya from Household is in a new HC band called In School that is gonna be by new band to lose my brainz over I can feel it.
5-Brainwaves tape! Also in demos section, just so good...
6-The song “I Don’t Wanna Work For BA No More” By Scissor Fits. Why fly for free when complaining creates such works of punk? Kill yr boss.
7-“Bullet Proof Nothing” by Simply Saucer. Outer spaceful.
8-The song “You Take Time” by Bleached from LA. I have to say my fave post-Mika Miko band is Crazy Band, who just put out a killer LP if you like falling apart punk made by snotty FU skater girls from LA. But this song is so good! Jennifer and Jesse Clavin’s new band. “You take time / To go nowhere.” Like a punk girl’s take on “So tired / tired of waiting/Tired of waiting for you...” by the Kinks with added Zeros/Ramones dreamy snot...
9-Alex Ratcharge! Visiting columnist attack!
10-The song “Milo Minute” from the last Grass Widow 7”. Not a huge fan of this band, but some of their songs are just transcendent...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trendy Violence

I used to skate with a bunch of girls, there were between four and six of us depending on different factors, we met up after school or at the weekends and went to various skate parks and parking lots around London. I started skating when I was a kid, I got a Vision Gonz board as a birthday present when I was eight, but I didn’t actually learn any tricks until I was in my teens and started skating with other girls. Initially I felt really self-conscious about the fact that you couldn’t instantly be the Bones Brigade, so would just skate around rather than risk embarrassing myself in front of the “dudes.” I got serious about skateboarding during the height of riot grrrl, my friends and I had formed a band when we were thirteen and would go hang out and flip through the 7” racks in the Rough Trade basement, conveniently located under a skate shop called Slam City Skates. We used to scurry through the store heads down, and rush down the stairs, assuming the skaters were all meathead hater bros. I started writing this girl Tulsie, we traded zines, and it turned out she worked at the “scary” skate shop, and she encouraged me to pick up skating again. She actually helped name my band too; I sent her a huge list of band name ideas, and she said Skinned Teen was the best one. This was the era of flip tricks and tiny wheels and huge pants; me and my friends were more into looking like mod girls mixed with the girls from Kleenex... But we were teenagers so we adapted. Learned to ollie, switched to Dickies so we looked like the rest, and so forth.
We skated in a pack, were very defensive and assumed all the other skaters thought we were “pro hoes” or posers so just didn’t talk to them for the most part. I remember one really humiliating incident where I tried to interview Ed Templeton for my zine at a skate contest. He blew me off and treated me like a piece of dirt, as if I was trying hit on him. Rather than being the goofy sixteen year old skater that I was, I was just some chick. These girls had told us that Deanna Templeton, his wife, ripped on vert, (which totally was not true), so I had expected him to sort of be on the side of girl skater dorks. At that point we had pretty much stopped trying to engage with the norm skate boys, we had a few male friends we skated with but there were endless similar incidents which for over-sensitive teenagers were too much. To the point where we camped out in these skaters’ backyard for one out of town contest, when they asked us if we wanted to sleep in the living room on the floor, we declined... My favorite place to skate was a vert ramp in a sort of underground walkway where a railway track used to be, it was on the other side of London and took three million years to get to, but because it was the era of tech flip trick ’90s, no one skated there. Plus it was out of the ears and eyes of squares, just below the street.
I was thinking about all of this because I still sort of have the same attitude, of not wanting to be a blind part of something. Wanting to do something on my own terms, separate from the “scene.” I remember going to a hardcore show where the singer asked the crowd, “do you wanna be part of the scene or part of the scenery...” I wanna be neither! I have been listening to punk since I was thirteen, starting out with Sham 69 and Patti Smith and moving through Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill, the Nation of Ulysses and Heroin onto His Hero is Gone and Capn Jazz (yes, at the same time), then Skull Kontrol and the Wrangler Brutes and then onto discoveries in the MRR library (Power of the Spoken Word! Rutto! Foams! So much more!) when I moved to the Bay Area in 2003. A million different shifts in perspective, mix tape fodder, going from only listening to punk tapes from Woolworths to only listening to Gravity, KRS and Dischord, then discovering old punk and hardcore that was not available on tapes for sale in the Woolworths music department, from Prag Vec to the Avengers. I have been an obsessive music nerd for my entire life, and until I reached my thirties have been stuck in relationships mostly with skaters, where I have had to listen to fucking Rancid and then onto turgid shit like the Hold Steady and have kept my mouth shut... One teenage paramour used a tape I made for him to impress another girl; his record collection was mostly sourced through Big Brother and nineties era Thrasher so was pretty much just shitty corporate punk and Slayer. I made fanzines to connect with punks in different places who felt the same way about skating, feminism and music that I did. Outside f my small group of friends, most of the kids in London when I grew up were totally alien to my idea of a good time. Either they just wanted to go to raves, or if they were hardcore kids they only wanted to play music that sounded like a fifty ninth rate Policy of 3, or some really generic NYHC.
The point to all of this self-indulgent rambling is what we do is secret, and uh, what we want is free. I do not wanna be part of a united front of punks who all listen to the same thing, who all wear the same outfit, not interested in “cool” or scene status, message board sausage parties. Not interested in “free” gifts from corporate entities, write ups in magazines that also run “cool hunting” departments for various corporations.
Punk has always appealed to me because of the beginning of the song “Explode” by Void, because of how the music transports a human out of the reality of walking to a shitty minimum wage job. The music that grabs me is the music that creates its own world, its own universe, the first Die Kreuzen LP, the Huggy Bear and Frumpies 7”s, Bobby Soxx, Germs, Electric Eels, Screamers and onwards to the end of time. Music that was created for other reasons than to sell beer and cars and get you laid at the bar. The fact that people are up in arms because MRR won’t cover their band if they start putting out records with car corporations is embarrassing. DIY punk is not ad fodder for corporations, end of story.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Lonely Ghost Eats Toast

Bands in Basements/the Hungry Ghost
Some months are an endless adventure and some are a continuous parade of degradations. I woke up this morning feeling like a piece of tissue, not exactly the right place to start a fascinating column about the trials and tribulations of this human’s existence. Got a temperature and a scratchy throat and a general negative feeling towards life that does not bode well for your future reading pleasures. There were many good times and random adventures over the past month, sick basement shows and excursions outta this town to new places. I quit one job, that was becoming a mild source of stress, got another at City Lights books, which so far is eternally dreamy... yes you see isn’t this a fascinating time to be a human being, reading all about the various existential crisis that each one of us endures in our quest for uh continued existence. Another punk complained that I was too negative, that all I did was complain, well, those are the true fax and the insaniax. I got a list of shit I don’t like and a voice with which to expel said info. That said, here is a list of things I do not like right now:
Business Punks
Whenever I get into an argument with a business punk they try and turn my coordinatorship of this magazine round at me, “But MRR profits from the scene and is a business so it’s totally cool for me too as well, lady.” Nope. All I have to say is that the kids don’t care, to paraphrase Blitz. MRR has not made a profit in years, every penny this magazine makes pays for its continued existence. Rent. Bills. Mailing out subscriptions. There is no profit involved. No one gets paid, and no one is making a killing from punk at MRR HQ. When the magazine did make money all of that went into things like opening Gilman and helping other punk endeavors. So. I hate business punk ideology, punk is for kicks not for dollars and change, for the love of it, for the continued perpetration of the punk idea, (DIY or DIE), not for what it can do for you in terms of your bank balance. The idea of something that exists just to perpetrate itself and to spread the DIY ideal and the destructive sound that assists in the achievement of that goal, plus you know, community... Something exists for reasons other than paying your bills and making sure you get the latest limited edition sneaks and plane tickets to the exciting fest on the other side of the country. Punk is not for sale, and you can’t buy it either. This isn’t some fantasy life in which there are not bills to be paid and so on, there are bills to be paid, but as soon as punk is the thing that is doing that, it’s no longer punk, it’s some other part of the capitalist existence we find ourselves trapped in or around. I don’t mean someone running a record label, that for the most part is not a profitable endeavor, in terms of dollar signs etc, but “punk” PR agents?! Those that profit from our culture but don’t participate in the exchange. Let’s make punk the same as corporate music culture, but on a smaller scale! Use the internet to find that punky chips ahoy commercial to see an example of a business punk just doing its thing. Why not have the thing I love be the thing that pays my bills, why not turn a profit from The Kids so to speak? Do they owe me a living and so forth and so forth? Let’s just make our own version of the mainstream, but with our “punky” values. Consume! Blah blah blah. The world’s a tomb.
Like eating slugs. The texture. Such sorrow.
Fake Oi.
Weird civil war reenactors from around the world put on your Fred Perrys and your Sta-Prest, jam out those terrible “alright matey down the pub” cliché chords and sing about Never Walking Alone FC. Even though the Bow Bells have never tolled in your presence, let along in the country that you live in (Germany, the US, Sweden), evoke the cheeky cockney Dick Van Dyke reality of fake oi. Please. You made the list. Cartoon reality, same clichés in every song, costume punx invoking a constructed world of fake Britain that never existed.
“Good” Small Businesses.
Maybe you work for one. The owners voted for Obama, and only use organic produce in the kitchen, but everyone makes minimum wage and no one sees any of the profits that enable said owners to drive round town in their fleet of Priuses and buy fair trade pea shoots at the farmer’s market whilst floating around in $400 organic silk tunics. Because changing the world is all about buying a different set of stuff to those other people who do not want to change the world. It’s all rooted in capitalism. Not how you treat your workers, but how many customers feel good, like they are really making a difference whilst forking over their dough. “All you have to do to change the world is change the channel.”
Veteran Punker Dudes Writing for Vice.
Barf. So many of them. What we do is secret. Vice is not just a magazine, it’s also a “cool hunter” resource for corporations such as that car company that is currently throwing money at various aspects of the underground scene. Cool Schmool!

Bands in basements
1-Hysterics show at 17th and Capp. Weird ski lodge ambience. “Hipster” invasion (see Esmerelda from Noh Mercy’s pithy take down of the Valencia St “hipster” in the Deaf Club article in this issue. Truth). Raging all girl hardcore, best all girl hardcore band since the Wrecks!! Some overheard dude said it reminded him of the first Agnostic Front 7”. Also most exciting local band award goes to the first band on the bill, Displeasure, who were so fucking good, weird Rudimentary Peni vibes with reverbed out lady vocals...
2-iceage. Blogrocker scene! The audience was all People Who Read Online Tastemakers and Follow Their Instructions attempting to “mosh” and “stagedive.” It made for some pretty comedic moments, but you cannot write off the frantic teenage sounds of Denmark with your pithy online opinions, they were great, excellent humans, a sound that makes even the squarest wanna smash cop car windows.
3-KRS is no more. This label soundtracked my teenage years, the Frumpies, Huggy Bear, UOA, Bikini Kill, Unwound, Godheadsilo, Bratmobile, Comet Gain, Born Against, Excuse 17, so many more... Mika Miko! New Bloods! But the last uh, ten years have been pretty dire, mostly tranquil music for blogrockers and the inbetween section of NPR shows. A business set up in opposition to that world attempts to becomes part of it and fails. Not sure exactly what’s happening, but word on the street is that it’s the end. I was in a record store and saw that Gravity had some new releases in other soundtracks of teenagerhood news...
4-Petals show. Petals is Jess from Brilliant Colors, Seth from Hunx and his Punx and Eric from Jump Off a Building. They play music that probably is not reviewable in these pages, Seth sings in a different style to usual, sort of reminded me of a weird Edwin Collins/Calvin Johnson thing! Every other band at this show had a lady drummer (Dunes, Cold Showers, Grass Widow).
5-Generation Suicida tape. So so so so good.... check the demo section for full report. or layla at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Up All Nighters / Society Suckers

Sitting in my room listening to the Necro Hippies tape I picked up at the rad Vegetable / Firebrand show at a random 1920s social club... I walked in and saw a girl with a denim jacket with a United Mutation logo drawn on the back, and a Saccharine Trust patch under that, and nearly lost my shit. How in the hell does this person exist in SF without me knowing!!?? Of course it was Candise of Firebrand / Necro Hippies, on tour, punk rock dream come true, only in town for one night etc etc. Her band, with Osa formerly of New Bloods, Firebrand ruled. Their demo reminds me of Young Marble Giants restraint but live it was more in a Bush Tetras sphere, which was cool... Vegetable was great too, especially the drummer who stands up whilst playing and has a crazy Palmolive maniac style; she is the main singer too. She definitely makes the band. They really reminded me of the Ama-Dots, a rad mid-western art punk band from the early ’80s… The show was a Grass Widow release party but we did not stay for them—we had to come back for another late night shift working on this magazine you hold in your hands.
This is our existence, random kicks amid endless crisis, good times and negative energy. A continuous loop of the teenage bedroom experience, the sound of ratty girl bands and cruddy hardcore; an endless infection. The wrong clothes and the wrong timing, never satisfied or ready. (This world is a tomb. Your future is imaginary). Watching a video of something that happened thirty years ago or last week, a blog post about a record that someone made, it’s not real life. Endless reconstructions intersected with occasional adventure and possibility out of all the reenactment. A set of chords, a list of words.
I have stayed up until three or four am every day this week working on the magazine or at my shitty retail job, and thus you get this weird shit created under the influence of the following: the Good Throb tape, the Massmedia LP, the Hygiene LP, the Diagram Bros 7” and a video of the SF synth-punk band the Wasp Women performing at a Pride party in the late ’70s. You know, this could be your tired insane ramblings. If you want to coordinate MRR we are still looking for someone… apply punks! Email for an application ok?
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This is my old jam

This song was the soundtrack of the riots in Zurich

This is my new jam

The all female punk rock band Kandeggina Gang play "Sono Cattiva" at their practice space 1980 Milano - Italia

Sunday, June 26, 2011

futur marketing purposes

Spring Mini Five
1: There’s this video of these girls skating on the freeway in LA, it’s a video made by a mostly girl punk band from those parts called Crazy Band... I heard rumors about their existence for months before I heard their sound, that they were a bratty falling apart band featuring a former member of Mika Miko that I would probably like... Then of course I read about em before I heard anything, in this sort of lame free style magazine that they give away in coffee shops up here called Paper that seems to be made up of mostly regurgitated press releases. I know, I know, it’s Los Angeles. That’s how they do things there it would seem right? Well no. There are tons of punks who are in bands that don’t do interviews for fashion magazines... Another symptom of the whole punks with booking agents and PR people era that we currently seem to exist in? (Speaking as someone who has to delete about 100 shitty emails from various PR agencies everyday from the MRR email—it’s clear that everyone from crust to garage bands feel like they need a paid mouthpiece to do their bidding in the media marketplace). Where big punk fests are underwritten by cheap beer companies and car companies will give you free money as long as you solicit your fanbase for all their personal info for future marketing purposes... At any rate, I do really like the Crazy Band song on said video, it’s got a cool girls in the garage meets beach punk feel, and according to an LA spy they are destruction in the best way live, and the forthcoming LP on Teenage teardrops rules. Plus the footage of the girls skating on the freeway is enough to make parents everywhere put their heads in their hands and give up!

2: The Avon Ladies tape is so good! Apparently D X is working on an interview for this magazine you are currently reading, if this is the case... well maybe it will happen now it’s written out in newsprint in my column. There’s a review in the demo section. Send off for it HC maniax!
3: Went to see Brilliant Colors play this pop fest, they were so good, one of the best shows I have seen them play, and a former member of Balance of Terror was filling in on second guitar... Got a sneak peek at the new LP, out this summer, it’s awesome but totally not reviewable in this magazine. They went full speed ahead to the dream pop Felt / Chills landscape and the ladies of post-punk aspects are long gone. You should pick it up anyway if you dig any of these bands mentioned, it’s a good one, and will be on Slumberland.
4: I got sent a rad movie of a Huggy Bear show in Brighton in 1993, it starts out with these kids driving to the show listening to the Jam, and you can see Rachel from Comet Gain, gazin’ out the window, in her amazing red mod raincoat and perfect Anna Karina hair that made me and all my friends wanna be her. The Huggy Bear footage is sorta messy, ruptured and like a bullet and a message to your heart all at once. I will write a full report possibly for the Maximum website in the near future!!

this is them ruling it on a shitty TV show

5: Apply to be the new coordinator of MRR already! C’mon. You get to pick what runs in these pages! And you can listen to green taped versions of all your favorite Killed By Death 45s as you do this! Email us for an application if you have a vision for the magazine and a knowledge of punk and hardcore that is as extensive as your aforementioned vision! Yeah! Up the punx.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fuck power pop, fuck new wave, this is punk rock, you’re a slave: MRR needs a coordinator! Could it be you?

We are still looking for a content coordinator to replace me. We have gotten some great applicants, but as you will see my name is still on the masthead and we gotta do something about that. Maybe you can help? I know you can. MRR is a life consuming organism. As well as, uh, coordinating the magazine coordinators (right now, me and Mariam, or as I should say Mariam and I in order to appease the grammar oppressors), have to work other jobs (apart from Maximum Rocknroll, duh) in order to do things such as eat food, fix our bikes, fight the man and go to shows and so on. Or you know maybe you have student loans to take care of? Did you know the magazine allows you to live in the MRR house at no financial cost?! Yep, it pays yer rent, but you still gotta work. The bookstore I have worked at for the past five years went out of business, so I have been unemployed for four months. I got a job at City Lights books, in North Beach, but they only had one or two days a month open. Not enough to actually exist on. So I figured I would have lots of free time to make tapes and go on bike rides and so forth... attempt to live offa government cheese. But as always seems to be the case with me and MRR the magazine pretty much ate up all that free time.

There is always more to do. You could easily work 60 hour weeks and still not finish all that could be done. I got another job this week, and had to work six days in a row, plus putting together the magazine, and I am pretty tired and burned out right now. This is our busiest week, when we have to put the magazine together and get it to the printers. Sometimes this means sitting in front of a computer from 9am to 3am, and still not getting it all done. The longer you have been here the more it weighs on you.

This is the sort of job that you sort of learn as you go, and the more you learn, the more the responsibility and weight of what you are doing takes over. Most people that have coordinated the magazine you are currently reading have not run a business before, or edited a magazine, or had access to over 40,000 records. Some of the skills needed to do the job will be already there: maybe you know everything about Danish post punk and the history of Memphis garage rock, plus you can photoshop like a maniac and also are really detail oriented and budget conscious. Being able to construct a sentence is important; you will be editing the entire magazine. You are in fact the editing department! Every single article, review, interview, column and scene report is on your shoulders my friend! Does that semi-colon belong there? Or is it just a trick of the eye!? Maybe there’s no such thing. It’s 3am! Who knows. We have shitworker proof-readers, but essentially most of the editing falls on the coordinator’s shoulders. From George Tabb to that Bulgarian scene report, you must make sense of it all. You are also in charge of advertising, financial affairs, plus you are the motivational task force, the mail order department when shitworkers flake. You are the music editor, the news editor, the person who has to figure out why the toilet is leaking and you also get to pick what runs in the magazine! And what plays on the house stereo. Bear in mind we have to cover a wide range of music, not just shit you like, so being aware of what punks are currently listening to is important.

If there is something that’s missing from the magazine that you think you could bring, as stated we are still looking for someone to replace me, so if you are under the impression that you have what it takes... you should email us for an application. You will be running a business so you must be a legal citizen of the USA, and not have say, the IRS or the CIA on your back. You gotta have a vision and sense of what you want to do for the magazine. This is a great opportunity. While there are certain things that we can’t change due to Tim Yohannon’s wishes, and we do work within a certain structure, chiefly only covering underground DIY non-corporate sponsored punk, hardcore and garage... you are in charge of the content. You! You have to contact bands that you think should be in the magazine and attempt to get an interview out of them. You have to write the kids that distro the zine in Kuala Lumpur and ask em why they have never done a scene report... You get to uncover endless crazy records in the record library and figure out a way to write about said experiences in the magazine. We are looking for someone who could run a business, someone who could carry the weight of this thirty year old punk rock institution in the face of the death of print media, of bands selling out for pennies to Japanese car conglomerates who apparently make killer tube socks. We want someone who has an idea of what they want from punk, and what punk and DIY culture does for fuck ups like us and how important it is ultimately to make our own culture on our own terms. By the punks for the punks. But also someone who knows why kids lose their shit over RVIVR and Weird TV, over iceage and Isterismo, who knows about the all girl teenage punk band that just put out a 7” in Oslo, about what’s happening in Japanese hardcore, about the various offshoots of the Marked Men... You gotta know your history too.

One of the reasons I didn’t apply to be coordinator after Paul quit (in like 2004?!) was that I didn’t think I knew enough about music. This was just some stupid undermine-y lady probs bullshit; I have been obsessed with music in an all consuming way since I was thirteen. Maybe I didn’t know the history of Polish punk at that point in time, but the shitworkers at the magazine and the aforementioned insane record collection, along with my own endless curiosity about music filled in the gaps. Everyone has areas of musical knowledge that are more focused or pronounced, but MRR is the self-proclaimed holy bible of punk rock, right? So you gotta have a solid and broad based foundation on which to build. Even if you don’t like Scandi-crust, you must understand its importance and significance to punk rock. Same goes for pop punk, garage, post-punk, shambolic DIY Messthetics-core, power pop, hardcore, thrash, and so on into infinity. We’re looking for music nerds not casual listeners you know? An international punk rock and hardcore obsessive. We also want someone who can reflect and stand up for the magazine’s radical political agenda. This is not a place for group hug personal is political coffee mug sentiments. We are not interested in bumper sticker homilies or casual indifference. Up against the wall motherfuckers!

Basically we are looking for someone who is consumed by DIY, who is ready to move to San Francisco and give this magazine and punk rock the next two or three years of their lives. Are you ready? If this sounds like something you could handle, that you have been waiting for, if you are someone who makes things happen rather than just watches shit pass them by you should fuckin’ email and ask for an application and tell us why we should hire you. This isn’t a casual situation, this is punk rock, it’s do or die. You gotta be passionate about it, don’t send us some shitty email as if you’re applying for a job at Starbucks ya know? We want to know why you should be here, writing a column every month and making sure the world’s punks are getting their monthly fix of inky fingers and esoteric music nerd talk, even if it means you are up at 3am, and you gotta go to your shitty retail job at 9am the next day.... And the night is still young, the workload so endless. Insert appropriate Minutemen lyrics about punk rock being your life, corn doggy. There is a reason this magazine has been around for thirty years, and we need someone who has the vision and focus necessary to continue this tradition!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I made the cover this month and i really like it so there

Another issue of Maximum Rocknroll is hot off the presses. MRR #337, the June 2011 issue, features an interview with one of the architects of punk, John Morton of electric eels and X_X amongst other bands, discussing his Cleveland punk days and artwork. We talk to Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly who put together the amazing recently published Destroy All Movies!!! book, an exhaustive study of punks on the silver screen (and straight to VHS!). And don’t miss our interviews with Finnish hardcore champs YDINPERHE, doom inflected crust punk NUX VOMICA from Portland, Oakland mutants UZI RASH, Southern California psyche-punks WHITE FENCE, and Swedish garage stompers BLACK FEET. Plus, we have a look at the life and struggle of Russian anti-fascist activist “Vanya Kostolom” Khutorskoy, who was tragically murdered by Nazis at age 26; a Buffalo, NY scene report, and a look at a 1980s HC flyer archive in New Orleans: From Stapleguns to Thumbtacks. All of this madness plus the most extensive review section in punk rock, and all the columnists you love to hate!

Buy issue #337 of MRR here:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guys are obscene / Vile and unclean

Bands need to stop reuniting. Start a new band, a new idea is better than soiling the memory of what you had, of attempting a new reincarnation of something for an audience that demands entertainment in a variety where they know what to expect... or else. People find solace in repetition, in a ritual that they can feel part of where they know what is going to happen next, like watching a rerun of a favorite TV show. Is that what you want out of punk? An all expenses reunion show covers the plane tickets, half original members half original audience, let’s get together for a group photo... Rock around the clock, authentic, established and guaranteed. Sponsored by a youth orientated corporation in exchange for all the personal details of all the attendees; there will be free beer for all.
I have a better idea, maybe write about it, in the style of Richard Meltzer/Lester Bangs/Pushead/another authentic rock scribe. Let the spittle hit the typewriter keys, recapture the days when there was something to be captured, the flaccid entity of rock music compressed into a bile filled sentence that will make all the readers deflate and expand at the same time. Elevate the most average bloke rock reenactment society into something that really meeeeans somethin’ maaan. Or you could blog it. There’s a coffee shop I go to sometimes and one of the guys that works there wears a Triumph motorcycle t-shirt that’s exactly the same as the one Dylan wears on the cover of Highway 61. As if wearing this totem will somehow... do something, bring him closer to that thin high mercury sound. If you simulate something, the right clothes, the sound, the correct collection of references does it make it happen?

“The Godhead. Reminds me of Teddy and the Fratgirls or the Foams in the sense that one gets the notion that these must have been fun gals to hang out with or date. The timeless splendor of the arty urban misfit girl: Her goofy charm and no-holds-barred enthusiasm for all that she found weird, interesting or sexually appetizing. A toast to the art school weirdo outcast girls of the world: May they forever paint their room black or read Hermann Hesse to you in bed! The music is wild, out of control amateuristic slop goes from Electric Eels fuzzed out haterock to drumkits thrown down the stairs to minimal teen-angst and then back. Beautiful stuff. Got this in trade from Thurston Snore for some boring free jazz records back in the day. What a chump!” Johan Kugelberg

This is in reference to the Pervers / Deutscher Abschaum record, technically a split 7” though members of Pervers were also in Deutscher Abschaum. I read an interview with Beta, who was in both bands, where she talks about MRR giving them a great review. I couldn’t figure out if she was talking about a tape if that 7”, but alas, neither are in the collection for me to investigate at this point in time. This record is sinister, dark and otherworldly, really evocative and powerful, not just “crazy wild ladypunk!” All of which mean this is obviously a top want for me, not because I have sexual fantasies about wild crazy girls who play totally like, free music but because... I want to listen to those sounds and be transported out of a world in which the possibilities that women create in aural form are easily packaged up by a record kollector/kritic into “would DO her, she sounds WIIIILD!” It’s just so rad and refreshing to always have your do-ability factioned into every thing you will ever write, record, create as a fresh wild female punker, and it really adds to the music too. To know that basement dwellin’ record skunks would like, totally like to go back in time and bang the Foams. I got into music, into underground DIY punk and hardcore music specifically because of the possibilities that existed with limited resources. What people could do with one or two chords is more interesting than an avalanche of shredding guitar center solo bro-hymns. From Huggy Bear to Sheer Smegma, from Glueams to Neos, Noh Mercy to Flipper. Electric Eels! Void! X_X! What punks come up with on their own terms, with the limitations of cheapness/broke-ness, a lack of resources and access to the rock vocabulary creating it’s own method of speaking. Different languages. When stupid shit, casual flippant misogyny, the endless jock mentality impedes on this invented world it’s... frustrating.
There’s this scene in The Great Rock’n’roll Swindle, where they have some sorta fake ad for Vicious Burgers, reiterating that this is a product, a financial scheme enabling you to buy into the punk rock wholesale. GG, Sid, Lemmy, Iggy, Stiv, just pick a sneer and run to the bank. No need to shift your focus or way of doing things, just buy in! Punk rock’n’fuckin’ roll baby. Punky chips ahoy. You have been given your instructions, now follow them! The legions of drones who think of punk as being this way, an outfit, an FU that meant something maybe in 1978 but now!? Is it a retread? I think of all the crazy girl bands that formed in the wake of punk rock, of post-punk and new wave, no wave and so forth, who found something that worked for them that they could mutate… and how no matter what they created the constraints of their gender is reflected back at them. “Punk is all about not giving a fuck bro, fuck the PC police!” Who gets the freedom to “not give a fuck!?” and how come not giving a fuck basically means not having to think about how your shitty aggro-dude behavior could possibly be alienating to punks who would love to “not give a fuck” but unfortunately due to the constraints of gender, sexuality and or race are not given that option. This train of thought brought to you by the trolls that populate the MRR facebook page. It’s depressing how many men whose opinions are reflected in the mainstream media also seem to need punk…
I had a teacher who claimed that if there were a referendum in regards to abortion it would be made illegal, if there were one about bringing back hanging it would of course be made legal. The people of Britain would have their say; kill the rotten, save the innocent balls of cells. Reading internet comments on newspaper articles is a good way of affirming the idea that said teacher espoused, that some things should be out of the hands of “democracy.” It’s just disconcerting when this shitty reality is reflected in the comments on something Maximum Rocknroll related. This person gets something from MRR!??!
As I was working feverishly on this magazine I listened to a podcast put together by Mary of the awesome Neonates... You can listen to it here:
There are lots of shows to choose from, each one has many amazing secret histories put together by girls from various eras invested in punk, art, destruction, dance and soul... Not every song is a jam, but there are so many things to investigate, it’s like a way more curated version of that female fronted lady punk box set some dude did a few years ago. Some of my faves so far: the band the Take who had a song called “Summer” on a compilation 7” that is somehow related to the Primitive Calculators, which was released in 1979. Angular Australian aggro art. “I Need a Jerk Like You” by Boston art damage Black Cat Bone, has a sleazy Patti Smith intoning over the Lounge Lizards appeal... “This is not what I want / This is just what I get” The singer was in Colorado goth punker group Your Funeral in the early ’80s... The Anemic Boyfriends, girls discussing what guys are really into over this weird anodyne reggae/new wave beat... it’s compulsive stuff. Also: the Chalk Circle and Glueams reissues demonstrate that this is a good month of lady punk history
I hate pictures of people standing together where some of the people are talking on their cellphones, or texting...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

this is the best. bobby soxx is masterpieceful

this is teenage girl punk from NORWAY-all girl band called Razika-as far as I can tell this is their only punk song, the rest is really poppy ska-but this song is great!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

tapes tapes tapes tape it to go

When Cissie was coordinating the magazine with me we used to joke about doing a women in punk issue, without mentioning that that was what was happening. Just do it. See if anyone noticed that every band had women in it. I did a tape review column a few months ago, and said there would be a second part following shortly after, well here it is! This is the inadvertent women in punk edition as most of the tapes have ladies on em. Not all. Nearly though!
d.vassallotti “False X-mas” tape has a morning after haze, a photo with the light bleaching everything out, like someone in the room next to you is listening to the first New Order record. Ghosts and radiator noises. Excellent atmospherics, recommended... Wasn’t sure how to label this, as it arrived in a black envelope with no decipherable band name, but I was informed this human was in the Cult Ritual so I went with the name on the lyric sheet. Cult Maternal 804 E Genesee Tampa FL 33603
Livid are from San Francisco and Oakland and are my current favorite local live band... They are the best. Seeing them play is the best, but since I am not sure if they are playing in your town soon, they made a tape! It’s not quite as raging as the live experience, maybe as it was recorded a bit ago, earlier in the band’s existence? Live they have this Alice Bag swagger that is the best, on tape the Dangerhouse thing still comes over but the danger is a little less intoxicating. One of my friends think they sound too talky-riot grrl, I personally don’t think that’s a dis first off, though I think it was meant as one, but I honestly don’t see it THAT much. On full listen to the tape, I detect a little Bikini Kill Peel Session 7” appeal, but honestly way more Alice Bag bands!! Amelia has a really cool voice and stage presence, and Mason has excellent We Got the Neutron Bomb riffs and the rhythm section will cut your throat if you look at em wrong. Every show this band plays has a million tough girls up front losing their shit. Get it or regret it. Livid: PO Box 40711 SF CA 94140
Hysterics are from Olympia. The first tape got destroyed by the postal service: coincidence??!! The second arrived with two cool pins with bloody tampons in the Black Flag logo that were instantly stolen by me and Mariam. This tape rules so hard, totally raging and classic sounding yet innovative and interesting hardcore from Olympia, it’s so fucking good! Just straight ahead hardcore that I wish all isolated teenage weirdo girls into HC would get sent upon entrance into the scene. Perceptive, angry fuck you lyrics, awesome vocal delivery, seriously one of the best HC tapes of last year in my eyes. People always complain about how girls just aren’t hardcore, just don’t make good hardcore bands, should just stick to uh... whatever it is they do, but fuck that, not every girl band is fucking Spitboy... This shit rules, someone needs to put their band’s record out before they break up as seems to happen to all bands I love. I think this tape is sold out from the band but you can still get it from K records
Firebrand are from New Orleans, feature an ex New Blood and an ex Necro Hippie and manage to capture the Young Marble Giants dreamscape that so many are mining right now without any syrup or plaintive girl wimpiness. They mush it up with an awesome Excuse 17 bratattack making a disconcerting sound that is strong and powerful, important music... More of a post punk experimental idea than grrrl sound, but there are echoes of different personal female takes on the punk idea through out. nomorefiction@gmail.ccom
Goodthrob came with a nervous note about the guitar player was waaay better now, but seriously fuck that, this tape rules regardless of guitar strut. It’s rudimentary stroppy punk that in parts sort of reminds me of the scree of early Gravity records chaos. The more hardcore less indulgent element of that idea, bashed out and readjusted for the needs of hardcore girls in 2011. This band’s existence is exciting! As someone who bought Gravity 7”s in the early ’90s from the Rough Trade basement shop it’s with excitement and amazement that finally in the year 2011 there are English girls making these sounds their own! With added bile and punk snot obvs. I am not sure how to get this tape, but I will keep you updated on any future happenings or you could go to and see if there’s something there? Maybe there will be!
Sceptres put out this awesome tape that may or not be a discog of their 7” output? I think it is but I am writing this in a state of total laziness and don’t feel like scrollin’ through my 7” boxes to investigate. At any rate, it demonstrates the melodic spikey ’78 punker brat majesty in an admirable fashion, vocals somewhere between Fisticuffs Bluff and um, Penetration. Everything is wound up tight for the up all night pogo punx, there’s a Shitty Limits connection, Modern Hate Vibe for life round these parts.
Hell Woman – This is rock tinged hardcore, the riffs are riffs, hardcore for stoner girls? Actually maybe it’s just grunge!?? I mean it’s not really that hardcore, I think the person that got me the tape described them as a HC band. I missed them when they played at the 16th BART station here as I had to work, but I have a feeling I would like it more in that format. It’s pretty cool though, like a more rudimentary Girlschool, emphasis on the rudimentary! From Olympia, not sure how to get one of these?
Deadhead are from Olympia too, Olympian assault on my ears this month! This band is sort of more in the tradition of KARP than any other of the Oly tapes sent in, sort of weird punker space basement dirge with pot leaves drawn on the tape, that signify more than my mere words would. Plus scrawny heavy metal parking lot vocals. When that voice lets rip, it feels like all time is yours, some of the jammier parts lose this essence and power. The band is called Deadhead and are from Olympia. You can smell the smoke on your clothes. Are you gonna submit?! PO Box 8355 OLY WA 98507
?-I picked up this tape after I saw the band play at Thrillhouse, three suburban kids playing what seemed like an inadvertent KBD take on the hardcore idea, totally falling apart FlipperGermsStickmenwithrayguns terrible genius. Not made by knowing kids, but by seeming anti social weirdos, I cannot read their band name on the tape case, nor remember what they were called, and while the tape is no way as rad as they were live, there is no contact info on it so... no use! I should have reviewed this shit when I got it a million years ago. Oh well. They have songs about rotting babies in the street making a sort of welcome matt, and one called “Drooling Blood” and one about killing a bartender who wouldn’t let them play because they were underage. so maybe they are actually 14 year old boys?! I remember there was a girl in the band. I bet that if I saw them again I would not be as impressed, but since they are this crazy mystery band now the mystique exists!
This Tyvek tape on fag tapes smells absolutely terrible, like someone puked in the car you have to ride for the next couple days. That’s OK as my tape player is across the room, and I threw the tape case away from my current position. It’s a collection of live tracks and demos and practices and chopped and screwed stuff. I love Tyvek, they make mostly the sounds that make it clear it’s a good thing to be a punk that is in existence now. If you like this band you probably have a record or tape or two already, I would suggest getting this to add to your Tyvek collection. Listen to all of them in a row and you have a full days activity planned. I have never seen them play as they always play SF when I don’t wanna go out, at bars I don’t like going to. This is not relevant to the review of the tape but I would like to see them play at some point, and I imagine the tape is a good approximation of what that would be like. No contact but you could enter ffag tapes into a internet search engine for shits and giggles.
Panzram are two dudes from Florida, playing angular heavy very ’90s hardcore, in fact this sounds like it could have been on an Old Glory compilation, something like that. It’s pretty cool that this is a two person band, it doesn’t sound like it, it does totally sound like something I would have seen in a basement in Columbus OH in 1995.
Mixed Combat is a mix tape made by the excellent punker DJs at KBOO up in Portland OR featuring many of the amazing sets from visiting bands during the Life During Wartime radio show. A solid representation of the last six or so years of the punk landscapel, from Gorilla Angreb and the Nix to Vivid Sekt and Nerveskade, the Exploding Hearts through to Tragedy and even Fucked Up. I am again not sure how you would get the tape, but you should check out the radio show regardless, lots of MRR shitworkers and even a former coordinator participate!
Well, I have more to get through so maybe there will be more next month? Or at a later date, but I like getting tapes and zines, so if you want to send em in with my name on the envelope, or just send it in for review to MRR regardless. We are still interviewing people for the coordinator position, since I am leaving this summer, but I will still be doing shitwork and writing my column, so submit your coordinator application or start a band, make a tape and send it to me
Layla at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

this is a BORING column from MRR #334

Usually MRR has another shitworker edit and compile all the year end top tens, as it’s a huge amount of work on top of the already heavy coordinator workload. This year the task ended up in my hands. And what a task! I would say we have about ten times the usual amount of lists this issue, some of the top tenners wrote over 3,000 words! I looked back at a few old year end top ten issues, and noticed that the same people had complained about what a shitty year in music it was every single year for the past five! Makes you wonder when the mythical “good” year in punk rock was.... Every year is a shitty year; we’re doomed! There are also a few records that made 2009 top tens as well as 2010 top tens (some records even made the same contributors lists both years!) We tried to edit out anything that came out in say, June of 2009, from the running, but it can get confusing because of the cover date of the magazine. For example we work on the issue that says February on the cover in December. Any records that are reviewed in the February issue actually came out the year before despite the cover date. The issue you are reading right now is the March issue, but most of the records reviewed in it came into the magazine in December, so again, more year end confusion to come! We also try to only cover stuff that’s reviewable in the magazine. Have you already done your year end top ten? Probably, since by the time you will be reading this it’s a few months into 2011. I found mine a lot easier to do this year than usual; I guess I have an advantage being that I have to listen to every record that comes in for review in order to assign them to the various reviewers each month, but some years it’s definitely been more difficult than others to pick ‘em out. I think 2010 was a good year, a ton of cool fucked up girl bands and female voices, and a fine selection super raw destruction sounds from the garage, hardcore and shitpunk planets. I am also excited about some new and imminent releases from new bands and old favorites...
All of Chalk Circle’s recordings will soon be available on LP courtesy of Mississippi records and PPM... In case you are interested in finding out more about what that means read the Sharon Cheslow interview in MRR #298 or reread her photobook Banned in DC. Chalk Circle were too arty for early ’80s Dischord to put out so they just had a few random compilation tracks here and there, all of which are great. I am excited to hear any unreleased stuff. I feel like I have written about them extensively in my column throughout the years! One annoying thing recently happened as a result of my extensive girl punker history column writing. My boyfriend tried to buy me a copy of the Foams 7”, awesome experimental girl punk from early ’80s Texas, but the seller wouldn’t let him buy it because “Layla at MRR really wants this. I have to find out what it’s worth.” Gah! It’s such an obscure record that there aren’t any listings on popsike or collector’s frenzy I guess for anyone to gauge the price/value from. So he got it from my fuckin’ column/my desire to own that record. Is it the only thing that comes up when you google it or something?? Jeez. I was told by all my kollector skum friends that this is why you keep your want list secret. However, while this was a supremely frustrating event I sort of feel like writing about weird, obscure fucked up girl punk that has been wiped from punk history is important and something I will continue to do. I would love to own that Foams record, but while I have a pretty big record collection, I am not a record collector. I am happy with a decent vinyl reissue over an expensive OG.
I am also excited by the fact that apparently there is a Neon Blud LP headed to the compound. I heard a rumor that it’s not as compelling as the 7” but I refuse to believe this until I hear with my own ears. Also a split with Diet Cokeheads in the works?? I really liked both of their 7”s, seems like it’s gonna be right up my street. I have also been enjoying tapes by Firebrand and the Sceptres. The Scepters feature MRR’s own Bryony Beynon on vocals, and assorted Shitty Limits on instruments I believe. I have heard as a band they are headed to the exit door which is a bummer as this tape is as killer and sardonic and spiky/restless as their previous 7”s but the tunes have an extra catchiness that sucks you in and pulls you under my friends. Such a good band! Firebrand features another MRR columnist, Osa Atoe, and Candise from one of my favorite HC bands of 2009, the Necro Hippies. They have this cool Young Marble Giants undercurrent, an unsettling but calm feel, with propulsive bass and drums. Really excited to hear/witness what these ladies come up with in the future! for more info on that!
Also from our UK correspondent I got an amazing fanzine, Langon Olgar. I think it will get a proper review in the next issue, but I wanted to write about it briefly here as I was so blown away by it. Created by a bunch of girls for Hollaback London, it looks more like a literary journal than a zine; it’s beautifully put together and the writing inside is really powerful. Word from Ms Beynon herself:
“Back story for review tru-facts: first issue, launched at Reclaim the Night (wish I’d met your mum when we was there!) made to raise funds for Hollabackldn which we also distribute to related feminist/community orgs (Southall Black Sisters, Croydon Rape Crisis) limited to 100—it’s $10/6quid unfortunately. For contact works and order at or www. . Oh and Langdon Olgar is Lisa Simpson’s one time boyfriend, ha!”
Resistance in the face of rape culture. There are pieces about street harassment, sexual harassment, assault, rape, sexual politics, the exclusion of women from certain spheres, power, powerlessness. Writing is both personal and theoretical, some of it is a difficult read and will be triggering obviously. I will write a full review next month in the zine section when I have gotten my thoughts together. Seriously though, this is one of the most important feminist DIY projects I have read in years…
OK, sorry for the rambling column! I am not sure if you read my column last month, but I am stepping down as content coordinator in May/June of this year. If you are interested in applying for the position hurry up and email us for info! Applications must be in by March 15th. I will still be working on the magazine and staying in the Bay Area, but just not coordinating MRR. It will have been about three years and I just need a break
Old columns:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gluebag estate

This is going to be a short column, even though it’s probably one of the hardest ones I have had to write… MRR is one of the most inspiring life changing frustrating things I have been involved in. This month, at the year end shitworker meeting I gave my six month’s notice as content coordinator of this magazine. I do not intend on leaving the Bay Area, or stopping working on the magazine totally. I just realized a few months ago that I would like to come home from a days work at my crappy retail job, and not have to work for another six hours on the magazine, then do the same thing the next day and the next day. This is partially due to my own workaholic nature, I know this, which is why I am not abandoning ship totally. I just want a break. I intend on continuing to write for this rag—that includes coming up with content, (you should do this too! Interview your favorite band and send it in!)—and of course to continue on with the epic work that goes on behind the scenes. Most of you will have no clue how much effort goes into this thing you hold in your hands, every month, year after year, over one hundred shitworkers and three coordinators all working for free.

(The below is a pic I took when I interviewed Raymond Pettibon-that's his dog in his studio. You can still get this issue on the back issues page here, it's #304
I want to continue to be involved in the magazine for years to come, which is why I am handing in my dance card or whatever twee way there is to put such a thing. I think it’s time for some new blood to take over… I have volunteered here for seven years, and I will have run this magazine for three of those years, which is a pretty good average. I think Arwen did six as coordinator? No one has beat Tim Yohannon of course, but a shitworker expressed surprise that I wasn’t planning on trying. I mentioned before that the workload was intense, it is, but the main thing is how totally life encompassing it is. I have friends I have not seen since I started coordinating MRR and I haven’t been in a band or written for my own zine Chimps either. I find it difficult to leave town for a few days without feeling guilty.
Punks are always surprised when they come here; that it’s not a squat-like building filled with GG style miscreants. Some kids from NYC dismissed me and Cissie as a bunch of “old ladies in sweaters” when they stopped by the house when she was still coordinating the magazine last year, which I thought was funny. Like how do people think this magazine happens? A bunch of punks grab glue bags and typewriters and hope for the best??!! Actually, that is how it happens. Maximum Rocknroll is not an easy thing to run. Essentially you are running a small business, a magazine, in the face of the supposed death of print media. You get to pick what runs in the magazine, but you also get to work twelve to fourteen hour days in a building with no heat, figure out how to do the yearly sales taxes for every county in California with no “boss” to tell you the right or the wrong way to do it, figure out how the rent is going to be paid each month, and deal with the fact that your house is a community space, a library of punk. This is awesome when you want to listen to Rutto 7”s and read old issues of the classic San Jose zine Forget It! Shitworkers will call me boss sometimes, but it always makes me feel weird. MRR is what it is because of all of the people that volunteer here, whether that’s the punks that email or mail in interviews and scene reports from Nepal, Venezuela and St Louis, or those that spend the Bart fare to get here from Oakland to green tape records. Punk is what you make it, whatever Brace says, it isn’t an outfit, it’s something you do. This magazine is evidence of that fact and I am proud to have been a part of its continued existence.
Are you interested in applying to be coordinator of Maximum Rocknroll? Email us for an application. Must supply own gluebag. Actually, no gluebags allowed.

Life in the Fridge Exists

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Mind is a Plastic Bag/I’m a Cliche

This month I have nothing to say! Really, nothing. I’ve spent about ten hours staring at this fake piece of paper on my computer screen thinking about the extent to which I have nothing of value to impart to the readership of MRR this month. I am eating green beans and listening to X-Ray Spex. My boss cut my hours in half, which is making my financial future fragile. Other things of note that are withering into nothin’ in my numbskull include… a general excitement about the Olympia hardcore scene after witnessing both Outlook and Weird TV destroy it in the Bay Area this month. I already touched on the majesty of Weird TV on tape (you can read all about that at my online column archive but seeing them live??? Definitely one of the best live bands so far this year, and I wait with bated breath for their record, which will be released on the faultless Perennial records, out of Olympia too. I would advise buying everything Perennial put out. So far, it has all been essential… And Weird TV are probably the band I am most psyched on since the days of extolling the merits of Sex Vid, no lie. Totally different band idea but when listening, there’s a similar level of dopamine injected into brain cells or however that works. You should send off for the tape if you want to hear the most frantic raging lady vocals that combine most eloquently the best parts of Alice Bag and Theresa Brat, emphasis on the word “raging.” I am trying to figure out where you can get one, but all the options seem to be moot, sold out, not available. An EP is forthcoming on Perennial (, and also something on singer Lizette’s sister’s label M’Ladys is mentioned!?? Who knows, at any rate Weird TV is the sum of its parts, Ben’s drumming is propulsive and somehow reminds me of Minutemen but this is a hardcore band, Erica’s bass playing is relentless and the guitar is mindmelding psyche doom hardcore youth grab your knives now. Also, apparently the girls of Olympia are influenced by the Australian sharpie movement of the ’70s in terms of hair cuts! FUN FAX.
Outlook are part of a new politically charged youth crew orientated Olympia hardcore scene that also includes the Hysterics, an all girl band I have yet to hear to my chagrin. We saw them play at the best new secret all ages space, the basement of an arts center warehouse. Something about seeing a hardcore band blow minds in a basement will always check all the right boxes in my tired brain at least… Honestly was not expecting much, went to check out Neo-Cons and No Statik, local bands, and after a week of putting this thing you hold in your hands together 12 hours a day a million days in a row was planning on leaving soon after aforementioned bands played. This did not happen! Outlook killed it, we bought the 7”, and next month there will be a review of said record and an extensive Olympia scene report penned by Ben of the awesome Nuts!? zine… You can check out the more crew oly HC shit here: Alsoof note: Scotty Karate told a story about how the last time he saw Mariam was when he stayed at her house in Chicago after a show, and woke up to some girl pissing on him.
layla (at)
1-watch my teenage band and see how much my accent has mutated via this video of the Huggy Bear/Bikini Kill tour of the UK in ’93 also contains super amazing footage of the Raincoats with palmolive on drums... 2-next month the second volume of my tape review backlog!