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! www.direrecords.com. 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! firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com works and order at www.direrecords.com or www. ldn.ihollaback.org . 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: whatwewantisfree.blogspot.com