Sunday, December 9, 2012

Another Look Back at the End of the World

Since I have no column in this month's MRR i will put my aborted first paragraph here, and a top five. Sorry for crazy formatting I am no pro, lo pro, no pro.
Number one!

I have been listening to the Weekend '81 Demos on repeat. Weekend were Alison Statton's post Young Marble Giants band, and the LP and EPs are full of very polished lounge pop, somewhat reminiscent in feel of Paul Weller's post Jam band, the Style Council. The Specials also put a lot of lounge stylings on their later records, so it must have been a "thing" in post 1980s English music culture. Easy European influenced sounds meant to invoke a feeling of stylishness and a cosmopolitan post-war ease, but imbued with a post-punk arch distance made more vicious when you consider the brutal reality of life under a Thatcher government. The demo versions of the Weekend songs have an unease and awkwardness that brings them closer to Young Marble Giants work than the "official" versions, making them a perfect soundtrack to a month spent feeling out of sorts and disconnected.

WHY DIDN'T I BUY LUDELLA BLACK LPs and KYRA LPs!!! I have fifty thousand Holly Golightly ones!!! and delmonas and headcoatees. WANNIT!
This was a song i put on mix tapes from the delmonas LP, here is the original tin pan alley version, written by lou reed and john cale!  

THREE! I listen to comet gain a lot at work, have been revisiting this LP, though I much prefer Rachel as a singer, this girl holds no candle to Rachel's majesty! But still so many good songs! and her voice is cool  
FOUR I have been having a power pop moment, but only jams and no kreepy stalker boy power pearl drivel THE SHIVVERSSSSSS!!!!  

FIVE If you click on this you will see a magical video of Francoise Hardy floating thru picadilly circus in the 60s. it's not her best song but let's go back in time and hang out in London in the 60s, read Shena Mackay and imagine distant galaxies and stifled lives all at once

Monday, December 3, 2012

Learn to hate in the eighties

I am sitting on my sofa deflated and dejected, (like the Kinks song or the Lovechild song? You decide! If you have not heard either one I command you to do so immediately! 
Youtube either band name and word sofa and all will be revealed). My skin feels like it’s covered with wire wool, my bones are aching and my brains are dissolving. I cycled home from work last night and while I was stopped at a stop sign, in the pouring rain after an hour long cycle, some upstanding citizen in his seventies felt the need to stop his car and inform me that all cyclists were cocksuckers, myself included. I don’t understand why men think it’s OK to approach lone women after dark, literally when I am by myself commuting home from the night shift at my work, every fucking shadow is a potential attacker. Don’t talk to me or whistle while walking behind me, or catch my eye. Get the fuck away from me and let me go home without having to negotiate your potentially threatening presence. I imagined this shitty old man calling his grand daughter a cocksucker as she rode around on his front lawn on her bike with training wheels. I imagined him being one of those leaden republican trolls that have made the comments section on any news website unreadable with their bile and hate and rage. I imagined him driving into the concrete posts of the bridge I had just passed under as I bombed down the hill as fast as I could to get away from his shitty Giants baseball cap and Archie Bunker persona. I thought about my grandparents, both from Kentucky, both so kind and generous and sweet to strangers and friends alike. Two people who probably never called anyone a cocksucker in their lives, and wondered to myself what could have happened to this toxic human, probably considered to be part of the “greatest generation,” that made him think it was OK to call a lone woman commuter a cocksucker!? The internet has quickly made the most vile thoughts part of the national discourse, people’s bodies and politics are dissected by lizard like minds who haven’t read a book since some teacher made them do so in high school, if then. Being an ignorant hateful troll is considered real American home-spun apple-pie authentic; people who would have known previously to hide their secret hatreds let them ooze out into the public sphere, goaded by talk radio hosts and Palin like politicians.

I am sitting on the sofa listening to my favorite Francoise Hardy LP and drinking my second cup of coffee, gearing myself up for the cycle into work past oblivious blonde ladies driving Mercedes SUVs whilst screaming at the hired help on smart phones whilst simultaneously doing all they can to obliterate me and my bike with their tank like vehicles. Past guys with Euro-stubble in convertibles with “I Ride with Romney/Ryan” bumper stickers emblazoned proudly on the back blasting terrible Ibiza house jams. This is San Francisco! My bike ride takes me through the worst part of the city, inhabited by people whose biggest struggle is picking which brunch place to line up outside each week. Most of the time I see through them, and just charge up and down the hills towards my work, a bastion of radical thought and literature in a sea of gross dudes puking on their pleat fronted chinos as they veer from strip joint to strip joint. I have understandably never really hung out in this part of the city before, it’s constructed for the entertainment of oblivious yuppies and the hills above it are inhabited by the 1%. People who pay more in taxes in one year than I will make in ten years! Well, that’s if the tax cuts for the rich do not continue! It’s pretty insane when you hear about someone who will have to pay $130,000 in taxes on their income this year if the tax cuts stop. No wonder that jerk in the convertible rides with Romney. There is another half of this city where kids graduate from high school without being to write a sentence, where women work three or four jobs to make rent as boho youthful yuppies cycle past on $2000 fixed gear bicycles, farm to fork brunch-ward bound.
Anyway I am full of bile today, but here are some things that make life less hateful.
1) Finding a stash of old Flamin Groovies Filmore posters at my work, cool Monty Python meets Art Deco stylings.

2) Reading the book The Manuscript Found at Saragasso, I saw the movie, an amazing Polish psychedelic disturbance created in the 60s, but was intimidated by the book for some reason. I thought it was gonna be Don Quixote style work, but it isn’t. It’s a total pleasure to read, like Italo Calvino rewrote Chaucer. A million stories piled on top of each other and somehow though the book is as thick as Moby Dick you can’t put it down. Endless adventure!

3) The amazing Finnish band the Splits sent me their LP! It’s on P Trash and it rules so hard! They remind me of the Testors, the Dictators, but are all girl, and I think I already wrote this in my review of their 7” a few issues back, but they named themselves the Splits because they loved the Slits and the Splits equally. So rad.
4) Diane of Livid/Opt Out/Brilliant Colors fame joined my favorite local band, Index! Index is the best and they have a tape you should send out for OK? I am reviewing it next issue, but it’s so so so good! For people that love Sham 69 as much as they love the Kleenex 7”!!
5) Bona Dish! An amazing mostly girl band from the early ’80s who only had two tapes, both of which you can download if you can use an internet search engine or listen to on YouTube, total strange bedroom post punk constructions that are dark and poppy in a primitive compulsive fashion. They have a Facebook page with lots of links for you to check out!
That’s all the positivity I have mental capacity for this month.
Layla (at)

Monday, November 5, 2012

You've Got to Pay

This is the November issue, but it comes out in October, which is is the best month of the year, for autumnal reasons and also for the fact that it's my birthday month, plus Halloween (even though I never do anything for Halloween).
I am writing this at work, sitting upstairs at a bookstore in North Beach watching the chaos unfold, homeless guys screaming at each other about stolen skateboards, a terrible relentless busker playing the same Led Zeppelin song over and over again to the delight of a pack of gross jocks that make up most of the crowd that now hang out in this formerly bohemian neighborhood. I work the night shift, and cycle nearly nine miles each way to get to work, from the Ocean to the Bay, through the park and through some of the ritziest neighborhoods in San Francisco. At night, at one in the morning when I am bombing the hills towards home this town seems haunted and empty, spectral and desolate. There are an inordinate amount of men who go jogging at 1am, alone, huffing down suburban streets with headlamps, safe in the cocoon of male privilege that affords them the luxury of not thinking about whether that shadow is a rapist or a distorted tree... I have been attacked twice during this commute, once whilst riding my bike and once on the bus before I started riding my bike; for a while every trashcan looked like a potential monster, but now things are shifting back. I am still very aware of my surroundings, very aware that every car full of kids might stop and fuck with me, that those drunks might push me off my bike, that that fucked up raver who has stopped his car in the middle of the street to dance by himself like a windmill might do more than yell at me aggressively. I don't take chances or feel relaxed; I used to bomb the last hill, through the darkness of Golden Gate Park staring up at the stars through the trees or watching the fog creep in and slowly submerge everything around me. Not so much anymore. But last night I saw skunks, and a fox and the shadowy shapes of the bison in their pen, and not another human for the last five miles of my ride. Reading about other people my age and the struggle to get any sort of paying work makes me very aware of how good I have it, working full time at one of the best bookstores in the world with coworkers who I enjoy, for not very much money and with not the best hours ever. But I can make my rent and buy a record or two. Privilege.

I have been thinking about work a lot recently, especially after a year of being underemployed and barely getting by, and also since ceasing to coordinate MRR, which is a more than full time job. But a job that gives you a sense of security in that you're working from home, the MRR compound, and in exchange for your labor you don't have to pay rent or bills. I mean that sense of security is undermined somewhat by the stressful nature of the job, and the stressful nature of the job is undermined by the fun and good times that running the best international punk magazine provides. (In fact, you should write to and ask for a coordinator application if you are a detail orientated punk music maniac who loves to write! Seriously dooo it! You get to pick what runs in this very magazine you are holding and live in San Francisco rent free!!) One of the things I have been doing since I quit the magazine is helping Bikini Kill with their reissue project. You may have heard that Bikini Kill started their own record label in order to reissue all of the BK records and some rare unreleased recordings too, plus Frumpies and Casual Dots too... It was cool to do something as radical and exciting as this and get paid for it. The endless paradox of working bottom rung shitty jobs because you don't want to be somebody's secretary, or shill for some corporation, and just writing for kicks and out of desperation... Then getting paid to write about something so important to your existence as a revolutionary girl punk youth. Maybe there's some sort of future in words? Well, maybe only if I move to a town where the rent isn't a mess of pottage. You will see the fruits of my labors in a month or so when the first EP comes out. It was really exciting to be a part of something as monumental as this; Bikini Kill were my generation's Minor Threat, a band that shaped and shifted the culture and made so many realize that they could do it too. Including a teenage me! There are so many more women and queers playing music now, 25 years later. It's so cool, every month there is a new band or three to freak out about in different parts of the world that send in their tape or record to Maximum or who I hear about on some social network site. I bet if you read the archives of my column-blog thing you would see I extol the virtues of a band or two every month that were formed by bored and/or adventurous ladies. (!) Watching the Hysterics and then Weird TV whilst those bands were on tour were total inspiration forces, and the Honeysuck 7" I got for review this month too! There are secret girl histories all over the place, and new ones being created as I type! When I am toiling at the counter at work I frequently discover crazy girl bands that only had a tape in 1982, like Bona Dish-discovered via the 433rpm blog and listened to on youtube whilst serving the tourists of North Beach their Beatnik History Digests! Also reading the comments on the Termites "Tell Me" youtube page leading to the discovery that they have another amazing 7", that they were Walthamstow mod girls, and not just faceless girlgroupettes from a Girls in the Garage comp! So much more where that came from.
At any rate, one of the things that I said when I wanted to stop coordinating the mag was that I was going to start playing music again; well reader, I did. I am in a band with a Frumpie and an Awesome, we are long distance style right now but I think in the future it will be telepathic... We have songs after a week of skating and late night practice sessions. Here is a top ten of those times:
1: Skate for fun or not at all, with Frankenstein in the car park of the Northern. Super 8 footage was shot, so watch your local underground movie pavilion cuz we are taking over. We don't skate parks, we skate old school style, parking lots and curbs...

2: Puyallup Fair, which get its own sub top ten 1) the ponies and bunnies 2) Marissa ate deep fried butter, she is a true soldier for snax and the revolution 3) the wood butcher art of a life size baby bear taking a dump on a life size wooden toilet 4) the  rollercoasters 5)the '60s mod rocker aerial sky ride across the carnival 6) the high school alienation disaffection art competition 7) the crazy hypnotist lady performance, total audience domination until she started getting all homophobic / state fair hypnotist hypnotize this 8) it was half price ride day and there were no lines 9) the skateboarding bird 10) fair food

3: Playing music with Tobi and Marissa, the best, Marissa is a shredder, Tobi one of the best drummers ever, new excitement sounds for late night writing lifestyles
4: Watching Sir Drone, one of the best movies in the history of time. Mike Kelley RIP for real. If anyone has a copy of this they can dub for me I would be so stoked. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen, true comic genius, the essence of punk, the youth movement for all ages.

5: Seeing Henry Rollins and Henri Riot in one night, (or I should say, Mo Henry Rollins, FREE PUSSY RIOT) hanging out on the bench and lurking as he lectured the kids after the show about Chuck Biscuits' dual chocolate milk and booze chugging and drumming style, '82 demos / you're fired! Why pay to hear him speak when you can lurk the outside the tour bus after party for free.
6: Chain and the Gang and Spider and the Webs and Grass Widow and Neonates and Permanent Ruin and Crude Thought and Gag live... We missed Milk Music, band practice took precedence, but apparently it was gonna be the last Olympia show in a while so I am sure it was epic. Olympia is for real a 24 hour society, five shows a night, constant action, all night diner, girls skating in the streets, everyone is in five bands, band practice at the deli, shows at the all ages art space or the pizzeria, or the printmaking studio, abandoned puppies rescued by sympathetic bar tenders, mo henry.
7) Suzuki Bean book (google it! beat-sploitation for kids!)
8) Watching the seals lunge at the salmon
9) Jean Smith Pussy Riot paintings...
10) Lakeside walks and mod memorial book readings

OK start a band, write a zine, email me layla at

Sunday, October 21, 2012


One of the things I have been working on since leaving Maximum Rocknroll as coordinator is this amazing new project! BIKINI KILL REISSUE!!! Preorder now and get a rad poster designed by Kathi Wilcox! I helped with the liner notes/a fold out compilation of zine writings and images you can also put up on your wall OK? YES! Order it then start your own band immediately.

Monday, October 8, 2012

single bullets

When I first moved to America I was totally startled by the professionalism exhibited by its punk bands in regards to practicing. I have been playing in bands since I was thirteen, and I moved to the US when I was twenty three, so I had a few bands under my belt so to speak. But some of these bands didn't ever play outside of my bedroom. Some were just a conversation. Only one or two actually had organized practice space, both happening to be at youth centers where we were probably the only teens who had touched the practice space since rave culture decimated anyone's desire, in our neighborhood at least, to be in a band. We mostly formed bands and played music to hang out with each other, and I am definitely not speaking for every single English person or human being that was a punk in London in the '90s, just for my circle of friends. We were all teenage girls from various housing estates in West London, we found each other through our love of underground music, and skateboarding. We performed both of these activities with a distinct lack of interest in reaching for the stars or being the champions of the world. In fact we pretty much just did these things to hang out with each other with in desolate car parks or to somehow trick the antiquated youth club system into letting us make shit-fi sounds on the government's dime. The first time I played music with Americans, it was a pretty similar mentality; the girls I was playing with had also been in a degenerate teenage punk combo, theirs was Emily's Sassy Lime. That band was drawing to a close, and so when I moved to California we formed numerous new bands with various combinations of girls and played shows whenever we could. Sometimes with only songs written on the plane towards the location in which our gig was scheduled, as was the case when we played Olympia the first time under the name the Dillettoes. We evolved into the Shady Ladies, and maybe some day I will unleash the majesty of our recorded works onto the universe. If you saw us play, you were one of us. When I relocated to the Bay Area the attitude was much more pro gear, pro audio. Everyone had a practice space, huge monolithic amps and preordained riffs. I remember attempting to play with some garage rocker types in Oakland, they riffed and rocked and wailed, and I stood dumbfounded attempting to figure out what the fuck I was supposed to do. I eventually found some miscreants who got my endtimes, collapsible D is for duh guitar style, and formed a band and went on tour, but that was about eight years ago... My teenage band was informed by the sounds of the Shaggs and Huggy Bear, when I discovered Mars, DNA, Void and No Trend that added more ammunition, but I have never been moved by the urge to rawk or shred. This is something that may work for others, and in some cases it makes for an OK sound, but for the most part I would rather listen to say the Primitive Calculators than some perfect modern day approximation of Teenage Head. At any rate, skate for fun or not at all.

Monday, September 10, 2012

it's just the same old thing

A few years ago Alternative Tentacles reissued a demo tape onto 10” vinyl that the Melvins had sent into them in the early ’80s that Jello had rediscovered in his archive. To commemorate the occasion they performed the record, in the style of so many bands nowadays, “performing” records from years ago like they are theatre. It was at the Great American Music Hall in SF, with Jello as support, I got to go for free as my boyfriend works for the distribution company that AT go through; I think I even wrote about it in this space, about how the sound was too “pro gear pro attitude” and didn’t match up with the scrappiness of the essentially HC demo at all. And about Jello pantomiming to a song called something like “Coffee Plantation” about all the laptop droids that are taking over coffee shops in cities, and their barista/server overlords. Well, as you may or may not know San Francisco is in the middle of another dot com boom; Twitter and Facebook and a million other start ups and app creators are infesting our beautiful formally bohemian city and Valencia Street, once center of the anti-yuppie anti-dot com movement is now totally filled with young people wearing made in America denim with Lil House on the Prairie mustaches and sitcom blank eyes consuming all they can... I haven’t lived in the Mission for five years, and even when I lived there it was clear things were changing, Valencia has been gentrifying for over twenty years at this point in time, but it’s apparent the onslaught of the dot com deluge is final and complete. Walking past Adobe Books and seeing the closing sign in the window felt like someone had finally taken the air out of the tires of what this city was. Abobe is a local cultural institution, a second hand bookstore that lets day laborers and itinerant types sleep on the many chairs, that hosts art openings and readings by punks and others who don’t fit into San Francisco’s Literary Brunch scene. It truly was a magical place, somewhere to disappear for a few hours, and it’s so gross that it’s probably gonna be some gnarly reclaimed wood steam punk douche hang out that serves artisan pickles in a few months. The city is on its knees begging for corporations to take huge tax breaks and turn this place into an extension of the suburbs in which they should be existing. People that are unfortunate enough to have to work in Silicon Valley still get to live here, and get driven out on company busses sometimes further north than Sacramento to their places of employment. It’s not longer “cool” to live in the safety of the suburbs, so the tactic is to transform San Francisco into such a place...
It’s clear they have taken the city bar a few
undesirable neighborhoods, but give them time! Give them time; the entire city shall be theirs. Maybe even the foggy desolate ocean-side neighborhood I live in. Right now they are invaders, but maybe they’ll wanna make it home soon? Hopefully not! It’s a good seven mile cycle to the Mission, eight miles to North Beach, so maybe a bit far from the authentic Victorian barber shop recreations, pour over coffee and selvedge denim emporiums. All you need to do to change the world is change the channel. The old beer vats that punks once squatted are now condos, and reading about old existences in the city fills me with nostalgia and melancholy... Radical labor movements from the early part of the last century have ceded to this?!
Today I was walking around hitting up all the thrift stores, which is what I like to do on my day off, and it reminded me of living in lower Manhattan in the late ’90s/early ’00s, when it started to feel like I was living in a mall rather than a city. SF is much smaller than NYC and the neighborhoods are separated by huge hills, so it’s easy to stay in one neighborhood and never venture out of it, sorta like the uptown/downtown dichotomy of NYC I guess? But the globalness of cool, the insidiousness and ultimately meaninglessness of hipsterisms, where everything is a commodity, especially ideas, culture, clothing, anything that someone can attach meaning to and use to sell a product to kids who want more more more of something new new new. This hyper real hyper endless culture: blurred amoral bathtub drugged out times, Jane Birkin-ed out girls, every boy just stepped of a yacht in a Carly Simon song, it feels like that “hot tub yuppies in Marin on coke” era of post-’60s radicalism: the seventies of Steely Dan blandness, mellow “authenticity” with no sharp questions about race or class. Just for the feeeeling, don’t step on anyone’s toes. Everyone loves post-glam-beachpunk-surf-garage fuzz and is fucking boring and an oblivious yuppie consuming lifestyle like it’s coke in a golden bowl. Tumblr blog desolation. Got the outfit, got the cash, let’s blow it all on shitty music and a bland time! As Esmeralda of Noh Mercy stated in these pages a few months back, Valencia Street (and all the other similar streets of shame) are full of  yuppies, not “hipsters.”
Anyway, teenage tantrums, nostalgia, DIY, off the pigs and up the punks. //

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

a boring tirade

One of the weird things about running MRR is the insider/outsider take on the music business it offers. The magazine starts out from a place of refusal, an attempt to create something outside of the music industrial complex. And yet for probably the past ten-fifteen years this thing that our version of punk, a thing which the DIY network was put in place to circumvent, has become part of the reality of a lot of the music and musicians we cover. Things that would have once been out of the ordinary are now usual; one sheets from PR companies, bands that supposedly operate on a DIY scale who also play Blackberry / Facebook / corporate holiday parties for thousands of dollars, and of course corporate sponsorship of tours and records and punk festivals. Bands having not only a PR person that handles their records, but also one to promote the tour probably means that the only way they can financially exist is by accepting as much corporate cash as is humanely possible. Of course we exist in an era where only a small fraction of kids actually buy records; music is now seen as being something that should be free, everything is a one sided tape trade, so bands that actually expect to make a living from their sound or even a profit are “forced” to engage with the market place. Right?! There’s a lot of room for contradiction; for instance a friend’s band who I am pretty sure get flowed free sneakers from Nike recently played an anti-Walmart benefit... Of course there still exists a huge underground DIY network of punks that refuse to participate in corporate/pseudo music biz bullshit, and thousands of bands who have no dreams of playing the Diesel tent at SXSW in exchange for a pair of jeans and some coverage on 
I have been thinking about the incursion of music business practices into punk rock, in the light of the fact that Maximum Rocknroll is thirty, and especially since I now get all my MRR email automatically forwarded and about three quarters of it is made up of relentless PR screeds for bands that you probably own records by. (And many more that you do not! It’s an endless stream of shit). 
It’s a different era from the one in which I grew up in for sure. My gateway band was Nirvana, a classic example of a band who desired stardom whilst being repulsed by it at the same time. I can’t imagine any members of that band giving away free Scion branded tube socks at their merch table however... From Nirvana it was a quick descent into actual DIY punk, a lot of which I found out about courtesy of major news outlets like Sassy magazine and the Melody Maker/NME before discovering actual underground communication methods. My teenage punk band, at the height of the Riot Grrl news frenzy would not do interviews with major publications, only fanzines. We had people literally invent interviews with us so they could get their GrrrlScoop taken care of, but we refused partly because of Huggy Bear’s treatment in the press, and partly because of the Fugazi code. Fugazi’s influence seems to have totally waned in terms of band ethics now, but when I was a teenage punk, even if you did not like their music (I did but I know many reading this did not) their ethics and ways of doing things as a band informed the culture in seismic ways. Of course people had lived DIY pre-“Margin Walker”, I am not claiming that Fugazi invented anything, but this was a huge band who insisted in doing everything on their own terms, using small scale DIY ethics even when their LPs made the Billboard Hot 100. I don’t think anything I am saying here is particularly revolutionary, but someone told me what a certain band got paid to play a Blackberry staff party, and it was more than I make in a month. In three months! It just made me think of how for example, now MRR is not paying my rent anymore, my job at City Lights Books is much less appealing in that it doesn’t cover San Francisco rent a lot of the time, and I have to sell shit in order to make the difference... Maybe too much personal information, but I wanted to heighten the fact that although I love my job I barely get by, and I am not someone who is complaining about people making life / financial decisions from the comfort of my parents’ basement or something. 
And as I stated before, there are many bands who refuse corporate hand outs, that somehow manage to do US tours without the help of multinational corporations, who rely on the DIY network to sell records rather than the Artie Fufkin PR angle. I am not trying to entirely write off our scene/culture as a mini-music business model because for the most part it is not like that, out of choice and out of necessity, and uh, reality. But we are definitely in an era where it seems for the most part consumers of underground music do not care if the fest they are at is sponsored by PBR or if the band they are watching got their gas money from a car conglomerate. Is creating a semi-DIY mirror of the music business what punk rock is aiming for? I mean I am not saying that punks who have set up their own screen printing, or record mastering or recording businesses should all stop engaging with capitalism and come smoke some banana peels with me, maaan. I understand that it’s better to support a small, DIY business, but I don’t understand the PR creep in. For example, if your band can’t sell any records without the help of a PR person, maybe that indicates that your band does not have enough of a fanbase to be putting out records at this point in time!? But then see my comment about kids not buying records; you have to be pretty popular nowadays to sell a thousand records... It seems the current business model is press 300 of something, attempt to build up some message board hype, hope they sell out instantly and become momentary ebay gold, before people move onto the next internet sensation, forgetting the names of those that went before...
What do I know! I do know that I pretty much delete all emails from PR agencies instantly. I also know that I have only been in one band that anyone (meaning the mainstream media) has cared about, and we had the privilege of not giving a shit about making it in the biz, possibly due to the fact that we were fourteen/fifteen years old. We played big shows (for instance the reason I met Lance Hahn was that J Church were Beck’s backing band when my band supported him...) and that back then, as is the case now, if your band is playing a big show like that, you will get paid about $50-$100 and also have to sign some shit about not playing anywhere in that city for a month. Supposedly the “exposure” you get from having 500-1500 kids screaming at you to go away so they can watch the headliner is payment itself. Unless of course you have a PR agent to negotiate better terms for you. Maybe you can put on your PR agent drag and work it out yourself with the venue, DIY style?! One of my friend’s bands was in this position recently—they were offered lots of amazing “career-wise” opening slots for amounts of money that wouldn’t even cover gas costs, and I was totally blown away by how little the terms had changed from my limited experience of twenty years ago. At one time said she was gonna write a big expose about all of this for the magazine, since she was living it (but without a PR agent representative holding her hand) but it never materialized. All of this shit is a world I am not interested in existing in. Drum tech, guitar tech, sound guy tombstone.
At any rate, this is a rambling confused column, with a lot of remarks that have been made before, but I think since this magazine you are holding has made it to age 30 without compromise, without knowingly taking advertising money from corporate entities, only supporting DIY bands, of a narrow scope perhaps, but on its own terms... I think that’s all the evidence you need that indeed, another world is possible, that punk rock does not owe you a living, that you are the one that owes punk. You have to make punk what you want it to be. 
Sometimes when I am at a show, or when I see pictures of kids at shows and every single punk is wearing a bootleg t-shirt of some band that broke up thirty years ago, probably bought online, it makes me wonder what the point of all of this is. Another outfit bought out of a catalog to signify the correct allegiance to whatever subsect you are adhering to!? What does it all mean!? We all walk in line.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A ceremonial top five!
1: Huggy Bear live in 1994 video on you tube!! This era of Huggy makes me so nostalgic for my teenagerhood... Hardcore records and mod girl haircuts. Angela Davis and the Wipers...
2: Gun Outfit, Spiritual Warriors, Replica and Index live at Thrillhouse. Replica are amazing; ex Duck and Cover and Infect, most girl raging HC with Dharma destroying all previous front people’s attempts at frontpersoning with her total reality. Send off for their tape already. Google that shit. Bay Area hardcore, it’s going off. Index played their first show, Eric from Jump Off a Building/Nodzzzz, Jess Brilliant Color on vox and I think a Traditional fool (I might be wrong) and they sounded like Kleenex playing Sham 69 songs; ie totally sick. Spiritual Warriors are a new mutant Olympia hardcore band, they have a tape you gotta get it. Weird TV and Gun Outfit peoples making your destructive urges seem more necessary. Sick! Gun Outfit bummed out the HC scene who wanted Replica to play (I sympathise, Replica is the best) but Gun Outfit paint landscapes of dark times and loneliness in a specific Northwestern manner that makes me feel like I am watching a movie or reading a book, there but not there. It’s so good and they are moving to LA?!
3: Proxy tape. We listened to this a lot during print week; great Blitz styled street punk from Montreal, I think Inepsy members are involved somehow? It sounds like Born Dead Icons playing Blitz, ie rules! The first song is just OK, but the good songs on this thing are great.
4: Weird TV test press for the new 12”. Seriously, I love this band. This is what we have been waiting for ok?
5: So this is the first issue of MRR without my name in the coordinator spot! Mariam asked me if I was gonna keep writing a column; I think so... We’ll see! Lydia got here from Greece at the end of last month, and has been impressing us all with her masterful editing skills and attention to detail, and I am happy to hand over the joys of running the magazine to her.  As I am sure I have stated a million times in this space, I intend on keeping on working on the magazine in various behind the scenes activities, and will continue to contribute content. (As you should too!! Send in a scene report/interview already). I am working on several things at once even as I type!
    You may have read Mariam’s column about having to move on from coordinating MRR this year also; she has some family responsibilities that mean she has to shift focus. That means you could be coordinator still! Seriously; you could be the person who picks what runs in the magazine, what interviews with super secret cult bands from 1982 or from last week, what theme issues and what projects... You get to live at the MRR house for free, rent and bills paid, with over 40,000 punk records and a hundred or so shitworkers passing through the house assisting you in your endeavors! You have to live in San Francisco, at the Maximum house, and you gotta have your shit together (ie to be able to edit and run a magazine), whilst at the same time being absolutely consumed by punk rock and all it has to offer. Email us at and let us know why you are interested and what you think you could bring to the magazine and we will send you an application. It’s a two year commitment. I lasted four years, the longest anyone (aside from Tim Yohannan, obviously) has lasted is six, but most people put in two or three years. It’s hard work, like going to graduate school for punks, but it’s the most fun/gratifying thing too. So much music to discover, punks from all over the world to correspond with and to coerce into contributing to the magazine! DIY or DIE!!
You can read old columns by me here: and you can email me at

Thursday, May 31, 2012

    This is the last column I will write in this spot; the coordinator columns always go at the end of the columns section, put in at the last minute after a month of working on the magazine, a collection of hurried thoughts congealed into words by tired brains, usually at 3am, before the mag goes to the printer... And as of May 1st 2012 I am no longer coordinator of Maximum Rocknroll. I have been doing this for four years, I think writing my column for six? And it’s time for a new regime; this next month I will be training our new content coordinator Lydia, who just got here from Greece, and it feels like it’s the end an era. I will not be in charge of Maximum Rocknroll from here on out! It’s all in Mariam and Lydia’s hands. I am looking forward to seeing what sort of things they come up with to fill these pages and I will still contribute to the magazine, but just as a shitworker, no longer as the dark overlord of content production. Listening to Martin Hannett “First Aspect of the Same Thing” looking out my window at the street lights reflecting on the ocean, it’s a weird empty feeling but I am looking forward to a future I know nothing about unfolding.
    Today at work a kid with an amazing hand-drawn Minor Threat t-shirt came in and when I commented on his handiwork told me he liked my column. Another person bought the Touch & Go book but I didn’t feel like talking about it; I did talk with some enthusiastic art school kids from the Deptford about squatting in Camberwell. Camberwell Now. I am listening to the song “Working Nights” by Camberwell Now as a result, experiencing the subject matter as the song plays, working nights working nights. Gotta get up at zero AM and ride my bike out through the park to MRR, lay out the columns and upload the proof to the printer then go the North Beach to my job that pays the rent (in theory), and serve a different kind of public. “Do you have Fifty Shades of Grey/the Hunger Games/That Book About Steve Jobs?” “No. But you can get it at Costco.” “Is there a Barnes and Noble or something around here?!?!” “NO, they all went out of business in this city because people like you only buy things online.” “There aren’t any bookstores in this town!” “There are actually a ton, just none in Fisherman’s Wharf, tourist. May I borrow your concealed weapon and blow my brains out? I am sick of talking to you and your endless army.” I will listen to Camberwell Now and Martin Hannett all day, subsist on Ritz crackers and bad vibes. Just those two songs. Over and over. And the New Order Peel Session where they play dub versions, the first one. “Turn the heater off... tonight.”
    Usually when I am having the 2am inspiration dried out column writing session, I write about shows I have gone to or bands I am obsessed with. Well, the only show I went to this month was Merchandise, which for everyone I went with seemed to be a total bust, but I had a good time! It made me think of looseness of Arthur Russell songs, secret worlds created. I listened to the first Merchandise LP on repeat for most of last year, and when the D Vassalotti LP came out, though MRR could not review it I put it on almost every day for a month whilst spending the minimal time you get to spend in your room as a MRR coordinator. (Living where you work is not very conducive to mooching around in your room if you are an obsessive workaholic type... which is what the magazine demands!) I was not into raging hard before I moved into the MRR house, and my life continued on the trajectory of not going to DJ nights, or twelve band shows at houses in Oakland that probably have no chance of finishing before the last BART heads back over to San Francisco, and I have a feeling that this arc will continue. As stated previously I will continue to write for the magazine, and to come up with content—which incidentally you should too. Anyone can submit an interview! Anyone! Seriously, interview your friend’s band, or someone that has influenced you that you are not friends with that is a punk... I think the first interview I submitted was with Sharon Cheslow, who was one of the photographers/authors behind the classic Banned in DC, and I actually did it for my zine Chimps but it came out so cool I submitted it to the magazine. If you think the editing is shitty write the and volunteer your services as a proof reader, same with layout. If you want to advertise your punk CD-R distribution network email for rates. If you are an insane genius comic artist who is somewhere between Julie Doucet, Pettibon and Nick Blinko submit your work to The content coordinators are the deciders in terms of what gets run in the magazine, as their job title would indicate, so there is no guarantee your interview with Stig and the Skip Diggers will run, but if Mariam and Lydia are charmed by the band’s witty quips, even though they have never heard them as they have never played outside of Romford, but they are of course DIY as death, (no corporate bozos in the mag) maybe they will choose will run it. So send it in already! Did I already write about how much our new distro coordinator rules!? Francesca moved in a month or so ago, and she is the best. Negative and charming like all the best punx are, always busting out weird secret girl records, like for instance the Fifth Column record that came out in 1990, an LP that has songs that go between NeoBoys and Shop Assistants! It’s so good! Who knew that “All Women Are Bitches” was just a random blip of boredom on that band’s career trail. She made me a tape of all the jams. And that Florida 7” comp with Morbid Opera on it that someone put on a mix tape for me years ago but I never knew who the band was. “Go ahead! Go ahead Go Aheeeeeaaaaaaaaaaah….”
    OK, so it’s 5am, the sun is risen and I need more coffee. I am listening to the Termites version of “Tell Me” from Girls in the Garage. It’s so good, teenage desperation, desolate like alleyways and it makes me wanna listen to Frumpies 7”s and eat popcorn for dinner. Also did you know that “Why Don’t You Smile Now” wasn’t a Delmonas song? It’s a Cale/Reed collaboration from when they were more Tin Pan Alley attempters. I learned this fact that maybe the whole world knows within the last two years: “You said you had everything you need / You said he could give you much more than me / Why don’t you smile now...” You can look it up on You Tube, by the All Night Workers, this is my song this morning. Also listen to the Delmonas version because Black Ludella, she’s been lyin to me... There used to be a record store in Camden that pretty much only sold Vinyl Japan/Hangman related records, it was next to a store that sold Doctor Martin boots and other workboots to skinhead types, actually inside the Camden Lock tube station, so me and all my teenage cohorts had all the Headcoatees/Childish access needed to develop our minds as youths and head towards delinquency as creation rather than any other existence offered to teenage girls growing up in London in the early 1990s. I wanna be a Delmona when I grow up. OK I think that’s enough of my rambling insanity for this month. I will be back writing columns in this space, but if you want to you can email me at my old columns are here: and I think I am gonna compile them all into one fanzine type of thing at some point this year. Make a mess.
    Brace said I should do this column as a top ten thing like I used to, so here is something: 1: Chloe Sevigny owns the jacket that Linda Manz wore in Out of the Blue!? 2: I am the last punk 3: I like the Beach Boys better than Discharge/the D-beat 4: Eat it 5: “Notes and Chords Mean Nothing to Me” / “We Don’t Need Freedom” 6: Mariam, Francesca and me are gonna go to Berkeley when all the rich college kids abandon ship for their country homes and get all the computers and things they apparently leave behind. (Francesca has an powerbook some future billionaire of America left in a dumpster last year! College kids, what the fuck! CAN YOU EVEN imagine being that privileged that you would throw your thousand dollar computer into a dumpster?! My computer is gonna be ten years old this year! I want a free one from some trillionaire frat brat) 7: Hey Tobi did the Up All Nighters ever record anything!? 8: The Tortura tape is really good... London punk girls righting wrongs. 9: Someone send me the Quix*o*tic LP and the Cupid Car Club demo tape OK!? also write me letters. No creeps!
All girls start bands and skate gangs.

Friday, May 25, 2012

where I come from/they don't joke about it

SO GOOD!!! I love this era of huggy! Jo looks so dreamy, niki looks like etta james and drew barrymore and they all look like they were cut outta that richard barnes mods book and also the hardcore california book. I wish I had taken more photos of this era of my life, oh well! someone will youtube it sometime.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

a t shirt out of your dreams

Things that have happened since I moved out of the MRR house... I got consumed by Thomas Pynchon’s writing, I got to have one inspiring conversation with Charles from My Mind’s Eye records in Cleveland about that city’s legendary musical legacy, and I have been collecting books by the women in the Weather Underground and other similar 1960s lady insurrectionists, so maybe I will have a one girl book club this spring and summer. Bonnie Bremser’s book! Troia; you gotta… I listened to Ultravox’s Ha Ha Ha LP obsessively, and then got into Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain. Though right now I am listening to a demo by Quango, who apparently feature members of the Apostles, Oi Polloi and Hygiene and despite this mixed bag of musical legacies are fucking great! Check it out!
I can see the ocean from my window nowadays and it’s hard to leave this room, a million books and records to look through and listen to without the threat of “I should be editing that eleven page scene report.” b/w “The Landladies are coming over.” Instead: Peter Blake art book found on the street, Danny Lyon photography book scrimped and saved for, boxes of old zines from Tobi’s Jigsaw to Pettibon’s, the detritus of an obsessive’s life! I also have amassed a collection of skateboards from various points in my life, and Skate Summer: The Revenge is being planned for as I type. I skated to work last week, from MRR to North Beach; only got stressful when I got to Chinatown and shit got too hectic for this ancient crone. At any rate, we have a new coordinator moving in to the compound sometime in April, Lydia is her name, and her interview was easily the most inspiring I have ever conducted in my five years here! I will still be coordinating until then, and will still be involved in the magazine, but hopefully will at that point have more time to do all the other super important stuff I have planned for life post-Maximum Rocknroll like skateboarding and reading and... yeah.
It seems like most ex-coords have gone onto grad school!? Cissie is in a sick new band called the Stops that you should check out instantly: I think it’s all lady? Whatever, it’s fucking raging!! I need a tape and they need to play SF pronto. Golnar is also in a raging all lady HC band, In School, who I think only have You Tubes of shows right now?! But they are great and Bidi the singer is a gnarler... Justin is in a band called Hunting Parties that are playing shows round the Bay a lot, they have a tape and a 7” coming out soon. People leave the magazine and form sick hardcore bands? Well Chris has been playing extra guitar for Brilliant Colors who are my favorite powerviolence grind destruction force of all time. Me and Mariam are planning out our future band as I type, well our secretaries are gonna do lunch and see what they can come up with.
Brilliant Colors just played a show with Bleached and Veronica Falls, which was great... Well, it was a strange all ages show that was as full of excited teenagers as it was industry types, a weird crowd. Veronica Falls were amazing, I totally recommend seeing them play. I love their 7”s, but sorta wanted the LP to blow me away in a manner that it did not, but their live show was just killer... total dreaminess. Bleached were disappointing, they had some random session musician dudes playing bass and drums, and it was a definite band ruiner. Serious “Social D circa 1999 at the House of Blues in Anaheim” vibes emanating off of both dudes. The Clavin sisters should hire two other blondes and just be the blonde Cali girl Ramones. I think they would have more of a chance of making it that way than with random Guitar Center specimens. But what do I know of the machinations of music biz get rich quick schemes? Not too much! I would rather listen to X_X (John Morton band not rotten blogrocker bullshit!) and feel hateful than be in some band that is only making money because they play shitty corporate branded events or the year end party for a cell phone company, and so forth. Living the rock’n’roll dream. I am sure that is what making it in rock’n’roll is nowadays, just aligning yourself with a huge conglomeration, being a musical billboard shrilling your phony teenage dreams along side their synergistic corporo-message. Boo hoo to the music industry and to all the weird desperate capitalist creeps that require it to achieve their princess rescue narratives.
At any rate, a random rant, not really directed at Bleached, I would much rather their songs be in the boring blogger hit parade than like... Best Coast, but I would also rather listen to the Hitler SS/Tampax split and call it quits. More next month! Hopefully les manic, more contained, easier to digest and so on!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The sound of a ghost in an empty house

This is the last column I will write from the comfort of my room at the MRR house... It’s pretty empty in here, just full of the junk I am not sure if I want to keep or not, the rest of my stuff is piled up at my new apartment out at the ocean that I am moving into in two days... After over a year of trying to leave the magazine, my time has come. I will still be coordinating from a distance for a few months, while we figure out who is gonna replace me. I don’t have anything to listen to music with, except my laptop which is nearly ten years old. I am currently raging to a band my friend Talya recommended called Dark Times who have a Neon Blud attack with added Midwestern hardcore gnarliness and um a touch of the ’82 Flag demo (no lie), and of course they rule... The girl shouts “I’m sitting right next to you/But I’m living worlds away” and nothing else makes so much sense. I think they are from Norway!!?? Check them out, they have a 7” and a tape and I gotta get them both! That is the thing I love about working on MRR, constant influx of amazing sound inspiration, new tapes, or discovery of an old band that no one ever heard outside of their town, so many punks making their own version of punk all over place, in different eras and geographic locales! I’m definitely not burned out on the punk rock, but am looking forward to being able to work on my own shit, do a band, make my own zine. I will keep writing my column and assisting in a big way at the magazine, but will not be living in the compound and experiencing the madness first hand. Hopefully my writing will reflect this and be less thrown together after a twelve hour shift of magazine work! I gotta say for all the shit talk about Maximum hype bands, the people that live and work here are fucking consumed by music, we lose our shit over it and are in short manic enthusiastic nerds. So much rad shit comes through our PO box and our email inbox, it’s an endless adventure this punk rock... I will miss having instant access to everything, but hopefully I will be able to keep up somehow? Ha!
    It’s not all sunshine and popsicles, there is also a lot of rotten overwrought reproductions of various genres, terrible bar rock, bands that will never play out of their neighborhood bar yet have a PR agent and manager. I think that is the most depressing aspect of music now... I know, the sound world is one of diminishing returns, tours used to pay for themselves, and now gas prices mean unless GoodBurger sponsor your tour you will be stranded and isolated with no gas in your tank and no one watching the show through the screens of their iphone. You gotta have the tour manager, the booking agent, the manager manager, the PR agent, or else... the DIY replication of mainstream industry set up and constructs must prevail. The award for worst record I reviewed last year has got to go to some creep’s concept pop-punk record about stalking and raping a woman. I understand that certain facets of the pop-punk scene have different political standards to the world I exist in, but come the fuck on... Everyone wants to be Peter Sotos now. Even PBR sponsored Warped Tour bros. In ten years time is punk rock gonna be an iApplication sponsored by Monsanto? A frog like croak in the back of some message board cretin’s throat? “Is That All There Is?” sung by a skeletal GG Allin replicant? A text message that no one can be bothered to read? A lifestyle magazine that owns the only venue in town that punks will go to because they get to take all these cool market research studies when they have to take a shit. A crusty who has created the first authentic scabies app.
    I am gonna keep it short this month, we gotta take care of the CA state taxes and I have to clear out the last remaining artifacts cluttering up the surface of my room... You can find me on the internet here: or email me here Layla at

Saturday, February 11, 2012

    It’s the year end top ten issue, which means there has been a lot of reflecting on the past year... One thing I really love about working at MRR is the constant exposure to so many killer bands, not only living with the archive but also what comes through the PO box each month. So many incredible demos and records, proving that punk is a living breathing form not just an ancient artifact; there is still so much that is possible within its constraints! Every time we do this issue someone complains how there is just not enough stuff to fill a top ten with this year, and maybe I am at an advantage because it is my job to listen to every single release we get sent, (or disadvantage! Sometimes this is a soul destroying task of wading through the most tepid bar rock!), but I have never had a problem coming up with a list of things that made my year. This year my list was especially epic, and I skipped so much! I mean there were some months that it was a serious struggle to come up with my top ten, but there were always some serious jams each month, in general 2011 was a great year for punk and hardcore... There is always something to lose your shit over, this month it has been Maria Teta, legendary Peruvian art punker lady from the ’80s (yeah, 2011 has been a killer year for reissues...) and the Forced Laugh EP from present day Canada, with its mutant Dave E vibes. Last month I jammed the Cruddy LP a lot, but it didn’t make my year end list...
    You possibly might have noticed in the Year End layout that we uh, sort of ran out of room by the end, so my list and Mariam’s list are not as wordy as the other compilers, but that is not because we had less to say! I edited so much outta mine! There were also some crossover between our lists, as you know, when we are working together until the early hours of the morn we jam out to Total Control, the Omegas, Aluminum Knot Eye and the Hygiene LP. Then when we go to our rooms Mariam slaps on the Speed Kills 7” and I the Household LP. Or whatever. Brace made some comment that I was more of a garage reviewer nowadays, which I am actually not sure is true. I listen to everything from Television Personalities to Poison Idea to the Pandoras, do not have a one track mind in regards to music... I love garage music but only if it is channeling Childish or Gories, not reverbed out Turtles-esque beach wavvve gentle garbage. I want mutant destruktion in all sounds! You will also note I have an epic tape list in my top ten; so many sick demos this year!! It’s been a great year for new bands, from staring Problem to Crude Thought, Index to Vixens, so many bands have made me stop and stare into space in a bewildered yet frenzied manner! Punk rock is an endless adventure and if you don’t feel this anymore it’s because you are detaching from the reality of our times. So many new and older bands stand by ready to destroy the boredom and complacency: C30, C60 C90 go! I make a tape every six months or so of the music I am freaking out over, and am gearing up to make my tail end of 2011 version as I type... this isn’t because I am some purposeful luddite anti technology type; my computer is so old iTunes does not work on it, so tapes are the easiest way to digest new sounds. Plus I have the advantage of living upstairs from the sickest record collection in the world! Tape it to the limit!
    Oh yeah; I am leaving MRR as a coordinator in the next month. I will still be here shitworking, writing, volunteering and working on the magazine, but am attempting to move out in the hope that some magical human will appear and step in to take over from me. You too can blast the TNT (Swiss) 7”s (or TNT LP {Spain})while making breakfast and planning out the next issue of the magazine. Apply already suckers. You get to live for free in the compound and pick what runs in the magazine!
Anyway, short column from me this month, hopefully that is something that will change when I am not coordinating; I will have more time to focus on writing this shit! Ha! Up the punx and off the pigs.
2011 TAPE LIST!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Everyone has a story about the first time they picked up MRR, I can remember the cover of the first issue I picked up but not much else about it. I remember more clearly why I stopped reading it. There was a review of the classic to me Slant 6 LP Soda Pop Rip Off that claimed Dischord only put it out because of the pin up quality of the band. This was a clear indication that the magazine was was not for girls like me, it was for old men who could not relate to music made by women without commodifying / writing it off in the same manner as in the mainstream press. Women in rock. Makes me wanna review every average bro band with only their style of dress and visual impact as humans in mind. Because reading a review of a band that I loved, one that meant a lot to me, who wrote subtle, evocative and powerful songs, some with feminist undertones but with a million ideas at work... Not riot grrrl, but existing on their own terms in their own context at the same time. The guitar sound evoking Greg Sage and Dead Moon and Wire, skittish self-taught drums with the most devastating voice over it all... A band that seemed like a girl gang, that created their own world with its own set of signs. I am sure I have written about this before, but I have been thinking about Christina Billotte’s guitar style and voice a lot this week... Someone uploaded an Autoclave video to YouTube that set me off on a Billotte discography trail. Autoclave was I think her teenage band with Mary Timony, who is now in indie rock sensations Wild Flag. You should watch the video, they play my three favorite songs, and are fantastic and unnerving punk girl group that bring to mind a post punk sound but do not rabidly Xerox any specific old sound like all bands do now. “We sound exactly like the Comes / Sort Sol / Some Boring Dad Rock Band.” What a boring life, to paraphrase the Slits. I have never been in a band with the intent of sounding like another band, mostly because my musical skills do not enable me to rabidly copy some old shit from thirty years ago, but also because it’s boring and I do not understand the concept of punk as a reenactment troupe inna UK82 or ConfuseGai hardcore stylee. “Why Be Something That You’re Not” etc etc. Not to say that bands don’t exist in that style or sound currently that rule, but...
    At any rate, in Billotte related matters I still need the Quix*o*tic Mortal Mirror LP, if anyone’s holding. I stupidly only bought it on CD assuming KRS would keep it in print on vinyl... doh! Someone should repress both of those CDs onto vinyl ok? At any rate... I double reviewed a record I loved this month, then decided I was just being a psycho as the other review was not as dismissive as I recalled. So without further ado reprinted in my column bc I labored over this whilst at work serving the public at my sick retail job, my take on the Household LP. Reader, I married it! Brooklyn's HOUSEHOLD have the secret bedroom recordings feel of the best of EXCUSE 17 and HEAVENS TO BETSY, but with a furtive post-punk undercurrent rather than anything strictly grrrl style. More ALISON STATTON than CORIN TUCKER. Whenever people reference post-punk it's always the herk n jerk of DELTA 5 or the POP GROUP and while there are some parts that bring to mind those bands, this sound is so far from punk funk. HOUSEHOLD use dissonance in a different way, creating space and an out of place feeling with the minor key vocal harmonies. Along with the way the instruments intertwine and play off each other it's reminiscent of the awkward and disconcerting atmospheres of the most desolate WIRE songs, someone else suggested Three Imaginary Boys era CURE too, but with a total bedroom UK/DIY appeal... I think it's the starkness of the songs, the music and the lyrics just create this foreboding atmosphere. The song "Desperate Times" hits me like the most evocative AUTOCLAVE songs do, and "cold hands" has this amazing YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS meets classic era SLEATER KINNEY feeel, it's awkward and true.. This band creates it's own evocative sound out of a mass of so many of my favorite band ideas and it's a total bummer they broke up before I got to see them play.
    Well... what else? I reviewed a sick tape by this band the Vixens a few month ago, insane Void-core all girl HC from Canada who apparently have no responded to any emails sent their way asking for the tape / asking if they would put a record out and so forth. This was my review:     VIXENS – Holy shit! This is another raging all girl HC band, this sounds like fucking VOID playing GERMS songs, a total frenzy of noise and dissolution. Fuck this is so good! Actually scratch the GERMS this is just total chaos in vicious doses, this is what every CONFUSE/GAI nerd clone wishes their band was like. Seriously just intense noise with bits of  destruction falling on your head, like a Survival Research Laboratory show in your bedroom with the Exorcist playing at the wrong speed in the background while DEEP WOUND knits you a sweater out of your stomach tubes. This is the reason punk exists. Fuck! Seriously, the singer’s voice is fucking possessed! Sick!!!!! (Layla ) (6-song cassette, lyrics included, email for $ info
Anyway that is the end of my column! Team up all night workin on the magazine brain slaughter society of doom.

(photo by Cynthia Connolly from her series of DC punks with their cars)