You’ll smell your skin rot.
These cards are going out with pre orders and any other orders for the Endless Merch shirts whiles supplies last
PMF V acquisitions~
Left hand: untitled minicomic by G.W. Duncanson, Secrets of the Saucers by Char Esme
Right hand: SK KAKRABA BAND tape cassette put out by Holy Page, Strep Throat #2 edited/published by Laura Perez-Harris
Middle: Awesome hand-made necklace (help! I forget who made these)
My favorite thing about PMF is that it’s not just comics-focused, but includes all kinds of cool zines, jewelry, sculpture, music, ceramics, prints, etc by local-ish artists. Also Baltimore is cool.
I did a page for this amazing anthology Strep Throat II, edited by Laura Perez-Harris. The title is in a hand-cut transparency window and there are bunch of acetate inserts within including a bilingual comic from Caroline Sury.
Pages here by me / Matt Leines / Lala Albert / Stretan Bor / Mickey Z
Order one off the site with size and it will be in the mail the next day.
Right now I have S,M,L but not many left!
I can always make you one in whatever size you need you. It will just take longer to ship out.
Now that Strep Throat II is in its final stage before total completion - i started thinking about the first issue and wanted to share the interview me and Melissa Cha did with Robin Crutchfield the founder of the no wave band DNA.
So you’re from Ohio. What was that like?
I was born in 1952 and raised in Dayton, Ohio, only a few miles from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, infamous for its Hangar 18, where they supposedly stored the remains of the aliens recovered from the Roswell UFO crash in 1947. My family moved from there to Pennsylvania after I finished first grade, so I have very few memories of Ohio, except for a very vivid supernatural sighting of a mysterious being from my bedroom window one night.
- When you were growing up, what sort of music did you listen to?
My family had little music in the house, although I do recall two 78s from my parents’ collection that I was drawn to, the classically instrumental harmonica works of John Sebastian (father of the Lovin’ Spoonful musician) and the eerie haunting whistling prodigy Fred Lowery. I bought my first 45 after attending a grade school birthday party where they played rock and roll singles on a fat spindle record player. I loved pop music, especially songs with unusual rhythms or odd sounds and effects. My first single was Sting Ray, by The Routers, a novelty instrumental about the hot rod automobile punctuated by handclaps and car horn beeps. I also loved The Martian Hop by The Randells. Later favorites were The Beatles, The Supremes, The Four Seasons, Petula Clark, Lesley Gore and many others. In my teens I discovered FM radio and bluesrock artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Johnny Winter, Canned Heat, Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After. The the psychedelic world folk music of The Incredible String Band and Tyrannosaurus Rex and eccentric experimenters like Moondog, Nico, Eno, Yoko Ono, and Annette Peacock.
- How did you become interested in art?
I always had a knack for art. I filled sketchpads with scribbles and drawings each morning before school while my mother prepared my breakfast. In my teens I was drawn to the nonsensical fantasy paintings of the surrealists, and later to the heady experiments by minimalists and conceptual artists as well as performance artists.
- What made you decide to come to New York?
I studied art in college and was drawn in a more or less natural progression from drawing, to painting, to sculpture and environmental installations to conceptual and performance art. I was introduced by a professor to Avalanche magazine, which shared much of the experimental art activity going on in New York: artists like Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, Bruce Nauman, Lawrence Weiner, Dennis Oppenheim, Richard Serra, Richard Long, Jackie Windsor, William Wegman, Philip Glass and others like Joseph Beuys, Jannis Kounellis, and Gilbert & George. I decided that if I wished to pursue a career in this edgy art, New York was the place I needed to be. In my personal life I’d also been inspired by the PBS portrayal of Lance Loud’s life in New York and Warhol’s Factory and the edgy flamboyant and gay stuff that was happening there through the PBS series “An American Family”. Also, Rock Scene magazines columns by Patti Smith and Wayne County. Working at a book store in a mall, I befriended David Ebony, who shared my interest in art and oddity, and we moved to New York and shared an apartment in Greenwich Village together. (David was later the founder of the band The Erasers and is now editor at Art In America Magazine).
- Can you describe the sort of visual and/or performance art you were involved in before DNA was formed?
One early piece consisted of my wearing bluefaced makeup and sitting for an extended spell on a stool staring at and mirroring the blue static screen of a black and white TV transmission opposite me on another stool. Another consisted of an assistant and myself each inhabiting separate large blank canvas bags and placing ourselves in a showcase window in a university hallway where passersby would encounter lumpish bag sculptures that seemed to alter their shapes over the course of a day. We would only shift our positions when nobody was walking by and eventually folks noticed the changes and even engaged us. One girl touched me then drew her hand back in exclamation, “Ooh! It’s warm!”. That was a wonderful revelation of something I had taken for granted, body heat. My first famously reviewed performance piece in New York was at Stefan Eins’ 3 Mercer St. Storefront where my semi-nude body was encrusted by dozens of genderless baby dolls taped to my torso with adhesive tape. My face and hands were decorated with garish lipstick, rouge and polish. The pants and boots were male. I entered the space confronting a bevelled mirror, a cutout 50’s illustration of a nurse, and an apron pinned to the wall. A small boombox played a homemade tape of two giggly girls singing “tell me why I love you so”. The recording stuck and repeated rhythmically and shifted speeds from highpitched to deepvoiced. I clipped the nurse’s head off with shears then pasted it opposite my reflection on the mirror, then cut the apron strings and started removing the dolls from my body one by one and covering the mirror with them until my own identity was completely obscured and all the dolls had bared my body. Then I left the space. The documented performance photo by Susan Springfield, found on my website and my facebook pages has appeared everywhere from a Vancouver Post Card Show to File, Wet, and Modern Painters magazines.
- Most people associate the “No Wave” movement solely with music, but it was also very much about art, film, performance,
etc…can you elaborate?
In the low rent lower Manhattan scene of Soho in the late 70s, many creative kids from all over migrated to New York to experiment across genres and find themselves. This wasn’t limited to art, but also, music, fashion, writing, theater, film, performance, dance. Any means of creative expression could be investigated and tweaked. There were readings in various clubs and coffee houses, there was a film movement that settled into a small storefront theater on St. Marks Place. There were experimental fashion shows and theater pieces at Club 57 and The Pyramid Lounge.
- No Wave has been described as a “reactionary” movement. What was your personal reaction to the more mainstream cultural climate at the time?
In Europe, punk was a very political movment. In New York, no wave was a reaction to the norm in art and music. A rejection by rejects of all that came before, all that was acceptable in popular art and music: art that couldn’t be bought, taken home and hung on a wall; music that was less than three chords, or defying standard melodies, structures and ideas. It wasn’t anymore about having to please executives at a major label with marketability or paint enormous bloated canvases for expensive gallery owners’ walls to impress wealthy collectors. It was DIY time. Indie labels and loft apartment or storefront galleries or streetworks. The two most important inventions of the 70s, in my opinion, were the Sony walkman and the Xerox photocopy machine. Between them one could make their own music for share or sale and manufacture cover art and street posters to promote gigs or art events. All could be done with very almost no money. Artists were selfmade and not at the mercy of authority figures.
- What’s the story behind the formation of DNA?
Impressed by an early gig of Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, I approached Lydia Lunch to see if I might join her band on keyboards. She was downsizing their efforts at the time and shunting James Chance off to do his own thing with The Contortions. So, she said no, but suggested I start my own band and recommended her two fifteen-year-old sister roadies to work with, or an acquaintance named Arto Lindsay. Arto and I were of similar age and both friends of Lydia and her friends in a band called Mars. We sat together at a CBGB’s table and discussed similar interests in art and music ideas. My most inspirational album towards working in DNA was Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band album released about eight years earlier, that seemingly pitted order against chaos. I used that as a model for what I wanted to do in DNA. I embraced Brian Eno’s notion of the nonmusician, as I had little or no formal musical training, and as an artist, loved the idea of creating something from next to nothing but a few simple tools: cheap instruments at hand that we couldn’t play. Arto knew Terry Ork who booked audition nights at Max’s Kansas City and offered us a date 28 days after hearing of Arto and I starting the band. It was orginally a four-piece, but two members jumped ship in a panic at the short rehearsal time. Arto and I embraced the challenge and drafted Ikue on drums to complete the trio, which debuted on schedule 28 days later with a 20 minute set.
- Can you talk a little bit about Brian Eno’s No New York project and how you got involved?
I still can’t recall whether it was Adele Bertei or Nina Canal who knew Brian Eno, when he came to town, and suggested he come to check out a week of new experimental bands playing at Artist’s Space, a Tribeca art venue that didn’t usually host amplified performances. He showed up with John Rockwell, reviewer from the New York Times, and the project was initiated a few days later, after his having seen the four bands that played the closing two nights. Those were the four bands that ended up on the record. We recorded in a studio on Greene Street that Philip Glass had been using. The sessions were real time live in the studio takes. Two takes of each song I think, with little interference from Eno. His contribution was mixing with the sound engineer.
- Since No Wave was pretty concentrated and short-lived, all of its associated musicians and artists must have been at least familiar with each other. Can you talk about some of the relationships and interactions you had with other No Wave pioneers?
After the initial burst of creativity, members of the bands began to crosspollinate and collaborate with musicians from other bands for one-offs or side bands. After I left DNA and decided to form Dark Day, I worked with Nina Canal of The Gynecologists and Ut, Nancy Arlen from Mars, Stanton Miranda from Thick Pigeon, Laura Kennedy from The Bush Tetras, Fred Szymanski from Ikeyard and others. The grouping that jelled for the single was myself, Nina and Nancy. But, they didn’t wish to maintain a band, being devoted to their own bands. So, we just recorded the two tracks ‘Hands In The Dark” and “Invisible Man” for the Lust/Unlust single, then I went on to try and find other musicians to record an album and tour. I ended up with David Rosenbloom of Chinese Puzzle and Phil Kline later of The DelByzanteens. This grouping even shifted a bit over time and disbanded prior to my doing a second album.
- Can you recall weirdest, most insane thing that happened to you in the mid-70’s?
Well, there was meeting Dali and Gala, and Warhol and William Burroughs, or hanging out with Ray Johnson and meeting Divine, or visiting Jack Smith’s apartment; dancing with Jackie Curtis, meeting Ondine. But the one that stands out is the night of the New York City blackout in the Summer of Sam. I was jamming in a Chelsea basement with Johnny Dynell and Anne DeLeon (Alan Vega’s girlfriend). The power went out and we walked downtown to Christopher and Bleecker where artist David McDermott stood in 1920’s garb on a corner with a wind-up Victrola playing old 78s to the silent masses. A small sign he’d pinned to the side of a building read ‘1928’. It was a magical yet eerie Twilight Zone moment of man at nature’s mercy without the comfort of electricity. I think there was some rioting and looting over the course of the next couple of days, but that night was peaceful and communal and very nice.
- After you left DNA, you formed Dark Day. Can you talk about that transition and how your interests evolved over the years?
DNA approached music from complete ignorance. We were experimental babies taking formative steps. But after slowly progressing for nine months, I felt like my comrades were no further along than when we started. We would rehearse the same songs ad nauseum and they never sounded the same twice. Some might appreciate this degree of improvisation. I just felt frustrated. I needed an evolution of order and structure and left to find it through Dark Day. In each grouping of individuals during the varying phases of Dark Day, I had to compromise my vision to offer creative input from my collaborators. I wasn’t paying them, and this was the only thing that kept them in my band. I couldn’t exert too strict a hand, yet still held a firm direction over which ideas presented met my vision, and which ones didn’t. Generally, after a period of time, either I, or my collaborators lost interest, or found it elsewhere, ending that phase of the band and pushing it on to the next incarnation. It went through many phases categorized as no wave, cold wave, dark wave, proto-electronica, and medieval pagan until finally I was able to afford a computer and software to allow me total freedom to do it myself as a cyclic midi-electronic project. After some reflection on the millennium, I pulled away from electronic instruments and embraced ancient ones that needed no electrical support from artificial means beyond my control. I had always been fond of Nico and Moondog and timelessly ancient-sounding musics, and my adoption of harp, psaltery and tanpura drone, as well as some African drums, filled my soul with joy. The otherworlds of timeless daydreams unfold new vistas to my creative output and I continue to play and record with that in mind.
- What is your life like now? Is it true that you are currently more involved in literature and the visual arts?
I continue my fascination with researching the unknown, the supernatural, the metaphysical and the mysterious. I have written a series of faerie tales available at lulu.com and I sometimes paint and continue to draw. Occasionally I experiment with making film clips to my music that can be viewed on YouTube.
- What music do you listen to lately? Are there any new or current bands that you admire?
I rarely go out to clubs or concerts anymore. I don’t buy magazines because they’ll take over my small apartment. So, I have little exposure to new music and only seem to happen upon it by accident, a reference to a computer link, or a visit to a record shop where something is being played that I like. The last albums I got truly excited by were the debut album by Feathers, the mysterious toylike experiments of Colleen on The Golden Morning Breaks, and Grey Oceans by CocoRosie.
- New York has undoubtedly changed over the years. What do you think of its music and art scenes now?
Artists like oysters are most creative when their existences are taxed by hard times, low wages, and a frustrated limitation to express oneself. Oysters take a bit of grit that rubs them the wrong way and fashion a pearl out of it. New York City these days is much too expensive to attract creative kids who can get by on little. The self-entitled youth of today are upwardly mobile and helplessly dependent on their cell phones and computers. I do believe at some point, a group will rebel and cast off technology and finance and find their way to new creative solutions that will turn the art and music worlds on their respective eyes and ears.
- What’s your favorite synthesizer?
I don’t favor technology anymore; It just puts money in the pockets of big businessmen.
- Do you have any advice for all of the poor young people attempting to pursue art and music?
Pick up sticks and stones. Take castoff materials and make them your tools. Take the things that can’t be manufactured, your voice and your ideas and find your own way to express yourself. Don’t let politics, fortune, or fame enter into your creative process. Reject the world of celebrity. Go off and find your own spirituality. Defy the ‘business’ of art and music. Make art and music to please yourself without a thought to pleasing others. Find your own flow, then go with it, and you’ll feel truly rewarded with joy in your heart.
An Analysis of American Hustle
by Joe Larios
***warning if you haven’t seen it there are some things that are given away in this article.
American Hustle is the newest feature from David O. Russell loosely based on the Abscam sting operation of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The plot is about two con artists and lovers who are caught in the act by the FBI and, in return for immunity from prosecution, are forced to pull a long con against the mayor of Camden, NJ in order to secure prosecutions against him and his accomplices.Of course, this operation does not end up going as planned and so you have all the intrigue and drama of the film. It starts as a sort of love story between Irving and Sydney which is abruptly interrupted by the FBI agent, Richie.
American Hustle is an interesting film in the way in which gender and ethics are used to structure it. In particular, you have the relationships between the major male characters generally mediated through a female character which drives it forward. The central triangulation is the one between the FBI agent, Richie, and the two con-artist/lovers, Irving and Sydney. There appears to never be a direct relationship between Richie and Irving but one which is always mediated through both of their desires for Sydney, something which she exploits. Consequently, Richie is unable to do his job clearly as his mind is always clouded by his desire for Sydney. This is all while maintaining a fiancee which he appears to actively ignore. Sydney, however, is not the Other woman only for Richie as her relationship with Irving is itself an extramarital affair of his from a wife (Rosalyn) he refuses to leave for child custody reasons. Rosalyn’s sense of disenchantment from her marriage is what eventually leads her to find a new lover who works for the mafia where she ends up putting Irving and the entire Abscam operation in danger by speaking with indiscretion. Thus one sees that on the hand you have Sydney’s central role between Richie and Irving and Rosalyn’s important role between the Abscam operation and the Mafia. The only relationship that doesn’t pass through a woman is that between Irving and his mark, Mayor Carmine Polito. The interesting thing about this relationship is its singularity in the life of Irving. Polito is described as a sort of friend that he had never had and for whom he feels a tremendous amount of guilt about conning. In fact, the Polito character is represented as a man with a heart of gold who only does things like cooperate with the Mafia out of necessity, his intentions always being good and right. This relation, however, produces several questions. The first one is why would Irving be feeling so much guilt considering how many people he’s conned out of money in his life at this point and the second being why Polito was given such a one dimensional characterization as a good guy in a rotten world. There is an inversion at play here where the FBI agents are generally characterized as being egomaniacal, opportunistic, or incompetent while the crooked politicians and the con-artists are just trying to be good people. Consequently, you are led to be on the side of the con-artists and feel bad about the fact that Polito is going to go to prison. In a Lacanian sense, one might say that the relationship between Polito and Irving represents something impossible-real, that is, an unmediated homosocial relationship and that, for this reason, it could not be allowed to continue to exist as it would begin to disturb the heterosexual status quo of his life. In this sense, one could see the guilt of the conman not so much as this strange and unexpected eruption from someone who should have no conscience by now but instead as a reaction against this encounter of the real. This dangerous encounter, however, is put away. As everything becomes revealed, the friendship is destroyed beyond any attempt to save it and so the film can end with a reinstatement of heterosexual discourse with Irving and Sydney getting back together and leaving crime for good thus eliminating the messy triangulation from Richie and the encounter with the real from Polito as well as the status of the Other woman for Sydney as Irving and Rosalyn agree to divorce.
MY FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2013
by Melissa Cha
I can’t say that I’ve listened to a ton of albums that came out in 2013, partially because the world is so saturated with new music that I’m bound to miss out on some gems. But also because when I’m listening to an album that I immediately dislike, I stop listening. I’m not inclined to waste my time on something that isn’t for me, when I know there’s so much music out there that is. I suppose that’s one of the reasons why I could never be a professional writer on the subject of new music. That said, this year I was fortunate enough to hear some albums that strongly resonated with me. Here are my favorites and some subjective thoughts:
Restless Idylls – Tropic of Cancer (Blackest Ever Black)
Sometimes when an inexplicable veil of gloom stands between you and real life, all you can do is give way to the darkness and stew in it. For me, Restless Idylls calls attention the aura of depression that threatens to descend upon us at any moment. Each track uses reverbed moans that trudge through cold, repetitive rhythms to articulate a specific, somber theme.
Lenses – Soft Metals (Captured Tracks)
Patricia Hall’s yearning vocals might have been a bit syrupy against more emotional compositions, but instead they’re woven into Ian Hicks’ indifferent synth melodies that seem to infect the vocals with coldness. Chris and Cosey’s “Songs of Love and Lust” comes to mind, though Soft Metals offer a dancier, more accessible rendition of a similar concept. “Lenses” benefits from its minimal sound and holds back just enough, perhaps in the same way a love interest might benefit from feigning cool detachment while secretly longing for intimacy.
Asleep in the Ice Palace – Some Ember (Night People)
Although Asleep in the Ice Palace is an EP, I just wouldn’t feel right letting it go unmentioned. I think there’s something about the ‘gothier’ side of 80s post-punk that is difficult to emulate without sounding derivative or dated. Some Ember does a brilliant job of evoking nostalgia for a glamorized time, while still helping to extend the frontier of current synth music. To me, Some Ember are kind of like the alien sci-fi cousins of an early Clan of Xymox. I can’t wait for the release of their next full-length album.
Snow Crash – Xander Harris (Desire Records)
Xander Harris is one of the most prolific musicians that I have the pleasure of knowing personally, and yet his craft matures with each new project – something you can’t say about most. Snow Crash captivates with its cinematic quality and conjures imagery of a dystopian future. I still plan to someday crank this album while reading Neal Stephenson’s novel of the same name.
Ruleth – Ssleeperhold (Holodeck Records)
Ssleeperhold’s hammering, stuttering drum machine rhythms have that perfect industrial timbre. The sound of that booming kick drum alone is like a stimulating tonic that forces you to move some part of your body in synchrony with the beat. Ssleeperhold’s first full-length album became an instant classic in my mind after the first time I heard it.
The Amethyst Milk Tapes – Pink Playground (Free Loving Anarchists)
Pink Playground had an extremely limited cassette release of this brilliant compilation of bedroom experiments, which is a shame because more people in the world ought to hear it. For a while now, there’s been an undeniable shoegaze revival that’s redefined, or rather broadened the meaning of “shoegaze” so much that it’s become a fairly nebulous term. I think Pink Playground perfectly encapsulates the emotional core of darker, classic shoegaze with their beautiful, luscious guitar textures slowly oscillating and enveloping Tyson’s ghostly vocals. There’s something distinctly eerie about the Amethyst Milk Tapes – the duo exude mystery with their fuzzy, timeless sound.
MBV – My Bloody Valentine (Self-Release)
I really don’t care if MBV doesn’t live up to the brilliance of Loveless – it’s just silly to expect as much. Just try to forget about the years of hype and buildup. Forget about My Bloody Valentine altogether if you can muster up the willpower. Now all you’re left with is a damn good album.
Peace on Venus – Bardo Pond (Fire Records)
How is it that Bardo Pond can still feel so fresh and relevant without really departing from what they were doing twenty years ago? I don’t buy that it’s because of the current resurgence of 90’s culture, or that it’s because they were particularly ahead of their time in 1996. Bardo Pond has always been uncompromising in their aesthetic, which has allowed them to spend years honing a sound that is very much their own. There are so many different things happening at once throughout Peace on Venus. At times, beautifully corroded guitar tones unfold into melodies that channel Sonny Sharrock and become discordant with Sollenberger’s trembling vocals. Then flute melodies stream in and cut through gurgling low frequencies leftover from the last burst of dynamic tones. The whole thing is just fucking great.
All My Relations – Black Pus (Thrill Jockey)
I never thought I’d hear a Black Pus album with such high fidelity, and I have to say that Brian Chippendale’s spastic, free-jazz style of drumming absolutely benefits from the clarity. Low, overdrive noise can roar in and out without muddying everything else. Thickly delayed vocals are more prominent on this album than on previous Black Pus records, and serve not so much as vocal melody, but as battle cries meant to induce spirit. After eight Black Pus albums, it is admirable that Chippendale can keep bringing the same level of contagious energy to his music.
Government Plates – Death Grips (Self-Release)
There’s an unfortunate criticism about Death Grips that I often hear - “they ripped off [insert supposed pioneers of punk/hip-hop here]!” The who-ripped-off-whom game is an ugly path to go down, and I seldom indulge in those conversations. Anyway, this album really blew me away. Death Grips find the most degraded, scorching electronic sounds and sample them into sonic nightmares. I connected with this album on an emotional level because it seems to describe my own inner madness that has no outlet. Maybe that says more about me than Government Plates, but this album actually makes me feel saner. Thank you, Death Grips.
Abandon – Pharmakon (Sacred Bones)
When I was in college I tried really hard to understand experimental music that sounded like someone was dragging a microphone through rocks for 45 minutes, but since then I’ve embraced the fact that I’m picky about my noise music. Pharmakon’s Abandon is what I consider an exemplary use of noise as a tool to communicate emotion and meaning. Pharmakon doesn’t create noise to be an end in itself – it serves a much greater purpose. Every grinding, industrial sound and every scream is precisely motivated.
Binding of Strep Throat II !!!!!!