Who Cares Anyway? Post-Punk San Francisco And The End Of The Analog Age By Will York (Headpress)
Will York has done such an exemplary job here, in that it is a deeply entertaining read even if you aren't already intimately familiar with bands like Caroliner, Flipper, Tuxedomoon, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Toiling Midgets, or Pop-O-Pies.
This thoroughly researched and frequently tragic tome is sure to appeal to any music fans who still long for the pre-gentrification era, when creatives could still afford to pay the prohibitively astronomical rent for warehouses and rehearsal spaces in big cities before unscrupulous landlords with big tech money killed off urban Bohemia in this country, with Judge Dredd "stop and frisk" class patrols and a nearly universal lack of accessible egalitarian neighborhoods for working class artists.
York delves deep into the avant garde, Flipper-informed history of Faith No More and Mr Bungle - way back when metal deedler Jim Martin was still partying with high school dude-metal stoner buds Cliff Burton and all through Courtney Love's inflammatory stint as vocalist. This pre-dates the Chuck Mosely era, when "We Care A Lot" crossed over into college radio and MTV airplay, long before when Mike Patton joined the group and they went supernova mainstream in the hyper-polished commercial whiteboy funk era of the band and their defiantly unpop experimental endeavors that followed.
I find the startlingly dangerous, death taunting, law scorning, ledge dwelling excesses of the Sleepers’ Ricky Williams and Michael Belfer of particular interest, but the heavy book is spilling over with twisted tales of debauchery, comedy, community and collaboration in the post-punk era. Recommended.
Complaints – Gravel Samwidge (Swashbuckling Hobo)
It's quite unpleasant, and I may never listen to it again.
But if I do, it will be very loud, and I will end up in jail.
I like Gravel Samwidge. They're out of kilter with everything else around right now. The songs put the listener right in the singer's place, their intense, irritated narrative. The Gravels write songs as natural to Australia as the King Brown Snake, and just about as cuddly.
The Barman's right when he makes the comparison to Kim Salmon and the Surrealists (see "Don't You Know", with the silly/ griping sax, or "Briz 31", with the topply structure), but The Gravels have their own - possibly stranger - take on the universe and our misplacement in it. 'Long Distance Drive' captures that horrible last part of a long drive, when you're almost home, spaced out from too much driving and methadone, frantic to get there (Spinks' manic guitar sounds like a whizz-head on violin) yet forcing yourself to stay calm.