Clamor #36

Clamor #36 / $5.50 / 100M / http://www.clamormagazine.org /

I always feel bad when I review earlier issues of a magazine, especially those that have shut their doors recently. However, this issue is just too good to pass up. There are pieces with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club (which shows a humorous side of Clamor that does not usually come through during issues of this magazine), along with a piece that should open readers’ eyes in “Mountaintop Removal in West Virginia”. Before reading this piece, I had the mistaken thought that most of these major operations had went the way of the dodo. The clear picture of an operation that stretches out what seems like tens and tens of miles by Antrim Casey. Perhaps the most challenging piece in this issue of Clamor has to be the “14 Acres” piece, which has a number of debates about whether the South Central Farm of Los Angeles should be preserved or destroyed. The range of discussion is large and of a scale that many other magazines would only be proud of achieving. There are discussions of musicians in this issue of Clamor, including a piece on Cipher and a number of different reviews of albums, but Clamor is much more of a political magazine first off. The pictures in this issue sharp, the text filling up most of the page and making the magazine well worth the $5.50 cover price. With magazines like Clamor, Punk Planet, and Altar all closing up shop, it behooves anyone interested in social justice to go out and make a magazine to close up the void. Here’s to hoping that this is sooner rather than later.

Rating: 8.0/10

Strange Mike Steel

Strange Mike Steel / 2005 Mouse Chew / $3 / 32M / comicfan24343@yahoo.com /

Strange Mike Steel is a comic that feels as if it came out about thirty years ago. Philip is extremely influenced by this earlier style, but is able to tell a story without really going into the more fanciful story-telling styles of the stories of the era. The first page starts out with an interesting note, that a story will be “seen in flashback in a later issue”, but seems to build a solid story despite that. The story is very text based, and while there uis not much in the way of action covered in each panel, the story goes by at a pretty solid clip. The style breaks down into its’ constituent parts if individuals focus on it, as if Philip does not finish up the pieces of art that create this issue. The different batches of characters provide some variation to the flow of this issue, and showcase the storytelling abilities oh Phil. It seems at pints that the different stories will not be reconciled, but individuals feel as if they are one step closer to understanding the overall point of Strange Mike Steel. The only things that I would not mind done with subsequent issues of this comic would be a little firming up of the art and continued work in the universe that Phil has created for the characters in this issue. Give this issue a go if you like the artistic style of the seventies and an interesting, off-the-wall story; this issue seems like a great place to start.

Rating: 7.0/10

OST: Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof

OST: Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof / 2007 Warner Bros / 16 Tracks / http://www.warnerbros.com / http://www.deathproof.net /

Everyone knows that this soundtrack is for the movie that was Quentin Tarantino’s part of Grindhouse, “Death Proof”. The tracks here feel like they are taken from an earlier period. The first track on this score is Jack Nitzche’s “The Last Race”. This track has the seventies orchestral heaviness present in droves, with cars speeding by as the background. Only two and a half minutes in duration, the track is integral for contributing to the score’s sound as a whole. Smith’s “Baby, It’s You” keeps the overall sound of the disc solid, although the track seems more like a late sixties song than a mid-seventies one. If one takes the track in the context of it being played a few years after it was released, or in that most of the Bond soundtracks used earlier styles, then the song works. Continue reading “OST: Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof”

Slug #223

Slug #223 / Free / 1:00 / 68M / http://www.slugmag.com /

For those individuals that have not seen any of the prior reviews of Slug, this is a free zine that is handed out in the Salt Lake City (Utah) region. However, the zine gets a little more in the way of legs when individuals read the feature pieces in the issue. The one thing that seems to have changed in between issues is the proportion of advertisements to content. This time, there seems to be more in the way of advertisements, which makes it a little harder to read this issue. However, the zine is still a fun read, as there is a good banter between the editors and individuals that received a low rating (Lying Bitch and the Restraining Orders). Also present are reviews with two bands that have “Deville” in their name (Spooky Deville and Junta Deville). Another strength of this issue has to be the feature on Psychic TV / Genesis P-Orridge. I had heard of eir in the past but had really never had a chance to understand what P-Orridge was trying to do; this educational nature of Slug is shown further with the description of the “Utah Duckbutt” as well as a breakdown of the history of liquor laws in Utah. Despite the fact that there are an increased amount of advertisements in this issue, Slug has really stepped up their game and created some very interesting pieces that will stand the test of time should individuals give the magazine another read a few months down the road.

Rating: 6.5/10

Trapt Has World Premiere of “Stay Alive” on Yahoo

Trapt is holding the world premiere of their new video “Stay Alive” on Yahoo today. The band wanted to do something a little different and utilize some of the great talent that exists on the web to create their new video. The band searched hard and found Mile Kalbach, an amazing claymation artists who was a fan of the band. Continue reading “Trapt Has World Premiere of “Stay Alive” on Yahoo”

Nerve #1

Nerve #1 / Free / 28L / :45 / Nerve House, P.O. Box 12255, Milwaukee, WI 53212 /

I was really looking forward to Nerve when I looked at the first page of the zine. In it, it says “There’s no poetry in it”.  I assumed that there was no poetry in the entire issue, but I guess the author just meant that there is no poetry in the word “no”. Oh well. This issue has a lot of poetry in it. Nerve is a magazine that looks to make a world fair to all individuals, and tries to break down sexist, homophobic, ageist, and other walls while doing that. The most interesting thing that I found in the zine has to be their little tidbits concerning individuals that struggled against the system. Oftentimes only a sentence or two in length, these tidbits make individuals want to know more  about specifically happened in these events. This is the first issue of the zine, so it feels as if Nerve has not found their place in the zine scene as of this moment. The text is clear, the contrast between the text and pictures nice, but there just needs to be more in the way of substantive discussion and less in the intangibles (poetry, mainly). This seems to be a content-driven magazine, so I am sure the large context of the zine will change given different material. Write them and see if they are still doing the magazine, and if they are, send along some pieces in a subsequent letter. If they are not sexist, homophobic, or the like, chances are good that you will get into print.

Rating: 5.8/10

Protest Hill – The City Echoes Our Hearts

Protest Hill – The City Echoes Our Hearts / 2007 Latest Flame / 11 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/protesthill / http://www.latestflame.com /

Protest Hill plays a brand of indie-heavy pop-rock that is similar to the work of a Fray, Ben Folds, or Jack Johnson. “All That You Need” is the first track on “The City Echoes Our Hearts”, and it blends Tori Amos ‘s style of piano playing with bassy instrumentation and Bond soundtrack arrangements. The band is good at shifting their style, as “Killer’s Witt” is a song that looks back to the country-fied styles of Seven Mary Three and the Black Crowes for influences. The guitar present on this track will remind listeners of early Garth Brooks, while the vocals are a little more joyous than those put down from Thom Yorke (Radiohead). Continue reading “Protest Hill – The City Echoes Our Hearts”

Different Kind of Dude Fest Announce

With all the summer music festivals coming around this year, Different Kind of Dude Fest is offering something different but necessary—it bills music along with an anti-sexist education. Through workshops, discussions and large-group art projects, Different Kind of Dude Fest aims to present an alternative to the self-indulgent culture of the average music festival. Continue reading “Different Kind of Dude Fest Announce”

Hotel Alexis – Goliath, I’m On Your Side

Hotel Alexis – Goliath, I’m On Your Side / 2006 Broken Sparrow / 14 Tracks / http://www.hotelalexis.com / http://www.brokensparrow.com /

There is little more to say about Hotel Alexis besides the fact that they play a brand of indie rock that has no time referent; tracks like “Soft Soft War” and “San Diego Backslide” paint a quiet yet nuanced picture of the band. “I Will Arrange for You to Fall II” allows the band’s instrumentation to shine the brightest, as the vocals are barely heard above a whisper during this song. In what seems to be a reversal of what is commonly heard on albums, the vocals that Hotel Alexis put forth act as highlighters for the instrumentation during this track. Continue reading “Hotel Alexis – Goliath, I’m On Your Side”

Gallows – Orchestra of Wolves

Gallows – Orchestra of Wolves / 2007 Epitaph / 15 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/gallows / http://www.epitaph.com /

Gallows play a brand of hardcore metal that goes into the style of acts like Men’s Recovery Project and Agoraphobic Nosebleed at times. However, during tracks like “Kill The Rhythm” and “Come Firendly Bombs”, the band create a much more approachable sound than any of those two acts. This means that during a “Come Friendly Bombs”, individuals can easily understand why the band arranges things the way they do, and they can even understand what the hell is being said. Hell, during “Come Friendly Bombs”, the band takes on a style that sounds more later Corrosion of Conformity than Job For A Cowboy. Continue reading “Gallows – Orchestra of Wolves”