11.28.07

Record Review- Digital Leather Hard at Work (Tic Tac Totally)

Digital Leather plays an intense brand of synth pop with a punk rock intensity. I really like this album. Hard at Work has some slower moments that prove that the band are able to produce good melodic tunes in a Joy Division/New Order style. My guess is that they are probably sick of the reference, but they do it really well. I feel kind of old listening to it ’cause i am sure there is a scene attached to this band that I am missing out on, but the album stands on its own. The song ‘2011’ sort of defines the more spastic pace of the album for me. ‘Sad Like You’ is one of the slower numbers that resembles Joy Division with its catchy, melancholy chorus. A really interesting band. If you are reluctant due to being a Joy Division purist, you should get over it and give this band a chance. They write some really sincere stuff.


Record Review- The Carbonas S/T (Goner Records)

One of the worst things to happen to rock and roll in the last year is that stupid Guitar Hero video game. One of the best things to happen to rock and roll in the last year is this recent release by the Carbonas. This is one of the most hard rocking albums to come out of late. Impossible for even the greasiest old fart to ignore. The Carbonas are as close to the Dead Boys as we are gonna get. Hard driving songs with the occasional melody drop in that makes you wonder whatever happened to good pop music in the first place. The second cut on the first side; ‘Didn’t Tell You A Lie’ is a standout for a melodic chorus done as well as it can be done. There is no reason to stare at a TV screen and pretend you are Slash. The Carbonas are real guitar heroes. Walk away from the game console and buy a record.

11.21.07

Book Review- Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar

Mingering Mike:

The Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar by Dori Hadar

192 pages. Illustrated. Princeton Architectural Press.

For thrift store junkies, it would be an ideal day. You are at a flea market flipping through countless Montovani records when suddenly you come across a box of unclaimed vintage soul albums. It happened to Dori Hadar. Only when Hadar got the box home, he realized he had found something even more interesting than a box of bargain records. The box actually contained phony records. Cardboard boxes cut into the shape of records. Entire albums complete with liner notes, sleeves, dummy cardboard LPs and in some cases, even shrink wrap. The albums he found were all related to one artist, Mingering Mike. And as it turns out, Mingering Mike did not exist.

A grade school student from Washington D.C. had invented Mingering Mike’s entire career in the 70’s on scrap cardboard. The reclusive child drew, cut and pasted together albums for years. The album jacket designs told the story of Mingering Mike’s long career, and what a career it was. Mingering Mike put on benefit concerts, hung with Marvin Gaye and had an entourage of cousins and classmates who were all unknowingly soul superstars in Mingering Mike’s world. It turns out that these record covers that Hadar discovered had accumulated over ‘Mingering Mike’s’ high school and even post high school years. More than a decade of work went into Mingering Mike’s career. If all of this is not compelling enough, Hadar’s search ended with a reclusive man who did not want to be named.

Hadar’s research into the origins of the phony record covers is almost as compelling as Mingering Mike’s career. Hadar searched out the artist who was now grown, but had never forgotten the albums that had been lost due to a delinquent storage unit payment. The man decided he would let ‘Mingering Mike’s’ career speak for itself and insisted his name be kept out of the book. Among all the drawings and hand crafted album covers, one photograph of this imaginary soul singer was found. A picture taken in his youth that was included in one of the album jackets. And that is the only hint you’ll see of the identity of the original artist.

The book does a good job of balancing ‘Mingering Mike’s’ career with Hadar’s search for answers. Hadar eventually returned the work to the artist who was grateful to have it back. Interest in Mingering Mike’s imaginary career has now surfaced in gallery shows and in the imagination of Talking Heads’ frontman David Byrne who has praised the book.

An accompanying 7” now exists with recordings made at the time by the artist with a tape recorder. For a brief moment, ‘Mingering Mike’ even had a voice. The cassette was among the possessions that the original artist had not lost.

The book contains pictures of all the recovered art and a well documented guide of the various stages of Mingering Mike’s career. Mingering Mike was the product of an overactive imagination. It is a fascinating read and an excellent product of outsider art.

11.15.07

Zine Review- Slade vs. the Monkeys

Slade vs. the Monkeys is the funniest zine I have seen in a long time. Slade vs. the Monkeys is a collection of rock caricatures based on random things the artist’s friends told him(Mark is the only name I can find) to draw. That and a table of contents is all you get. But that is all you need. The best zine in forever. The art is awesome, the ideas are random and the references are obscure. A must read for music snobs. One of my favorites is Dee Dee King vs. B. B. King. I’m not going to give any more of it away. It only gets better. A Must Read.
I got it at Goner Records.

11.13.07

Punk Rock Flea MArket

We are gonna be selling copies of Cramhole #1 at
The Punk Rock Flea Market
Sunday November 18th
10AM- 4PM.

Amy and I have a booth and we’ll be selling comics and Amy will have artwork. We are also sharing a table with Leroy Chen who is drawing stories for #2. #2 is still in process, but it is coming together. I am psyched about some of the stuff we are getting back.
Come out and say hello. It is going to be an awesome event.
Billups


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