underground since'89

send vinyl, tapes and zines for review to:

tobi vail P.O. Box 2572 Olympia, WA 98507 USA

email mp3's, links, photos and flyers to:


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011 by Chris O'Kane

I don’t periodize by year well. I’m also a skint grad student who spent most of the year studying. So my list does not consist in the best of what was new this year. It consists in a jumble of what I thought was best in 2011.

The Global Revolt of 2011:

What is often portrayed as a number of discrete events—The Arab Spring, The Indignados, The Greek Riots, The English Riots, The Occupy Movement etc.—should really be seen as a widespread, and long overdue, global revolt against the crisis of neo-liberal capitalism. I was excited and inspired by many of the waves of this revolt. I took part in others. I also had problems with aspects of it. I think it was smart to frame much of the rhetoric in terms of calls for ‘real democracy’ and the ‘99%.’ As slogans they were easily understood and appealed to people from a range of backgrounds and political orientations. In 2012, however, I hope the criticisms move beyond these slogans to a criticism of how the capitalist system functions and why it necessarily produces a class antagonism, financial disparity, exploitation and domination. I also hope the moves to occupy foreclosed homes, abandoned spaces etc. and efforts at debt refusal pick up.

The Return of Marx:

Greenspan, hell even Keynes, don’t cut the mustard when it comes to explanations of or solutions to the crisis.

How do we abolish the capitalist social form and its related forms of antagonism? Communisation is a problematic that tries to answer this question by theorizing the creation of communism under our total subsumption by capital as a process that negates value, class, gender etc. As theorized by Theorie Communiste, End Notes and others in SIC and Communisation and Its Discontents, communisation addresses the systematic nature of the capitalist social form and its overcoming in manner that possesses critical relevance for the global revolt:

“The abolition of capital, i.e. the revolution and the production of communism, is immediately the abolition of all classes and therefore of the proletariat. This occurs through the communisation of society, which is abolished as a community separated from its elements. Proletarians abolish capital by the production of a community immediate to its elements ; they transform their relations into immediate relations between individuals. Relations between singular individuals that are no longer the embodiment of a social category, including the supposedly natural categories of the social sexes of woman and man. Revolutionary practice is the coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-transformation.” (from the editorial in SIC 1 available at www.sic.communisation.net)

The Republican Presidential Election:

The perverse electoral process at its most perverse is also the best reality show of the year. A freak-show in which the candidates compete to try to out do their opponents bigoted regressive policies and 1950’s clip art style grooming.

Freedom 1590 AM:

Right wing talk radio in Seattle that proves the paranoid style of American politics is alive and well. A portal into an alternate universe where the Nazi’s were left wing and evangelical Christianity is under attack. The tributes to Christopher Hitchens were particularly perverse.

The Automatic Insurrectionary Manifesto Generator http://www.objectivechance.com/automatic_insurrection, The International Werewolf Conspiracy.

I usually listen to music while studying. For some reason I find that avant-garde kinds of doom/drone/black metal are the best for studying. So I spent a lot of time listening to the following new albums: Loss-Despond, Yob-Atma, Krallice-Diotima, Wolves in the Throne Room—Celestial Lineage, Big Business Quadruple Single and unreleased songs by The Whip I found online. I also loved the new Comet Gain.

Le Havre, The Muppet movie and The Black Power Mix-tape were the only new films I saw in the theatre in 2011. They were all good but not great. I also saw a showing of Freaks at the theatre. It was awesome. The great films I saw on DVD were the jimmy Stewart westerns by Anthony Mann, Fritz Lang westerns, Buster Keaton two reelers, Beaches of Agnes and Fassbinder’s the Niklashausen Journey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0U0tn8W-8I

Re-watching Deadwood, which tells the story of manifest destiny from primitive accumulation to formal and real subsumption through a violent bunch of sociopaths who are covered in shit while engaging in a lotta swearing and a lotta drinking.

Scam and On the Lower Frequencies by Erick Lyle, The Third Reich and Between Parentheses by Roberto Bolano, Ask the Dust by John Fante, The Sociology of Theodor Adorno by Mathias Benzer, Space, Difference and Everyday Life: Reading Henri Lefebvre, The Concept of Nature in Marx and History and Structure by Alfred Schmidt, The Dialectics of Labour by Chris Arthur, Mike Davis’s writings on cities, Open Marxism and the Common Sense journal, An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital by Michael Heinrich and Alex Locascio.

Revolutionary graves, ports, wandering in Portland, Seattle, Brighton, Rome, London, Oxford and Paris, the Czech photo exhibit in London, Gill’s sculptures, Taylor St Coffee and Tooktas café in Brighton. Aaron and Daily seeing Sonic Youth and eating at Del Posto.

Best of 2011 by Maggie Vail

1) Comet Gain - Howl of the Lonely Crowd
2) Zola Jesus - Conatus
3) The Men - Leave Home
4) Wild Flag - Wild Flag
5) Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
6) Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls
7) Grass Widow - Milo Minute
8) Moon Duo - Mazes
9) Total Control - Henge Beat
10) Shoppers - Silver Year

favorite show hands down:  grass widow at mississippi studios in august.
 I felt like I was in outer space.

non release best of:

1) london and paris with mom, tobi, and molly. norwich, the louvre, delicious food, brighton pub roast, ana and shirley, curries, wonderful friends, eiffel tower at night, pere lachaise, cafe de flores, and classic american cinema.

2) fiji for valentine's day. delicious kokoda! snorkeling for the first time was both harder and more beautiful than I ever imagined.

3) iceland - the blue lagoon, viking museum, driving around the stunning countryside

4) playing shows with hurry up. it's so much fun to play loud music. I really missed it, plus, I love kathy and westin so much.

5) my new job at CASH Music. it feels good to believe wholeheartedly in something and to be challenged again.

6) discovering petunia's pies and pastries. finally, gluten free desserts that taste real and somehow they are also vegan?! the first bite I had of her banana cream cake I threw down my fork and yelled "no way!" more food discoveries: sizzle pie, june, posole at autentica, oysters at eat

7) learning to make the best manhattans I've ever had

8) discovering that I had more support and love than I even knew.

9) jackson is still here and getting better.

10) the von doom family!

Best of 2011 by Ben Trogdon

I’m not so good at keeping up with current bands’ recordings, so this
is a list of some of my favorite performances of 2011.

Nicki Minaj
Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
Rick Ross and Lil Wayne played too, but I’m a huge Nicki fan and she
totally killed it! Special thanks to my buddy Jaime who won the
tickets on the radio and invited me to come along.

Crazy Spirit
Holy Mountain - Seattle
I was so excited to see this band I stage dove off the PA speaker, hit
my face on the floor and got a fat lip.

Russian Tsarlag / SHV
Stud Mansion - Olympia
Dang, maybe I was stoned but this night was hypnotic. Intense. I was
under the spell.

Ratas Del Vaticano
Monterrey, MX
The show was in a shell of a building in downtown Monterrey. It had no
roof and inside was a half pipe and a bar. Ratas were sick! It was so
cool to see them in their hometown. Afterwards they took us to a house
party where everyone sung along to Eskorbuto until 4 AM. I was so
tired from the long drive and everything, I fell asleep in the middle
of it all.

The Creamers
Club 1808 - Austin
This band is so cool. When they played that night they owned that room
and that city.

Transfix / Forced Laugh / Living Eyes
Quince and State St. House - Olympia
Transfix is my new favorite Olympia band. Their demo tape and Living
Eyes’ new 7” were two of my fave recordings of 2011.

Brilliant Colors
Grandma’s House - Olympia
It was like seeing The Beatles!

Vile Gash
Old School Pizzeria - Olympia
Violent feeling, totally awesome. Gotta even out that karma.

Le Voyeur - Olympia
Even though this was HPP’s last show it was super fun. Everyone was in
a great mood. RIP HPP

White Wards / Hysterics / Christian Mistress
I saw these bands many times in 2011. They are continually inspiring
as people, friends, and bands.

Best of 2011 by Hannah Horovitz

Crude Thought and Hysterics- They rule. These are my two favorite bands to see live.

12:01 January 1st, 2011 at Dumpster Values- i think this charmed my whole year. So many lady drummers working this amazing sound. So cool to feel like the new year was coming in on some kind of positive, powerful wave.

azealia banks' "212"- this song got stuck in my brain and all i wanted to do was listen to it over and over again. it seemed to me that every time it was reviewed or mentioned, folks were seriously hung up on how raunchy it was. it doesn't seem that raunchy to me, but maybe just because i've listened to it a thousand times? (I guess, no more or less raunchy than anything else). this was the song that warmed me to people when they liked it.

the nuts release party- everyone put this show on their list because it was a seriously magical day. my favorite part was being there early, seeing all of these people visiting from out of town while all the kids were running around and playing in the space with the sun shining and bands starting to play. reading everyone elses' descriptions of the night, i feel a little square, but that was the part that made me feel so happy-- watching people trickle in and out as the crowd slowly grew, hanging out with buddies, children and grown ups and everyone really stoked to be there.

the CLPP (Civil Liberties and Public Policy) conference at Hampshire College- I was able to go to this conference while I was on the East Coast this past April, and it totally blew my mind. So many people gathered together to fight for reproductive justice, it was so empowering and exciting. The panels and workshops were all super exciting and informative, but the closing plenary was seriously electric-- academics and activists were standing up in their seats to chime into a discussion that exploded into something beyond what I could have ever imagined possible. The auditorium was completely packed with people, and what had been presented as a panel discussion totally morphed into this amazing and totally positive and excited and deeply important talk on race, gender, sexuality, privilege and oppression... it felt so wonderful to be in a space and see this conversation modeled in such an inclusive and responsible way, to be surrounded by so many strong and brilliant people.

The end of the Red House- fuck, this could have been such a bummer. It's pretty miserable to walk by the house now and see it looking so sad with it's salmon-pukey paint and nothing going on. hanging out with gina and joey by the paddling pool and yardsale, walking up to the house with everyone milling around i the sun...I wish I could burn that days' feelings into my mind, so even if I somehow forget how much that house and the people who lived in it shaped my life in this town, i'll at least have some shock waves to lug around with me. Damn, that house was one of my favorite places in the world.

Love and Rockets- I know this is absolutely not specific to 2011, but I spent a while this autumn tuned out from the rest of the world, drinking coffee and reading Locas. I guess if this is on the list, I've got to round it out with everything else that made me feel sentimental/nostalgic/unstoppable:
Erick Lyle's "on the lower frequencies"
Al burien's "Things are meaning less"
Trini Dalton's "Wide eyed"
this zine called "riding freight trains across the country is not the only way to risk everything with your friends"

Mother News and Doris- talking about tiny ponies with friends everywhere who've all read that issue of doris has made with world feel a little more connected. I am always so stoked to get the new issue of mother news in the mail and find batman and feel so relieved that this is out there.

rotating house game night - thanks to ben russel, lucy and chris and others for helping make this autumn and winter more bearable. i love playing apples to apples with people who hate the policestate.

wugazi- have you heard this? my friend's date showed it to us while we were all hanging out, talking about woowoo vibes in the pacific northwest. My favorite tangent of 2011.

Gina's "Shit's fucked" zine- this might be the best zine I've read this year. So simple and so helpful (especially in the sense that when I read it, I feel like I'm sitting in the same room as my long-lost, gone-to-california buddy). This is some real talk self help.

Best of 2011 by John Root

Best of 2011 by John Root

1. The last day of winter / first day of spring at SXSW during the "Super Moon" seeing Total Abuse then getting laid in my parents van.

2. swimming in "Agua Azul" with cave bats at Puente De Dios - Mexico

3. Club 1808 show in Austin,TX with Weird TV, Creaturas, & The Creamers

4. Sonskull at Nuts #8 release show

6. After party for the Weird TV show in Monterrey Mexico where members of Ratas Del Vaticano and other friends played covers for three hours

6. Femstival show in D.F. Mexico on the top floor of a 5 story squatted apartment.

7. Cream of the Crap Video grand opening w/ Knife to the Eye, Broken Water, Sewn Leather and AWOTT

8. Acephalix at the House of the Dead Rat in San Jose

9. Harsh Nayyar recording session

10. making $150 in LA after being filmed jerking off for a gay porn as "Richie Jacquelette". I was wearing a Hell Woman t-shirt.

Best of 2011 by Tobi Vail

best of olympia:

Occupy Olympia
Slutwalk /Consent Fest
Feminist Dance Party with Marissa Magic & DJ TV
Outlook at New Direction Fest & tape
Hysterics record release party after Slutwalk & 7"
Animals & Men, Western Hymn and M.O.D.'s at Northern
Grass Widow/Broken Water at Dumpster Values & Weird TV at Old School
Knife in the Eye opening for Broken Water/AWOTT/Sewn Leather
Les Blank & Maureen Gosling at Olympia Film Festival
Nuts#8 release party show
Polly Darton & Love Warz at Northern
Hooded Hags at Northern
Jonathan Richman reprise of Modern Lovers' Old World at Capitol Theater
KISS at Night of the Living Tribute Bands
Scout Niblet backstage at the Capitol Theater
Family Stoned - High Time Woman
Dead Head - Caroline Doesn't Know It Yet
Secret listen to new Son Skull record that isn't really out yet
Sewn Leather 12", new tape & live show
White Boss lp (didn't come out this year but I listened to it a bunch)
Harsh Nayyar/ Level Anchorage live & recordings
Earth at Northern
Kanako/ feminist book club
Sarah Adams feminist organizer of the year!
Hanging out with Marissa Magic in Olympia & collaborating on punk
Spider and the Webs practice: new songs, bass guitar!
Sara Peté & Kelsey Smith produced events at the library:
Anne Elizabeth Moore, Alice Bag, Missy Anne, Stephanie Coontz etc
Angela Davis commencement speech at TESC
David Barsamian at the Washington State Labor Council
My mom on the cover of Olympia Power & Light at Bank Transfer Day protest

personal best:

running 5 miles
fixing my teeth
djing with Amy Yao at The Raincoats/Grass Widow/ No Bra in Brooklyn
getting paid to write
london/paris trip
playing a show (it's been a few years)
lake chelan & lake cushman w/ family & friends
port townsend anniversary date
sarasota film festival & beach with jenn
road trip to sf with joaquin de la puente on highway 101

favorite books:

1. Jimmy James Blood by Missy Anne
2. Salvation City by Sigrid Nunez
3. Out of the Vinyl Deeps by Ellen Willis
4. Violence Girl by Alice Bag
5. Sempre Susan by Sigrid Nunez

in general:

1. "I don't call it rioting, I call it an insurrection of the masses of the people."- Darcus Howe
2. anti-racist feminist critique of slutwalk
3. GRRL added to Scrabble dictionary
4. rookiemag.com
5. Finland - I really want to visit

"I've had what I wanted, and, when all is said and done, what one wanted was always something else." – Simone de Beauvoir

also, this article on the Occupy Movement

my top ten records of the year are listed in the December issue of artforum

Best of 2011 by Sara Peté

1. alice bag reading and playing at the olympia timberland library and her rad book "violence girl: from east LA rage to hollywood stage - a chicana punk story"

2. favorite new band of 2011:  hooded hags... favorite band that ended in 2011: cat fancy!

3. the maxines on narduar's radio show, at the olympia timberland library and their 2011 recordings

4. dj shannon and nadia buyse playing only the ladies and raising money for planned parenthood at the tonic in portland

5. san pedro el cortez (SPEC)... all the way from tijuana...  and gun outfit show at the phoenix house

6. animals and men at northern

7. favorite repeat live show offenders of 2011:  ghost mom, nucular aminals and november witch

8. experimental films at the library!  kinema nippon, "klute" by dylan sharp, and "everything and nothing again and again" by reid urban

9. seeing a north korean monster movie (pulgasari) on the day of kim jong il's funeral in savannah georgia thanks to the psychotronic film society

10. 28th annual olympia film festival... especially "blossoms of fire" and q&a with maureen gosling and "always for pleasure" with les blank 

very honorable mentions to:   

sarah adams' feminist consciousness raising show at northern and all the other planned parenthood fundraising and support of 2011


merle haggard and kris kristofferson live at the casino in shelton, wa.  

Best of 2011 by Brett Lyman


1. Aramoana, just north of Port Chalmers, New Zealand; Harataonga Bay, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand (tie)

2. Moving house & home & underground business to Portland, Oregon, Republic of Cascadia

3. Mind-bending shows of this year: COASTING and THE GOLDEN AWESOME and approx. 50 other groups at Camp A Low Hum in Bulls, New Zealand; GRASS WIDOW, RAINCOATS, and FELT LETTERS at Comet Pizza and Ping Pong in Washington, DC;

4. Spectacle Theater in south Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York: the greatest tiny cinema in the country and, for many months this summer, my second home. best double bill: Chris Marker's "A BIENTOT, J'ESPERE" and Jean Eustache's "MES PETITS AMOREUSES"

5. Best 7" of the year that wasn't on M'lady's: Mecca Normal "Malachi" b/w "Blue Sky With Branches" on K

6. "There's far too much democracy in the culture, and not enough in society." - Fran Lebowitz, from "Public Speaking" by Martin Scorsese, my favorite non-fiction film of the year

7. Walking with thousands of people onto the Brooklyn Bridge in October, and again a few days later to take over Times Square, New York City

8. Realizing in the middle of the night back in June that recorded music is just a fad and soon enough the next stop on the underground express will be singing directly to one another

9. Getting older. So much more exciting than I ever could have imagined.

10. Seeing "Rock N Roll High School" on the big screen on my birthday at Anthology Film Archives. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Best of 2011 by Adriana

1. Crude Thought --  demo
2. Broken Water – Peripheral Star ep/live
3. Mothercountry Motherfuckers - live
4. Weird TV – live/Brilliant Colors -- live
5. No Statik -- We All Die In The End LP
6. Pink Nightmare – self-titled ep (tape)/live
7. Grimace -- Mustard Gas and Roses ep (tape)
8. Sixes -- final tape/last Olympia set
9. Big Crux – Big Crux Is A Big Funk ep
10. Scary Man -- live

1. the woods by my house
2. Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa
3. the rapture of finally finishing my own bands’ releases: Hysterics – s/t (M’lady’s) Outlook - Vision tape + Our Time Is Now LP (out Feb), Dehumanized – Demo
4. Occupy
5. Chester
6. my nephew being born
7. meeting new and rediscovering old friends/Hysterics and Outlook tours
8. abundance$$$$$$/realizing sometimes it is possible to be taken care of
9. New Direction Fest/hanging out with Brigada Roja from Monterrey, MX
10. Nuts! Release Show #8/wet n’ wild times with some of music’s best RIP Red and Black   

Best of 2011 by Chris Pugmire

chris p (new war) - best of australia 2011

htrk - work (work, work)
rowland s howard - teenage snuff film (vinyl reissue)
lost animal - ex tropical
scattered order - a solar rush towards a treble heaven
laura jean - a fool who'll
dick diver - new start again
feathers - hunter's moon
total control - henge beat
blank realm - falling down the stairs 7"
batrider - piles of lies
twerps - twerps

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of 2011 by Veronica Ortuño

1. Dreams realized:
The opening of Las Cruxes' storefront....pouring my heart and sweat.
Support with Cease to Exist! and the amazing artists/musicians I get to study. — Special thanks to M'ladys Records for hosting it for me.

2. Records + such:
Sonskull - Wiped Clean EP
Rene Hell - Terminal Symphony
Factory Floor 12"; Hysterics 7"
Total Abuse - Prison Sweat
Earn - A Following Shadow
Broken Water - Peripheral Star EP
Demos: Livid + Nose Dive

3. Revisited:
Black Sabbath - Sabotage
Nick Garrie - The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas
Leonard Cohen; Grace Slick & The Great Society; Robbie Basho
Martin Dupont - Just Because LP + Sleep Is A Luxury LP
Master's Apprentices - Hands of Time
The Index - LP

4. Shows (Music):
Weird TV at Club 1808
Fielded at Trailer Space
Rene Hell, Earn, & Pedestrian Deposit at Dem Passwords
Cold Girls; OBN III's
Everyone who helped make Night of Rage III possible

5. Shows (Art):
Alexander McQueen retrospective at the MoMA in New York
Dream House in Tribeca
A Hung Garden by Mikaylah Bowman at Youth Group Gallery

6. Books:
Sobrero Fallout + In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan
Christiane F. by Christiane F.
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen

7. Zines:
NUTS! fanzine by Ben Trogdon
I Strangled Mine by Rusty Kelley
Shotgun Seamstress by Osa Atoe
Making Waves by Mary Jane Regalado and Camille Lan

8. Honorable mention:
Labels: M'lady's Records; Fast Weapons; Perennial Records
Podcasts: Gunilla Mixtapes + TV Dinner
Movies: Depeche Mode: 101; Drive; Interiors; The Double Life of Véronique

9. Others:
Versus coming to fruition
Nights of solitude with a Micro Korg + a drum machine
Meditation and Chinese cupping therapy
Life-altering card readings from Kate Curtis and Sarah Adams
My sabbatical to the Pacific Northwest and California
Mini Chateau Marmont vacation with good friends
Rose Garden on N. Albina in Portland


Best of 2011 by Josh Bayer

The books and albums in the top position would be Fred Blassie's 2004 biography favorite album would be Thalia Zedeck's 2008 album Liars and Prayers. I don't feel like this is totally a failure on my part to be current. It takes time to properly embrace immensely great stuff sometimes.

The absolute best thing that happened this year was discovering a new level of inclusion in the alt-comics community. So many people I respect were bending over backward to open up their hands in friendship and equality towards me. Raymond Pettibon, Brian Ralph, James Kochalka, these people are high up in the stratosphere and they were all supporting me in ways that I never would have imagined when I was hanging around parking lots in Columbus Ohio drinking Slurpees, listening to Hard Volume on a walkman, watching everyone I wanted to be friends with cross the street to get away from me.

13.Thalia Zedeck's Liars and Prayers
How did it take me 4 years to understand how great this record is?

12. Getting hired at Brooklyn's Third Ward.
I cry whenever I get a new job. I'm the luckiest person on Earth to do this for a living.

11. To Be The Man-Ric Flair

10. Listen Up you Pencil Necked Geeks-Fred Blassie

9. Steven Bissette's Teen Angels and New Mutants

8. Grant Morrison's Supergods

7. The Weird World Of Blowfly, the Movie
My (late) friend Jeremy used to put songs from"Blowfly's Zodiac" on mix tapes for me. I thought they sucked but Blowfly's longevity has worked its charm on me. As Blowfly has gotten older his voice sounds like John Brannon's, both an indestructible object and an irresistible force. When someone does art that is so fucked, for a few minutes, it absorbs all of your attention, and maybe some of your disgust and anger and you can almost forget how fucked and disgusting the world is outside.

6. OFF! First Four Ep's

5. Seeing Joan Jett and The Black Hearts for Free in Coney Island.
This was rad as all-get-out, one of the 15 best rock shows I've ever seen. I have listened to Joan Jett over and over and over. Sad that I'll never get to see her do some of my personal favorite songs (will she ever do racks from Pure and Simple?), but still, I could not have been happier with this show. She put a lot of passion into some of her more obscure songs, and delivered all the hits that you know she's way tired of playing with a respectable professionalism. Nothing will ever stop her.

4. Seeing Black Rainbow and The Home wreckers at ABCnORIO with Joaquin. and seeing X at Irving Plaza with Gabrielle Shelton. My two oldest friends on earth.

3. Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival

2. Being invited to be a part of Box Brown's Retrofit Comics imprint.

1. Suspect Device the Comic
This year I discovered that If I ask fifty or sixty artists, all of whom I have intense admiration for, to contribute new comics for no money, almost all of them will do it, and that most of them thank me for the opportunity. Its really really insane.

Best of 2011 by Chain and the Gang












Best of 2011 by Marissa Magic

25 things that interest me in 2011 in no particular order:

occupy/decolonize movement
The shutting down of various things and taking back of space is both
exciting and inspiring. I feel like it's already changed the world to
some tiny degree and I hope it continues to push that

This band wows me every time I come across them whether it's in
recorded or live form. And their lyrics are even better. (blistering
lady hardcore)

I consider this to be my band of challenges. Playing guitar, singing
pretty but keeping it entirely abrasive. One of those bands that grew
out of and into the best of friendships. (fucked guitars punishing
drums and fake harmonies)

knife in the eye
This is another challenge band, playing music with people I admire and
one of the more straightforward projects I have ever touched. (freaked
out straight ahead punk rock)

sewn leather
An anomaly of a person, electronic kind of dance music chock full of
references I actually understand (FLIPPER+THROBBING GRISTLE)

sissy spacek
a name I heard so many times but finally this year witnessed the
wonder. (powerviolence noise)

A town I have loved forever and I finally got a grand tour/hangout
from a native. If I ever found myself wanting to move somewhere new
this would be it.

I spent more time here this year than I have in the last five. It has
turned into a town of acquaintances where I exist as a bizarre myth,
where people know of my past hijinks and have kept track of me via my
writing but have had minimal real interaction with me. It was real
excellent to hang out with Tobi and make some new friends. For the
first time in a long time I miss it for what it is now rather than
what it was when I lived there.

the church
My new home. Filled to the brim with forever weirdos. Again I find
myself in a semi-public living space (which I prefer) and the constant
go ahead if not encouragement to make the entire place into a series
of art installations is inspiring

diet cokeheads
how did I not know about this? I read an interview that they were on
indefinite hiatus due to different members moving to different places.
I hope they play a reunion show in my living room. (FLIPPER with delay
rather than distortion)

This is the year I realized that San Francisco was no longer the
social culture I longed for so I moved the fuck on and dove straight
into a bizarre fantasy that is now my reality.

new years
I had this moment where I tried to go to a party in Oakland and felt a
meltdown coming on so I jetted and went to a party in a squat in San
Francisco. It was a magical night.

When Lee moved here I got an e-mail from my friend Danimal telling me
what a wonderful person she is, he is right. Here performances as RIND
are chilling and her record is haunting. An amazing artist and I feel
honored to even be slightly associated with her. (dark bleeps and slow

maybe this is awkward? Vanessa is my best friend. She is an amazing
guitar player(one of my favorites), excellent screamer and a rad
drummer. She makes creepy drawings and wreaths of hair. She is one of
those people who consistently challenges how I see the world. On her
birthday she took me to creative growth which is the art studio for
adults with disabilities that she volunteers at and it was one of the
most intense and emotional moments of my life

the end of self hatred
too reveling? I kind of don't hate myself anymore. I almost don't know
how to handle it.

MRR column
apparently my writing garners a spot for reporting to the world my
thoughts on things on a monthly basis. Does this make me influential?

she also goes by Amelia. This is another person in my life that
consistently challenges how I see the world. She is an amazing front
person and a mind blowing artist.

the above mentioned and I have this forever project together that has
morphed from a dance thing to a band to performance art to video
making to visual bullshit. A two person art collective. Some of the
rawest and most vulnerable things in my life are presented to the
public via this.

an amazing and inspiring band. Aggressively queer, positive in a
non-hippie sense, rejoicing in the outsider, talk sing vocals provided
by the above mentioned meals. (bags meets val-speak)

I hope this doesn't bum anyone in this band out because I really think
they are amazing, but with this combo of people in it I managed to
convince myself it would be a pretty straightforward punk band of the
ilk that I'm not way into. Half way through their first song I was
literally jumping up and down and squealing. This band is
aaaaaamazing. They just put out a demo that has garnered some heavy
rotation from yours truly. (too melodic to be hardcore, not melodic
enough to really be considered melodic)

all-american road trip with family to national parks
nature is FUCKING CRAZY.

midnight magic snax
did I even spell that right? This is a weirdo video project/occasional
DJ duo that I do with my dear and longtime friend jerrylee. Currently
we are at the editing point of a video whose main focus is a "puppet
urinal" staged during folsom street fair.

their new record is really fucking good (no wave tinged sonic youth)

nuts! release party/nuts! in general
this was one of the best shows I attended this year, Ben Trogdon must
be a fucking magician or some shit. All day punk show in the middle of
downtown olympia during artswalk in a burnt out building with no roof?
done. Seriously, what the fuck? Beyond that, nuts! is one of the best
zines I've read possibly ever in my entire fucking life. Ben is an
amazing interviewer and it's in general such a mish mash from weirdo
art to food reviews to essays to whatever.

Polly Darton
I thought Maryjane was pretty fascinating in the first place and then
Tobi sent me a link of a performance she did and I really hope she
comes here sometime.

Best of 2011 by Dave Harvey

Recording the Family Stoned
Having seen them play a couple sonically confusing shows, I was surprised when they came in and promptly put down 6 or 7 completely cohesive punk-hippy jams with a dialed-in sound that translated naturally to tape. Caroline's melodic rock'n'roll vocals were the cherry on top. Check out the self-released cassette - I'd tell you the name of it, but they haven't even gotten a copy to me yet, but it's the 2nd tape.

Dead Head recording and live
I've dug them all along, but they've gotten more focused with every show, and came over and made a great stripped down sludgy hard rock recording that shows off their musical interaction much better than the first recording - plus wind chimes on this one. Dead Head II is the self-released cassette I'm speaking of.

Hysterics live and recording
Hysterics always kill it, even in the daylight or if there's only 8 people present - and that's saying something. Adriana is like the Keith Richards of hardcore - I get the sense that everyone else in the band is following her, when most bands follow the drummer. She's a riffin' machine. It was a treat hanging out with them for a couple days recording their 7" that, after many inexplicable delays, finally came out on M'lady's records a few weeks ago.

Speaking of M'lady - best hair salon I've seen this year:
M'lady, M'lord, in Yuma, AZ. Unisex, of course.

Dial M For Murder in dual 35mm projector 3D at the Capitol Theater
Part of the best Oly Film Fest I've seen in years, this was the film I've most wanted to experience for many years now, but I never thought I'd get to actually project it. Co-helming the projectors with Joaquin de la Puente, this was incredibly rewarding both in the completely antiquated but 100% functional technology at work - nothing even remotely digital - and the beautiful result. Oh, and the movie itself is awesome, too!

Long hangs alone in wintery deserts, and driving from Austin to Olympia only hitting one interstate for about 80 miles.

Nuts #8 release party in that burned-out building.
Man, hats off to Troggin'-dog, this was such an incredible concept and I still can't believe he actually pulled it off. I had to work some lame event at the Theater and missed the entire last half and got really pissed especially cuz I was really looking forward to jamming some dive-bomb fuzz-wah guitar with Son Skull and I got there right when they finished and I really really wanted to see them and god only knows when and if they'll next play again.

Speaking of which:
The new Son Skull 12"
After something like a year and half's recording time - I think only Axl Rose takes longer - I had no idea if the recordings would even glue together as one record but they totally did. It almost feels like a concept album - er, EP. Way harsher than their Birth Scene/Rewind 12", but with moments that are far gentler as well - such as Mary conjuring sonorous harmonics from the depths of a crystal bowl and Frida rockin' the windswept brass elephant bell. Again, I don't even know what this is called cuz I don't have a copy yet and so far only glorified test pressings have been available with screen printed covers - official issue coming any day now.

Totally low budget "professional" wrestling in a church basement in Montreal with all the wrestlers screaming in French. Marvelous Jeff! Sexy Leon Savors!

Aki Kaurismaki's new film Le Havre
Any time this Finnish dude has a new movie it's cause for celebration. A carful of us went up to Seattle last week to catch it and it didn't let down in the slightest. Kaursimaki's usual low-key storytelling takes a political bent, but in the most humanistic manner possible. I laughed and I cried. And Little Bob rocked it and Jean-Pierre Léaud - the kid from The 400 Blows - creeped it up as the small-minded snitch. Coming to the Capitol Theater the week of January 27th. I can't recommend it enough.

All in one day: hanging out with Wayne Kramer and getting rocked so hard by The Stooges with James Williamson on guitar that parts of my body are still sore a month later and dancing onstage during Shake Appeal and seeing Iggy's cock 4 feet in front of my face.

There's kinda nothing more to say after that.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best of 2011 by Stephie

two things i'm not gonna forget from 2011:

1. nuts! #8 party
-as a teenager i would read book after book about the punk scenes of the 70s and 80s and it didn't take long to come to terms with the devastating idea that i would never experience an underground music made by members of my own generation that would move me at least as profoundly as our predecessors' music had. how very wrong i was...after freaking out over some of the best bands in the world (all of whom were from olympia), with a couple hundred friends and strangers in the pouring rain, i left feeling like i'd just been baptized or something...by the time sonskull played, it was dark, and the crowd was a mass of steaming bodies, losing our shit in this gutted warehouse. i remember milk music's two-song set really got to me. i'd seen almost all these bands before, but never in one place, and it was a magical combination of elements. someday rolling stone or an equally irrelevant publication will try to reflect on this period in music history and they will most likely completely overlook this biggest, best and most sacred secret. realest of the real. thank you ben trogdon.

2. outlook at aggression fest (eagle's hall basement, olympia)
-"aggression fest" was an all-day showcase of hardcore bands from around the northwest. i thought some of the show was a basketball-shorts-wearing snoozefest but it was for a great cause (proceeds went to G.I. coffeehouse COFFEE STRONG, owned by antiwar vets at fort lewis, to provide soldiers with information about their rights and resources) and it did have its highlights: Seattle band GRIMACE, for example, who channels bands like NEGATIVE APPROACH but with a kind of freshness, fury and authenticity that can't be faked. my band hysterics also played and had a great time, but what really made this show best-of-2011 material was the performance given by olympia hardcore band OUTLOOK. smart and sincere personal-is-political lyrics with scathing and relentless delivery, brain-rippingly tight riffs and crazy extraterrestrial-grade changes that move at such a breakneck pace, it doesn't give you a second to contemplate what the fuck it is they just did. in 2008, seeing the way adriana fronted this group was what inspired me to scrape up the guts to attempt the same thing the following year, and every outlook show thereafter has been equally inspiring...as soon as they hit the first chord at this show and the floor opened up, i flipped my wig and ended up sore for like four days. what a great group!

other stuff:
crude thought (!!!), dancing onstage with the sonics (not to mention james maeda with his mom and dad) at the capitol theater in the first moments of 2011, getting intercepted by jewish family i didn't even know i had at the opening of kitzel's deli (true story), the KISS cover band (five words: aaron larsen as gene simmons), going on the first hysterics tour, the new john maus LP, the broken water 12", brilliant colors/la la vasquez at grandma's house, and occupy wall street.

Best of 2011 by Steve Dore

Here are my highlights of the year, in no particular order.
Kayaking into Buzzard's Bay and "discovering" and hanging around my own tiny island. Sadly I had no flag on me at the time.
Philip Guston: Collected Writings, Lectures, Conversations book: The inspired curmudgeon speaks....a lot.
The Wallace Collection
Alvarius B. Baroque Primitiva LP- This also gets my vote for best record cover of the year.
Eric Copeland "U.F.O.'s Over Vampire City"- Heard this on the radio when I was chopping onions. Top tune!
Mike Kelley's Exploded Fortress of Solitude exhibition at Gagosian Gallery
The Age of Absurdity by Mike Foley. Wise and funny, what more do you want?
Seeing my old friend Kevin Noonan in Brooklyn after not seeing each other for 13 years was the highlight of my year.

Best of 2011 by Rachel Evans

Here is my best and discovered for 2011
1. Film: The big picture starring Roman Duris
2. Place: Chiswick House & Gardens
3. Place : Notes Coffee and Music Shop, St Martin's Lane
4. Band: The Proper Ornaments
5. Drink: Hendricks gin, and discovering that including agostura bitters to gin makes it extra delicious
6. Music: Brazil Bossa beat from Soul Jazz Records.
7. Photographs: E.O Hoppe portraits at the National Portrait Gallery
8. Television: The new modern Sherlock Holmes
9. Books: Discovering early 19th Century literture. Jane Austen is good and not as trite as school made be believe.
10. Woman of the Year: Miss Ladybird face.. My continuing adoration of the older woman

Best of 2011 by Billy Karren

Outlook...Outlook's video covers everything that happened last summer on the west coast

Best of 2011 by Lisa Schonberg

ten things i loved in 2011 in no particular order

1. M'lady's Records moving to Portland
2. Kicking off 2011 at dumpster values drumming with 20 other women
3. Revival Drum shop moves into huge new space & Beacon Sound record shop moves in next door = best strip mall ever

4. PDX Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls persisting through hard financial times and raising $50,000 in a couple of months. 
5. Wild Flag performing live = most inspiring show of 2011
6. Getting to go to Michigan Womyns Fest.
7. My great aunt Ann turning 99. 
8. Getting to create, compose for & perform with the Secret Drum Band percussion ensemble. 

photo by martin evans

9. Joshua Tree, three times = favorite desert

photo by tara jane oneil

10. Surfing in the northwest

Best of 2011 by Molly Neuman

Best of my life 2011

café de flore

Paris with Vail ladies
Dinner at Frenchie, Paris
Inside Job wins the Oscar
Grandma's 90th birthday, Napa
Dinner at Bazaar, LA
Teaching classes for Cocinar Para Su Salud http://www.cookforyourlife.org/
Moving to our new home
Riding my bike to Ft. Tilden Beach
Yoga at Mala and Shambhala
Classes at Studio Maya, Brooklyn
Tybee Island family beach trip
Comet Gain at the Scala, London
Arroz Negre at Barceloneta and Arnau's birthday show 11.11.11
Puerto Rico holiday
Hot Snakes, Wild Flag, No Age and more at ATP, Minehead
Christmas tamales with Miriam

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of 2011 by Adee Roberson

Here is a list of my favorite Jams this year. As I was compiling this I was only a little surprised that my list of music consisted mostly of punk and experimental bands with people of color and women in the forefront of them. It's so great to see things change overtime, or maybe instead of focusing on what we didn't have we just made what we wanted to happen.

1. Peaking Lights "936" (Not Not Fun; 2011)

Tripped out lo fi space sounds. Elements of dub, minimal disco, and punk.
I spent a lot of time listening to this album while painting and driving long distances.

2. Covergirl "Paris Burns" (Captured Tracks; June 2011)

When I heard this I was like yay the essence of Huggy Bear is back!
gay/queer post punk. Covergirl doesn't sound like HB to me they just remind me of them with the boy/girl vocal and fuzzy loud guitars, and literal conscious lyrics. I want to move to the U.K. and be friends with them.

3. Younger Lovers "Rock Flawless" (Bachelor Records; July 2011)

I can't lie I haven't listened to this whole album through and through, but I saw YL play like 5 times this summer, and it was indeed flawless. So fucking good. soul pop punk. I love catchy lyrics, and the video for "keeps on falling down" is a black queer stoner's dance party dream come true.

4. HALO HALO " Manananggal " (Savoury Days Records 2011)

Banjo, female vocals, pause and response drum patterns. This sounds really fucking fun. and the video for the song "Manananggal" is cool too.

5. Jeepneys "Lats Yerk + Herman the Bull" (Human Ear; July 2011)

Anna Luisa is from another planet. I'm glad that she is visiting earthduring this lifetime, because I feel like she is helping to expand the minds of whoever she encounters by just kicking it with them. This is space music plane and simple. Stars, Planets, Ancestors from other galaxies are jamming to this. Imagine minimal organic house/dance music, with tap dancing and backwards vocals, and elements of jazz from Sun Ra's Arkestra.

6. Chica Vas "Te Queiro" (Generatto , March 2011)

Drums, Percussion, deep vocals. The ritual like sounds of these songs inspire me so much.

7. American Splits

Bass. Heavy Drums. Saxophone and vocals and all people of color. When I saw American Splits in San Francisco I was so happy. Really happy. This is definitely punk, post punk with elements of The Ex, and Essential Logic. I love this band. They are under the radar too, they don't have any recordings but below Is a link to a live show recording.

8. Shaggy Reaper, Fat Transfer, Teenage Love Songs Live at BernalHill, San Francisco
A sunset show with friends. Everyone who played was so good. I don't want to be dorky describing this and ruining it. It was just so good. and you had to be there.

9. Renyosa

I love when folks incorporate D.I.Y. and punk music and aesthetic with their own culture and background. This is something I am constantly striving for with my art and music and it is so satisfying to see it manifested to simply with Renyosa. LOVE.

10. The Eyo Beats "60 Africa 70" (Domino Sound)

All of the songs on this tape are old. way before 2011, but I think it was released earlier this year. A compilation of Afro beats and sounds. Highlife and RNB. Lovely artwork and songs.

Best of 2011 by Hannah Lew

maybe not 100% released in 2011, but my favorite hits of 2011:

UV race
Total Control
Rank Xerox
Milk Music
Broken Water
Weird TV
Hunx and his Punx
Golden Awesomes

Best of 2011 by Erick Lyle


1. Occupy Wall Street (SF, Oakland, Olympia, etc...)
Face it, this shit ruled! I was lucky enough to be around this in different places -- the Oakland General Strike, the inception of Oly's Occupy, the scene at Zucotti... Very cool. Finally a movement that so simply captured the public imagination that even my MOM got it! Zucotti was very special -- so organized and ambitious. The People's Library, the daily feedings, really the whole bit. I loved how people were talking to each other. It was this island of respect and tolerance in downtown NYC. It reminded me of Orwell's accounts of anarchist-controlled Barcelona. People were walking a little taller here all over town, for sure. And still are, if recent hand to hand battles with NYPD in the streets are any indication. Its not over yet!

2. Exene Cervenka/Black Rainbow/Younger Lovers/Displeasure/Alibastair Choad at Serra Bowl in Colma, CA 7/16/11
Did I ever tell you how Exene opened for my band in a bowling alley in the suburbs of SF? Just another in a long series of "Anything is possible"moments in the Bay Area! SF and Oakland punks descended on a real live bowling alley full of Filipino families bowling and teens hanging in the parking lot on a Saturday night. Gangs sized each other up outside and old men drank in the old man bar while the pins fell all around. A spirited parallel show was said to take place at the karaoke bar while this raging punk show took place in the arcade (we just had to leave $100 deposit and move the air hockey tables to make room for the bands). Displeasure are raw, noisy, chaotic, tough. Alibastair Choad were their usual compelling cult-like selves. Exene sang three songs a cappella and spoke a little between songs. She was brilliant, really spot on politically but understated and modest. "The World's a Mess Its In My Kiss" gave me chills. Brontez closed out the show with the usual hilarious jokes interrupted every so often by dancy pop punk.

3. Do You Hear We? Fest Chattanooga, TN June 2011
This is my yearly family reunion, now in its 4th year. It has been so inspiring to see The Region calmly grow through love and calm determination into an actual punk destination. In 1995, none of us could have imagined that punks FROM OTHER CITIES would ever flock to Chattanooga to hear what we were doing! This 4-day blowout really shone on the last two days with back to back full days of The Rock at the new Sluggo's North. Hidden Spots, ADDC/Twat Sauce/Shell Shag/Landlord/RVIVR/Street Legal/Dark Rides/Future Virgins/countless others ruled it for days of non stop dancing and friendship.

4. Mike Watt and The Missing Men @ Mercury Lounge New York City 4/1/11
So good to see Watt back in action with a blazing hot band. I stood pressed against the stage as close as possible and let Watt and drummer, Raul, blow me away for an hour as they played their entire new LP start to finish and a bunch of Minutemen covers for an encore. Watt is a force of nature and he just keeps going, getting better and better, on his lifelong Econo mission. So inspiring!

5. Son Skull in the pouring rain at Nuts Zine release party 10/8/11 Olympia, WA
From behind the band, the view was classic -- a soaked, wildly dancing and stage diving crowd lit up by stage lights as sheets of freezing rain poured down and Son Skull killed it. I heard a rumor it was to be their last show. I hope not!

6. Broken Water/Sewn Leather/Russian noise band/Knife in The Eye at Dumpster Values Olympia, WA 10/15/11
First show with my new band turned out to be kind of a perfect night. The thrift store was turned into a tent by sheets Kanako strung up overhead and bands played in there. The Russian noise band generously wore goofy masks that had been made out of black foamy noodle pool toys! Broken Water were heavy and hypnotic and Sewn Leather was snotty and hilarious, a crusty with a heart of gold! Bikini Bill was unofficial MC of course-- in the show and on the streets! Diverse crew of Oly oldtimers and young punks coming together for a pretty warm feeling night. Made me feel like I'd been welcomed into the family up there.

7. Hysterix punk house West Oakland, CA 7/11
This show was perfect! I arrived just as Hysterix were about to play. The living room was aleready completely packed, with lots of friends on hand, and everyone danced like hell in the tiny space. So great! Across town the Zero Boys were playing a much heralded reunion show at a big rock club and most of my friends went to that. As much as I love the Zero Boys, I know that whatever spark they once must have had was really on display in this tiny hardcore show with 50 kids jammed in this living room. This was what the "old days" were really like!

8. Interference Archive opening night Brooklyn, NY 12/16/11
The new venture from longtime activist artists Josh Macphee and Dara Greenwald is Interference Archive, a public archive of their collected library and ephemera in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The couple has filed their collection of political art and pamphlets, posters, flyers, etc. and made it available to everyone in this public office space. The opening was very sweet as lefty artists from all over the Eastern seaboard showed up to pay their respects and check it out. As a researcher, I'm excited by non-institutional archives. As a friend, I am once again reminded of how Josh and Dara really embody their collective politics and always bring people together so wonderfully.

9. Raymond Pettibon at David Zwirner NYC 1/11
Ray remains my last living art hero. The two enormous rooms at Zwirner were filled with uncompromising new work, featuring Ray's edgy and twisted humor. What other artist makes work that is still so resolutely anti-authority? Duke Riley? Certainly none operating at Pettibon's level of art world success. The last show of his I saw at Zwirner (opening on 9/11/07) had many pieces about Bush and Co. Ray took on Obama in this new show. Formally, Pettibon has comfortably moved into full color and the results are mind blowing. This show made me feel -- as did many of these other shows - proud to be a lifelong member of the underground criminal scumbag community!

10. Max Rameau at University of Miami Library Miami, FL 2/11
I was honored to be able to speak with Take Back The Land's founder at the dedication of our archives at the University of Miami Library this past winter. Rameau's work with the Umoja Village and the squatting efforts of TBTL for the last few years has pushed the conversation far enough to the left to have helped make Occupy Wall Street not just possible but inevitable.

This was one of about 60 simultaneous art exhibitions related to SoCal art history that opened this fall across LA as part of the Pacific Standard Time series. It is easy to be cynical about the PST shows and LA civic leaders' efforts to subsume all of this countercultural art into LA's new myth of itself, giving the city a new backstory of authenticity while providing the institutional interest that will make a whole lot of obscure work suddenly highly collectable. And, its true, this exhibit from curator, Paul Schimmel of Helter Skelter show fame (1992) was also somewhat uneven, overstocked, muddy. Nonetheless, it turned me onto a whole bunch of freaky, out there, LA art. Cool work from Bas Jan Ader, Chris Burden, Robert Heinecken, Nina Segalove, Allen Ruppersberg, Ruscha (of course) and about a thousand others...


1. Landlord "Beneath The Wheel" LP
flawless stony jams from Bloomington wizards! Listen to the drum tracks with head phones on, it'll close your mind!

2. Off! collection of singles on LP
Dude! Keith has still got it! Wings over Inglewood! Total rager from start to finish!

Now in their 11th year, this is the most ambitious effort yet from this group of long time Region Rockers. Influences are all over the place here, cohering somehow into an overall sound that is the band's very own. You can hear the band members' lifelong friendship at work here. The tightness, the integrity, the love. Great great stuff. Would be #1 probably if I hadn't already heard the recording so much in 2010.

4. Grass Widow LP
Think this came out last December? Lets put it in! I listened to it a ton this year anyway.

5. The Endemics
Not sure if or how this came out. Sonia just emailed me the recording! I have like 11 songs and they all rule. Lil B's time machine East Bay Ray git licks and Mason's rock steady beats lock in step with Sarah Beth's dreamy soulful vocals over the top. Music that sounds old in the best way, like timeless.

7. Broken Water EP
Trademark hypnotic and dreamy waves of sound here with a little more snarly edge than last time. I wish I was around to hear the Grass Widow and Broken Water tour discussions!

8. Future Virgins LP
Flawless pop, Mike Pack recorded, and Ashley from Sexy all grown up here. No more pissing the couch, but plenty of great hooks and two guitar interplay laid out to total satisfaction. Region Rock advances into a stately and determined middle age! As Pack would say, "Lets get there."

8. Light Brigade demo
Holy shit! Sounds like OLD Portland in the best way. Like the Neo Boys or some band that opened for The Wipers on a rainy Tuesday in 1979 and never played again and you spend the rest of your life haunted by their songs. So good!

9. Twat Sauce demo
The Black Flag of 2012! The band poses the question, "What if Riot Grrl had been born not in Olympia in 1991 but in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA in 2021?!?" Unfuckwithable, as Lance used to say.

10. Sewn Leather LP
Crusty dance noir, includes best song about a Greyhound bus ever!


1. The Art of Cruelty by Maggie Nelson
2. Believing is Seeing; Observations on the Mysteries of Photography by Errol Morris
3. Savage Messiah by Laura Oldfield Ford
4. The Gentrification of The Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination by Sarah Schulman
5. Where Art Belongs by Chris Kraus
6. Blossoms of Greenpoint by David Kennedy Cutler
7. Decoded by Jay Z
8. King King Theory by Virginie Despentes
9. Speaker Receiver by Moyra Davey
10. (tie) Retromania by Simon Reynolds/ Otherwise Known as The Human Condition by Geoff Dyer


1. Mother's News
A monthly treat, its understated New England charm belies the paper's towering ambition: nothing less that to produce a vital and consistently readable newspaper that pays for itself every single month in an era when we are told the newspaper is dead. Jake's seemingly ad-libbed observations on the months of the year and various quotidian facets of life resonate with surprising profundity, sometimes sticking in my head all month. Always warm and hilarious, but never below the belt, Mother's News, like all great newspapers, builds community.

2. Baitlines
See above. The SF queer Utopian Free classified ad paper/art project rolls into its 4th year, still as great as ever.

3. Loitering is Good
In latest issue, Joey celebrates the lonely spaces of our moribund urban areas, waxes poetic on the passing of the working man, and details enthusiastically how his impulse to do graffiti has morphed into an addiction to planting trees in the abandoned no zones where he once obsessively tagged. Moving, sincere, lyrical, and tender but not self-consciously so, this was as from the heart as any zine I've seen in years.

4. Suspect Device
Josh Bayer and Co skewer Nancy in a zine-length display of Situationist delight. Sluggo, too!

Flyers, too. Dark times for the scene related ephemera these days, no?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Video animated and directed by Sarah Manuwal

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Plan B is a legal form of birth control

photo of sara and jen taken by diana arens, from wip website

In 2006 a group of people in Olympia, WA started a boycott (grrlcot) of Ralph's Thriftway, a locally-owned grocery store with a pharmacy that refuses to stock Plan B, a form of emergency contraception (EC). Five years later the boycott is still going strong and the legal case, Stormans v. Selecky, is going to the U.S. District Court.

A recent article in The Olympian by Brad Shannon reads:

Those who support the dispensing of Plan B say it is a high dose of the ingredients of a birth-control pill that greatly reduces the chance of pregnancy if ingested by a woman within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The Food and Drug Administration in 2009 ordered that it be available over the counter for teens as young as 17, but with prescriptions for those who are younger.

The FDA also says the medication does not affect existing pregnancies, unlike the RU-486 drug, but that the medication might act to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.

This is poorly worded and misleading. As I noted in an earlier article (written in 2006 for a class I was taking and posted online in 2009), once again, science is being framed by "pro-life" ideology in our local newspaper.

The Olympian says "those who support the dispensing of Plan B say" it works like regular birth control pills. This is not a matter of debate. This is the established medical explanation of how the drug actually works. It is a form of contraception. It is not an abortion pill. This article makes it sound like the scientific definition of medicine is subjective. Consult the World Health Organization, the FDA, the CDC and current peer-reviewed medical journals for a more objective account. If you are anti-Plan B, you logically should be anti-birth control pill, it works the same way.

The medical definition of a pregnancy is a fertilized egg that is implanted in the womb. By this definition, Plan B is birth control NOT abortion. This is true regardless of whether or not Plan B prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. The newspaper needs to make this clear and not pander to there being "two opinions" with equal weight when there are established legal and medical definitions at work.

As I noted before, there is no conclusive medical research that proves that Plan B prevents an already fertilized egg from implanting. To focus on the possibility that it MAY work this way when this is not backed by science is confusing at best and biased in the way it reinforces the "pro-life" agenda of confusing birth control with "abortion".

Finally, Plan B will not work if you are already pregnant when you take it. Medical research does not back the claim that it will effect a fertilized egg that has been implanted. Plan B is a legal form of birth control. It is not an abortion pill.

If you believe pregnancy starts when an egg is fertilized (not when a fertilized egg is implanted in the womb) and this is a moral issue for you then, based on a scientific understanding of how emergency contraception works, your objection to the use of Plan B should probably extend to the use of regular birth control pills and *possibly* IUD's.

From the Emergency Contraception website:

To make an informed choice, women must know that ECPs—like all regular hormonal contraceptives such as the birth control pill, the implant Implanon, the vaginal ring NuvaRing, the Evra patch, and the injectable Depo-Provera,41 and even breastfeeding42,43,44,45— prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying or inhibiting ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, but may at times inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium. At the same time, however, all women should be informed that the best available evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that levonorgestrel and ulipristal acetate ECPs’ ability to prevent pregnancy can be fully accounted for by mechanisms that do not involve interference with post-fertilization events.

Emergency contraceptive pills will not cause an abortion. EC is not the same as the abortion pill. There is no time when the emergency contraceptive pills available in the United States would end a pregnancy once it has started. Hormonal emergency contraceptive pills don’t have any effect if you are already pregnant. If you decide to use an IUD for emergency contraception, your health care provider would test you first to confirm you are not already pregnant.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this case. It is likely to go to the Supreme Court. I have not been able to shop at my neighborhood grocery store for over five years because I support the boycott. This is something that impacts me on a daily basis.

Here is some more info I gathered in my research on Plan B back in 2006:

The right wing campaign against Plan B is anti-birth control not just
anti-abortion. They specifically see Plan B as immoral because they are
worried it will promote promiscuity and sex before marriage,
particularly among young people. These are the same people who argue
against condoms and want abstinence only education.

Studies show that Plan B has the potential to prevent 700,000
abortions a year. If lowering the number of abortions is really the
issue, Plan B should be made readily available.

A high percentage of rape victims use Plan B.

According to both sides of the issue, there is no medical reason to
require a prescription for Plan B. The FDA ruled that it is medically
safe. Lawmakers ignored the FDA advisory board in 2004 and were
persuaded by anti-abortion politicians to keep it available by
prescription only. This caused all kinds of controversies about science
v. politics/religion that have been widely documented in peer reviewed

In Washington State some pharmacies (such as those in Safeway and Fred
Meyer) will give you Plan B without a personal prescription--they have a
general prescription that can be used--you don't have to see a doctor
first. This is called a "protocol".

If Plan B is legal but hard to get it is less effective. You
need to take it within 72 hours after sex or it won't work: like regular birth control pills, it is MOST effective when taken BEFORE sex.

Only 60% of Americans know Plan B even exists as an option.

For further research:

Page, Cristina. How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America. New York: Basic, 2006.

If you need access to Plan B or another form of EC, check out this website.

Protesters demand birth control. (Photo by Krista Theiss)

Friday, September 30, 2011

whatever happened to chris bald?

dischord is reissuing subject to change by faith (I always called them 'the faith' because it sounds better) with extra tracks. here's an interview with band members but no chris bald. I often wonder whatever happened to him. he roadied for bikini kill once or twice. I heard he moved to kentucky and then I lost track. usually people show up eventually, but occasionally someone disappears. maybe "bald" is not his real name? anyone know?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interview with Kira

on DOS

We're pretty fuckin' more punk rock than anybody! Remember, punk rock is about doing things that other people don't do, it's about breaking rules—that's what I mean by that. In that way, it's very punk: don't follow your idea of what needs to be. Therefore, it's not necessarily well-liked, it's underground and it goes against the grain. We have absolutely no "genre," really. We go from doing a blues song, to doing a more rocking song to having a jazz thing. The fact that our parts play so much and have so much syncopation brings to mind jazz fusion. It's the definition of interesting music that doesn't fit comfortably in a genre. So I go back to punk rock.

full interview

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Alice Bag on Shelia

from Alice Bag's Diary of a Bad Housewife

"Sheila sang with Tomata of the Screamers at the shows they did at the Roxy and she appears in some Screamers related videos. She had an amazing voice, with great range and power. Shannon wrote an ode to her for Castration Squad, a song entitled "Sheila," which was later covered by 45 Grave. I haven't seen Sheila since the punk days and I'm not sure if she is still undead. I'm hoping that she is."

Sunday, May 1, 2011



Women's Liberation Music Archive


Feminist music-making from the 1970s and 80s

Press release for 1st May, 2011

An exciting new online resource is launched today: the Women’s Liberation Movement Music Archive

This project documents the bands, musicians and musical projects that were part of, or influenced by, the great burgeoning of cultural creativity generated by the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) of the 1970s and 80s.

During this era, women’s music, film and theatre groups, visual art, literature, performance art, street theatre and other activities proliferated, fusing artistic activities with politics to develop and express feminist ideas. Feminist bands and musicians were not solely about providing great entertainment but embodied a world-changing commitment to putting politics into practice and advancing women’s rights. Challenging sexism and stereotyped gender roles, their lyrics and style reflected the values of the WLM. They were a vital and integral part of the movement, yet are often omitted from or marginalised by the media and historical accounts. Many operated outside the commercial mainstream or alternative circuits – or indeed were oppositional to them – and are not widely known about. Most were self-funded, grassroots groups who worked on a shoestring and many were unable to create lasting material.

Concerned that this part of women’s history is at risk of being lost, Archive Co-ordinators Dr Deborah Withers and Frankie Green believe the achievements of these music-makers should be mapped and celebrated. This work-in-progress collection comprises testimonies and interviews, discographies, gigographies and memorabilia including photographs, videos, recordings, flyers, press clippings and posters, plus links to ongoing women’s music-making and feminist activism. The project is an independent, voluntary and (as yet) unfunded venture. Funding possibilities and a safe eventual home for the physical archive are being investigated.

All women who were involved in women’s music – as solo artists, in bands, as DJs, MCs, in distribution networks, recording studios, photographers, journalists, events organisers, etc – are invited to contact and contribute to the project.


Saturday, April 30, 2011


manifesto for the nu skate movement

by Michelle Mae Orr of the Frumpies

This was originally printed in Grand Royal magazine in the 1990's.

Maybe you think skateboarding is only a sport. Maybe you think that to be a "skater", you have to know tricks. Maybe you think that being a girl restricts a person's ability to be construed as a skater, or that it restricts the drive to utilize the versatility of skateboarding for one's own purposes (due to possible ridicule). Maybe you've just given up on it after the rash of adult backlash claiming that skating is a menace to society and that we need judicial statutes - enforced by the cloven-footed, blue-uniformed, robotic and senseless entity named "Police" - that prohibit skating from being done at some of the best places to do it. Maybe you need to wake up and smell the pavement.

Sometimes I think skateboarding has become another product of the institution-mindedness of our culture. It needs to be recognized that s.b.ing is not only a competitive sport but a really fun pastime (that's how it started out, anyway). It is also a great form of transportation and an especially fresh substitute for bike riding. You can become a good skater without knowing how to do tricks. I used to feel sort of incompetent for not having the ability or desire to do tricks, stunts or even halfpipe skating (mostly from having a fear of injury). Consequently, I felt less inclined to skate around in my feeble amateurism. Then I realized what a bogus institution I was holding myself to, so I just started skating all the time, and I became pretty good and relaxed with less fear and more control of my board. Also, those little bean wheels you see on almost every board now are mostly good for tricks. Bigger wheels, which are hard to find now, are better for speed and travel.

It's true that the majority of skaters have been boys, but girls are skating more and more. Why has skateboarding been so male-dominated? That's too convoluted a question to answer at this point. I just hope that its versatilities - which I'm trying to expose here - will help girls and boys who are insecure about skating develop a renewed vigor. I also hope a gender barrier doesn't get built, but rather that the scene meshes so a girl on a board ceases to seem like such an oddity. I've already noticed that the scene is being slightly mediated that way. Ever since more girls have started skating, the marketing antics have started exploiting it in a semi-separatist way - like when skateboards are designed to be especially feminine - which is cool as long as it doesn't get condescending.

Another fucked up dementia that sparked my awarenes to this subject was the following example of a scenario that I find particularly sickening. I stopped off at the corner market, where I saw a girl I knew as an acquaintance, and in her shallow-minded stupidity she remarked, "That is so weird that you skateboard - it looks so funny!" I asked why, and she said "I'm so sure! You're 22, a girl and totally not dressed for it." Whatever.

Oh yeah, wearing skirts is cool but when you are in an especially skate-for-transportation mode, wearing pants is so convenient. You never know when you are gonna have to grab your board and hit it.

And as for Fascism Against Youth, and all other miniscule abstractions that prohibit skating - skate where you fucking want. From all of this, let it be known to those it might irritate: I'm not dissing, nor do I think I am an authority on the total skate scene. This is just insight into a multifaceted pastime where some of its Kicks Affirmative Potential has been forgotten and turned into a competitive, jockish and elitist sporting ritual that smells too much like The Man.

addendum to the nu skate movement

by Tobi Vail of the Frumpies

I have skated on and off since 1979, and by accepted traditional skating norms, I "suck". I can't even ollie. This doesn't mean I'm not a skater. Fuck the rule that says you can only be considered a skater if you are at a certain level of achievement. Don't get me wrong, I would personally love to be able to do tricks, ride skate ramps, go faster down hills etc, but the fact that I can't and probably will never learn if I haven't already at this point doesn't mean that I will ever stop skating. I skate for fun (to refer to the greatest skate band of all time) or not at all, dears (Frumpies say dear instead of dude). So there.

It would be nice to hear from other Skate Punx with either similar or conflicting ideals. We would especially like to hear from girls who skate. If you are a girl or a lady who skates exceptionally well, please don't take personal (or gendered) insult at our admitted incompetence. We admire your capability while we simultaneously cherish our own inability; we are just sick of being insulted by usually boy criticisms/suspicions/disses. Make up your own rules! Skate creatively, skate to entertain, skate to challenge accepted skating norms, etc.

write us at :
P.O. Box 2572
Olympia,WA 98507

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I love Planned Parenthood


My name is Tobi Vail, and I am friends with a group of Olympia,
Washington residents that started counter-protesting anti-choice
protests at our local Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Olympia,
beginning about 4 weeks ago. The anti-choice protests have been going
on for years. About 4 weeks ago my friends organized a couple
fund-raisers for Planned Parenthood. At one of the fund-raisers, a
Planned Parenthood representative spoke briefly and said the one thing
they really wished for was counter-protests at the clinic on their
regular procedure days (Fridays). The anti-choice protesters have huge
horrible signs and a giant truck plastered with intense propaganda,
address clinic workers by name as they head into work, heckle women
going into the clinic, etc., etc. The usual harassment that wears
people down and hurts women.

We are interested in connecting with groups in the area that support
reproductive rights and might be interested in participating with us
in the counter-protests. We are trying to stick to a very positive,
supportive, and unified message that states, in essence "We support
Planned Parenthood". The anti-choice protesters are so bitterly
dedicated to their position and have been doing this for YEARS. We
invite all local people from all walks of life that support the humane
treatment of women and reproductive health and welfare to get involved
and support Planned Parenthood.

• Here is a testament from a worker at the local PP on the effect of
our counter-protests: Why I Work for Planned Parenthood - Amazing

• Here is an ongoing event page created for the show of support: I ♥
Planned Parenthood Fridays!!

• For this past Friday's event, a local shirt company screen-printed
"I <3 Planned Parenthood" shirts so people could make donations from
the street to get a tshirt - we raised over $400 for Planned
Parenthood in one day!
• My friends started a group for the Olympia Planned Parenthood on
Facebook: I love Planned Parenthood

Tobi Vail

This photo is from a post on Olyblog about Planned Parenthood Fridays

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

This Ain't No Picnic

Hey mister don't look down on me
(for what I believe in-
I got my bills and the rent)
I should go pitch a tent
but our land is not free
so I'll work my youth away
in the place of a machine

i refuse to be a slave



The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don't owe nothing, so boy get runnin'
It's the best years of your life they want to steal

But, you grow up and you calm down and
You're working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown and
You're working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
You made your first kill now