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:


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

best of 2013 by ben trogdon

Man, I can’t remember what happened last year! But here are some of my fave things that I’m pretty sure came about in 2013:

BLACK BOOT demo – nasty metal with awesome mid-tempo parts

DRAPETOMANIA live – RIP my favorite band

GLUE live on Xmas – best way to celebrate is with live raw underground punk

WASTE MANGAMENT live – I’m a nerd and 2013 was the first time I got to see this band play live. I’ve seen them play 3 times since then. I love it!

La Misma – I think their song “Waterfalls” was written in 2013. It’s not out yet but that’s my favorite song written in 2013.

PROXY Police Car 7” – My favorite 7” of 2013 for sure! Rockin’ punk metal.

MURDURER / BLACK BOOT / DEFORMITY live at Stolen Sleeves – I drank in the hallway

MILK MUSIC “No Nothing My Shelter” Song / video – Dylan Sharp directed starring Alex Coxen and CarrieKeith. Desert mime dancin’

BLAZING EYE demo – Sounds evil. I love the drumming and vocals.

CONTINGENT demo – Boston melodic real deal new Oi! I love this demo.

NOMAD 12” – So groovy and fun. I listened to this non-stop all year. My fave 12” of 2013.

best of 2013 by chris pugmire


Body/Head - Coming Apart

Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio

J Graf - The Future is a Faded Song

Iceage - You're Nothing

M.I.A. - Matangi

Pulp - After You 12"/Party Clowns

Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Two


Adalita - All Day Venus

The Ancients - Night Bus

Cybotron - Friday Night at the Totale Theatre - Reissue

Harry Howard and the NDE - Pretty

The Necks - Open

Scattered Order - Planet Scrape

Venom P Stinger - Meet My Friend Venom + What's Yours is Mine + Waiting Room + Walking About - Reissues


Beak> & Anika - Netil House, London

Blank Realm - The Tote, Melbourne

ESG - Hi-Fi, Melbourne

Rowland S Howard Tribute - Palace Theatre, Melbourne

HTRK - Howler, Melbourne

The Pop Group - Pontin's - Camber Sands UK

Television - Pontin's - Camber Sands UK


White Girls - Hilton Als

Debt - David Graeber

Uncommon - Owen Hatherley

Suicide - Édouard Levé

The Femicide Machine - Sergio González Rodríguez


1st year of baby Valentine

New War UK tour

DJing & dancing with ESG!

Raymond Pettibon on Twitter

Sunday, January 5, 2014

best of 2013 by layla gibbon

It’s hard to sum up a year in sound; there are always records I forget about by the beginning of a new year that were all I listened to for months! The trials of modern day existences wiping minds clear when it’s time to compile comprehensive list type documents. I am also doing a year end top ten in the March 2013 Maximum Rocknroll, so this one contains some music that is not all MRR-able (ie came out on labels that maybe have deals with major labels for distribution etc etc or are just not “MRR” core) at any rate, blah blah blah. You can write me at Layla at maximumrocknroll.com A lot of these are things that I just listened to repeatedly, over and over and over on the way to work, always a sign of a record that’s got what it takes to make the maniax on the bus fade away and radiate. The best thing that wasn’t music this year was LIVING BY THE BEACH. Everytime it feels like the world is rotting away from you as it revolves just go to the ocean. OK. Also this isn’t in order and I missed things out I am sure?! It’s mostly punk even tho I listened to many other sounds and ideas throughout the year. I didn’t put any reissues. Past is passed.


This is gonna be on a lot of people’s lists, it’s transcendent /brutal / incendiary, an easy shoe in. I had no idea this was in store after seeing them live, it’s easily the best post Sonic Youth recording, Kim is a genius and this is essential.


Scrape your eyes out rawness from Mexico City; Violeta’s vocals are coal for Christmas, the music is sick and perfect. Everything about this, from the LP cover to the out for blood nature of the punk contained within made me feel alive and ready for action. http://cremalleras.bandcamp.com/album/cremalleras

  Pleasure Leftists, “Elephant Man” 45

I like how it sounds like she’s saying Arrogant Man, her voice is so cool… as distinctive an instrument as Thalia from Come/Live Skull but that sounds so corny, an instrument?! What? She doesn’t sound like Thalia. But at any rate, this record did not leave my turn table all year and they were even better live. Cleveland out of place sounds for out of place people, post-punk but not posed.

  The Nots 45 on Goner

Goner put out 3 or 4 45s a year that are essential, and this was the cream of the crop for 2013. They cite Kleenex as an influence, but it sorta reminds me of a less garage/more punk A-Lines?! But then I watched some youtubes of them playing and there were many other musical dimensions present. So good! Usually 45RPMS is more than enough for most punk acts, keep it brief, the audience needs to sleep but they don’t need you to put em to sleep ya know? But this document made me wish there were 40 more coming out ASAP. A great record and I hope they make more 7”s and go on tour and maybe play the sea cave by my house?http://soundcloud.com/gonerrecords/nots-dust-red-goner-records


I listened to the tape that this 7” (and their other one too I think?!) was culled from a million times, cutting/biting sounds from Australia that is somewhere between Chrome and the first couple Pere Ubu 45s, for some reason it made me think of a more buzz saw Total Control, with less Eno, less head music and more metal box?! Metal machine music. I don’t know it’s just good and rotten ok, I can’t wait to get the LP. Fitting end times capitalism collapse music, ironic and hateful.

  Sauna Youth-False Jesii

I don’t think any of the rest of this band’s music sounds like this at all, but this 45 is a perfect Flatmates/Shop Assistants sound and a mix tape staple for me even tho I do not care for Pissed Jeans (the a-side is a cover of one of their songs), I have never heard the original version but this version is probably way better. The b-side is fresh too. The singer’s voice is so cool.

  The new Wire LP

Someone talked about how great it was, so I listened to it at work, then immediately sent off for it. It’s great, foreboding and a record for our times.


I think this is members of an old anarcho punk band (the apostles?!) and  current London act Hygiene, it’s sounds like a band that would have started after hearing Never Been in a Riot, at any rate makes me think of Mekons at the peak of their powers which is a rare feeling… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrTykvWUqC8


  I LOVE COMET GAIN this song is so good it makes me wanna be Billy Liar and Julie Christie at the same time. Songs for soul mods and crummy punkers. Photobooth photograph fans and delinquent squinters.


ALL GIRL HC FROM CANADA!!!!! It’s the best. The tape is my tape of the century, and the LP took a while to grow, but it planted its seeds and my brain got rotten from em; if you like the song explode by void, and have a brain send off for this.

  Stillsuit LP



All girl group from Oakland who broke up before I saw them or knew of their existence; this 45 rules but I made someone send me their unreleased songs and they are SO GOOD TOO and it makes me sad that this great band dissipated before I got to truly obsess over them! The song Young Professionals sort of reminds me of post-Eno nervous art punk music, it isn’t on the 45 of course, but the songs on the record are great in a UV RACE sort of manner. I mean they just rule and they should at least do a tape discography?! http://pangbandsf.bandcamp.com/http://pangbandsf.bandcamp.com/

  The Courtneys-LP

The guy that put this out sent me an email saying I would like it and he was SO RIGHT; as soon as I heard it I immediately emailed the music editor at Rookie mag and told her teenage girls must know about this band, she agreed and made another million converts! Three women from Canada who simultaneously channel the Clean and Look Blue Goes Purple making rambunctious music for summer all year round adventures. Plaintive and dorky, hilarious and true, once you get hooked (some of my friends have been slow converts for some CRAZY reason) you can’t stop singing random lines… Driving to Santa Cruz along the PCH blasting this and looking out at the ocean reinforced how much I love this band! They are great live too. I really need a copy of their first tape if anyone has one…


I know a few people that were disappointed with Bleached after the force and genius that was Mika Miko, and I think it’s not fair to compare. Bleached are for fans of the Zeros / Go Gos / Ramones / early Bangles etc, perfect LA music, and yeah they wanna make it and are sorta corny, but so were the Go Gos… It’s pop music! It’s just good eating greasy food as the sun sets over the ocean sounds, which is a hard sound to master; there are so many terrible terrible post-Burger Records acts littering highways and dollar bins with tired “beach” dreck. The Clavin sisters write great catchy pop music, and this record is all kicks (I will admit to skippin past some of the syrupy ballads)

  La Luz-It’s Alive

I am putting La Luz next to the Courtneys and Bleached I guess because they are all guilty of having tapes on Burger!? Not that that's a crime. At any rate I love all three. Tobi wrote about La Luz last year and I just didn’t quite get it. The same thing happened with me and the Vivian Girls, it took me until they pretty much weren’t a band anymore to like them! But this time it was a faster process, I got a promo copy of their record and suddenly couldn’t stop listening to it. Everyday on the way to work, while serving customers at work…  As someone who hears all the stuff that gets sent to MRR for review every month I get to listen to all the trends in elmo grind / fonzie sock hop jive / trip crust etc etc, and one thing that is apparent is that the kids LOVE the post Ty Segall/Burger Records  “California Surf  Pebbles Lite” sound. There are so many bands! Most of them unmemorable and as gimmicky as one of those post Jan and Dean surfploitation acts tin pan alley turned out… The garage reviewers grumble about the wimpy music on the constant. Well, I was ready to lump La Luz in with these unlucky hucksters, girl group meets surf music and all, but it was soon apparent that I was addicted to listening to their LP. I mean I love girl groups and certain surf sounds so… I guess I am writing an essay for this one because it’s a current obsession?! They are incredible musicians, the guitar playing is insane, like a session musician from 1964, the singing is silky/doom laden with perfect girl group harmonies, but none of it comes over as sickly and twee and gross and affected. They write great songs, lyrically and structurally, which makes me think that the difference between all the tired acts and this is simply being good at what you do. There is a darkness to their sound that in places reminded me of Quix*o*tic, I think that’s partially because of the echo-y guitar though. It’s very cinematic and the snippets of the lyrics that I can make out are sort of cool and unnerving. Watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRIt3aDX7-k and listen to It’s Alive ok. Also I need their first tape too if anyone’s holdin!


Watching this band play was one of the highlights of the year, real John Brannon style HC frontperson style from Ellie, this record is for fans of No Trend and hardcore and Honey Bane, reckless, fuck you, intelligence, vengeful feminists out for blood FOR LIFE! Good Throb are the best. The end.

  EX-CON-Cuda 45

Out for blood and vengeance; rudimentary destruction that I couldn’t stop listening to, Australian snipers summoning a sort of Babes in Toyland Royal Trux pummel.


  Life Stinks 45

I know the LP has gotten a lot of props but I haven’t gotten a copy yet, and anyway this is the perfect format for their sound. 45RPM! Just a great punk record. If you like music from Cleveland OH from say, 1975-1981 you will want to use this to dig yr own grave. Free with every copy.


  LATE ENTRIES: Household LP / Angie LP

  EXCITED FOR IN 2014: spider and the webs, hysterics, La Misma, Ivy, Family Outing, Failed Mutation, Frau, In School

P.S. add CRAZY BAND LP and SHOPPING LP to my almost made it section!

best of 2013 by mimi thi nguyen

The 2013 standout releases for me include the 45-track survey of Portland’s all-female punk band Neo Boys, called Sooner or Later (K Records); the West London anarcha-feminist art-punk band Androids of Mu’s Blood Robots (1980), reissued by Water Wing Records; Dark Entries’ compilation from Icelandic post-punk Q4U called Q1 Deluxe Edition (1980-1983); the dreamy Elaines 12” from Brooklyn’s post-punk Household; The Younger Lovers’s latest bouncy LP Sugar in My Pocket (Southpaw) and of course, Shopping’s Consumer Complaints LP (Milk), featuring the ever-amazing Rachel Aggs from Trash Kit.

Nyky Gomez may be one of my favorite people I met in 2013. During the week I was on the POC Zine Project tour this October, we shared inappropriately timed jokes and over eleven hours’ worth of trivia and revelations on the drive from Los Angeles to Oakland (Nyky drove the entire stretch, with me co-piloting). This bad bitch bruja runs the brand-new Brown Recluse Zine Distro, boasting a catalog made up of zines written mostly by indigenous peoples and people of color. BCZD is currently fundraising to help support itself, and to furthermore make the entire catalog available to prisoners for free, and to send one copy of every zine in the catalog to existing zine libraries or those starting zine libraries nationally and internationally, especially in indigenous communities and communities of color. Nyky also does the zine Skinned Heart, and her latest issue is by far one of my zine favorites in recent memory. Buy everything from her.

From two of my other favorite zinesters, Anna Vo and Osa Atoe put out the interview-heavy fourth issue of Fix My Head in Fall 2013, just in time for the second POC Zine Project tour. This issue of FMH, like the last, documents punx of color in scenes all over the globe, historically and contemporaneously. This issue includes interviews with Mars from Aye Nako, Textaqueen, Melting Pot Massacre, Daighila, and the amazing Taquila Mockingbird about the early days of punk in Los Angeles. I have to say, however, that Osa’s interview with Golnar Nikpour is my runaway favorite interview. Golnar talks about her all-female QPOC hardcore band In School, her time coordinating Maximum Rocknroll, and her genius thoughts on “punk studies.”

Rosi writes Not Straight Not White Not Male, a text-heavy (literally, there is no layout) zine about being a genderqueer Vietnamese punk kid in Southern California – a zine after my own heart, sniff sniff. The zine was published in December 2012, but I read it in 2013.

Margaret Thatcher died. All our enemies from the ‘80s are dead!

I did a lot of great readings this year, but my favorite has to be the Guillotine Press release of PUNK at WORD Bookstore in June 2013. PUNK is the product/process of a years-long conversation between Golnar Nikpour and me about punk (of course) and race, politics, and historiography. I got to read with Jenny Zhang, a brilliant poet and essayist I first met from the blog Fashion for Writers. Jenny and I both read pieces inspired by Wendy Davis’s all-day filibuster of the Texas State legislature against some of the most restrictive anti-abortion proposals in the United States (which ended in the wee hours of the morning of the release). Novelist and all-around star of smart shit Sarah McCarry, who publishes the Guillotine chapbook series, hosted the release and started us off with a champagne toast to Davis.

My graduate school friend Steven Lee sent me a video of Helen Slater from The Legend of Billie Jean, one of my favorite movies of all time, saying, “Fair is fair, Mimi!” I totally cried with happiness.

In December 2013, I co-organized (with Ruth Nicole Brown, Karen Flynn, and Fiona I.B. Ngô) the Hip Hop and Punk Feminisms conference at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. We wanted to put hip hop and punk feminisms in conversation, especially since all the “third wave feminism” retrospectives seem to somehow ignore the emergence of hip hop feminisms concurrent with riot grrrl feminisms in the same decade. (From our statement: “This symposium stages productive conversations across hip hop and punk feminisms, including questions about the genealogies and as well multiple origin stories for hip hop and punk across diasporas and the globe (against a wholly distinct and discrete genealogy, or singular origin story, for each); about the theories of aesthetics and value that emerge from hip hop and punk cultures, including forms of immanent critique as well as political polemic that imagine futurity or negativity, and the uses and challenges to them from women of color feminisms; and about the ephemeral and haptic qualities of hip hop and punk performances, including the events, actions, and encounters between bodies that shape social and cultural formations within hip hop and punk cultures.”) The highlight for me has to be hosting the intensely powerful, and fiercely generous, Alice Bag in my sleepy cornfield-cornered part of Illinois, and otherwise bringing together some of my favorite zinesters –Nyky, Osa, and Anna—in my college town. Osa and Fiona also played with Alice for an electrifying performance, and may actually become a real band, so I feel I accomplished something this year.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

best of 2013 by john root

Scenery outside the seen/scene, inside works 2013

Acquiring 7 months of sobriety.

The birth of my nephew Nico Dean Root.

Getting closer with my mom.

Returning to college after a 10 year absence.

Meister Eckhart selected writings

Popol Vuh (the band) + Meditating/Yoga.

Riding my bike to Napalm Death.

Reading the Cabalistic Keys to The Lord’s Prayer by Manly P. Hall.

Tripping out on William Blake paintings and Poems.

Resonating with words like “…the flame that kindles desire and illuminates thought never burned for more than a few seconds at a stretch. The rest of the time we tried to remember it." – Rene Daumal

Friday, January 3, 2014

best of 2013 by dave harvey

Nudity taking flight once again with the seriously amazing lineup of Stephie, Rachel, Max and Tanar. When things get rolling at a show, I really do feel like I'm leaving terra firma behind. (And so stoked to record an LP next month!)

- Letting Joaquin talk me into the cockamamie idea of Госкино composing and performing a 2 hour live rock'n'roll soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 silent Soviet film "October" about a month and a half before the performance date. I think it's one of the highest artistic accomplishments of my life, and certainly among my favorites. Here's hoping for more performances in 2014!

- Traveling the western hemisphere with Rachel, including starting off the new year in Chile, ringing in my 40th birthday in May on a perfect beachside surfing trip in Costa Rica, and an early fall west coast road trip in the Dart complete with managing to go 4 days in a row soaking in remote hot springs.

- Oh, other people's music? GLITZ rocked my sox off at that sketchy brief-lived loft space in the Trinacria alley. And tho the record came out in 2012, I discovered the latest band in my Gothenburg, Sweden obsession around the beginning of 2013, that being GOAT: fuzzed out psychedelic afro-beat with INCREDIBLE strong female vocals; oddly being performed by, well, Swedes... Oh yeah, and QUEEN CRESCENT, 4 ladies, one from Purple Rhinestone Eagle, doing the rad heavy 70's stuff, including a full-time flautist - oh yeah, oh yeah!

- The Franz Von Stuck exhibit at the Frye Museum in Seattle. It's up thru January - Northwesters, go, Go, GO!!! It's seriously recommended!

best of 2013 by lizet ortuño

Looking back at 2013 I realized that I went through intense transitions. I moved three times, lived in three different states, and found my home in the most unexpected place; Houston, TX. I fell devastatingly out of love with punk, but with the help of incredible talks with old friends, inspiring art/music, and new friends... I found that LOVE again. With that being said, I didn't make it to as many shows as other years, or bought very many records/tapes/zines, but the music/art that I have mentioned have truly moved me.

1) Spending two months in my hometown of Santa Ana, CA. Every morning I was able to have breakfast with my Grandmother, and every night I shared a bed with my closest cousin, Monica.

2) Institute - Demo + Live in Houston

3) Hanging out in Olympia with Hayes Waring, Dave Harvey, and Tanar Stalker.

4) Art by: Sara Abruña + Emma Kohlmann + Daniel Ortuño

5) Spending my summer in Portland: hitting up the tiki bars, going to Tiki Kon, swimming at Hag lake, karaoke, bowling nights, dancing @ hip hop night, being taken in by my dear friend Anne Stark, and sleep overs with Sarah Williams.

6) Hysterics - Live in NY + singing me Happy Birthday @ midnight!!

7) Moving to Houston and discovering I love it and the freaky people in it.

8) Ivy - Demo

9) Las Cruxes + Farewell books in Austin, TX - I'm so happy these places exist and that they're run by amazing people. Kudos to Veronica Ortuño, Mikaylah Bowman, and Travis Kent.

10) The Ukiah Drag - Jazz Mama is Cryin'

11) Taking solo trips to visit Darby Crash's grave and Rozz Williams' urn

12) Crazy Spirit - Live @ New York's Alright Fest

13) Getting tattooed by Christina Gemora

14) La Misma - Demo + Live @ New York's Alright Fest

15) Having a Disneyland Annual Pass and going three times a month!

16) Una Bèstia Incontrolable - Live @ Nuts! #11 Release Party

17) Everything about living in the Highland Park neighborhood of LA, but especially Wombleton Records.

18) Milk Music - Cruise Your Illusion

19) Mystic Inane - Live in Houston

20) Drake - Live in the City of Syrup

best of 2013 by joaquin de la puente

Top ELEVEN(!) live shows of 2013:

Vexx in Olympia...multiple shows all year long

Negative Approach in Portland and Seattle in February

The Specials in Seattle in March

Behead the Prophet (No Lord Shall Live), The Need, Thrones and Hysterics at Northern in Olympia in March

CCMC (Michael Snow, John Oswald and Al Mattes) and Wolf Eyes at MOCAD in Detroit in May.

Stillsuit, Spider and the Webs and Moon in Olympia in July

Cheap Trick at the Washington State Fair in September

Nudity in Olympia in October (and at midnight on the New Year…does this count? Best Show of 2014!)

The Julie Ruin opening night at Olympia Film Festival in November

Craig Extine, Stellar Angles, Hot Tears and Erica Freas at Sizzis in Olympia in November

Black Rainbow and Defect Defect in Portland in December

Top 11 Movie events of 2013:

-Pussy Riot, A Punk Prayer, Anita (Anita Hill Documentary) with Anita Hill hanging out talking to everyone, at Sundance in January.

-La Sirga at Portland International Film Festival in February

-David Holzman's Diary, Leviathan at True/False Film Festival in Columbia, MO in March

-Frances Ha, Towheads, Brave Miss World, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, Maidentrip, Something in the Air, Soft in the Head, The Rambler at Sarasota Film Festival in April

-The films of Mary Helena Clark, Saul Levine, Basma Alsharif, Kevin Everson, Peter Miller, Jonathan Schwartz and Seamus Harahan at Media City Film Festival (Windsor, Ontario) in May

-Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, Journey to the West; Conquering the Demons, Trials of Muhammad Ali and Your Day is My Night at the Traverse City Film Festival in August.

-Projecting Dovzhenko's Earth with an 18 piece orchestra, 2001: A Space Odysessy, and Wings of Desire reel to reel for over 1000 people in each audience/ watching Up Stream Color and Vanishing Waves in an empty Balcony at the Oriental movie palace during the Milwaukee Film Festival in September/ October.

-Playing in the band Госкино with the film October, Ten Days that Shook the Earth, Seeing Erick Lyle, Basma Alsharif and Cary Cronenwett present their movies, also the films Daisies, Burnt Offerings and the Bigamist on 35mm, Born in Flames on 16mm and the movies Nana, Aatsinki: the Story of Arctic Cowboys, Fat Shaker, Warmth and Combat Girls at the Olympia Film Festival in November.

-Spring Breakers (movie of the year!…as in, a total product of 2013...also completely great)

-The Wolf of Wall Street (!!)

-The Act of Killing (!!!)

best of 2013 by rachel evans & steve dore

The Fat White Family - Live and on record.

The Temples of Tokyo.

The existence of Lamingtons as a food source.

Flappers - Six Women Of A Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell.

Craft Coffee Shop - 68 Sclater Street, Shoreditch, London.

The Poetry of John Keats and Charles Baudelaire - Sounds poncey, not meant to, POETRY FOR THE PEOPLE.

Eating Vietnamese baguettes outside St Bartholomew the Great, Farringdon.

Sherlock on BBC1.... Cumberbatch fever.

The Lady Vanishes ( original version) at the Brixton Ritzy.

Alpha Papa.

Greenwich Planetarium.

Lew Griffin books by James Sallis.

Lee's Bonfire Night Party in Lewes.

TV - Toast of London.

Japanese Outsider Art at the Wellcome Collection, London.

Mathew Sawyer's barbecues.

Healthy Eaters Shop in Brixton.

Uniqlo boy short knickers.

Bert Bacharach live at the South Bank.

Diana Vreeland  - The eye has to travel documentary.

Finding Vivian Maier documentary.

The Sleaford Mods - Austerity Dogs.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

best of 2013 by billy karren

THe SPECIALS u.s.a west coast tour-amazing shows gents!-meeting the Specials!

Vexx - cool new band-great show at the pizzaria in a Oly Town...great fun kids! keep it going

The Punk Singer Movie--good film ,we looked so cute. a totally adorable film. BIKINI KILL

The Seattle Seahawks-for Winning the SUPER BOWL!!! i hope--dude's do it!

best of 2013 by marissa magic

I saw new bands more than I listened to new records this year so heres some bands that blew my mind:

Swarm - Stillsuit was in Philadelphia in a bike shop  when we played with this band that consisted of two drummers, a bassist, a main singer and then a chorus of three women dancing and singing back ups. It was exhilarating and emotional. I'm pretty sure I cried. After tour anytime anyone asked what bands were good this was a always at the top of my list.

Permanent Ruin - This band is one of those bands to me that i'm kind of like "yeah, they're a good band"  and then I see them and without fail my jaw drops. Non-stop rage, bass and drums unrelenting, a guitar that squeals into chaos constantly and a singer that runs from belting to growling to screaming to holding a note for so fucking long.

Vexx - Wet Drag played a bar in Chehalis that stuffed us with free food and was totally one of those instances of  the bands watch the bands, no one else really there. The atmosphere was a little awkward and Larsens bass kept cutting out but they still slated the shit out of everything. I've been a big fan of stuff that Maryjane does for awhile now and this definitely fed the obsession

Black Dog - This band is somewhere between total sleaze and the heaviest of the heavy. They are so absurd that every time I see them I spend the entire time head banging and laughing hysterically. Their singer consistently wears corpse paint and does push-ups and occasionally brings free weights. This year the line up stretched to include a bass and some general tape loop noise. Basically a bunch of noise freaks decided to start an over the top metal band and its pretty amazing

Daisyworld - Grunge at its best. Jaime is such a rad drummer, The guitar keeps a sickly trance, back and fourth boy/girl vocals. Defenitely another band that falls into the category where I like them and then I see them and my jaw drops.

Styrofoam Sanchez - These noise weirdos. They all dress in suits and build masks and monoliths out of styrofoam that are ripped to shreds by the end. Earsplitting and filled with doom, a wall full of static and bleeps and growls. I once caught a glance of a lyric sheet and it said something like "the toxic rivers run through your blood"

Condominium - This band lands in the space of hardcore that I love, the part that gets real freaky all of the time. They have this seven inch called Carl that jags through an entire intro and then falls in line in the most seasick sense. Everything is barked out in disgust. I saw them live they were wearing flannel.

Not new bands I saw favorites:

favorite summer of my adult life: 2013 - Basically Stillsuit put out our own record, Wet Drag put out a tape and a seven inch, both went on tour, all experiences were excellent.

Realizing I still have feelings and I can get lost in love and get my heart broken

Starting The Blues with Max Nordile and daring to play quiet

Reading The Dialectic of Sex by Shulamith Firestone, getting pretty obsessed

Salami and Cheese snack packs

Moving into a room with a real window and door


Anything by Roky Erickson

Ok now I'm just rambling...

best of 2013 by justin trosper

Artist with most play time on my stereo regardless of the year it was released:

Alex Degrassi!

New records I bought AND liked:

Janelle Monae “The Electric Lady”

Daft Punk “RAM”

MIA “Matangi”

Queens of the Stone Age “Like Clockwork”

Congo Natty “Jungle Revolution”

Adrian Sherwood “Survival and Resistance”

Neko Case “The Worse Things get…”

...and the Reissued LPs:

PIL 1st ed. (Light in the Attic)

I Am The Center comp (Light in the Attic)

Chrome “Half Machine from the Sun: The Lost Chrome Tapes 79-80”

Bl’ast “Blood” (Southern Lord)

Rodan “Fifteen Quiet Years” (Touch and Go)

Iasos “Celestial Soul Portrait” (Numero)

Apochryphal Hymns comp (Numero)

William Onyeabor “Who is…” (Luaka Bop)

Live stuff I saw and liked:

Western Hymn, Mira Billotte/White Magic, Nudity, Raw Geronimo, Darto, Screaming Females, Pinback, Hysterics, Obits, Octagrape, Streateaters, Hungry Ghost, Broken Water, Neko Case, Greys, Modest Mouse

Interesting stuff that I heard from people on the internet worth checking out:

Gregor Schellenbach Kompact mix on Soundcloud, Ben Lukas Boysen/HECQ, Fuck Buttons “Slow Focus”, The Knife “A Tooth for an Eye”, Darkside “Psychic”, Anciients “Heart of Oak” Death Grips “Government Plates”, Oozing Wound “Retrash”, Chelsea Wolfe “Pain is Beauty”, Julia Holter “Loud City Song”, Burial “Rival Dealer”, Jon Hopkins “Immunity” Tim Hecker “Virgins”, Gesaffelstein

Music related reading:

David Byrne “How Music Works” paperback

Morrissey “Autobiography” paperback

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

best of 2013 by nadia buyse (aka DUBAIS)

Best Performances of 2013

Maybe this is a gross generalization here, but 2013 was a year of division. The consensus from everyone I’ve talked to about their personal 2013 was an expressed duality; both the highest highs and the lowest lows, massive accomplishments and overwhelming defeat. The world at large felt separation, internal/exterior struggle, and then polarized this energy to turn grit into diamonds.... but perhaps I’m being too romantic.

I definitely felt a divide on how to approach this ‘best of’ list. Do I talk about my favorite albums of the year? Do I talk about my favorite bands this year? In the end I decided to make my list focus on the best performances I ” saw” in 2013. So here it is, in no particular order or fashion, the best performances of 2013 according to me!

1. MATTRESS (Portland, Or)

I decide to start with Mattress because Mattress is the band I have seen the most this year, not only because we toured, but because MATTRESS is literally one of my favorite Portland bands. Every show has ambience and sex appeal. MATTRESS is the music baby of Rex Marshall. Rex grew up in Las Vegas. Legend has it Rex started singing at the ripe age of 7 after getting a gig at the CIRCUS CIRCUS from his showgirl girlfriend. Since then he has perfected a post post minimalist lo fi lounge experimental persona that is undeniable. He is also the lead singer of the Vietnam vet core blues-rock band SLIM FORTUNE.

2. SKIING (Berlin, Germany)

Everett Darling is a pop genius and Berlin is lucky to have him. I first met Everett the day I moved to Olympia; we started our first band that day. After that we were in many bands together in Olympia (The Itch, Becky, Fierce Perm) and one this summer in Berlin (Business Lunch.) Fast forward years later, Everett is living in Berlin and has started the band Skiing. Skiing is pop gold, (think Michael Hurley if he was into shoe gaze and riot grrl.). I saw them play multiple times but every show was an inspiration. So, at this point I should say the Berlin ‘punk/indie/whatever the kids are calling it these days’ scene is a total boys town (not to be confused with the electronic/experimental/performance scene which is a feminist/ queer utopia. ... And more Brown people are coming around too.) Every time I saw Skiing play Everett would sing in falsetto and dress in drag or wear a t shirt that would say something like “ in this T shirt is the body of a gay man” or do something to get the attention of all the sadwhiteboys and make those queens DANCE.

3. BODY/HEAD (Portland, Or T: BA festival)

BODY/HEAD is the newest project by Kim Gordan. If you were a teenager in the 90’s I guarantee you LOVED Sonic Youth probably as much as I LOVED Sonic Youth. I, like most people, felt the loss after they disbanded but was more excited to see what Kim would do next. She has always been one of my favorite feminist icons and I knew whatever she did would be AMAZING. What I didn’t know was that I would be performing the Pop Opera I had been working on for the last year after BODY/HEAD’s first Portland show at the Time based Art festival. Their performance was incredible; an epic sonic drama enhanced with cinematic projections. (PICA really knows how to Program a show!)

4. The Quaintrelles (Los Angelas, CA)

I should preface this by saying that this was the year I really felt a separation with punk scene/ punk music. Even if the music was good, (which often times it’s just regurgitated crap made by college kids who think being poor is cool) I was just hyper aware of the superficiality, exclusivity, and false hierarchy that exists at a lot of shows and in a lot of bands’ performance energy/presentation. It’s just kind of gross. But the Quaintrelles reminded me of the reasons I first fell in love with punk. The band couldn’t have been older than 20, two girls, two boys; all of which had made their own sharpie t-shirts. They did some covers (California Uber Alles) and originals (one song that was introduced as being about cheese and communism.) The music didn’t move me but the energy those kids had brought me back to be a young punk and just being so excited to play with my friends. You’ve never heard of this band, and you might not ever hear them… but all of those kids will continue to play music and be on some great bands I bet. The band was given their name by Taquila Mockingbird who is the main curator/ founder of the Punk Rock Museum.

5. Weird Fiction and the artificial empathy Machine (Portland, OR)

Weird Fiction is Weird… it’s not just a clever name. They played a show at Valentines with World Gang to pretty much no one. At this show they created the Artificial Empathy Machine, which the band played inside of. This machine had the ability to take your picture, fulfill your desires, and send sexy texts… I still don’t know how the machine got my phone number. PS. World gang was pretty great too, for the record.

. 6.Bahrain Music Camp for girls Showcase (Manama, Bahrain)

One of the most exciting things this year for me was getting the opportunity to go to Bahrain to start the Bahrain music camp for girls with my friends Beth and Sarah. Everyone who has been to a Rock Camp Show Case knows how awesome they are. This One was particularly special for me though, maybe it was the pre showcase epic dance party we had…. Also there were a lot more rappers than usual… I dig that.

7. Morgan and the Organ Donors (Olympia, WA) Just when I thought Morgan and the Organ Donors couldn’t get any better Olivia (from one of my favorite bands of all time C.O.C.O) joined the band… WTF!?

8. The Legend of Drake (Portland, Or)

So I’m pretty sure that one of the best things to happen to music this year was Drake’s album nothing was the same. It’s the best things that happened to R&B since Frank Ocean’s Orange Channel album last year, that’s for sure. Drake came to play Portland while on tour supporting his new album last month. I was so bummed because 1. I didn’t hear about it until the day of 2. I was DEATHLY sick, so naturally 3. I didn’t get to go. But I have to say that the ripple effect and ephemera of his time in Portland was magic. So first of all, Drake went to Black book after the show, which is the former Yes and No; a bar in downtown Portland that only a very small group of people cared existed until it closed and later re opened as Black book. The Instagram was all a buzz. The next days there were local news outfits telling stories of Drake visiting a homeless shelter in downtown and to give a large chuck of money to them for blankets and other necessities. Even though I didn’t get to see his show, the spectacle of his presence in my city was omnipresent.

9. The Germs (Los Angeles, CA)

The Germs were one of my favorite bands and I was pretty convinced it was impossible to see them live. The version I did see; consisting of original members Don Bolles and Pat Smear, was supplemented by Charlotte from the GoGos and Shane West, the guy who played Darby in What we do is Secret. I don’t think it was particularly the best show I’ve ever seen, I mean everyone playing nailed it and it sounded pretty good; but the fact that I was watching some dude, a Hollywood actor, do Darby Crash drag, was a weird experience. But good weird, It was like a flesh version of the 2 Pac hologram.

10. 48 hour performance art marathon at Month of Performance art Berlin (Berlin, Germany)

So last, but not least I got to give a shout out to the 48hour performance art marathon, which is the pinnacle of the Month of Performance art Berlin. It is my belief that Germany rolls DEEEEEEP in an art way. For anyone that has ever been to (d)OCUMENTA, Gallery Weekend, 48 hours Neukoilln, or any other German art party is my witness… Shit is cray cray. I mean, the UDK (Universitat der Kunst) open studios is like every dance party you’ve ever been to times 100 in the middle of mediocre student art (made even more mediocre by the European art school industrial complex.) Month of Performance Art was no different. The 48 hour Marathon took place in one building, every thirty minutes for two days someone would be doing a performance. The performances were varied but the real spectacle was watching VERY serious German artists essentially squatting in the gallery for two days, like sitting on the sidewalk slurping soup and brushing their teeth outside style.

best of 2013 by chris o'kane

2013 was a busy year for me with many highs and one prolonged and tedious low. I spent a third of it in England, a third of it in Berlin, and a month or so in Olympia; which was excellent. I spent much of the rest of it applying for jobs in Seattle; which has obviously been shit. What follows is an unranked list of my favourite bits in 2013.


I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that the time I spent watching TV in 2013 outranks all my other cultural pursuits. Since that is the case I thought I would put it first.

Justified. The best written, best paced, and most constantly entertaining show on TV.

Enlightened. A warm-hearted satire of the self-help industrial complex and the vacuous sort of progressive politics it promulgates.

Top of the Lake. A film noir about the patriarchy!

Rectify.A meditative small-scale drama about how a man, his family and a small southern town react when he is released from prison after spending two decades or so of his adult life on death row.

Eastbound and Down.Another satire that manages to be equally stupid, incisive and hilarious. In my opinion, it’s also far better at representing the decline of American hegemony and the obscene norms of American masculinity than Mad Men or Breaking Bad etc.

In the Thick of it. I finally got around to watching this, and it lives up to the hype.

Veep. Not as good as In the Thick, and not as much swearing, but its still good.

Archer. It makes me laugh. I also like that the USSR still exists in it.

Breaking Bad. The hype was tedious and the last episode was a let down, but it was still gripping.



Big Business – Battlefields Forever.

Paysage D’hiver – Das Tor

Chelsea Light Moving – S/T.

Vexx - S/T.

Hornet Leg - Wrecking Ball.

Body/Head – Coming Apart.

Stillsuit – S/T.

Unwound – The Kid is Gone.

The Fat White Family – Champagne Holocaust.

The Rebel – S/T.


Arthur Alexander – You Better Move On, Detroit City, Call Me Lonesome

The Fall -- up to and including I am Kurios Oranj

The Go-Betweens – Live in Vienna

Black Flag – The 1982 Demos

Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction

The Saints – Eternally Yours

The Country Teasers – Satan is Real, Destroy all Human Life

Thin Lizzy – The Peel Sessions

ZZ Top’s first three albums.

After ending up on the same plane as Mudhoney, and having Mark Arm flip shit at me, I decided to listen to them on a lark and got into Superfuzz Bigmuff, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge and My Brother the Cow.


Endnotes 3

Viewpoint 3

Werner Bonefeld – Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy.

Roberto Bolano – Woes of the True Policeman.

Rachel Kushner – The Flamethrowers.

Ellen M. Wood – The Ellen Meiksins Wood Reader.

Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos et al. – A Political Economy of Contemporary Capitalism and its Crisis.

Ingo Stutzle et al. – Polylux Marx – A Capital workbook in Slides.

Ingo Elbe – Between Marx, Marxism and Marxisms—ways of reading Marx’s Theory.

Karl Marx – The 1861-1863 Manuscripts.

Louis Althusser – Essays in Self-criticism, The Humanist Controversy, Philosophy of the Encounter, The Future Lasts Forever.

Georgakas and Surkin – Detroit do I Mind Dying?


Mike Kelley - Going West on Michigan Avenue from Downtown Detroit to Westland.

Mike Kelley - Going East on Michigan Avenue from Downtown Detroit to Westland.

Stewart Bird et al. -- Finally Got the News.

Chantal Ackerman – From the East.

John Carpenter – They Live.

Noah Baumbach – Frances Ha.

Hal Ashby – The Last Detail.

Bob Rafelson – The King of Marvin Gardens

Werner Herzog – Happy People: a year in the Taiga.

David C. Thomas -- Mc5: A True Testimonial.


David Hasslehoff at the Berlin Wall.

The Melvins playing Lysol, Egnogg and Stoner Witch.

M’lady’s Birthday Party with The Hysterics, Vexx, Ruby Pins and Nukular Aminals.

Melvins Lite/Big Business.

StillSuit/Death Drive etc.

The Witch/Hornet Leg/Western Hymn.

Joey Shithead/Movieland

Mudhoney at the Seattle Center.

Wet Drag

All the other times I saw Vexx, Big Business and The Hysterics.

New Year’s resolution: Communism.

Failing that; get a job, spend more time writing and less time applying to jobs, and watch more films and less TV.