This autumn (or fall, possibly), the Barbican will be running ‘Stranger In Town…’, a cine-literary season of American films featuring the compelling figure of the ‘stranger in town’, devised and curated by Jay Clifton (Lipstick Killers: The New York Dolls Story). Highlights include the Barry Gifford-themed evening on October 3, followed by the Warren Oates night on November 16 (featuring Cathi Unsworth) and the Midnight Cowboy evening on December 10 (featuring Ken Hollings.)
The noise furnished by New York City quartet Girls Against Boys has consistently defied comparison and categorization. Dangling somewhere between the distorted melancholic intensity of early ’90s Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, Picasso Trigger) and the harder edges of Washington, D.C. punk (which makes sense, as these guys originally played in the Dischord band Soulside), their most recent releases have thrown electronica into the mix. This is polluted, metallic East Coast artcore at its grittiest; music that leaves behind alternarock angst in favor of a tempered, sexy coolness that pervades on every level, from the thumping double-bass foundation to the three-pack-a-day habit of singer-guitarist Scott McCloud, whose raspy vocals infrequently crescendo into a monstrous subhuman roar.
Girls Against Boys’ history goes back to Washington, D.C., in 1988. The original band was formed by McCloud and bassist Eli Janney, who were jamming with Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty. After only a few practices and one recording session, the original group disbanded and reformed two years later in New York City with their current line-up. Alexis Fleisig took the place of Canty, but it was the addition of Johnny Temple as a second bass player that made these guys stand out from the post-punk pack.
Throughout the 90s, Girls Against Boys defined their unique sound through numerous singles and three LPs. Their debut album, Tropic of Scorpio, was released on Adult Swim, and the now-classic House of GVSB bears the Touch and Go imprint, putting GVSB in the same family of acid punk legends the Butthole Surfers and Big Black. They were then picked up by Geffen as part of the indie rock explosion of smaller bands being given major label deals. They spent more than a year working on material for their Geffen debut, 1998’s excellent Freak*on*ica. But like a lot of bands from that short-lived era, the relationship with their new label fizzled fast, prompting a return to the indie world.
This content originally appeared in the alternative weekly The Prague Pill.
Of course, Mineshaft is about all of the odd and overlooked corners of our culture, from the poems of the Brutalists to photographs from the “Cabinet of Curiosities” (lots and lots of conjoined twin remains) to a bracing feature on the death of newspapers framed by the mastheads of dozens of dead and dying papers. The Brutalist poems fit right into the underground aesthetic of the zine, detailing the day-to-day life of the working class in an unflinching manner. Adelle Stripe’s stream-of-consciousness memories about her awakening sexuality were particularly memorable.
“Erased, just like that. As if they’d never been alive at all.” When garden tool salesman Theodore Bellefontaine receives a postcard from his dead mother, he heads to Cleveland to find her. Krusoe propels Ted from one absurd situation to the next (biker-chick gangs, strange women’s clubs) in this part ghost story, part detective novel, that you’re left with the impression that Ted has no real agency (predestination versus freewill). In interspersing the narrative with transcriptions of interviews with those who have experienced near-death, Krusoe further blurs the lines between life and the hereafter, in his engaging third novel that recalls Will Self’s How the Dead Live and, more recently, David Eagleman’s Sum. “And despite your having a strong pulse and steady heartbeat, has it ever occurred to you for for even one single moment that you might be dead, because not only for the living but also for the dead anything is possible?”
Brian Dillon on his Curiosity exhibition: “I think of essay writing as a kind of collage or curating of various kinds of knowledge, narrative, etc. One of the things that Cabinet does in its written contributions as well as its design, its curation of exhibitions, its presentation of images is to give this sense that [...]
Two Clarice Lispector stories translated by Elizabeth Bishop. * Blake Butler on thirty years of Dalkey Archive. * Lars Iyer interviewed: “Black comedy, goes the definition, refuses to treat tragic materials tragically. It makes us laugh at tragic things. But I would go further, and say that black comedy refuses to treat comic materials solely [...]
Monoskop, the collaborative research platform for art history, culture and media technology, have recently published an expansive archive of over one hundred and fifty avant-garde and modernist magazines, all to enjoy online for free. Check them out here. __________ What is the relevance of avant-garde magazines printed on aging paper to a society which views [...]
3:AM Magazine’s SJ Fowler travels with his Enemies Project and other poets on a collaborative poetic voyage across Scotland, documented by Ross Sutherland. __________ The Enemies project: Auld Enemies was a transnational poetry collaboration where six poets worked in rolling paired to produce original works for readings across the breadth of Scotland and where in each event also featured [...]
It’s difficult to define submission guidelines when one of the things I’ll be looking for is something I’ve never seen. There are sensibilities I know I’ll recognise, as soon as I read them. I’m interested in work that is experimental, playful, serious; in work that pays close attention to form, and language, always in support of what the work is; in intelligent work that wears its learning lightly: to paraphrase Beckett on Joyce, writing that is “not [only] about something; it is that something itself.”
Joanna Walsh – call for submissions – fiction
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A selection of Richard Marshall's End Times interviews published by Oxford University Press