:: Buzzwords Archive: September 2009. Click here for the latest posts.

Stranger in Town… (published 18/09/2009)


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.)

Friday I’m in Love (published )

By Travis Jeppesen.

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.

ampere’s and (published )


Today’s quick lit [& alt.cult] links from around the web:

Walt Whitman & the wounded soldiers of the American Civil War (via @BookRambler)

& Ubu! Small but fascinating Flickr set of an Alfred Jarry bibliography (via @davidbmetcalfe)

& Iain Banks (3:AM review here) interviewed by former mayor of London Ken Livingstone (via @MAOrthofer)

& Michael Cho on his sexy new cover for Don DeLillo‘s White Noise (via @SelfMadeHero)

& Aleksandar Hemon & Stuart Dybek’s Chicago

& Self-publishing & the American Dream

& Jim Carroll‘s death leaves a void in poetry

& When Shirley Manson met Peter Murphy (3:AM interview here)

& Much to read in the new Five Dials [PDF], but we’ll send you to Paul Ewen‘s piece on Banville

[Image: c/o moirabot]

Return of the Brutalists (published )


Not béton brut architecture, but that trio of poets Tony O’Neill, Adelle Stripe and Ben Myers, who, alongside illustrator Lisa Cradduck, bring Cheap Thrills to the legendary Mineshaft Magazine. From the High-Low review:

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.

Further: ‘We Are The Brutalists – Fuck You’, a sample of Brutalist poetry on 3:AM; Blackburn. Durham. Tadcaster. It’s Brutal up North, an interview with the Brutalists

ampere’s and (published 17/09/2009)


Today’s quick lit [& alt.cult] links from around the web:

Charles Darwin film ‘too controversial for religious America’

& Why A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olson will not read your fucking script

& Bookshelf to screen: seven old favourites getting the film treatment

& Why Wuthering Heights never goes out of fashion

& JRR Tolkien trained as a British spy (via @drmabuse/Ed Champion)

& Why reading Kafka improves learning (via @davidbmetcalfe)

& Murray Lachlan Young, the first poet ever to get a £1 million record deal, is back

& Johnny Marr & The Cribs discuss what went wrong with indie, why LA destroys creative thought, the curse of the lad, and how The Smiths never had an afrobeat influence

& Four Corners Books present The Jet Age Compendium: [Eduardo] Paolozzi at Ambit

& Happy tenth birthday NYRB Classics

[Image: c/o Yersinia]

3:AM Top 5: Simon Crump (published 16/09/2009)


Simon Crump is the author of the Not the Booker Prize Prize shortlisted novel Neverland, described by John Self as a “a work of conceptual art” and by Sam Jordison as “peculiar, more than a little sick and one hell of a performer.” He is currently listening to:

1. ‘Some Kinda Nut’ – The Moon Men
2. ‘Cassius’ (Tensnake remix) – Foals
3. ‘Free Range’ – The Fall
4. ‘Louie, Louie’ – Motorhead
5. ‘Get Lucky’ – New Young Pony Club

ampere’s and (published )


Today’s quick lit [& alt.cult] links from around the web:

Why adapting a work into a comic book requires more than just illustrating the description and a few word balloons (via @thebookslut)

& Penguin Graphic Classics, a Flickr set

& Top Shelf‘s $3 comix sale

& Don’t buy Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, read these instead (Scarlett Thomas, Cathi Unsworth)

& David S Wills heads to Big Sur with a head full of Kerouac, Ginsberg & London

& We killed Amanda Palmer, fan art inspired by the Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman book

& The Realist, an archive of the American counter-cultural magazine (via things magazine)

& David Foster Wallace & “clicks”

& The Footnotes of Mad Men

& Imagination on the couch, an interview with Francis Levy

[Image: c/o DJ Denim]

The 3:AM read (published )

This week’s brief review:


“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?”

Erased by Jim Krusoe is published by Tin House Books.