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?”
If you’re in (or near!) Cambridge on 30th October, do come along to Heffers Bookshop and see Lars Iyer discuss his new novel, Wittgenstein Jr., with 3:AM’s co-editor in chief, David Winters. Tickets for the event can be bought here. More info from Heffers: Lars Iyer, in conversation with literary critic David Winters, will discuss Lars’ [...]
This panel revisits Stuart Brisley and Maya Balcioglu’s Cenotaph Project (1987-91). The British painter, sculptor and performance artist Stuart Brisley is widely regarded as a key figure in British art. Along with his frequent collaborator, Maya Balcioglu, he has unflinchingly probed the political, cultural and social mores of his time in a career now spanning [...]
Knausgaard on Peter Handke. * Remembering Christine Brooke-Rose. * Lars Iyer in The Quietus: “A kitschified realism mirrors the old stabilities, an older world, now disappearing. A kitschified modernism mirrors the old instabilities, the cracks in the old bowl of culture. But the bowl has shattered… So what does that mean for our arts? What [...]
On 19 October, Joanna Walsh, 3:AM‘s Fiction Editor, will be reading and talking about short stories with Chris Power. This event is a benefit in support of the Horse Hospital, which is sadly threatened with closure. Some of you may remember 3:AM‘s first live event, which took place there back on 26 July 2003. All [...]
The mighty Paul Ewen reading from his celebrated new novel Francis Plug – How to Be A Public Author at Piccadilly Waterstones last Friday, while Galley Beggar Press’ Sam Jordison looks on. (image @isabelcostello)
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Selected writings by David Winters
A selection of Richard Marshall's End Times interviews published by Oxford University Press