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?”
By Samuel Stolton, Editor @SamuelStolton This summer’s reading pool, fattened by the inclusion of a number of works determined by my recent travels, has been disposed to a broad and expansive character. So much so, that I believe it to be may be one of my most nauseous reading lists, a dizzying circus-market of philosophy, [...]
By Callie Hitchcock, Intern Stepping into Anaïs Nin’s world has been interesting to say the least. Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diaries 1939-1947 chronicles the emotional fluctuations of a life drunk on love and writing. And who wouldn’t want that? Then, I am inhabiting the more private world of Sara Maitland in her book How to be [...]
By Anna Aslanyan, Reviewer @anna_aslanyan Earlier this summer, talking to fellow reviewers about books we pretend to have read, I promised, rather unwittingly, to read The Man Without Qualities. Although Robert Musil never finished his trilogy, I feel bound by my word to read it from cover to cover. The only choice left is the [...]
By Steven J. Fowler, Poetry Editor @stevenjfowler Poetry: Stephen Emmerson’s Comfortable Knives Colin Herd’s Glovebox Tim Allen’s Tattered by Magnets James Davies’s Two Fat Boys Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water Tom Jenks’s On Liberty, Repressed and Crabtree Anna McKerrow’s Regressive Poetics Tom Chivers’s Flood Drain Chris McCabe’s in the catacombs Essays Tom Chivers & Martin Kratz’s Mount London [...]
By Joanna Walsh, Fiction Editor @baudade This summer I’ll be in Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Zagreb, Trieste, Paris, London, and Oxford. That’s a lot of train reading. Summer seems a good time to read thick books. A thick book, when you’re travelling, gives you a place to be. I’ve already started on the proof of Elena [...]
3:AM for sale
A selection of Richard Marshall's End Times interviews published by Oxford University Press