One of the tiniest shops on Sunset, Vacation Vinyl, has hosted some of the gnarliest in-stores, from Converge to OFF! Before this week’s Retox gig in the shoebox-like store, guitar ripper Michael Crain asked my friend Ben and me, “Did you bring earplugs?”
The Tinnitus-inducing San Diego group takes the ultra-aware, hyper-detailed hardcore of singer Justin Pearson’s best-known band The Locust and strips away the conceptual layers but not the brains or surgical precision. Featuring the furious rhythm section of bassist Thor Dickey and drummer Brian Evans, their raw-yet-forward-looking hardcore jams are loaded with animalistic power yet worthy of being deconstructed. Yes, it was a very heavy 20 minutes at Vacation and I kept wondering if JP was going to knock the camera out of my hands whenever I broke it out. (Never happened.)
Watch the appropriately fast-moving doc (featuring members of Melvins, Tomahawk, and the YYYs) and then cop the new LP, YPLL, right afterward. Definitely catch them live when you can, too, because they could implode at any second–although these guys are way too smart and seasoned for you to ever worry about them sucking.
Mike McGonigal, Temperature’s Rising: Galaxie 500 – An Oral and Visual History
The proto lo-fi indie trio from Cambridge wasn’t around for that many years but was massively influential and still much loved. Hence, this handsome paperback about the band’s rise, success (in Europe), and disintegration with each of its albums roughly representing one of the chapters of its lifespan. Fans will briskly read the no-holds-barred reassessments and anecdotes from not only members Dean Wareham, Damon Krukowski, and Naomi Yang but also producer Kramer, Simon Raymonde from the Cocteau Twins, and many other key contributors and observers, and then go back to devour the meticulously collected photography and artifacts with droll annotations by Naomi herself. An excellent time capsule and true labor of love. (Yeti Publishing)
Jennifer Ward and Susie Ghahremani, What Will Hatch?
I’ve grown accustomed to seeing the brushwork of indie art superstar/my longtime friend Susie Gharemani in person so it was a real trip for me to see it reproduced in this gorgeous children’s book by Jennifer Ward. As a parent of a recently graduated preschooler, I put a lot value on books that not only trigger her imagination with well-framed information but cultivate her aesthetics. This is a perfect example with curious die-cuts and a mature color palate that balances the cuteness of the animal babies depicted. (Walker & Company)
Eleanor Whitney, Indulgence 11
It was shortly after seeing the aforementioned Susie Ghahremani’s band play that I was handed a copy of this zine. Simply (and beautifully) made with a Gocco cover and bound by string, it has a cut-and-paste aesthetic and energy that mirrors its maker’s credo. Eleanor writes about joining a band after years of being a fan of music, which is inspiring, and includes thought-provoking infographics, but my favorite part is where she daydreams about Los Angeles being a creative mecca favorable to the DIY capital of the world where she comes from, Portland, OR, and comparable to Paris, France. What excuses do I have to not fulfill my dreams? (killerfemme.com)