Sunday, April 17, 2011

Various Artists "Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Volume 1" USA / UK 1984

Last I checked, a couple of weeks ago, the three Flipside Vinyl Fanzines were not available online (this via my usual source of checking for online availability).  Some blogs had posted them all but the links seem to be down.  It looks like I'll be posting all of them in the coming weeks.

Of the three LPs this is likely the weakest, although it is an excellent time capsule with a few great tracks mixed in.  For those who don't know, there were two major punk zines in the US in the 1980s, which in the era before the internet and when long distance phone calls were still expensive (I sound like an old man!) became the main means of communication in the punkosphere.  One was Flipside, out of the Los Angeles area.  The other was MaximumRocknRoll out of the San Francisco area, which grew out of a college radio program to become the world's central punk resource.

Flipside was the older of the two, had the more "fun" image, was far less political and was more likely to cover music outside of the punk sphere and as time wore on its coverage edged into bands trying to "make it" in L.A, or even bands that had made it years earlier (I recall them covering Twisted Sister and Hawkwind).   It would cover even the odd hair/glam metal band and by the end of the decade had a glossy color cover and took ads from major labels.  MRR was and is the much-maligned heart of hardcore, especially political hardcore.  Always in stark black and white newsprint, it was political and focused on punk and had an editorial line and ad policies actively against music as an industry.  Contrary to popular belief, I think MRR did the best they could to cover many genres of punk-related rock until they got literally too many submissions to review each issue, and had to start drawing a line somewhere.  They would never have considered covering a hair metal band, but for years there were reviews of '60s garage re-releases, neo-surf and neo-garage bands, "crossover" metal and general weirdness like Butthole Surfers on top of the standard thrash and punk.

I was one of many people who read both every chance I could.  They were different but had some overlapping coverage area.  Between the two, reading the MRR reviews and the Flipside "Unclassifieds", you could stay in touch with people from all over the world, buying and trading music, zines etc.  The key was that both were dependable publications which came out like clockwork.  This was no small feat at the time.

The first of the three Flipside Vinyl Fanzines was released in 1984, and for the most part unlike the next two is a straight-ahead punk and hardcore affair.  By this time the novelty of early '80s hardcore speed was wearing a bit thin and within a couple of years the better bands diversified their sounds somewhat.  And that I think makes the next two records from the later '80s better.  All three albums have affixed to the front of each track a short sound sample from each band, who sound like they had a microphone shoved in front of them and were asked on little or no notice to record a message to the kids out there for the album, which ends up being for posterity.  The next two albums feature some experimental playfulness with this concept, leading me to think that people had more notice and were recording something they knew would be a memorable chunk of their bands' legacies.

As best as I can recall only British punk veterans G.B.H. are not Americans.

Side 1

1 The Dickies "Gigantor" (Live Cleveland Agoura)
2 Government Issue "Religious Ripoff"
3 The Freeze "No One Is Ever Coming Home"
4 White Flag "Question of Intelligence"
5 Kraut "Flossing with an E String"
6 F "Attack"
7 Plain Wrap "Meat Between the Treads"
8 Flag of Democracy "Madhouse"
9 TSOL "Suppose They Gave A War ..."
10 Adrenalin O.D. "Me Three Bunch"

Side 2

11 Scream "Fight"
12 The Undead "In '84"
13 FU’s "Warlords" (Live on WERS FM Boston)
14 Black Market Baby "Total Waste"
15 Psycho "Master Race"
16 Gay Cowboys in Bondage "Domestic Battlefield"
17 Borscht "Suburbia"
18 Anti-Scrunti Faction "Big Women"
19 G.B.H. "Give Me Fire" (Live At Perkins Palace, Pasadena)



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