Thursday, June 20, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! VOLUME : INTERNATIONAL DISCOGRAPHY OF THE NEW WAVE conceived and edited by B. George and Martha Da Foe (One Ten Books, 1980)

Talk about all the funtime memories I used to have pourin' through this one! As far as any sorta cool guide to the groovy groups and even groovier records went many of us struggling suburban slob types depended on VOLUME. It was at least one reliable source of music-based info that helped us find out just what records were available and who did what 'n all that fun rot you sure didn't find about in Anastasia Pantsios' column! And even though this book was already obsolete a good minute or two after it was unleashed and there were about as many goofs and other gaffes as you could find in any random issue of BLACK TO COMM, it sure was a boon in a world where rock on a mainstream AM/FM /rock press mafia level was at its dreariest in years. And with most "experts" on the form feeding from the trough of the same folk who were content to exploit the more "cultured" and "effete" aspects of youth at the expense of the BIG BEAT, books like VOLUME meant all the more to us as we saw our favorite musical past time slowly dying right in front of our bloodshot brains.

But here it all is, new wave on the cusp of becoming gnu wave (copyright 1982 Bill Shute) still being presented to us  in that rather neo-decadent (even with the ancient clip art adorning the imaginative layout) style that sure stood out against what the powers that be were force feeding more'n a few gullible groupers out there in fishtankland. Sure, some of the inclusions are high-larious (as if I would have ever considered Ash Ra anywhere in or about the underground idiom and by the way how does Eno rate so much space?) but when an honest error sure fits in such as when some sixties garage band on Moxie like the Huns pop onto the list I get the feeling that the people who crafted this one really are smarter'n we peons in the audience have given 'em credit for! The overall brashness and guesswork and at times inclusions of records that might have been announced but never made it do give VOLUME an edge that you didn't see when perusing any of the other new wave discogs that were comin' out at the time!

'n besides that, VOLUME even features listings for local clubs ('n it's so old even Max's Kansas City gets a shout out!) and pertinent record labels as well as an accurate as these things can be list of current (and not so) fanzines that helped me as a guide back then and continues to long after you woulda thought this book served its purpose. Again decidedly non-under-the-underground reads like TIME BARRIER EXPRESS, COMSTOCK LODE and THUNDER ROAD!?!?!?!? get the nods as does Cleveland free weekly paper SCENE (which never did doody for the local underground scene unless you're talking about Pantsios bait like the Adults), but so do faves like BACK DOOR MAN, NEW AGE and YOUNG, FAST AND SCIENTIFIC so inna end all cums out swell.

Of course with what we know now and all of the dug up rot we've found out about our fave seventies trailblazers (or not), this reads more like a "period piece" (and I don't mean something your sick-ass galpal would read to get her mind off "tick tock time"). But oh what a period it was and what a piece, and as far as capturing the zeit before it geisted out VOLUME sure makes for a reminder of what times were like when we...really...thought the eighties were gonna encapsulate everything gnarly and feral the sixties and seventies (fifties even!) offered us and take the entire kaboodle into overdrive! The way it turned out with even Lou Reed and Iggy Pop making duff platters it just shows you how all the best intentions and toil could go down the dumpster without any of us even knowin' it!

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