What a long, hard slog it's been
The year 2013 marks the historic 20th Anniversary of Reglar Wiglar. What started out as a pathetic little independently produced paper and ink rag in 1993, has blossomed into a pathetic little independently produced website/blog/small media empire. And we have me to thank for it. To celebrate this feat of historic awesomeness, throughout the year I will be publishing some of my personal favorite articles, reviews and features from the magazine's two decades long run. You're welcome!—Chris Auman
Look for upcoming features from these GREAT issues!
In the meantime, please enjoy these
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LADY LAMB THE BEEKEEPER
[Ba Da Bing]
Lady Lamb is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill apiarist. She is not always gentle like a lamb. She sometimes has bees in her bonnet which she unleashes in small swarms, always at a fitting time when she can deliver the best sting, sweet as honey. As if Aly Spaltro (as Lady Lamb is also known) wasn't a precious enough name for the young singer/songwriter, her adopted moniker certainly suggests something playful and innocent, but her youthful looks belie a soulful voice that sounds an age beyond her 23 years.
The background story is that Lady Lamb began writing and recording songs after hours at the DVD rental store where she worked in Brunswick, Maine. She sold these recordings at the record store next door under the Lady Lamb pseudonym. From that beginning, here we are. This is Aly's first full-length foray and it's pretty fabulous and packed with great songs that are emotionally powerful and driven and showcase an admirable level of lyrical virtuosity. (Read more)
Iceage is not from the U.S. or even the U.K., although they sound at times like Wired crossed with Hüsker Dü or the band Ian Curtis and company would have formed after seeing Black Flag instead of the Sex Pistols. They are, depending on your preferred tag, a Danish "post-hardcore", "post-emo" or "post-punk" band. No "post" modifier is really required, however. Everything is "post" these days and Iceage travels on trails blazed decades before. The band's use of right-wing imagery and themes is certainly nothing new and hardly gained much traction as far as controversies go. The fact that a Danish post-everything band such as this can land on Matador only makes sense in 2013. In 2003, Iceage would likely not have risen above the underground VFW Hall, Book Your Own Fucking Life scene in this country. That's not to say they don't deserve to be on a higher profile label like Matador. They do, much the same as countless bands before them deserved, but never acheived that status. The other, allegedly noteworthy, thing about Iceage is their relatively young age. They were teenagers when they started the group. Teenagers playing punk rock? Pretty radical. No, they were and still are exactly the age you'd expect of a band that attacks it's music with violent, world-ending urgency. (Read more)
BILL DANIEL’S MOSTLY TRUE
In a world of put-ons and art scene fakery, moniker writing has endured for generations; organic, unchanged and pure of intent.” So says Bill Daniel in the introduction to the second edition of his hobo graffiti zine, Mostly True. As Daniel also notes, rail graffiti is a pre-Internet form of social networking whereby hobos and tramps communicate with each other through crude chalk drawings, symbols and a few coded words. But who are these people who's only mark on the world is a transitory icon on the side of a boxcar? And is that any less important than the mark most of us leave on the world? These are exactly the questions Mostly True seeks to answer.
In addition to documenting boxcar art in printed form, Daniel is also the creator of the underground documentary film, Who Is Bozo Texino? which has screened in countless cities across the U.S. The film seeks out the enigmatic "Bozo Texino" whose ubiquitous railroad tags have been seen on boxcars around the country for over half a century. Many people claim to know the man behind the Texino moniker and Mostly True contains an interview with "Bozo" aka "Grandpa" in which he tells his tale of a life working on the railroads all the live-long day. The zine also features interviews with other rail car artists, letters from rail fans (some of which are reprinted from long-gone publications), and photos of boxcar art.
Endlessly fascinating and a great document of the folklore and lost world of the rail yard that is being kept alive by a few dedicated tramps, writers and artists. Bill Daniel answers many questions, yes, but the free spirit of the rails isn't so easily defined and if things are still a bit of foggy mystery for you after reading this zine, well, it's only mostly true anyway—Chris Auman (Read more zine reviews)
THE HOWLING HEX
The Best of The Howling Hex
In the imaginary world of The Howling Hex, every day is a circus where junkies waltz to a crazy bouncy beat. Carnies jockey for a chance to get your nickel for a ride along the border separating north and south from insanity. "New Border Soul" it's been called for that very reason, I suspect. I would warn a varmint not to listen to this thing the whole way through too many times in one sitting. There's a chance you may be whisked away completely—across a big dry desert or a tall wet mountain. If you can make it through "Trashcan Bahamas" then you're the kind of creature that has Metal Machine Music on repeat on your iPod. That's not to say it's not musical, it is—they both are—it just takes brain cells with a bunch of strength and mental stamina.
Now that I've cleared all that up, it must be said that Neil Haggerty’s The Howling Hex is still a bit of an enigma, especially since I tried not find out anything in the first place. Not knowing is a good way to start and end and The Best of Howling Hex is all you really need to know either way. Haggerty gonna do what Haggerty gonna do so there's no sense thinking too much about it—Howling Wülf (Read more music reviews)
The Adventures of Jim Bob & Pencilneck
The Stupidest Story Ever Told
Cassetty the Cassette Pet
The Notorious Woodrows Band
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Thank You for Your Relentless Pursuit of Excellence!