Everyone's a Critic
When Matador Records asked San Francisco's Zip Code Rapists to tag-team review the label's current crop of releases for the premiere issue of its newsletter, AEscandalo!, Zip Code gentlemen Gregg Turkington and John Singer assiduously auditioned every CD (well, most of 'em), carefully mulling the compositional cogency and artistic vision of each before penning brutally honest assessments of everyone from Bailter Space to Yo La Tengo. Turkington's reviews are by far the most caustic; consider his take on Helium's The Dirt of Luck: “This evokes feelings reminiscent of those experienced when encountering a weak, runty kitten, born with a disease, expected to die soon.” Meanwhile, nice-guy “Therapist John” kept the vitriol to a minimum, even admitting he sorta likes Pavement and Guided by Voices. “A great idea, those zany Zip Code Rapists trashing the new Matador product to show how tough and inside the label can be,” Singer writes in a Railroad Jerk review. “And what's worse is that I actually like some of this stuff.” For your own copy of this otherwise shamelessly self-promotional 16-page rag (which also features interviews with the mothers of various Matador artists), write AEscandalo!, c/o Matador Records, 676 Broadway, Fourth Floor, New York, NY 10012, or e-mail MatadorRecaol.com.
Deface the Music
Just a stone's throw from the SF Weekly offices, the almighty Burger Island was transformed from a little greasy spoon into a bustling film set — of a little greasy spoon. As the owner and his son stood by, Victorville punksters Face to Face tore up the restaurant for a video for “Debt” off of the release Big Choice (Victory/A&M). According to local 26-year-old punk rock director Isaak Camner, the plot is fairly basic: “The band is working at a busy burger joint, and things go wrong,” he says. “An unexpected series of mishaps drive them into a sort of collective unconscious, and they just destroy the place. We kept the actors in the dark so that their reactions would be completely genuine. I would tell them it was a rehearsal and we'd shoot it.” Camner, whose other projects include videos for Rancid, RKL, and NOFX, recently joined forces with producer Raub Shapiro (Primus and Green Day) to form Hot Rod Pictures. The Face to Face video is only the new company's second project (the first being for No Use for a Name), but already the phones are ringing off the hook. In today's musical climate, it's no surprise that Camner's and Shapiro's intrinsic punk sensibilities are proving to be as invaluable to big record companies as are their filmmaking talents. When you're hot, you're hot.
By Mike Rowell, Silke Tudor