Selected Reviews from Daybreak Newspaper 2003

Reviews
Daybreak Newspaper
2003

Books

Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut
This is the new short book by Mr. Vonnegut, the esteemed writer from Indiana. As usual with his recent week it regurgitates many things he’s already said better in other places.

The thing that makes Man Without a Country different is that Vonnegut recites his usual anecdotes in the context of this criminal administration that he feels is killing his America. He’s outraged by how easily his America rolled over and died: the media, the public, and the spineless politicians (although he, like all of us, loves the librarians).

It’s nice to see a public figure decrying what everyone else seems to have taken for granted as the way things are.

When Democrats complain it’s just because they want to get in office again. When Vonnegut complains it’s because he feels betrayed and sick about recent events and realizes that, after all, it means this sickness of words needs to be thrown up all over the slogans and half-truths that somehow make this administration palatable.

Zines

Profane Existence #50/51
$10, PO Box 8722 Minneapolis, MN 55408
PE is celebrating its 50th issue with 200+ pages of interviews, articles, and scene reports. It’s a pretty ambitious effort and includes a compilation of 15 years of Skuld records. Even if you don’t like their sub-genre of punk, crust, PE still has lots to offer in the form of DIY, politics, and a dedication that has fueled them for so many years.

Likes/Dislikes
donation, HYPERLINK “mailto:polkaostrich@hotmail.com”polkaostrich@hotmail.com
This is a typewritten zine on notebook paper that is all lists of this young lady’s likes and dislikes. As I write this the dog next door is barking and every 10 seconds the old woman neighbor does some sort of high pitched yowl to shut it up. Dislike.

But Lacey’s examples are certainly funnier, and example.

Some Likes: “fainting couches … the thought that aliens and humans might someday become one…just making it.” Some dislikes: “men masturbating in public…creamsicles…U2.”

So with just six excerpts from the first two pages you already know this girl is a genius. This is now being distributed by Microcosm.

Save the Grain Elevators
Donation/Trade 1827 NE 5th St, Minneapolis MN 55418
James is part of the World in Trouble crew that have been putting out great and radical comics in the M.P.L.S (sorry, couldn’t resist) for years now. This one is an awesome coloring book of old grain elevators from our city that was once nicknamed Mill City. Well, that was before all the cool old factories got turned into condos. So this zine is both a testimonial to these landmarks that are disappearing and an argument to value them. I still think it would be a good idea to house yuppies in the Metrodome instead.

The Strange Voyage of the Leona Joyce
$4, PO Box 7434 Minneapolis MN 55407
The Strange Voyage of the Leona Joyce is the autobiographical account of some Minneapolis punks who built some houseboats and floated down the Mississippi last summer. Rob’s writing style is getting better and better. He manages to express the beauty of the boat trip in a dramatic way that, although you might have seen him walking around town you still wonder if he’ll make it. There’s numerous obstacles that should be familiar to anyone involved in DIY projects: engine troubles, scary schizophrenics, as well as plain bad luck that leads to barely averted disaster. It’s a great read and also a great document, testimony to the fact that we make our lives through the risks and challenges we take on, rather than our lives being made for us.

MUSIC

The Knotwells- Blood River Melodies LP
The Knotwells have been a favorite Minneapolis band for four or five years now. But I think this is their first recording since a scuffed up cassette tape made its way around a few years back. The sound on Blood River Melodies couldn’t be further from the tape hiss and crackle of that 4-track recording but somehow the Knotwells manage to inject it with the same type of energy and the same spirit of spontaneity. They play dancey and screamy Midwestern country-punk, kind of (my friend Emily calls it pine-core). Hoarse vocals are spread out over ringing banjo, guitar and drums bang away, and everything is strung together by the creepy as fuck viola. Each song is so good that this seems more like a greatest hits album than anything else! As far as I’m concerned the Knotwells embody much of what’s great about Minneapolis: They’re fun, fiercely political and independent, friendly, and above all, difficult to categorize.

Fort Wilson Riot- self titled EP
FWR is one of the great bands that have emerged over the last year or so. They play theatrical melodic rock-punk that kind of reminds me of a Submission Hold that submerged itself in a big stew of waltzes and beatbox and piano bars. Does that make any sense? But you can tell that they’re actually pretty good musicians, never the same song twice. The EP does sound a little sterile recording-wise but the songs and the singers gorgeous voice more than make up for it. A highlight is Heir to a Throne, a sorta sci-fi allegory about George Bush that’ll resonate with both the role-playing and political crowds.

Lonesome Dan Kase- Leave Here Walkin LP
Odds are you might have walked into Dusty’s Bar in Northeast on any given Thursday to see Lonesome Dan hunched over his guitar and foot tapping, singing a song from 1932 while patrons devoured their various libations in the packed room. Although I think he’s a religious man he plays old-time country blues with a dexterity and energy that I think is pretty fucking suspect. This album with a gorgeous card-stock style case, is his first solo release with a handful of originals jammed in right along with some 80 year old songs. He’s made the songs so much his own that it’s difficult to distinguish the classics from Dan’s stuff. Pretty fucking amazing for anyone who appreciates that old time sound.

Advertisements