Monday, May 26, 2008

Zine scenes

This is a few weeks old, but I was reading MikeB's thoughts on Pitchfork's reviews of No Age and thier two records. One quote Mike mentions, which escaped me way back when, jumped out:

"No Age bring back the DIY energy of Kicking Giant and Lync and '90s zines and, importantly, a life away from computer screens."

Barring the ironi that this longing for zines and a life away from computer screens appeared on one of the largest online music sites, there's a historical difference here which seems to have escaped the author. The reason zines existed in the first place was that all other media outlets had been hijacked by major labels. Zines, as well as constant touring (and a bit of help from college radio stations), were perhaps the only ways to reach new people. This was especially true in the late 70s and the 80s. Recently, the internet has provided musicians and audience with new ways to reach eachother, something Mike Watt, one of the 80s indie pioneers and the nicest and most talkative guy in punk, has seems to have understood by embracing the internet almost full tilt, including recording a podcast. Now, one should be careful making the argument the the internet is fully democratic. Despite blogs and what have you, not all people have daily access to computers, and some countries even exert heavy censorship on both what can be published and what can be accessed. I still hold that it reaches more people than zines did, and like Mike, I don't see what's so wrong about that.

(Of course, this may be an extention of the us (here: zines) vs. them (here: web) dichotomy that some indie-connoiseurs are so obsessed with. It's an argument I feel strongly ambivalent towards...well, not really. Even if a part of me kind of understands where they are coming from, their obsession with authentic vs. fake, an extention of us vs. them, is just downright silly, and often misapplied or more often simply not valid. "Delivered with conviction", something both Bruce Springsteen (major) and Persian Gulf (indie) were able to do in the 80s, is in my opinion a more valid point to make).

Oh, Nouns is still one of my favorite records so far this year.

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