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Please visit the Scram website to shop for issues #3-21, plus special offers, feature articles, record reviews and more.
SCRAM is a magazine dedicated to rooting out the cashews in the bridge mix of unpopular culture. Since 1992 we have chronicled the neglected, the odd, the nifty and the nuts.
Scram #21 featuring Lark Pien’s cover art. It is our Swamp Issue, with a funky air blowing through it. Features include Nathan Marsak’s rude and hilarious interview with Dwarves leader Blag Dahlia, Gene Sculatti on that brief moment "When MOR went Hip," Phantom Surfer Mike Lucas in a valiant attempt to interview Blowfly, Ron Garmon on the lurid early 70s Skywald Horror-Mood magazines, Tony Sclafani investigates Baroque rockers The New Society, Michael I. Cohen digs deep in Kenneth Anger’s music archives to find the mysterious Andy Arthur, Deke Dickerson offers a history of hillbilly "eefing" records, Jonathan Donaldson talks with High Llama Sean O’Hagan, plus scads of reviews, pin-ups and fun.
To order Scram #21, or see other issues, visit the Scram site.
Special closet-cleaner offer for US customers: any THREE normal back issues (3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 14, 15, 16) can be yours for $15 postpaid. Or get a selection of older Scrams (3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) and get a crash course in unpopular culture. US readers pay $50 for the back issue selection.
Subscriptions are for $22 for four issues (US) and can begin retroactively starting with #16. So you could conceivably subscribe today, get issues 16-19 and a free premium (when available), and your sub would immediately lapse. If choosing to start with anything but the current issue, just say which issue you want to start with when you send your order.
Visit the Scram site to subscribe or order back issues.
Stay tuned for more artist and contributor blogs, in the works from Lost in the Grooves. If you write about great, neglected music, please consider asking for a contributor account, or for us to aggregate your existing blog. We want this site to be a clearing house for the celebration of wonderful, forgotten sounds.
There will always be that cool kid who lives to drop the names of some unheard band on their friends, maybe set the needle down on a scratchy vinyl disc, and enlighten the world to a long forgotten track that’s the epitome of rock, punk, soul or whatever. Lost in the Grooves is the Bible for that kid who’s out to save, or at least educate, the world. For the rest of us, though, Lost in the Grooves [Routledge] is just a good, fun read. In the introduction, called, Reconsider, Baby, we’re introduced to a group of passionate zinesters that see Lost in the Grooves as “a collection of miniature love letters to albums.” And that’s right-on. The voice of zines has always been one that’s a little more personal and experiential than those high-fallutin’, glossy, corporate publications. And face it, just like a rock and roll Stepford Wife, they look pretty–but without the rough edges, without the intensity and the feeling, they have no soul. Throughout the book, the Scram gang works hard to build amusing and solid cases to justify sometimes hard-to-believe albums, like Buckner and Garcia’s 1982 release, Pac-Man Fever [CBS Records]. One of the best of more than 75 writer/critics includes editor, Kim Cooper, who always adds a personal touch–things like, “I was a teenage Velvets freak who overplayed their records until they sounded like dishwater sloshing around the room.” Among the 250-some entries, a lot of these writers, like Brian Doherty, will take you right into the song-it doesn’t matter if you’ve heard it or not–because he gives it to you with full description, lyrics, and where and how to annunciate. It’s amusing as all hell to read and really, just great writing. There are even a couple reviews [Pere Ubu and The Tubes] by the famous novelist, Rick Moody, who’s been known to dabble in music from time to time. Lost in the Grooves hits on all kinds of music across all genres, and the thing is that even if, say, you don’t listen to country, you’re going to want to read the review for its entertainment value alone. It’s easy to pick up and put down without having to follow any story line, and hey, if you’re that kid who needs to be The Enlightened One: well, here you go. (J. Gordon, Nighttimes.com)
Lost-And Found: As countless new CDs continue to push existing music out of the racks and into the cutout bins, used stores and (gasp) even the trash, plenty of worthy albums get unjustly overlooked. In fact, pop-music history is littered with artists both famous and obscure whose work stands defiantly alone—too quirky, too unorthodox or just too demented to appeal to either a mainstream audience or even so-called fans. Lost in the Grooves: Scram’s Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed (Routledge), edited by Kim Cooper and David Smay, sets out to right those wrongs by spotlighting more than 100 musicians whose art—and in some cases, careers—simply don’t slot neatly into any one category. With pithy, smartly written essays by contributors to Scram magazine, a self-acclaimed quarterly “journal of unpopular culture,” Lost in the Grooves is structured alphabetically in an encyclopedic format. That makes finding the Dream Lake Ukulele Band’s self-titled 1976 album just as easy as locating Terence Trent D’Arby’s 1993 Symphony or Damn. The Beach Boys, John Cale, Glen Campbell, Marvin Gaye, the Hollies, Jefferson Airplane, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Prince and Dwight Yoakam all get nods here; and fans of lo-fi garage rock, French avant-garde, roots rock, psycho folk, proto-punk, ’80s soul and bubblegum pop will all find something to discover within these 304 pages. Readers won’t, however, find many recent releases. Rather, Scram’s writers seem particularly partial to vintage children’s music (Flo & Eddie’s The World of Strawberry Shortcake and The Alvin Show by Alvin and the Chipmunks) and novelty records (Rock Fantasy, a concept album from K-Tel that explores animals’ psychological character traits; Chevrolet Sings of Safe Driving and You, a circa-1965 musical set of rules for new drivers performed by an outfit called the First Team; and The Wozard of Iz: An Electronic Odyssey by Mort Garson & Jacques Wilson). Many featured titles are only available on vinyl; indeed, part of this collection’s charm is the way writers call these albums “records,” not CDs, and make references to Side One and Side Two. Still, it would have been helpful for editors Cooper (who also edits Scram) and Smay (co-author of Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth: The Dark History of Prepubescent Pop from the Banana Splits to Britney Spears) to indicate which titles eventually did make it to disc—even if they’re currently out of print. Interspersed throughout the book are intriguing sidebars that excerpt original record reviews from the likes of Creem and Flash, and compile such lists as the “Top 10 Non-Goth Albums Goths Listen To” (topped by Johnny Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around) and the “6 Greatest Midget Rock & Roll Records” (with Bushwick Bill’s Little Big Man topping the list). The book’s contributors, although keen on putting any given album and its artist into some sort of context, have a tendency to knock well-known critics who panned these records upon their initial release or to go over the top with their effusive praise. That said, this book does what any good music journalism should do: It makes readers want to seek out—or maybe, at least in a few cases, rediscover— some of the records that people who love records truly care about. As contributor Brian Doherty writes in his assessment of Loudon Wainwright III’s 2001 album, Last Man on Earth: “Discovering it … makes you wonder what else everyone is missing.” (Michael Popke, Shepherd Express)
This could be considered both the anthology and encyclopedia of the not-so-popular music scene. Written in clever, whimsical, tongue in cheek style, the book is a wealth of trivia and facts about hundreds of albums and singles which never made the Top Ten or Hit Parade in the last forty-plus years, some by obscure artists and some non-hits by well-known artists. Because of the alphabetical arrangement of the numerous reviews the juxtaposition of the aritists, styles, and genre of the music is outrageously interesting in itself! For anyone who ever shoved nickles into a Juke Box, any music lover of any kind, and any pop-culture enthusiast, this book Rocks! Tom Neely’s delightful cover design, illustrations, and caricatures of some of the artists will delight any reader. (Real Travel Adventures)
LOST IN THE GROOVES: SCRAM’S CAPRICIOUS GUIDE TO THE MUSIC YOU MISSED
a new anthology celebrating the greatest records you’ve never heard
about the contributors
Brooke Alberts is an inveterate folk-head who writes for the L.A. based Folkworks, plays whistle in as many Irish traditional sessions as possible, and loves hot whiskey and a great bowl of New England clam chowder.
Mike Appelstein is the former editor/publisher of Caught in Flux zine. Currently he is an occasional DJ and freelance writer, as well as webmaster of the pretty-much-official Young Marble Giants website. He lives in St. Louis, MO. Visit www.appelstein.com for details and contact info.
Jake Austen edits Roctober, the journal of popular music’s dynamic obscurities, and (with wife Jacqueline) produces the children’s dance show Chic-A-Go-Go. His work has appeared in The Cartoon Music Book, Playboy, The Spice Girls Comicbook and Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth. His books include A Friendly Game of Poker and a forthcoming idiosyncratic history of rock on television. Please visit www.roctober.com
Peter Bagge is an “alternative” cartoonist, best known for his comic book “Hate,” although he has many other credits to his name. Please refer to www.peterbagge.com for further details.
The Bengala is a matrimonial art collective consisting of Benjamin Tischer and Gala Verdugo. They love music almost as much as each other. They also help put out K48 Magazine, which is way rad. Contact: email@example.com
Tosh Berman is the publisher and editor of Tam Tam Books. He is currently publishing the works of Boris Vian as well as Guy Debord and Serge Gainsbourg. For further information check out www.tamtambooks.com
Jon Bernhardt has been a DJ on WMBR-FM since 1983, and plays theremin for The Lothars and The Pee Wee Fist (CDs available at http://www.wobblymusic.com). He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Derrick Bostrom performed with the Meat Puppets from 1980 to 1986. Though he still maintains the band’s archives his own music can be heard under the moniker “Today’s Sounds.”
Joe Boucher lives in Brooklyn with his two non-specific liberal arts degrees; his attempt to get a third did not go well. He loves and appreciates his family and friends. Employers sense in him a denial of their values. He could stand to drop a few pounds, too.
Carl Cafarelli’s three all-time favorite bands are the Beatles, the Ramones and the Flashcubes. So there. Carl writes for Goldmine magazine and co-hosts (with Dana Bonn) This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, “the best three hours of radio on the whole friggin’ planet!,” Sunday nights from 9 to midnight Eastern at wxxe.org. Weekly e-mail playlists are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Carhart is a freelance writer based in the SF Bay Area. He is obsessed with music, comics and women. Come to http://carhart.com/~kevin for an unruly pile of comics, reviews, dreams, circles, lists, drawings, stories and creations.
Born and raised in East LA, documentary filmmaker Sean Carrillo was a member of the guerilla art group ASCO and co-founded Troy Caf