Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture – Thurston Moore


“The stories are endless. There is the guy who in college used the same mix tape to impress three different girls — his girlfriend, a fling and a prospective second fling — simultaneously and got away with it. There is the 13-year-old whose musical existence was shaken out of a Sex Pistols-Beatles bipolarity by mix tapes from cooler, older friends. There is the guy who made a romantic tape called ‘You Best Believe I’m in Love’ with nothing on it but New York Dolls songs. In retrospect, the era of the mix tape — which began not long after Philips unveiled the audiocassette in 1963, crescendoed throughout the ’80s and probably peaked in the early ’90s — looks like a vast, unintentional folk art movement. Nearly every music-loving teenager in the country participated. Think of it this way: If every kid who spent a Saturday afternoon making a mix tape over the past 25 years had instead spent that time painting, sculpting or writing poetry, the ’80s and ’90s would be known as a period of unbridled renaissance in American outsider art. Now that era is over, the hours of tape-deck labor replaced by the drop-and-click production of the iPod playlist. At least that’s the sense one gets from ‘Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture.’ Edited by Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore, ‘Mix Tape’ claims to be the first book wholly devoted to mix-tape culture. …”
Salon
W – Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture
Wired: The Best 90 Minutes of My Life
NPR – The Mix Tape: Art and Artifact (Audio)
amazon

Lester Bangs – Free Jazz / Punk Rock (1980)


“In a New York City nightclub, a skinny little Caucasian whose waterfall hairstyle and set of snout and lips make him look like a sullen anteater takes the stage, backed up by a couple of guitarists, bass, horn section, drummer and bongos. Most of his back-up is black, and they know their stuff: it’s pure James Brown funk, with just enough atonal accents to throw you off. The trombone player, in fact, looks familiar, and sounds amazing: you look a bit closer, and of course, that’s Joseph Bowie, bother of Lester, both of them avant-garde jazzmen of repute. But then the anteater begins to sing, in a hoarse yowl that sounds more like someone being dragged naked through the broken glass and oily rubble of a back-alley than even the studied abrasiveness of most punk rock vocalizations. The songs are about contorting yourself, tying other people up and leaving them there, and how the singer doesn’t want to be happy. After a while he picks up an alto sax, and out come some of the most hideous flurries of gurgling shrieks heard since the mid-Sixties glory days of ESP-Disk records. The singer/saxophonist’s name is James Chance, and you have been watching the Contortions. Across town in another club, what looks like the standard rock ‘n’ roll lineup saunters onto a stage set right in the floor, making it impossible for anybody in the room except those at the very front to see. …”
Not Bored

Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)


Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies is a music reference book by American music journalist and essayist Robert Christgau. It was first published in October 1981 by Ticknor & Fields. The book compiles approximately 3,000 of Christgau’s capsule album reviews, most of which were originally written for his ‘Consumer Guide’ column in The Village Voice throughout the 1970s. The entries feature annotated details about each record’s release and cover a variety of genres related to rock music. Many of the older reviews were rewritten for the guide to reflect his changed perspective and matured stylistic approach, informed by an interest in the aesthetic and political dimensions of popular music and a desire to communicate his ideas to readers in an entertaining, provocative way. The guide was critically well received, earning praise for its extensive discography, Christgau’s judgment and colorful writing. Reviewers noted his opinionated tastes, analytical commentary, pithy language, and critical quips. The book appeared on several expert lists of popular music literature. …”
Wikipedia
Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies

OP Magazine


Wikipedia – “OP Magazine, based in Olympia, Washington, was a music fanzine published by John Foster and the Lost Music Network (leading to the title, which extends the abbreviation LMN to LMNOP) from 1979 to 1984. It was known for its diverse scope and the role it played in providing publicity to DIY musicians in the midst of the cassette culture. The magazine was co-founded by Foster, Toni Holm, Dana Squires, and David Rauh. An emphasis of the magazine was ‘articles about music written by musicians’, and regular contributors included Victoria Glavin (Victoria Barreca), Peter Garland, Eugene Chadbourne, and Larry Polansky. When Foster ended OP after only twenty-six issues, (labeled A-Z, with topics within beginning with that issue’s letter), he held a conference, offering the magazine’s resources to parties interested in carrying on; two magazines became the dual successors to OP’s legacy: attendant journalist David Ciaffardini went on to start Sound Choice, which published until 1992, while Scott Becker, alongside Richie Unterberger, founded Option, lasting until 1998.”
Wikipedia
The Handmade Tale: by Kathleen McConnell
Tape OP

Punk – Isabelle Anscombe, Dike Blair (1978)


“While I was ‘Punk light’ (Well – more into its offshoot, New Wave) back in the day, the music still resonates today. I was never one to stick a safety pin in my face, ‘dance’ in a mosh pit, or Heaven forbid – spit. Anyone who shoved or spat on me usually earned a punch in the face. Anyway… The images and newspaper clips featured in this book give an outsider a pretty good idea of punk and its roots. I’m glad that I bought this book way back in the early 80’s, ’cause some of the prices here – one copy is over $300! – are the antithesis of what punk is. …”
amazon

‘The History of American Graffiti:’ From Subway Car to Gallery Arts


“Since its explosion onto city walls and subway cars in the 1970s, the increasing popularity of graffiti as an art form has won commercial success for its artists and a regular presence in pop culture and the contemporary art world. A new book, ‘The History of American Graffiti,’ comprehensively documents the evolution of this often controversial art movement across the United States. As kids, authors Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon tagged city walls. Today, Gastman is a gatekeeper between the underground artists who work on the street and the mainstream world of galleries; Neelon, a Harvard grad, is a graffiti artist and educator. For ‘The History of American Graffiti,’ they tracked down thousands of photographs, from freight trains to city streets, and conducted hundreds of interviews with graffiti artists, ranging from pioneers to the biggest stars. Young people were the key players in shaping the contemporary graffiti movement, says Neelon. The first modern graffiti writer is widely considered to be Cornbread, a high school student from Philadelphia, who in 1967 started tagging city walls to get the attention of a girl. But it was only in the 1980s that galleries began to showcase graffiti as artwork. …”
PBS
YouTube: ‘The History of American Graffiti’: From Subway to Gallery

Nightclubbing: Danceteria


“Danceteria sent shockwaves through the city’s party scene when it opened in May 1980, all the way down to the Mudd Club, where its owners had spent a fair amount of time hanging out. Dedicating the basement to DJing, the first floor to live bands, and the second floor to video, the venue presented revelers with a novel element of choice, not because of the range of entertainment but because all of the options were available at once. The shift to sensory overload was unmistakable as two bands appeared live every night, two DJs shared the turntables, and experimental filmmakers curated showings within a groundbreaking video lounge. In isolation, each floor oozed with the alternative inventiveness of downtown. Taken together, they offered a level of explorative creativity that threatened to dwarf the offerings of Club 57 and the Mudd Club. Yet in contrast to both of those spots, Danceteria was located not in downtown but midtown, toward the Eighth Avenue end of 37th Street, where commerce ruled the streets. With Jim Fouratt and Rudolf Piper at the helm, the mongrel explorations of the Lower Manhattan party scene were set to storm the city center. …”
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)
NY Times: ‘Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor’ Charts a Kinetic Scene in the Early ’80s
amazon: Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980–1983