The "fanzine revolution" of a coupla years ago that kept the pages of newspapers like this one full of nicey-nicey features about the "kids" doing it for themselves in the publishing realm thankfully has deeper roots and stronger cultural currents sustaining it than any of the aforementioned mini-tomes could hope to expose. So, even though self-published music and culture mags aren't receiving all the hype they once did, they're still out there. Case in point: Masstransfer, a Berkley-based mag spearheaded by Fuxa member Ryan Anderson, focusing on electronic and space-age, millennial, post-rock musics and the culture from which said music springs. Masstransfer #2 ("The Movement of Sound Information") is on stands now after a year's gestation since ish #1. Masstransfer wastes no time on lengthy artist profiles, preferring to instead give quickie rundowns on a number of artists. Unfortunately, few of the profiles are compelling in and of themselves. The more juicy reads to be found here focus, rather, on tangential, parallel and connected cultural issues surrounding modern music and modern life -- including essays on the DIY spirit, stereo repair tips, video game and computer tech reviews. The most interesting pieces are a four-page diary from the road with the band American Analog Set -- the entries are filled with trials from the road, day-to-day monotony and the rewards of the musical road life -- and "Remote Sensing," the real-life tale of some folks who stumble upon several disturbing devices and evidence of early virtual reality experiments inside "Eloise," a recently demolished mental institution. While yet another story about the Heidelberg Project may seem redundant to some, it remains encouraging to see that folks are still spreading the word of their personal discoveries and epiphanies on Heidelberg Street. Besides, when the spirit of independent music and culture is presented so well graphically and in such wide-ranging scope, some shortcomings in verbal cleverness can be forgiven. Worth the price of admission alone is the accompanying CD which includes tracks from locals Stonemen Hiss, urbandesign, Gateway and Gravity Wax, among others. For more info on Masstransfer #2 write PO Box 725161, Berkley, MI 48072 or e-mail at email@example.com.
EXTENDED WEEKEND WARRIORS
If the weekend has left your ears buzzing and your head a little foggy, may we recommend a little hair of the dog to help ease you back into the work week -- or extend the weekend with a touch of grace. The Garden Bowl bar -- downstairs from the Magic Stick, 4140 Woodward Ave.; you know, the room with the overflowance of kitsch and couch -- now plays host every Sunday to music in a different mode. The intimate confines that most resemble a living room party will ring with the sounds of the songwriters from Detroit's indie and garage rock communities plying their trade solo. Recent shows have included informal solo sets by White Stripe-2 Star Tabernacle-Go! member Jack White, Bantam Rooster guitarist Tom Potter and Trinitone-Dean Fertita member Kevin Peyok, working their magic without the bluster or backup of their usual band format. Garden Bowl diva-barkeep Ko has booked several of the upcoming Sunday performers already, including Dec. 20 and Dec. 27 shows with Soledad Brother #1 Johnny Walker and a Jan. 3 set by Hentchmen organist Johnny "Hentch" Szymanski. For more info call 313-833-9700 or just stop by around 9 p.m.
GO! TO THE HEAD OF THE CLASS
Word's come down that Detroit quintet the Go! has just signed with Seattle label Sub Pop -- "Not just the home of grunge anymore!" -- to record a full-length LP, with an eye toward a late spring release and tour to follow. The to-do went down in quick fashion after a Sub Pop representative caught the band at a recent show at Ferndale's Magic Bag, solicited a tape and made things happen (baby) quick-like. The Go! will begin recording the album at Detroit's Ghetto Recorders with Jim Diamond in early '99 (as in about three weeks from now). Couldn't've happened to a nicer buncha guys! You can see the Go! for yourself. Pay close attention to "What's Happening." There will be a quiz.