Go Metric & Zisk editor Mike Faloon is heading upstate for a mini-tour. He’ll spend Friday visiting area high school classes. Friday night is a reading with four other fiction writers at Cracker Factory (Geneva, NY). Saturday afternoon is the release party/reading for Fan Interference, the best of Zisk collection. This takes place at the Onondaga Free Library (Syracuse, NY).
“15 Minutes of Fame – 5 Fabulous Fiction Phenomena”
Back in the spring of 2011 I flew to Chicago for a most remarkable show: Toys That Kill, the Marked Men, and the Arrivals. I was able to interview all three of those bands. The second of those interviews was with Todd Congelliere, one of Toys That Kill's two singer/guitarists. He also played in FYP and plays a pivotal role in Underground Railroad to Candyland. And he runs Recess Records. And — much to my surprise — he's a Pink Floyd apologist. In fact, our conversation started off with Pink Floyd's "Echoes" and still turned out well. That's a talented man. — Mike Faloon
Zisk is Go Metric's sibling publication. Zisk is a baseball zine. The tone is similar to Go Metric's (and so are some of the contributors). To quote one of our readers, "It's baseball writing for people who hate baseball writing."
Highlights from this issue include:
Rev. Norb's "Summer As a Ballpark Announcer"
Jake Austen's Tour of Chicago Baseball Statues
Charlie Vascellero's "The King and I"
Brian Cogan's "Rusty Staub: Heroism from Left to Right Field"
Perfect reading for World Series season.
You can order it from Razorcake and Quimbys or Atomic Books.
Go Metric: We do now. Well, at least one. Up now on the Razorcake website is "Half Armadillo, Half Sherman Tank." It's about the epic battle between the forces of progressive rock and arena rock. It's from Mike's book The Hanging Gardens of Split Rock.
Question: Which of our five contestants is telling the truth?
#1: My name is Busy Doing Nothing! I’m a Nardwuar album.
#2: My name is Busy Doing Nothing! I’m an Evaporators album.
#3: My name is Busy Doing Nothing! I’m a tribute album.
#4: My name is Busy Doing Nothing! I’m a calendar.
#5: My name is Busy Doing Nothing! I’m a zine.
Answer: All of the above.
Busy Doing Nothing! is a veritable variety show. It offers a wide range of garage and pop bands, along with interviews (audio and text), a great looking calendar, and fantastic graphic design.
Side Nard, known on the south side of the border as the A-side, is a tribute to Canadian bands of the past. Side Wuar has six Evaporators tunes followed by a Nardwuar interview with Franz Ferdinand.
The calendar focuses on Bev Davies’ photographs from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. D. Boon, James Brown, New Order, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett and, perhaps best of all, extras from the set of Ladies and Gentleman, the Fabulous Stains. There is also a Nardwuar interview with Davies detailing the backstory of each photo.
The graphic design is the crowning touch. Anyone who’s ever seen a Nardwuar record before knows to expect a great looking album. Busy Doing Nothing! is no exception. Everything’s perfect — color schemes, lettering, layout. With most records you might notice one or two of those elements but it’s all aces here, even the record’s spine, which is so wide you bike on it. (Production design credit goes to Robynn and Randy Iwata)
So, the packaging is immaculate. Is the music any good? If the style scores a 10, then how about the substance? The line up doesn’t have the same marquee appeal of past Nardwuar compilations, but that didn’t matter initially because I was so caught up in the bounty of graphics and interviews. Eventually focus came my way and with it a bevy of fun tunes. Chief among the tribute/cover songs were Franz Ferdinand (nicely bending Pointed Sticks’ “Real Thing” into a kind of Echo and the Bunnymen tune) and—just to make things more self referential—Fuad & the Feztones covering the Evaporators’ “Welcome to My Castle” with a good coat of Sam the Sham silliness. Kate Nash puts a whole different bounce into cub’s “My Chinchlla,” and it works really well until they lapse into “let’s play fast’n’yell,” which undermines an otherwise really clever reworking.
The rest of the record is devoted to the Evaporators. To enjoy the Evaporators you have to be prepared to fully embrace the ridiculous, you have to be at ease with phrases along the lines of, “this is so stupid it’s wonderful.” Hopefully that comes easy to you. If so, the Evaporators, fronted by Nardwuar himself, have what you need but didn’t realize: “I Hate Being Late When I’m Early,” “Hot Dog High,” the title track, and “Pig War” are all excellent.
Side Nard scores a 7 while Side Wuar earns a 9. That’s an 8 for substance to go with the 10 for style. Overall, that warrants seeking out Busy Doing Nothing!
Now, where do I submit this review for “Canadian Heritage” funding?