Forced Exposure #11, Winter 1987: record reviews, annotated (!!!)

Forced Exposure was a Boston-based fanzine published by Jimmy Johnson and Byron Coley. It ran for more than a decade. The last issue (Forced Exposure #18) appeared in 1993.

The Whole Earth Catalog once described Forced Exposure as “Rolling Stone for people who’d rather read the Journal of Trauma Medicine than watch MTV,” and many rock critics were directly influenced by its acerbic style of writing.

Originally a fanzine devoted to hardcore-punk, beginning in 1985 Forced Exposure began to shift its focus to noise rock and the East Village art-punk scene. Subsequent issues featured writings by prominent No Wave bands like the Swans and Sonic Youth; interviews with filmmaker Nick Zedd, photographer Richard Kern, and post-modern painter Robert Williams; and a long lost interview with the Velvet Underground. The highlight of issue 7/8 (Summer 1985) is a fight between Byron Coley and the singer Nick Cave.

Over the next eight years, Forced Exposure would continue to document the musical underground, with a Big Black tour diary (as well as regular columns by Steve Albini); an interview with nihilistic monochromatic artist Raymond Pettibon (Black Flag); profiles of counter-cultural figures like Charles Bukowski, Boyd Rice, Philip K. Dick, Lisa Suckdog (Lisa Carver), and William S. Burroughs; as well as continuing coverage of bands and musicians like Die Kreuzen, the Butthole Surfers, Diamanda Galas, Glenn Branca, and Spacemen 3.

Forced Exposure still exists as an independent record label. – ZineWiki

BAD BRAINS: “I Against I” LP (SST)

…I’ve been told these guys are the new Fishbone and praise Holy Fah, that may just be the case. — Jimmy [Johnson]


….Carolina college pop by the virtual bk.  Just as pleasant & chipper as anything this side o’ yr doc tellin’ ya that the lungworm he just wrenched outta yr mouth is the last.  These guys’re serious about makin’ Fred Mills music. Alright! — Byron [Coley]


…to ask more from a sampler* would be inhuman.  Up to five of the bands included would place high on any smart person’s list of this nation’s ten or so best (the long forgotten Hose** being the sole entry lacking such esteem, and their contributions won’t make you cough either.) Opens with the Buttholes screwball instr. “Endhouse Chicken Margus” that’ll take you place you thought only drugs were able to lead you to before.  This is followed by a massive “Sweet Home Alabama” from the super-sludge sharp Killdozer.  Some other stuff: Scratch Acid (incl. a different take of “Holes”), Happy Flowers (America’s baby-faced noister-superstars w/ a typical anthem “All I Got for Christmas Was Clothes”) and, maybe wary of being overrun amongst all these giants, Big Black dump out their densest mud yet (incl. “Every Man For Himself” with its ringing chorus of “I wanna go to Australia/I wanna learn how to swim” — the first ever ode to our reviews section?) If you think you can go wrong here, you’d best keep going. — Jimmy

* [boatzone addendum: Dr Drunk can show you this sampler cuz he’s nice and wise.]

** [boatzone addendum: Everybody knows Rick Rubin was in Hose, tho whether or not he was active by the time of this comp is a question I cannot answer.]

GORE: “Hart Core” LP (Holland, Eskakt)

…here’s the hammed down rec of this issue.  Dutch trio who, if you’ve gotta have an inadequate comaprison, sorta sounds like Gone/Swans/Metallica thrown into the rign, and may the ugliest win.  This is all instrumental power-trio madness, mind you, yet the band do write words (a lyric sheet is enclosed); they just don’t refer to ’em, and believe me, you won’t care.  While these “lyrics” are of the violent/self-degrading persuasion, the tunes go way beyond any simple analysis.  The personification of power at its deadliest. — Jimmy

[Boatzone addendum: see Pileshifter and then Southern Lord: cds for $5, and the 2XLPs are goooooorgeous. The follow-up, Mean Man’s Dream is gonna get its own post.]

KILLDOZER: “Burl” mini-lp (TOUCH & GO)

…holy holy holy.  There’s like these real real ugly girls who’ve been campin’ out on Mr. Ives’ intestines.  ‘N every evenin’ they start these fires & roast weinies & have these hoots.  ‘N now all that noise  & cracklin’ & smoke has gotten old Frostie’s nerves.  He’s gonna fry those chickies up BUT GUD.  So here’s this & it don’t come at ya like a big drumstick the way SNAKEBOY did, but it’s sure like a strong mean goddamn bum, pinchin’ yr leg HARD and screamin’ “GIMME A QUARTER, MISTER! YOU AND ME’S OK! SEE?*”  This is easily more gruesome than any prior Killdozer rec & that’s sayin’ ten long inches, champ.  You got more. Whip it on out & watch ol’ Burl chew it off then vomit greasy stories onto your mom’s “porch.” Just bitchen. (* bum quotes were lifted from Wm. Burroughs Jr’s excellent bk, “Speed”.) — Byron

[Boatzone Addenda:

  1. Burl Ives:
  2. From the wonderful vinylmine’s essential post on the topic of Burl and Burl and the legacy of Killdozer:  “Ballad singing has been going on ever since people sang at all. It comes up like an underground stream and then goes back again. But it always exists.”
    – Burl Ives.“If America wasn’t a cesspool we couldn’t write songs. At least not the songs we write.”
    – Michael Gerald, Killdozer, 1994, Stumpy Fanzine

LIVE SKULL: “Cloud One” (Homestead)

…their densest, and most orgasmic disk yet, and i don’t know ifit was an attempt to live up to the title or what, but with this one, Live Skull have practivally created their own little world here; one where you better be willing to sink in and sponge off the elements or be left behind — as background music this is worthless.  So New Age Collegiate types, just STAY THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY, OK?  I don’t mean it’s difficult per se (no humming allowed tho’), but that effort is somewhat required and more than justifiably rewarded.  Maybe it’s just me, but I think a lot of people are missing the boat on these guys.  — Jimmy

[Boatzone Addendum: Live Skull records are absurdly available and affordable in the marketplace, showing up in record store discount bins almost as much as April Wine and the Loggins/Messina Experience. It’s kinda weird how at the same time I cannot get a Cows record, say, without a $40 buy-in or totally legal downloading. ‘Speaking of, do consult the grand phoenixhairpin’s blog for a listen-glimpse at this great band’s best record. Then buy the fucking vinyl.  I’ve got two copies for a reason.]

Mr. T EXPERIENCE: “Everybody’s Entitled to Their Own Opinion” LP (Disorder)

…bands like this (described in their press kit as “funnypunkers for the Chris Trela generation” really helped nail down SF’s spot in the worst scene category.  Just hope they don’t get excommunicated to a city near you. — Jimmy


…this reish of the basic, essential, first Mod Lovers LP also includes “Government Center” (from the CHARTBUSTERS comp), the Warners version of “I’m Straight” and an ace new-to-this-ear this called “Dignified and Old”.  Its cumulative effect is like finding a quivering ninety pound adenoid that knows all about the Velvet Underground and y’oughta own it.  Sidenote — the original liner notations by Phil Milstein (a guy generally conceded to b the most “sensitive” FE contributor) we shelved in favor of sub-decent ones by some non-FE contrib.  Fuck a duck! — Byron

PUSSY GALORE: “Groovy Hate Fuck” mini-LP (SHOVE)

…simultaneously more rockin’ & more fruitily pseudo-gnarly than their debut, this takes a certain type of flake aggresion to its virtual lyrical limit.  I shit you not.  ‘N the instrumental hoke is what some Saturday mornin’ cartoon version of a NY noise-garage outfit might sound like.   As cute as pie & almost as knobby. — Byron

SLOVENLY: “Thinking of Empire” LP (SST)

…about thirty listens haven’t changed the opinion I grabbed after the first spin: Slovenly is one fucking great ton of a band.  Guitars that swim around your head like the righteous preaching of true believers, lyrics that touch the rare beauty that lurks in serious rumination, and an ingenious swaying sound that knows more than you do.  THINKING OF EMPIRE belongs in any collection you’d wanna consider calling your own. — Jimmy

SMACK: “Rattlesnake Bite” LP (PINK DUST)

…about four less Stooges poops on here than there were on Smack’s bracin’ US debut, but this still blows me up.   A song like “Weird in the Sun” strikes the sorta pose that many prime A. Cooper rip-offs useta & the old guitars rattle like twin cojones cut off a gigantic redwood drunkard.  Trash is apparently a concept that these cleanly Finns know their way around (at least theoretically).  Which means, natch, that there are pars o’ this that fall into a tripey kinda bad garbage pile as well (do I hear some Wishbone Ash damage?), but shit, the good stuff’s pretty damn scuzzy indeed. — Byron

[Boatzone Addendum: ]

VOLCANO SUNS: “All Night Lotus Party” (HOMESTEAD)

…these three rollickin’ non-fatsos bloot out what may be one of Boston’s best ever w/ this one. The hard-edged, clown-masked, wigglin’ worms that have always been the coin of the Suns’ best live shows are here made manifest on vinyl for even You to hear.  AND if those worms had bad lungs, they’d be coughin ’em out for the laughin’ godless joke of it all.  The Suns are fuckin’ king.  But you knew that, even if Kevin Riley does claim that parts o’ this’re “too much like hardcore”. Kevin. Kevin. Kevin. You don’t understand the basic premise: hardcore sucks, this does not. — Byron

[Boatzone Addendum: I couldn’t figure out who Kevin Riley is, unfortunately.  Helluva last sentence, sorta definitive of that 1987 moment, eh? A milieu which wasn’t yet indie rock but was neither hc nor college rock had cleared a space from which to criticize the latter two. I know a friend who’s given to bestowing “post-hardcore” upon all such fare, but I’m not sure it doesn’t obscure more than it illuminates with the V. Suns, say. Or Dinosaur ca. Bug? 

Were the links and annotations annoying? Lemme know, because the next couple issues have really great content I’d be appalled to disrupt or spill blather on. Happy Tuesday. I can’t find that Smack record for a reasonable price! If you can handle serious heaviness, btw, you gotta check out Gore.]

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