So we're not quite sure yet whether These Reviews Will Change Your Life is going to become a re-occurring feature here at This Blog Will Change Your Life, we still need to focus group this, but we are pleased to let you know that TBWCYL, Inc. spokesperson Ben Tanzer has most excitedly accepted a greatly expanded role reviewing zines, books, comics and CDs for the always excellent Wonka Vision magazine. Some of the reviews will appear in their webzine and others in the print edition and today's post covers the recent batch of reviews we did for the current edition of the webzine. We read, and listened, to a lot of good stuff, but thought we would take a moment today to highlight the quite delightfully punk graphic novel Snake Pit from Microcosm Publishing and the re-issue of Devo's Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! All the reviews can be found at the above link, but if you are craving a sneak peak, please feel free to look below.
"Ben White, a.k.a, Ben Snake Pit, is a member of cool bands. He draws. He endlessly gets high and drunk. He has a babe girlfriend who cooks him rocking meals. He has a cute dog and gets to live in Austin, Texas the slacker capital of the free world. He also has to work a day job that isn’t so great, but at least he has one. Basically, Ben Snake Pit lives the DIY life you once lived, wished you had lived or are happy to live through vicariously by reading his comics. The Snake Pit comics themselves are all three panels in length and while entirely in black and white, they are vibrant and fun. Each strip more or less follows the one before it which allows the reader to follow Ben Snake Pit on his day to day escapades. One of the fascinating realizations in doing so though, is that as you follow someone day to day, you are reminded that even the coolest life has its quotidian elements. Like all of us Ben Snake Pit fights with his significant other, gets colds and experiences disappointment, frustrations and sadness. If Snake Pit at times lacks a more in-depth look at what Ben Snake Pit is truly feeling much of the time, it does subtly capture how even punks slowly, inevitably, get older and start to grow-up, as they open bank accounts, lose friends, occasionally need more sleep and discover touches of gray in their beards. Ultimately, we all need to get through the day, but as the Snake Pit comics remind its readers, how we get through it is up to us."
"I approached the re-issue of Are We Not Men? We are Devo! wondering if it would sound as good to me as I remembered it when first released back in 1978. I also wondered if it could still sound as fresh as it did then, a work of art wholly unique and original at its inception, but coming with a built-in 30-year interlude between listenings. What’s fascinating on the one hand is how different it still sounds, still of a piece like nothing else anyone is creating. Sure, they were New Wave and post-Punk, and many others were as well, but Devo really didn’t sound like anyone else in 1978 and they still don’t. What is more fascinating to me however, is how much of what they accomplish here can feel so current. It’s not like their technology meets anxiety vibe wasn’t relevant in the late seventies, but it’s hard to imagine it feeling more relevant then than it does now as we slowly find ourselves subsumed by new technologies at every turn and fresh anxieties with each new day. This is particularly striking with their remake of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, a song the Rolling Stones turned into a paean to sexual frustrations everywhere, but which Devo turns into the endless struggle to get through the day when your anxieties are only too happy and willing to paralyze you every step of the way."