News & Reviews


Fifth Estate # 329, Summer, 1988

The Alternative Press Center, Box 33109, Baltimore MD 21218, indexes this newspapers and dozens more radical, socialist, feminist and alternative publications as well. They have just released the 1988-89 Directory of Alternative and Radical Publications with over 300 periodicals listed; $3. They also publish quarterly the Alternative Press Index, which lists 200 alternative publications by subject; individuals $30 per year; Libraries $110.

The Blanks album sounds better loud…and that’s always a good sign. Up-tempo melodies and solid, danceable beats belie the sometimes humorous, sometimes sobering message carried by the ten tunes on this Detroit band’s first full-length LP (two singles have been previously released, reviewed in FE issue Vol. 21, No. 2 (325).

This works to the Blanks’ advantage—the more “pop” the sound, the more the lyrics take you by surprise with commentaries on rebellion (“Roots & Radicals”); the stress of feeling forced to succeed at any cost (“Kathy’s Run”); and sexual politics (take your pick!).

A highlight is “Salvation Radio,” which anyone who lives where the airwaves are a wasteland can identify with, and that includes just about all of us. The song decries the constant acquiescence of mass media to big bucks/big business, which in turn brainwashes listeners who often don’t know any better than to consume what’s put in front of them.

A multi-vocal approach and competent musicianship with some innovative production make for a pleasing effect overall. Followers of Detroit’s local scene will detect a definite Layabouts influence. A lyric sheet is included, and you’re sure to receive a reply with further information on a variety of mind-opening subjects if you write the Blanks. Available from Falsified Records, P.O. Box 1010, Birmingham, MI, 48012 or through the FE bookstore for $8 postpaid.

The first issue of Possessed: A Seattle Magazine of Anti-Authoritarian Thought & Culture is a nicely balanced mix of spirited and provocative poetry, graphics and articles. Articles on clearcutting, television, “The Schism between Knowing and Feeling,” homelessness, “Possession,” and one on the frustration of trying to communicate with established anarchist voices. The Possessed people hope to put out their second issue in a couple of months. Write: Possessed, 1643 South King St., Seattle WA 98114.

Anarchy: a journal of desire armed, POB 1446, Columbia MO 65205, has a new issue; definitely worth checking out.