FABLE LOUIS: THE CLOWN’S LAST
WORDS Metaphrog (Metaphrog)
Louis is a wee bald innocent who lives with a wee caged bird in a OppreSSIve wee place called Hamlet. a place in spirit. somewhere between Orwell's Oceania and the land of the Mr Men — a Cynic might liken it to contemporary Britain.
This multi-layered. but painfully understated StOry has L0uis inventing a game for a competition and going on a peCLiIiar jOLirney involving insects. frogs and a smorgasbord of different cheeses. It may be metaphorical minefield but it toddles along like bored baby with little drive. LOUis' Wide-eyed naivety is charming. but this is more of a trawl than the graceful sketches would suggest. (Mark Robertson)
CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS
Gardner Fox and Mike Sedowsky (DC Titan) 0...
The fortunes of superhero comics wax and wane. In the 1940s. ‘Golden Age' caped crusaders dominated the news stands. During the 19508 they fell oat of favour with a public interested in true Crime. horror and war titles. By 1960 Superheroes were back on top once more
Crisis was DC Comics
Truth? IAN! won: Y c: on yscoc!
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scribe Fox‘s wily way of combining the adventures of the once popular 40s superhero learn. the Justice Society of America. with their 603 ‘Silver Age' c0unterparts.
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The Justice League of America. who comprised Superman. Batman. The Flash etc. As this collection of reprints illustrates. it was a matter of imagining alternate universes for the superheroes which periodically overlapped. causing a crisis. Rarely have creative and commerCial concerns worked so well together. (Miles Fielder)
GRAPHlC NOVEL DAVID BORING Daniel Clowes (Jonathan Cape) 0000
Boring is a 19-year-old seCurity guard who shares a flat With Dot. a psychotic lesbian. His father used to draw a comic called Yellow Streak. which Boring reads between trying to bed the perfect woman. When his old friend Whitey turns up and gets
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106 THE LIST 1? (it Oct 200?
killed in the city. Boring's life begins to go out of conuol
Equal parts Hitchcock's Vertigo and Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory . this is remarkably dark stuff. Clowes always has a million ideas working at once and every one of them is perverse. Another pitch black delve into the Splintered lives of the young and the hopeless from the writer of Ghost World. (Paul Dale)
HUMOUR TWENTIETI-I CENTURY EIGHTBALL Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics) 0000
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A shameless cash-in. Twentieth Century Eightba/l is a compilation of the minOr strips rants 'filler bullshit' published in Clowes' seminal comic book Eightba/i between the years 1988 and 1996. Gloriously paranoid and hateful (states Clowes no dOubt feels nostalgic for after becoming detestany content following the Success of Ghost World). the collection includes loveable characters Such as Needledick. the Bug- Fucker and carefully considered messages from the author including 'Why I Hate Christians. 'Sexual Frustration' and the merits of ‘Ugly Girls'. Take it too seriously and you'll either end up dead or in prison. but otherwise relish Clowes in all his bitterness before he hit the big time. (Catherine Bromley)
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Bug-Fucking in 'I'Wentieth Century Eightball
INDIE ROCK ROUND-UP
‘Last Christmas. I gave you some decks/But the very next day. you sold them down the pawnshopThis year. to save you from tears/l'll get you a guitar so you can jump on this bloody garage rock bandwagon.‘ That's what put-upon parents will cheerfully be singing to themselves come Yuletide as little Johnny decides he don't wanna be no John Digweed but the next Johnny Thunders instead.
Evidence of the turning tide is everywhere. Take Livingston for example. where local upstarts Cowala have been making a ruckus crafting their debut A Big Boy Did it and Pan Away (Filthy Mind .0. ). As an early effort. the album does have a rehearsal room feel to it but everyone's got to start somewhere and fusing screechy Pixies-style vocals. Jon Spencer blues and Clash pop punk ain't a bad place to start. The spirit of rock'n'roll's alive in Glasgow too where V Twin are cooking up a crack pipe of down-home blues. psychedelic soul and electro clash. As the title suggests. The Blues is a Minefield (Domino 0... i. but it's one that the quartet have steered through successfully. bringing experimental jazz and delicate feedback to the Stones—friendly fore.
Little Hell are a nasty beat combo from down London-way who are well versed in the dark side of rawk. Demonic Adwsory Centre (Double Dragon .00. ) may have the melody of the Posies behind it but upfront it's all primal howls. urban rage. screaming guitars and n'iean-as-a-snake lyrics. Then there's the business of Simian and We are your Friends (Source .000 1. And — judging by their innovative mix of retro rock posturings. Sgt Pepper psychedelia and pumpet‘l-up electro jazz — they could well be our friends in the very near future.
Staying on Simians. specifically Roger Simian and his compadre Paul Vickers. the original duo of Dawn of the Replicants are back with a boosted line-up and the impressive Touching the Propel/er (Flying Sparks 0... l. Strains of the Kinks are (,liscernible here but with diverse styles incorporated. including dub and country. DotR break the mould on a genuinely innovative album. The same can't be said of London quartet Econoline and Musrc is Stupid llnfur O. l which although well produced. proves the world can do without a band that sound like the Cure. Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth. Stop the indie bandwagon and let them off. lei chrissakes. (Catherine Bromley)
LEWIS PARKER It‘s All Happening Now lMelankolic) 0..
breaks and sweet on the samples (orchestral strings and (30s instrumentals figure highly). Parker's particular brand of British hip hop combines the filmic feel of the llerbaliser Willi the hard hitting lyrical dynamism of Roots Manuva. 'Commuriicalions' featuring Jehst is a highlight with its cultural comment on the
Four years after his debut album Masque/(ides and Silhouettes. cockney rebel Lev/is Parker's back with what he calls ‘a collection of all the best shit' he's been tinkering Willi in the meantime.
Big on the beats and
computer generation — 'infra red vision clarified as the inflow/Watching the world through Microsoft windows' ~ and contributions from other respected UK rappers (Richocet and Blade) do much to raise the profile of this collection.
MANIO STREET PREACHERS Forever Delayed (Sony) 00000
How we took them for granted. Them again. How we dismissed them — ha! Try-loo-hard-Guns 'N Roses-wannabe- media-whores. How wrong we were. how wrong. “A Design for Life'. 'Motorcycle Emptiness. ‘If You Tolerate This'. ‘From Despair to Where' . . . One hymn to blue-neon lit sadness and ennui follows another and the existential anthems just keep coming
The best rock'n‘roll band of the last ten years? Certainly the most political and literate bunch since . . . oh. I dunno. Costello? And their story — with and without Richey '- is a great slab of myth. tragedy. and coming good. Not to mention sell-out and a penchant for hoovers. Nicky Wire sucks! 'You Love Us"? Unconditionally. (Rodger Evans) AMERICANA RYAN ADAMS
Demolition (Lost l-lighwayl 0.00.
Adams famously recorded four albums— worth of material in the ttéii iii()iitlis; zir<)tiiitl llif) release of Gold. and this collection gathers the best of that material on one disc.