Friday, July 9, 2010

We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001

I was never the hugest fan of the whole garage thing. I like The Sonics and Nuggets comps as much as the next guy who has maintained hair height and improbable sidenburns, but didn't throw myself into that scene beyond the odd Mummies or Devil Dogs show. As I have decided to try to read all the music non-fiction I can of late, I've been Strand-ing it up a lot. I had actually picked We Never Learn up there a couple times, but always figured it'd be around and put it back. Third time was a charm, plus I figured that Steven would get a name drop, so home I took it.

We Never Learn is pretty well done. Like I said, I'm not a huge fan of the genre, but it does as advertised, covering the years from 1988 to 2001. For the uninitiated, Davidson helms the (now reactivated?) mighty New Bomb Turks, affording him firsthand knowledge of the garage scene through its roots, rise and nadir. He's also a pretty decent scribe, having written for the Voice, Seattle Weekly and a gang of others. Crypt Records, Lone Gone John, The White Stripes and a gang of other relevant polarizing topics are covered pretty objectively. Never do things go into straight up shit-talking, but spades are called as such and there are some typically awesome insights from Blag Dahlia, so I'd recommend picking this up. We Never Learn isn't going to win a ton of new converts to explore the genre, but if you have even a passing interest, it's an entertaining read. If it sways you, there's also a download code for a 20 song comp Davidson threw together for those of you that prefer musical annotation to their tomage. I have to make an 11th hour condemnation of the term 'gunk punk', but questionable nomenclature aside, you can (and should) pick up We Never Learn here from Davidson.


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