Late Century Dream

In a world of Spotify, piracy and downloads at the click of a button, it can be hard to remember a time when music was disseminated through word of mouth, a hastily photocopied zine or a hand-drawn poster.

Late Century Dream cover
Late Century Dream cover

New Black Dog Publishing book Late Century Dream – Movements in the US Indie Music Underground looks to celebrate that simpler time for our friends across the pond, providing a wealth of brilliant imagery and insights from the late 20th century. 

Lucy Lamode of Killer Pussy inside chicken wire cage at Mad Garden, 1981. By Neal “Doc” Holliday
Lucy Lamode of Killer Pussy inside chicken wire cage at Mad Garden, 1981. By Neal “Doc” Holliday

Taking the DIY aesthetic as its starting point, the designs, which were created in-house at the publisher, were sensitively and arduously considered, with every title and page number painstakingly hand-drawn.

The Gits. By Lucy Hanna
The Gits. By Lucy Hanna

The monochrome presentation accompanies some brilliant archive and unseen imagery of bands including The Accused, The Gits, Butthole Surfers, JFA, REM, Big Boys and Meat Puppets, to name but a few.

Flyer for The Dicks, The Stains and Big Boys at The Island, 1980
Flyer for The Dicks, The Stains and Big Boys at The Island, 1980

The tome is divided into six key sections for different city, state and label-based scenes around the US, united in their staunchly DIY standpoint.

Chris Phillips of Squirrel Nut Zippers during recording sessions for the album HOT, 1994
Chris Phillips of Squirrel Nut Zippers during recording sessions for the album HOT, 1994

Writers include Pavel Godfrey, Louis Patterson and Noel Gardner, and there are also interviews with the likes of Pain Teens’ Bliss Blood, Placebo Records’ Tony Victor and Sun City Girls’ Richard Bishop.

Big Boys at The Island, Houston 1980. By Ben DeSoto
Big Boys at The Island, Houston 1980. By Ben DeSoto

There’s some gorgeous examples of posters and zines from the period, which helped push the parties, gigs and releases that emerged from Athens, Georgia’s art school-derived post-punk scene; the left-field alternative and punk hotbed of Arizona or  Austin, Texas’ post-psychedelic rock happenings.

The B-52’s playing Heatwave, near Toronto, 23 August 1980
The B-52’s playing Heatwave, near Toronto, 23 August 1980

Of course, Seattle gets a look in, but the book proves that the birthplace of grunge was about a lot more than a little ol’ band called Nirvana.

Joe Albanese of Mighty Sphincter, from a show at the Party Gardens opening for Dead Kennedys
Joe Albanese of Mighty Sphincter, from a show at the Party Gardens opening for Dead Kennedys

Late Century Dream-Movements in the US Indie Music is published by Black Dog Publishing priced £19.95

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