REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha
The rock scene through the eyes of Scene Point Blank
All Downhill From Here - Scene Point Blank: The Collected Music Writing of Ten Years covering Punk, Metal and Hardcore. Edited by Matt Andrews & Loren Green.If nothing else it demonstrates the continued ability of the printed medium to cut through in a world of blogs, Twitter and other online noise. In 2014 it shouldn’t be a big leap from the screen to the page but it remains so and this book highlights the pitfalls of taking that jump. Scene Point Blank has been running online for 10 years or so and in that time they’ve evolved from their original focus (the punk, metal and hardcore of the title) to a more catch all repository of reviews and articles on the indie music scene and to be honest, therein lies the first problem with this book. Great anthologies of music writing whether from a magazine, website or a moment in time tend to have a narrative. Amongst the editorials and interviews there is a sense of something changing, societal shifts, musical movements rising and falling, something that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. All Downhill from Here fails to take that leap, it never feels like more than a collection of writings from a group of authors physically and ideologically disparate from one another. The internet may bring people together, but it also highlights how far apart they are, there is no house style here, no common goal. If that’s rather a harsh assessment, there are times when the low key nature of the site and its content really work in its favour, interviews with Henry Rollins and Evan Dando for example feel more like snapshots of a conversation than ‘interviews’ per se and you can sense the guard dropping at times, to a point where there really is insight here. The writing is often of a high standard too, the review of PJ Harvey’s White Chalk nails her artistic trajectory but there are also cheap shots, reviewing a Justin Bieber album solely for low rent laughs may work on line but it doesn’t survive the transition to the page. In summary it’s difficult to see who this book is for outside of the people who’ve written it. If you’re a fan of the site, which despite this review I am, then you’ll have read it as it happened. If you’re a fan of the last ten years of US punk, metal or hardcore this is simply too scattergun to offer real insight, indeed the problem is less with the content and more with the editorial decisions made. I would have preferred to see a slimmer selection of articles with a thematic consistency, rather than the pot pourri presented here.
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