Your FRUKie guide to Counterculture. I’ll be drip feeding you information in a series of posts on how to stay up with what’s happening in the Counterculture music scene. This is vast so the focus will be around the sort of music that gets played on the FRUK Indie broadcast.
There are a number of magazines out there that you probably won’t see on the shelves of your local bookstore or newsagent but some are stocked in good independent record stores.
Plan B is a monthly magazine that is based in Brighton. It’s avery high quality mag and at the time of posting costs a very reasonable £4.00 per issue. You can order it through their site and it’s free delivery in the UK.
The concept originally laid down by Thackray (Editor-In-Chief and principal architect of the magazine) was to exist under the radar of the mainstream music press such as the New Musical Express or Q, both of which are seen as the antithesis of Plan B. Although Thackray used to work in the mainstream media throughout the nineties under the pseudonym Everett True along with his CTCL compatriot Steve Gullick, he became disheartened by the lack of individuality and increased focus on commercialism. Thus, Plan B (along with Gullick’s Loose Lips Sink Ships) was created to champion causes apparently forgotten in the mainstream press. Plan B tries to mirror the artistic nature of its content by including full page photography and colourful illustrations. This is largely due to the work of art director Andrew Clare and photographer Sarah Bowles. It is also printed in full colour on thick, satin paper, which creates a musky scent.
The emphasis of Plan B is on nurturing young talent and subsequently, many of the writers are unknown within their field. Several regular contributors do freelance work for the mainstream music press but their work in Plan B is usually more varied because the magazine does not impose a ‘house style’ on its writers. This often leads to a more anecdotal, emotional response to art – a style which is discouraged in the mainstream press. This is reflected in the magazine’s reviews, which do not contain the ‘grading’ or ‘marking’ system so commonly found elsewhere. Also, Plan B only contains advertising appropriate to the content of the magazine such as independent record labels and distributors.
In keeping with this ethos, Plan B commonly covers artists with little mainstream appeal. When bands are featured that have been signed to major record labels, it is usually because they were championed in CTCL before the band found commercial success. The contributors as a whole do not distinguish between artists within the mainstream and those in the left-field but the bias is certainly towards the latter. Thackray is also renowned for being a champion of equality within music, whether sexual, gender-based or racial. Indeed, detractors have in the past labelled his supposed bias towards female-helmed bands to be over-zealous. Of course, this could also be seen as a genuine attempt by Thackray to redress the balance in a male dominated music press.
This is a short synopsis of what is the current issue (38):
KNOW NO BORDERS
Gang Gang Dance, Brian Eno, Diplo, Afro Noise, David Toop
In the digital now, culture is a bustling marketplace where knowledge is cheap, sounds are fluid, and notions of purity shift like sand on breeze. Plan B revisits the debate around cross–cultural transaction with Brian Eno and David Toop and meets some of the musicians redrawing maps in their own image: New York’s Gang Gang Dance, whose St Dymphna spins scattered global sounds into a dance both ethereal and ecstatic, global bass–hound Diplo, and Whitehouse’s William Bennett, with his Afro Noise project.
Back with new album The Hawk Is Howling, Mogwai are dancing, if you’re asking
Toronto’s Fucked Up orbit punk rock on their own strange trajectory, seeking the secrets of existence itself
Doom’s forgotten daughter Runhild Gammelsæter resurfaces with a solo album inspired by the complexity of genetics and the power of love.
PLUS The Dead Science, Those Dancing Days, Siltbreeze Records, Nisennenmondai, Fuck Buttons, Little Boots, The Count And Sinden, L’Acephale, Lambchop, Soft–Boiled Eggies, New Order
LIVE Wire, Boadrum 88, Tujiko Noriko, Ponytail, Colour Out Of Space, Bon Iver
ALBUMS Marnie Stern, Zach Hill, The Organ, Anni Rossi, Deerhunter, Department Of Eagles, Benge, Abe Vigoda, Skream, Mercury Rev, Tilly And The Wall, RTX, Bloc Party
REISSUES St Etienne, Comet Gain, Dredd Foole, Stephen John Kalinich
MEDIA Vashti Bunyan, Silver Jews, Yamataka Eye, The Long–Player Goodbye, Sarah Silverman
Visit Plan B: http://www.planbmag.com