Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Music Zine Research

Here is some research into the bands I'm looking at, the kinds of kids I'm targeting etc.


American Football

American Football are a seminal band within the scene, their self-titled album is an achievement of emotional integrity and is considered a heavy influence amongst those in the scene that I'm exploring for this zine. Their vocalist Mike Kinsella set a template for a range of achievements that can be reached with drawly, unpolished vocals. His Brother, Tim Kinsella, is also a huge influence on the scene. This band and all other Kinsella based bands could be a feature in the zine. Whilst it's important to look at the contemporary, I think for the zine to achieve some credibility, it needs to show off a knowledge of the past influences.

Cap'n Jazz

Cap'n Jazz, like American Football, are considered one of the predominant influences on the scene. Started by Tim and Mike Kinsella, the band is considered the fouder of the contemporary lo-fi emo scene, combining jingly guitars and raw, loose vocals. Again it would be goot to have a spread, either on this band or on the Kinsella brothers projects in general. If I were to do it by individual bands, they could be an ongoing series through the proposed magazines that I'm producing as part of the brief.

Algernon Cadwallader

Algernon Cadwallader are a contemporary band that show the influences of Cap'n Jazz and American football quite heavily on their sleeve. They are considered one of the elites of the scene with a solid back catalogue.


Pirouette started as a two piece, lo-fi folk group, but they expanded into a 4 piece band in the mold of Cap'n Jazz, but with the female vocals of Amanda that allowed them to stand out. Again, considered by many to be a heavy influence on the scene with their extremely lo-fi recording technique.

Midwest Pen Pals

Another band considered to be an elite band of the contemporary lo-fi emo scene. The band combine jangly, mathy guitar work with both softer singing, raw screaming and gang vocals that demonstrate a range of sounds. I'm thinking for the first edition, that I want to compile a list of 50 great tracks or something of that kind, and so this band will probably feature on it.

Merchant Ships

Merchant Ships disbanded, with some members forming Midwest Pen Pals. Merchant Ships produce a far more abrasive sound than a lot of the bands covered here, with fast paced guitars and largely scream-led vocals. Again the band is likely to fit on the 50 great tracks-style feature.

Sunday League

Sunday League are a band local to the North East, who I'm in direct contact with, they could feature as a featured artist with an interview that I can conduct as part of the first issue. Also, they play gigs quite frequently, so they'd perhaps be a good one to review a gig of as part of a 'live' section.


ONSIND is short for One Night Stand In North Dakota, they're a two-piece political folk band who pride themselves on their DIY and lo-fi ethics. They're also a band that I can be in touch with, who also play a lot of gigs, so they could be a proposed feature for a future issue and potentially a gig to put in the gig review section.


Pennines are a UK based math-rock band, they owe a lot of their sound to American Football, but they're considered quite prestigious as part of the UK scene, perhaps one to feature or propose a feature of in a future edition of the magazine.

Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood are an altogether different prospect in terms of lo-fi sound, they hark back to a 60's surfer sound, with fuzzy and upbeat sounds. They could be a good band to feature to showcase the variety of music coming from lo-fi origins. However this band is a lot bigger and more commercial than a lot of the bands I've already covered, so it's important to maintain a balance to avoid offending my target audience's ethical sensibilities.


Calvinball are another UK based band, they're decidedly more punk in sound and carry a rough Anarchic sound, complimented with aggressive shouty vocals. They're potentially another band that I could get in touch with, or at least see live to fill in some content for the magazine.

Other bands of note:

Minor Threat
Embrace (not the british loser band)
All Ian Mackaye fronted bands, steeped in political activism anti-capitalist DIY agenda, in terms of raw sound and ethics this series of bands are the ultimate forerunners of the scene today and perhaps should be featured either in the first issue or as a spread in one of the proposed issues.

Dead Ghosts- Similar to Surfer Blood, quite commercial, upbeat lo-fi sound that owes a lot to music of the 1960's.

Good Luck-DIY band that has toured with ONSIND, they're extremely fun and upbeat.

Imadethismistake- Another band from America that have toured over here with ONSIND. Essentially it's an emotional folk project all fronted by one man. It features raw vocals and well written lyrics. A possibility to feature.

pianos become the teeth- Epic screamo sound, DIY tour ethics.

my heart to joy- Same label as Pianos Become the Teeth, steeped more in the contemporary midwest emo sound of bands like Midwest Pen Pals, perhaps a bit more polished and faster paced.

Cycle Schmeichel- UK based lo-fi band, on tour currently, so it's perhaps a good idea to feature them in a live review section.


refers to the ethic of being self-reliant by completing tasks oneself as opposed to having others who are more experienced or able complete them for you. It promotes the idea that an ordinary person can learn to do more than he or she thought was possible. Naturally, a DIY attitude requires that the adherent attain the knowledge required to complete a given task. Without this, DIY is not an effective dogma.

Central to the ethic is the empowerment of individuals and communities, encouraging the employment of alternative approaches when faced with bureaucratic or societal obstacles to achieving their objectives.

Rather than belittling or showing disdain for knowledge or expertise, DIY champions the average individual seeking knowledge and expertise for him/herself. Instead of using the services of others who have expertise, a DIY oriented person would seek out the knowledge for him/herself

-A rather dry assessment

Ethically, there is a sense of community, where bands look out for each other, put on shows for the enjoyment of the community. There is a strong anti-capitalist sentiment, the music is sold at a low price to cover tour expenses at shows.

Often there is a Vegan element to the ethics, a long with some straight edge sentiment, where drinking, doing drugs, and loose sex are shunned in favor of a cleaner lifestyle. However this isn't always the case.

where they go
-Frequently go to music shows
-as groups they frequent parks and city centres, not to engage with the city centre but it becomes a backdrop to the community.

I'm aware this next bit will sound cringe worthy, mainly because it summarises complex individual human beings into a collection of things and places, but the broad generalisation will allow me to figure out some places to put promotional materials etc:

what they do
-Record shops
-play instruments

media they use
-frequenters of community based blogging

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