Small Press Archives

Down Under? Is that dorky? I think so. I apologize, it's early. I just came across some books from a small Australian press called Serps Press. So far they only have two titles but they are both beautiful. I recommend buying them right now.

Westside is a new book from photographer Conor O'Brien and chronicles his time living near the beach in Perth in lovely landscapes and portraits.

Homemade Tattoos Rule is a book of photographs by Thomas Jeffe which explore the aesthetics and techniques of homemade tattoos. After all, homemade is where the heart is. I feel like that's a quote from something. Is it? If you're interested in giving yourself a homemade tattoo—a practice i wholeheartedly endorse btw—check this out.

Doris Book: Anthology 1991-2001
6.5"x8" 320 Pages
B/W Paperback

I just came across the website for my old friend and penpal Cindy Ovenrack Crabb. She's been doing a brilliant zine called Doris for the last 15 years. When I worked at Epicenter, my friend and I were serious fans and had every issue of Doris as well as all the little comics she made like "67 boyfriends" and the one about the ice cream shop. She came back to town around that time and started dropping by. We became friends after she showed up to a dinner at my house that wasn't happening, invited by a person who didn't live there.

All the issues of Doris have been collected and released as an anthology. It's so exciting! Everyone should read it. It really actually will make you laugh and cry. Cindy tells the fascinating stories of her life honestly, sweetly, and smartly and manages to include helpful tips, history and information on all manner of topics ranging from feminism and politics to travelling and making art. It's very close and immediate like a friend telling you stories and secrets but you also come away knowing all about the history of political collectives in Philadelphia or something like that.

Buy it from Cindy directly or from Microcosm Publishing.

Psychic Soviet


psychic.jpgIan Svenonius
The Psychic Soviet
300 pages

This book is nuts. I just picked it up yesterday and, I confess, I'm not quite finished with it but I'll talk about it anyway. I bought it because I've read some of Ian Svenonius' writing in Index before and was also a total fan of Nation of Ulysses and a mostly fan of The Make-Up, PLUS the book has a durable, all weather, pink plastic cover that smells really good.

Let me say it again, this book is nuts. In the intro, Svenonius says, "This volume should clear up much of the confusion regaring events of the last millenium—artistic, geo-political, philisophical, et. al." And a reader from Amazon says in her review, "Vampirism, vodka and dialectical materialism are stimulating topics, but this set of essays reads like a half-baked dissertation written by a precocious over-medicated narcissist. Often verbose and incomprehensible--I highly recommend it." So far I am in agreement. Anyone else have any thoughts?

skupre.jpgGood morning! I went out last night to various parties and events, including the release party for the new issue of LTTR. I just woke up to post the pictures and tell you about it but I'm having camera problems and will have to figure that out first.

So in the meanwhiles, here is a large book (264 pages, black and white) full of crazy sharpee drawings by this guy Mike Giant who writes graffiti, skateboards, draws, and does a blog for fecal face. Included in the book are his zines Pagina Vilot, Shim Rot, Flood Bart, and Dairy Hicks. As well as a new one called Passive Moles. Expect to see funny wordplay, tattoo style drawings, weird little characters, religious icons, and graffiti and stuff. Buy the book at arty bookstores, or Last Gasp, or direct from the man himself.

coming_soon_LEQUIN.jpgComing Out The Front Door for The Ninth Ward
By Nine Times Social and Pleasure Club
Published By The Neighborhood Story Project
8'' x 9'', 248 pages

A "social and pleasure club" in N.O is a small "krewe" that marches through the neighborhood for special occasions or just to create a random joyous occasion. Actually, all the social and cultural implications that a krewe embodies is far too engaging and complex to go into here... fortunately The Neighborhood Story Project in New Orleans has published a collection of stories from the members of The Nine Times Social and Pleasure Club who lived in the Ninth Ward, specifically the Desire Housing Projects. The Book, Coming Out The Front Door for The Ninth Ward, details the members lives in the year after hurricane Katrina. This tremendous work is an essential reminder of the cultural power and beauty of New Orleans.

Buy the book at The Neighborhood Story Project's site.

Shameless Plug


Edited by Linnea Vedder
Published by R&S Media
4.25" X 5.5"
30 pages, full color, Hand stamped cover

Back in 2004 we made our first book project. It's a lovely full-color, palm sized book that details the slump we all encounter between the hours of 3 and 5. Our book proves that ennui can be sexy! The design is inspired by the tiny illustrated Shakespearean qoute book my mother kept in the bathroom. Photography by Sarah Forbes Keough (Ms. Keough to the likes of you), Maggie Foster, Tim Sullivan and Linnea Vedder with an introduction by Amy Squires and Jay Barmann. We still have a few copies left - so buy a piece of history! Only $5.00, plus $4.05 for shipping.



Photographs by Mårten Lange
Published by Farewell Books
6" X 8.75"
44 pages, black and white, laser printed and perfect bound

The crisp photography of Mårten Lange's book Woodland is the first project out from Swedish, small-press publisher, Farewell Books (friends of Kasino A4, I think). The book itself embodies one of my favorite kinds of design - low-tech, yet completely elegant. The bright white paper, classic serif typography and printing method of laser printing perfectly present Lange's tangled, high contrast photographs of forests. Lange pushes an otherwise sentimental subject matter into a chaotic abstraction. The branches here are reminiscent of a tangle of amplifier cords - nature transformed into man-made disarray, yet retaining an austere beauty.

There Weren't Many Girls Around, So We Dated Ideologies. This Left Us Always on the Brink of War. We Often Discussed That a Likely Result of Battle Would Have Been More Girls to Go Around Amongst the Survivors, but We Quibbled Rather Than Acted, & Slept Alone in Our Cold Beds Dreaming of Glory.
Drawings By Ami Tallman
Published by 2nd Cannons Publications
11.25" x 9", 46 pages
1st printing, edition of 500


LA based artist Ami Tallman's new book from 2nd Cannons Publications has an extremely long title, see above. Actually, I'm going to type it out again: There Weren't Many Girls Around, So We Dated Ideologies. This Left Us Always on the Brink of War. We Often Discussed That a Likely Result of Battle Would Have Been More Girls to Go Around Amongst the Survivors, but We Quibbled Rather Than Acted, & Slept Alone in Our Cold Beds Dreaming of Glory. I love a long title. It reminds me of my favorite long titled movie, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies! All that long title loving aside, the drawings in this book are lovely. They are mostly of lush, fancy interiors with occasional interruptions by various armed persons. The book tells the story of an English aristocratic heir who gives up his manor for the affections of a Red Cross member. Trench warfare ensues and our heir reflects on his life from the field. Get the book directly from 2nd Cannons.

Hug The Gray


outHug the Gray
By Mat O'Brien
Published by Seems Books
6.5" x 9", 36 pages
4 color offset printing, matte stock
1000 copies

The collision of words and image, the incongruity of language and perception, was first explored in the work of early 20th century cartoonist George Herriman, and later observed (or stolen, depending on your point of view) by the dadaists and surrealists. "Pop" art and street art have been informing and inspiring artists in the business of fine art since the industrial revolution–but it wasn't until David Wojnarowicz, and others in the New York downtown scene of the early 80's, when all became reconciled. Wojnarowicz was a complete creature of the 20th century–for him all arguments of high and low were irrelevant; TV, movies and magazine pages were emotional totems. It wasn't an intellectual conclusion, just a matter of fact. Wojnarowicz paintings, drawings and sculptures were as purely expressionistic as they were literal.

Continue Reading Hug The Gray



Photographs by Mårten Lange
Published by Farewell Books
6" X 8.75"
38 pages, black and white, laser printed and perfect bound

Last May I described Mårten Lange's photos of tree branches as, "...reminiscent of a tangle of amplifier cords–nature transformed into man-made disarray... " when I reviewed his first book, Woodland. Now comes Lange's second book, Machina, which has the exact opposite effect: cords, knobs, and pressure gauges transformed into wilderness. The high contrast black and white photography comes in close and abstracts the machines which are as entangled and chaotic as nature, and like the trees and foliage of Woodland, seem to be consuming their surroundings.

Available at Farewell Books

Music Portraits


thespring.jpgMusic Portraits
By Rachael Cassells
Published by The Spring Press
36 pages, full color, soft cover.
Edition of 1000.

Rachael Cassells uses whatever is around to illuminate her subjects—in the case of this book, people who make music. They are lit by street lights, car headlights, window light, lamps, and lonely hallway bulbs—glowing in the soft colors these ambient light sources make. The result is dark and pretty and grainy. I like seeing these people in quiet moments alone, away from stages and fans and other bandmates. Looking at some of them, I'm reminded of certain phrases from their songs. It seems like Cassells had the same idea because she includes a song quote for each portrait.

Cassells' Music Portraits is the second offering from The Spring Press, a new small publisher from Australia and friend of "magazine we love" doingbird. Cassells is a contributing editor there and I've seen her shots of many of these musicians in doingbird's pages, including Bat for Lashes, our pal Jana Hunter, and the wonderful Bill Callahan ((smog)).

This slim volume is very nice. I'm excited to see more from The Spring Press as well as Rachael Cassells. You can buy their stuff directly from their site.

Continue Reading Music Portraits

We have been reviewing wonderful books and zines from Microcosm Publishing for some time now. Not too long ago, I dropped by our old offices to pick up some mail and to my very happy surprise there were two large packages from Microcosm. They'd been sitting around long enough that we'd reviewed some of their contents already but I'd like to take this opportunity to say that nothing thrills me more than really good mail. So, thanks Microcosm! See our reviews here: Doris, the book; Dwelling Portably; Ker-bloom!.

There were two books in the package that we hadn't yet seen and they deserve some posting... In Search of the Lost Taste is a cookbook from Joshua Ploeg, traveling vegan chef extraordinaire. We've written about him before and are fans. This slim volume is full of well-crafted recipes for interesting fare such as lavender soda and soup in a pumpkin. It will remind any of us, not just vegans, to look beyond the basics and have some fun in the kitchen. It should also be noted that Aaron Renier did the cover.

Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills is another small manual for good living. In it, Raleigh Briggs offers easy to use instructions for things like household cleaners, herbal salves and tinctures, how to compost and what to plant in your garden. The book is divided into three sections: Health and First Aid, Nontoxic Cleaning and Body Care and Gardening. Each recipe is detailed by adorable drawings and is accessible to even someone as spazzy as myself.

And now for the gift idea... While looking for the links for the above reviews, I discovered that Microcosm sells $20 "superpacks" on a variety of subjects, including veganism, queer stuff, bicycles and DIY crafts. For $20 you get a selection of zines on each topic. Perfect for your younger sibling who just went vegan or your neighbor who is obsessed with his bicycle, par example.

Order all this stuff directly from Microcosm or find select titles at your local cool bookstore.


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