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Katherine Spielmann Now Is The Time To Invent! Reports From The Indie-Rock Revolution 1986-2000

Verse Chorus Press
6th November 2020

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Puncture was one of the greatest zines of the 80s and 90s – its style was a little cooler, a little less bombastic than some of the frenzy taking place in the tail-end of US punk which it at first documented from editor, Katherine Spielmann’s San Francisco base. So it was well placed to connect with what was coming next and was perfectly in tune with the next wave of groups – Beat Happening, Fugazi, Meat Puppets, Yo La Tengo, The Clean, The Go-Betweens. These groups often had the consciousness of punk but were going somewhere very different with their music. Along its way it collected a great team of writers and always had a fresh perspective on everything it came to whether it be The Mekons or My Bloody Valentine.

More than 50 profiles and essays from the magazine’s history are anthologised here, reproduced as they appeared in the zine which had become more like a magazine by the time Spielmann moved to Portland in 1992. The writing is really great, it’s crisp, perceptive, warm, funny – without too much hype, it really stands up. They stick with things through the issues, through the years – Beat Happening / K, The Clean / Flying Nun, and they move quickly on things that they feel are important – Sleater Kinney, Pavement, Royal Trux. They are all over Belle & Sebastian – if you want to understand how they first impacted on the US you can read about it here.

It was a magazine for musicians – David Nicholls, Lois, Franklin Bruno and various others were regular contributors. There’s a David Berman interview with The Pastels from around the time of Illumination… “My uncle handwrote a 24-volume history of June 18, 1984. I can’t find your names in the index, so I wondered where you were and what you were doing on that day.”

Like the music they wrote about, Puncture was often made with minimal resources, and always with maximal inventiveness. Now Is The Time To Invent! published by Verse Chorus, an imprint established by one of Spielmann’s main creative partners, Steve Connell, is such a great document of the time. There’s so much love in it.