In 1993, Rhino Records released the two-volume hardcore punk compilation Faster & Louder, containing a cornucopia of gems from the golden age of the genre. The covers unfolded to reveal spectacular art by the great Gary Panter (above image, Jimbo), and incisive liner notes that briefly break down every track, by Brooklyn record collector and writer Johan Kugelberg.Continue reading
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Answering machines were a form of technology in use before telecommunication was monopolized. At first, they were huge, then they used micro-cassettes, then regular cassettes, then a computer chip, then they went in the garbage. Telephones were not generally mobile prior to the year 2000. The average home had a room where the phone and answering machine resided.
The answering machine was the predecessor to the ringtone, in terms of personal expression through phones. There was even a default recording of a robot intoning “please leave a message after the beep”, which is how you knew your dad or grandpa wasn’t at home. Older relatives were confounded by the damn things, and would require the aid of sons or nephews, just as with smartphones today. A family would retain an answering machine until the tape wore out, meaning that for much of the 1980s, there was a phantasmagoria of wood-paneled plastic boxes, varying in quality. “Wireless” meant “unreliable”, which meant that the telephone station generally resembled an improvised bomb, to 21st century eyeballs. Continue reading