Conflict #37

This would have come out just before the time that Jackie Ockene loaned me her big stack of Conflict mags over Spring Break 1986, along with about 10-12 other issues of Gerard Cosloy’s magazine that came out before this one. I didn’t go to South Padre Island or Cabo or Daytona, but rather to my parents’ house in San Jose to replenish my fluids and nutrition and read music mags for a week. Conflict overall is still hands-down one of the best fanzines I’ve ever read, and now that I have a few of them, it’s probably the year that his publication went from really great to really, really great. I’ve told Jackie many times that these and the Matter mags she loaned me that spring were sort of life-changers. One never knows what the inflection points are going to be that push their obsessions into new and better directions, but Spring ‘86 was definitely one of mine.

Unlike some of the other fanzine mirth-makers and court jesters whom we’ve discussed previously, Cosloy’s hijinks and shenanigans were actually quite funny, and yeah, “acerbic” to a fault – yet almost always right on the mark. I probably padded my record collection more with recommendations from Conflict around this time than any magazine save Forced Exposure. The guy’s taste was strong enough to wrap itself around pretty much anything worth paying attention to circa 1986, from whatever fumes of hardcore were still rising (Tar Babies!) to The Fall (“Except for Boxcar Willie, I can’t think of any other artists who’ve delivered with such vigor for so long”) to Big Stick (yeah!). Conflict hadn’t apparently come out in 18 months when this four-pages-with-a-corner-staple hit the street, so that meant he took 1985 off, moved from Boston to New York, and then finally started this thing up again.

Now I was personally a little nonplussed over the Lazy Cowgirls’ debut LP myself when it came out – the Chris D.-produced one that both the band and Chris D. have spent years apologizing for – but man, Cosloy just rips the thing to ribbons (“3rd-rate bar band slop” and so on). Pretty sure he – and anyone else nonplussed – changed his tune when Tapping The Source came out a year later. Love the 7 Seconds review, though. This band were such a deserved whipping boy, easily one of hardcore’s all-time lamest bands, and they’d sink to even lower lows as their career progressed. “If 7 Seconds were really interested in promoting positive interaction they’d be handing out spanish fly ‘stead of bothering us with the worst excuse for punk anywhere”. Spanish Fly!! Do any of you remember Spanish Fly? Did it work? Cosloy also likes Camper Van Beethoven’s Telephone-Free Landslide Victory. So do I. Terrific issue.

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