The City is Ablaze! Virtual Flexidisc

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    Ablaze! fanzine was published in Manchester and Leeds in the late eighties and early nineties by Karren Ablaze!. The best bits of this notorious and outspokenly passionately zine are now available in book format. Alongside hundreds of zine pages, The City Is Ablaze! features new writings by Karren and other members of the Ablaze! team, as well as interviews with other fanzine writers), essays by DIY cultural commentators, a re-examination of the Riot Grrrl movement, and an epilogue by Gary Jarman (The Cribs).

    This 320-page A4 book also covers other zines that Karren produced in Manchester and Leeds between 1984 and 1994, capturing an era where DIY was de rigueur and indie actually meant something.

    You’ll be able to read original interviews with the following bands (in chronological order). Eyeless In Gaza • The Membranes • The Stone Roses • The Inca Babies • Tools You Can Trust • The Bodines • Inspiral Carpets • The Pastels • The Janitors • Happy Mondays • King of the Slums • The Dust Devils • The Shamen • Cud • Sonic Youth • Dinosaur Jr • The Pixies • Throwing Muses • The Sundays • Thrilled Skinny • Rapeman • UT • Dog Faced Hermans • Edsel Auctioneer • Mudhoney • AC Temple • fIREHOSE • Band of Susans • Henry Rollins • Live Skull • Kilgore Trout • The Sun and The Moon • The Breeders • Happy Flowers • Silverfish • The Keatons • The Stretchheads • Pregnant Neck • Mayomberos Alive • Fluff • Archbishop Kebab • Nirvana • Pale Saints • Mercury Rev • The Heart Throbs • Babes in Toyland • American Music Club • Hole • Pavement • My Bloody Valentine • Shudder To Think • The Wedding Present • Leatherface • Nation of Ulysses • Tsunami • Poster Children • Sugar • Moonshake • Hood • Polvo

    The book also includes letters from Morrissey and Thurston Moore.

    The City Is Ablaze! reads like a musical history of the late eighties and early nineties, a history that could only be obtained by surfing the sliproads, sneaking backstage at a thousand shows, sleeping on strangers’ floors and living to type up the tales of the sounds that defined an era.
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This is the MP3 compilation that comes free with The City Is Ablaze! fanzine book (more info at

What they said about this fucking awesome comp:

“Devo and The Cure recorded an album together in 1986 and it never came out. Now you can hear it at last!” Pussycat Weekly

“This needs to be on everyone's listening device RIGHT NOW!” Pope (on facebook)

Liner notes by Karren Ablaze!

I can almost see your delighted faces, dear readers; I am thinking of you fondly as I write about this soundtrack for a luscious summer day.

So'eza (Bristol) make the sublime sounds of the dawn time with guitar strings and brass, both tamed and wild. In the morning, by the port, with the first yellow light rippling on the water, that's where Prince The Boat is moored. Will you be able to keep your heart in place when So'eza's celebration of life bursts forth like a flamenco volcano? I doubt it, my precious ones!

Champion Kickboxer (Sheffield) were symmetrical, which is a big deal for a start. They were also alchemists, weather makers even, specialising in storms of course, the sweep-you-off-the-world variety. The subsequent suspension in mid-air was always crucial - why should the hurricane put you down? But when they do permit your car tyres touch the road once more, they play all innocent, as though they had been a mere pop band all along. Don't ever believe that!

And now it's time for The Wednesday Club to introduce themselves: “Instead of raising the stakes/we continually punch above our weight. We know that it hurts/but why would we change a format that works?” Formed in Leeds, they were not appreciated. Now scattered across the English land, they are still not appreciated, though Trev from Oddbox was wise enough to release their third album, Katapult, from which these songs are selected. They've subsequently recorded three more... I'd keep an eye on them if I were you.

Autobodies are the latest thing in Leeds. There are three of them (not four). They're amazing.

Wave at Planes, by Nobel Prize for Songwriting winner Max Broady, has been a hit on our airwaves for about five years now but this sharply depressive anthem is always worth another spin.

Cowtown (Leeds) is! You know! The party band of the UK that deserves to be on the World Stage. I've heard a lot about this world stage and when I hear of it I always visualise Cowtown on it. Perhaps like at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, without bollocks like (whoever played). Night Beats, a study of today's young goths, is also an insistent invitation to out-dance them. Fuck!

Huevos shows another side of TWC – the John Perry side of the prism. It must be siesta-time, hazy dreams, dry-mouthed confusion.

Jelas (Bristol) = DIY intelligenstia from a city of passionate riots. In the words of a song I wrote: “Cliché finds no perch with them. They call it punk and they are / fucking it up.”

Steven's House is the ultimate refuge for indie pop casualties. Bless them.

Kaboom! It's Flies On You. This is the only band on this comp that has a person in it to have been written about in Ablaze! fanzine (check out the Nerve Rack interview). But this is a new band, from Leeds, the fount of most great things. As a firey, revolutionary fourteen year old I thought Class War were taking it a bit too far; now I realise they were on the right track the whole time. And that's where Flies On You come in; the first agitprop band of the twentyteens.

Jesus and His Judgemental Father (Leeds) played the most joyous gigs, sets teeming with killer pop tunes. On Tentacle Love they rock out, probably about a deep sea superhero sex experience. Leeds needs them back, please.

Printed Circuit took over a Cowtown song about shoes and this is what she did with it. “You could call them trainers and you could call them sneakers but they're hi-tops – hexalites – power blingers!”

And in case you need to know a bit more about The Wednesday Club, here's Biscuit Cramps. Pay attention, or SEE ME.

We saved this one for last. Now the thing about Wooderson (Sheffield), as with pretty much all the bands on here album (F.O.Y. haven't done any gigs yet), is you have to see them live. That's where all the magic happens. And with Wooderson it's dark, testosterone magic. Just in case you can't get out to see them tonight, here's Mint Condition, an ocean of glowing, reverberating tones to send you to happily to Bedfordshire. Which is somewhere none of these bands live. Good night.




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