Gareth A Hopkins

These pages will be kept updated with forthcoming gallery shows and news on completed artwork.

Pages from my ongoing surreal/abstracted comic 'The Intercorstal' can be found here: The Intercorstal

My deviantart gallery, chock-full of my art, can be found here: grthink

Stories from my (old) walk to and from work can be found here: Trolleys In Odd Places

Monday, 10 June 2013

A post about how much I love Anticon, prompted by the Wandering Wolf

Nowadays, with two children to feed, and two cars to drive them around in, and a house I pay for them (and me, and my wife) to sleep in, finding money to spend on music pretty much never happens. But back in the day, when I was working on the Deli at Tesco, and my girlfriend (now wife) was off at uni, I spent a LOT of money on music.

And a large proportion went to Anticon. I'd never have found out about them, bizarrely, if I hadn't been looking for post-hardcore records online -- I was obsessed with Rival Schools' "United Against Fate", and looking for other stuff by them took me to Some Records, which is where I fell in love with The Ghost, and looking for more like The Ghost took me to Southern Records (who did distribution for Some, back in the day). Southern were handling distribution for a whole bunch of really interesting record labels, including Anticon, and had a great website littered with free samples from bands I'd never heard of, and probably would never have heard of otherwise. At the time, as I said, I was after rock music, and one of the artists was 'Different' by 'Sage Francis'. In a shocking bout of naievity I thought maybe it would be like Frank Black (aka Black Francis) so I did the ol's Right-Click-Save-As and as it was 2003 left the download going overnight.

Sage Francis is a rapper, as I found out the next morning. And I instantly fell in love with 'Different' so I bought 'Personal Journals' and was blown away by it. So then I started scrabbling around for anything similar, and since it was released on Anticon and I had some spare money (I was living with my mum, so all my money was spare) I bought a whole bunch of stuff that was out then -- Selling Live Water, Bottle Of Humans, Oaklandazulasylum, Music For The Advancement of HipHop, Forcefield Kids -- I was just eating it all up. And obviously that spilled out to records by Anticon artists on other labels, like Boom Bip and Doseone's Circle.

I was, frankly, obsessed, and stayed that way for a good few years, even now to some extent with most of the energy I'd use on obsession burned up through fatherhood, chomping up everything they released. I used to check the website twice a day in case there was any news (they usually updated about every two weeks...) I was on the Restiboard, and when that closed jumped over to Sole's board for a long time. I dragged my wife to the 'Live From Rome' release party and my two best friends to see Passage (hungover) at the Spitz. (Actually, over the years, I've dragged my friends and/or wife to a lot of hiphop gigs they weren't really keen on.)

Here's an illustration I did of Doseone and Andy Broder, as CrookandFlail, as part of the review I did of the Unearthing live shows for Amelia's Magazine.

Those artists are still top of my agenda, when I do have money to pay for music or (heaven forfend) going to gigs. Subtle will probably always be my favourite band, I'm still trying to keep up with sole intellectually and ideologically, I'm still waiting for Unindian Song Vol2.

Recently, Yoni Wolf (I'm not sure if he still uses the pseudonym why? or if that's just the name of his band now) has been releasing podcasts with various artists, and the two featuring Adam Drucker (Doseone) are just... Well, they're great. But it's a weird experience for me, because suddenly all the information I was so hungry for about Anticon 10 years ago is just THERE, and it's great. Trouble is, now I want MORE. I want extra from Dose and Jel and Yoni and I want to hear from Passage and Telephone Jim Jesus and Sole and all those guys with superb, ridiculous names.

This is the latest one, which also has Jel covering (some of) his own personal history. I'm really hoping there are more soon.

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