Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Book Review - “The Encyclopedia of Swedish Punk: 1977-1987” by Peter Jandreus

The title says it all. The author has taken the best parts of every punk documentation book that I have seen and combined them into one. If you have read Ian Glaspar’s “Trapped in a Scene” there is a lot of great historical stories. Peter Jandreus takes these stories and works them down into a bite size bit which is in keeping with the encyclopedia format. Frank Manley put together one of the first national discographies in the form of “Smash the State”. Jandreus’s comprehensive lists of band releases fills out the band profiles. And his discography includes a scale for worth of the records which makes it ideal for record collectors. It is the best of all worlds really with what has been done in the arena of punk books. Short of writing the amazing Chris Walter like band biographies, Jandreus has found the perfect in between collection of great stories and documentation. And they totally remind me of the old Funk and Wagnells that my parents had, just with punk content. One advantage to Jandreus’s book over Wikipedia is that some of these bands might be too small to include in the on-line source. The reason why I bought this book was because I wanted to do more research on ASTA KASK and I was frustrated by the hype writing that made up the majority of my web searches on the band. In a brief read I was able to learn about the important role that the band played in the Swedish scene by building a studio in their old rehearsal space which they let any other punk bands use for free to record. You can see how a resource like this would prove to be super important. And as I flip through this book I find myself doing more on-line searches to track down bands that I know little about. In addition, this book organizes everything alphabetically by band which is the encyclopedia method. This makes it easy to search a band but I wonder if Ian Glaspar’s method of regional writing isn’t a better method when writing a national scene account. It is certainly easier to follow the band intersections. Like all good books this brings up more questions with the answers and the best review I have read of this book is by Stuart Schrader which draws some of that out. You can read it on-line at But even with the shortcomings this is the best of its kind that I have read and a rich and valuable resource for Swedish punk. I hope someone applies this model to scenes in Japan and Germany and Italy and Finland and anywhere there is a Bloodstain comp. (Premium Publishing – Sankt Goransgatan 159 / Box 30184 / SE-104 25 Stockholm / Sweden /

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