The Rheostatics Saved My Life
Fanzine, Mike Bell (author), 6 pages, labelobscura.com, free
In the age of online think pieces and zero-research hot takes, its refreshing to see that long-form editorial content can still smack with heart, humour and reverence.
Cue The Rheostatics Saved My Life, a tidy half-dozen pages dedicated to the Toronto indie-rock mainstays, published by Canadian indie record imprint Label Obscura. The Rheos are the band and the author is Mike Bell, recounting his discovery of the band from his small-town roots in Dunsville, Ontario and through encounters in Hamilton, Toronto and the like. The zine is fun because its a quasi-geekout but never sounds overly gushy or trite. Rather, its poignant and its personal and it clicks because of the nuance and normality of language. Bell clearly has a steel trap for a brain as he recounts early CD purchases, 19+ show and future reunions, all with a staggering level of detail.
We’ve all loved bands, and I personally love this one as well so maybe thats why this works for me. And we all have musicians or authors or artists who we internalize at a level that goes far beyond fandom or (ahem) support. The Rheostastics are evidently at that level for Bell and credit to him for opening the vault and penning this thoughtful paean to explaining the reasons why the band hits for him – and why they still hit hard where it matters. (Cam Gordon)