They Could Have Been Bigger than EMI Part 1: Europe: By Joachim Gaertner, 693 pgs. By Jimmy

It’s easy to take for granted what the Internet has replaced until something like this plops itself into your lap. In a world where pretty much everything one wants to know about anything is a few clicks away, and with websites like discogs.com more or less covering the same ground as this tome, it’s only natural that one is gonna question why anyone would bother with writing, let alone reading something like this. What “this” is, is a mammoth listing of releases from independent European record labels specializing in punk and related genres, thousands of ‘em—from +1 Records to ZZO Recordings—hailing from Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Norway, the UK, and so on. I perused the book, more than a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume of information contained and kind of sat for a while, tying to figure out just how one “reviews” such a thing. I don’t think you can, outside of marveling at the amount of work that clearly went into putting it together. What one can do, however, is plumb through it, pick a random release by a random band and see if there is any trace of ‘em on YouTube or the elsewhere on the web. Repeat. I’d never heard of Mets, but their Klik EP on Finland’s S.A. Records is blasting away as I type this. Ditto for the Fender Benders’ 1979 “Big Green Thing” single on Sticky. Which dovetails back to where I started: It’s easy to take for granted what the Internet has replaced. On a platform where one can easily look up information about something they want to know about, it’s also become that much more difficult to find, let alone be exposed to, things one knows diddly squat about. Books like this are an easy remedy for that. –Jimmy Alvarado (Protagoras Academicus, Postfach 10 31 17, D60101 Frankfurt/Main, Germany)