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Pinhead Music: The Underground Sights and Sounds of Keyser, WV zine

Pinhead Music: The Underground Sights and Sounds of Keyser, WV zine


Tags: · hcpmf · media · zine · zines
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A 44-page zine, authored by Vincent Albarano, detailing the original Keyser, WV underground scene which began in the early 1980's. Includes interviews with filmmaker Craig Smith (Psychedelic Glue Sniffin' Hillbillies), who also made music in Keyser in the early 80's (Eggtones, Vegamatic), and Red Nail Music label-head Bunk Nesbit (member of many Keyser musical projects and Keyser underground music archivist). Tons of information on what went on in the music scene in Keyser in the 80's and its evolution beyond. Full color, glossy finish.


Our take: This zine is a portal to another world that I didn’t even know existed. Keyser, West Virginia is a tiny town with a population of less than 6,000. I grew up in a similar-sized town in southeastern Virginia (like Keyser, our main employer was a paper mill… I wonder if the cabbage-like funk of the mill also permeated Keyser?), so when I read the description for this zine I knew I had to learn more. I couldn’t find any traces of a music scene where I grew up in Franklin, Virginia, so I wanted to hear about how this happened… how a small, out of the way place could spawn anything that might be referred to as a “scene.” Fortunately, Pinhead Music satisfied my curiosity and then some. The zine has three main sections: an introductory essay that explains the author’s (Vincent Albarano) background and how he discovered the scene, and two long interviews, one with a filmmaker who made a Super 8 film called Psychedelic Glue Sniffin’ Hillbillies and another with musician / Red Nail Music label owner Bunk Nesbit. I was unfamiliar with the art that came from Keyser—I had never heard of the film or any of the artists or musicians mentioned in the zine, and didn’t even stop to check out any of it online until I finished reading—yet I was rapt with attention the entire time. I put this down to Albarano’s curiosity about the scene and the passion his interview subjects have for their work. There’s so much detail about this little, more or less isolated universe that you almost feel like you’re there, but at the same time it’s presented with an utter lack of pretension, like it’s the most natural thing in the world for all the freaks in a small, isolated community to find one another and make art. After I put down the zine, I checked out a clip of Psychedelic Glue Sniffin’ Hillbillies on YouTube and spent some time listening to music on the Red Nail Music Bandcamp site, half-wondering if this entire zine was an elaborate hoax. But it’s not… it’s a whole world of vital underground music and art, served to you on a platter. You don’t get more niche than this and most people probably have no interest in this zine or in the culture it documents, but for the curious, Pinhead Music is the key to a real treasure trove.