The ranks of record labels that have branched into publishing aren’t exactly numerous, but those that have have often done so memorably. Drag City has released books from the likes of Rudolf Wurlitzer and John Fahey; Heartworm’s outsider aesthetic applies just as easily to the stark poetry and experimental fiction that they’ve released as it does to slabs of harsh industrial noise and gritty postpunk. Hardcore stalwart Revelation Records has released several books over the years, including a collection of Norman Brannon’s fantastic mid-90s zine Anti-Matter. Clear Cut Press, who released a number of memorably-designed books a decade ago, had a former head of Up Records as their co-founder. And recently, Chicago’s HoZac Records — whose knowledge of solid garage rock, punk, and brilliant reissues knows no boundaries — has joined them.
A recent email noted that:
…we are forming a new branch of the HoZac strain of infection, with upcoming published releases in the form of THE UGLY AUSTRALIAN UNDERGROUND (by Jimi Kritzler/SLUG GUTS), and a few photography collections in the works as well from 70s punk photographer Brian Shanley, former Chicago photographer CANDERSON, and many more surprises, stay tuned!
Given HoZac’s roots in the zine world, this is less of a move into publishing than it is the completion of a circle. Also, it should probably be noted that The Ugly Australian Underground is a fantastic title for a book.