The Slow Death / Mitch Clem - Turnstile Comix #1 [7-inch/comic] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Slow Death / Mitch Clem

Turnstile Comix #1 [7-inch/comic] (2011)

Silver Sprocket

Not sure if you were aware of this information, but Mikey Erg is in a band (besides Star Fucking Hipsters, Psyched to Die, the Ergs!, the Measure [SA], the Dopamines, House Boat, Used Kids and Brook Pridemore). They're called the Slow Death, and they include bassist/vocalist Jesse Thorson (Pretty Boy Thorson and the Fallen Angels), guitarist Dave Strait (also from PBT ‘n' TFA) and guitarist Johnny C (ex-the Rest of Us). According to cartoonist Mitch Clem, "The Slow Death are a veritable punk rock super group, except more super because they're actually really good."

Speaking of Clem, the mastermind behind Nothing Nice to Say and My Stupid Life is also the founder of the new comic/seven-inch series Turnstile Comix. Issue #1 happens to sport a trio of stories plus a blue seven-inch from the aforementioned Slow Death. It's a neat project for people who like fun.

Clem and his fiancée, Nation of Amanda, turn in a solid debut issue. The best humor comes from failure, which is generally what #1 focuses on. Clem introduces the Slow Death by talking about how he completely embarrassed himself at a show they played. Thorson then spins a couple of tales about touring (one of them is about pee!).

The stories have a certain rambling quality, only to just sort of end abruptly, but they're still funny and the art looks good. But in order for the comics to really, truly matter, the included seven-inch needs to rock faces. Accordingly, the Slow Death include four top-notch tunes about drinking and failing. They're the kind of tunes that need to be played loud/fast to avoid bumming everyone out.

"Poor Little Fool" opens the vinyl with a burst of big hooks and Lucero-ish instrumentation. "Bart's People" boasts a super catchy chorus and the most depressing verses this side of the Smiths. Sample lyric: "There is no happy ending / This ain't no fairy tale / There is no heaven up above us / There is just this living hell / And you die at the end." Huzzah! "A Little Bit More" goes from atheism to drinking, and drinking a lot. "Punchlines (Suck My Ass, It Smells, Pt. 2)" is (probably) about getting fired. But it goes on a great, throaty gang vox part, so clearly Thorson wins out in the end.

Turnstile Comix is pretty dang promising, both as a comic book series and as a debut from the Slow Death. Here's hoping for more from Clem and tSD, and soon.