Assigning themselves with the heavy task of sifting through a whopping 15,000 indie records from the last 25 years to find the most interesting albums, editors Brian Roettinger, Mike Treff and Diego Hadis of "Touchable Sound: A Collection of 7-inch Records From the USA," narrowed the selection down into the 300 that fill this 412-page compendium, available tomorrow from Soundscreen Design.
Organized by region, "Touchable Sound" is interlaced with chapter dividers and essays printed on various stock paper, giving the book its unique feel and look. Among the discerning criteria for inclusion in the book was how the record was made (e.g. screen-printed, handmade or sewn) and the impact of the final result. The editors also considered the history behind the making of a record, such as was the case of Black Dice's Peace in the Valley, in which Three One G label head Justin Pearson (who also is part of the San Diego-based band The Locust) exchanged six months of work at Kinko's to pay off his debt for printing a 64-page art book that came with the record.
While most of the bands and records might not be immediately recognized by casual listeners of the indie rock and punk genres, a few other groups' names do stand out. The Melvins land a few pages, most notably with the screen-printed jacket for the band's Starve Already record and a five-fold, offset-printed jacket of its 666 7-inch.
A more unconventional creation comes from the Long Beach, CA-based band Le Shok, whose S&M has an aptly-placed hole in the jacket so that it can be played directly in a record player, and loses quality each time the record is played.