4000 Flavors: Calibrating the Taste-Maker

Before Sean Hamilton told me what 4000 Flavors meant, I had a guess: something about discerning taste. Turns out I was mostly wrong: “it’s [more the idea that] there are no restrictions to this, [that] it can go wherever it needs to,” says Hamilton. “It’s also supposed to be a joke; my roommate drew an illustration for the cover of Volume One of a guy getting crushed to death by a giant ice cream cone.” (Sounds scary!)

I first noticed their name on a flyer for a kick-ass-sounding show: breezy island rockers Javelin (who are on tour with Dan Deacon), plus Pitchfork darlings/downtempo mindfuckers Chandeliers (even their Myspace page is trippy!) and local electro-pop experimentalists Buffalo Stance – plus Mincemeat or Tenspeed (electro-thrash) and Skeleton Breath (just the way it sounds). An electronics show for people who REALLY like electronica. And for only $6! Who were these guys and how come they were so awesome?

These guys, it turns out, is just one guy: Hamilton, who’s the editor and driving force behind 4000 Flavors, brand new indie zine, featuring short stories and art from artists worldwide.

“I've always just thought the idea of zines is an amazing thing, you know this DIY thing that can really be anything you want it to,” says Hamilton. “It’s [also] just about being a total fucking nerd and putting things you are obsessed with on paper to give to somebody to look at even though they may or may not give a shit.”

“It started out being my friends [submitting pieces],” Hamilton goes on to explain. “And then after Volume One came out other people I didn't know were approaching me and asking if they could contribute and friends of friends were submitting stuff so the material is from all over the place. I remember when I got my first submission I was like fuck yea this is happening – it was a great feeling and I still get that feeling every time someone sends me something.”

4000 Flavors has released 3 issues since February, and a fourth is out this weekend. And, as was the cases for the previous 3 issues, each issue release is accompanied by an impressive concert, featuring an eclectic lineup of cool acts from Philly and abroad.

Past shows have featured local staples like Rad Racket, Neighborhood Choir, Grandchildren, and Jose Diaz & the Ninas, as well as So Cal noise drones Fuck Sunshine (seriously. What a terrible name!) and Brooklyn dance machines Holy Ghost.

Says Hamilton, “I started booking shows way before I started the zine, [back in] high school. Now with the zine, the idea is to get as many people out as possible so I can try to sell some zines. The bands that I put on are the ones that I know will bring out people and make it a fun time and add to the whole party atmosphere of it. But I love putting on shows and I'm really happy I have a reason to do it again.”

Check out the Volume 4 release of 4000 Flavors this Sunday, May 17, at 8 p.m. at Woodstove in Fishtown. Featuring Javelin, Chandeliers, Mincemeat or Tenspeed, Buffalo Stance and Skeleton Breath. $6.