Tuesday, December 29, 2009
BEST IN MUSIC: this in no way implies I have heard everything that came out this year. Not even close. This is just my personal favorite stuff.
Albums: The TOP 3
1. Dinosaur Jr- Farm: The best album by anyone this year. Period. If you don't agree I don't care. Fuck off and get your own blog.
2. NOFX-Coaster: This is the best thing this band has done since "Punk in Drublic". I was kind of amazed actually.
3. Propagandhi- Supporting Caste: They did it again. If every album they write doesn't make you feel guilty or stupid something is definitely wrong with you. The only band that inspires me to read more. Still.
THE RUNNERS UP:
1. Polar Bear Club- Chasing Hamburg: Great album. I don't have much else to say on the matter
2. Paint it Black- Amnesia EP: This is how hardcore should be played.
3. Baroness- The Blue Record: The gnarly whatever the fuck metal they play is still there with more noodly guitars and some Thin Lizzy thrown in for shits and giggles. I'll allow it. Also, they're better than Mastodon.
Other albums I liked in no order:
The Appleseed Cast-Sagarmantha(I think that's how it was spelled)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart- I forgot the album name. Yes that's a real band.
Dead Swans- Sleepwalkers
Soul Control- Cycles
Russian Circles- Geneva
Pelican- What We All Come to Need
The new Set Your Goals. What a giant piece of shit. Everything that's wrong with the current punk rock scene.
Poison the Well-The Tropic Rot: A huge waste of time and a major disappointment. This is the sound of a band that doesn't know what the fuck it wants to do.
I don't give a shit about: The new Converge album. I don't care what it sounds like. Nor do I care about the new Weezer. I'm sure it's shitty.
Best live band: Ceremony. My head just un-caved itself 6 months later.
Also cool to see live: The Get-Up Kids, Face to Face, These Arms Are Snakes, Baroness, Alkaline Trio, Bad Religion
NOFX: Still sucks live
Saves the Day: continues to disappoint me
Best Album cover: The Crystal Castle's "Alice Practice" EP. Madonna with a black eye? Priceless. Their music is fucking dumb though.
Everyone needs to stop: liking Kings of Leon
Everyone needs to remember: Michael Jackson touched children inappropriately
Dropkick Murphys: needs to break up. It's music for frat boys who want to seem edgy.
I still hate: Phish
I'm Glad: I don't know who Lady Gaga is.
Old Bands I got really into:
The Jesus Lizard
I wish: Alternative Press would go away, kids stopped dressing like highliters, all skinny jeans lit on fire, a record store would open near my house that isn't Best Buy, Wu-Tang would play my basement, all shows weren't in fucking Brooklyn or Albany, and Jawbreaker would reunite.
Other things I want: A new Pig Destroyer album, a new Ted Leo album, to finally see Dinosaur jr, a Saves the Day album that doesn't suck, an album from Blake Schwartzbach's (Jawbreaker) new band, Dave Matthews Band to swallow acid collectively,
Best Movie: Inglorious Basterds. Yeah it's a controversial choice. However, I don't care what you think. The Hangover was close though.
Worst Movie: Anything done by Michael Bay. I didn't even see Transformers 2 to know it sucks. Same with (C)GI Joe. In fact, stop ruining my childhood cartoon nostalgia goddammit. Also, Funny People sucked as well.
UPDATE: When I previously posted this blog I made a terrible mistake. I neglected to mention the one movie I hated more than any other. I hated it more than dropping my car keys so they slide under the car and bounce in the middle so they can't be reached. I am talking about the abomination that was Watchmen. Wait, you're thinking, Watchmen was bad? Yes. Zack Snyder is as bad as Rob Zombie if not worse. He is the quintessential frat boy who read a comic book once and plays a lot of Halo. Let us briefly go through his career, shall we? Dawn of the Dead? Zombies don't fucking run shithead. 300? The first comic book he ruined. It managed to be the only movie ever to be both homoerotic and homophobic all at the same time. That brings me to Watchmen. It is, like all Alan Moore works, unfilmable. You can't possibly hope to convey on screen what that comic was all about. Anyone who has actually read it knows exactly what I mean. The only saving grace was the guy who played Rorschach. He nailed it. Zack Snyder went for his "Dark Knight" and struck the fuck out. Avoid. Oh wait, most of you did. Good call.
Since I phased out my horror blog: Martyrs was amazing. Everything else kinda sucked. In fact all the great horror movies I saw this year were French. Weird.
Paranormal Activity: surprised the shit out of me. In a good way.
Rob Zombie: is a fucking hack. Stop making movies.
Zombieland: was probably great but I don't remember it due to inebriation.
Best DVD acquisition: The Beyond
Megan Fox: is hot but stupid.
Natalie Portman: should marry me.
I still don't care about: celebrity deaths.
I got really into: Old school Kung Fu movies. Like with the bad dubbing and everything.
I was glad to see: The ninja movie make a comeback. Even though I didn't see it.
I am: The Bear Jew
Best older movie viewed this year:
John Woo's The Killer. Holy shit.
Hollywood would do better without: James Cameron and his CGI nonsense bullshit. Avatar? It looks like someone just filmed a kid playing Halo. I'm just waiting for the Celine Dion song. Also, the woman who wrote Juno and Jennifer's Body should stop all future projects immediately. And furthermore, no more fucking shitty remakes. And what the fuck happened to real action movies? Oh, and since when does Sherlock Holmes know karate?
Oh yeah fuck Twilight too.
Happy New Year. Assholes.
Friday, December 18, 2009
It helps that these kids are terrible people. Really terrible. And it helps that when I see these people in real life I hate them just as much as on TV. It also helps that I love trash TV, and Bret Michaels Bang Bus isn't on anymore. What the hell happened in these kids' childhoods that made them this way? Doesn't matter. Many people see this show as a sign of the coming apocalypse. They might be right, but I think they care way too much. It's a fucking TV show designed to exploit those they showcase for profit. Nothing more. An entertaining one at that. This brings me to the crux of the post here. There has been some major controversy (I suppose) about last night's episode. Firstly, I would like to go through some of the characters (because that's what they are). There's a guy on the show who calls himself "The Situation". Skip him, he's a steroid addled mongoloid from the depths of hell. He will die alone in a hospital due to AIDS. One could only hope. Then there is "snookie". What the hell is that thing? She looks like something Godzilla would fight, only in Hobbit size. She was described in an article as a "troll" or "goblin". Yes this is all true of course. I would like to describe her more as a mutant the ninja turtles would come across in one of their adventures. The Shredder created her out of the ooze I think. I think she was a stunt double for Slimer in the first Ghostbusters movie. Matters not of course, let me get to the point. Last night, this silly Jabba the Hutt-like creature was punched in the face. MTV, despite showing it already in commercials, declined to show it in the actual episode. MTV clearly caved into whatever pressure was being thrown their way( probably by women's groups, maybe even PETA), and took the scene out. They only show her being annoying and then on the ground crying. That's fine I guess. I just think it's hilarious that suddenly MTV has a morality issue. Since when? The station has been showing questionable bullshit since The Real World like 4 or 5 and now, suddenly, they can't show a punch in the face. Wasn't it that fuckin Tila Tequila nonsense where they showed the same guy getting punched like every 5 minutes? I am not saying I want to see a girl get hit. Not at all. But that snookie thing isn't a girl. It's a demon from "The Evil Dead" and needs to be stopped. Guy might be a hero. Then, after the episode, they show a Domestic Violence Hotline thing. How the fuck does that even apply? She got punched in a bar by a drunk guy. Period. She didn't get laid out by a guy she was fucking. By the way I'm pretty sure that guy is ruined. Way to sign a release so MTV can show your face asshole. MTV is evil. Always has been. Yet, they managed to finally put something entertaining on TV. If now they'd cancel everything else they air it might be a channel worth watching occasionally. No not at all actually.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
One huge reason, the songs themselves. Just a few honorable mentions. To go song by song would be kinda ridiculous. "Tired of Sex"? Yeah a nerd like Rivers Cuomo wrote a song with this title. But it's not even really about that. I won't get into it, but when he starts, I don't know yelling or yelping? It's frustration city and if you can't relate you aren't human. "Why Bother?"? If you listen to this song, really listen, and hate it afterwards I think I hate you. Then right after this, we hear "Across the Sea". This song is probably played at Rivers Cuomo's therapy sessions. I won't get into what it's about. I take from it what I want. And it's fucking brilliant. Every line. Next on the track list, "The Good Life". Yeah, I really don't wanna be an old man anymore. I'll skip to "Pink Triangle". It's about being in love with a lesbian. "Every one's a little queer. Why can't she be a little straight?". Fuckin brilliant? Yeah you are totally right. As we get to the end of the album, we get a little sadder, even more nerdy. Okay, so maybe I did mention most of the songs. Sue me. Weezer was never fucking better than they were right here. In fact they sucked tremendously right after and to this very day. Really, what the fuck is "Raditude"?
Sadly, as I sort of just mentioned, Rivers Cuomo would never make an album like this again. They would make a series of power pop albums that had a few great songs, but as a whole blew goats. There are a trillion reasons why this happened. I don't care to mention them here. All I know is "Pinkerton" is stupid good. There will never be another "Pinkerton". No band will top its lyrical brilliance, or anything else about the album. I don't fucking care what you think. You are wrong. I literally belted this whole album out 8 times in the last day and a half. I don't even know why I felt the urge to continuously listen to this album. The usual reason, i.e. I'm having what I call an "I hate girls" week, isn't even close to occurring. I think I really just want to keep listening to it. Maybe because Rivers Cuomo is insane and I want to hear the last great thing he did before he went bat shit crazy. Either way, listen to this fucking album right fucking now. Thank you.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Everyone knows about Nirvana. They recorded one album on Sub Pop, then signed to Geffen, and released the only really good (except Weezer's Pinkerton) major label rock record in the whole decade. Nevermind was a monster of an album. Personally, I always liked the songs that didn't make MTV better than the singles. There were maybe 4 songs total that weren't singles. Yet, despite this huge success, Nirvana was not the band this should have happened to. Nirvana operated from a different barometer of what success in music was. They were a small market band that played huge arenas, and they were never ever comfortable with it. A lot of people will say, "what the fuck are they complaining about?". My answer to these people would be that not every band forms to make hit records. Nirvana was a band that accidentally had a mega hit record. The media latched on quickly, and only helped to make the band even more uneasy with their fame. It had to be a little tough to see meathead jock frat boys loving "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Makes your music a bit less than authentic. Nirvana was a band that struggled to find credibility in a corporate rock shithole world. They were a credible band, but not in their minds. They did everything they could to change this. I honestly believe that Kurt Cobain would have much preferred to play shitty dive clubs for the whole of his music career instead of the arenas.
They would play a ton of shows after Nevermind, put out a great album of B-sides called Incesticide, and then they began to plan what Klosterman calls, "their bad album". I disagree with Klosterman, and anyone else who thinks In Utero is a bad album. In Utero was a calculated move, a master plan of an album. Everything about the record suggests a band trying to regain some integrity they believed they lost after Nevermind. It seems like they were determined to piss off the same mindless audience that bought their last album by the truckload. Frat boys need not apply. It was going to be an album for the underground kids. They even had Steve Albini master (read produce) it. Albini's name was and still is synonymous with integrity and ethics in indie rock. It also means noise and heavy distortion. Not to mention the man produced some of the greatest indie rock records ever (Pixies "Doolittle" anyone?). So Albini was an obvious choice. It's still a pop rock record. There are hooks, loud quiet loud dynamics, but it's noisy, distorted and almost pissed. There really was only one song that could have been a single. The album just isn't accessible to most people. Yet as I write this I am reminded of a band that should not have been at all listenable to the mainstream public yet also sold a stupid amount of records. Coheed anyone? I'll get to them later. Anyway, Nirvana would not make anymore albums for reasons I think everyone knows. Thus bringing us to my theory. Nirvana was the first band from the underground music scene of the 80's to make it. I mean really make it. Husker Du may have signed to a major before breaking up but by and large people have no idea who they are. Nirvana was the first and therefore set the precedent. Labels are still combing the clubs looking for the next Nirvana. And they have signed anyone they think has any similarity, in attitude or influences. A solid majority of these bands end up in the bargain bin at your FYE, on drugs, or even dead. This is the curse.
If you listen to the radio these days, you will hear an awful lot of bands that have a somewhat punk rock sound. I won't get into why this is a shitty thing but you get the point. However, for every Green Day or Paramore there is a New Found Glory or an Alkaline Trio. For every Dashboard Confessional a Jawbreaker. Or a Samiam. Or a Jawbox. The list goes on. Bands that had their brief little moment on the radio and where promptly dropped the minute their label lost money on them. Nirvana should be a cautionary tale. A story older bands tell younger bands to scare them. This might happen if you sign to a major. Many bands that have come from the underground to the mainstream like to say that "we want to change the industry". Nirvana actually did this, but they weren't trying. Rise Against, Against Me!, take some notes. The Nirvana curse killed Jawbreaker and other bands because these bands weren't comfortable with success. Playing in front of thousands is not why these people picked up instruments. Your band will NOT change a fucking thing.
This brings us to the curious case of Coheed and Cambria. I can't think of any band in recent memory that the Nirvana curse has hit harder. It's almost a textbook case. A small band on a small label, Coheed brought some really original ideas to the table with their first album. First of all, it was (and every album since has been) a concept album. A dorky Sci-fi story I still don't really get. They sounded like Rush and Thursday had a malformed alien child with a story to tell. When I bought that first CD, I thought no person in the regular radio listening world would ever latch on to this. It was original and completely amazing. That's why the next album exploded. It shouldn't have. But it did. The second album was more prog, more metal, and completely weird. Yet I didn't turn on my television once that whole year without seeing their video. It still boggles my mind. How the fuck does a band with a chia pet haired falsetto singer sell millions of records? So what happened? They wrote a shitty follow up record, developed coke habits, and basically imploded. I don't know if this band wanted success, but they definitely could not handle it. I hear now that a new record is on its way (I didn't check out the last one) but I'm not sure many people still care.
There are exceptions of course. There are the bands that not only embrace success but seem to revel in it. These bands were not really independent to begin with. It's a mentality not just a record label. Blink-182 and Green Day wanted the success. That's why they are good at it. It wasn't a hard decision to jump either. Some bands manage to walk that fine line. Bridging success with DIY ethics. NOFX is the best example. Those guys are millionaires but I won't ever hear them on the radio. Maybe NOFX should set a new precedent. I do believe that there are more victims of the Nirvana curse just waiting to happen. Mastodon is an example, AFI as well. These bands will implode. It's just a matter of when.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Yeah, I watched the speech. My assesment? This war is Vietnam II. It was mismanaged from day one and will continue to be so. No amount of troops will change that. All it will do is send more kids home in flag covered coffins. Yes, I am opposed to a troop surge. I am opposed to war as a whole and nothings ever going to change my mind. This is not what I voted for. I voted for the end of two useless wars and health care. Looks like Santa (or in my case Hanukkah Harry) isn't bringing me what I want this year. I should also mention that in no part of the speech did he mention how we are supposed to pay for the surge. Isn't this supposed to be the worst economic climate since 1929? Obviously, our President's not worried about it. The money will magically appear for this I'm sure. Yet, we just can't seem to find the cash for a free health care system in our country. Nor can we find the cash to rebuild New Orleans. But fuck it, we got plenty of money for blowing shit up. Want proof? Watch the same Republican congress people and Senators that blast the public option every day trip over themselves to be the first to praise a troop surge. I'm sure that GI Joe Lieberman will practically drool on camera when he goes on the cable news network rounds in the next few days. Hell, none of their kids have to go fight so what does it matter to them? But pay for a system that guarantees health care coverage to all Americans? Absolutely not. That's socialism.
Maybe everybody needs to see Rambo III.
Jello Biafra (of Dead Kennedys fame...I hope I didn't have to tell you that) has a new cd coming out with his new band. It's called "The Audacity of Hype". That's exactly how I feel right now. Lotsa hype, nothing else. I am pretty close to being at the end of my tolerance rope for this administration. When a Republican takes office, you know what to expect. So when they make horrible foreign policy decisions or have insanely backward ideas about social issues, you shouldn't be surprised. In an odd way, it's almost comforting. Like finding the last roll of toilet paper when you're sure you ran out. In some even weirder way, it's far worse when the Democrats take office. When they take these same batshit crazy policy positions, and act on them, it's almost like a kick in the face. Some recent examples: NAFTA, health care, troop escalations, etc. It hurts because these people supposedly know better. They pretend at least to have progressive ideas and they talk them up constantly. Then we stupidly elect them, and they are reminded by their corporate masters who really runs things. "Fuck up kiddo and we'll make sure you get nothing out of us when it comes time to re-elect your silly ass", "you just keep things normal. Don't get all FDR on us". Then suddenly we hear things like "be patient", "we have a lot of work to do", and other lovely catch phrases of the political bullshit planet. This typically follows another disappearing campaign promise. So I guess maybe we are the ones to really blame. No politician is as progressive as they pretend. If they are, they are promptly taken care of. Ask the Kennedy's if I'm lying. We know this, so we should know better. Now in a year I might eat my words. Obama might pull some crazy stunt and maybe this country will change for the better. I doubt it though. The same people who fucked this country up still have their jobs. Even if no one else here does. Audacity of Hype. I wish I thought of that.
Monday, November 9, 2009
So I was in my car today on the way home from work, when something came up on my ipod's shuffle setting. It was fast, heavy, pissed off and exactly what I needed to hear today. The song was called "Poison Corporations". The band, Aus-Rotten. I am going to tell you all a little story. I was in high school, some snot nosed little kid who thought he knew some shit about punk rock. I had been listening to punk rock for a few years by this time, especially the old stuff like Black Flag and Dead Kennedys. I thought I knew what a pissed off band was supposed to sound like. One day, I see a friend of mine in Hell's cafeteria (Carmel High School lunchroom). He's got his disc man (that was that thing we used to use to put those disc thingys in and it played music somehow), and he's rocking out. I ask the obvious question. He says "Aus-Rotten". I then ask the next obvious question, "who?". He then tells me about the band, where they're from, how he heard about them, how he got the cd, what they're about, etc. He then lets me borrow the cd. By that time he had already lost the cover, so he handed me a jewel case that just had the back sleeve and the cd in it. I look immediately at the cd itself. The print on the disc had this odd logo on it, some really serious looking letter "A" shape inside a circle. The back sleeve was black and white with some pictures and song titles like "poison corporations" and "The Flag Will Cover Coffins". Wow. Serious shit. The cd was called "Not One Single Fucking Hit Discography". I took it home, and it blew my fucking mind. The songs on this thing were the darkest and angriest songs I had heard at the time. The lyrics were screamed but you could understand what they were saying. I knew what they were talking about, and there was not one single bit of irony or hilarity about it. It wasn't like listening to a Dead Kennedys record, where the politics were there but it was done sarcastically. No no. This was straight to the point. This was not a band that would ever play Warped Tour. This was not a band that sung about girls or their high school traumas. This was a band with something real to say.
I had to have played this cd a billion times. I made myself a tape and begrudgingly gave it back to my friend. He then had a tape of their current album at the time, "...And Now Back to Our Programming". This was even better than the discography. To this day when I hear the song "Xenophobia Kills" I go apeshit. I did it in the car today. This opened up a whole new world in punk rock for me. I would never have heard of Tragedy, His Hero is Gone, or anything crusty without this band. I still love the songs, and the politics, and everything that made this band cool. I sometimes still try to draw the logo to varying degrees of success. A lot of bands play in this style, but none in my mind are as good as Aus-Rotten.
Now to address the issue at hand in more detail. Health care is a right. It may not be covered under our constitution, but I believe strongly that if we are going to keep living under the creed, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness" then a healthy American people should be priority one. Now I see and have read about many critics on the right who say that it's unconstitutional, that congress has no authority to regulate the health care industry, blah blah blah. Well, congress also then has no right to allow Verizon and AT&T to listen in on your phone calls, or monitor your library card a la the Patriot Act now do they? Yet, these same people were practically slobbering over the idea that you can lock someone up for what they read. As long as were safe right? These same people probably still wish women couldn't vote, or that the civil rights movement never happened. I also hear (and this is my favorite) a lot about how this is socialism and Obama is a socialist. This is not the 1950's. Using old Commie bating fear tactics is not only outdated but it was never right to begin with. I hate to break this to everyone (especially you free market types, god bless you) but this country is run under a mixed economy. What that means is that we purposely set up our system to have elements of the free market and government regulation, which people like Glenn Beck love to call socialism. Glenn Beck can't fucking spell socialism. We are the only nation in the industrialized world that does not have universal health care for its people. This is unacceptable and to me that is the very definition of tyranny. Being controlled by any private corporate interest is. Just ask anyone who has been denied coverage because of a "pre-existing" condition. Is that not tyranny? Denying someone basic medical care because they have a chronic illness?
Another argument against the public option is the cost. Well that is all fine and good, no one wants to pay more money to the government. The argument is we have no way to pay for it, the deficit will skyrocket, the world will end before Jesus has time to come back and save us all, yeah yeah I get it. Wanna know a really easy way we could pay for universal coverage? It's not that hard really. End our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both wars have cost in 9 years way more than universal coverage ever would. And I'm not even gonna touch the human cost. But wait, I must be crazy. This is American foreign policy. We would much rather sacrifice human life than to save it. Especially if we can open up a few more markets in the third world. Every street corner in Baghdad just needs a Starbucks otherwise the whole thing will just collapse.
Now to address those that want universal health care to die (it already has good job). First, the Libertarians. I understand the want for less government involvement and the want for more freedoms. I also rather enjoy your belief that you live under tyranny. You do, you are absolutely right. However, your definition of how you live in tyranny is a bit different than mine. You think capitalism is the greatest thing on Earth. I think it's one of the worst, next to Taco Bell. Disagree? Take a look at what free trade and unregulated capitalism has done to the third world. Or fuck that, take a look at what it did to our country just a year ago. Also, when you quote Thomas Jefferson on freedom, I can't take you seriously. Like at all. Thomas Jefferson was a founding father, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and a slave owner. The hypocrisy is almost laughable. Next up we have the Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Fox News etc. I shouldn't even dignify these people by mocking them, but I will because it's fun. The last book Glenn Beck read was probably See Spot Run, and Rush Limbaugh is a fat fuck who should take the hot dog out of his mouth before he chokes on that and his own bullshit. Oh, and let us not forget the Tea Party people. I guess racism is still a profitable business to you fine patriots. Let's face it, that is really why these people are out there. It isn't like they're trying to even hide it. Just read some of their poorly written slogans on their signs, or the lovely depictions of Obama's likeness they like to create. Their racism is absolutely charming.
Lastly, we have the one politician I can honestly say I hate. Joe Lieberman. He has been quoted as saying, (I'm paraphrasing, sorry) that he will make sure the health bill will not make it to a vote. Which means he wants to filibuster. A filibuster in layman's terms is when a congressman(woman) stands up and talks until they effectively "time-out" the bill, forcing congress to move on to other business. Try it asshole. You aren't Jimmy Stewart (ask me about the reference). It is not even a secret that Lieberman's wife works as an insurance company exec. Nor is it a secret that the health care industry has Lieberman in their pockets collectively. Guaranteed when he loses his Senate seat he will work for one of them as a lobbyist. You want corruption? Here it is in all it's disgusting glory. Lieberman should be ashamed of himself, but he isn't.
So before I go let me say this. The House Democrats are all patting themselves on the back for passing a watered down health bill. I never actually thought it would pass but somehow it did. The Senate will murder it and nothing will actually change. People still won't be insured, we will still pay for these same people when they go to the hospital, and the corporate American way prevails again. Maybe next time we should actually research the people we vote for before blindly going to the polls. Maybe those of us on the leftward side of things should speak up and say something to those we elected. But this is my opinion. You don't have to agree and most likely, you don't. That's OK because this is my blog. Go write your own fucking blog if you don't like it.
Listening to: Aus-Rotten, Antiproduct, Los Crudos
Sunday, November 8, 2009
So I was in the bookstore again (my posts are gonna start like this a lot, sorry) and I did something I haven't done in years. I walk around the store, cropdusting as usual (the old ladies love that), when I mosey on over to the magazine rack. I look at it for a second and pick up this month's issue of Maximum RocknRoll. I am not sure what compelled me to do this. I once swore I would never pick one of these up again. I remember being very upset with what I read in the magazine last time. For those of you who are not aware, Maximum... used to be one of the most important taste-makers in the punk rock scene. They single-handedly were able to expose a lot of kids to some really important music over the years. They also took it upon themselves to decide for everyone in punk rock what was cool, what political affiliation they were allowed to have, and which bands to label as sellouts for any variety of reasons. So it has always been a love/hate relationship with me and the magazine. However, since the dawn of the internet age and the rise of message boards, punknews, and other resources, MRR has lost a lot of the influence it used to have. I for one see this as kind of a good thing. I have always said that punk rock is whatever you want it to be. I do not like being told what I am allowed to like. They are still an important source for what goes on in the greater world of punk rock, but they aren't the only source.
So what's MRR about these days? Well I can honestly say I was not disgusted with the issue I picked up like I have been in the past. I am a leftwing kinda guy, so the politics were never the problem with me. My problem was always the magazine's dogmatic approach to punk rock. If they don't think the band under scrutiny falls into their definition of the genre, they blast the band to hell. As a result they largely missed the boat on the innovations to the genre in the past 10-15 years. There wasn't a whole lot of that in this issue. In fact, there wasn't much of that at all. What I read was a kinder, gentler MRR. The interviews were interesting, they covered obscure scenes and bands, and god dammit George Tabb is still funny. Maybe the internet age has tempered the good people at MRR a bit? I somehow doubt it, but I think it's safe to say that things have changed just enough that I won't mind shelling out the $4.
Current listening: Los Crudos, Dead Kennedys, MDC, Operation Ivy
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
"Hardcore act Burning Empires (first announced in September) which features Stuart Ross, Kyle Johnson and Ryan Morgan of Misery Signals, Andy Hurley from Fall Out Boy and vocalist Matt Mixon, have announced their debut 7-inch.
The band describes the sound:
BE is a crusty hard-charging hardcore punk with nary a melodic or metal shred in site. The bulk of the songwriting is done by Ross and lyrics are by Morgan who handles vocals (unlike his guitar position in Misery Signals). Ross says of the band "musically I wanted to do a band in relation to Misery Signals, a more punky hardcore version of what we were doing influenced by bands like Propaghandi, Comeback Kid and Cursed.The band has a MySpace page and will be releasing their debut 7-inch November 10th via their own FC Records."
I am not impressed. People in Fall Out Boy should stop trying to pretend they have credibility.
That being said, I think what I see in the current punk rock world as a whole is pretty sad. It seems like the whole scene is in revival mode, and while that's not a terrible thing as a whole, there isn't a ton of innovation going on. Not to mention the fact that reviving scenes and movements that aren't even ten years old seems a bit ridiculous to me. For example, the pop punk revival. Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, etc. are riding this wave that does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. None of these new pop punk bands seem to bring anything to the table. I am not going to sit here and say that the sound they are going for wasn't important in its time. Descendents, The Movielife, Lifetime, early Saves the Day, and Jawbreaker were all very important and vital when they were around and continue to be important today. Punk rock is whatever you want it to be, and these bands flew in the face of scene politics and the tough guy trend. However, those bands may have invented pop sensibility in punk rock, but they (for the most part) stayed independent and promoted their music the right way. The new bands are actively trying to be huge and sign to a major. Don't believe me? Watch what happens when suddenly you hear Set Your Goals on the radio. They will tell all the magazines that they have to do it and justify it with whatever bullshit statement their management can think of. However, trying to be Green Day and Blink 182 is NOT a good thing. More on this in future posts.
Not all revivals are a bad thing. Just that one. For example, I think Bridge Nine records deserves a lot of credit for what they as a company have done in the last ten years. They brought back an era of hardcore that valued message over guitar leads and they continue to do so. Just watching video clips of the Gorilla Biscuits reunion shows is all the proof anyone needs to back this up. Seeing kids singing along to songs they were way too young to even know about just shows the impact Bridge Nine has had these last few years. For every band that leaves the label, there seems to be new a new band ready to take up the slack. As long as this continues, old farts (figuratively speaking) like me have nothing to worry about.
Important listening: Integrity, Disembodied, 108