Thursday, March 25, 2010

tea party for fucked ups

It's hard to make an anthemic punk record about the shared anxiety and frustration of this moment. Young urban 20-somethings (h-words) in 2010 have no Springsteen, yet we have exponentially more stimuli to be pissed off about than any generation before us. How do you properly sum up the dread and confusion of being a disconnected young person in the most connected moment in history? What do you do if you feel alienated, even with ALL of the ways we have made ourselves the most socially connected humans ever? How do you feel disaffected when you're more embraced by the powers that be than ever before? Also, what the fuck is going on?!?

Much has been made recently of this record's raucous chants, Civil War themes, Springsteen references and sea shanty-inspired singalongs. And there have been bands that have done it very recently, as well (Fucked Up could have done it better but didn't). But this record, which is a quasi-concept album about a 20-something transplant in Boston from New Jersey, is a snapshot of a very real, very authentic angst that, unlike that of Springsteen or punk, has a completely amorphous adversary. "The enemy is everywhere," is one of the most visceral hooks. The opposition forces are so vast, so bewildering, that it's just too hard to wrap it up elegantly. There's just too much information, too many flashing lights, too many people to compare yourself to (on facebook, on reality TV), too many disparate and constantly changing cultural movements to keep up with, that sometimes the only way to break through it is to just strum the shit out of your guitar and scream something very old and very familiar at the top of your lungs. This feels like the underside of all the whimsical, detached reconnection to American cultural roots that we see in everything from fashion to tumblr-blogs that glorify anything khaki or wooden; it feels like a real working American man's despair in 2010, filled with nostalgia for stuff he doesn't know and smothered by more stimuli and "art" and relationships than any man should have to filter in one lifetime.

Also, another testament to the healing power of alcohol.

Titus Andronicus, "Four Score And Seven" by gardnerz

Monday, March 15, 2010

people are freaky then you die


Dead Luke is a kid from Madison, Wisconsin, where I went to college. He makes music by himself and has it released on cassettes by the Night People label. This tape sounds like it's the only thing left after a doomsday scenario and some of the magnetism is fried but still enough is left untorched for Dead Luke to inspire a mystic cult of followers. I really wish I had known this kid.

01 People Are Freaky Then You Die by blatanti

From, in my opinion, one of the two or three best music blogs, this band has an awful, pretentious, unpronounceable name that actually kinda suggests their sound quite well; it's amorphous, muffled, and sounds like it is packed with gauze. Like the part in a movie when someone gets hit in the head really hard and everything slows down, it both throbs and drones. This particular song recalls both the super slowed down "chopped and screwed" drug music of Houston's DJ Screw and the gentle psychedelic bludgeoning of Spacemen 3.

oOoOO, "No Shore" by blatanti

From a blog I've been checking out with equal frustration and curiosity, this is funny name, weird music. One long phrase on a short walk that picks up harmonious friends and strangers along the way, some dropping out before they come back in with more steam and stamina. It's like staring into a tunnel made of reverb. He's in a band called Emeralds and releases a lot of music on his own. This is just him with a guitar making ambient drone music that sounds very pretty.

Mark McGuire, "Postcard" by blatanti

"Jonas describes his technique as 'a spirited conversation between man, machines, and the ecstatic truth of the chaotic unknown." I'm so feeling the California electric-analog beard hippie vibe. This is some dude from California who makes Krautrock and cosmic music (like Cluster and Tangerine Dream)-inspired analog synth music. Berlin meets the Pacific Coast Highway.

Jonas Reinhardt, "How To Adjust People" by blatanti