Mr. Maxwell is back for more!

Punk Is Not Dead! - Letter to the Stranger

Congratulations, the Stranger! You’ve somehow managed to hire Emily Nokes, a music writer that’s even dumber than Megan Selig. Kudos.

But why stop there? Why not take this aging teeny-bopping worthless scenester and make her the editor of the whole music department? What’s that? That’s exactly what you did? Well, once again you’re one step ahead of me and a million miles behind the times. Let’s start with some excerpts of her reviews in your October 10-16, 2012 issue, and I quote:

“aww” – from Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby review

“Double aww!” – from same

“EEEEEEEH!” – from Naomi Punk review

Those quotes are taken out of context, but they are there nonetheless. To be fair to Emily here is another quote from the Naomi Punk review:

“…they take their time, unwinding with high airy vocals and oddly gratifying key changes that fade in and out as they please.”

Which isn’t bad, except she’s describing Naomi Punk, a band that does none of those things. If you go to Naomi Punk’s bandcamp site you get the privilege of hearing two cuts from their latest sold out LP The Feeling. The first one is entitled Voodoo Trust, a bland garagey drone that sounds like it was recorded with a set of cheap headphones plugged into a boombox. They do not take their time. The vocals are anything but airy as the singer whines out of key in the background. Fortunately his poor voice is buried beneath an uninspired derivative surf guitar lick that is repeated over and over until the key does in fact change. Once. To an equally uninspired and stale progression until the song finally ends as though the band just stopped playing for no good reason.

The other song entitled The Spell sounds remarkably similar to Voodoo Trust. So much so that it’s not worth mentioning any further.

Sorry Emily. That shit sucks and you have bad taste. Any band that would use the work “punk” in their name in 2012 is likely exactly that: a bunch of cheap and worthless punks.

But don’t feel bad. Megan Selig is still on the roster and while her writing has improved in the last 5 years her taste hasn’t. She describes the group Black Hills as “pop music with a sepia-tinged vintage sound” and “Picture the late ‘60s or early ‘70s- hippies, really, but with a little rock-and-roll edge.”

Perhaps she’s talking about a different Black Hills than the one I know which sounds like exactly what you would expect from members of Minus the Bear and the Lonely Forest. And that is tepid whiney Seattle shoegaze with just enough electronica injected to make the dentist’s chair feel more comfortable. There is nothing vintage about it unless, like Megan, you think that 2009 trying to sound like 2005 is vintage. And there is certainly no “rock-and-roll edge” or any resemblance at all to anything that came from the late ‘60s/early ‘70s by any stretch of the imagination.

Oddly enough there was a band from the late ‘60s/early ‘70s that did have a rock-and-roll edge called Led Zeppelin. But that’s old and Black Hills is new. So why not compare the two? After all, one is a legendary supergroup that to this day still sells records by the tens of thousands, and the other one is Led Zeppelin.

So good job Stranger. You’ve somehow managed to put your music section in the hands of dumb children that don’t know anything about music and write like teenagers on their phones. According to Darwinian Evolutionary Theory every generation is supposed to get better, but if you use the Stranger as a model it would seem that Devo had it right all along.

Sincerely,

Finneas Maxwell
Olympia