Here is a cool feature from Indy Week, a North Carolina weekly published in the Triangle area (where I grew up), featuring an interview with David Sullivan of Red Fang. He talks about his time in Raleigh, NC and copping riffs for Red Fang jams from songs he wrote in his former bands: Willard, Shiny Beast, Mercury Birds, Facedowninshit, Last Of The Juanitas, and Party Time.
...the Portland, Ore., band's accessible hard-rock hybrid arrives through a knotty backstory that starts in Raleigh, where Sullivan began his first bands while a student at N.C. State University in the '90s. In its short existence, Willard picked up a following and a contract offer from Mammoth Records. When Willard dissolved, though, Sullivan took some songs he'd been working on to drummer Brian Walsby and started Shiny Beast. Heavier and more serpentine than Willard, Shiny Beast took cues from Honor Role, Bastro and The Minutemen. They married the thickness of Shellac to the agility of Polvo. The songs immediately floored Walsby. "It almost sounded like [Sullivan] had been saving that stuff," he remembers.
(ahem) "Shiny Beast took cues from Honor Role, Bastro and The Minutemen..." Derp. Why no mention of the obvious CAPTAIN BEEFHEART influence AND reference, bro!? Anyways, it's true. When Shiny Beast started playing it was a departure from the post-hardcore and dual guitar action which was the foundation of Willard; a group which sprang from post-HC group, Days Of... I saw Shiny Beast play prolly every time they played till late '94, they were amazing. This too was concurrently with Richmond VA's Breadwinner's and Polvo's ascension; for a few years in the early '90s Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, the Triangle, was really ground zero for the underground's progression.
Shiny Beast's heavy and abrupt instrumental rock earned a strong local following, but the band never took off, despite tours with Polvo and Erectus Monotone. They broke up after a half decade. Sullivan then joined Red Fang drummer John Sherman's Greensboro-based Mercury Birds. Shortly after the turn of the millennium, they moved together to Portland.
There was a time when everyone in Raleigh wanted to move to Portland because, it was "so much like Raleigh." A notion I never understood. Oh yeah, as for the band reappropriating riffs, "FUCK IT!!" I love this...
To wit, Sullivan admits that Red Fang often lifts from its members' collective catalogs. "I would call it a natural progression," he says. "We do tend to cannibalize old riffs. But we're like, well, fuck it. It's never the exact same riff and nobody knows those songs anyway."
In the comments section of Cienna Madrid and Paul Constant's hilariously accurate review (titled "Roar" and the Search for Meaning) of Katy Perry's new album Prism commenter brian_3520 begs to differ:
I disagree with most everything in this album review. You really don't understand Katy and her music very much. You like what you like. That's fine. Like all art, it's all in the eyes and ears of the beholder and the so called "expert reviewer" has a lot less influence over other people's opinions than they think.
Katy is evolving in her music ... trying new things like artists do. Millions and millions of other people around the world will like this new album. She's probably going to be megastar for years to come like Madonna has been since the early 80s. You'll see.
Katy is a "real deal" musician who knows her stuff. She's been in the music industry since she was about 14 or 15. She paid her dues, learned instruments and the whole nine yards as a typical struggling musician on the small venue circuit for several years ... from age 15 to 23 or so. She's no Disney kid creation. She had help from good producers along the way though.
Since she's trying new types of songs this new album likely won't be a grand slam homerun like Teenage Dream was. It would have been very hard for Katy and her collaborators to do "Teenage Dream II" and have all those smash hits again ... six Hot 100 #1 hits I think. It really IS one of the best pop albums of all time. I like nearly all the songs on Teenage Dream and a lot of the songs on her first album.
Seems like Katy has been evolving from pop/rock to pure pop and now towards inspirational "deep" pop or whatever. Who knows, maybe for the next album she will start all over and be "rock and roll Katy" again like she was on her first album tour. There's lots of Prism colors and parts to Katy like the title of her 3D movie "Part of Me" goes.
She will be doing a few poems from her first book, The Punks Are Writing Love Songs, but will mostly be presenting new unreleased work and hinting at possible plans to incorporate electronic-music elements into her shows. Her stylized performances are unique presentations of what poetry can be, the energetic punk aesthetic a welcome addition to an oft-dismissed art. With LAKE, Your Heart Breaks.
Face to Face are coming to town! I'm real excited—they'll be at the Showbox at the Market June 30. While listening to the band this afternoon the question popped into my head: How many times do you think the band's singer Trever Keith tells someone to go away (or to not go away) over the course of Face to Face's discography?
Let's have a look!
Here is a list of Face to Face songs in which singer Trever Keith tells someone to go away, walk away, fade away, and/or turn away (or to not do these things, or walks/fades/turns away himself, and etc.):
"Walk away / Try to see things in a different way."
"So go on turn and walk away / I guess there's nothing left to say."
"Don't say I'm not trying, trying to do what's right / Now it's time to walk away."
"I Won't Lie Down"
"I'm not afraid of the price I pay / I won't lie down as you walk away."
"So you can keep your faith and I'll just walk away / There's no reason for me to stay."
"Don't Turn Away"
"Don't you turn away from me / I can't say another word I haven't said before."
"I don't want a game that I don't no how to play / Just go away."
"So many words to say and no one to hear / Why did you go away?"
Why? WHY? Because you told us to, Trever, CONSTANTLY.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I chose to spend my Friday afternoon. You're welcome.
“I never learned to swim, and I’m tired of holding my breath.” —“Monster in Montauk,” Hounds of the Wild Hunt
Several months ago I watched a woman end her life. Sort of. Maybe. It’s still unclear what exactly happened. See, back in October my husband and I were in New York City—visiting friends, eating everything on Momofuku Milk Bar's menu, and riding public transportation that isn't worthless—and one night we decided to take the Roosevelt Island Tramway over the East River to Roosevelt Island to gaze at the city’s skyline from across the water. It was a dark, chilly October night, the perfect fall night for a walk. It was just a few days before Halloween and, no fucking joke, we saw a person in a Grim Reaper costume walk past us and disappear down an escalator to get on the subway. The Grim Reaper had a scythe. It was spooky and funny at the time, but now it's just spooky.
While strolling down the sidewalk that follows along the river, a man who we didn't know was behind us, started yelling at us. He was shouting something about the police and a woman and the river. He ran towards us, he didn’t speak English very well, and kept insisting we call the police. After 15 seconds, maybe 30, I don't know, we realized what was happening.
"Is there a genre called cuddlecore?"
Mother's Day niceties, exchanged via Twitter:
"No more wire hangers ... Happy Mother's Day," F. Bean wrote on Sunday... Love wrote back: "I worship at your awesome feet and long leggy legs. You mad witch child."
Yesterday Grimes posted a really excellent blog. Now that she's done with her recent tour and a new album she's going to "taking the time to overhaul everything and make it better," while considering this list of things she wants to see change. I think everyone in the music industry should read it—artists, critics, fans, humans. An excerpt:
im tired of being considered vapid for liking pop music or caring about fashion as if these things inherently lack substance or as if the things i enjoy somehow make me a lesser person
im tired of being congratulated for being thin because i can more easily fit into sample sizes from the runway
im tired of people i love betraying me so they can get credit or money
I’m sad that it’s uncool or offensive to talk about environmental or human rights issues
I’m tired of creeps on message boards discussing whether or not they’d “fuck” me
I’m tired of people harassing my dancers and treating them like they aren’t human beings
I’m sad that my desire to be treated as an equal and as a human being is interpreted as hatred of men, rather than a request to be included and respected (I have four brothers and many male best friends and a dad and i promise i do not hate men at all, nor do i believe that all men are sexist or that all men behave in the ways described above)
Well said, Grimes. Thank you.
Amanda Palmer doesn't impress me. She never has. And while I've never bought into her exhaustingly whimsical pro-artist nonsense that's actually really self-serving and obnoxious, I've also never felt the need to physically recoil at anything she's done. Until now. Until reading her "A Poem of Dzhokhar," where she writes:
you don’t know how many vietnamese soft rolls to order.
you don’t know how convinced your parents were that having children would be, absolutely, without question, the correct thing to do.
you don’t know how precious your iphone battery time was until you’re hiding in the bottom of the boat.
you don’t know how to get away from your fucking parents.
you don’t know how it’s possible to feel total compassion in one moment and total disconnection in the next moment.
you don’t know how things could change so incredibly fast.
you don’t know how to make something, but the instructions are on the internet.
You can read the whole thing here. But, be warned—if you don't like it (and many people don't) that's not Palmer's fault. That's your own inability to see what the poem is really about. And her response to that criticism is what makes it all the more awful:
now that everybody's panties are in a twist, i'd like to say: the poem is actually about more than you think it is. read it again.
— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) April 21, 2013
Why is this poem so terrible? Besides the fact that is just really bad? Gawker sums it up pretty well (for once):
"A Poem for Dzhokhar" is not, really, "for" Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old college kid who, along with his older brother, allegedly detonated a bomb at the Boston Marathon last week. It's for Palmer, a deluded and opportunistic narcissist who sells rhetorical snake oil to people too full of unearned self-regard to join an actual cult.
It's fake empathy. It's shallow and insulting and, it reads with an air of ego that insinuates that Amanda Palmer does know these things, or, at the very least she understands and empathizes with Dzhokhar for not knowing. But she doesn't. She knows shit about Dzhokhar and his parents and why he was born or why he did what he did and how he was feeling through even the most mundane points of his life. It's just gross.
Thank god for Maura Johnston, though, who calmed my anger when she started the "You Don't Know" Twitter trend last night, keeping me entertained for hours. Silver lining, I guess.
you don't know how to trust a big butt and a smile.
— maura johnston (@maura) April 22, 2013
"Build a good name", rock poet Patti Smith advises the young. "Life is like a roller coaster, it is going to have beautiful moments but it is going to be real fucked up, too", she says.
I wish they still made humans like Patti Smith.
In this week's music section, Charles Mudede examines all the different kinds of hiphop hands that there are:
Hiphop hands are rooted in the communicative rather than the decorative—they function to enrich, enhance, and even dramatize the things a rapper is saying. In this respect, hiphop hands are much closer to the deepest and oldest parts of human language.
When Fabolous uses these hands in the video for the Just Blaze–produced track "Breathe" (one of the greatest beats of the '00s), he raps, "I space myself and just take a deep breath." Meaning, he needs room so that he can think clearly and make sound decisions. But to get this breathing room, you and everybody else need to back up off him.
In the video for the Beastie Boys' "So What'cha Want," the late MCA covers his whole face as he raps, "But like a dream, I'm flowing without no stopping." When he releases his face from the hands, he turns his head this way and that, like a man who was in the dark for many years and is now dazed by the bright light of the sun.
Read about all the different kinds of hand gestures that there are here!
Hard and sharp but still youthfully chaotic, the experimental punk sound grabbed me from the start. The quartet's new album shows clear progress from their 2011 debut, New Brigade—taking more risks by venturing into no-wavy major-key progressions (see the driving opener, "Ecstasy"), hints of pop melodies (the Thin Lizzy–esque "Rodfæstet"), and even a light power ballad ("Morals"), while remaining firmly grounded in their fast and loud musical roots. I thought I had found a new favorite rock band, and planned on attending their March 21 show at Barboza. That is, until I was alerted to some serious allegations leveled against them, when all the band's alleged racist, fascist, and white-supremacist glory was brought up on music criticism website/think tank Collapse Board.
Over the last few days I've had some amazing conversations with friends about what punk means to them—the positive impact it's had in their lives, the people they've met because of it, the people they are because of it.
Now I want to hear yours, too.
This isn't to prove anyone right or wrong. This isn't to declare anything bullshit or not. This is just to share some stories.
I'll go first—here's just one of many:
When I was barely a teenager, growing up in a suburb of a suburb, I was, as so many do, existing on a diet of pure self-loathing. I was into "grunge" music—Nirvana, Alice in Chains, even Candlebox—and since a lot of that music was filled with even more self-loathing, it didn't really help my misery. (It comforted me, sure—I still love Nirvana—but it was hard for me, a 14-year-old high school freshman, to feel 100% comfortable with the lyrics to "Rape Me," for example. My love for Nirvana grew stronger later in life, when I was less intimidated by them.)
But when I was introduced to Operation Ivy, my outlook changed. Their music was just as snarly, just as imperfect, but their message felt so much more positive. Less "You're a fuck up, we all are, and it will never be okay," and more of "It's okay to be a fuck up! Let's figure this shit out together!"
It happened almost instantly in my brain, like a light turning on. I realized that being imperfect in society's eyes didn't mean I was a fuck up, and more importantly it didn't mean I couldn't contribute in some way. I wasn't supposed to just conform or get out of the way. That was just the beginning for me, and it was huge. It still feels huge when I think about it, even if it might seem unimpressive on
paper blog. Thanks, punk.
So, what's your story?
Long Winters frontman and local Twitter star John Roderick wrote the cover piece in this week's issue of Seattle Weekly—it's called Punk Rock Is Bullshit and it's 3,228 words about how, uh, punk rock is bullshit.
One major flaw of the piece, though, comes in the first half, where he takes a moment to recognize that punk's not all bad:
Admittedly, punk rock was a club that accepted all the misfits. It channeled adolescent anger and frustration into positive and inclusive feelings of belonging. This is not an insignificant achievement.
Boom. Thesis dead. With that 30 words right there, Roderick completely shits on the rest of his "punk is bullshit" arguments because, like he says, that's not an insignificant achievement. That's the whole point. That is the reason punk is, in fact, not bullshit. It wasn't supposed to "defeat Reaganism," as he says, it was just supposed to get people through it. And it did. Same with the Bush years. And high school. And shitty childhoods. And being broke. And any other frustrating or shitty situations people need an outlet for.
And the fact that punk rock, both its attitude and its music, continues to do that on a daily basis for so many people? There's just no way that's bullshit.
But instead of taking it in stride (unfortunately being the butt of jokes is part of the job of being a mega-superstar), Swift addressed the comments Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made at the Golden Globes (about how Swift should or shouldn't date Michael J. Fox's son after having just broken up with rumored boyfriend Harry "One Direction" Styles) by saying:
You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, "There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women."
I agree! I mean, if Hell existed I would agree. But yes, the sentiment is true. Women who go out of their way to be against other women are lame. And I'd totally be on Team Taylor here, if only she hasn't built a career on singing about how awful women are. Swift's catalog is filled with tales about women who are standing in the way of her and her dreams. They're keeping her from her perfect man or otherwise threatening her happiness.
In "You Belong With Me" she sings:
“Hey what are you doing with a girl like that / She wears high heels / I wear sneakers / She's the cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers."
Women who cheer and wear skirts? The worst!
In "Who I’ve Always Been" she, again, shits on a woman who is/was more popular than her:
"Let's talk about your childhood days / You were the prom queen, I was on this stage / So where’s that crown gotten you these days?"
Prom queens? Terrible!
See also: "What Goes Around/I’m Not Sorry" ("I heard you found out / That he’s doing to you / What you did to me / Girl, you got what you deserved") and "Invisible" ("She's never gonna see the light / No matter what you do / And all I think about is how to make you think of me / And everything that we could be").
Swift's career relies on her marketability to come of as your best friend—someone you'd want to bake cupcakes with or call to vent about your boyfriend to. But ladies, Taylor Swift hates you. So long as you are not her—so long as you wear short skirts, join the cheer squad, win prom queen, or have the audacity to date a man she's also attracted to—you're A-W-F-U-L and you are the enemy. And there's a special place in hell for you.
Fuck that, Taylor Swift. You can be the prom queen and be awesome. You can wear a short skirt and not be a high-matience monster. A woman can date a man without being your goddamn competition. For all the shit Swift gets thrown at her for calling out ex-boyfriends in songs, it's her woman-shaming that I find so much more repulsive.
As I said before, I was in the company of my band manager girlfriend so our room turned into a nightmare of a people getting ready for the Grammys and all the fancy parties beforehand. A fashionable New York stylist was hired last minute to run around and pick up swanky clothing for the band and their girlfriends. She pulled borrowed racks of suits and dresses from showrooms and estimated the amount of clothing racks packed in my room to be about $200,000 of stuff.
After literally tripping over piles of Armani suits first thing in the morning, the stylist lady kidnapped me for most of the day to drive around LA with her while she screamed at people about shoe sizes and borrowing diamonds on speaker phone. Crazy Stylist Lady suggested that I wear a nightmare pair of diamond studded stilettos, but I couldn't stop wobbling in them and started to feel juvenile for never having mastered heel balance. I was later calmed after chatting with a girl who informed me that she also walks like Ace Ventura in heels, and that she only bought the Fluvogs she was wearing because one of the reviews was by someone who said that they could walk in them even though they had MS.
We were finally ready for the infamous Clive Davis pre-Grammy party, which had an alarming amount of checkpoints and was packed full of important looking old guys and celebrities.
Important observations about this party:
*Everyone was seated at tables while Clive kept introducing important person after important person for standing ovations. After a while my feet got super tired and I had to stop standing up (I mentioned the wobbly shoe thing.)
*Alice Cooper and Joni Mitchell were at a table nearby. (Everyone knows that I hate to spread rumors, but what if they were dating? That would be the most amazing couple.)
*I decided that me going to these parties is like a non-Catholic going to check out the inner-workings of the Vatican or something.
*A Whitney Houston memorial tribute video played—the one where she performanced all sweaty and amazing with one dangly rhinestone cross earring and her hair was at the height of '90s poofy triangle-head fashion. Her death looms over this event because she was found dead in her hotel room upstairs in the midst of last years party.
* Johnny Depp was sitting with Tim Burton, Miley Cyrus and Wiz Khalifa were killing wine bottles together at the the other end of the room.
*Joni Mitchell kissed me on the cheek because I said something amazing and charming to her in a champagne haze.
* I met the guy who wrote the Boy Meets World theme song. He tipped me off to the fact that he might be doing the new theme song about the show Girl Meets World, the sequel about Cory and Topanga being married! (I've heard the most important, relevant music gossip ever at this party!!)
*Jennifer Hudson played at the end of the night. I texted to ask a friend who she was and was met with total disgust at my ignorance, "Jennifer Hudson was on American Idol then went on to win an Oscar for Dream Girls. Her mom, sister and nephew were murdered in Chicago by her sisters baby daddy. It was so fucking sad. All over the news. Then she lost a bunch of weight and looks amazing. She is an American hero. I love her like l love Beyonce."
I relent! And thusly, I've come to a decision. From this scrumptious butterscotch moment forward, I will totally embrace regret. Cultivate it! Wallow the fuck in it. Just like everyone always expects me to this time of year around here. HAPPY?
Now, calm down, I know: In the so-called "past," I've been all, "Ooooh! Look at me! I'm Adrian and I'm so cool that I never regret anything ever because I'm so totally above it all, so STICK IT, SUCKERS! HA!" But never again!
From now on, I promise to wrestle myself to regret's dirty basement floor, hog-tie myself in agonizing ropes of pointless repentance, take every single thing I could possibly regret for any silly little reason whatsoever, crumple it all up into a big ball of backward-looky misery, douse it in gasoline, light it on fire, and cram the flaming mess right up my own contrite and weepy corn hole. REGRET!! Let's do this.
Okay, no, wait. The problem is, with everyone so happy getting gay-married all over the place and/or acting so... I don't know... oddly mellow... lately. And what with the vile Repugs getting their evil asses finally handed to them over and over again on a no-longer-quite-so-silvery platter (more like a dirty old paper plate covered in chicken grease and dog hair) by He Who Remains Our Glorious Leader (hooray!).
This year, I regret playing Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face" six times in a row on a jukebox, even though it's one of the best songs ever. I regret writing that any band sounds like Ariel Pink, when it's just lazy shorthand for describing someone's music as "kinda weird." I regret not alerting anyone that Math the Band had to reschedule the show that I previewed in the paper. I regret that not every concert this year could be Jeff Mangum filling the Moore Theater with tears, Annie Clark crowd-surfing while the sun set on Coachella, or Frank Ocean captivating a sold-out Showbox at the Market with his sheepish charisma.
Holy crap. It's almost Thanksgiving, and we forgot to vote for the best Halloween haiku. Doi, double-doi! There's a some candy and a box of lighbulbs at stake here, so do your duty AND VOTE! Read the haikus after the jump...