Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Off the Hook

Sitting in my room a million miles from anyone I am related to; Israel is decimating the Gaza strip, someone on eBay has bid up a Fingers 7” to five thousand dollars with five days to go. Meanwhile in the land of the brave, I just ate a burrito and am listening to the new Lebenden Toten LP. The part in “Youth of America” when Greg Sage says, “I don’t wanna be born here again / Do you wanna be born here again / This ain’t no existence...” Consumption doesn’t pay when you have nothing to say at two in the morning. Nothing left to buy so why even go to work. The world is about to end and it’s gonna take us out with it. People losing their jobs and living in car park communities, millionaires not being able to afford Lear jets, aging dowager aunts being cheated out of their retirement funds by Ponzi schemists, Pakistani truck drivers being killed by militants on the Khyber Pass because the US doesn’t provide security for them once they’ve delivered their goods to the army bases. Who is “us” anyway? People who didn’t go to grad school that work shitty minimum wage jobs? People with expensive educations making value judgments on those without? The mythical private liberal arts colleges and Ivy League schools where rich girls are formed, and those there on scholarships learn to exclude previous life experiences or to form combative identities based on said experiences… The worst. I spent Xmas making cookies and listening to the Eskorbuto song “Ha Ilegado el Momento (el fin)” over and over. Posh enough for you? Does one ever get over class resentment? Over the fact that grad school or even university isn’t a given in the world I come from? The parents that pay the bills. Doomed till the grave to minimum wage?
So say a sneaker company gives your band free shoes a few times a month, and maybe when you played a record release show for your LP a beer company sponsored the night, and shit, you don’t make any money at your ‘real’ job, so fuck it right? I mean that’s a kind of freeganism (barf!) and hey—you’re totally getting free shit from corporations, sticking it to the man and so forth. The total joy of having to explain why MRR doesn’t review bands on, or distributed by, major labels, and why MTV also negates your band. Mostly to people that should know better. It’s strange to exist in a time where careerist musicians who wanna make it also want the “credibility” of DIY and/or being in MRR. A weird sense of deja-vu—maybe it’s the fact that grunge is back? If your band has a publicist and plays South by Southwest shows sponsored by Levis jeans why do you need MRR? Something that does not exist to provide cred for bands on their way up to the flaccid indie circuit—it’s for bands and people and scenes that exist outside of that world, for the kids by the kids. Not for bands looking for fans, that ultimately wanna play Clear Channel owned venues. That sounds like that part in Decline…where the kid talks about The Cramps coming to town and charging a million dollars and only playing over 21 venues only so the punks can’t go. It’s hard to talk about shit like this without sounding like a cardboard cut out punk-rocker™ and maybe it’s because the generation after mine came of age in an era that wasn’t defined by the Dischord ethic. More to come on this fascinating subject in the future, times a million.
When the idea of something takes the place of anything actually happening, like No Age talking about “DIY” culture on MTV, like KBD hardcore bonzer record speculation, another coffee table about punk rock ephemera, your memories, your talismans, a conversation you had. Like worrying about the lack of ideals in the punk community when children are scrambling for the scraps of corn that drop off the back of delivery trucks in famine ridden Zimbabwe. As if bemoaning the fact that the punks would rather discuss broken Koro 7”s and figure out how to perfectly mimic Power of Expression means anything in the face of total global catastrophe. It’s like the stereotype of parents telling their kids they gotta eat—think of the starving children and so forth, as though the starving children will be affected at all by that days meatloaf consumption, or lack of. As if the kid will be affected by the starving children, an idea, an impossibility in the face of being chauffeured to school in an SUV, and gallon size mayonnaise jars and televisions bigger than windscreen windows.

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All I Gotta Say Is the Kids Don’t Care
1. There’s an all-girl Dead Moon cover band in town called Dead Poon. Not sure what I think about that.
2. H├ęctor of Spanish punk band Otan did the cover this month, and when we got the proof back from the printer we suddenly realized that it was highly unlikely that any prison readers would actually get copies of the magazine as a result of said cover. So we’ve designed a special, ltd. edition prisoner only cover for this month, which you will only see if you are currently serving time. We often get the magazine sent back to us, returned to sender from prisons for the most random reasons—one example being the issue with the Carbonas on the cover. They’re holding skateboards and looking dirty and goofy, one of them wearing a beret and a striped shirt—that was rejected by an Orange County jail for featuring ‘gang signs.’
3. The Embarrassment LP for when you’re in the mood for some tetchy sounding Midwestern art punk.
4. Paco is reissuing the Ultimo Resorte discography. If you are in the mood for circa ’79 desperate sounding Spanish punk with the best lady vocals you should send off for it! There’s a great interview with the band in the June ’07 MRR (#289) and I know both me and Golnar have played the shit out of their music on MRR radio if you wanna check it out. www.lavidaesunmus.com
5. Moss Icon demo
6. Lebenden Toten – Near Dark LP. Holy shit. Chanel’s voice. Someone interview this band for MRR!
7. Trying to figure out if I still like Mika Miko, maybe I’ll have to reserve judgment until the LP comes out, but the vocals and feel of that stupid Sub Pop members (or eBay only) 7” were not quite it for me… Not sure what the difference is.
8. Arguing with Hubbs about the drums on Is This My World? He says it’s like having Yngwe Malmsteen in a hardcore band, in short a virtuoso who ruins the band. I say: Listen to that record! Undeniable.
9. Finnish Spunk LP
10. whatwewantisfree.blogspot.com my columns on thee web.
Layla at maximumrocknroll.com is the email at which I can be reached—insert lousy correspondent disclaimer.