Friday, August 28, 2009

It's not my imagination

I was trying to find a picture of XYX to use to illustrate something on the MRR website, and found a post on a blog about them, the comments section of which contained kids, from their own scene dissing them, and all the other Monterrey punk bands (from Los Llamarada to Ratas Del Vaticano) for being posers. Not only that, but they were accused of being a weak simulation of a sound that other countries do much better, which clearly isn’t the case for any of those bands. And what even does that mean?! Specifically I can’t think of anyone, from some mythical “other country” who does what Ratas Del Vaticano do better, which is to say pummel the audience with an eloquent yet furious and raw punk sound... Their LP is rad, but really does not even come close to capturing the power and energy of seeing them play. Watching a band without a front person can be non-compelling; this band dispels that idea immediately. This was the first time I have seen a band own the stage, without moving at all. They made the Clash look like pantomime dames, their stance combined with true and total spun out fuck you sounds. Hardly anyone was at the show, and I made NN come after band practice, resulting in all of them buying the LP and a five second slam dance. Martin called it when he described them as classic Mexican punk churned up through some raw early Rip Off records style. They fucking ruled and blew me away. If you have a chance to check them out live DO IT. Seriously, go see this fucking band!

XYX played to a similarly sparse crown at San Francisco’s only all ages space, and were similarly crushing, albeit in more of a Godheadsilo style—though to call this band a derivative of anything is to undermine what they do. It’s probably the just the bass and drums only combo that brings to mind that comparison. They are both amazing musicians to watch, and the song writing, particularly on their two 7”s is phenomenal. It’s kind of big and dumb sounding, like a deconstruction of rock music, which after all is what punk is right? And that to me is why their music is so compelling, it’s got this sneer to it and is sorta ugly and stylish, intellectual somehow but dumb in the best way. I liked watching them play at a show they probably weren’t super comfortable playing, being that every other band was an all dude hardcore band of varying types, because it made it clear that they really own their sound and that they have a clear and transmutable band idea they are able to transmit even when out of place…

I can think of few places that have as exciting a scene, at least from an outsider’s perspective as Monterrey right now. I was talking to the kids in Ratas about their other bands, and tapes they’d put out or were putting out, and it was so fucking inspiring, and exemplified to me the punk ideal… Making your own band and sound and scene, representing your friend’s ideas, your community. It’s easy to dismiss what’s happening in your own town as unremarkable compared to mythical scenes that exist elsewhere. People have been doing it since the beginning of time, that feeling of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think that’s what drives people to make something happen, or to throw in the towel, and write off everyone that hasn’t given up as a poser and a rip off. What is punk rock except a rip off anyway? What can you do with three chords? It’s the sound of people figuring out how to make their own sound in the face of shitty, tame rock music…

All of this brings me to one of the most frustrating aspects of punk life in San Francisco—the lack of a decent all ages space! You may have heard rumblings about a five day festival, or rather frenzy that we are putting on in conjunction with Thrillhouse, the purpose of which is to raise the funds to both help Maximum, and to set up a DIY punk run show and community space in San Francisco. I grew up in London, England, where although most shows are held in pubs, you can pretty easily sneak into them from about age 14 and up, since the age limit for drinking is a more reasonable 18 there. And at that time at least there wasn’t a national ID card, so you just had to memorize your fake birth date for the person on the door. I definitely got kicked out of some places for being underage, but they don’t card you unless you try and buy drinks, and I think there might even be some weird law that says it’s ok for kids to go to pubs under certain circumstances… Punk and hardcore are by the kids and for the kids, and 21 and over shows are exclusionary, and bar culture is boring and depressing. MRR columnist and current teenage terror, Brace Belden was unable to attend the aforementioned Ratas Del Vaticano show as a result of his age, along with the fact that his fake ID has a picture of a 60-year-old man on it. 21 as the legal drinking age seems insane to me, I know teenage binge drinkers are a constant tabloid rage subject in the UK, but the fact that you can vote and have sex here at 18, but can’t go see a show at a bar is fucking ridiculous. I went to see Deep Sleep play a couple days ago, same bar as the Ratas Del Vaticano show, and I knew that there would have been at least twice the amount of people there if it had been an all ages show. Having a hardcore show at a bar seems especially inappropriate…

***

So Cissie has announced her decision to move on from MRR this month. I have really enjoyed working with her over this past year, putting together this thing you hold in your hands. Staying up all night the week we go to print, freaking out because we are a couple thousand dollars short on rent and it was due yesterday… The fourteen hour work days and the satisfaction of knowing that we managed to make it happen, whether it’s averting another financial crisis, a printing disaster or finally getting a band we both to love to submit an interview. Running Maximum is easily the most satisfying thing I have ever done. It’s also the hardest I have ever worked; I don’t think you can explain how hard it is until you actually do it. I have worked on the magazine for six years and been close friends with all of the coordinators during that time, and I had no idea until I took on the coordinator challenge what I was getting myself into… Anyway we need you! If you are interested in applying for the position of content coordinator email us, mrr@maximumrocknroll.com and we’ll get you an application. No one gets paid, but you do get to live in the MRR house, amongst the green tape and years of punk rock history…

1-Jerk Ward discography LP (MRR need this if you put this out can you send one for review/the collection?? This band were from the same scene as Neos, similar age and crazed sound...) 2-Mottek–Hypnose LP 3-Dead Clodetes 2nd 7” 4-Skate summer late nights at the DMV 5-Pizza for every meal

Whatwewantisfree.blogspot.com

layla@maximumrocknroll.com

4 comments:

fuckyoudraculas said...

i saw a link to this blog via mou's twitter (xyx drummer).
im also from monterrey but im not living there right now. audience in monterrey is weird, they dont realize what great scene they have, which could be a lot better if people would be more receptive and open minded.
but im glad there's people in other parts of the world realizing (and simple enjoining) what great bands are coming out from there. it's incredible how mostly of people there are still sceptical about this bands even when they are having this kind of success. i dont know if it's just envy or what.
xyx is my favorite band from monterrey, and im happy they are making this great music and showing it to the world.
i have some photos from them if you want to use them for your feature:
in monterrey, it was their first or second show ever
http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=145704366&blogId=342859738

their first time in sxsw austin, this year
http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=145704366&blogId=480636227

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=145704366&blogId=484533130

greetings!

jaime

Señorita Anhelo said...

The craziest bands always come from terrible places. Monterrey is hot, expensive, makes you want to stay the whole day in the same place with the cooler on. The people are terrible, makes you want to be alone. Sounds like time for jamming dropping acid with the weirdest friend you have and make a band with a math name, ha ha. That's my E! True XYX story.

whatwewantisfree said...

if either you wanna write a report on the Monterrey scene for MRR i would be so psyched...

Señorita Anhelo said...

absolutely. how many words?
get in touch... senorita.anhelo@gmail.com