31 January 2009
This is the greatest thing ever. I'm a late comer to hardcore – really, if you're over 15, you're a late comer – but it doesn't take an expert to see that JD Twitch has piled the cream on thick here, even if his definition of hardcore is a bit more expansive than most: The Pop Group? Swans? Sonic Youth? Hey, I'm all for inclusiveness; depending on your point of view, the only thing (well, not the only thing, but if you don't already own Minor Threat's Complete Discography...) missing is some Millions of Dead Cops or "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting".
17 January 2009
06 January 2009
I am in the transcription trenches--Randy Randall, from the an interview I did with No Age in October, with a florid, extended mix 'n match metaphor:I guess this means that if Kurt Cobain had to deal with Pitchfork he might have shot himself while Nirvana were still on Sub Pop.
"That’s the irony of this. The thing is that for decades there has been amazing underground culture in LA that has just been passed by media, we're in the belly of the beast, and thats been one of the reasons why it’s been able to exist. Because everyone has their eyes on the prize, chasing the dragon, we can just continue to exist, just be dirty kids hanging out at the Smell. And no one pays attention, and so we can get away with doing our own thing, and then suddenly the dragon turns it’s head on you and says “You belong to us! You are from LA, come into the fold.” We’ve been here the whole time and you didn’t want to know anything about us! We poked you in the eye and now you want to be our friend?"
05 January 2009
So the real question is: did I enjoy their album, Midnight Organ Fright, more than Viva La Vida? Well, Coldplay are at an advantage, freely admitting to world-beating aspirations (Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People is their fucking album cover for crissakes), whereas Frightened Rabbit from the name on down seem to be under the impression that they can con sensitive frat dudes and their dudettes into thinking they make bedroom pop, which they do if you happen to sleep in Madison Square Garden. Coldplay have progressed beyond communicating human emotions to rally-ready sloganeering, which is great rock and roll fun if you prefer Hannah Arendt to Elvis Presley. Frightened Rabbit still communicate human emotions, but not the kind real people have, at least not regularly; rather they convey the types of complex, grandiose Emotions that, in reality, are only regularly expressed in real life by someone sitting next to you on a packed commuter train into their cell-phone. FR fill the same workaday Wagner role as U2: if you ever want to feel truly self-conscious about the gap between your interior life and the genuine article, think about it the next time you are listening to "Where the Streets Have No Name" on your iPod while waiting in line at Starbucks.
03 January 2009
02 January 2009
The flip side of the coin is Springsteen's live cover of Suicide's gorgeous, elegiac "Dream Baby Dream", recently released on a limited edition 10-inch on Blast First records. On paper, "Dream Baby Dream" makes "Working on a Dream" look like Proust: "They say that dreams they keep you free baby/Yeah you gotta make them dreams come true/Oh keep them dreams burnin' baby/Yeah yeah keep them dreams burnin' forever..." Yet where Springsteen's song sounds on record like a second-hand summation of his career by a third-rate imitator, Suicide's tune is a reinvention, taking what would otherwise seem like an amalgam of tossed-off cliches and investing them with an inarticulate emotional resonance. Suicide's original rendition is a surprisingly tender, if anxious, reading: Elvis coming down off of the speed. Springsteen's advantage as an interpreter is in his richer vocal instrument, which lends the song a sincerity – perhaps credibility is the right word – that elevates "Dream Baby Dream" into that rarified all-or-nothing territory; say what you will about The Boss, but when his losers lose, they lose big. But if Springsteen breathes new life into the song by locating it within the context of his own mythology, Suicide reinvigorates Springsteen by giving him a new dead end to drive to. In "Dream Baby Dream" he finds a new language in which to offer Jersey girls the old empty reassurances while sitting in a car that's forever parked in the darkness on the edge of town.