Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ever heard of Kate Nash?

I've heard of her, and were it not for Metal Only, no Rubbish, and The Collapse Board, I still might have missed the latest brouhaha.
Personally, I don't think it's much of a song, but so what? It's not always about what I like. I don't think it matters. Not when there are artists out there doing everything better, so I'm not really in it for the song.
Here's a few thoughts: let's say I'm a horrible sexist. Does that make it a good song? Let's say that Rocknroll is a boys club- is there any reason why it shouldn't be?  Let's say that she is angry for a good reason- was this the best expression for it? Let's say it really is Punk rock, is that a good thing?
See, I think that it's a throwaway filler track, and what's more interesting to me is what people want it to be.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saw the Hives

Ever consider Puns? The lowest form of humour and all that, but they're also some of the most efficient forms of joke telling, aren't they? One word stories, they're both genius and dross.
The Hives are like puns. Taken on one level, they're pure, dumb rock. That's a good level. I was standing near some grown up frat boys, and I'm positive they were on that level all night long, and they had a great time. But, on another level, they're a distillation of the last 40 years of rock, compressed into 90 second songs.
However much like puns, so much depends upon tastes, which are idiosyncratic and random. I can understand if they're not to your taste. If so, I hope you can at least respect what they're getting at: there's a reason they go back to the word "idiot" and the back drop was a maniacal puppet master.
Also, despite reputation, in what way are they a "garage band"? I really think of them as more like a punk rock satire. Just a thought. And yes, I enjoyed the show.
I didn't care all the much for the opening bands- The Flesh Lights played pretty basic punk rock, while Fidlar played skate punk. However, both bands were very young and raw. Flesh Lights looked under 20, while Fidlar asked if anyone else was 24 or younger because they "grew up on the The Hives". So, allowances must be made, and talking with the bands after the show, The guys in Fidlar really seem excited and like great guys- they're on a high playing rocknroll, and that might carry them to do something really worthwhile.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fiona Apple, Sea Creatures and Twinkies

Have you seen the new Fiona Apple video? Ok, then, here you go. Let me get this out of the way: the song is crap. Fiona Apple does music that's too timid. On top of that, she panders to the worst impulses of her listeners. I'm not a fan, and I don't want to waste time on crap. However, a few things are worth noting:
First, I am a big fan of sea creatures. Octopus, squid, shark, and Seahorse, I really do find them all fascinating. So, the octopus hat drew me in to watch the bloody thing, and then I saw what I really want to talk about:
Ms Apple needs to eat a damn twinkie. Yes, that's a crass way to put it. However, I've dealt with eating disordered people of various stripes, and there's no way to be delicate enough for them. They are just like any other addict; manipulative, devious, and ultimately self-serving while at the same time self destructive. So, just like you have to walk on eggshells around a junkie, an Anorexic will want to dance around the plain fact that they are starving themselves to death. Well, guess what? I don't think that's a worthwhile cause, so my answer is "Eat a damn twinkie". Now, I know there's been talk of ms Apple having an eating disorder before, but I haven't been part of that discussion. Personally, I didn't know. But, seeing this video: yes, she has an eating disorder. Not just because she's gaunt, drawn and pale, but because she is displaying all the other symptoms as well, from bad teeth to fine body hair. I'm willing to bet that no-one around her is able to question her genius, either, because she's so brittle, right? Well, I'm not her friend, and I don't think she can revisit anything on me, so without any need to be nice, she needs to re-evaluate her lifestyle choices. Maybe get high, maybe buy a new sportscar and sleep with 20 year old  know nothings, maybe buy a lot of shoes, but eating a twinkie needs to be high on the list. Why a twinkie? Because absolutely everyone knows they are bad for you- nothing but empty calories. She needs to let some control go, and admit to herself that she might do bad things, but that, in and of itself, is unimportant. What ultimately matters is having a genuine human connection, and even then, only as equals. Hell, her music might even improve.
Now, I know. I'm not a doctor. I don't know Fiona Apple. We have met, but that's just an industry thing. I know that it's awfully presumptuous to talk as if I know what she needs. At the same time I feel like I'd be the worst kind of hypocrite if I didn't say something, because we all see it all the time, and it drives me to distraction: we all see people at the grocers, or on public transport, or whatnot, and it's just obvious what the problem is, yet we say nothing, and some of these people quietly die because no one would say anything. I'd much prefer for people to think I'm an arrogant prick than for someone to kill themselves following some mental rabbit down the rabbit hole. So, if I'm wrong, so what? I still stand by my assessment. This is what it appears to be. Fiona Apple needs to eat a damn twinkie, and then, find a better therapist, one that isn't trying to be nice, and will confront her with what she's doing. I'd want nothing less for myself. So, if I'm wrong, that's cool, but I bet I'm not.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Punk Rock Biography

I don't claim to be a Punk Rocker. However, I've been listening to Punk Rock since the seventies. I was a pre-teen, and I'm middle aged, now, so it's safe to say that Punk re-directed my life. Still, I never wore the uniform, and I never limited my tastes, which would have labelled me really punk except when I discovered the subculture was a particularly defensive time, so I got the label "poseur". I understand the reasons why- if  you're both being attacked from above ( police, government, media) and from all sides ( peers, family, co-workers) the safest route is to take up a badge, and band together- and, keep in mind, I wasn't necessarily doing much better- I simply wasn't going to trade tribes, when any tribe I chose made me a target. So, I was a poseur, and good with that, just like I still am.
However, I'm writing this as I watch a DVD called "Punk's Not Dead" . Oh, it's revisionist, just like every one of these autopsies on Punk- which well and truly died in the early 1980's, make no mistake- but just one thing stuck in my craw- they're not saying the word- but unspoken thing is everyone is trying to prove their 'cred"- the old punks talking about how they were hated, Corporate heads of Hot Topic and the Warped Tour talking about how they're not the enemy,  Second, third, fifth generation bands and fans talking about how they're carrying the torch, and there's something in me that recoils. I've never been too fond of "purity tests".  I don't like that kind of wall-building. But would it be so bad to say "I'm not punk. God, I sure do love The Clash, but it's 2012, I'm in my forties, I'm a middle class guy, so no way you could call me a Punk". Or, wouldn't it be refreshing to hear some 20 year old say "I'm no punk. The bands I'm inspired by were themselves inspired by Punk Rock, but I'm off on a tangent"?  Or best of all how about "Punk Rock? I read something about that, once. What's that got to do with me?"