You know what a song about crippling depression needs? Ted Leo's nervy guitar. This version of "Dancing In The Dark" comes courtesy of my friend Richard Allen Smith, who was part of a crew of friends attending Ted's D.C. show this weekend. Simply one of the best TL/Rx performances I've seen, and -- not to be that guy -- I first started seeing Ted solo when he was playing the "Tej Leo" material at Brownies on Avenue A accompanied by a tape loop.
Speaking of that show: does anyone who was there remember what Uncle Tupelo song Ted covered? I have never heard a single Uncle Tupelo song (I know, I know) and that one made the hairs on my arm stand straight up. (Never mind, it's called "Whiskey Bottle." Now to Spotify it.)
"You call me up/ and you talk about money," complains Ian MacKaye on Embrace's classic "Money." (It happens that Spotify has the Land of Greed World of Need cover album, so I'm rolling with Lifetime's version.)
Well, dude, OK. But what if your friend just lost his job or can't make his mortgage or can't get the loan he needs to put his kid through school? And he just needs an open ear to vent? I get that we shouldn't be so materialistic, but -- sorry for this -- if I ever THOUGHT a-BOUT it maybe sometimes it's not such an imposition to ask a friend to help talk you through your money troubles.
It's the world's greatest holiday this weekend, so let's start an argument. Earth A.D.: underrated record, right? Clearly the most hardcore Misfits album, it's got none of the mystery or coolness of Static Age, none of the punk of Walk Among Us, none of the iconicism of the Legacy of Brutality collection. Or! Maybe it's got all of that together, just played really fast?
All I know is when my dog lays his weary muzzle on my leg to take a nap, I scratch behind his ear and whisper the lyrics to "Hellhound" to him.
I mainly, at that point in time, liked reading books and listening to CDs, and it was the latter that pulled a brick out of my mental wall on this issue. Sonic Youth had a song on their 1992 record Dirty titled "Youth Against Fascism", and it had the lyric "I believe Anita Hill/Judge will rot in hell" on it. It almost feels like an understatement to say that this lyric blew my mind. A man standing up for a woman---a woman he didn't know, especially---in a dispute between a man and a woman over sexualized mistreatment? I had never experienced that before, and probably thought of it as simply impossible. Most women treated other women who spoke up about this stuff like pariahs, so the idea of a man calling bullshit, and being so angry about it, was just unbelievable to me. It felt so incredibly subversive. I didn't want to be caught listening to that lyric. It seemed dirty to suggest that there was any alternative to simply enduring sexual harassment in silence.
Imagine a place where young boys learned that calling bullshit on men harassing women, and to support the women who did the same, was their obligation as men. Not in a mansplainy or patriarchal way, but as a way to police -- and fulfill -- their own masculinity and humanity. I learned that from punk rock.
I will never stick up for punk rock or hardcore as a place where women are free from harassment -- or where it's easy to be a nonstraight nonwhite nonmale person. No collection of teenagers and 20somethings is like that, particularly not one based around shared obsessions. But pivoting off Amanda's post, it is important that that is a value punk rock sets for itself, where you will be put on the defensive if you disagree and challenged if you do not live up to the standard.
Above my desk I keep a photograph that my wife bought for me of ABC No Rio. ABC No Rio is a punk club and (former?) squat on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan where every Saturday afternoon a motley assortment of bands perform. I think of it as the punk rock version of the Boys & Girls Club, because that was the role it played for me as a teenager. It socialized me and shaped my values. If you wanted to be part of the committee that booked bands, planned events and made decisions about the direction of the venue, then all you had to do was show up, commit to clean the place up, and submit your suggestion for consensus. That was DIY, an ethic that became a religion and taught teenagers about individual and collective responsibility.
Most importantly: it was supposed to be a place where you would be made to feel unwelcome if you groped someone in the pit; if you made a homophobic or racist remark; or if you engaged in otherwise destructive behavior.
Your Neighborhood Pusha presumes that the normal rules of post-9/11 politics apply to President Obama:
Obama went the back route/ killed bin Laden, 'nother four up in the Black House
Yeeeuch. It's kind of crazy that even in an era of 9 percent unemployment, the president who ordered perhaps the greatest special operation in history would even be in a race for reelection right now. You think George W. Bush would ever let that happen? No, it would be a contest between The Guy Who Killed Bin Laden and The Guy Who Didn't.
Yet have you ever heard Obama brag on the bin Laden kill? Never. And it's not like Obama has a better story to tell. "The economy could have been a whole lot worse" is a great message for a one-term president. Pusha knows more about politics than the entire Obama reelection team.
Valerie Caproni is the most important national-security official you've never heard of. As the general council of the FBI, she's had a hand in practically every significant domestic surveillance, evidence-collection and counterterrorism measure of the 9/11 Era. And today she's decamping from the FBI for the verdant, lucrative pastures of Northrop Grumman.
So who wants to join me in an ironic pop group themed around terrorism called Caproni Youth? I will drum, and I nominate Julian Sanchez as our frontman.
How is it that the culture hasn't gotten over the fact that every presentation of celebrity is manufactured and inauthentic? Anyone who cares more about Lana Del Rey's backstory than this amazing ballad is an utter fool.
Look. The singer from Sleigh Bells used to be in a girl-pop group. It would be churlish to deny that Justin Timberlake, the N SYNC veteran, is a supremely talented entertainer. When I was in elementary school, I listened to Hot 97 before it was the world's greatest hip-hop station -- in those horrific pre-Nirvana days when it was the off-brand competitor to Z100 for your Another Bad Creations and Extremes -- and I listened devotedly. You had bad taste too. In fact, you still do.