Weekend Round UP

Not that I have done anything to prove it lately, but I am a photographer. I found out I have a photo up on DCider for an interview about my friend Katy’s band, Trophy Wife. You can check that out here. Yes I posted the photo credit. I hate the internet. No one gets credit for shit. Also I never got told it was used. Similarly, a photo I took at Pygmy Lush is in the new Give Me Back. I really like this zine. Fil is doing an awesome job and told me he might be using my photo. I wish I had know before I bought a copy though. Punk rock likes to take a lot and while I would never ask for payment in the form of cash, I fully believe if you contribute to something, a show, an album, a magazine or a web site you shouldn’t have to pay to play.

Resources are tight these days, I get it. But even if it is a labor of love, the fact that it is something that I love makes it that much more invaluable to me. So in instance one I neither knew ahead of time, nor got credit for my work which is actually a violation of the Creative Commons licence I operate under. In Give Me Back my sweet photo got a credit. Plus I only paid a dollar for the magazine which I would have bought anyway. But the offer to send me a few copies would have been nice.

This whole post however is partly due to said issue of Give Me Back. I went record shopping this weekend. Quite unexpectedly. Smash in Washington DC is always a good time for me and this visit was no exception. I should make the trek to Adams Morgan more often, because I always walk out of there lighter in the wallet, but richer in the music department which is of way more value to me.

So I had actually started off my day at DuPont and hit up Lambda Rising, to finally procure a copy of Jon Ginoli’s book Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division. Dude did a reading there a few months ago but I missed it because I slept in too late. This is a re-occurring theme in my life by the way. But after buying that book I wanted to get the new Pansy Division CD. I hadn’t really checked in with them in a while. I owned Undressed on tape a few years ago, but that was about it. They were a band I supported more in theory than practice. Their music never did that much for me, but I think they have been so integral in shaping this countries slowly changing views on homosexuality. Or at least they certainly helped me out as a kid to understand such things. So I got their new album, That’s So Gay, and it doesn’t disappoint. Musically, they haven’t changed much, still playing that same sugar laden, heavy pop, slightly punk music they have since 1992. It sounds great and fun and poppy and really you can’t go wrong with a little Pansy Division in your collection.

The weekend would prove to be very Lookout Records heavy. I had recently read an interview or two with Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel and this actually got me thinking about a lot of old Lookout bands I never really got into. The Mr. T Experience was one of these bands, so I stumbled on to their seminal and crucial Revenge is Sweet, and So Are You release. Man I have been missing out. 15 of the 16 songs on this album are just awesome. A little more punk than pop, but a perfect complement to their former label mates Pansy Division. I did not buy any Screeching Weasel as Ben Weasel slagged on The Max Levine Ensemble on his radio show and that’s just bullshit and weird. Screeching Weasel ripped off the Ramones to no end. They never said otherwise and I respect that, but if all you do is play three power chords in every song you have no business talking shit on any band at all.

Public Image Limited is a sorely overlooked band. Far greater than his infamous outlet, the Sex Pistols, PiL shows what a great singer Johnny Rotten really is. That What is Not is a fantastic album. Totally weird nineties alternative pop. This ranks up there with Big Audio Dynamite’s The Globe. For anyone over the age of 25 this music still stands up and will freak out those little shits listening to Cobra Starship, Attack! Attack!, and Broke In Syde or whatever the fuck they are called. Little fucking bastards. PiL actually made music, really freaky, far out and weird music, and it’s just as terrifying as it was in 1992.

My Al Burian consumption has been way up lately. I just finished reading the first collected works of Burn Collector and so I’ve been listening to a lot of Milemarker’s fantastic Frigid Forms Sell. I also recently downloaded his one off project Challenger. That album, Give People What They Want in Lethal Doses is so severly overlooked and forgotten that I often wonder if there truly is too much music. I used to own a promo copy of it, but it suffered an unfortunate fate during a move, before the time of iPods and external hard drives. Anyway, I re-purchased Anaesthetic by the mighty Milemarker, another casualty in that move. Not quite as compelling as Frigid Forms Sell, I consider this their space jam album. Long long songs, but still a great listen. Glad I finally revisited this one. Al Burian, guys he is way underrated. Great writer, intense musician. Check out his books and music ASAP.

This next bit is gonna sound really bad. But I was keeping with the theme of re-buying music that I didn’t own anymore or only had on tape. I am happy to say that I once again own Dixie by Avail. OH MY GOD. I forgot how awesome this album was. It hints at the height they would reach with 4A.M. Friday and stands up as one of the best records they ever did. The copy I found was actually a Lookout version, which pleased me greatly, since I have most of the back catalog that was added to the Jade Tree reissues. Along with this I also found Live at the Bottom of the Hill from this mighty band. The sloppy, yet powerful live show is everything I love and miss about Avail. I had a lot of nostalgic feelings overwhelm me this weekend listening to these albums on my drive home. I honestly can’t see how anyone could have parted with these, but I am so glad that they did. A hole in my life has been filled now. Dear Avail, please do another show in Washington DC. Hell do one in Richmond. Please show these kids how it’s done.

Smash once again gave what other record stores do not, lots of great punk rock music and used no less. I also bought a slab of vinyl, but I will get to that when I receive my No Idea order. I bought a lot of music last week. Over $90 dollars worth. Pretty excessive even for me. But man there is just so much awesome stuff out there. I wish I had more time to listen to music. So until next time, keep awesome. This was a long one, thanks for reading.

Against Me – The Original Cowboy

Against Me!
The Original Cowboy
Fat Wreck Chords

This record breaks my heart in so many ways it’s not even funny. My first listen to it, driving around suburbia was that this was nothing more then a money grab, facilitated by whom I don’t know. I don’t want to point fingers here. I’ve been an ardent fan of The Eternal Cowboy since it’s release and maintain it’s the last good album Against Me has left in them. But at first spin this collection of demos just felt cheap to me.

Then I listened to it again and it really made me sad. I’m not going to lie, I tried really hard to stick with this band as they rose from basement shows to opening for the Foo Fighters. But New Wave is a shitty, mid-tempo, boring rock record that this band is so much better than. In fact it is The Eternal Cowboy that proves this and these demo’s just remind me of that fact. In their some what more raw and unpolished form, this is the album they should have released. I don’t fault them for signing with Fat and reaching for the stratosphere. I think it’s a fair goal to have. And even when they signed to a major, I hoped that they would make a really great album again because Searching for a Former Clarity had some great songs, but it was sagged down by a cloud of pot smoke and self pity. New Wave for me was just proof that the nail had already been driven into this bands coffin.

Now it’s been announced that drummer and all around nice guy Warren Oaks has left the band to be replaced by George Rebelo from Hot Water Music. A more hard hitting, consistent drummer is not to be found in the swamps of Gainesville, but he’s got no funk in his beats. At least not as far as I can tell. And despite everything, that funk is still there. I’m not sure a middle aged post hardcore drummer is going to save this band for me. And so when I listen to Oaks smack around on the skins during this informal session I just get sad once again.

If this session was the rumored record recorded for No Idea (the band and Fat state it was the demo’s, but conversations I’ve had lead me to believe otherwise) it would easily have been hailed by the underground kids that quickly turned on Against Me. And I’m not sure why, because The Eternal Cowboy is a much better album. The polish and shine they added transformed this band, even if only for 25 minutes, into something to hope for. Which The Original Cowboy just continually reminds me of too. It’s a hard pill to swallow because I so want to love this band again, the way I did when I saw them in a church “back in the day”. I would have been happy had they continued down this path and still achieved what they did. And I do truly believe they didn’t change to be rock stars, I think they just burnt out really quickly. The Original Cowboy reminds me of what once was, but I don’t think I really wanted that reminder.

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