2010 – The Year to Suck Eggs

At least for this hapless blogger, 2010 is shaping up to be a shitty year for music. The second month of the year comes to a close tomorrow and I can count on no hands the number of new releases I have purchased thus far. I can count on one hand the number I am looking forward to. We’ll talk about those soon. That there is nothing on the horizon, at least that has come to my attention make me sad. Music is a growing form of expression. And though I love a lot of “old” music (and lets be frank, there isn’t much music made before 1970 I do listen to, so old is relative), music needs to grow. But in the last few years I feel that music has declined. Bands take less risk, fit more easily into genre molds, shoot not for artistic grandeur but commercial success, katowing to the rise of a new era. But if you think the blogs of the world would pay homage to The Minutemen, The Clash or even the Pixies and especially the early workings of Sonic Youth were they to be born today you are mistaken.

So there are a few records I am wanting to get my teeth into. Beauty Pill, the master works of Chad Clark are said to have a slew of releases this year. There is a rumored 12″ EP thought to be close, the release of the music from suicide.chat.room and allegedly another LP. I’ve even seen the possibility of two LP’s being released. All of this is speculative based on the poetic tweets of Clark but if any of it is true I will be on that shit immediately.

Sacramento hardcore outfit Trash Talk are to be releasing a new album, Eyes and Nines. This record was recorded by one of the dudes in The Bronx and if it’s anything close to the last album, I’m stoked. I hope they flex out a little bit more. I don’t think they need to get too crazy, but I enjoyed “Revelation”, the four minute opus from their self titled outing in 2008.

And lastly, des_ark are releasing a new album this year. This I actually know for a fact. The shit is done, mixed and waiting only on artwork to be completed. The eight song collection, titled Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker is going to be unreal. The quite stuff was recorded by Jonathan Fuller who handled the boards for the split with Ben Davis and the Jetts. The loud stuff, which features former MMMBrains member Ashley Arnwine on drums, was lovingly captured by hardcore bro Kurt Ballou. Seriously, this album is going to fuck up your life in the best way possible. This record can not come out soon enough.

If you got anything you think I should check out, drop me a line. Otherwise I am gonna listen to a lot of Funkadelic and the Minutemen. Fuck shitty safe music. It’s total bullshit. Listen to The Watt from Pedro Show. That shit will blow your fragile little mine.

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Fuck you snow

Unlike so many other people in the DMV, I actually have to work from home during this. Should be an interesting day today, for there may be no snow left to shovel, I have pulled muscles in both my right leg and right arm and feel completely fucked. But the pain is so minimal now because des_ark has released a new song from her most recent WXDU performance. This recording is AMAZAZING and the song is totally fucking beautiful. This comes correct with news that both the WXDU performance AND a new full length are shortly on the horizon. If Aimee doesn’t rip at yr heart strings then seriously, you have terrible emotional problems.

If you head on over to Day Trotter you can check out three new No Age songs. These are brand spanking new. I must say, they are really getting there shit together as a band too. The latest EP Losing Feeling released last year is leaps and bounds over Nouns in my humble opinion. They have reigned in the excessive noise, retained the lush chorus induced distortion and made some great new songs. Check that shit out.

Finally, the most prolific band out of Long Island has once again drop some serious pop punk/ska infused rockery upon us. Yep, Bomb the Music Industry is fucking BACK again with, take a breath, Adults!!!..Smart!!! Shithammered!!! And Excited By Nothing !!!!!!. I think I got all of the exclamation points. Probably not. Who gives a shit though, because they do not undercut the excitement slapped in your face. It’s free, but you can pony up and donate to the boys if yr feeling up to it, which you should be.

Alright, well I am gonna go fucking die now from excruciating pain and then go hack at my work computer and attempt to get caught up. Fuck the snow. Winter is bullshit. Being cold and wet sucks. Thank goodness for a three day fucking weekend. To all you people that work for the government, thanks for getting me a job, assholes!

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Late to the party, late to the wake

Def Jux is saying….uh something not good. This week, CEO, artists and amazing performer El-P basically laid out the future of Def Jux, saying the premium independent hip hop label was going on a hiatus as it reorganized.

This, for many fans is sad. Def Jux was a lot of people’s connection into the Hip Hop world. Indie Rock fans, turned off by the corporate sheen of mainstream hip hop found something engaging in the Def Jux roster. It’s approach to branding while heavily influenced by hip hop history, was also tied very closely to punk rock origins. I think of Def Jux as being closer to Dischord, Jade Tree and SST in there respective heydays. Every release Def Jux put out was something you had to at least check out. Plus there trifecta of Mr. Lif, Aesop Rock and head honcho El-P were unstoppable. The best tracks on I, Phantom, Bazooka Tooth and Fantastic Damage were unreal. The way those three different personalities hit the songs they shared was a kick to the face of the rest of the hip hop.

Least we forget Cannibal Ox. If you do not know CanOX, you don’t know shit about hip-hop. The Cold Vein fucks your mind, body, head and soul. Vordul Mega and Vast Aire backed again by the genius of El-P made a work of art that is still so fresh and beyond what anyone in music, let alone hip hop has done since it’s 2001 release. I don’t care how long you’ve listened to hip hop, how many records you have, how many shows you’ve seen, if The Cold Vein isn’t in your collection, you are fake as fuck.

Seeing Aesop Rock and El-P live in 2007 and 2008 were some of the best shows I’ve ever checked. Hangar 18 killed it so hard with their track Bakin‘ Soda that I made two friends go see them in Chicago in ’08. Cool Calm Pete killed it for us. Cage frightened us. Camu Tao, never got a record out before he past on this year, but 2010 will see his album. Shit, Def Jux brought Dizze Rascal from England and even put out the first Del album in over a decade too. They were unstoppable.

So to see that they are stopping, even for a small spell is shocking and sad. I’ve only begun to start branching out to other labels, but none of them have the appeal, camaraderie or talent that Def Jux had. I don’t like this shit at all.

So to Def Jux, thank you. You are a rare label, one that I could get behind, support and be proud to be a fan off. I felt an affinity for what you did. I hope this is not good bye, but just a down time. Hip Hop needs you, but bigger than that, the music business needs you. Peace.

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suicide.chat.room – Flashpoint Theater

suicide.chat.room

Taffety Punk Theater Company
Flashpoint Theater, Washington D.C.

Back in 2000, on a bar stool at the Galaxy Hut, when Marc Nelson, now Marcus Kyd, told me that the Most Secret Method was going on hiatus so he could study Shakespeare and pursue acting I was devastated and agitated. Any one who knows me well enough is aware of my violent aversion to Shakespeare and my great love for the Most Secret Method. I got a DUI two days later from that meeting. I do not believe they are unrelated.

Fast Forward to 2007, it’s the summer, Marcus Kyd produces a one act play called The Devil in his own Words. This piece is culled from dozens of texts about the devil. Using literature and religious texts, Kyd created a singular, striking, compelling and dare I say in this Christian climate, sympathetic voice for the fallen angel. Seeing this performance was akin to watching Lungfish play music, or a screening of the film Gas Food Lodging. It stuck with me as the greatest thing I have seen on the stage of actors. Watching this, I knew that despite my own hurt feelings, Kyd had made the right choice. A fine musician, singer and lyricist he may be. But his passion is for the theater. It fuels his life’s blood.

So with the arrival of suicide.chat.room once again Kyd has re-appropriated the text of others. A Shepard Fairy of the theater almost, Kyd takes what we believe we know and feel about something and renders it into a new, more intense image. And this time, he has help from two very talented people, that bring this dark, mysterious world to light.

With everything in this play that is striking and intense, the piece that captures the urgency of the topic begins with the choreography. Designed by Paulina Guerrero, the weaving of these handles nearly accepting and always rejecting each other, displays the longing of the words found from a screen and turns them into wanting voices. Without these movements, so intimate and longing and yet still dismissive and full of agony, we have vacant words pulled from a computer screen. The anonymity of the internet always seems to forget that there is a voice behind that written language. Guerrero’s choreography highlights the humanity.

Along with music by The Beauty Pill, it also visualizes the internet as actual, physical space. The broken soundscapes that accompany the chaotic movements helps to highlight the same anonymity these chat rooms employ. Under this social confidentiality contract, people weave there innermost anguish in full public. These are not closed forums mind you, but the desire to enter them is singular to one type of person, those who have considered, attempted or witnessed suicide. Ultimately, we find that the movement and sound become the internet space, fractured and separated, but no less real or intense. Chad Clark, Beauty Pill’s mastermind, cracks open his masterful song writing, and lets the contents spill into a beautiful chaos.

And so now we face the text. Before seeing this play I was very angry about it. Kyd after all took much of this text from actual suicide chat rooms. These are the true and real words of actual people. And though I trust, and have now witnessed, Kyd’s delicacy with this world, I still feel as though some violation has occurred. But, much like the subjects of this play, I can not articulate this anger. I find there is a fine line between what Kyd did with the texts of religion and literature and what he has done with the words of those who want to end their lives. Having said that, it is a beautiful, necessary and intense piece of art. And until I can articulate this fury (and I hope never to be able to) I support this vision. suicide.chat.room is what art should be, controversial.

From the subject to the pretext of the source, the music, the body movements, it is confrontational and contentious. The audience will not be rendered the same before they enter that black box. Even if you lack the understanding as to what brings people to this point, and I do not believe that is the aim of this piece, you will be supplied with fodder for the brain. No one talks about suicide, no one talks about depression. These ideas are considered abnormal, but suicide.chat.room, in exploring the anonymity of it all shows us, that it is very real and very prevalent. The voices in this play could have come from anyone, anywhere, for any reason. They resonate as the voice of so many among us all. This is where dialog can begin.
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