Tag Archive: punk


Top 10 garbage music of 2014

 

HornsIf we go through every year with a deluge of horrible shitty music, why should this year be any different? Not that Taylor Swift pop shit. That other shit. That other shit that people listen to and wank to the idea that they’re listening to cool alternative or indie music, but really it’s just more drivel.

This is my list of that other shit. Shit that music know-it-alls – the college radio stations, the indie music rags, the self-proclaimed underground pundits – tout as big and clever, but really, it’s all just derivative bollocks.

It takes almost nothing to impress someone these days. The music industry isn’t fucked because of piracy. It’s fucked because the music itself is shit.

Before I go on, I must qualify that while this list seems overly skewed towards females, it wasn’t designed to be so. Gender didn’t factor into the equation. It just so happened that this year, we seem to be lauding a lot of shitty music being pumped out by bands that just so happen to have a woman take centerstage.

So, here we go.

 

  1. Angel Olsen. I was fucking duped by Angel Olsen. Or is that with Angel Olsen? A friend of mine at work pulled me into his office excitedly one day to play me Angel Olsen. He played the slightly crunchy track, “Forgiven/Forgotten.” Hmm, not bad, I thought. Not terribly original, but it was a familiar grind that I was fond of. So I picked up the album. Talk about fucking bait-and-switch. Maybe with the exception of “Hi-Five” which like one of the best efforts to channel Roy Orbison in recent years, the rest of album was boring, moaning shit that’s been done a million times better by the likes of Beth Orton, Laura Marling, and about a hundred others before her.

 

  1. Sylvan Esso. Why the fuck are we even listening to this band? Admittedly, I only just found out that this was a band was more than one person. I thought Sylvan Esso was just some woman’s really unfortunate name. But no, this duo actually chose a name that sounds like a gas station handing out GEDs. But never mind the name. Is there anything new or interesting we’re hearing when we’re listening to Sylvan Esso? Seriously, they sound like a mopier version of a shitty band that are shitty at making any money off their music despite being tapped for a Hyundai’s Christmas TV campaign. Fuck those guys and fuck these guys.

 

  1. Future Islands. For fuck’s sake, just watch this and try not to want to fucking die. At least David Brent had the decency to be goddamn satire.

 

  1. The Black Keys. I’m glad I chose the right side in the Black Keys-versus-Jack White let’s-see-who’s-better-at-ripping-off-the-blues feud. “Lazaretto” was fucking superb, even if most of the appeal was the cool-as-hell Ultra LP vinyl issue. Because, let’s face it, it didn’t take Jack White’s album to make you realize that the when The Black Keys aren’t recycling the blues through a fuzz pedal, they’re pretty shit. Stop trying to “grow” or whatever shit musicians feel they need to go through to try and reinvent themselves. We all bought your first records because we liked the way they sounded. Keep making the shit that we used to like from you. There’s a reason AC/DC’s lasted all these years – they’ve spent 40 years singing strictly about their cock and balls; granted, they suck, but at least they had the brains to figure out what’s working for them.

 

  1. tUnE-yArDs. First off, you’re a grown-ass woman.   Stop spelling your name like an Adderall-fueled 6th grader who posts selfies on Instagram at least 75 times a day. Second, forced quirkiness is the worst kind of quirkiness. Covering up a sheer lack of talent with the fog of deliberate eccentric noises doesn’t make you an artiste, it makes you a charlatan. Or Jonny Greenwood. Which is sorta worse.

 

  1. Real Estate. If you can find a more boring band to make it big in 2014, you’re either lying or… you know what, let’s just leave it as you’re a goddamn liar. I have no idea how such boring music can make me feel so fucking pissed off, but hey, Real Estate, you got it done. Also, I fucking hate that they’re named Real Estate. Sunny Day Real Estate should sue them for sullying half their equity.

 

  1. FKA Twigs. You, too, can be FKA Twigs. Pull 8 to 10 random records out of your music collection, and play all of them AT THE SAME TIME. Then grab a mic and just sing some shit into it in your most wispy, twee voice. Voila! You just made an FKA Twigs record. I wish she’s fucking tell me what her name is now, not just what it used to me.

 

  1. Courtney Barnett. Take what you like about Dylan’s signature monotonous vocal style, rip any heart out of it, give it to some shithead from Australia who nags herself through every song like she’s trying to push a heavy bicycle uphill and you get Courtney Barnett. Sorry for even drawing you into this comparison, Bob Dylan (even though you kinda suck these days).

 

  1. Perfect Pussy. What made Minor Threat, Big Black, or Black Flag so much fun to listen wasn’t just the angst; they had songs that had form, some trajectory. Growing out your armpit hair and screeching into a mic for 3 minutes does not make you a formidable punk act. There’s no fucking way these guys actually write or rehearse anything. It’s all just “play really fast and loud, and Meredith, just act like you’re really pissed off that someone fucked up your kombucha order.”

 

  1. Tweedy. What better way to produce an album of dad rock for the pleated khaki masses than for a dull dad to record with his even less interesting son. Tweedy are the Dockers of pop, the sort of band that English teachers put on when they’re feeling “alternative.” I never liked Wilco or Son Volt or any of that shit, so to see that this is now being passed on generationally is really disappointing.

 

Honorable mention:  Foo Fighters.  Sonic Highways wasn’t their shittiest album to date.  But it’s right up there.  The only reason they get a pass is because of their HBO series.  As rock docs go, it’s pretty lousy and pedestrian.  But I’m glad that someone mainstream’s taking the time to try and bring Nashville, Steve Albini, the whole Positive Force scene, and desert rock to the masses.  But Sonic Highways is still a shitty, shitty record.

 

Boy, did this year fucking suck when it came to music.

 

 

 

You’re too Canadian

METZ

Forget the “eh” suffixes, forget the poutine, forget the moose and beaver jokes, forget aboot it all.  The oft-overlooked Canadian stereotype is that they’re a painfully polite bunch.

This was never more evident that the show I went to a couple of nights ago:  METZ at the Bowery Ballroom.

It was hard for me to imagine what this show was going to be like, given that this is a band with only one album.  One album that comprised ten songs, with a total running time of about 28 minutes.  The last time I saw a band with similar credentials, it was Vampire Weekend at Terminal 5, and I swear that show was done by 10:30 – 10:30!! – and no one had any idea what the fuck to do with the rest of the night.  We were all let out of show, and I swear I saw kids in pajamas getting ice cream with their parents.  That was just fucking weird.

But METZ are nothing like Vampire Weekend.  I guess folks categorize these guys as noise punk, whatever the fuck that means (I fucking hate these categorizations because they’re all trying too fucking hard, and each label is more meaningless than the next).  A power trio from Toronto that’s not fucking Rush.  They don’t suffer Graceland-era Paul Simon-type melodies.  These guys are built one thing and one thing only – noise.  So maybe I shouldn’t get too concerned.

After a couple of entirely forgettable opening bands, roadies cleared the stage and started to set up for METZ.  After a very quick setup – gone are the days of thirty pedals on the floor with a rack of half a dozen guitars; now it’s one instrument going into one, maybe two pedals and that’s it – the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered… and the roadies came back on stage.  Wait, what?  Holy shit, those weren’t roadies – those guys setting up were METZ themselves.  I’d never seen that shit before – a headlining band setting up their own gear.  “Oh, that’s alright, don’t go through any bother, we’re quite happy to take care of ourselves.”

How painfully Canadian.

The lead singer/guitar player looked like a millennial Bill Gates.  The bass player looked like comedian Rob Delaney.  The drummer, fuck knows what he looked like but he was back there machine-gunning away at the heads.

A couple of polite hellos and boom, off they went.  Bill Gates launched into a rapid, piercing riff and shrieked into the mic like a dragon whose balls had been set on fire.  Eager headslamming on stage; in front of me, a mosh pit quickly formed.

A mosh pit?  That’s adorable.

About that mosh pit – it was the nicest, most gracious mosh pit I’d ever seen.  I mean, how often have we gone to show where fuckheads who don’t know how to mosh end up slamming around and punching someone in the face, then a fight breaks out, and everyone gets tossed from the floor by security.

In this case, everyone knew how to mosh.  It was weird, but everyone followed the unwritten rules of moshing.  If someone fell, a bunch of guys would reach right in to help pull him up.  Girls jumped into the middle of it, and the guys would take it easy.  Despite all the slamming and stomping around, there just wasn’t much angst and rage.  The mood was more, “hey, we’re just here to have a good time”, not “hey, we’re here to kick the shit out everyone.”

It was the most polite mosh pit I’d ever seen.  Meaning, it was the most Canadian mosh pit I’d ever seen.  Which begs the question – did the band bring their own moshers?

Back to the band, METZ’s on-stage presence bordered on being marginally comical.  When the amps were screaming, they shrieked and raged like banshees.  Between songs, Bill Gates would gently thank the crowd, “Thank you so much, you guys.  We’re so happy to be here.”  Insane noise machine one minute, boy scouts the next.  It was this seamless transition between madness and gentleness that made it all so fucking bizarre.  Yet, remarkably refreshing.  Here, check it out yourself:

Even when the bass player had blood pouring from the bridge of his nose when he slammed his head into the mic, he sheepishly told the crowd, “Excuse me, I’m gonna have this looked at to make sure I don’t need the hospital.”  He came back with duct tape between his eyes (a proper rock move), thanked the crowd, and then resumed slamming his head to his bass lines.

So, so Canadian.  Canada rules.

 

 

Adventures in solo concert-going

 

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The concert had been planned for months and with about a week to go, I found out that I was about to go to this concert by my own damn self.  The show was in Brooklyn, and the band was !!!.  Granted, !!! are not necessarily a household name, but they’ve been around long enough to have a bit of a following.  Frankly, when I found out they were going to play in New York, I was surprised that the band even still together.  For being some sort of dance-punk band, !!! don’t really make too much social noise.

In any case, fondness for the band aside, I was now not looking forward to going to this show.  Because I think going to a concert by yourself is more than a bit sad.  It means that pretty much everyone else you know would rather be doing something else than to go to your dopey show with you.  I take this shit personally – it’s like an implication not just of your company but also of your taste.

Thankfully, the missus saved me from this lonely agony.  Not because she was going to come with.  Fuck no, she was going to stay home, probably put some awful show on Netflix, and go to bed by 10pm.  This concert wasn’t even going to get started ‘til after 10pm.

Instead, she told me that someone who works with her is going to show as well and that I should meet up with her at the show.  “She’s soooooo impressed that you know this band, and that you’re going to their concert.”  Huh?  “What she means is, for someone your age.”  Turns out this person is at least – at least – 10 years younger than me.  Some sassy, concert-loving 20something who’s going to her first show at the Music Hall in Williamsburg.

Oh, for fuck’s sake.  I’m now more depressed than ever.  Now I really don’t wanna go.

But I stop being a pussy about it, hopped in the car and drove down to Billyburg.  I rolled into the venue, and there’s no one about, the floor’s practically empty, and there were two techs on stage setting up.  The doors opened an hour ago!  Fuck me, even arriving an hour after the doors opened, I’d arrived too early.  There is no faster way to feel like a total fucking rube than showing up early for something, anything – a concert, a date, a holiday party, the birth of your kid (never show up until the baby’s crowning).

But I was already in.  So I went to the bar, sucked back a couple of PBRs, and went out to the floor once I heard the pounding beats of the opening band. Holy shit, I NEVER show up for opening bands.  And if I ever happen to, it’s usually just to see them walk off the stage.  Here I was, about the to watch not one, but TWO opening bands before !!! would come on.

Once again, I’m proven what a fuckwit I am.  The first band, Yellow Dogs, turned out to be excellent.  I’d never heard of them before.  Opening bands are pretty much the only thing left in the world where it’s OK have “never heard of them before.”  After their set, I googled them.  Holy shit, these kids had been through quite a bit.  I guess being a rock band from Iran has its share of challenges.

After their set, I walked back down to the bar in the basement, saw the Yellow Dogs bass player, and chatted with him for a few minutes.  I’m interrupted by a text: “Hey, we’re here, where are you?”  The fuck?  Oh right, the 20something I was supposed to meet at this show!  I was so wrapped up in my loserdom that I totally forgot about this kid!  I tell her to meet me at the bar in the basement.

She shows up.  She also looks like Megan Fox.  And behind her, out step 4 other 20somethings.  1 boyfriend, another couple, and a dude who wastes not time telling me he just celebrated his 21st birthday at the Brooklyn Bowl.

Oh good.  (For fuck’s sake.)

I immediately feel my crippling Peter Pan complex kick in, and I’m desperately trying to not be weird about this.  Because feeling like an old fuck is ALL ME.  No one else is actively making me feel old, this shit is my head.  I feel like someone’s old creepy uncle tagging along with the kids to some show in hipster hell.

My salvation came from within the crowd when the !!! took the stage.  It came in the form of a tall man with a desperately balding pate, probably in his late-40s, dressed in a black track suit, who was entirely way too psyched to be there, and whose single dance move (and he was dancing even before the music began) the entire evening was to look left, look right, look left, look right, and repeat non-stop for an hour and a half.  Hey, at least, I’m not that fucking guy!

In the end, it turned out to be an excellent evening.  Seriously.  It was fucking awesome.  Discovered a new band.  Got to meet some new people, who turned out to be some of the most tolerable nicest 20somethings around.  Absolutely brilliant show (has to be, when the lead singer pops up right in front of you – LEFT).

On the way home, “Paradise City” came on the radio, so I put down my windows in the 30-degree wind as I crossed the Whitestone Bridge and let out a long howl.  Right then, I shit you not, a shooting star whipped directly overhead.  It was the most ridiculous moment of the night.  And the fact that that’s how I chose to end my night (shooting star notwithstanding), it really did tell me that no matter what, I’m a ridiculous old fuck now.