A lot of folks know Carrie Brownstein from her Portlandia brilliance, but long before she was a TV star, she was in one of the best, coolest bands ever: Sleater-Kinney. The band peaked in the mid-90s, but spiritually they’re directly related to the best 80s punk had to offer–and their spirit lives on with the band Wild Flag.
What can I say about the DK’s? I never listened to a lot of hardcore, but at the risk of revealing that I am and always was a bit of a poseur, I’d call them “accessible hardcore,” owing to their intelligent, often scathingly satirical social, cultural, and political underpinnings. I missed out on the Sex Pistols at the top of their popularity, so when I began to become aware of music outside the dreck on mainstream radio, the Dead Kennedys seemed pretty much like the Kings of Punk–and an argument could be made that they always were and always will be.
Double Feature: Holiday In Cambodia and Police Truck
The Jam were the coolest, and not well known here in the USA, but even after all these years I’d argue they were one of the great bands of their generation. I can’t help thinking how much better my youth would have been if their music had been bombarding all of us from the radio instead of all that disco and classic rock. Of course, in western Pennsylvania some of the radio stations are still keeping the same 20 or 30 songs in heavy rotation as they used in 1980. Listen and believe….
Like a lot of these videos, this is more brillance from the eighties, which weren’t at all like cheese-eating high schools kids who watch cable replays of “Pretty In Pink” think they were like. The Violent Femmes were a taut little Indie band from Wisconsin who wrote short, sweet, sometimes angry, sometimes sad, sly little songs with a throbbing bass and a unique–for the time and the genre–electrified acoustic sound. “Blister in the sun,” “Add it up,” “Kiss off,” and this one, “Gone daddy, gone,” were their big singles. I recently heard this one as part of the “roadie music” between sets at an Old Crow Medicine Show/Avett Brothers concert and was delighted how good–and not dated–it seemed. Enjoy.
Art, in its multitudinous forms, rewards our attention every once in a while, and all too rarely, with small beautiful moments where thrill meets surprise–I find them most regularly in poems, but also in poems, paintings, and even in pop songs and punk rock. Such was the case with the little Texas band Girl In A Coma, who I discovered looking for a particular old David Bowie song. Watching–listening to–their cover of “As The World Falls Down,” my immediate thought was “these kids get it,” which is something, since most of them don’t. Of note is the look of joy/bliss on the badass drummer–she doesn’t just get it, she feels it. Nice. In a just world, Phanie, Nina, and Jenn would be household names and none of us would have ever heard of all the insipid, generic auto-tune wonders out there.
I’ve saved a lot of email over the years–sort of an electrical pack rat, I guess (put on your Philip Dick and think on that for a nano). I’ll be cleaning up and sharing the best of it with you.
Hey man, how in the hell did I miss the Pixies? Where was I in he eighties/nineties?
I hope that all is well! Peace out.
I responded: “This is a song about a superhero called Tony. It’s called Tony’s theme!”
I had a roommate named Tony for half of 1990 in Wyoming–he was a great guy, a recently returned Mormon missionary from the Napolean Dynamite town in Idaho (which was, at the time, to this Appalachian boy, like being a devout Poyahmian from the Planet Skeeloi) and he just fucking loved the shit out of that song.”
Note: I rarely listen to the Pixies 23 years later, but I still keep in sporadic touch with Tony, and he’s been known to stop by this blog.
I love to tell stories with words and images, often with a darkly magical twist. While speculative fiction & dissecting pop culture are my primary passions, I also work with clients & brands by assisting with content creation, editing, marketing & design.