weekness

October 31, 2005

Today I learned about insurance and retirement plans and grown-up stuff like that. And practiced. Tomorrow I start the new job in earnest, and play a show (with Kylesa, at Roboto). Thursday night, more practice. Friday/Saturday/Sunday are the trinity of Andyfest shows, so I’ll basically be freakin’ out a lot. I need to figure out what kind of food to make all weekend, because I like to feed me some bands.

On a related note, do go to the show at MoFo Saturday night (flyer right hurr). It’s a release for a zine that Alicia and Jessie are putting together, the proceeds of which go here, and it’s good bands and good folks and that’s that. I have another show later in the evening, but I plan on checking out as much as I can, and you should too.

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Yesterday, last Pirate’s Cove show. Scene stalwarts and p0sers like myself who had never been there (we TRIED to get a show there on tour, it just didn’t happen! And we know people there! Come on GET OFF MY BACK!) converged upon the little House By the Wawa to give it one last shower of punk smell and loud, abrasive music stuff. The drive was a good five hours or so each way, and in the end the day lasted from about 10 am to about 2 am, which then became 1 am again, because of the powers that be and their Daylight Savings delusions. But Sequoia ruled the roost with their set (including the bagel song), the new Tom Attack/ex-Sound of Failure band, which apparently does not have a name, or does not have a name people know or can pronounce, was really good (despite my reservations about the drummer’s snare drum, which looks to be a rack tom with a snare somehow affixed to the resonant head), and . . . Belegost.

Belegost was amazing as per usual, despite some equipment troubles (pedals cutting out? I’ve never heard of such a thing!). Poor Charlie was a wreck about the house coming to an end, and sobbed through the first couple minutes of the Deer God, then ripped it out, and halfway through, something in Allen’s pedal setup cut out, so after a short period of trying to figure it out, he ripped out his cable, shoved it straight into the input on his amp, and continued accordingly. Also, I guess to their credit, none of them kicked the dude, whose identity/affiliation I could not quite determine, who was snapping photos all papparazzi style, gettin’ up in their space while they were playing. I probably would not have been as kind.

Had to check out early, and thus missed Hypatia and Robot Attack and Carpenter And and any other ridiculousness that may have occurred thereafter. But that got us home at 2:00 aka 1:00, which was nice. And now I’m a little sick and my gland is swollen and I have to go draft up a pamphlet for tonight’s Media Swap at the Mattress Factory, which I will likely attend, unless I am feeling very unwell, which is a possibility.

owed to punk planet

October 29, 2005

So. Word hit the street earlier this week that the old rag Punk Planet is among a number of independent publications whose not-for-profit distributor is having financial woes. It was suggested that those who are concerned should purchase or renew a subscription, or take any number of other steps to help out and keep PP and its distributor afloat. To which those who are truly punk, of course, responded with phrases like: “EMO PLANET!” and “MRR!!!!!!” and “I HOPE THEY GO UNDER.” All of which was expected.

Listen the fuck up.

So Punk Planet isn’t what it was ten years ago. So some of the bands that are interviewed aren’t that amazing. So it’s printed in color and uses some modern elements of design.

I don’t love every word of it. Sometimes the capsule reviews aren’t amazing, but then again neither are HeartattaCk’s, nor MRR’s. Sometimes the interviews aren’t that prying. Sorry. BUT, the first time I bought a Punk Planet (and in scene years, this was not that long ago, folks), it did a number of things for me.

First of all, that particular issue’s focus was the Independent Media Center. There were articles about what was going on in media activism and about the basic technical aspects of DIY media. I was familiar with what Indymedia was at the time, but I had no clue how to go about any of this stuff. I ruminated on it, read those articles countless times for a number of months, then went on to be part of the group that founded the IMC in my city. Perhaps — probably, in fact — I would never have gotten to the point where I felt comfortable doing that if not for that Punk Planet.

Beyond that, though: at the time, I was in high school, in the suburbs, and I was listening to “punk rock,” which to me essentially meant Epitaph bands and The Clash. (Not that there’s anything wrong with The Clash, at all. Just bare with me.) I picked up Punk Planet because there were elements of that stuff, but then it introduced me to more. I started listening to bands that weren’t completely formulaic. I started to understand that punk ideals could exist outside of straight-up political 1977 stuff.

And besides music, it introduced me to people whose ideas would challenge and change the way I think, and would become a big part of my life (Al Burian Jessica Hopper Mimi Nguyen for god’s sake).

I wasn’t going to pick up MRR at that point — it didn’t look like anything I was used to or comfortable with. As a high school kid with some ideas and no idea where to take them, I found Punk Planet to be an eye opener. I’m not saying everyone who picks up PP because they want to read about At the Drive-In (or whatever. I’m out of touch) is going to go out and make a huge dent in the world because of some heretofore unrelated anarchafeminist rambling they run into elsewhere in the issue. But if it had a profound effect on me, I bet it could have a profound effect on someone else too, and already has.

So, in conclusion, quit fucking with Punk Planet. If you prefer MRR, or Slug & Lettuce, or Anything As Long As It’s Newsprint, good. Read it. Subscribe to it. Let Punk Planet do its thing.

I picked up The Dan‘s Countdown to Ecstasy yesterday, finally, and it’s an amazing album. I’m working slowly at establishing my collection. It’s always kind of difficult to do with older bands who aren’t really releasing anything anymore, because the collection is all there, and I don’t know where to start. Especially with Steely Dan, since I know a fair amount of their stuff, and thus like a song or two on every album, and the rest is a crap shoot (Pretzel Logic? Okay, but not great. Aja? Awesome.)

But seriously. The vibes. The synth. The cheezy jazz guitar solos. The “Skunk.” What more could I ask for? I shall be driving my roommates slightly edgy for weeks, I suspect.

new news

October 26, 2005

So, in the exciting-new-things category, I have a job now. Starting Monday I will no longer be sitting around the house all day, feeling like I should get something done but not doing so. I will be playing with books all day. And dealing with academics. And deciding how to deal with wanting to tell work stories on here but not thinking that’s a good idea.

In other exciting new things, Q’s new tape comp, Revolved Back to Failure, is being released with shows tonight and tomorrow night, and while we’re not on it, we’re playing the show tonight, so come see us and buy the tape. There are some major gems involved. Also, Q and Eric are releasing a long-overdue new issue of Here Be Dragons, which is about punk old people, of which I am not one, but I’m interested anyway. Their stuff is always good, so throw a Sacagawea dollar or two their way and pick it up.

Also, do check up on my old teachers and their contract dispute. No one likes a teachers’ strike, especially the teachers.

There’s this particular phenomenon that occurs only in the cold weather time. It happens when you’ve been outside, waiting for the bus, or hoofin’ it because you aren’t expecting it to come anytime soon, and then the bus comes, and you hop on. And you’ve got your headphones on, so you can’t hear what’s going on around you. And your glasses have suddenly fogged up from the change in temperature, so you can’t see who else is on the bus. And your brain becomes a little fuzzy because you suddenly are very warm. And since you don’t know who’s around you or what they’re saying, you lose that slightly on-edge feeling you normally have on the bus, or anywhere else there might be a moderately sized group of people who may or may not judge you. And you feel a little bit like you’re on some sort of drug, and you feel a little bit like you’ve always wanted to: not caring what anyone else thinks about you at all, consumed in whatever music is being pumped into your ears at close range.

This phenomenon reared its beautiful head in my life for the first time this year the other day. Thank the heavens for the turn toward colder weather.

(To be fair, I do prefer cold weather to hot, but more than anything it’s the seasonal transition that puts me into a good mental space. It keeps things from stagnating the way they otherwise might. Have I written about this before? You can dock me blog points on that weird fantasy blog stock exchange thing if I did.)

today’s score

October 22, 2005

Before tonight’s show, I spent a long time being cold and bored at Roboto waiting for the meter reader, then spent a lot of time on buses getting home, and had a quick crisis regarding my planned mixtape contribution, which I then scrapped in favor of a quickly and shoddily cobbled together 60-minute tape of which I couldn’t even be proud enough to inscribe with my secret identity contact information. Then I made a transportation disaster getting there and became quite irate with myself, nearly decided just not to go, and sucked it up and went through with it. Then, a stunning but all-too-short period of Pure Mountain Goats Bliss, followed by but superceding another period of being unable to convince myself that I am not quite the failure in many respects.

But that’s not the point. The point is, good job, John Darnielle. You amaze. For most of the set I was quite pleased by your guitar-and-bass arrangements (although “Color in Your Cheeks” could stand to lose the overwhelming walking bass line . . .)

Apologies for any typos. The sleepiness has overtaken me. More later.