Archive for September, 2009

The extinction agenda – Organized Konfusion

A friend i’ve, through no one’s fault but my own, lost an incredible and vital amount of touch with came up to me the other night at work and asked me to make him a hip hop themed mixtape. Me, there, always there, always able to be found there, cemented there, with all failure, recession, loss of pride, extinguished dreams, weather of age, pretense to have risen above hopelessness more bare, felt and noticeable to him over that counter than to any other customer, any co-worker. Me there, stranded, the distance between our lives and the caution with which we keep that distance as apparent as ever, and he bridges it with a simple request. All the times i could have swallowed fear, unworth, walked over to his house and knocked on his door. All the times i could have accepted invitation or invited myself, felt my company welcome. All the times i’ve felt it easier to stay at home, shut out all, fall into an all too comfortable hermitry, all the while keeping face that something is being done with this life.

So… i have been listening to not much besides hip hop these past couple of days – palatable, canon, approved hip hop. Just to remind myself how much i love it, how much it is a part of me, how much i don’t fit into any scene or try to involve myself in the music any more than just listening yet still consider it integral to my existence and existence as a music fan. Sometimes it doesn’t feel so. I guess it’s a case of liking and appreciating so much music in such diversity and wanting and being compelled to be loyal to it all. Peaks and troughs, etc.

That i’m some kind of authority on hip hop is laughable. Yet he came to me. This song makes the mix. I think he would like it. I’m making it – designing it – to be as palatable as possible. Strap on your backpacks. It will in no way encompass or give comprehension to hip hop, to all facets of hip hop. The four elements, given, but also it will convey nothing of the geographic diversity in sound, attitude or purpose of the music/lifestyle. Nothing of its varied, overlapping, contradictory, often oppositional political compass, from black empowerment, to misogyny, to messages of youth unrest, to the gangster life, to the suburban life, to life in urban poverty, the usually black, usually male, experience, to hip hop set to counter with dissatisfaction the sexist, money driven kind, to hip hop set to counter that.

Nothing of what drives it and what is developed, and why it is developed, in parks, clubs, schools, parties, studios, bedrooms, radio programmes, the minds of everyone who loves and breathes this music. Nothing of the history, the advancements made throughout, nothing to bridge the kids rapping in the park to its achieved permanence in the top 40. No line mapped between Crime Mob and Sage Francis. No comprehension, just a mix of songs gathered by someone who hasn’t ever lived without this music, yet it has always been a life where i’ve been able to keep it at a distance. It is not my music. It is not part of me. I’m someone who has picked and chosen. This is one of my favourite ever songs.

la jetee

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Top Of The World

Top of the world – Shonen Knife

It is this version. The beginning, the guitars, the accent, the tempo – unmistakable. I’m not sure if i’m brave enough to declare it better than the original, but it probably is. The only cover on If I Were a Carpenter that could arise such contention, only because i don’t think the Carpenter’s version is that great. Sonic Youth’s version of Superstar is ok, and the only other cover really up to any challenge, but let’s be honest here, people. All devotion, longing, desperation, loneliness, distance, life and death is attendant in Karen’s voice in the original; flagrant, obtrusive illustration of it isn’t all that necessary. Good song, though.

But back to this song, and back to Shonen Knife. The only detraction this cover has against it is that it is too long. Shonen Knife played, with replacement drummer, last Friday night. The very night all my attention and preparation was centered around the Vivian Girls. If i had known and had more time to make a decision i probably still would have gone to the Vivian Girls, but i wish i could have gone to both. I feel something is lost that i wasn’t more torn up about making this decision. I went with the active band instead of the reunited band. If they were held on separate nights i could have gone out twice this year.

man is not a bird

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Shotgun – Heart Attack

Hardcore just forgot how to play certain chords along the way, didn’t it? This music is beyond me. In experience. There’s a certain kind of hardcore, obscure enough, cultish enough, killed enough by death, that is by no means user friendly and with avenues of initiation never as open, inviting and streamlined as say youth crew, metalcore or emo that i so often let fall between the cracks. Heart Attack is one of those bands relegated to such cracks. Loved, obsessed over, importance recognised, sought after by so many, yet set at a distance i’ve as yet unspanned. I still get songs in my head. Perhaps i shouldn’t, but this is a great one. I have to know and appreciate all music ever!

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Shine – Collective Soul

There was a time i thought this song the collective knees of a whole hive of bees. It was early, early in my independent music listening/possessing pursuit and sure i knew at most 1% of the music i know of today and the music that puts the shivers up my spine and goosebumps on my skin being irrevocably altered since then, but this, Urge Overkill’s Sister Havana, Stone Roses’ Love Spreads, and Whale’s Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe were my jams at ten years old. Only one of those i can bear listening to today, and will profess love for until i die. Guess which. Maybe it’s two. I can’t remember how Sister Havana goes.

There is a lot to cringe over in this song now. It has wormed its way into my memory enough for it to come there to the fore at least ten years after last hearing it. There, undefined, cloudy and as rose-coloured as any memory, it didn’t sound so bad. I just listened to it again. It is kind of sad, having something which moved you so diminished through time, experience, change in taste, definition in aversion. And this has being diminished for me so much – not even nostalgia can make this bearable.

Ok, maybe i can bear it, but what ever did i see in this? It is from the outset automatic dad rock again. Unlike Pearl Jam, though, i never hear of Collective Soul anymore and see no evidence of a campaign to commemorate their existence and hit singles. They may be lost to time, under shadow of the "greats". Yet they will always themselves overshadow what i have through time figured out and believe to be the finest and most important music of 1993 or whenever.

red dawn

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Wild Eyes

Wild eyes – Vivian Girls

I don’t know why i worry so. Good time had by all. It’s just i feel so uncool, unworthy and anxious to the point of debilitation and self loathing sometimes, stranded outside of the backward forwardness of the (gulp, but it catchalls it well enough) DIY scene. But, whether it was determination not to let it get to me and have a good time, the transitiveness of the music, or the fact that almost everyone there was as big a dork as i am (or if not a dork, lame and precious), i had a great time last night. My girlfriend did to. She bought a t shirt.

They played this song. They played a lot of songs, all presently still in my head, but never took too much of our time. They spoke to us with their reverb things still on their microphones resulting in some inaudible yet rapturous banter. They played Telepathic Love as an encore, then Damaged and switched instruments. Review: They were really, really good. And Hawnay Troof played as well! Dead Farmers were good too. Look at me, writing this as though it’s my sole outing for the year.

une femme mariee

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Alex’s Song #5? – Independent Thought Alarm

Band practise today, see? One day i’ll have the song titles and maybe even the recordings to post here. Hopefully. Our regular practise space came kaput and there’s a magical, fantastic, siren-song of a city called Melbourne ten hours South. Working through it.

spider baby

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Shazam – Spiderbait

I wouldn’t have even realised this was a song with an author, let alone it being a Spiderbait song, had i not researched it this morning. It sounds like the most generic, uncredited, not paying for royalties, pump up sports montage song written serviceably by someone who is a no one. Coincidentally, i heard it the other night set to footage of an American football game, i’m not sure in what show or movie. But it turns out it is a Spiderbait song – those kings of my early all age show going. They certainly get around.

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