Awake, awake! Fear, fire, foes! Awake!

OK, that didn’t work so well.  I was hoping that sounding a self-induced alarm in my head would get my brain going.  Nyet, as our Russian-speaking friends would put it…

One of the highlights of the weekend was my rediscovery of the Folk Implosion.  Ann and I were on the way home from somewhere Saturday night and heard “Natural One” (the theme song from the movie “KIDS”) on the radio.  I hadn’t heard the song in probably 10 years, maybe more, and I’d forgotten how much I liked it.  I also realized I had a Folk Implosion record, “Dare to be Surprised,” that I’d somehow failed to load onto my MP3 player for the four years I’ve been using one.

They’re a hard band to describe.  The brainstrust is Lew Barlow (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr), whose voice is probably my favorite in all of rock music.  Imagine Sebadoh on quaaludes, dissonant and trippy all at the same time.  The song playing in my headphones right now, “Wide Web,” uses an almost surf-sounding guitar and super-fuzzy bass to produce the kind of groove that you can’t help but bounce along to even while you’re really not happy about where it’s taking you.  The production on this record is really low-fi, which doesn’t fit with its inventiveness but still works.  There’s a lot more electronica happening here than I’m usually interested in; I think because I’m such a huge Barlow fan, I’m willing to let him get away with it.

Also just loaded Sonic Youth’s “Rather Ripped” on the player, and I can’t decide what I think of it yet.  At times, I can actually forget that I’m listening to Sonic Youth, which is weird.  Part of what makes them interesting is that they’ve always been unmistakable.  On the other hand, like Guided by Voices,  it’s cool to hear them do something that’s pretty far afield from their norm.  Feelins might become unmixed as I listen more.

Rock music trivia of the week: According to John Cale of the VU, once upon a time he and Lou Reed got paid 15 cents each to pose for photos to appear in NYC tabloid newspapers.  Cale’s photo accompanied a story about a man who killed his lover because the lover was about to marry his sister, and he didn’t want his sister to marry a gay man.  Reed’s photo accompanied a story about a serial killer who murdered and dismembered a family in a barn in Kansas.  I’ll have to look for these; if anybody reads this and has leads on where to find either of them, let me know.

That trivia comes from a book I just discovered over the weekend, too, while I was researching for a course proposal called “We’re Revolting: Politics and Aesthetics of Punk Rock.”  The book is called _Please Kill Me_, an oral history of American proto- and punk rock.  Read it.  I also, FINALLY, found a book that chronicles American hardcore punk in the 1980s.  It’s called _American Hardcore: A Tribal History_ and covers all the stuff I thought I was going to have write about.  Rather than feeling scooped, I’m glad to discover that somebody else has already done all this work.  It’s excellent news that a whole generation of punkers are getting their due between covers.  About damn time.

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2 Responses to Awake, awake! Fear, fire, foes! Awake!

  1. Brian Fanelli says:

    Hey, Seth, I found your blog through Facebook. I enjoyed this music entry. Please Kill Me is a fabulous book, though it has been a few years since I read it. Also, a film version was made of the American Hardcore book a year or two ago. It contains a lot of great live footage from Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Black Flag, D.O.A, etc. It also has on-camera interviews with Ian MacKaye, H.R., Henry Rollins and some of the other leaders of that era. Their words about the importance of that movement and its eventual demise I found to be pretty interesting. I think you’d enjoy the movie version of the book.

  2. sethkahn says:

    Hey Brian: Funny you should mention the American Hardcore film; I was just rearranging some stuff the other day and noticed that I bought it and have never watched it. Sometime soon…

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