Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Friday Five, Volume 2: For Mimi

So, it's been almost a year since my beloved Grandmother (nicknamed Mimi) has shuffled loose this mortal coil and I'm pretty alright with it. I mean, I miss her dearly but the last few years of her life I was really hoping she'd just die in her sleep because she was a shadow of the woman I grew up revering. I remember when I got the news. I was at work and around 9 am my Ma called me and before I even answered I knew what she was going to tell me. I told her to just get it over with and stormed off to the toilet to sob tears of joy. My Mimi was finally free of the intense pain and You see, when I found out Mimi was about to shove off the first time Mrs. Debauchery and I were at Rudz and I knew it was the end for her. I pulled off the side of Heights Blvd. and cried so hard I thought my head would explode. That's how much this woman meant to me.

She grew up poor as shit, picking cotton in her early teens, and then married a man named John who was (also 20 years older) probably the hardest son of a bitch anyone would ever meet. My Dad might be intimidating because of his size and vocal tone and general demeanor but PaPaw was the real deal. I remember either my Ma or Mimi telling me a story about how PaPaw's crew at work on an oil rig were fucking up and he called them out on it and they tried to kick the shit out of him but he laid most of them out before they could do any real damage. He woke up bloodied but from what I've been told, he won. I'm fucking proud to be from this family and it's from my grandparents on my Ma's side (I'm sure she regrets this) where I get my attitude.

But back to my Mimi. You couldn't have wished for a better grandmother, especially if you're me. A weird, scrawny spazz who at the turn of puberty hated the sun and just wanted to stay in his room and read and listen to aggressive and violent music. Still. she supported me in everything I have dedicated my life to and in the most enthusiastic manner possible: punk rock, skateboarding, horror movies, writing, debate in high school instead of sports.You don't generally see a woman from the old South that is a hardcore baptist embrace her grandson's open rebellion against everything she adored. But she loved me anyway and if I could pull some Herbert West shit and reanimate her corpse she would tell you today that she is proud of me and is proud that her grandson is a punk rocker for life. I miss you Mimi and I hope I'm still making you happy. I am truly honored that my wife is sporting your engagement and wedding rings on her finger. 

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House - Fuck Fred Phelps and the Westbero Baptist Church Alright, so Mimi was a hardcore Baptist and even though I never told her, partially because my Ma forbid me, she pretty much knew I was an Atheist. And the only reason I bring this is up is to qualify my criticism of most Christians. Mimi was the most open, tolerant, loving and accepting human being I've ever come across and that's where I judge (not a Christian so I can do that!) hypocritical pieces of shit like Bill O'Reily...fuck it all of Fox News, Bill Donahue (I believe my wife's Irish Catholic family would love to punch him in the balls), and especially Fred Phelps. That said, Mimi (who, despite showing me anti-gay propaganda when I was about ten (obviously it didn't take hold) regarding golden showers...yeah that happened) grew way more progressive over her life.When she met the Dead Kennedy, my (gay) brother, and heard what his parents put him through she embraced him immediately. She also used to watch shitty slasher flicks with me when I stayed with her during summers that were on USA's Up All Night. I think she figured they were morality parables that should've scared me straight. Anyhoo, if she had been cognizant about the Westbero Baptist Church I guarantee you she would've had me drive her down to one of their protests so she could tell them off. Mind you, she wouldn't like the language but she would sure as shit love the sentiment! I told my Ma I was gonna lead this column off with this song and she smiled.

The Humpers- Plastique Valentine
When I was 15 my parents bailed to NOLA for a weekend and Mimi came down to stay with me. I'd just gotten Plastique Valentine on cassette after reading about the band in Thrasher so I was super stoked to get to go to a show at Emo's (RIP) that  my parents would NEVER let me go to. My friend and I showed up around 8 (we were used to all ages shows at Fitzgerald's) and proceeded to get drunk as shit courtesy of the Humpers because we were the only one's there that early and obviously looked like easily corruptible teens. I remember at one point the bar refused to give the band anymore beer and Billy marched down to the corner store, copped a case of Shiner and when he was told he couldn't bring it in the bar said, "FUCK YOU! IF WE CAN'T KEEP DRINKING WE'RE NOT PLAYING!" They let him in, the show was amazing and the Humpers wrote me a note to give to my Mimi apologizing for keeping me out so late. She read it, saw how buzzed I was on beer, laughed and said, "Now, go to bed!"

Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Probably the only song on this list she would've really dug. Aside from the personal attachment to my grandmother over this song (she was a huge Hank Williams fan) this reminds me of being in my early 20's, drinking a bottle of whiskey a night and passing out on the couch, because I was so depressed, when GRRR was a puppy. And then when I'd drag my ragged ass off the couch in the morning with this tune stuck in my head, all I could think was, "Mimi would kick the shit outta me if she ever saw me like this!"

ALL - Breaking Up
When I was, like 14, some guy at the Pizza Hut in our neighborhood gave me a backpack full of tapes (Madness, Subhumans, Descendents, 7 Seconds, the Freeze...huuuuge influence on me) cause I wore a 30footFALL t-shirt into the store when I went and picked up our pie. Fast forward to when I was 16 and just broke up with a girl, ironically, who was also nicknamed Jay (let's not delve into the Freudian-fuckedupness of that), and man, I was devastated. Just a total wreck. So, I had to drive up to Beaumont to pick up Mimi for the holidays and just could not stop listening to this album, especially "Breaking Up." I hit that reverse button on my car's tape deck like fifty billion times throughout that trip. During that, Mimi could tell something was wrong and finally blurted out some curt advice once I told her what was making me such a mopey bastard, "Honey, she don't deserve you. Just get over it."

The Ramones - Clip from Rock 'N' Roll High School
Mimi's favorite memory of me was of us eating pizza from Domino's (hey, I didn't know that asshole CEO supported Operation Rescue when I was a kid) and grease just running down our arms. She always brought it up and it's a nice ending to this column because the last time I ate pizza with her was while watching Rock 'N' Roll High School, when I was in high school. Gabba gabba hey, Mimi. I'm sure you've already told Joey how much I adore him.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Friday Five Volume 1: Girls Get Busy

Welcome to the first edition of the Friday Five. Here, I'll give you five songs every week that have been stuck in my noggin', for the most part, centered around a theme. Sometimes I might just pull five tunes outta my ass that I think rock. Or something that triggered on my iPod or iTunes or that I pulled out of my vinyl collection that really took a hold of my nards and didn't let go. I haven't really decided yet, though, I do have the first few mapped out. So, here we go.

I love my new job. I'm still working at the hospital but instead of having to deal with bitchy nurses nagging me for things they (rightfully, though not of my fault) should've already gotten I now work in receiving and after two weeks training at the main building I got moved to a cushy new offsite that affords me plentiful time to listen to music podcasts almost non-stop. I still dig on my favorite newscasts to start my morning (Democracy Now!, Best of the Left, etc.) but once my triple shot of espresso kicks in I'm in full on rock 'n' roll mode.

My favorites are everything that is broadcast on the Garage Punk Pirate Radio Network, Rev. Norb's AMAZING Bubblegum Fuzz and the Razorcake Podcast and it's because they remind me of just how much music that is out there, whether new or vintage, that I haven't even discovered yet. I'm a 32 punk rock kid who has swallowed oceans of music thanks to many friends and an insatiable curiosity and love for my beloved subculture and all of it's offshoots and even though I'm long in the tooth (in punk years at least) I still love being turned onto glorious new music like when I was a kid and my sisters older friends and my waaay older friends made me mixtapes.

We live in an awesome new world for music lovers where anyone with a computer can rip their vinyl, CD or cassette collection and turn a whole new generation into rabid fanatics of some band that only released one 7" in the 70's that didn't even make it onto a Killed by Death comp or remind them of groups who were waaaaay beyond what their pop star sheen made them out to be (Rev. Norb hipped me to a particularly skeezy Davy Jones track that makes me question just how wholesome some of those Monkees records are).  Punk rock, rock 'n' roll...all that jazz is built on tradition just like folk music. And part of maintaining that is the ability to share gems from past eras other's might not think to glance at. So that's where this column is coming from. I love sharing music with my friends (and whoever the fuck else might read this blog) and rather than bomb your Facebook walls with shit I'm currently digging I figured I'd force myself to pick five stellar tracks that have been in my head all week to hopefully groove into your senses. This week's theme is focusing on girl groups or girl fronted groups because...well, out of everything my brain gorged on this week all of the standout tunes featured female singers.

The God Damn Doo Wop Band - "I'll Always Be Your Girl" (from the same named 7" I couldn't find the name of the label it was released on so hit me up and I'll amend this)

First off, ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING involving a member of the Soviettes warrants at least like, three consecutive spins. That member in this case would be Annie (who is also in the great, fuzzed out bass/drum duo Awesome Snakes) and sweet titty fucking christ does this single fucking slay! Quick background on me: I was raised on AM radio by my parents and fortunately that was a time when the programmers weren't just pumping out Beatles song after Beatles song but would play pre-Pet Sounds era Beach Boys (nothing against Pet Sounds, just saying) and LOOOOAAADS of Phil Spector produced girl groups. I worship the Ronettes, Shangri-Las, et. all so when I get presented with a song with such low key, minimalist production (as opposed to the Pippettes', whom I still enjoy, faux-wall of computer bullshit) that just let's the vocals speak for themselves I know the people behind it knew what the fuck they were doing. I mean, the lyrical punch behind all of those great songs ("When I Saw You" "He Hit Me and it Felt like a Kiss" "Dressed in Black") and therefore, the emotional efficacy of the tune, doesn't get driven home if it isn't the singer that is doing the heavy lifting. That said, I was FLOORED when this first creeped through my headphones on the loading dock. I stopped what I was doing and went back a few times to repeat the track. Then I went home and played it a shitload more. THIS is fucking fantastic pop music that is exhilarating and heartbreaking at the same time. Isn't that what we all really want from our favorite musical lamentations on love?

Cudzoo and the Faggettes - "Daddy Issues" (Daddy Issues, Drug Front Records)

Let's move onto the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Cudzoo and Faggettes have released two albums of gleefully offensive, utterly tactless and absolutely fanfuckingtastic barrages of punked up, glammed out, girl group styled comedic sleaze. That's a compliment.  Think Shannon and the Clams with better production values and a meaner sense of humor. These ladies better be featured in the next Jon Water's movie or else that man has really lost his taste for trash culture. I get a lot of personal feelings that come up when I listen to this album (well, mainly the track "You Taste Like Intervention" which could've been the soundtrack to my entire 20's and especially the most fucked up, abusive, self-destructive and soul crushing relationship I've ever been in that almost closed those years out and if a song can make me laugh about that horror it's got to be great) but mainly what sticks with me most is the type of self-deprecating feminist humor that would make the readership of Jezebel lose their collective hive-minds. "Daddy Issues" aside, there is a fucking song on here called "Roofies" which treats that malady as a positive! Here's how the song ends, with a nice soliloquy, post roofie rape: "I love you soooo much, I'm gonna get your dried up umbilical chord nub, stick it in my vagina, incubate it for nine loooong months, birth it, raise it for 18 years, then fuck the SHIT out of you again!" Heartwarming.

Porcharitas - Get Wasted (Get Wasted with the Porcharitas 7" Vertical House Records)

I have long ragged on Alabama as being the shittiest fucking state in this quickly fading republic known as these United States of America (Florida, for all it's warts at least produces good punk bands). And for good reason! When I was 17 I went on a road trip with my debate team (dork, I know) to compete in some prestigious tournament and when we rolled into the state looking for a place to eat, all us kids piled out the vans. Including two black ones. We were met outside by the, I guess, proprietors...protectors...assholes of the establishment and told, curtly, to the fuck back off in our van and keep driving. I'm a Texan by the way so you know it takes something epic and awful like to make me feel like I have the right to shit on your state (Vidor, where?). Anyhoo, these are 3 ladies and one gent from that state who have churned out one kick ass garage punk rager. I'm eagerly waiting on getting my copy of this 7" in the mail (Mrs. Debauchery said she ordered it and if not I will be scouring all of New Orleans for it, along with Normals records come Thursday) because there are only so many times I can repeat this record on bandcamp. I love the scuzzed out vocals, guitars that sound like they were recorded in a trashcan, non-existent bass and waaaaay low on the sound scale Casio keyboards. A prime example of modern, snarky garage punk done absolutely perfect. It makes me wanna take out everything bad I've ever said about the state of Alabama.

The Sugar Stems - "Greatest Pretender" (Greatest Pretender 7" Certified PR Records)

Just the other day I was wondering just what in the mother FUCK happened to the Leg Hounds. You remember them right? Those Devil Dogs lovin' Midwestern righteous motherfuckers? Well it turns out that Drew Fredrichsen, after churning out some killer music with the Jetty Boys  has moved onto to some great bubblegum pop with the Sugar Stems. Just the other day I was wondering just what in the fucking hell happened to the Leg Hounds. Their first album was totally killer but this single blew the official Cancer Hospital baseball cap that I am forced to wear to work everyday off my head. If this  is what the modern incantation of power-pop is going to sound like then I will have a full on priapism ready to balance all of of the (hopefully) forthcoming masterpieces that will be rolling out from these cats any minute now (they do have a new album coming out next year). A fucking exquisite pop song no matter what genre you or I feel the need to put it in. 

The Okmoniks - I'm Done (Party Fever! Slovenly Recordings)

So, here comes the oldie (or at least in the parlance of this current generation because this record was released in, I think 2006-7? It was in the heyday of PKY being print is all I remember) and it should count as a modern garage punk classic. For those not in the know, Justin Champlin (aka Nobunny) came to prominence with this band along with the Sneaky Pinks and by golly, if I'm not a total sucker for 60's style garage rock that's sped up and complete with a solid use of organs and female vox. Just listen to the bridge! It's frantic, desperate and underlays the songs epic angst. Homegirl wants to bail and forget this guy as soon as she can. There's a great band from Denver called the Manxx my friend Justin knows that seems to be carrying on the torch for these cats and once I cop some physical music I will let you know just how enraptured I am with them. Still, as much as I dug that song I can't even remember the name of it's going to be hard to top the pop wizardry the Okmoniks were able to create during their oh so brief and oh too short career. At least Nobunny still performs "Not That Good" and my wife will still be able to shake her amazing Irish ass all over the dance floor when that occurs. 

And since I ended on a Nobunny note, once again, and one of the greatest memories of my life, here is the first show my wife and I attended together and here first REAL exposure to punk rock. 

Til next week brothers and sisters, 
Jihad for Rock 'N' Roll Motherfuckers
Jay Debauchery.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The REAL Top Ten Grunge Records

If you didn't see the Rolling Stone readers poll (and frankly, I wouldn't have seen it if it wasn't on my Twitter feed. I only read RS for Matt Taibbi at this point because anything they cover regarding music would continually give me a stroke) on the "The Best Grunge Albums of All Time" then I envy you. It's a dreadful list of absolutely horrid albums that are ranked mainly because of their staying power in the consciousness of people so musically illiterate they've already forgotten that Limp Bizkit (sadly enough) was once the biggest band on the planet. Plus, I'm convinced these fuckers are why Kid Rock is still, somehow, relevant.
I'm not gonna dig into the list but instead offer an alternative of the ten greatest "Grunge" albums. By, the way, how come NO ONE consulted Everett True before this shit went to press?

10. Pissed Jeans - King of Jeans

Yeah, I know some people are gonna bitch about me including a band that's not from the late 80's/early 90's but I don't give a shit. Pissed Jeans are great and continue the tradition of sludgy, antipathetic punk rock from whence the genre arose. Please listen to this and tell me if it came out in 1993 and you were decked out in flannel and Doc Martens this wouldn't have been one of your favorite bands.

9. L7 - Bricks are Heavy

This album is a pretty big departure from their self titled debut and Smell the Magic (which boasts my favorite album artwork behind the Dwarves Blood, Guts and Pussy). It is absolutely one of the defining albums of the grunge era primarily because of this single. Pretty much every female band (I used the word band purposely here) who rose to prominence after this record came out lived in their shadow. Babes in Toyland were fucking awesome but they were waaay more on the Riot Grrrl spectrum than L7. Allison Best and myself need to go back to New Orleans and drain bottles of whiskey while clogging the jukebox of the Abbey with L7 until we get kicked out. Again.

8. Dinosaur Jr. - Where You Been

They'd already established themselves as rock GODS with You're Living All Over Me and Green Mind but the video era brought greater prominence to Dinosaur Jr. and J. Mascis with "Start Choppin'". Those albums were so noisye they were pretty much non accessible but with Where You Been, the band had cleaned everything up to focus on Mascis' warbly, fealty laden vocals and roaring guitar solos. I've always said that man has spoken more through his guitar than any other musician in the modern age and this album, especially tracks like "What Else is New" and "Get Me" definitely confirm that.

7. Quicksand - Slip

I faked being sick in middle school so I could stay home and learn every note of this album on my guitar. Quicksand will always be one of the best post-hardcore bands of all time because they had the BALLS to make hardcore more accessible.Slip is undeniably their masterpiece. Unfortunately, a bunch of dickheads didn't get what Walter Schreifels was doing and formed this as their basis for "rap-rock" and the early aughts fake hardcore bullshit like Crazy Town. It pains me that Sergro Vega is playing with the Deftones. (Rival Schools, United by Fate could be included here because that is the logical extension of this band).

6. Helmet - Meantime

Along with Quicksand, Helmet pretty much started the whole "alternative metal" thing in the early 90's.Unfortunately, the kids that dug albums like Meantime completely lost what the band was doing: taking hardcore music to a more technical and deconstructed level to make way for more confluent influences. Quick summation, you don't get something like Converge or Botch without these cats.  Page Hamilton being a jazz trained guitarist (who worked with Glenn Branca, the genius that trained and inspired people like Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth) made people wise up to the technical greatness and actual brainstorming that went into these seemingly simple songs. Seriously, read an interview with Page and tell me your head didn't explode.

5. P.J. Harvey - Rid of Me

Man, this album is a fucking monster. I really don't know what else to write about it. Polly Jean Harvey is my generations Patti Smith. In the pantheon of grunge, this woman was able to instantly make apathetic overtures towards feminism by people like Juliana Hatfield (who I still adore, Only Everything is a fantastic album!) seem extremely simplistic and farcical.

4, Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville

This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I adore Liz Phair and have defended her throughout her gradual decline into rancid mediocrity but holy fucking shit is this woman not firing on all cylinders here? This record changed the game for women in rock 'n' roll in the 90's. You don't get the TON of female artists (good or bad, for the good, see above) unleashed to the mainstream without this album. Also, Nash Kato is a twatmuffin.

3. Nirvana  - Bleach

Sure, "Drain You" is the best song Cobain ever wrote but shut up about Nevermind. It vastly PALES IN COMPARISON to Bleach. This is a truly fantastic album that got lost in the mire of post-punk MTV friendly bullshit.

2. Melvins - Houdini

If it weren't for King Buzzo, Kurt would've never gotten into punk or metal so, THANKS KING BUZZO! The Melvins benefited as much as anyone with Nirvana blowing up. They got gobbled up by a major label and released their definitive album (Houdini) followed up by Stoner Witch (my mom bought that for me on Valentine's Day) and continue to slay even though my King golfs with this dickhead.

1, Mudhoney - Superfuzzbigmuff

There is no "grunge" without these guys. These are the architects of what is considered "grunge" today and indelibly influenced a generation of bands. Geniuses who took classic bands like the Sonics, the Wipers and Feed Time and twisted them into new realms of sonic awesomeness. Pearl Jam are ancillary characters to the whole grunge scene and while they might be cool guys (they took the Murder City Devils on tour and Eddie Vedder's got awesome taste in music, even if doesn't show in his shit band), they still will never have the effect on that city or subculture that a band like Mudhoney has had.  So, FUCK YOU ROLLING STONE VOTERS!

Ten is your fucking top "grunge" album and not this? And VS. was on there as well? Dirt, while cool, got ranked and Facelift was left off? I'm pretty sure your editors said no to the Singles Soundtrack being voted in (cause it would've made your job easier) which blows my mind as much as (thankfully) no Smashing Pumpkins albums showing up on that list.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Please Kill Yourself Guide to Proper Movie Theater Ettiquette

I wrote a version of this years ago in either the first or second physical copy of Please Kill Yourself (it also ran in the Daily Cougar with WAAAAY less cursing). I was going through copies of the back issues but I couldn't find it so I'm writing it again. Dig. 

I love movies and even though many of my generation seem to prefer watching a butt cam version of new flicks on their computers or HD televisions I still adore going to the cinema and slouching down in a pitch black theater and being totally immersed in a film. However, over the years it has become more and more difficult to properly enjoy a movie without having some mouth breathing asshole (or group of them) ruin the entire experience. I totally get why people prefer to wait until a movie comes out on DVD to check it out because the ordeal of going to a movie theater and the insane amount of annoyances that come with the task (I use that last word deliberately) almost negates whatever pleasure I can wring out of the experience. Yes, I am that ADD that the actions of my fellow moviegoers can completely fuck up my reading and enjoyment of a film. But, I do believe that, as in any other facet of society, there are common behaviors that should be observed for the betterment of all involved.

Mrs. Debauchery and I almost exclusively attend films at Sundance Cinemas (it used to be the Angelika) downtown for a couple of reasons. The nearest Alamo Drafthouse is too far away (this will be corrected soon when the Midtown franchise opens up and despite my hatred of everything that exists in Midtown Houston my love for the Alamo Drafthouse overrides it), they have a full bar, it's ten minutes from the Heights, super clean and comfy but primarily it's because the crowds are fucking decent, film loving human beings that can behave themselves. Also, 99% of the time NO asshat teenagers. Last night, Mrs. Debauchery and I ventured to the Edwards off of Weslayan because we wanted to check out Sinister and it was the only theater nearby that was screening the flick. Big mistake. For one thing, and I hadn't been to that theater in so fucking long I forgot how horrible it is, it was overrun with shithead kids and their yuppie parents who didn't seem to mind them darting across the compound like Danny Boyle style zombies and screaming their fucking heads off. But the adults behaved way worse. I'll get into that below in our official guide to proper movie theater etiquette.

Really, that could have been the entirety of this post but I guess I should explain it a little more, right? It can't be that difficult to not say a word for 90 minutes. Okay, and maybe this is just me and my neuroses, but when I watch a movie or listen to a record for the first time I devote 100% of my attention to it. It's only fair the artists, ya know? I mean, they worked their asses off on this piece of entertainment and to truly appreciate or digest what they're throwing at me I feel that I should have my concentration focused solely on what they're trying to communicate...not some fucking assholes seated in front of me constantly opining on the film as it unfolds.
When we got to our seats last night, the entire god damned theater was in conversation and we figured this was a bad sign. Well, 75% of the theater got quiet when the movie began but two drunken twats next to us and a couple in front of us provided the wife and myself with a running commentary throughout the WHOLE FUCKING MOVIE.
Look, shitheads, no one gives a FUCK what you think is going to happen, you're reaction to what we all just experienced on screen or your personal estimations of the characters and their behaviors. "Oooh, he done fucked up!" or "Oh man, he's gonna die next" or anything of the sort is not relevant conversation. You wanna express those opinions? Fine. Do it after the last reel is over in the lobby, tweet your friends or blog about it. So, instead of communicating your most instant, base reactions to the film just keep that dialogue internal so it doesn't break my concentration. You know, filmmakers aspire to provide such dramatic elements as tension and your blathering destroys that. Seriously, try and watch a movie like Audition in the middle of a middle school cafeteria on a Friday and tell me that it works the same as if you were left undisturbed.
The couple in front of us last night kept chatting away and I (admittedly, very petulantly) kept kicking the back of their seats every couple of minutes hoping they would get the hint. They didn't and constantly shot me the look of death. Oh, I'M the asshole? Once I decided that technique wasn't working I began unleashing a torrent of hot, vegetarian (I ate a soy burger with a ton of avocado before the movie), Jameson infused farts and wafting them over their heads. I know they inhaled them by the disgusted looks on their faces when they turned around mere moments after my ass unleashed the fury.
By the way, I do understand their are moments in movies when the audience wants to cheer in unison, scream, laugh or whatever. I'm totally cool with that. In fact, the communal experience is what makes film going so fantastic and things like midnight movies such a blast. However, 99% of movies we all go to see aren't The Room or Rocky Horror or Grindhouse so let's keep that in mind when you're watching Movie X next Friday.

Rule #2: Your Phone No Longer Exists in the Theater
Look, I'm totally addicted to having an iPhone. I'm constantly checking Twitter and Facebook and all that jazz but I am capable of severing those digital ties when I enter a movie theater. It's not like I'm going to miss out on some Earth changing event in the hour and a half when I'm watching a movie and if some shit did happen I kinda think the theater staff would stop the flick and inform us that aliens had made first contact. Mobile phone screens are incredibly bright and distracting when your surrounded by darkness. It's jarring enough when I get up in the morning to turn off my alarm (I haven't awoken with the sun up in almost a year now). Last night a group of shithead teenagers rushed into the theater and ALL OF THEM immediately began their phonekakke ritual. The couple at the end of our row had already asked them, politely, to knock that shit off but they didn't get the hint. Against Mrs. Debauchery's protestations I got up, walked to rows up and three to the right and said, "Turn those the fuck off and shut the fuck up." They looked at me like I just Sandusky'd their little brother and put everything up. Even though that tactic was successful, Mrs. Debauchery was still PISSED at me. I fail to see the problem with what I did. It's not like I recreated this video, which I must say, is AWESOME!

Rule #3: Get to Your Seats on Time
This ain't fucking NASA shit, people. You know what time the movie is going to start. You checked it out on Fandango before you left the house, it's blasted across the marquee where you purchase your ticket and it's even printed on your fucking ticket. If it says, 8 p.m. it's gonna start relatively close to that so why not get their by that time? People who walk into movies late are the most likely to violate the two aforementioned rules. Inconsiderate assholes is what they are. In fact, why don't theaters institute a policy where they quit admitting people once the movie has started or quit selling tickets to it 15 minutes before the start time? When I went to press screenings in college my biggest complaint was that the last motherfuckers to arrive got to sit in the press row (the primo seats in the middle of the theater) after they scrunched us all dead center because most of the press assigned to a screening doesn't go. I wonder why. Why reward such irresponsibility? These shitbirds would talk and talk and text and text while people who were being paid to study and exalt an opinion on movies were trying to work. Granted, if I did the same shit to these drooling dolts as they worked a Sunglass Hut kiosk at the Galleria they wouldn't have a hard time rearranging the Ray Ban's through the disturbance. But, I think the jobs require different levels of talent, intelligence, and skill.

Rule #4: When it comes to evening screenings, leave your kids at home
I'm in my 30's now, so I have a lot of friends who are parents. I'm an uncle, too. I get that it's rough to find a sitter so you and your spawn shooting pez dispenser of a spouse can go out and enjoy a nice evening. And if you should choose to take your kids to see a horror flick at a matinee I have no problem with that (I saw Night of the Living Dead for the first time when I was 9). You know your kids limitations and should you choose to inflict their developing psyche's with wanton gore and tits and cheap jump scares, that's fucking aces with me. But...when you drag them to see a movie when it's HOURS after their bedtime that's when I get all Andy Rooney. Kids get cranky when they're tired. They get worse the longer you try to keep them in a situation they absolutely abhor. Children are very much like women when it comes to vaginal probes in this respect.

Rule #5: See Rule #1

If you want the TL;DR version here it is.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Time I Learned About Being "White Girl Wasted" While at Work

Interior: the inventory area for a local cancer hospital. There is a customer service window at the front of the room and just behind that are two co-workers seated at computers working quietly. One is a young man (in the dialog he will be named Me) and the other a middle aged woman. 

Around 6:00 a.m. a nurse approaches the window needing supplies for her floor. 

The middle aged woman takes the order and begins scouring the inventory room for the requested supplies. To kill the time, the nurse decides to engage the younger man in casual conversation interrupting the tranquility of listening to Pandora and sipping a triple espresso.

Nurse: How you doin' today, darlin'?!?!
Me, taking my earbuds out and waaaaaay less enthusiastic: I'm good. It's Friday and I've got a three day weekend.

Her eyes almost explode with excitement. 

Nurse: ME TOOO! And boy, let me tell you, I'ma gonna get FUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKED UP this weekend! I'm talking dawn 'til dusk, starting early and ending late! Shit, I might get so fucking crunk this I'll take another couple days off after Monday! Whatchyou think 'bout THAT?!?!?

The young man is aghast someone would be professing their intense alcoholism so casually and eagerly to a complete stranger, yet, he feels a strange kinship with this nurse.

Me:Uuhhhhh, that sounds cool. Doin' it big, huh? Any special occasion?
Nurse: HEEEEEEEELLLL FUCK NO! I ain't need no reason! I'm just lookin' to get my swerve on! You feel me?

The young man quickly abandons his work, utterly captivated by this enchantress.

Me: Oh, I feel ya! You going out or staying home?
Nurse: Sheeeeeet! I'm tearin' this motha fuckin' city DOWN! I'm gonna get so twisted Ima get WHITE GIRL WASTUD!

She now has the young mans full attention and Jedi-like concentration

Me: What's "white girl wasted?" I mean, I can imagine, I know a lot of white women who like to pound booze and I'm married to an Irish girl but are we talking broken heels, puking in the trashcan of the bathroom with smeared make up and raccoon eyes?
Nurse: Nah, nah, nah. Lemme tell you 'bout WHITE GIRL WASTED. Okay, I was in the club and was with a friend and we tipping back drinks and then she introduces me to this thing called....uhhhhh...Praeger...uhhhh...Wager...uhhh....
Me: Jagermeister?
Nurse: YEEEEEAAAHHHH! That, uhh, Jagermester! Boy, that shit will FUCK you up!
Me: I've had my experiences.
Nurse: Anyway, so my girl orders a round of those Jagerbombs. And her son orders a round of Jagerbombs. And her daughter in law orders a round Jagerbombs. And I order a round of Jagerbombs...
Me: Over the course of the night?
Nurse: FUCK NO! In an HOUR!

The young man's jaw is gaping upon this revelation. 

Me: Wow. Did you end up leaving early?
Nurse: NOOOOO! That's the thing. That Jagermeister don't hit you quick. It sneaks up on yo ass! And the whole time I was banging rum and cokes! We went like that all night and just got TORE UP!
Me: I can imagine.
Nurse: Oh, no you can't! We were all staggering out of the club 2:15 and shit and I'm wobbling on the sidewalk...

At this point the Nurse begins demonstrating her wobbling. It looks like an overweight epileptic having an epic seizure meets a Tickle Me Elmo doll. 

Nurse: ...So my girl and her people get in their call and peel off. And I fall into my car and then the spins start to hit. I can't even put my key in the ignition and I think I'm about to throw up allover my new car and just drop across the seats. So, I call my son. And he's like, "MOM! I know you ain't fucked up again! Goddamnit, I told you I wouldn't pick up if you kept doin' this shit!" And I'm like, "Fuck you! I brought you into this world and I will swerve my ass down to the house and take you out of it with this fucking car! Get your ass down here and pick your mama up!" And so he comes. 
Me: And?
Nurse: Shit! I ain't never been that fucked up or hungover in my life. Took me DAYS to work through that shit! And so, I asked my girl, "That how ya'll people do it?" And she says, "Every. Damn. Night." And I was like whoa! 

As her story seems to come to a conclusion that will only lead the young man to ask more questions because he is fascinated by this one story the nurse has about drunken lunacy the middle aged woman arrives back at the window with the requested supplies. The nurse grabs the bags and turns to walk away. 

Nurse: And that's getting white girl wasted. All right, baby, you have a good weekend! 
Middle Aged Woman: "White girl wasted?"
Me: You would not fucking believe what I was just told. 

And scene. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bloody Cock Stumps, Hangovers and the Revolution: 3 Days on the Road with Commie Hilfiger

The Nundini Food Store and Chef's Table is one of the best kept secrets in Houston. A tiny Italian deli now with a restaurant it sits just above the hill when you cross I-10 on Shepherd heading into the Heights. If you didn't know it was there, you might just think it's a row of warehouses with little activity going on. In the second warehouse there are scattered piles of old tables, chairs and a few racks of food products. The way the lighting is set up it looks like the place where a serial killer would take their victims to get their jollies off. Towards the back there is a narrow, rickety staircase that leads you to a platform that feels like it could fall through at any moment. This is where Commie Hilfiger practices and stores their gear so the tour starts here.

Bassist Chris (Nikita Krischev) is the son of the owner and Peter (drums/Dmitry Peterstroika) and his girlfriend, Trapper, work there also, but it's Jason (vox/Yuri Nation) and I who are the first to arrive.  He's in dire need of some caffeine for the drive to San Antonio so he heads in to get a latte while I dick around the store waiting for everyone else to show up. Eventually, the rest of the band arrives including new guitarists Cory (Ragged Hearts) and Josh (The Last Cigarette) and we continue to fuck around the parking lot smoking cigarettes and bullshitting for a little bit until Jason gets everyone to start loading the gear. The guitars and drums are easy to carry down that scary, ill lit staircase (I knocked Chris' bass into the wobbly railing and racked myself) but apparently no one has ever wanted to load the heavy amps down it. The solution is to load everything onto a pallet at the edge of the landing and to bring a forklift up and drive everything to warehouse loading dock. It's actually the most efficient system for a band to load out for a show that I've ever seen.

From there it's time to dole out the equipment in the four vehicles in our little caravan and once it's finally settled on who's riding solo (that would be Cory) we all head off for San Antonio. We're already 45 minutes behind schedule.

I'm riding with Jason and we spend our time talking about work, future plans, and The Wire. Jason's car has a dvd player in it and we end up watching the last episodes of season two. A nice way to kill the time as we roll through the beautiful Texas country side. Eventually, I remember I'm on this trip not just to hang out with my friends but to write something about the band and steer the conversation towards its future intentions.
"This is a warm up show," he says bluntly. "I mean, the people at Boneshakers really liked us and that's why they want us back but I don't expect much of a turnout. It's a bike bar and really cool but we didn't get the crowd we thought we would last time. Still, I'm excited." Jason also talks about plans to record a new album and gushes over the new songs the band has written (I'll write more about this later but the one they play during this excursion is really fucking good). "By the way, I think Boneshakers is a beer and wine only joint." Usually, this would cause me distress, being a liquor drinker, but I've come prepared. I have a flask of New Orleans rum in my backpack along with a bullet flask of Jameson attached to my wallet chain. Still, we plan ahead and decide to hit up a Buc-ees for some beer for after the show and to grab something to eat and I tweet Josh's fiancee, Carolynn to hit up a liquor store just to be on the safe side.

Peter and Trapper meet up with us there and we all wander around the supermarket sized truckstop searching for something to eat. I grab a case of Lone Star and a cheap cooler along with some crackers, everyone else snags cold cut sandwiches because they're fucking insane (I, frankly, don't fucking trust Buc-ees to keep me e coli free yet as this diary continues you'll see I'm a giant fucking hypocrite). This is the only meal I will have had since 10 a.m. today. The drive continues on and as we get closer to San Antonio, Jason and I start making jokes about going to visit the basement of the Alamo before getting fucked over by the navigation system on our phones. By some strange twist of fate the band arrives at Boneshakers pretty much at the same time.

So, they load in and everyone in the bar is obviously stoked to see them. Commie Hilfiger is a band that creates passionate converts everywhere they go. Sure, some people might not get the gag or think the guys are really hardcore members of the Communist Party, but the people that appreciate the spectacle and music really dig them. In fact, the bar staff are all sporting the hammer and sickle t-shirts from their previous visit. This is a good sign but upon seeing some dinosaur classic rock covers band outside the place getting ready to play everyone just retreats to behind the bar after the gear and merch is all brought inside. After all, it's not like the people lining up to hear Eagles covers from septuagenarians would dig a comedic punk band. I set up the merch table quickly, organize the t-shirts by size, grab my notebook and head outside to join everyone else.

Chris is in a mood. While we all pass around my flask of rum and burn cigarettes, he paces around in a state of, I guess, annoyance. I can't really tell if he's anxious about the show or just in a shit mood. Walking around  and spitting out bon mots like "I'm gonna go touch people's girlfriends" and "I'm gonna go drink beer and make fun of people" I'm furiously scribbling in my notebook to keep up with him. Peter notices this and says, "Hey, I don't think you should write that down." Chris, in total I-could-give-a-fuck mode immediately interjects, "[Debauchery], fuck that! You write it down as you see it." He casually wanders off to check out the dinosaur band playing outside the bar to minimal appeal.

Remembering my duties as band bitch, I go back inside to check on the merch table and score another free Lone Start from the bar. They're out of the National Beer of Texas and I'm forced to endure the piss that is Pabst Blue Ribbon but it's ok cause I got a flask to keep me content. And then the first band starts.

They all look like they could be doppelgangers for the @dadboner twitter handle. A bunch of paunchy dudes, in True Religion gear who open up their set by performing what could be best described as Aerosmith's take on Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty." This, I decry, is tantamount to treason considering these assholes claim to be Texans.  I quickly head outside and am reminded that the merch doesn't really need constant supervision and we all sip our tall boys and nip on the flask for a bit. Peter commandeers my flask before he has to set up his drums, a bit drunk.

They set up quick and immediately proceed to rock the fuck out of the crowd. The traditional march the band does from brings in everyone from outside and the crowd is very into it. After all, how often do you see a bunch of dudes in military fatigues beating drums and hoisting a communist flag stroll by you? By the time Chris begins playing the bar is buzzing with people trying to figure out just what the fuck is about to happen. Jason is an expert front man and knows how work the crowd even though there is nothing resembling a stage. Even before they play an actual song I've got a couple of people running up to buy CD's. and when they explode into the first song it's clear this new incarnation of the band is really clicking even though there are some MAJOR sound issues.

When it comes to music, Boneshakers is essentially an ice house with a PA system and the person running the board isn't helping things. From time to time, I can't even hear the guitars, (especially Cory's leads) the roaring buzz of Chris' bass occasionally drowns everything out, the backing vocals seem to be an afterthought and Jason's mic keeps getting dropped from the mix.  With no monitors, the band don't notice the sonic maladies and continue to put on a stellar show for the people sticking around. It's a sparse but enthusiastic crowd that appreciates the comedy and Jason's stage banter as much as the music. That's the great thing about Commie Hilifiger when they play to unfamiliar and unsuspecting crowds: they always come away with a group of new comrades.

The band finishes up and have to immediately load the gear outside so the next band can set up and you can see the intense exhaustion they've earned themselves. It's not just that the band is energetic and plays hard, but with those heavy fatigues and hats on it's akin to wearing a winter coat during a Texas summer. Cory wears an Ignatius J. Reilly style hat and seems to be feeling it the most. Everyone agrees their first show together is a success and despite the technical problems are really optimistic about the next two coming up. We stick around to watch the last band and then get everything loaded up before splintering into two groups.  Jason, myself, Chris and Cory will be staying in San Marcos and Peter, Josh and their ladies are heading up to Austin. We'll all meet up at Mr. Fest in San Marcos tomorrow afternoon.

Jason and I head off and I've got a pretty good buzz going on. We pass Peter on the freeway and he looks like he is about to pass the fuck out. I give him a call and it turns out he's fine just completely drained from the set and having to load his drums out in, like, five minutes. As I'm texting my wife, letting her know that I'm alive, Jason gets a call from his girlfriend and they begin what appears to me to be an intimate conversation. Not in a sexual way, mind you, but I just get the feeling I shouldn't be present for this. To break the (at least I feel) awkward tension, I tell Jason, "If you wanna have phone sex I'm totally cool with that." Without missing a beat, he replies, "Well, I got one hand on the phone and one hand on the wheel so you're gonna have to help me out."

Eventually, we arrive at the hotel and it's clear all parties just want to pound a beer or two and then pass the fuck out. Late start, long drive, exhausting show and I've been awake for almost 24 hours. I warn everyone that I'll probably be the first one to wake up since I get up at 3:45 in the morning for work and ask if they want me to roust them for breakfast. They do, even Chris, who is a hardcore night owl, and we head outside to enjoy one last cigarette before slumber. In celebration, we pass around the bullet flask of Jameson. It's been a pretty rad start to the weekend thus far and things can only get better.

Coming up in part two: Commie plays the best show of the tour, the band meets up with the awesome Neon Cobra, we all enjoy cheap shots of Jameson at the darkest bar in the universe and it all ends with my drunken ass falling into the hotel room wall head first. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Commie Hilfiger is Going on Tour!

Okay, so it's three dates across the great state of Texas but if Mike Ness gets to claim 10 dates in two cities 20 miles apart from one another as a tour, I am allowed to do the same. Deal with it.
You're favorite Communist Action Comedy Punk Superstars will be spreading their love of Yugo's, Vodka and breadlines (in that order) with the fine people of San Antonio, San Marcos and Austin. It's gonna be rad! You're guaranteed to experience the warm, pulsing, and rapturous sensations of the People's Perestroika Party in your pants when you see these glasnost loving Gulag survivors bust this dance out.
(ladies and gents: not safe for your undergarments)
The dates are as follows, fellow children of the revolution:
Friday, April 27th San Antonio @ Boneshakers w/ Jackson & Co./Poor Favor
Saturday, April 28th San Marcos @ Mr. Fest 2012 w/ Neon Cobra & otherbands
Sunday, April 29th Austin @ Red 7 (naturally) w/ Neon Cobra/Capitalist Kids/Lazers
If that ain't enough to peak your interest you can check out my review of their debut, My Car Keeps Stalin here. And speaking of me, I'll be heading out with the band to get punched at the merch booth by the Tea Party set (seriously, you cannot comprehend the stupidity that resulted from the Free Press Summer Fest faux-protest). HIGH FIVES, MOTHERFUCKERS! So, with that casual revelation aside, you can expect to see a "tour diary" of sorts once I decompress. And I'll be tweeting updates from the road (@jaydebauchery) because I am the poster child for the ADD generation. These cats are too afraid to fuck with Twitter after what happened to Pussy Riot and those comrades didn't even communicate via phone!.
Alas, as joyous as this news is, there is some sadness to report.
Jay Guevara took a hiatus from the group to construct a banana boat from his beloved left-handed Les Paul's for a pilgrimage back to Cuba so he might piss on Fidel Castro's grave. He was informed that Castro was still kicking but reasoned that he'd arrive just after the funeral once he floated in from Miami. Since setting sail in the early winter with only a case of rum and a burlap sack full of jerked carne de burro, Jay has not been heard from since. And Yugo Fuckyourself was returning from a General Assembly at Occupy Houston in Tinsley Park when his Yugo was blown off of I-45 and into the bayou below by a 30 mph gust of wind. Upon hitting the water, the car mysteriously exploded.
After much soul searching, the group was able to recruit two new members to N.A.A.C.C.C.P. and will be debuting the talents of Vlad the Inhaler and Ivan Strokenov during this tour. Please welcome them warmly with bottles of Monopolowa (real comrades drink Potato vodka) and the complete volumes of Marx's Das Kapital. The rest of the band are so excited about these additions they've been perfecting their commiekakke at band practice!
So get ready, Texas! The revolution is coming...
Here's the band performing the title track from their album in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Please Kill Yourself.

I mean not yourself, as in the living breathing creature walking aimlessly through life, but the part of you that thinks there is a path to follow.  The part that thinks that path should be lined with overhanging trees, brick walls, and ivy.  The part of you that thinks you are somehow special or unique or deserving of a yellow-brick road.  You are not Dorothy, and you are certainly not one of God’s children.  He has not given you a road-map to find your way back to him, or ruby slippers to click your way home.  No, God is using you.  Well, not yet.  You see, he doesn’t exist yet.  But if he comes online and sees what we have done, he’s going to be pretty fucking pissed.  So, please, for the love of nothing, kill your ‘self’ before you kill ‘yourself.’

Hey, what do you know?  Some prosetry for Mr. Debauchery's blog...thanks for the inspiration good sir...I hope the serious writing doesn't fuck up your style of calling out celebrity cuntrags and asshole drips.  But I thought you might like this.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


So, it's been about three months since one of best bands on the fucking planet released their EP Polymers are Forever, and I've been eagerly awaiting word on when Future of the Left's new album is gonna drop. Well, The Plot Against Common Sense is slated to be released on May 28th and to tide rabid fans such as myself over, the band has just dropped this killer video for the delightfully caustic and smirking raised middle finger of a tune, "Sheena is a T-shirt Salesman."
Yeah, this might have been featured as an "exclusive" on the NME's website but thankfully we live in the YouTube age and therefore I don't have to provide that shitty publication with web hits.
Seriously, if you're not head over heels in love with this band you are failing at life.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Will Everyone Please Shut the Fuck Up About Lana Del Rey: A Plea for Moving Our Critical Energies to at Least an Interesting Subject

[Ed. note: I am well aware that the mere act of writing this piece might seem hypocritical. Deal with it.]
Every so often music writers and fans find someone/thing new to obsess over and criticize that becomes so polarizing it catapults the subject to the zenith of the pop culture zeitgeist and in turn creates a hypocritical and idiotic clusterfuck of biblical proportions. For the last several agonizing months, Lana Del Rey has gone from the latest hip indie chanteuse to Pitchfork reader punching bag to commercial success to critic punching bag to the little darling misunderstood and over scrutinized songstress that must be defended from all the mean old critics and internet haters. And now that her album is finally out it doesn't appear that the debate is going to end anytime soon and instead of devoting gallons of digital ink or boost in publicity to other (and I would say much more deserving) artists it looks like indie rock has finally produced it's own Tim Tebow: an idol whose intense praise and scorn isn't deserved at all based solely up their body of work and provokes rabid reactions from either side of the fence. When it comes to professional output, in Ms. Lizzy Grant's case that amounts to a shortly available debut album (to build the mystery and allure, some have opined) a fucking dreadful Saturday Night Live appearance and the so-hyped-to-goddamn-death record that would never appease just about any rock critic, Born to Die. That's. Fucking. All.
Take a step back and realize that artists with catalogs about a hundred times lengthier (and more impressive) have failed to receive anywhere near that amount of attention in decades plus careers. Liz Phair wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal about her for fucks sakes! That is fucking mind blowing and it makes me pause to wonder just what it is about this woman that deserves such lengthy and often inconsequential discussion. Why not Kreayshawn or Skrillex or those dickweeds Time Magazine profiled that whine about spending $100,000 a year to "make it"? It's like the entire world of music just shrugged and gave every one of them a pass after, like, a week on incessant bitching and then moved on to somewhat cover new or emerging bands that were actually worth a shit or write about forgotten bands that were worth a shit.
The arguments to be made for ignoring Lana Del Rey if you don't dig her music (I think "Video Games" is a really good song but the rest of that album, woof) are really quite simple. She is as inoffensive as it comes when you look solely at her music. The world wouldn't be any better or worse without her contribution to the pop music canon so why get worked the fuck up over it? It's not she's Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton or...Bog forbig, Perez Hilton releasing some overglossed bullshit just because she can. There is an actual effort she has made in her career and as calculating and Machiavellian as she has been in controlling her image and output you've got to at least give her a pat on the back.
The main argument that seems to persevere is that she is "inauthentic." I have no fucking clue what that means. Collapse Board had a fantastic fucking write up about how that is such a bullshit argument. And before we delve into that let's discuss the bullshit genre known as "indie rock." I don't pretend to understand what that term means to people who actually use it to describe a musical genre. Under the broadest definition the National qualify as an indie rock band but shouldn't some yo-core group off of ICP's label count as well? Indie rock is just a lazy way of music writers to dismissively pass off quiet music made by honky hipsters in American Apparel gear. I guess, at least. It's as bullshit and lethargic of a descriptor as "alternative" was in the 90's. So, I guess because Del Rey hasn't busked for her monthly co-op rent in a loft with 50 kids in Williamsburg or has never worked as a barista then she MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO SULLY INDIE ROCKS GRAND TRADITION OF EXISTENTIAL SUFFERING AND HEART ACHE BROUGHT FROM FEIGNED POVERTY. YOU THINK IT WAS EASY ASKING MY STEP-DAD FOR THIS FUCKING GIBSON AND THE MARSHALL AMP AND TO LOAN ME THE FAMILY MINI-VAN ON WEEKENDS? At least, I think that's what I read in the comments on a Rolling Stone or Stereogum article. Saying she is "inauthentic" is essentially saying she never pined for her boyfriend to fuck her raw while she sat beside him while he chose to focus his adoration to a video game. And even if that scene never took place she had to mine those emotions from some place. I doubt Stephen King has experienced a lot of murder or end of days cult leaders or been buttfucked in prison after being wrongfully convicted of killing his wife but those emotions and lines come from somewhere.
Oh, wait, are we saying she co-opted the "indie" image in taking great pains to appeal to that cult of personality? Great, she got some collagen in her lips and decided to start dressing like a Bond girl from the early Sean Connery era. Ah, that's it. It's true, adults or even kids in their late teens don't like being marketed to and that is exactly what has happened here. But, that still leaves me asking why is it so fucking hard to just give the songs a listen and walk away? And as someone writing under a Mark Twain I sure as shit ain't gonna go into the dumb as all fuck whining about how she changed her name. I'm sure Interscope (a label that has released a shitton of great music) wants to rake as much cash from her as they can but when did it become so offensive to have a record label try to sell you on a pop star so hard? It's not like she's being passed off as the new Cat Power or Kathleen Hannah or P.J. Harvey, after all. Shouldn't all be old hat by now? I get that some deranged and self proclaimed protectors of the aforementioned purity that has always been a part of the "indie" scene (*coughPITCHFORKcough*) don't like the big boys pissing in their sandbox but then why not just dismiss the whole charade and assign and asinine .25939439439 score to the record and move on?
Looking solely at her music it's apparent she has a great voice with mediocre songwriting talents that maybe could produce something solid in the future. However, where some artists would take the critical and cultural lashings she's received and lock themselves in a closet with a Casio, acoustic guitar and four-track for months to prove their haters wrong I don't get that sort of passion from Del Rey. When she says things like, "I don't think I'll write another record" two things go through my mind.
First, she is completely full of shit. I doubt anyone would take the (father's) money, time and effort to create the PR swirl she has engineered (it certainly didn't come through in the music. Seriously, the album is a mess.) if she didn't really want to make a go at being a musician, at least not a non-famous one. But, after listening to Born to Die and her insisting that the album was inspired by a break up and that she's expunged her soul successfully through it I can kinda buy it. I don't see her having much to offer beyond its tracks act least as a songwriter. Her voice has a somber power but if we get Born to Die V2.0 I doubt it will be as interesting. And it's only interesting to listen to so we can dissect to figure out whether or not all this hype was worth the time. Maybe if she ditched the electronic bullshit and horrible DJ EZ yelps and had somebody prop her in front a microphone with just a piano or guitar we might get somewhere but the reliance on the late 90's wanna-be hip hop beats seems like its masking a lack in having an actual song behind her coos. It's almost as if the music was an afterthought. All of that flies out the window when you're reminded that she released another album before this. And that NO ONE could create this kind of buzz without having some heavy industry influence.
The other thing, and it's more intriguing when it comes to the matter at hand is this: is she pop music's current Queen Troll? Was all of this just a calculated ploy by a well to do gal to gauge the reaction to her bedroom musings on a large stage and then decide later on whether or not she wants to continue down this path? It's certainly a cynical assessment and unfair as well. Good for her that she had loads of help getting her music checked out by millions of people it's not like there are really any pure pop music fairy tales to speak of. Katy Perry had to pretend to be bisexual and sell out her Christian pop past to achieve her level of boob worship ya know. And to be sure, her interviews are often grating in their narcissism like when she proclaims to be a "gangsta Nancy Sinatra" or the aforementioned "I've said everything I wanted to say...maybe I'll just collect my check, cash out and go back to chilling in Miami."
I do believe that there is a lot of sexism at play when it comes to the casual dismissal of Del Rey, too. Kings of Leon didn't get called "inauthentic" when they went from being Southern rock apes to unwashed, douchebag, contemporary adult pop bullshit. The Strokes got NO RESISTANCE (except from Buddyhead) from the music press when their preened garbage faux-garage rock was heralded as saving rock music from being mired in shit. I don't remember as intense of a backlash when perma-pretty boy Jared Leto decided to goth it up and unleash the wave of audio diarrhea that is 30 seconds to Mars. Shit, no one blinked twice when Skrillex went from screamo front-man to the dubstep people's champion (to be fair, he was properly slagged for propagating our enduring international nightmare that is dubstep). So, I ask, for the last time, why Lana Del Rey?
Could it be that all Lana Del Rey is guilty of is being an eager and easily malleable cog in the ever running music industry hype machine and that it's the music journalists that have committed the far greater crimes. After all, the label just puts the album out and promotes it but no one has to cover it or continue to serialize the myth they've carefully cultivated and delivered to your inbox in easily cut and paste press releases. Why don't we all just agree to from now on treat the whole Lana Del Rey thing like Jennifer Connoly at the end of Labyrinth when confronted by Bowie as the Goblin King. Repeat after her, "You have no power over me."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dillinger Four vs. HR

Dillinger Four released a live album back in 2003 and if you didn't hear it then you really missed out. Not that live albums from punk bands are anything spectacular but because the band rarely tours and if you've never gotten to experience their stage banter then First Avenue Live is something you should get hip to real quick. Paddy is one of the funniest and sharpest musicians I have ever interviewed (I'll dig through the print back issues and see if I can find my interview with him) and onstage the band is just lights out comedy gold. But, when you add the Bad Brains (or Soul Brains as they, for some batshit insane reason, were calling themselves then) flaking out on the show with an answering machine apology from perma-stoned HR you get some comedy gold.
Aside from teasing the crowd with pieces of the message, they eventually attempt to call HR back and this is what happens.
And then at the end of the night, the brilliant ramblings of HR. This is one of my favorite things ever.