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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Slant 6, Nitzer Ebb, Young and Restless, White Magic, ELO, Curt Boettcher
Slant 6, "Double Edged Knife"
Slant 6 was part of a whole DC scene that probably was my gateway drug into punk; I came up into it through DIY and Dischord, which probably accounts for a certain independent take on cultural production that I like, my entry into zines, an initial exposure to riot grrrl and, in some oblique way, the very existence of nogoodforme.com. Sometimes it's just nice to revisit those things that got you doing whatever you've been doing, just so you can look back and marvel just how far that energy has taken you. I actually remember buying the freakin' cassette that this song is off of, Soda Pop-Rip Off, at the only really cool record store in Durham, NC. (Poindexter Records, RIP!) I was intrigued because they were on Dischord and, as far as I knew at the time, were the only girls on that label. (Autoclave had not yet crossed my radar. We all have to begin somewhere!) Of course I had to buy it, and I remember the record store clerk, who was cute and had one of those floppy skater boy haircuts so prevalent in the early 90s, was like, "Hey, this is a cool band" in this condescending voice which made me think he was not that cute anymore. But the dork was right; they were a cool band, and this is still a cool record. (Kat)
Nitzer Ebb, "Join in the Chant"
It's totally because of Jonna Lee's cover of "Violent Playground" that I recently busted out the album that the original was on, Nitzer Ebb's That Total Age. Nitzer Ebb was one of those bands that I listened to INCESSANTLY throughout high school and then didn't pick up for a long time, much to the relief of my parents, I suppose, who heard "Getting Closer" way more than two mild-mannered immigrants from Thailand had probably imagined for themselves. (They knew they were in for some serious economic struggle and racism when they came to America, but I don't think they bargained for ear-splitting levels of KMFDM from their teenaged daughter.) Nitzer Ebb made abrasive yet highly danceable industrial music that was heaven-made for the mosh pit and the dance floor; "Join in the Chant" is their most parent-irritating song ever. (My dad would complain, "This is not a SONG, Katty!") Yes, this is barely even a song in the traditional sense, and I mean that in the best way possible -- just chanting over an aggressive, slamdance-encouraging dance beat so propulsive it makes you want to hit people really hard. It's music that's really stripped-down to its most tribal, visceral basics, pure rhythm and vocal force, and it hits you not in the head or the heart, but the gut and the groin. It's kind of amazing that Nitzer Ebb forged such a following out of such nontraditional stuff, concentrating on dynamic rhythm and sheer fucking force; it's a testament to its durability and innovation that their records are still regarded as landmarks in terms of dance and electronic music, although bummer that some of them are out of print. (NE are touring now, actually, and I really, really want to go to their show at the Gramercy Theatre in early December; they're incredible live.) This is their "classic" song -- it's not my favorite (that would be the epic "I Give To You") but it's definitely their most iconic. There's really nothing else more to say about "Join in the Chant" other than the part you're going to get stuck forever in your consciousness once you hear it: GUNS! GUNS! GUNS! GUNS! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! OW! MUSCLE AND HATE! (Kat)
Young and Restless, "Satan"
You know what would be really funny? If I walked up to Thurston "The Ringo Starr of nogoodforme.com" Moore with a copy of Bad Moon Rising in my hot little hands, climbed up a stepladder, flicked my index finger against his forehead, jumped down off the stepladder and shouted up at his eight-foot-tall self: "'Satan Is Boring,' Thurston??!! More like this record is boring!" And then I'd LOL my adorable head off and scamper away before The Jolly Redhead Giant could ever catch me. But I'll probably never do any of that; I kinda like that Thurston dude. But still: "Satan Is Boring" is so boring. Refreshingly, "Satan" isn't half as boring, although my favorite song with "Satan" in the title will probably always be "Satan's Bed" by Pearl Jam, because I'm the grungy one around here. (Liz)
White Magic, "The Light"
Speaking of boring, my first autumn in California I saw White Magic play a few songs inside a haunted boat; it was All Tomorrow's Parties and I made my friend come watch them with me and they were so boring but in a beautiful way. "I thought that band was awesome," my friend said when White Magic was done. "Yeah, right? So good!" I replied so gleefully. "No, I mean: I THOUGHT YOU SAID THAT BAND WAS GOING TO BE AWESOME!!" clarified Mr. Grumpypants, because he thought they were just terrible. It was all very funny-annoying. So, White Magic's not for everybody - but if you're the kind of girl who gets her mid-autumn kicks skulking around the streets with a soy pumpkin spice latte after dark and wishing you were taking pictures of trees and chapel windows at Mount Auburn Cemetery instead, then White Magic might totally be for you. I love that creepy lilting thing Mira does with her voice all over "The Light." (Liz)
Electric Light Orchestra, "Boy Blue"
I'm not sure if anybody was aware that I was gone, but it doesn't matter now, because, I can assure you- I'm back.
On my second day of being back, I sat at my kitchen table and wrote "I'm Back" in a new pen in my notebook while back-ly smoking a celebratory "I'm Back" cigarette. I walked "back" into my bedroom, and this song played. I had my entire iTunes on shuffle, because that's how I tend to roll in the mornings. "What is this favourite song of mine I've never heard before?" I thought-exclaimed. It was "Boy Blue" by Electric Light Orchestra. I've never actively listened to Eldorado by ELO. This song has been in my possession for five years, and I never even knew!
I cry-smiled when I noticed that this song is about being back. Back-ness. I'm not projecting, either; most of the lyrics go "Boy Blue is back." It's the most being-back-centric song of all time. "Boy Blue" is a Perfect Laura Jane Pop Song, and on that afternoon I reclaimed myself, and this was the song that held my hand through the hayride. It won. The best parts are when it thrashes at 3:31; that wave of energy just makes me so goddamned grateful that I am November 2009 Laura with this ugly Paperback Writer John Lennon moptop I'd never choose to have but who cares cuz it's so PERFECT for "Boy Blue" head-thrashing, and of course the first lyric: "Can't you hear all the noise? It's for YOU." Yes I can. FUCK YEAH IT IS!!!
And later in the day I was backishly listening to "Boy Blue" and I saw an "I'm Back" t-shirt hanging in the window of a store and I bought it and wore it and I will never be gone again. Because this is a beautiful, beautiful world, where life gives you the most beautiful theme song on the day you deserve it most, and a matching t-shirt to boot! It's good to be back. But there is no good, only "back," though there's definitely "best". And best is, and always will be, BEAUTIFUL. (Laura Jane)
Curt Boettcher, "I Love You More Each Day"
This song is dedicated to Laura Jane, from Laura Jane. I love you like guitars, Babydoll. I can teach everyone in the world to love themselves: more and more each day! Seriously. Loving yourself more each day really takes the edge off of death, because it means that your death day is the end-point of your journey toward self-celebration, therefore being the best day of your life. See? Everything is beautiful. I'll teach you it. (LJ)
Tags: beauty, being back, cemeteries, chanting, condescending record store clerks, Curt Boettcher, dads, death, Electric Light Orchestra, grunge, haunted boats, John Lennon, Nitzer Ebb, Perfect Laura Jane Pop Songs, pumpkin spice lattes, riot grrrl, Satan, self-love, Slant 6, t-shirts, Thurston Moore is the Ringo Starr of nogoodforme.com, White Magic, zines
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