Tag Archives: punk

Fashion Fallout

When little kids get their first haircut, there’s usually crying involved.

When Pete Wentz gets his hair cut (or shaven?), the crying apparently stops:

Take to the messageboards, Facebook feeds, and Twitter tweets, you FOB fanatics out there!

Wentz has proven to be something of an intelligent individual in music: his lyrics have the kind of verbiage that the College Board kills for, he’s proven himself a mogul in his own little music realm, and he’s probably a lot more articulate and well read in punk than people give him credit for. (His appearance as a player in a pivotal band included in Brian Peterson’s Burning Fight, all on 90s hardcore bands, is probably stunning for many who are not up on their hardcore punk reading.) With the emo-publicity train currently has its eyes focused on Brand New, Wentz picked the perfect opportunity to get rid of a fashionable doo that’s become the target of so much scorn. With the focus no longer just on his band, he can be free to play whatever he wants and wear whatever he wants. Hopefully, this will get some kids to rethink the emo-as-purely-a-fashion-statement, because I for one cannot see Wentz changing his tunes just cause his head has less hair.

Neon Shirt

Saw the above t-shirt at Warped on Tuesday. It may just be a shirt, but nowadays fashion is oft as important – if not the important – as the music that a band chooses to define itself. In My So Called Punk, Matt Diehl notes the clashes between “emo” kids and traditional “punk” kids at Warped came out in the t-shirts they wore. Just like during the earlier part of this decade, the same thing is happening currently, but pitted between scrunk and traditional “punk” acts. There were more black punk shirts in support of traditional punk virtues – though none as straightforward anti-scrunk/crunkcore as the photo above. And they faced a host of bright, neon colored shirts from acts such as 3OH!3, brokeNCYDE, Millionaires, Jeffree Star, etc. Take a look at some of the designs below:

3OH!3 shirt. They also had a shirt that said "This is a 3OH!3 Shirt," which I wasn't sure if it was a humorous send up of the "This Is Not A Fugazi Shirt" or not

 

brokeNCYDE shirt. Their crowns, when done by hand in concert, is similar to the 3OH!3 hand design. Also, not the most annoying brokencyde shirt

brokeNCYDE shirt. Their "crowns," when done by hand in concert, is similar to the 3OH!3 hand design. Also, not the most annoying brokencyde shirt

Even check out the Babycakes shirt, which screams (pardon the pun… or play on the situation) scrunk:

Anyway, that was an interesting aspect of Warped I took notice of.

As another aside, while stopping by the Vagrant merch tent on Tuesday, I noticed the tip sign by the guy running the tent. Most tip signs usually have some gaudy or humorous note to get people to drop a buck. The Vagrant guy’s merely asked people to donate to fly his girlfriend out to Warped. In many ways, this image (and I wish I could have gotten a picture of it, but the weather was really hit-or-miss, and this was a miss moment) is perfectly representative of Vagrant’s take on emo: there’s a clean cut guy with a simple message trying to get his significant other to come accompany him on a big event for the summer. And the guy was nice to boot and quite enthusiastic about their selection of $5 Dashboard Confessional albums. Couldn’t have been a more perfect match. Needless to say I dropped a buck.

That’s all for now… check in to Bostonist in the late morning, as the Warped piece should be online at that point.

Mayday, Mayday

 

Gallows Frank Carter in the mosh pit

Gallows' Frank Carter in the mosh pit

Got back from Warped Tour a handful of hours ago. For those eager to hear what went down at the Boston date, check out Bostonist in a day or two for a review with a smattering of pics such as the one I took of Frank Carter at the start of this post.

Sure, I felt a little “old” throughout the day, but that’s not all to be chalked up to the waves of teens, some of whom are a good decade younger than me (yikes); in actuality, the constant rainfall and sheer exhaustion is what did it to me. Many individuals consider Warped Tour to be a staple of their youthful summers, and it’s wonderful that one can rely on something to be a consistent part of their experience growing up (as there is so little that one can foresee and rely on when you’re growing up). For these folks, it’s easy to see how they may feel old once they age out of the 13-19 age range that Warped founder Kevin Lyman aims at appealing to; they took every moment at the day-long festival as a wonderful part of growing up, and with each new band they’re unaware of that ends up on the main stage, it can be a little odd. Scary even. Not I’m-so-old-there-goes-my-hip type of scary, but scary that something so comforting and reliable seems to have completely changed at the drop of a pin.

So for many, it’s easy to see how the appearance of scrunk bands comes as an affront to what they’ve loved and understood Warped to be. Granted, Warped has always had a thing for including acts of all different genres and ideological backgrounds (Eminem anyone?), but this may be the first time that such hatred towards one specific act/sound is as directed as scrunk. Nu-metal had it’s bumps; so did the emo-pop wave. But scrunk bands seem to have appropriated the festival, at least in the eyes of some… because going from 0-60 in the span of a year is a sign of… well, something.

What’s so odd is seeing not the 19 or 20 year olds shocked, but the 16 year olds scared straight by the 13 year olds who fawn over Millionaires. They already seem nostalgic for a summer one year past, and that’s when you certainly can understand a kid for getting so angry at the appearance of brokeNCYDE.

I unfortunately (or fortunately? who knows) missed brokeNCYDE, but certainly made up for that by catching Millionaires, Breathe Carolina, and Attack Attack! of the scrunk stratosphere, as well as countless (literally, countless) acts that happened to be on whatever teeny stage when I swung around. Head to Bostonist soon for a full round up. Until then…

Situation On Mars: An America Is Just A Word Update

A new week, another great musician who’s words and work will be included in America Is Just A Word. Justin Pearson – currently the bassist and half of the vocal team that is grindcore/noise-rock/post-hardcore group The Locust – will be talking to me about his experience fronting the mid-90s emo/screamo/post-hardcore/whatever weirdo term is out their act Swing Kids, as well as his role as owner and part-operator of San Diego-based record label Three One G. Swing Kids were known for their manic, mathy and impossible-to-guess-what-will-happen-next take on the ferocious, caustic emo sound that was brewing in San Diego at the time. Pearson’s work in Swing Kids, The Locust and the other half-dozen-plus bands he’s operated in have really helped to challenge the constraints that emo and various other post-hardcore subgenres have fallen into today.

Recently, the Swing Kids had a couple of reunion shows in support of a handful of local charities and as part of the release celebration for Brian Peterson’s book, Burning Fight. Peterson’s book is about the continuation of hardcore past the “death” of the genre as written in American Hardcore. Soon enough, I’ll have a copy of the book in my hands; you can pick up your copy here.

Swing Kids (live):

Still Jamming Econo…

 

Mike Watts feet, on the move

Mike Watt's feet, on the move

Caught Mike Watt and the Missing Men at TTs this/last evening… quite a set and great to see a genuine punk rock legend (not to lead into paradoxical statements, just take it as you will). Considering the impact the Minutemen have had (including on emo, as the Minutemen’s DIY ideology was a shared practice in the Revolution Summer circle and even before in the harDCore scene), it’s great to see Watt remains such a genuine guy after what many would describe as a whirlwind life and musical career. He was quite an inspiration back in the day and onstage, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to see him in action…

Be on the lookout for a gig review on Bostonist in the next day or two.

The Rap on Emo Rap

P.O.S. said emo rap “sounds pretty unfortunate,” so one must wonder what Kanye West must think about the term. Sure, various blogs abound on the Internet that didn’t meet a song with any emotive content they couldn’t shake a finger at and immediately label it have tied Kayne’s newest 808s and Heartbreak and emo in twine. But what happens when XXL Magazine, the most credible source of hip-hop news next to The Source, sticks a “hello, I make emo rap” name tag squarely on Kanye’s heart-shaped patch?

 

 

Theres that heart-patch...

There's that heart-patch...

 

A feature article titled “Emo Trippin’” is published, that’s what. Sure, over half a decade after Atmosphere ignited the term around the time that emo burst into the cultural definition and no major word in XXL. But when Kanye does it… Feature article. 50 Cent can attempt to rag on Kanye all he wants, but there’s no question Mr. West continues to set and define culture in a way Fiddy can only dream of.

 

You’ve got to give XXL credit for observing a tired out genre-name that was, for all intents and purposes, a dead term, resurrected for time to time to describe acts such as Gym Class Heroes. The XXL staff do a pretty decent description as well:

 

“Emo rap—emotive hip-hop of pain and introspection, the antithesis of swagger—is now seemingly as mainstream as Main Street, suitable for serenading a new president, lucrative enough to generate bags full of dead ones.”

 

However, the connections to Coldplay and the lack-thereof of any indication to emo’s hardcore/punk roots is a bit of a misnomer for what is a well-written piece. (It was Atmosphere’s connection to underground punk, as well as the introspective notions and self-reflection within the lyrics, that had the duo receive the emo rap title.) Though, I’ll have to pick up the full article – as smart as XXL is, only a portion of the article is published online.

Nothing Nice To Say About Emo

Then (Circa early 2000s/beginning of emo’s third wave):

Emo

Emo

Now(ish) (Circa late 2007):

Bike Gang, Part XVIII

Bike Gang, Part XVIII

Mitch Clem’s punk webcomic Nothing Nice To Say is surprisingly on-point when it comes to making fun of emo. Whereas the general consensus of the term had dramatically changed within the same time frame, Clem remarks on the subtle changes within the greater stereotype and gets some good licks in. And anyone with a sense of humor and a taste for old school emo could sure get a kick out of this baby:

Frosted Blakes

Frosted Blakes

Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate jokes in the span of one panel. Nicely done.

1st Emo Altercation of 2009

Sure, 2008 had it’s fire and brimstone moments for emo, what with the violent outbursts in Mexico, the “cult suicide” in the U.K., and the proposed ban on the genre in Russia. But in just over a week of 2009, it appears that the name of emo is already being dragged through the mud.

This time, the culprit and location of the negative emo outburst is Australia. The Brisbane Times‘ Andrew Wight on an unfortunate incident that occurred in the fair town:

“About 11pm, police say an argument started between a group of teenagers walking along Dawson Parade and a skinny man in his early 20s with a Mohawk hairstyle and dressed in a black button-up jacket, long black socks, long black shorts and a black shirt with white braces.

The argument deteriorated into a physical altercation and police allege the man then threatened the two teenagers with a knife.”

Well, you can see where this story is headed. And with two teens in the hospital, The Brisbane Times might not be helping the case by projecting a negative and incorrect stereotype. Nowhere in the article is the word “emo” name-checked, and yet the headline blares the following:

‘Emo’ stabs teens after street fight

Granted, this may be the editors’ choice to throw emo into the article title and not necessarily Wight. But, considering journalism’s place in society is to tell people the truth and facts of a situation rather than promote sensationalist stereotypes (ok, clearly that doesn’t always work out), the headline is something an ombudsman should quickly make note of. The regalia of the attacker is that of a typical “punk” more than anything else, right down to the stereotypical mohawk. So, if anything, this is an “injustice” (I realize my argument may be trite, but it happens) to an already pervasive negative stereotype against emo. And now people will just be more confused. Moreover, that violent image will be projected on teens other than those who may identify as emo and has the potential to become something of a stigma in Australian society. Obviously, this is looking way down the line, but the editorial mis-reading of a situation where people have been harmed may cause more damage in the long run than good.

Breaking News: iTunes and DRM-Free Songs

New York Times technology correspondent Brad Stone has some great information on the future of DRM-free songs available on iTunes. Blogging live from the Macworld Expo, here’s the quick and dirty down low:

“1:37 p.m.: More background: EMI had been the only one of the four major labels to offer DRM-free songs through iTunes Plus. The other three held out, demanding the right to set a range of prices for songs. They also wanted to spur the growth of Amazon’s MP3 store as a competitor to iTunes. But now Apple has given in on variable pricing, and is now fully joining the DRM-free movement.”

Does this mean all songs on the iTunes store will be DRM-free? It’s too soon to tell what the consequences are, and with the impact of variable pricing, how that will impact the number of people who buy music from iTunes and elsewhere. And to think, the infamous EMI is the first to offer DRM-free tunes… wonder what Johnny Rotten makes of all this… or better yet, what today’s punk and emo bands think…

 

Updates/More Information:

 

Here’s more information from the Apple website on the iTunes DRM changes:

“High-quality, DRM-free music. 
iTunes Plus is the new standard on iTunes.

Now, you can choose from millions of iTunes Plus songs from all four major music labels and thousands of independents. With iTunes Plus, you get high-quality, 256-Kbps AAC encoding. All free of burn limits and digital rights management (DRM). So iTunes Plus music will play on iPod, Apple TV, all Mac and Windows computers, and many other digital music players. It’s also easy to upgrade your iTunes library to iTunes Plus. You don’t have to buy the song or album again. Just pay the 30¢ per song upgrade price. (Music video upgrades are 60¢ and entire albums can be upgraded for 30 percent of the album price.)”

 

*One reader asked for a definition of DRM-free. As the above piece indicates, DRM stands for digital rights management, which basically meant there were controls exercised over the music you would purchase from iTunes, despite the fact that you’ve purchased it. For example, there are limits on how often you can burn a song (breach the limit and you can no longer play the song), once you burn a song it looses its quality in the copied version, you can only play a song on certain digital music player (aka if you purchased music from iTunes and it was a DRM file, you could only play it on iTunes), etc. DRM-free basically means all these regulations placed upon songs you would pay to download that were encrypted in your music are no longer in place if you are to download music from iTunes. Basically, you will have complete control over the music you purchase.

Can’t Spell “B” without an “E”

For those that caught Bruce Campbell’s latest B-movie flick, My Name Is Bruce, it’s, well, a Bruce Campbell movie… though some of the jokes were a complete miss and would have benefited the movie had they not been written in the first place.

In any case, one of the movie’s driving characters is a young teenaged boy who enters the screen wearing goth makeup, punk-like spikes in his hair, and blasting heavy metal. I figured someone might peg this kid as a representation of emo, and it was easier to track down than I’d thought. Here’s a snipet of this review:

“The story unfolds like this. A weekend emo/goth kid unwittingly releases a vengeful Chinese god of destruction…and bean curd. In seconds, the body parts are flying and emo kid sounds the alarm in town. Here’s where the logic gets wonky. Emo boy convinces the town that their only hope is Bruce Campbell, so he abducts the celeb who thinks this is all an elaborate birthday surprise perpetrated by his agent (Ted Raimi, natch!) Now, the towns-people know he is Bruce Campbell…and not Ash. Emo kid is an uber fan and has most likely been spouting off about his hero for some years now, and in a small town, that means everyone knows everything there is to know. Never the less, they believe Bruce is the one to lead them and do their best to cater to his every whim.”

I have to admit, I do like the reference to the kid being a “weekend emo/goth,” as he only wore his get up at a couple of points during the movie. But emo? Can’t say that the representation suits that staple at all considering there isn’t a single sound-byte, band name, or credence that would point to emo. But, I guess if that’s what B movies account for the culture in their representations, it manages to get across.

*In other news, apparently Jimmy Eat World will be performing Clarity in concert soon. So the ATP sensation of playing “classic” albums continues!