Tag Archives: The Boston Phoenix

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Hold The Phone, Buzzgrinder

Buzzgrinder whipped up a little post today about a new Sunny Day Real Estate album.

I say “whipped up,” because they certainly embellished something.

Here’s the “scoop”:

Regular Buzzgrinderer Travis Lee dropped us a tasty tidbit. He just saw Sunny Day Real Estate in Minneapolis, and during the new song they’ve been playing on their reunion tour, they said something along the lines of “it’s going to be a fun one to record.” Trav also said the new jam was “a beast.”

So the word “it” can be substituted for just about anything now, huh?

Yes, the band wrote a new song. And if you were playing with 4 other people and created the first full song in well over a decade with that same cast, wouldn’t you want to record it before you lost the chance to do so?

It would make sense that SDRE would want to record the song. But an entire record? In numerous interviews they’ve mentioned that they don’t know if they have it in them at the moment to record an album, and that’s simply from scheduling conflicts (a fact I found out during the research and interview phase of writing the Sunny Day article for The Boston Phoenix)

It’s fantastic that they managed to squeak out a song (and a pretty solid one) in the short amount of time between their rehearsals and their other projects. But an entire album? That’s quite a leap of faith, and a rumor that could really take hold of SDRE’s fairly rabid fan base. They could do it, who knows, but to publish something that says:

So yeah, new Sunny Day record. You heard it here first. Maybe.

Is really taking advantage of fans and folks who go to Buzzgrinder as a trusted source.

On and On and On

sdrephxfrt

I wrote another piece for The Boston Phoenix, this time about… Sunny Day Real Estate. Whoda thunk it?

For folks wondering about A) all the reunion hubub and why it’s happening 2) what’s the big deal with the band C) just how the band got back together and 3.14) the details of the reunion and how the seeped online, head over to the article. (I did say I’d write up a little something tracking the whole thing, so there you go… and concise too.)

Big thank yous go out to Marco Collins, Brian Perkins, Davey von Bohlen, Jonathan Poneman, and Jeremy Enigk for the wonderful interviews: I feel like I really got a wide variety of voices that weren’t really heard in the din of the “yaaaay reunion” hollers and usual Q+A with SDRE bandmembers. Not that those aren’t great, just a little familiar. And yes, I traced the reunion meme starting with Mr. Perkins’ initial tweet, and got some pretty great info out of folks for that section… If only I could fit more.

Speaking of fit more, I got a few particularly interesting answers from Jeremy that didn’t fit in with the piece… hopefully I’ll be able to get those out in the near future.

But, enough of that… read on!

Daisy

I wrote a little review of the forthcoming album from Brand New for The Boston Phoenix. It can be hard to write reviews in just 250 words or less, and Brand New’s album is no exception to that: I spent a large part of the time merely outlining the band’s history and why I felt like it was important to discuss the band because, in many ways, I felt like I’m defending a certain taste. Among many of my peers, Brand New were the band they may have enjoyed hearing when “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” hit the radiowaves and something they eventually dropped for “indie” or whatever new thing they grew to enjoy. And that’s ok, but they certainly missed out on The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me and it would be a shame for folks to continue to hold a band that’s continually evolving to a single from 03-04. Especially if they’d like their new stuff… But, that’s all an aside. Hopefully, the review does the trick.

You can check out my thoughts on Daisy over at The Phoenix website.

Say What?

I stumbled upon this on the net: my article on scrunk. Though it wasn’t the one the Boston Phoenix published, but Oakland’s East Bay Express.

Which is all a bit odd.

I don’t necessarily mind that the paper is using my article – in fact, I’m flattered that they would choose to use it. I guess I’m more confused as to what reasoning they saw to use the piece. I’d written it for the Boston area and the Phoenix in particular. And although the article doesn’t concern a local happening, it was published almost a month ago and has been available online a few days before it was slapped onto some newsprint.

It’s just… so… odd. It’s not like wire stories haven’t existed for decades… but those tend to be for hard news stories, exported to papers that may not have the necessary funds to hire a correspondent in every section of the globe, or maybe their person just missed a story.

But this was a bit different… I find it strange that no one at the East Bay Express wrote about a fairly big annual event/didn’t want to cover it, but then went ahead and wired a full-page arts piece from another newspaper, which, considering the state of newspapers today, is actually pretty heady business… journalists fight for inches of newsprint space, and here’s my piece, something I never expected to crop up in an Oakland paper, having taken up the space that some hard working freelancer could have landed for a story just as interesting.

That’s why, to me, this is all so strange. I take pride in the existence of alternative newsweeklies. They represent what many newspapers once strived to uphold: locally-focused, indepth news stories and arts pieces, written with spry intelligence and a keen awareness for the society in which the readers are living. So why would an Oakland alt-weekly want to print the words of someone who has, well, never set foot in Oakland?

Just my perspective on this whole thing… sorry for that bit!

As I’d said about a month ago, a longer piece behind my scrunk article is due in soon… perhaps within a week! Until then, I’m going to take advantage of the new availablity of Soundcloud’s new inclusion in WordPress and… er… “treat” you to some scrunk.

brokeNCYDE – “Get Crunk”:

Juice Sux

I did a little write up for The Boston Phoenix this week on Jamba Juice’s blatant rip-off of Get Your War On. I’d always been a fan of David Rees and GYWO since I came across it in high school (back when I, yes, did in fact read, Rolling Stone… and yet, I knew there was something odd back then when the most interesting thing I learned about from the magazine was a webcomic and not, say, music), and his on-point humor and creativity has always been something to relish. (Yes, even whilest Rees incorrectly attributed cultural points towards emo when describing Mark Sanford as the “first emo governor.”)

Rees is certainly well aware of the odds against and in favor of him, and is fortunate enough to not only take as much of it in stride, but really use his humor for his own benefit in battling Jamba Juice… or, as he likes to call it, Jawa Juice.

You can read more about it in my article here, or in the pages of online text Rees has dedicated on his site to the campaign against the juicers…

I’ve also got a scan of the print edition of the article up, and feel free to browse it below (although, if you want to actually read it, you may want to look at the online version or try to pick up a copy of it than try to discern the tiny type below):

Scoop?

Well, I haven’t gotten out to Warped just yet, but even so, it seems that I got the jump on the New York Times with my piece on the whole scrunk thing for The Phoenix.

Ok, perhaps that’s a huuuuuge overstatement, but Jon Caramanica did notice the combination of electronics and screamo as sure as I did:

Each summer the Warped Tour traverses the country, surviving through big-tent optimism and style agnosticism. A few years ago it was selling emo, and after that, screamo. But 2009 will be remembered as the year the Warped Tour transmogrified into a rave.

Well that should certainly prove something to the kids commenting on my article on Jason Tate’s AbsolutePunk blog that I’m not the only one who can see an aesthetic realm where Attack Attack and brokeNCYDE coexist as peers.

Gonna check out Warped on Tuesday… I’ll be interested to see how Massachusetts kids react to bands like Millionaires, who (according to the Times article) got quite a trashing.

Also, I apologize for a bit of a lag on many writing fronts as of late (especially with America Is Just A Word). Summer has finally hit New England and I’ve taken to a bit of relaxation here and there. But, I shall continue onwards soon enough!

A Brief Scribe on Scrunk

The behind-the-scenes (or rather, behind-my-thoughts) on the Boston Phoenix piece I did on scrunk and Warped Tour is still to come, but consider this a little preview. A lots been said online since the piece went on the net about scrunk/crunkcore and its impact on Warped Tour, which isn’t to say that my article caused these comments (that would be a tall tale), but it’s certainly part of the ripple effect since the announcement that bands like brokeNCYDE and Millionaires.

I’ll discuss a chunk of that soon, but I think the most audacious claim is that the music of kids today is worse than yesterday. To hear “punks” say something like that is more than a bit odd and even counter-intuitive, making these folks appear no better than the old rock dinosaurs and their fans that helped spawn punk in the first place. Whatever you may think of Warped Tour, put that aside for the moment. True be it, the sheer number and impact of scrunk acts on the tour this year is more than noticeable, which is the reason I wrote the article in the first place. But, these bands are not a reflection of all of “kids today and their music,” or even Warped Tour for that matter. As of now, these bands currently fill a simple niche, that being a combination of being in the limelight, riding the tipping point of a trend in mainstream, teenaged alterna-rock, and yes, “controversy,” for whatever that word means nowadays in this context (I honestly think that, at this point, these bands words may be offensive and their music rather tasteless, but their actual existence is hardly controversial). And so, because of their infamy, many of these bands are highly regarded as the epitome of why music today sucks.

And to that, I call bullshit. Since the dawn of time when humans found rhythm, there were countless individuals who followed in the paths of those who could morph these sounds into art. And a lot of the followers created stuff that is hardly up to muster. I hardly know the history of music in humanity because I wasn’t alive at the dawn of time, but simply looking at recent musical history, how many shitty bands and musicians tried ripping off everyone from Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Elvis, The Beatles, Ray Charles, The Sex Pistols, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Joy Division, Talking Heads, Prince, Metallica, Public Enemy, Fugazi, Nirvana, Liz Phair, Nine Inch Nails, The Fugees,Notorious BIG, Green Day, Moby, Ani DiFranco… hell, even any big-hit internet sensation today, far be it that they extend past their net-worth 15 minutes. Because for every Nirvana, you’ve got a Creed. And for every Creed, you’ve got a Nickelback. So to say that a band like brokeNCYDE shows why the music today sucks is not fair to brokeNCYDE (their music isn’t really deserving of that kind of responsibility) nor is it fair to youth or music fans. It’s a conceit that just pleases music fans who’ve decided to tune out on what is going on with people who are making music today and not make them feel bad for missing out, all the while claiming they were alive for the best music ever.

It’s all false.

If you want to talk Warped Tour, fine, let’s go ahead and do it. I’m particularly excited about Warped Tour this year because the more “fringe” acts may easily upstage those acts on the bigger stages. For the “punk is dead folks,” there are the NOFXs and Less Than Jakes to go around: those bands will never stop playing Warped, so please stop complaining about how Warped has “totally changed for the worse,” because the older acts are some of the highly considered groups on tour. 

But look elsewhere and you’ll find some really fantastic acts. Like P.O.S., who has really grown into his skin and rhymes to craft some of the best hip-hop in the past decade and puts on one hell of a show. Or Gallows, the UK hardcore band that took that country by storm for bringing passionate performance back to punk, on record and in concert. Hell, there’s even Shooter Jennings on tap this year, and his Southern country might be the most abrasive sound to a young “punk” on Warped. Considering punk is supposed to embrace anything that challenges the usual rock norms, the inclusion of these acts brings some heft and yes, cred, to Warped. And that’s just the tip of the iceburg.

So feel free and go ahead and bash the “music of today” for being shitty, but your scope will be fairly close-minded. True, I focused on a particularly insidious trend on Warped, but that’s because I was drawn to the “genre” and its mere existence to begin with and that inspired me to write the article. The idea to write a piece on the “non” “punk” acts would be a little odd simply because there’s a healthy dose of diverse genres and trends every year – hell, that’s what I look forward to catching if I check out Warped on a particular year. But the meteoric rise of scrunk really caught my eye/ear, and I felt it reflected a particular takeover of a chunk of Warped that hasn’t been experienced since the summer of 2004. The rest of it is merely a continuation of what Warped has excelled at: provide a mix of old and out-there acts among the trendy thing for 13-22 year olds.

Anyway, now I’m going into all sorts of odd directions and getting off the beaten path… I’ll be sure to cover some of this stuff a little more in due time.

In the meantime, below is the new video for the P.O.S. song “Purexed” (a highlight from his new album, Never Better), and a pdf of the scrunk article, which is in the Phoenix that hit newsstands a few hours ago. Enjoy.

P.O.S. – “Purexed”:

Scrunk Happens:

*Sorry it’s soo teeny, but I think you get the picture (as it were)

There Appears To Be An Event Happening

 

front page of the Boston Phoenix

front page of the Boston Phoenix online

So, the research I’ve pointed out in a few earlier blog entries has come to fruition in an article for The Boston Phoenix. On scrunk.

That’s right, the (un)holy matrimony between screamo and crunk as seen in brokeNCYDE, Millionaires, and various others. You can check out The Phoenix site for the article, or pick up the issue that will hit newsstands on Thursday.

I’ll be sure to give a proper, in-depth, behind the scenes look at the article for those really inquisitive individuals. But, right out the gate, I’d like to thank the following folks for the interviews I conducted for the article: Jessica Hopper, Jason Tate, Kevin Lyman, Mikl (of brokeNCYDE), and Melissa (of Millionaires). Each interview added an important perspective on scrunk/crunkcore/whatever name you want to toss at it, and I certainly enjoyed writing this thing.

So, if you’re curious about scrunk, head to The Phoenix and read on. And, if you’re so curious as to some of my thoughts while putting together the piece, stick around for a while and I’ll post another entry on it soon. In the meantime, I’ll tide you over with my newest scrunk find, Confide’s cover of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” (via Videogum):

*Yes, and if you think the topic of my article is in bad taste, the title of this post is a direct quote from The Happening, another item widely-held as a cultural catastrophe. (I still can’t believe I watched it… now that was a happening)

Hipsters Say The Darndest Things…

Well, I must stop myself there. I can’t say for sure if any of these folks are indeed of the hipster mentality. My guess is Anamanaguchi aren’t exactly, as they appear to have something of a normal sense of humor and hang out with genuine fun-loving guys Harry and the Potters (who are a very friendly duo of brothers from the area). But, look at this picture:

Am I right? Well, at least the dude on the right. But, as I said, far too much judging for me…

Anyway, the band will be performing at The Middle East next week, and The Boston Phoenix did a little piece on them with an interesting bit of information:

Anamanaguchi go back to 2003, when founding guitarist and programmer Peter Berkman was in the ninth grade in Westchester. In between recording Weezer covers on a four-track, he and his “songwriting bro” at the time, George, “would get some snacks, like some plain doughnuts, and play Mega Man, and we realized, ‘Oh shit, the music in this Bubble Man level is totally, like, the first emo song.’ We were listening to Sunny Day Real Estate all the time and we were like, ‘It’s the same thing, check it out!’ “

Listening in on their tunes on myspace certainly make the picture startlingly-clear; the power-pop metal rings true to Weezer, while some of the intricate guitar work is pretty reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate in all forms… and the inclusion of these sounds into “bitpop,” “chiptune,” or, as I like to call it (starting right… now) “nintechno” (not sure that really works for Anamanaguchi, but it’ll do for now) is pretty creative at least… Now I just need to get my hands on the song from the Bubble Man level of Mega Man to know what they’re talking about… Great stuff, but don’t get me started on their Wavves cover…

Switching from that, I stumbled upon a blog filed with post-post-modern non-sequitors that many a hipster tends to flock to in the guise of humor (not the blog, but the writing style). And here’s what a recent entry stated:

 

inventor of emo
i didn’t realize how ian mackaye annoys me until i saw him in person at the silver jews and he thought i was pointing at him.
At least she recognized Ian MacKaye’s connection to emo… in some form. But this is obviously a non-sequitor… the Silver Jews only went on a tour or two (unless I’m mistaken) and haven’t gone anywhere near DC in the recent past…. but I digress. The blogger may not be a hipster, but the humor is certainly in the guise and tone that many a scene-follower today tend to consider “funny.”
For your viewing pleasure, a trip back to when emocore was starting up, and Ian MacKaye’s reaction to the term during an Embrace show: