Tag Archives: Wordpress

Origin Story

I came across this odd post entitled “The Origin of Emo” on an unusually blank WordPress blog (though the thing appears to be written by a Thom Lloyd, which is the gmail address at the bottom of the article). It’s the only post, and it’s written in a pseudo-term-paper light, with citations that don’t really say much of anything or connote to any one article/book/etc (though some of the names provided can be linked up via a quick search). It’s all very odd.

What’s even odder is Lloyd’s thesis statement on the origin of emo, which he sort of drops in at the end:

Rites of Spring and Sunny Day Real Estate did not start the emo genre.

Eh? Lloyd continues to throw out vague, inconsistencies, many of which I can agree with (genres are a culmination of the sounds that have influenced the bands), and some that are rife for contradiction. Namely the last point:

With all of these factors in place a band and or a label had to start the wheels in motion forming the emo genre.

Huh? Didn’t he just say Rites of Spring did not start emo? And Dischord doesn’t count because emo didn’t rise solely out of it?

This happens to be an ongoing problem with people seeking a solid definition for emo: the fact that the genre/sound exists as a fluid and evolving concept that many individuals ignore simply because of the condescending nature of the term makes it damn hard to tack a pin in it and call it a done day.

But, those irrelevancies aside. Rites are duly credited for starting emo: that’s where the term as a definition for a musical sound came from. Period. Not Husker Du, who Lloyd credits as an important factor. The fact is, Zen Arcade came out after Rites were a fully formed band with an entire pedigree of songs (1984 to be exact). Rites were listening to all sorts of hardcore (nothing I’ve read remotely mentions Husker Du though), and sought to challenge the trends within their own community by embracing a poppier sound. They took from many a British popper: The Buzzcocks are most credited as an influence there. But nothing about Husker Du.

And Lloyd’s idea of indie rock fusing the gap between Rites and Sunny Day is… well, a bit much. Lloyd also calls into play grunge as an important influence on emo and bridging these two bands: hardly. As far as grunge goes, the only role that played was its skyrocketing popularity behind Nirvana led to sale numbers that helped Sub Pop move out of the red zone and avoid bankruptcy so that they could go on and sign SDRE: grunge’s influence on emo is really relevant in a business capacity. Emo was a complete change from grunge, which is why Sunny Day startled so many people in Seattle: it was different. They were different. They took from hardcore, took from bands like Rites, Fugazi, Lungfish, Shudder To Think, and many of the DC bands that Lloyd overlooked. Yes, as Lloyd mentions, there are too many bands to name, and many of them he overlooked when trying to tie these two distinct bands (ROS + SDRE together). Since when do you need to fill in a time blank in terms of bands that came about that were important and led to another important band of the same sound anyway? How many of the new shitgaze (or whatever you want to call them) bands actually took other sounds and used them in their own songwriting? It’s always possible, and often an excellent appeal to change. But I can’t see Vivian Girls having taken lots of notes on IDM when they wrote their fuzzy, 60s surf garage rock sound. (It’s possible, but after the interview where they dissed bands that use a dancey drum beat, I doubt it.)

But there are plenty of bands that “filled in those years.” Just on Dischord there were a bunch (again, Embrace, Happy Go Licky, One Last Wish, Nation of Ulysses, Fugazi, Lungfish, Shudder To Think, Jawbox etc etc). And then there’s Jawbreaker’s take on the sound from DC. And then there’s Drive Like Jehu’s take on the DC sound and it’s impact on the San Diego scene: that whole arty-hardcore-meets-DC-emocore is indebted to the DC scene. Gravity Records, Heroin, Antioch Arrow, etc etc. And all of this in the years between 1984 (Rites of Spring) and 1994 (release of Diary).

That’s a lot of time, and many of these bands aren’t remembered because, in terms of folklore or the progression of a genre, only a few – those considered to be important for one reason or another – are consistently remembered and repeated to the next person, and the next person, and so on and so forth. That is an evolution of a genre, not some influential indie band that has nothing to do with these groups: no offense to The Pixies or Sonic Youth, but those bands hardly share anything with the first wave of emo. And because genres evolve, and many within different spheres and cultures (aka underground or mainstream), it may sound different at different points along the way. So, of course emo sounds different than it did before: it’s not static. Some things grew, other bands made their individual changes, and other bands made changes on other bands’ changes. Though the definition is rather fluid, a general line is fairly recognizable (one that doesn’t exactly include Sonic Youth, who were more no wave affiliated and who’s experimentation is mostly left out of many an “emo” act, or The Pixies, who tend to have a fairly basic pop sound that, as it’s well known, is more a grunge influence than an emo one) and observable.

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”:

The Morning After

And now, a quick break from the usual ramblings and mumbo-jumbo:

WordPress has been nothing but a fantastic blogging site. It’s clean and easy to use and whatever you write, whoever writes it, you’re guaranteed it to look great nearly 100% of the time. For me, it’s been fantastic, and will continue to be a fantastic place to blog. But, if there’s anything I wish I could add to the WordPress options, it would be to offer more appearance templates.

I do enjoy the number of templates available, but the variety is lacking one type of layout I’d really enjoy employing: a magazine layout. Specifically, I stumbled upon this great template:

The Morning After is so clean cut and well organized I wanted to use it immediately. Unfortunately, there’s no way to upload said template to the blog; I’d have to create a separate website and use CSS to enter all the codes… it’s pretty complicated. What I’ve found so endearing about a WordPress blog is the ability to create a professional looking site that’s a step above many other blogging sites, and yet easier and more succinct than building and monitoring all the ins and outs of a normal website (though they provide the ability to do that). I feel that with the addition of the Morning After template, WordPress would only provide more reason for potential bloggers to sign up, all by providing a highly-sophisticated blog template that’s a step above the usual 1-4 column offerings available on all blogs. It would allow for bloggers to really get more out of their WordPress blog and spend more time putting it together… basically, all good news for WordPress.

I put a suggestion into the WordPress folks, and they said they’d take a look at it… here’s hoping. If this template were to become available, I’d really be able to write a number of different categorical entries without overloading the general front page; there’d be album reviews, book reviews, “features,” the whole shabang, and well organized in a magazine-style front-page. We’ll see what happens! Other WordPress bloggers, if you like the template, obviously spread the word!

Alright, the next entry will have more emo ramblings and less random tech-wish lists!

Emo Boy: The Movie

Time to take WordPress’s newly-established “QuickPress” to press with this little byte:
Reuter’s reports that Stephen Edmond’s “Emo Boy” comic book will be turned into a movie with a “crucial” musical component that will be “in the tone of ‘Napoleon Dynamite’.”
Read it and, yes, weep:
http://www.reuters.com/article/filmNews/idUSTRE4B40RG20081205