Sunday, February 1, 2009

Glory Days

It's the day of the Superbowl and California just ran out of money.
I caught the very end of Springsteen doing "Glory Days" at the end of Superbowl half time. I've had a late approach to Springsteen, mostly a cassette of Greetings From Asbury Park, and was excited about his cover of Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" for this series that Blast First is doing. Watching him bring out a referee from Footlocker and sharing a mic with Little Steven and do the guitar strap spin around while fireworks go off in the background, one wonders what it takes to get to this point in one's career. Myspace frontpage pushes and pandering to the middle are things I do not feel familiar with at this point in my life, and I am both pulled in and repelled by it, which is pretty much all television at this point.
(Jim Dyson / Getty Images)

What does football have to do with modern music, especially of our underground noisy variety? Maybe just the notion of populism, popularizing what might normally remain liminal and self-denying, or willfully obscure. Have the jocks become art jocks, noise jocks, brohemian rhapsodic? I always prefer the nerds, the stooped and anemic, building fantasy escapes. Sometimes they don't want light shed on them, or they do on their terms. No glory days for gloomy guses.

A few albums I've been feeling from the past year fit into this schema, dark dork lords that may combust in the daylight. Menace Ruine were a surprise find to me this summer, a lo fi drum machine driven black metal married couple from Montreal. "Cult of Ruins" was a fine and honed blast that spoke to the noise side as well as the churn of metal, but their second album, "The Die Is Cast" goes more pastoral and glorious. Fans of Goslings will be feeling this amalagam of folk tunage vocals mixing with brown note drones.

The other is from Mick Barr's latest, Krallice. Mick has been blowing minds since Crom Tech and Orthrelm, and his solo works under the names Octis and Ocrilim must have done something to draw attention to some benefactors who have given him a grant. Krallice is Mick doing vocals and guitar with Colin from Behold the Arctopus. They made a brief West Coast pass in December and were a pummeling live force with Lev Weinstein on drums. Although I found that Ludicra would be tough for any band to follow (disclosure - I work for Ludicra's label), but the relentless locomotion of Krallice brought one into a different zone, more technical and less emotional, but equally satisfying in its melodic resolutions.

I played both of these bands in my laptop "DJ" set the other night. Last minute I got pulled in to assisting with this show at Park Life, a book store/gallery out in SF's Richmond district. Abby from Rings performed as Drawlings. There were a bunch of people I do not recognize with facepaint on, but for a second I convincingly turn the dance party on with Sister Nancy "Bam Bam" and Bow Wow Wow. Maybe I've got a populist streak too.

In the interest of determining whether or not I am a trustworthy source, you can check out my Podomatic playlist. Thanks for coming this far...

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