Before we get started, I’ve just been dying to share some news regarding a music compilation that I simply can’t believe is real. But first, I need to make something clear: If I ever have children—heaven forbid—I will make sure they take the following classes, starting at the Pre-K level: Chinese, coding, and accounting. None of that “creative art and music stuff,” okay? I want these theoretical kids to make some money.
Flying in the face of my unused parenting abilities is Starbucks, and it comes as little surprise that the corporate coffee giant and I don’t agree on certain aspects of life. In Starbucks’ online store, you can find a compilation entitled … Music for Little Hipsters. It features record collector favorites such as Devo, Booker T. and the MG’s, and The Beach Boys, and the collection is described as such:
An eclectic collection that finds the sweet spot where cool kids and music-loving grownups crisscross and get crazy, this mix invites dancing and singing along to songs that parents may recognize and children will love.
I don’t want my kid to be “cool.” I want it to be disciplined, profitable, and fiscally responsible. Devo isn’t coming anywhere near my family, lest they end up like Daddy.
Here are the weekend’s best concerts:
The Jack of Heart/The Mullens/Oddlot/Doom Ghost (The Crown and Harp): Hailing from France, The Jack of Heart seems to be as inspired by 60s garage rock and early punk records as the Make Up were, however, I almost feel like I can’t make that comparison, because I’ve been feeling a little guilty after reading something on the internet this week. Bear with me. You see, this article was recently posted on Tiny Mix Tapes, and it metaphorically compares critics trying to draw historical references to some sort of 18th Century, chess-playing robot. It turns out to be a hoax. In other words, modern music criticism is selling snake oil.
Apparently it took two writers to tell us that Simon Reynolds’ critical theory is wrong, and the writers act as if Reynolds influenced the world at large to start name-checking references, when that’s what informed critics have been doing since the beginning of criticism:
When Reynolds looks to contemporary music, he does so from the perspective of a narrative of progress. He is searching for the moment of the new that confirms — again and again and again — history’s exhilarating sense of directionality. But in doing so, he misses what is most interesting about so much contemporary music: the fact that so many of these musicians are concerned precisely with undoing such conceptions of history.
Say what you want about Reynolds, but I don’t think he ever “misses” anything about contemporary music. He’s often so ahead on certain movements, that the rest of the public takes a decade to catch up.
They throw in an infographic about iPhones and discuss the finer points of the genre known as vaporwave. They also claim that avant-garde visual art is actually populist, and I’m just going to stop right there. It just seems like they bit off more than could chew with this piece, though I admire the scope and the effort. It was an entertaining read. But Simon Reynolds is right about most things, and this band sounds like some older garage punk bands, which is very much intentional, and that’s just fine. You should go to this show if you like garage punk. That’s all I’m trying to say.
Bukkake Moms/The Klanks/Brunettes not Fighter Jets/Princes of F*cktown/Load-In (J & J’s Pizza): It’s hard to summarize what exactly is happening here, as the invitation was littered with intentionally annoying in-jokes.I doubt any of the bands involved really care whether or not they get a decent writeup, but I won’t let that sway me.
I recently defended Bukkake Moms from being slandered as a screamo band with math rock time signatures, (paraphrasing), because they are not. I saw them at Three Links and they were truly inspired, even with two drummers, which is a risky move for any act. There will be some noise rock here; that much we know. It’s not as fashionable as it once was, but it can still spook some people on occasion. Even if it’s just the guy running sound. This show is free, however, the pizza is not.
Stick Men/Dovehunter/Diamond Age (The Granada Theater): For more on this show, go here.
Other Friday Shows that are worth investigating—
New Science Projects/New Fumes/Shmu/Peopleodeon/Def Rain (Club Dada):
Datahowler/The Vliets/Sphynx (Double Wide)
Ishi (333 First Avenue, in Dallas): Ishi is providing the musical entertainment at the Dallas Observer’s Artopia event, and I’m wondering how this is still a headlining act in 2014. What is going on? Were all the DJs busy? Couldn’t you just get Zhora instead? I’m going to refrain from addressing Ishi’s misappropriation of Native American attire onstage, and focus on something else instead: Originality. I know, it’s a silly subject, especially in such an aesthetically incestuous style as pop music, but the line must be drawn at some point.
Take for example, Ishi’s single, “Disco Queen.” Are there any editors in this band? Someone to say, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t call our song something this dated and generic, because chances are it’s already been done by someone else.”
So as an experiment, I typed “Disco Queen” into AllMusic.com and then into Discogs.com, two of the most thorough resources for recorded music. AllMusic lists over 92,269 variations of the title, while the more exact science of Discogs lists 559 references, which are likely more pertinent. The different “Disco Queens” were imagined by such noteworthy artists as Hot Chocolate and Sylvie Vartan, or at least by their songwriters.
The next time you write a song, just do a little Google search and see if the title is taken. If you’re going to take the song title anyway, just make sure you are better than a legendary French pop singer, or a celebrated British funk band. It’s that easy.
“Punky Reggae Party” (Single Wide): Tonight’s guest is Ron Riot.
Blackstone Rangers/Hola Beach/Frauen (Double Wide): Blackstone Rangers have an EP coming out in late February, and I am already intrigued by the logo-free cover art. Entitled the Descendant EP, it will be available on the Saint Marie imprint, out of Fort Worth. Though it’s a local label, it appears they have worldwide distribution. That’s good news for all involved, and Blackstone Rangers, along with Frauen, who also perform tonight, have emerged as one of the more delightfully progressive acts out of Dallas proper in recent years.
Other Saturday shows—
Jay Clipp/Empty Cylinder/Handsome Reward (Crown and Harp)
Terminator 2/Mountain of Smoke/Spacebeach/Omotai (Lola’s Saloon)
Image: Blackstone Rangers, in live performance, June 2013. Credit: Andi Harman.