Showing posts with label 1982. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1982. Show all posts

Sunday, September 9, 2018

resonators 2018 - episode #008 - 'hear nothing see nothing say nothing' by discharge (VIDEO)

And yes, I know it's late, but I'm glad it's here - enjoy?

Next up... honestly, not sure what's going to get a full review yet, so stay tuned!

resonators 2018 - episode #008 - 'hear nothing see nothing say nothing' by discharge

So for this episode of Resonators, we're going to switch things up a bit, because while I've discussed at length the burgeoning hardcore punk scene across different parts of the United States, I haven't really delved into what was going on in punk in other parts of the world. And you'd think that since the U.K. was one of the main drivers of punk coming out of the 70s, they'd have a significant hardcore presence, at least in the underground at the time...

And this is where things get complicated, because in the early 80s in the U.K., punk was in a weird place. Sure, post-punk and new wave were laying the foundation for what would become the second British invasion, and anarcho-punk was curdling in its own artsy, far-left corner, but that didn't mean hardcore punk didn't have its own unique foothold, but it came from a different source: Oi! I've mentioned this style before in its adaptation of folk sing-a-long structures and working class populism, but by the late 70s the genre had gotten co-opted by skinheads and right-leaning white nationalist groups, which tainted the genre in the media discourse for decades to come despite the protests of some of the bands. But there was an offshoot of this, adapting a distinctive cymbal-snare-bass drum pattern and more blunt lyricism, that would later lay the groundwork for additional offshoots like crust punk and street punk to come in later years and even cross the Atlantic. This was d-beat, and while bands like The Buzzcocks had sparked initial interest in the sound, the band for which it was named would break onto the scene after a string of well-received EPs in the early 80s with what one could argue is one of the most influential releases of the time. And even if the band wouldn't stay in pure hardcore for long, it's important we talk about it all the same: the debut album from Discharge, Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, and this is Resonators!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

resonators 2018 - episode #004 - 'bad brains' by bad brains (VIDEO)

And WOW, this was a fun listen. So glad this wound up on Resonators, it was a TON of fun.

Next up... okay, Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

Monday, April 30, 2018

resonators 2018 - episode #004 - 'bad brains' by bad brains

I think it's time we talk about race in punk music.

Now this is not a comfortable topic, and there are layers and nuance that I'll freely admit that I'm probably not the best guy to talk about beyond looking for the history. And with the history of punk... well, it gets even dicier, especially coming out of the late 70s and how genres were co-mingling and mutating. Of course punk has some of its deepest roots in black music - at its core much of punk utilized traditional rock and roll song structures invented by black musicians - but throughout the 1970s traditionally black musical genres were going in very different directions, from the growth of soul, funk and R&B to the mutation of disco to the very early days of hip-hop. And while black music was getting more opulent and smooth, punk seemed to be heading in the exact opposite direction - although one can make the argument that the sharp political subtext that underlined a lot of soul music and funk music would have had common cause with the punks of the time.

But that doesn't mean there weren't punks of all races within the scene who found common cause with the righteous fury and rough edges of the genre... and this is where we hit another major roadblock and it has to do with a subgenre I referenced a few months back: the Oi! scene. Originally grounded in working class rebellion in the U.K, it was a sound that sadly got co-opted by second wave skinhead culture and hard right, frequently racist groups in the late 70s and early 80s. And while you could definitely make an argument how much of this was fair to the scene or the artists within it, many who could credibly make the argument to being misrepresented, the messy public perception led to ugly assumptions and branding that Oi! bands and even hardcore punks have had to fight to escape for years since, not helped by the street punk and skinhead explosion in the U.S. where the hard-right branding was harder to escape or deny. And with that popular connotation, it's no surprise why black artists might have shied away from the scene, especially in the face of friendlier, no less conscious or political spaces like in early hip-hop.

Of course, there's another side to this, and it leads to another genre that was organic, raw, and often sharply political: reggae. It was a looser subgenre than punk, but throughout the 70s it had flourished and had often received billing and airplay in punk venues. And thus the cross-pollination of genres between the newborn hardcore scene and reggae was only a matter of time, with one group originally making music as a jazz fusion act before amping up the tempos and bringing an distinctly black flavor to hardcore punk, now widely held as one of the most legendary bands of the genre. That's right, we're talking about the 1982 self-titled debut from Bad Brains, and this is Resonators!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

resonators 2018 - episode #003 - 'milo goes to college' by the descendents (VIDEO)

I kind of feel like I had to cover this one, but man alive, I'm expecting a pretty sizable backlash here...

Anyway, working on the Trailing Edge next, so stay tuned!

resonators 2018 - episode #003 - 'milo goes to college' by the descendents

So let's change gears for a bit on this series and talk about something light, something with a little more melody and upbeat charm - and frankly, this is a side of punk that you'll often get on the poppier side but I'm always a little mystified that it doesn't translate to the other subgenres as often. And it's also something I'd argue can drive a lot of people away from punk in the long-term, especially the more political stuff. Yes, punk often deals with serious issues and the furious intensity of hardcore means that it's naturally suited to emotions that are more negative or angry, but the truth is that said material can burn out a lot of listeners, especially when you consider the puritanical straight edge side that came out of hardcore as the 80s continued on. And yes, there is absolutely a place for that, and when I finally get a chance to talk about Minor Threat we'll discuss it in detail... but there's a reason why bands that at least seem like they're having fun have a little more longevity in popular culture. And while some will look down on that, it's hard to deny a sense of humor and raw populism might spread the message even further - even the bad or misguided ideas Dead Kennedys had have stuck around thanks to Jello Biafra's delivery and wit.

So let's discuss one of the more influential acts in that mold across hardcore and pop punk, who released their full-length debut in 1982 and titled it with the expectation that their frontman Milo Aukerman was going off to college, after which the band went on one of their many hiatuses. They had seen some groundswell a year earlier with the Fat EP - just to give you an idea of the sense of humor we're dealing with - and had actually been produced by Spot, the guy who worked in-house for most of SST and co-produced Black Flag's Damaged, among many others - expect his name to come up a lot more, especially when it comes the California scene. But this group was the furthest thing thematically from Black Flag - a band of hyper-caffeinated teenagers on the goofy side that in 1982 were actively looking to buck the serious, destructive, borderline anarchistic side of the scene... and in doing they made one of the most influential melodic hardcore albums of all time and inspired countless groups, especially the pop punk mainstream breakthroughs in the mid-to-late 90s. That's right, folks, we're talking abut Milo Goes To College by The Descendents, and this is Resonators!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

30 years of anarchy: a chumbawamba retrospective - 1982 - beginnings

Some one-hit wonders are just that - they release a single song off a single album, and then disappear into the ether, never to be heard of again. But most aren't - in fact, VH1 has made many a show investigating the one-hit wonders since the beginning of recording, digging into their history and the people who created the music, often times ignoring the music that band made before and after the one-hit, and almost certainly ignoring the politics and views that shaped the music as a whole.

This isn't going to be like that. Not just because this band had a thirty-year run spanning multiple genres and labels, but because Chumbawamba epitomized the best of their genre: good punk musicians and artists that actually had something to say, and were clever enough to say it well. You'd be surprised how truly rare that is.

But even great things must come to an end. On July 9, 2012, the band Chumbawamba announced they were splitting up after a thirty year run. It wasn't with a bang, or a whimper - it simply was. The group had reached a parting of the ways, the best possible way for a group to split. 

But then a thought struck me and gave me pause - did anyone care? Who remembered this band? Who cared now? Sure, the band has a Wikipedia page, but who would bother to maintain it, to chronicle and analyze the strident political message of a band of anarchists? They represented a piece of ephemeral punk culture - would it be like so many other punk acts, lost to anonymity and irrelevance?

Well, it won't happen on my watch. I still don't know who reads this blog, but on every Saturday, this will be my project: a chronicle of the music of Chumbawamba, and an analysis of the political messages behind them. I can't promise that it'll be complete, mostly because some of the music is already lost, but I will try. 

Why am I doing this? Well, Chumbawamba is one of the great forgotten bands - and if it's up to me to be the lone chronicler, I'll do it. Pop culture - particularly punk pop culture - is ephemeral in the best of times, and if I can capture a snapshot of one of the most successful anarchist acts of all time, someone might remember, and maybe the dying embers of punk will be stoked again.

So let's travel back to 1982 - the beginning.