By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
THURSDAY, DEC. 1 Be thankful for Rooney and Simon Dawes because they keep tipsy teenage girls off the streets (where they might get hit by cars or snap their heels as they tiptoe through storm gutters) and because they dole out warm gooey guitar rock-pop like spoonfuls of medicine; it’s the season for getting fat on sweets, so go for it, but remember to ditch the bellyshirts because nobody likes the 10-pounds-of-fun-in-a-5-pound-pair-of-jeans look, even if the band playing in the background sounds like “Suffragette City” for a solid 45 minutes—at Chain.
PLUS: Be thankful for Death By Stereo; the only pop they put out comes from the bass player’s knuckles just before the drums kick in. At the Bren with some very serious dudes.
FRIDAY There’s something very Greek-tragic about the way our tastes really develop: what we first grew up on is what we end up buried in, and so bet you that the Jimmy Eat World guys spent their Arizona boyhoods punching through the FM presets—all the Belinda Carlisle-isms that reduce heaven to a place on earth survived in mitochondrial form in their own songs (once they got past their early Fat Wreck stage; if anyone wants to buy that 7” off me, e-mail this snoozepaper) and through that to the core of this neo-emo thing that the Jimmy Eat guys must get occasional checks from: sand off all the pretty sparkles, and it’s just the simple smooth drive-time song structure, a cheapie melody repeating over so-sad chord progressions, “With or Without You” slimmed down to a Fugazi belt size. Which is okay because that is guaranteed to weary out some reliable emotional responses; it’s just a little funny because you can get the same thing out of like Phil Collins. So what I’m saying is: now would be a good time to call your dad and tell him you were just thinking about him. At the Glass House.
SATURDAY There’s something very Greek-tragic about the way Hootie and the Blowfishexist as a band, but even more about the way they exist as a joke against every other band ever—seems accurate, sure, but not ever having had a compelling reason to listen to them, I always had to take the punch line on faith. Seems to me: if you get the joke, you are the joke. Love their burger commercials, though—at the Grove.
PLUS: What did I grow up on? Irish murder ballads—wotta family, God luv ’em.
SUNDAY You could say “political punk” is just the sound of a band with nothing real to say—“Fire bad!”—but then again, I was 14 once—through no fault of my own—and I remember what a gigantic shock it was to realize that bands could sing about things other than girls and cars. Of course now I realize that was just because I was of an age where girls and cars were denied to me so I pretended not to like them anyway. Now that I’ve had both—late-’70s/early ’80s American beauties all—I can understand exactly what the Beach Boys were talking about and why “Student Demonstration Time” is such a lame song. Propaghandi play cleanly produced hardcore that sounds like their lyrics read: pushy, smart and mean, but with some obvious compassion underneath, and though those are all good adjectives on their own, they have little advice on what American muscle cars were the coolest or what to do when your safety belt just doesn’t budge. So what I’m saying is: I’m dead inside; save yourself. At Chain.
MONDAY It’s so self-evident that America is falling apart: I don’t wanna blow cover on my sources, but a shellac-black hairdo rocker and an old lady writer both came to the same independent conclusion—America is going old Soviet, bowing out of the First World—like the man says, “The Third World is just around the corner . . .”—to some rancid render-remnant scrap of an empire, and that’s confirmation enough that I believe I’ll be in the generation that has to watch—so anyway, Kanye West breaking script for five seconds on TV didn’t much faze me. But the shit was the cavemen and cavewomen who huffed up that he was faking it or that he just said it to sell records, while just a world away everyone was stroking the scales on the Rolling Stones when they plopped out “Sweet Neo-Con,” an irrelevant rich-boy cash-in from the first note. Three months late here, but at least Kanye took a little time to force out what he really wanted to say, and unlike the Rolling Stones, it worked people up, which happily prevented about a thousand American citizens from dying on the sidewalks of their own hometown while food and water cooked in parked semi trailers an hour or two away—thank God this country is still worth believing in. You know what Lyndon B. Johnson used to say: “I can push a button and get a helicopter right away to take me anywhere in the world.” And you know what George Bush used to say: “Guhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” And of course you know what George Clinton used to say: “The White House? That’s a temporary situation.” And was he ever more right than he could have known. Kanye moves on at the Bren.
PLUS: Image Bulletin rides the tubeway to another green world at Detroit.?
TUESDAY Man, the rock & rule just does not stop this week: hope you have room left in your little red notebook to study down for Sweden’s (International) Noise Conspiracy, who survived an illegal tour of China and production work by Rick Rubin to bring you the most socialistic riff on the Sonics there has ever been: this seems like a Kim Fowley idea (“We’ll get some garage band, get matching outfits and have them be communists!”—actually, that was a Malcolm McLaren idea, and the band was the New York Dolls, and it ruined them forever), but the (I)NC are an actual thing who crank it up real high live with coffeehouse wit (“Capitalism Stole My Virginity”) and a cabaret wardrobe—there used to be a band called Nation of Ulysses who were like unto the primalest elder gods compared to (I)NC, but unlucky for them they got too into jazz and it killed their record sales. Mixing pop and politics—you ask me what the use is? Three shows a week plus merch sales in the back. Wotta country, wotta Chain Reaction.
WEDNESDAY Lo-fi psych-rap space brains in Three 6 Mafia melted Memphis from the edges back in when they first started dropping tapes: this was Black Sabbath devil worship and Geto Boys hard living, circulated cassette to cassette in beat-up Tennessee junior highs—the music city of the South reborn, and way better than the No Limit conspicuous consumption. Three 6’s outré tastes—you can’t go wrong with music that loves abusing Robitussin, or “sippin s[iz-]yrup,” as the Mafia loved to put it—and dirty-cheap beats got them huge, and then the money sucked away all the fun that bad drugs and homegrown insanity had once cultivated. Same thing happened to Black Sabbath, actually. But pay respect anyway at the Vault.
THURSDAY, DEC. 8 West Coast connection man Mack 10 drops off at the HOB, and Matt Costasets up at Detroit; musique for many moderne moods.
See Calendar listings for club locations. ?Also: be smart; call ahead.