Posted tagged ‘DIY’

There’s No Tim in Team: A Modest Proposal for the Political Influence of Entertainers

2012/02/27

While growing up in a country that relentlessly bombards youth with the social conditioning to be obsessed with ice hockey, it’s not surprising that I spent a large chunk of my allowance collecting hockey cards (the rest was spent, of course, on comic books and 5 cent candies). I had a lot of great ones – a card commemorating Wayne Gretzky’s “1000th point,” heck, I think I had the card of every Edmonton Oiler that was later sold off or traded for a profit at a loss to the community. Yep, I had a pretty big collection. Also, I think I have bitterness issues still resonating from the late 1980s and early 90s.

This card is tucked up under my 50 mission Cap

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Not Just White Noise Supremacy: The Diversity of the Underground Punk Network in late 1970s-early 1990s America

2012/01/22

Recently, a book called White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race, edited by Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay, was released. Race has been at the forefront of debates on punk, probably before, and definitely since, Lester Bangs wrote his article “White Noise Supremacists” in the Village Voice in 1979. Reactions to White Riot reveals the diversity of opinion on race and politics in punk milieux, especially this review of the book in Maximum Rocknroll, White Riot: Another Failure.”

Discussions on punk and race instantly brings to mind not only the Clash song “White Riot,” but also the Minor Threat song “Guilty of Being White.” The song was written by Ian MacKaye, who was frustrated by being mistreated, because of the color of his skin, by black youths in the community he grew up in. Highly contentious, debate and different interpretations continue to surround the song. As the book White Riot and the reactions to it show, this contention extends to the issue of race and punk as a whole.

The thing about punk is, as D. Boon said: “punk is whatever we made it to be.” From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, punk was a melange of not only different races, but also voices, messages, outlooks and ideas. Music scenes sprung up across the United States (and parts of Canada), forming an underground network where people could raise voices differing to the status quo of the mainstream.

In the following, I try to touch on the diversity that existed in the underground punk network in the United States. It is by no means comprehensive, but should provide a taste of what was happening, and how the varying elements of that diversity mixed together.

Well, except for Diversity being an old wooden ship from the Civil War era

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Creating Space for Questions

2011/12/18

Writer, musician, and all around punk rocker David Gault has made a video. Produced for a class taught by Dr. Michael B. MacDonald at the University of Alberta, it explores the role of urban space in politics and music.

By focusing on a song written by Ben Sir from the Edmonton punk band Worst Days Down, Gault highlights the importa…actually, instead of me going on about it, just see for yourself:

Check out more from Worst Days Down at: http://www.myspace.com/worstdaysdown

Short of Able proves that winning takes time

2011/04/28

These days, a lot of importance is put on “the instant.” For inst…example, Twitter gives you instant access to Charlie Sheen. Facebook gives you up-to-date status updates from that kid you went to junior high school with…Even though you didn’t really like him and haven’t talked to him in about ten years. And of course, you’ve also got the instant music celebrities – and all that really takes is singing a song about the order the days of the week come in.

It’s getting rather rare to see musicians take their time, but that’s exactly what the gang from Short of Able have done. Their new album, Far Away and Out of Sight, was written and recorded over a ten month period. Coincidentally, it has ten songs. Just by using basic math, it is evident this LP wasn’t done in a hurry; the band was taking their time to do things right, and to learn.

Short of Able

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Dropping the Iron Curtain

2010/12/29

Nowadays, American bands don’t just influence American bands. American bands also influence British bands, Canadian bands, Australian bands, heck, American bands influence at the very least bands all over the world, if not also in places that aren’t even planets, like Pluto. (sorry Pluto)

The same was the case during the Cold War. Despite the USSR’s official rejection of western culture, all things American were slipping through the Iron Curtain. Music was no stranger to this transmission into Eastern Europe and the USSR. Musicians picked up from acts like Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, and of course later punk bands like the Talking Heads. I know this to be true because I read about it in a fanzine called Flagpole Magazine, from Athens, Georgia.

BIX

In 1991, a band called BIX came across the Atlantic to perform across the United States. They were from Lithuania, a country that had just declared independence from the Soviet Union. Already veterans of playing throughout Europe, and at a short 1990 US tour including a stop at the New Music Seminar in NYC, BIX was back for their second tour of America.

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Here Comes the Sun, part II

2010/12/19

You know, you’re right to say that Sam Phillips sure recorded a lot of good black and white artists down in Memphis in the 1950s.

The Fantastic Four

BUT – how the heck did he do it? What happened to musicians having to go to major music industry centres like Los Angeles or New York to get a start on their recording careers? For example, didn’t Ray Charles have to leave Seattle in just 1950 for California to get going on what would eventually culminate in Jamie Foxx getting famous and Kayne West shamelessly ripping him off?

The thing of it was, there were big changes to recording technology following World War II. And when an innovator like Sam Phillips came along to seize on untapped talent that was the Memphis region’s musicians, well, the rest is history.

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F&M wear their hearts on their album sleeve

2010/11/16

When people finish graduate work in history, they usually get a job at a university…or a library…or heck,  they could just write a blog. But every so often, or at least this once – a history graduate will use the topic of their thesis to help inform their own songwriting and performing. It helps, of course, when the subject of your thesis was a Soviet rockstar.

It’s New Album Release Day again, and F&M are back with a new album today called Sincerely, F&M. I know what you’re wondering and yes – it comes with its very own winelist.

I sat down in Internetland with F&M frontlady (and history graduate) Rebecca Anderson to ask her about the new album, touring across Canada, and a guy that she learned about back in the USSR.

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