Salad Days: A Decade Of Punk In Washington DC

May 8th, 2015 | Film | 0 Comments

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If you decide to make a film about hardcore or DC punk or something, and you’re going to include Ian MacKaye, be prepared, because he will dominate the film. He won’t bust into the editing room and commandeer it, but MacKaye is just so magnetic, interesting and influential that any discussion about hardcore or post-’80 DC music can’t help but place him at the centre.

That being said, Salad Days – itself named after a Minor Threat song – tries to cover a lot more than just MacKaye and the Dischord scene: it touches on how DC politics and the state of the city affected the hardcore generation, Positive Force, the DC scene’s part in setting the stage for grunge and alternative music’s into mainstream culture post-Nevermind, the gender issues of punk, and the popularity of go-go among DC punks. But the most important thing, and film’s principle interest, is ‘the scene’, and Salad Days‘ ability to recreate it gives the film a warm punk rock family reunion feel. Which is nice. Especially telling is one comment about how the scene was so tightly nit that when guys in local bands went onstage and sang love or heartbreak songs, everyone knew who they were singing about. And when the girls started putting together bands and getting onstage, they might sing songs in reply to the very boys who sang about them.

Considering how much has been written about DC and the great hardcore scene that developed around and outside Dischord, there are times when one might question whether we really need another documentary about it. A lot of the points in the film have already been covered by other docs (like American Hardcore) or books (like Our Band Could Be Your Life, or Dance Of Days: Two Decades Of Punk In The Nation’s Capital). Salad Days tries, unlike someone of the aforementioned, to go outside the Dischord scene and cover all the other cool bands and personalities that made DC punk in the 80s and 90s so exciting, but ultimately it almost seems to reaffirm that Dischord was almost always doing and putting out the most interesting stuff, or at least what’s aged best. Still, Salad Days‘ strength resides in its ability to comprehensively portray the time, place and community out of which those legendary DC hardcore bands and records emerged.

Sleeping In

May 6th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

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Vermont is known as pretty hippie place, bestowing upon the world its far out gifts in the form of Phish, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Some of those crazy hippies in Burlington (that’s the ‘big city’ in Vermont) apparently heard My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive at some point and bought some guitar pedals so they could start a shoegaze band called Sleeping In. And then they emailed me to see if I’d be interested in posting their stuff. And now, after sleeping on it for a month…

I’m actually planning on hitting up Burlington at the end of the month to get away from NYC for a couple days and do some creative writing, so if anyone wants to give a blogger a place to chill, hit me up.

Omar Souleyman

May 3rd, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 1 Comment

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Omar Souleyman‘s work has been oddly embraced by the Western independent dance and rock communities seemingly since Pitchfork started writing about his Sublime Frequencies-released albums about five or six years ago. It makes sense, though, that considering how much the West hears and talks about the Middle East and how little most Westerners actually understand its people and culture, that open-minded communities would look for an artist who could serve as a musical link between worlds. Souleyman has, for many, become just that, and as a result, the Syrian artist has gone from singing at weddings to playing international rock clubs and festivals, and working with acclaimed producers Four Tet and Modeselektor. Bahdeni Nami, his new album on the latter’s label Monkeytown, comes out July 27th, and Souleyman will be hitting up Le Poisson Rouge on May 22nd (with Toronto freak folk duo Tasseomancy, who are also great).

Black Baron

April 28th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

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So far my favourite punk album of 2015 is without a doubt Hamilton, Ontario-based Black Baron‘s debut full-length Abject Skin. It drops may 26th on Bloodmoss Records. The band’s lo-fi mix of mangled vocals and melodic chorus-drenched guitar is just really badass.

Man meets Bear

April 25th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

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Friend of the site and Ontario-based naturalist psych-folk artist Man meets Bear returns with a new album, Huronian Cadence, May 5th via his own Ur label. Following the band-ready Buffalo Comets and the folkier, mostly-acoustic Waagaaskingaa, Huronian Cadence finds Man meets Bear in fairly adventurous, experimental form, playing around with his usual aesthetics as well as new electronic and drone elements.