December 30th, 2016


Punk rock WILL be great

That is to say, the next four years are going to give American punk artists the chance to become a Western Pussy Riot.

I am not a big fan of Amanda Palmer's music. But I'm on her Patreon and every so often she writes stuff like this, which I'm just going to bucket-quote. (ETA: in some views it's not clear what are my words, above, and what are afp's words, below. I'm inserting extra lines to try and help that.)

bjork just published a great interview in the guardian about sexism in music. she says:

“Women in music are allowed to be singer songwriters singing about their boyfriends [...] If they change the subject matter to atoms, galaxies, activism, nerdy math beat editing or anything else than being performers singing about their loved ones they get criticized. Journalists feel there is just something missing … as if our only lingo is emo [...] If we don’t cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives we are cheating our audience.”

when i read this, all i could think of was how easy it would be, in the next four years (for female artists especially) to resist controversial, or even unusual, topics, even if only *slightly* political. why risk pissing off a person on facebook? why risk getting yelled at? why risk having a bad morning like amanda palmer?

it's a micro-decision every artists makes when choosing what words, what topics, what sentiments she knowswe will have to "defend". and defending, for many artists, is becoming a second full-time job if you want to hang out on the dregs of facebook and twitter and instagram trying to wave people over to your jukebox.

it's so easy to make "easy" art choices to avoid angering anybody. there are so many people out there who are so ready to be angry right now, and female creators are especially delicious targets.

so while we may have a mainstream world of supermarkets and top 40 radio playing what i like to call "ooh-baby" songs about heartbreak and jealousy, THERE IS ALWAYS THE OTHER THING, the OTHER ART, the inheritors of punk and folk, the other voices who have so much more to consider and to share than "ooh-baby" fare. the darker, blacker, punker song topics. the political fury, the rapes and abortions, the local pain and neighborhood disenfranchisment, the hilarious satirical absurdities of how we do and don't and can and can't treat each other...the poetry of a truer, richer tapestry of life. the visceral reflections of our times. and THIS is the music, the punk of which i speak, that will thrust up like flowers and weeds from the sidewalk-cement of a donald trump presidency, where it feels like the most materialistic, wealth-worshipping and non-compassionate oppressors of our times are taking the reigns of the white house.

And this is why I support Ms Palmer, because the world needs more of this and less of the "ooh baby," however much I enjoy it.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at You can comment here or there.

The last music post of 2016

Work has been dead but I've not posted music. Sue me. I still haven't sorted out the tags issue on DW so I'm going to originate this post on LJ.
This appeared on one of the "best of" lists I scan and I picked it out for comment. I like the video and the dancing. But mostly I like Underworld. I've been listening to them for a really long time and unlike other acts whose style has evolved away from what I like I feel that Underworld still makes new and interesting music that isn't the same thing recycled and yet is unmistakably their sound. This is a great example of that. Seeing them live is still on my bucket list, though I expect it'll cost a fortune if I ever get a chance to do so.
"Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" is one of those tracks that's been around forEVER. I had to look it up - it was released back in 1982 and yet it persists in the club scene. It gets remixed a lot and occasionally covered. Of the past efforts, my favorite remains the Milk, Inc version ( and recently this edit from Coco Fay caught my ear. It's a little nu disco, a lot electronica, and a nice update on a classic.
Jacob Banks put together a nice combination of jazzy sounds, African-influenced backing vocals and rhythms, and modern EDM beats. Then throws in some fast-slinging rap vocals. I know that's not everyone's cuppa but I really like the use of a variety of styles and influences.
This is a fun mash using several well-known base tracks and updating them as they get mashed together. WBBL throws in the Dibby Thing, which I'm not that fond of but I like the other sources well enough to overlook the repetitive dibby.
I wanted to end the year with something chill. Given what a rampaging shit-show it has been I feel a need to draw a deep breath and try to let go of some of the tension. To that end, here's EZPZ from DJ Steveboy, a chill and relaxed mix he put together some months ago. Easily my favorite track of the set is pulled out in the second link: Wild Culture's "Fade". I love the vocals, and the relaxed beats behind this one.

Things that did not suck in 2016

Among the end-of-year lists I found this:

A list of 99 things that happened that were actually pretty good this past year. Most of them happened outside the United States, like

  • Life expectancy in Africa has increased by 9.4 years since 2000

  • Thailand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis

  • In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, that proportion has dropped to 3.5%

  • Italy became the last large Western country to recognise same-sex unions

Some were international, like

  • acid pollution in the atmosphere is now almost back to the level that it was before it started with industrialisation in the 1930s

  • global malaria deaths have declined by 60% (something that mostly affects non-white, non-US people but still a world problem)

  • the number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth has almost halved since 1990

So there are bubbles and there are bubbles. Inside our US-centric bubble things were still pretty terrible. But the US is not the whole of the world. I don't think it makes what has happened here any less awful, nor what is to come any less terrifying. But if we are realistic people we should look at the whole world, realistically. We are used to America being first and best and brightest. But if we're not, at least there are other countries to carry the world forward.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at You can comment here or there.