Saturday, July 24, 2010

Slip In In

High school.  Late '80s.  There were a few tapes that never seemed to leave my Walkman.  Slip It In was the first Black Flag release I bought, and it was one of those that stayed in the player.  It matched my mood at the time as the usual high school angst ran through my brain like a lizard dipped in battery acid.

There was a time where every single song on this release seemed to speak to me.  Today, I still reference it.  "Rat's Eyes" actually came up in a conversation earlier this week, which is not surprising with the hell week I've had.  These days, however, I don't listen to it every day or even for months at a time.  I try to have a little variety.  After all, that is the spice of life.

I found that Black Flag has remained one of my go-to bands for those days where everyone seems to be spouting nonsense and nobody seems to care.  It reminds me what it means to be thinking in a sea of what often seems to be brain-dead kelp in human form.  It helps keep me sane.  In the '80s, this release helped me get through the periods, assaulting my ears between classes and on the bus home, where a hierarchy of seats seemed to mirror the social order.  Later, those seats positions would shift.  The losers making ass grooves in the back of the bus are now losers making ass grooves at their local bar, never having the gumption or skills to leave their hometown.  Alcohol fuels them.  Complacency drives them.  They go home to wives they grew tired of fucking four years and forty pounds ago.  They have kids who gather around their feet and cry for the kind of attention daddy never got.  They melt in front of the tube and wait for pay day.  They don't only live to check to check but drink to drink and show to show. 

Slip It In reminds me of that.  Of how good it feels to sometimes not even fit in and how the desire to remain outside of that is not only a good thing, but a healthy thing.  It is survival.  It is the only thing separating you from the animals.  They still value the soothing power of high school football and the hope that one of those underage cheerleaders will forget her panties.  They remember those days.  They don't live them anymore.  There is a sadness to that, but it's not my sadness.  My sadness extends in different directions.  I don't want to relive the past.  I want to survive the future.

Black Flag, on any of its numerous releases, gives me fortification so I can survive.  It gives me firepower and offers promise.  Everyone should have a band that does that.  Nobody should feel like all hope is lost, but some people have gone so far from that notion that they no longer know what hope looks like.  Hope is not a promise of a better tomorrow, but that your favorite CBS sitcom won't be canceled.  Hope is not light at the end of the tunnel, but the barrel of a gun.

"You say you don't want it/But then you slip it on in."  Take what you want from those lyrics.  Just be careful what you're slippin' on in.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Poison Tree -- Movie Star Junkies

A Poison Tree, another great release from the Movie Star Junkies, hit the airwaves 6/4/10.  Voodoo Rhythm Records, of course, released it. 
You missed it.

Where the band's Melville release was heavily influenced, inspired and made for the writer, this release is obsessed with inner darkness and William Blake.  You can say many bands embrace the former, but the latter?  Not very likely.

From "Almost a God":  I admire the devil/For he never finishes things/I admire God/For he finishes everything. 

It's lyrics like those, mixed with sinister, yet often maudlin music that continues to impress me.  It doesn't always happen on the first listen, but it does happen.  Listening to the Movie Star Junkies is not a feel-good dance on a three-day weekend.  It's a booze-soaked fuck with a bad girl that could end in the murder of either of you.  And you like it.  Summer heat.  Sweat.  Backwoods black magic jive by men in threadbare pants and faded hats.  This is real.  This goes right where your current crop of sound-a-like puppet bands go horribly wrong.

If this band were from America and not Italy, Jack White's label would have them.  Instead, Reverend Beat-Man, who has the best ear for music in the entire fucking world, brings his pleasure to our stereos. 

I don't know how this will sell.  I'm sure Beat-Man, though concerned, is more concerned with getting it heard.  Like almost all the releases on his label, it is important.  It's some of the best music you've never heard.  Don't believe me.  Listen to "Layenda Negra" and close your eyes.  Experience it as it was meant to be ... in a dark, sick state of mind.  From that song: "In the cradle of the deep/In the prison of your ribs/There's a man that never speaks/There's a man that makes you weak."

Welcome, Junkies.  It's been two long years since you've graced our minds.  Thank you for visiting us again.