Summertime Blues, News, and Views: The War Within

As reported by one of my friends on LiveJournal:

So, Nightwish donated $13,000 to the Tsunami Relief fund. On the messageboard on Blabbermouth.net, there are two dumb c***s who are saying, “Nightwish blows and the only reason they’re doing that is to gain fans.” WHAT?!?!?!?

I’m not a Nightwish fan, but still; if nothing else has ever shown exactly why the metal community is so ill-respected and at war with itself, this is it.

I would like to tell a little tale, be it totally true and tune-like, as it were:

Once upon a time, I used to write for a metal site. It’s been defunct for quite some time, although they still have a community via their message board. There are many neat people I have met there and continue to speak with; conversely, there are also many Typical Metal Idiots that thrived there as well.

The Typical Metal Idiot isn’t necessarily defined as simply as finding someone who can’t spell or type; in fact, many metal fans are foreign, so it’s par for the course to swim through intelligent messages buried in barely-coherent English. Nay, for the Typical Metal Idiot is one usually found replying in threads in such a manner:

[Metal Fan One]: Slayer rules!
[Typical Idiot]: All you pseudo-metal fanboys only listen to Reign In Blood and think you know everything about Slayer! YOU SUCK!

[Metal Fan Two]: I love black metal. Cradle of Filth rules!
[Typical Idiot]: Cradle of Filth are sellouts! They’re not black metal! YOU SUCK!

[Metal Fan Three]: Anyone heard the new Queens of the Stone Age?
[Typical Idiot]: THAT’S NOT METAL! YOU SUCK!

Other such discussions usually devolve into picking apart a genre label until it has spawned into 1400 distinct sub-genres; insulting someone’s family and work because they think one drummer is better than another; and my personal favorite, arguing about who is more TRUE.

Over the course of a few years, I watched a group of metalheads — all who seemed fairly educated and/or intelligent — turn on each other like a pack of wild dogs because so many of them had the Typical Metal Idiot deep down inside of them. Their favorite bands were the only metal bands, and to hell with everyone and everything else. Oh, sure, there was some issue where a girl joined the boards and turned a bunch of them on each other by endlessly flirting with each of them behind each other’s backs, but that’s neither here nor there. In the end, nitpicking and biting, taking sides and lashing out, and everything outside of the music tore them apart. What had once united was now an afterthought.

After all of this, I rarely take the time to immerse myself in the metal community. I want to like or dislike the music because of the music, not because some idiot comes running around telling me that such-and-such band is great, yet I refuse to listen to his opinion because he’s such an idiot.

Metalheads? Try some peace and love. Remember that your favorite AND least favorite musicians, no matter how pure metal they are at heart, are still human beings. I can’t stand Nightwish and would like to hold Tarja’s head underwater rather than hear her emotionless wailing, but donating to the tsunami disaster is noble. Sure, they got some press out of it, but they could buy press for a lot less than $13k. In other words, just because you don’t like the music doesn’t mean that everything they do must be something you similarly dislike.

Do Phil Collins fans act like this? I’m debating starting to hang out with them instead.

Alice In Musicland

Gene Simmons is being sued. It’s really a ridiculous story: VH1 shot a silly little documentary/retrospective called When Kiss Ruled The World. One of his ex-girlfriends’ photos was flashed among many others as he bragged about bagging over 4000 women. She of course is now horrified that she would be portrayed in a light that makes her look like a groupie, claiming that she dated him pre-Kiss.

I have to say that I am wildly jealous of this girl. I would also like to tell all of my exes that they are free to become famous and do the same to me. Wait, no, they’re not free to do so. I would be outraged if they did so, and I would sue. You know, every girl is entitled to that smidgen of court-settled karmic retribution. You date me, you dump me, you get famous, and now you will pay.

Ummm, I sincerely hope people smell the sarcasm in that lovely paragraph and join with me to further destroy the female gender. Why, oh why, does it seem two X chromosomes instantly makes a person completely insane? And how am I exempt?

I’m getting off topic.

Conversely to the Gene Simmons story, Vince Neil got married to girlfriend Lia Gerardini in Vegas. Not that this was his first marriage by any means, but considering his recent makeover and Motley Crue reunion tour, you would think that this would be prime time for the bachelor life. Creepier still is that they were married by MC Hammer. Keep an eye out in your backyard for a giant time warp that is going to send all of us back to 1990.

And for the 2005 Brit Awards, Franz Ferdinand is leading the pack at five nominations including best British group, album, breakthrough act, rock act, and live act. Their international nominations don’t seem far removed from any of the US awards that have since been announced and/or awarded, with acts like Scissor Sisters, U2, Kanye West, and Maroon 5 all over the place. Bob Geldof will be receiving an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, none too surprising after the British success of the “Do They Know It’s Christmas” remake which rattled the eardrums of our pals across the pond during the holiday season this past year.

I could go on a pointless rant about the mainstream media and its complete inability to search beyond gloss and marketing to actually find something worth its weight in gold. Really, though, what’s the point? When is the last time that quality music got its true spotlight? Perhaps 1972? This isn’t a new issue, so it’s not worth the breath to speak it. Instead, I’ll write these sentences declaring the same five bands with their same recognition repeatedly until carpal tunnel renders my hands useless. The world will keep buying whatever is pushed in its face, and I’ll scurry around trying to find that damned Rwake disc that has been eluding me since May.

My column seems to have taken quite the bitter trend lately. I apologize. Have a fluffy bunny.

Now then.

Band vs. Band

Battling it out this week is Liz Phair vs. Avril Lavigne.

Ahhh, Liz: the woman from whom I took my very first pseudonym, which I used until 2002 or thereabouts. I absolutely worshipped the woman. Her voice wasn’t perfect and her guitar playing wasn’t out of this world, but her lyrics were so massively hard-hitting that I was actually able to grow up as a woman. This is, of course, referring to her breakthrough debut, Exile In Guyville. Whip-smart wasn’t as great, but it had its moments; many a hiatus followed, and everything since then has been progressively more bland, culminating in her eponymous effort of 2003. In ten years, Liz went from being a strong spokeswoman for the female-trying-to-deal to a power-pop MILF who stopped even writing and playing her own songs.

On the flipside, we have Ms. Avril. Her first album was garbage-pop at its worst. The real travesty in this is that Avril personally sees herself as “rock” or “punk” when her songs are anything but; she claims she was softened up by the record company, which is an admirable admission of selling-out. Still, album two? Rightfully, things seem a little less garbagey this time around.

Will Avril follow a reverse trend from Ms. Phair? Hmm? Can it happen? After all, the girl does write and play herself. And if she takes a page from her Canadian compatriot Alanis Morissette, it’s about time for her to start getting down-and-dirty-deep. If the girl would take five minutes to stop worrying about her wardrobe and the company she keeps, it’s entirely possible, no? Pink made a valiant effort, as did Christina Aguilera. Yet, if anyone is going to do this right, it’s got to be Avril. You go, you crazy little Canuck.

File Under…

Genre time. This one was newly introduced to me as a sub-sub-genre from hell and it has fascinated me as such. Behold: Apocalyptic Folk.

You can call it goth-folk if you prefer. Indeed, the defining features of this genre are its folkish style with quite the dark overtones, consisting of lyrics often found in regular goth culture (paganism, tragedy, et cetera). It can also be seen as an offshoot of the industrial scene, as there is also an avant-garde or noise element at times, with breaks from typical song structure and experimentation that wouldn’t normally be found in folk.

The primary center of the apocalyptic folk movement was indeed founded in industrial, rock, and punk circles. Current 93, Death In June, and Sol Invictus are typically tauted as the forefathers, while bands like Forseti and Cawatana are among many others that have joined the trend.

Note to those interested: This isn’t exactly something you’re going to stumble across in Sam Goody. Get ready to hunt, import, and scramble to get a hold of even the most “mainstream” of the genre’s releases.

My Opinion Matters

Why I bother with this section when I’m always so clearly opinionated is rather silly, but yet, I feel compelled to save this little section for something I either love or hate. Today, just because everything in this column so far has been dark, I would like to bubble it up: Madonna.

Oh my goodness, I love Madonna. Do you want to hear my nanner on like an idiotic fangirl? Okay! Omigod, I love her first two albums. And Like a Prayer is awesome too, but Ray of Light is incredible. Music is also pretty good for the most part, and we’ll just pretend the last album never happened. In between all of that, well, I could take or leave True Blue and all of her silly remix/soundtrack projects. Bedtime Stories and Erotica were mostly lame save for “Bad Girl,” which I love so much that I would like to pin it to my forehead. Oh, that and “Live To Tell,” if we’re going to run around calling off the good songs on the albums that I don’t particularly love.

The Madonna image molded me from the time I was a little girl, endlessly pounding the jukebox to hear “Lucky Star,” on up through the time when my best friend plunked down $1000 for us to go see her live in Chicago on the Drowned World tour, in very much NON nosebleed seats with VIP passes. I have all of her videos (released, anyway) on DVD. And even when she’s saying and doing ridiculous things, I still pat her on the head like she’s a good girl.

Don’t bother pointing out all of the nonsense, like Shanghai Surprise or Swept Away, or calling herself Esther, or whatever goofy things she’s cooking up this week. Don’t remind me of that awful hairdo that she wore in her “italian fashion” phase (you remember it: bleach blonde and short, parted down the side, slicked flat, with a flower; often worn with bright blue eyeshadow, glitter and huge fake eyelashes with pink pink PINK lipstick…gah). We all screw up sometimes. I mean, you should see my photos from fourth grade. There will always be awkward times.

I love you, Madonna. Do good things in 2005 instead of taking continual turns for the creepy.

The Rad Ones

I gave out so many damned plugs in the Friday Daily Pulse that I’m out of love to give. Okay, that’s a lie. Here are some plugs that you probably wouldn’t expect from me.

FIGURES! This zone rarely gets plugged. But there are sometimes neat little statuette type deals of bands and such, and I like those. And Ren & Stimpy. I’m not sure I need an up-to-the-minute news feed of such, but it’s a fun zone in which to browse for neat little doodads.

Travis Leamons reviews Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. I can’t tell you how much I absolutely loved that movie. Typically, I hate any and all “dumb” movies, ones based on slapstick or drug jokes or anything generally stupid in nature. Au contraire, I need this DVD. I will support a sequel!

Flea vows to actually write columns in the new year, and Hyatte once again manages to give disturbingly good advice. Then there’s Dan Hevia, waxing philosophic and in-depth about the last week in wrestling as well as the People’s Choice (Garbage) Awards. Funny how even after I stopped watching wrestling over a year ago, I’m still drawn to these columns. That’s the INSIDE PULSE DIFFERENCE, FOLKS!

Outro

This lovely mp3 CD of mixed wonderfulness was given to me Sunday night and has fueled my brain for the entirety of of my day, including this column. I’m not sure that I can necessarily recommend, in good faith, melting one’s brain with a collection similar to this. Still, if you’re daring, hunt some of these down:

Atraxia: Lost Atlantis
Changelings: Astronomica
Current 93: Lucifer Over London EP and Tamlin 12″
Henry Cow: In Praise of Learning
Naked City: Torture Garden
Nokturnal Mortum: Nyehrist’
Quartz: Quartz
Watchtower: Control and Resistance
While Heaven Wept: Of Empires Forlorn
White Spirit: White Spirit

The other disc I have yet to wade through is the entire Siam Shade discography, minus a live disc or some such. Ahhh, J-rock. What don’t I listen to these days?

Anyway. Enjoy your week, and don’t breed. The fewer people born, the lower the death tolls when disasters strike.

–gloomchen

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