Monday, January 23, 2006
Thus, my January Car of the Month is a VW product that is more New Beetle than the New Beetle. Unfortunately, it's not available in the United States. If it were, we Americans could enjoy gas milage on par with the Toyota Prius, all aluminium construction, comfortable seating for four (I've gone on a long trip in the back of a Skoda and many in the back of a GTI and they are no less comfortable than the back of an Accord), a large glass moonroof (which in a way evokes the Messershmitt bubble cars of the fifties), and (dare I say) cute styling.
Here's a picture:
here are some more pictures on a weird foreign site: link
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
First off, I love the name of the band. They invoke Woodie Guthrie’s famous “This Machine Kills Fascists” warning writ on his acoustic guitar. And they play Country-punk, which is an interesting proposition. You think it’s not going to work, and you will make jokes about Country-Rap, but for this band it totally works and is totally awesome. It becomes neither exactly country nor punk, as it falls into none of the traps of either genre. I would prefer to call it “Superstomp” or “Honky-core” or perhaps “Power-Folk.” Yeah “Power-Folk,” I think the band would like that one.
But I like this because I feel like it is music for punks made by punks. Remembering back to college, when the punk kids played at open mic they played acoustic protest songs. They were into socialism and food not bombs, but weren’t into the Sex Pistols or the classic clichéd punk. They liked Ani Difranco and Dylan. Those kids would like this a lot. It’s protest music, and it is purely positive.
I found this song after getting turned on to Against Me! by Meg 5 from WGSU. (More on Against Me! perhaps in the future. Thanks Meg 5!) The website declares “If it ain’t cheap, it ain’t punk” and all the CDs are $5 each! At that price, even I can afford their complete discography!
The lyrics start with “This is what I want: I want all the punks to take to the streets, playing their guitars. This is what I want. It’s what I want!” And from there on it’s just great. Listen for yourself.
This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb – “This Is What I Want" link
I have two other bits to sell you on this song. One: Check out a live version of this song from a show the band played at some place called The Bike Barn on June 22, 2005. It is available at www.archive.org. At that show, one of the band’s members got sick and the other band member left with them, which left only the drummer, Ted. Apparently members of other bands on the Plan-It-X record label helped out. The lo-fi recording has someone endearingly yelling “AW COME ON” after a false start and numerous other people singing along. Anyway, it totally sounds fun and great.
Two: members of this band also have another band called The Blank Fight with not Ted on drums but Aaron Cometbus, of the fantastic punk ensemble Pinhead Gunpowder and the indispensable Cometbus fanzine. It would be impossible to get more punk than that.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
The GAN are a power trio. Dan, the bassist, plays a fretless bass through a practice amp. This is one of the most “fuck you” setups I could think of. He also has the coolest moped (1964 Peugeot) in all of Livingston County. Zach, on drums, is a crazy art kid. Jeff, on guitar, has some of the most technically advanced guitar playing around. He loves metal and has an instrumental side project called Honeytoast, which is also great.
Much like The Shaggs, I wanted to get them into the studio while they were still hot. I brought them into the WGSU Production Studio and can be forever heard saying “go” at the beginning of many of their tracks. The GAN and the Pink Cammies were totally devoted to doing away with the “I Love You, Babe” fare typical of college-made rock (and tragically rewarded at the aforementioned band battle). They were bands I could love and didn’t have to play in! They were both killer groups whose recordings I will always enjoy.
The GAN definitely has their own GAN sound, yet their songs vary. “Phone” is a melodic hard punk song, with a breakdown and growling. “Beard” takes a contemporary dance-punk sound, and is a great, positive ending to their record. “Star Wars” sets the record to an explosive start. Its rhythm changes and guitar soloing are surprisingly inventive and technical. When the GAN change up their vocal styles for “Sex (Parts 1 and 2)” with operatic, Interpol-at-age-ten style of singing, followed by an emo style speaking section, the result is pure weirdness but also pure fun.
According to my iTunes setup, my favorite GAN song is “(I want to go to)
Their website: (http://www.geocities.com
We came up with this band in January 2004 for the sole purpose of making some kind of noisy ruckus (hootenanny) and turning some heads at a "battle" of the bands in Geneseo the next month. Of course, Standard College Soft Rock won the prize but who was the moral victor? A question that remains unsettlingly unanswered, like the dinner bell on a West Virginia farm on a summer evening when something terrible is about to happen.
We also played at our friend Gabe's birthday party, something else, and a Halloween party where half the party was there to see us and the other half was there to play beer pong, repeat lines from Chappelle's Show to make themselves feel witty, et cetera. It is now late 2005 and there has been little to no progress but plenty of big talk.
The GAN are so punk, they don’t really even bother to give their songs concrete titles. Nevertheless, here are two of their songs:
The Get Awesome Ninjas - “This Phone Will Self Destruct In Ten Seconds” - Link
They call this one “Dance jam for you to dance to and drink wine coolers, has since been turned into a real song.” but I think of it as “Beard, Aflame” (which is a shortened version of the vulgar title they had when we recorded it!)
The Get Awesome Ninjas - "Beard, Aflame" - Link
If you would like a copy of their seven song, 12 minute CD, post up your email to the comments and I’ll see what I can do.
FACT: The Get Awesome Ninjas’ first show was almost exactly seven years after and 26 miles away from legendary D.C. art punks Jawbox played their last show ever at RIT. It was also exactly 5 years after the events documented in The Starting Line’s superhit “Leaving.”
rumor also has it that rockets and bluelights (close at hand) are all living in the same city again. this could be pretty good news. let's keep our fingers crossed.
Could this mean a Rockets and Bluelights reunion? If so, please let me know where they're playing! 2006 will be awesome.