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Sunday, April 06, 2008

FACT: 24



The latest ish of FACT’s been on the streets for a while, but I thought I oughta mention that it contains some bits n pieces by yrs truly. There’s a 7” mix cum redux of my first on-line column, as well as a piece on the wonderful Holy Mountain label, home to Wooden Shjips, Six Organs of Admittance, OM and Lesbians. Many thanks to HM’s John W, who’s both a gentleman and a dude. There’s also a piece by moi featuring some of the bands involved in the on-going transmigration of artists from Baltimore to Brooklyn and the increasing African/4th World influence on NY Post-Punk (possibly partially fuelled by the recent re-release of “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”…?), so that things are now uncannily mirroring the tail-end of the original Post-Punk era – so how long ‘til the 'experimentalism' implodes into something more conservative, then the whole cycle of recommodifying ’79-’84 starts up all over again?

Thanks to Yeasayer, Celebration and Rings for their time. As I mentioned before I do particularly dig Rings’ music…

My original shortish intro to the piece got bumped due to lack of space, so might as well run it here:

American alt.rock’s eagerness to adopt the jerky, post-punk mannerisms of early Talking Heads, GO4, etc always seemed like a symptom of some underlying cultural anxiety. When young musicians migrated en masse to Brooklyn and swelled the ranks of an already-vibrant art-colony, it felt as if the country had finally found a voice to articulate the post-9/11 neuroses that haunted its heartlands.

In 2008, the Fifth Borough will almost certainly continue to renovate the US Post-Indie landscape, but lately it feels like the angular, early-eighties art-rock stylings are starting to soften as new influences are absorbed from Africa, avant-Folk and even old school Pop. Politics and feminism are back in fashion and musicians are unselfconsciously using words like ‘community’ and ‘communion.’ A period of reconciliation and healing has begun.

In particular, the neo-tribalist Pop favoured by Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance has opened up a new cultural space ready to be colonised by yet another wave of artistic immigrants, many of them from Baltimore. Bands like Rings, Celebration and Yeasayer might have soaked up Afrocentric influences, but they all have their own individual tics and traits, so it’s unhelpful to straightjacket them as being part of any rigid movement. Labels like Voodoo-EROS and artists such as Le Loup, Dragons of Zynth, Quinn Walker, Chairlift and MGMT have also been similarly infected by some weird Pop-tainted virus that leaves its victims vulnerable to a variety of unlikely influences.

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