Monday, July 28, 2014

Dot Dash: "(Here's to) The Ghosts of The Past" (2013)

Last night I posted a piece about an article written by this cat Kurt Schlichter, henceforth referred to as Schitlicher. Schitlicher is a failed comedian, self-proclaimed successful lawyer, and unequivocally a mouthpiece for Republican Christian fundamentalist millionaires.

I got into a "debate" with Schitlicher and some of his followers on twitter last night and this morning, and it was kind of fun -- not so much fun arguing with Schitlicher, who is just an actor paid by Stuart Epperson to spout nonsense. Said nonsense only serves to distract the gullible away from a real problem. As it happens, Epperson, the millionaire capitalist/politician/hate-filled old white man who employs Schitlicher, is the very essence of said real problem. Go figure.

Once I realized Schitlicher was not really a person, but a persona that a sad man is paid to play, I stopped tweeting with him and instead tried to have a rational discussion with some of his twitter followers who had engaged with me.

I think, in the end, it was productive. It's so easy to read and watch and listen to only things that you agree with, and ignore everything else. And since the natural tendency of humans is to group up with like-minded individuals, then the little reality bubble you create for yourself can become near un-poppable. I'm not just talking about these self-proclaimed conservatives I was tweeting with. It can happen to us all. So that's why I think my post, and the twitter debates which followed, were overall productive exercises - I got out of my bubble a bit, a few of Schitlicher's twitter followers got out of their bubble for a bit, and I think that's good.

But seriously, Schitlicter, you are a fine actor, and would've made an adequate propaganda writer in Nazi Germany. I almost really believe that you believe the hateful rhetoric you spew. It would be entertaining if it weren't for the fact it makes gullible people who fall for your schtick think it's okay to behave like you do (like a lout). But I understand you gotta get paid, man. Too bad your paycheck comes at the expense of civilized discourse and human decency.

I think that's enough politics from me, but if you are interested in separating big business from politics, and putting an end to crony capitalism in the U.S., I encourage liberal and conservative alike to check out Cenk Uygur's Wolf PAC. And while I've only just heard of him today, Democrat and candidate for California Secretary of State Derek Cressman appears to be a friend of the people as well.

Here's a song from Washington D.C.'s Dot Dash, released August of last year. I featured another song from this album in a post last February, but the band bears repeating. You can download this song for free at their bandcamp site:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

CNQ Wonders How Kurt Schlichter Sleeps At Night

Hi there. If you're a Kurt Schlichter fan, take a moment to consider this. Schlicter likes to say his particular brand of conservatism is the -ism of a new breed of punk/rebels. However, the site he writes for, townhall.com, is owned by one Stuart Epperson, and Epperson's brother-in-law. A quick internet search on Epperson will show you this septuagenarian fundamentalist Christian is a wealthy businessman, and a supporter of Republican candidates. Does wealthy businessman and supporter of status quo Republicans sound like a rebel to you? Does it sound like someone who would support tax reform and the reversing of Citizens United? Or does it sound like someone who is an active participant in and someone who benefits from the status quo remaining exactly as it is? Epperson employs Schlichter. How can Schlichter claim to be a rebel when he gets his paycheck from one of the very members of the status quo he pretends to speak out against?

Something to think about, at least.

One of my keywords on Google News is punk rock, and via that feed, I saw this new op-ed piece from the conservative website townhall.com:

Conservatism Is The New Punk Rock

Now, full disclosure: I've always identified with progressive movements, liberalism, and am a self-professed fellow traveler, despite my love affair with our modern consumer culture.

Nevertheless, I clicked the link and read the article. Robert Anton Wilson said that once a day, you should read something you disagree with. This townhall.com article, written by conservative commentator Kurt Schlichter, is mine for the day.

I do not disagree with his sentiments regarding the need for the dissolution of the status quo and crony capitalism in the highest echelons of our government. I do, however, disagree with how he presents the problem, as a stereotypical rift between "liberals" and "conservatives," which are two very generic labels that cover a broad swath of opinions within each group.

Per his bio on townhall.com, Schlichter is "a successful Los Angeles trial lawyer, a veteran with a masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and a former stand-up comic." Why does it specify 'successful'?

Schlichter's article starts off with a quick re-cap of punk rock lore for those not in the know, borrowed from an old Greil Marcus piece: rock'n'roll was a bloated corpse in the 70s, and the Ramones came along and were so punk that it like, brought rock and roll back to life from being a bloated corpse. Tho I think the Greil Marcus piece I'm remembering was saying that about the Sex Pistols. I'm not going to look it up.

I just realized, wouldn't that narrative then make rock'n'roll a zombie, or some similar fell undead thing? Because that's pretty cool.

Anyway, Schlichter uses that bit of borrowed narrative about the birth of punk rock as an analogy, or metaphor, for what he believes conservatives are doing to the United States - injecting life back into American politics and culture. He also equates liberalism with the old guard and the status quo of rock and roll in the 70s. Greil Marcus used the Who as his example in the article I remember, but Schlichter uses Foghat, so he can get a sweet "Slow Ride" pun in his first paragraph.

The article, since it's written for a conservative niche website, doesn't bother with explanations as to why the status quo and liberalism go hand in hand, but I guess if I would follow townhall.com long enough I would begin to understand. But let's get real. This is a fluff piece and propaganda for a conservative website, and Schlichter should be ashamed of himself for attaching his name to it.

Schlichter's thesis for the piece is that, unlike the young punk culture of the 70s, today's youth support a "liberal status quo that keeps them down," and that millennials are "eagerly complicit in their own serfdom."

Note that Schlichter has just taken a very broad, and ill-defined segment of the population - per Wikipedia, anyone born between the 1980s and the early 2000s - and said they are all, unequivocally, every single U.S. citizen born sometime after 1980, liberal adherents to the status quo, "complicit in their own serfdom." I do like that phrase, it's very punk rock.

This is directly from Schlichter's piece:

"Dead-end jobs, innovations like Uber sacrificed to protect established Democrat corporatist allies, and tons of student debt for their degrees in Feminist Interpretive Dance – you Millennials have been, and will be, fooled again. And again and again."

Okay, so, despite that he does not clarify the fact, let's say Schlichter is not referring to all people under the age of 35. Perhaps the above vitriol is meant to indicate he's only referring to people under the age of 35 who: A) have dead-end jobs, B) invent apps, C) have liberal arts degrees; or a combination thereof. One assumes he's implying that any other degree would immedietly get you paid so you can pay off that massive debt. How A,B, or C protects the "established Democrat corporatist allies," remains unclear. But by specifying "Democrat," is Schlichter arguing that Republicans are not part of the crony capitalist status quo? For a conservative mouthpiece website? Surely not.

So then Schlichter uses a rock n roll metaphor to bash Hillary Clinton, accusing her of crony capitalism and being in the thrall of big business. It is my contention that the majority of politicians in Washington, Democrat or Republican, are on the take. You may not agree with me, and believe that most folks up there deal honest. Show me who has a track record of not kow-towing to big business and money at every step of their political career and I'll count that person as a friend of the people, no matter if they're the staunchest Republican or a middle of the road Democrat.

I understand that Schlichter is just pandering to his audience, and his piece is fluff, devoid of meaning and intended only to make people who watch a lot of Fox News nod their heads and say "yep" without having to think too much. And maybe it gives some Tea Party asshole an excuse to say "I'm a punk rocker!" like when Ted Nugent said he was a bigger n-word than Russell Simmons.

Schlichter goes on to equate liberalism with the status quo, fascism, bureaucracy, political correctness, and control in an Orwellian sense. He plugs his conservative themed sci-fi book, which I bet is about a new civil war in the U.S., but I'm not going to bother confirming that. He says conservatism is like punk rock because the original punk rockers wanted freedom, and "the liberals want the opposite."

When you speak in generalities like Schlichter does in his article, and do not give specific examples, you are propagating unreal stereotypes, which isn't helping anybody. If Schlichter really loved freedom, he would get past this facade that there are liberals who believe X and conservatives who believe Y and never the twain shall meet, and instead write about what the majority of us agree on: that our two-party system is corrupted by the influence of big money and this needs to be corrected.

To focus on one party or another is divisive, unproductive, and, in my opinion, unpatriotic. I find it especially egregious that it's clear the only real purpose of Schlichter's article is to plug his sci-fi book.

Schlichter does a little woman-baiting, because race-baiting is gauche:

"The quintessential liberal isn’t a free-spirited manic pixie dream girl but a grim, bitter nightmare crone enraged because having gender-specific bathrooms in her dorm is history’s greatest hate crime."

Whatever, man. The 17 short-paragraph article goes on like this. Schitlicher makes crumby rock n roll analogies and then tells his audience what they want to hear: Liberalism is for "more regulations, more taxes, more dough for public employee unions, more stifling of innovation." Without any specific examples. Show me specifics, and then I will decide if I agree with you. Otherwise, you're just spouting rhetoric and propaganda that only serves to debase our fine Republic.

And as an aside, when it comes to liberals stifling innovantion, what about the innovators who created Uber, which Schlichter mentions in the beginning of his article as part and parcel of the liberal status quo? I guess he means those other innovators. Which ones, who knows, because above all, the author keeps who he is referring to general and vague. That way it's easier to villify them.

Schlichter blames Obama's pull-out in Iraq for the ISIS insurgency. And you know what, I think yeah, if we had kept U.S. troops in country, then this shit with ISIL wouldn't have happened. We could keep U.S. troops in that country for fifty years and it would stave off that inevitable. But an eventual pull-out would happen, no matter if a Democrat or a Republican ordered it, and the resulting strife in that region would then occur as a result. No matter when it happened, no matter what political party ordered it. Schlichter then makes yet another generalized, vague statement, that all conservatives in the U.S. want to go to war with Russia:

"Conservatives, on the other hand, know what to do. Take Putin. While Obama calls for yet another investigation to confirm what everybody knows, thereby kicking the can down the road so he doesn't have to make a gutsy call, us conservatives want to beat on the brat with a baseball bat. That’s how we won the Cold War, no thanks to liberals."

I mean, Mr. Schlichter, I know you get paid to write this nonsense, and that must alleviate your conscious somewhat. But does the paycheck you get for writing this divisive, ignorant propaganda, which only serves the very status quo you pretend to rail against, make you able to sleep at night?

I maintain the real issue at hand is not the lame narative of conservatives versus liberals, but the majority of the U.S. population versus the wealthiest individuals and corporations, and the politicians, be they Democrat or Republican, which this wealthiest elite of this country hold in its back pocket.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Negative Fun Records Incentive + Bandcamp Mini-Mixtape

Hola camaradas. Negative Fun Records has a cool thing going on:

$50 gets you 10 7"s and some cool shit.

Sound from LA:

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From London:

Whoa, from the Czech Republic, this is absolutely the f'n s. It's a live recording, I think it's from the 90s:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Potpourri of Sound

This morning at work I listened to Gil Scott-Heron's I'm New Here, which is good, on google play. Google recommended Donny Hathaway based on that listen, whom I thought I had never heard. I queued up Hathaway's soundtrack for the 1972 movie Come Back, Charleston Blue. Turns out, the fourth track on the album, Vegetable Wagon, has been sampled several times over, from Dr. Dre's Rat-Tat-Tat off my fave album ever The Chronic, to DJ Jazzy Jeff, Biggie, and KRS-One (according to WhoSampled and Youtube comments on the Vegetable Wagon clip below).

I recognized the first few seconds of the song from Mix Master Mike's absolutely amazing Anti-Theft Device. You can hear the sample from Vegetable Wagon at around 10:36:

A little while later on the Hathaway album is Little Ghetto Boy, used prominently in the Dr. Dre/Snoop/Nate Dogg song Lil Ghetto Boy, also off The Chronic. I didn't realize Lil Ghetto Boy had an official video:

Google play then suggested Minnie Riperton's first two albums, 1974's "Perfect Angel" and 75's "Adventures In Paradise," re-released together in 2004 by the U.K. label Stateside. I feel like my life has been enriched by listening to these two excellent albums -- I recommend you go do the same after you're done here.

Google play suggested Roy Ayers after that, another one I'd never heard, so I brought up Ayer's 1976 effort, Everybody Loves The Sunshine, which was cool too:

And that was my day of listening to cool shit while I worked. Meanwhile, on twitter, Canada's 4th smartest person recommended to me this new video from Winnipeg's shoegazey The Hours:

And I got the Doomtown Records update today, and zeroed in on this synth-punk sweetness, from Croatia. This was released this past February:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Liquid Skulls & Sorry State Records

My pal Jimmy Spice recommended this sweet shoegaze from the UK on his fb page:

Check out Jimmy's righteous sound, Liquid Skulls:

Sorry State Records sent me their distro/label news update, which is super-nice of them. Thanks guys! Here's some cool news and stuff you can order from them:

From Phoenix, hc Gay Kiss has an LP coming out in the fall --

You can order this FRAU 12" here, from Sorry State. Awesome punk rock from London:

Priests I'd never heard of, so I googled them and saw this awesomeness has already been featured on brooklynvegan and stereogum, so you know, they're famous already. But just in case you're like me and have your head under a rock, here's something cool:

Lumpy and the Dumpers Demo 7" from Negative Jazz was #1 on Sorry State's top distro sellers for June. Indeed, they are sold out at the Negative Jazz bigcartel page and on Sorry State. It was mentioned on pitchfork back in April, there was probably only like 300 pressed, right, so there you go.

Rad hc from a label called Konton Crasher:

Sorry State has a ton of stuff available so go check them out!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Brand New and Relatively New Rock'n'Roll via Bandcamp

New from LA's Recess Records:

Courtesy Germany's Stencil Trash Records, Lexington, Kentucky's J. Marinelli has a limited edition one-sided 10" EP available now via his bandcamp page. GBVey, I like it:

Outta Chicago, this is from this past January.