Posts in Rant
[RANT] Cancel Culture & Community Accountability: Inaction Isn't An Option, Band Dudes
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I have to talk about this shit with Morrissey because a band I have invested a lot of time and invested a ton both emotional and financial energy into is now involved with this.

For folks catching up at home, Morrissey has publicly outed himself as, well…..a fucking racist. If you’re publicly rocking swag from a far-right organization in the UK that was founded by an anti-Islam activist not just once on national TV but actually multiple times at shows and are quoted saying things like (and I kid you the fuck not), “I don’t think the word ‘racist’ has any meaning any more, other than to say ‘you don’t agree with me, so you’re a racist.’ People can be utterly, utterly stupid.”, either you’re a fucking racist, or, as you yourself would say….are utterly, utterly stupid.

This stuff has been swirling for a minute that dude was problematic af, but has really come to a head shortly after it was announced that aforementioned band I’ve invested a lot of energy into, Interpol, was heading out on tour with this racist turd of a human in the US. Yesterday, Pitchfork pointed out a little ditty in which Hot Press very directly asked Paulie Banks what his thoughts were on the reactions from folks who weren’t pleased that they agreed to hit the road with someone who’s trending at the moment because he’s a bigot. Dude’s response?

"We thought it would be a good show for our band. That's how I'm looking at it. I don't get too much into the other stuff."

My guy, are you for real?

You live in New York fucking City, one of the most famous if not actually the most famous cultural melting pots, full of immigrants and people that your headliner has very strong and troubling opinions on, and you’re just gonna white privilege your way through this shit and cash your checks without a second thought? I expected way more than this from you.

To muddle this even more, Nick Cave decided to chime in on the subject via a response to a fan-submitted letter about separating the art from the artist, essentially saying that Morrissey’s political views are “irrelevant” to him as a musician.

…….uggghhhhh

Just so we’re clear, that’s the tl;dr version of what he said. He definitely stated very bluntly that Morrissey’s views were hella problematic af and even encourages fans to try and reason with Moz, but his whole thing is he believes it’s a disservice to oneself as a fan to deprive yourself of art you’ve become invested in just because they suck. His whole rationale is that once a song is in the wild that essentially there’s an immediate disassociation of art from artist. Here’s his direct quote:

“I think perhaps it would be helpful to you if you saw the proprietorship of a song in a different way. Personally, when I write a song and release it to the public, I feel it stops being my song. It has been offered up to my audience and they, if they care to, take possession of that song and become its custodian. The integrity of the song now rests not with the artist, but with the listener.”

While this is certainly an earnest argument,  imma have to call bullshit on this, or at the very least kind of point out how many holes there are in this argument.

Before I go off, I’m just going to give Nick Cave the benefit of not knowing what it’s like to *solely* be a music fan. I certainly respect his perspective and am grateful to hear the thought process behind his artistic expression. Unfortunately, I feel like when your self-determined role in the symbiotic relationship that is fandom is mostly to receive, react, support, and provide feedback, that disassociating is basically next to impossible.

This line of thinking he’s trying to semi-sell through here says that when I went to see Interpol for the 7th time at Madison Square Garden and bought a tank top dress and an enamel pin that I was there giving my money directly to “PDA”, “Not Even Jail”, “Cmere”, or “The Heinrich Maneuver”.

Nope. Not even close.

Fans operate under the notion that in order for more of the notes and words mixed together that makes their heart happy, that they have to feed, clothe, encourage, etc. the human persons who contribute to that art, which is why we are told to support artists by buying albums/merch, to attend their shows, and so on. I did not walk into Madison Square Garden to be in the presence of sounds I love that have a lot of meaning behind them. Music isn't something we all simply appreciate on our own in private. Music is literally everywhere all day every day. It's so embedded deeply in our culture that while Netflix can somehow get away with taking ‘The Office’ away on Netflix, if a popular album were to be pulled indefinitely the general public would have an even bigger meltdown before probably running off to pirate said album because we can’t live without it. Within the cult of celebrity we looove to love a rockstar, all the way to we collectively mourn them when they pass away. Music festivals are now the hottest events of the summer.

Speaking of festivals, live performances specifically are all about human connection. The experience of seeing the persons who made the art you like recreate it directly in front of you. We take for granted the amount of skill that is needed for these kinds performances. On top of that you’re in a room full of people who connected to the same thing as you, so it’s fair to assume that you have common interests with all of these future friends (also read: strangers).

It’s important to also consider that fans default at the assumption that when they’re at shows that they will be safe when they’re there. While recent gun related events make that assumption waver a bit, people go into a show with the understanding that that everyone will be remotely pleasant, accepting, and welcoming. If someone at the show sucks, well…..

….do you see where I’m going with this?

When someone comes in and spoils the fun at a show, what happens? They (hopefully) get ejected (hopefully) immediately.

It’s really hard to keep enjoying something when the experience has been tainted for you, especially when the person who wrecked it for you happens to be center stage. I still think about the dude who flailed around in front of me when I saw Alt-J at Mercury Lounge or the guy who groped a close friend at Fidlar. It’s really unfortunate that those experiences stick out very distinctly with those events because I wasn’t allowed to simply get lost in the art like I wanted to.

It’s certainly a lovely notion to try and pretend like the possibility of Morrissey attempting to not to sway people to his beliefs, but just like fans of music proudly wear band swag often in hopes of finding fellow fans, fans are also advertising and evangelizing with their merch, too. Ol’ Moz coulda been racist and kept his trap shut leaving fans none the wiser about his beliefs so they could continue to idolize and support him, but obviously he’s hoping that his recent behavior has a specific reaction and it’s not exactly the one I’m having right now. It’s pretty clear that he’s trying to elicit and enlist support for his troublesome beliefs, and honestly that might as well be a dude dumping beer on your head during your favorite song every fucking time it comes on.

So no, I’m sorry Mr. Cave (we’re not close enough yet for me to call you Nick), but it’s a little impossible to separate the art from the artist and their problematic behavior. Ain’t gonna happen. The part that the community has control over, on the other hand, is how we choose to use this kind of information to make educated decisions. In the same way that most fans these days know that if you buy albums directly from the band vs at a store or by streaming that the bands get more money and are then given the option to decide how they want to support, we get to look at Morrissey tightly bound to his bigotry right now, and decide if he deserves our attention anymore. We get to ponder whether or not we think it’s distasteful that Paul Banks doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal to earn money off an outspoken racist and not at the very least try to have the guts to speak directly to whether or not they share the same beliefs. In the face of discriminating against the marginalized, silence can literally be deadly.

Cave closes the fan letter with, “We should thank God that there are some among us that create works of beauty beyond anything most of us can barely imagine, even as some of those same people fall prey to regressive and dangerous belief systems.” Call-out/cancel culture in its current state doesn’t exactly have a universally agreed upon roadmap for what happens next when it becomes public knowledge that someone among us is being hateful or harmful with no intent to stop any time soon. We especially don’t know how to effectively handle the people who idly stood by and didn’t do anything to stop or prevent them from acting maliciously.

Swiftly smacking down on the cancel button could be really easy here. I mean I’ve never exactly been huge on The Smiths or Morrissey, but in his current state of personal growth I can’t consider stepping within even a mile radius of that kind of toxicity. There’s always a chance that he could come around, but at this point given his track record….not gonna hold my breath on that one.

With regards the other two who have a lot more eyes on them than I probably ever will, I really hope that Paulie Banks takes time to reflect on the amount impact he has on his fans. If I still have the occasional residual panicky moment from that time Interpol got trapped inside their tour bus in a blizzard, unfortunately this current missed opportunity to take a stand against discrimination is gonna be part of my Interpol fandom history as well. I hope the next page with them is that they take advantage of the platform that they have and take a stand against discrimination. There are ways to tour with a bigot and still take a stand. They can speak directly against their headliner’s beliefs, they can donate a portion of their merch to combat Islamophobia, or they can do something even more creative and unique to who they are that I haven’t thought of yet but would probably love them all the more for choosing to respond in that way. For now, no button smashing, but the button is definitely not being put away just yet.

As for Mr. Cave, while I appreciate his thoughtful follow up response to his fan’s question, I hope he comes to realize through this experience how deeply he is loved as person by learning that his fans can’t possibly love his music without involving him in that lovefest. I hope that message is relayed so loudly to him that the love-filled lesson stays with him forever.

To fellow concerned fans, you have your tweets, your likes, your comments, your attendance, your dollars, and all sorts of other methods to respond to this. If you’re feeling guilty about being in the mood for some Moz, you can offset his intent to spread harmful beliefs by donating to a charity that combats Islamophobia and even opt to donate on his behalf. You definitely should let him know that you don’t share his beliefs and that he should consider the root of why he holds them. How you choose to approach your feedback to Nick Cave and Interpol are up to you, but I definitely urge you to not stay silent or cancel them and then check out.

The only way that our community stays safe and inclusive is if we hold each other accountable.

[SONG OF THE DAY] Tycho - "Japan"
photo credit: Scott Hansen

photo credit: Scott Hansen

San Francisco soundscape crafters Tycho have returned with a new track, “Japan”, from their forthcoming album WEATHER, out on July 12th. "I had just returned from spending some time in Hakone, Japan with my wife's Japanese relatives," shares project brainchild Scott Hansen. "I was thinking a lot about the kinds of electronic music instruments I had been using when I first started making music in the late '90s. With 'Japan,' I was trying to recapture a part of that sound and combine it with the imagery and experiences from my trip to Hakone. I sent the song to Hannah with nothing more than the title of 'Japan' and she wrote all of the lyrics." As with the recent string of singles they’ve released from this album cycle, the band has offered a 2-pack, which includes the album version and an accompanying instrumental.

Speaking of said instrumental, I wanna talk about how frustrating it was to watch a large portion of the Tycho fandom essentially have a total fucking meltdown about the addition of angelic vocalist Saint Sinner to the mix. As previously mentioned, Hansen has shared how he’s really excited about incorporating the most “organic instrument” on the planet into the Tycho soundscape. I even admitted it was gonna take me a second to get used to the idea. That all said, as someone who lives to watch bands evolve and challenge themselves to push beyond any self or fan-made boundaries, to say I’m disappointed that some folks can’t see the opportunity the band is giving us to reflect on how truly powerful either type of performance is would be an understatement. Hansen is quick to detail the amount of thought that goes into each version, "I wanted to explore the idea of approaching songs from two entirely different perspectives,” he explains, “Similar to 'Pink & Blue,' the instrumental versions are not just the songs with vocals muted, they are different arrangements with different instrumentation and melodies in place of the vocals."

Even before skimming the press release to do this post, just this morning (almost a full month since the “Pink & Blue” writeup mind you) I found myself lost in thought while listening to both versions of “Japan”. I couldn’t help but reflect on how fascinating it is to watch this band begin to be able to articulate into words certain things that maybe their music hadn’t been able to previously. Maybe prior to now Tycho music was akin to those in religious settings who speak in tongues, not sure the exact or best way to fully express themselves, but deep down the sound does enough to speak for itself.

It’s certainly a concept that is worth taking some time to sit with, if only to deepen your appreciation for the band. I hope that those who were upset come around. Personally it just makes me love this band all the more knowing that they’re the ultra meticulous musicians I’ve grown to appreciate them to be busily fretting over every painstaking detail every step of the way with this release.

PS - have you pre-ordered Weather yet? Do you have your tickets for their extensive af world tour coming up? If not, get on that shit, fam!

TYCHO

"WEATHER WORLD TOUR"

2019

JULY

21 - Byron Bay, Australia - Splendour In The Grass *

23 - Melbourne, Australia - Forum Melbourne

24 - Sydney, Australia - Sydney Opera House

26 - Niigata Prefecture, Japan - Fuji Rock Festival '19 *

SEPTEMBER

5 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre **

6 - Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre #

7 - Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall #

8 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre #

11 - Denver, CO - The Mission Ballroom #

13 - Minneapolis, MN - Palace Theatre #

15 - Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom #

16 - Toronto, ON - Sony Centre for the Performing Arts #

18 - Boston, MA - Wang Theatre - Boch Center #

19 - New York, NY - Summerstage #

20 - Philadelphia, PA - Franklin Music Hall #

21 - Slippery Rock, PA - Resonance Music & Arts Festival *

23 - Detroit, MI - The Masonic #

24 - Columbus, OH - Express Live #

26 - St Louis, MO - The Pageant #

27 - Kansas City, MO - CrossroadsKC #

2020

FEBRUARY

9 - Oslo, Norway - Rockefeller #

10 - Stockholm, Sweden - Vasteatern #

11 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega Main Hall #

13 - Hamburg, Germany - Uebel & Gefahrlich #

14 - Cologne, Germany - Live Music Hall #

15 - Paris, France - Elyse Montmartre #

17 - Brussels, Belgium - AB Ballroom @ Ancienne Belgique #

18 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso #

19 - Berlin, Germany - Huxley's #

21 - Warsaw, Poland - Praga Centrum #

23 - Prague, Czech Republic - Roxy #

24 - Budapest, Hungary - Akvarium #

25 - Vienna, Austria - WUK #

27 - Milan, Italy - Fabrique #

28 - Bologna, Italy - Estragon #

MARCH

1 - Barcelona, Spain - Sala Apolo #

5 - London, UK - Printworks #

* Festival Performance

** Chrome Sparks

# Poolside

[RANT] Please Stop Downgrading Women’s Fandom To Romantic Adoration
See this man? I love his music and therefore love and support him in every way I can. That doesn’t mean I want to have sex with him. I can’t believe I have to even say this. 🤦🏼‍♀️

See this man? I love his music and therefore love and support him in every way I can. That doesn’t mean I want to have sex with him. I can’t believe I have to even say this. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Over the weekend, news broke that seven time Grammy winner and one of the most important artists in my life, Beck, had filed for divorce from his wife of 17 years.

Less than a week prior, the world saw him snag 2 of said Grammys at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards show. Earlier in the week I had been discussing with fellow Beck superfans how great it must feel to finally be seeing the amount of success and recognition for his art that we all thought he should’ve had for basically decades now. In my mind, Beck had to be super happy, therefore I was super happy for him.

Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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I don’t know why they’re getting divorced and frankly I don’t care because it’s none of my business.

What I do care about, is that I couldn’t have a moment of empathy for someone who means a lot to me without having to be on the defensive for my level of fandom and feeling the need to tweet something like this when the news broke:

The quick “cute” comments I’ve received from people I either barely know or are relatively close to have been all something to the effect of, “Get in there, girl!”, “You’re in”, “Where’s my wedding invite?”, and my new favorite from today where someone suggested that the reason I finally changed my profile picture across the internet after 10 years is because I “didn’t want Beck to get the wrong idea now that he’s getting a divorce”.

Yes, I celebrate the man’s birthday like it’s a friend’s birthday. Yes, I was the person who claimed /r/Beck from becoming a portal for Glenn Beck on Reddit. Yes, I occasionally sit in private Facebook groups analyzing his Instagram posts. Yes, I have a stockpile of bootlegs. Yes, I’ve seen him perform live over a dozen times. Yes, I will most likely mourn his inevitable death to the same level I have for friends and family (perhaps more tbh).

Yes, I am a superfan to the extent that people in my life think of me when his music comes on.

….so why the HELL does that equate to me wanting to essentially just fuck the man?

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Let me do my best to explain to what happens in my brain simultaneously when people make comments like this to me.

On a top level:

  • I’m immediately downgraded from a full human being to a female sex object. Am I really just on the planet to be sexualized and fuck a lot? NO.

  • I’m frustrated that my career in the music business isn’t where I hoped it would be at my age and a lot of that has to do with not getting afforded the same chances men get in music thanks to sexism.

  • I relive dodging gropey men at music industry winter holiday parties.

  • I remember how many times I’ve had to shrink my level of interest talking about music at label jobs because I didn’t want to get dismissed as a “groupie”.

  • Speaking of that triggering ass word, I remember how many times I’ve had someone say. “Oh so are you like a groupie for them or something?” When I spoke passionately about a band that had men in it.

  • I remember the time I had to tell a band whose label brought me out to meet them for potential coverage that seemed uncomfortable to my general friendly demeanor, “I don’t wanna suck your dick. I just want to help you get famous” and how their mood changed immediately.

  • I remember the time I co-hosted a CMJ showcase with The Audio Perv and all the other music blogger dudes who showed up thought I was someone’s girlfriend instead of the person who bought this domain, built the site, solicited pitches from publicists, etc. etc.

  • I get angry on behalf of the women in music who have had it much worse than I have.

  • Most importantly my capacity for love is immediately confined. Not just my capacity for love, but for every woman who loves music.

That’s really depressing if you think about it and that’s just me as a HUMAN PERSON!!! As a woman who has to choose every day to interact with male musicians, there is so much of my head space that I occupy with trying to overcome the above as I write reviews, leave meaningful comments on artists social posts, and just generally try to be the person I know I am. Imagine if I could just like….spend all my brain power seeking and reporting on Turkish goth bands carving out a space in the Turkish music scene, the badass house DJ who helped pioneer the first music production course at a Girls Rock Camp, or any of the other artists out there that could end up being the thing that YOU get as hopelessly devoted to as I am to Beck.

I wanna talk about that, too. Since I’ve addressed above the way my capacity for love gets shrunken to whatever box people think my fandom should fit in. When my fandom gets discounted as something silly or seen as anything other than just, well, fandom, it dismisses:

  • The degree of loyalty that I am capable of.

  • The fact that I’m not sure if I’d be where I am today writing this very thing without Midnite Vultures because that record gave me the permission to be as different or weird as I wanted to be.

  • The transformative power music has over me and my desire to share that with others.

  • The money I’ve invested in something I believed in.

  • The love-centered the community I have to turn to for more than just Beck’s music.

  • The ways his music informed details in my methods of self-expression.

….and a ton of other things that I can easily identify has deeply rooted bits that factor into my identity. Whether we want to admit to it or not, music shapes all of us to some varying degree. Just because I express my gratitude for that by providing as much support as I am able to should not make me less of a person. I’d say it’s the opposite, honestly.

So please. For the love of the song that makes you feel things the most, just let me love whatever music I want to, however hard I want to, without your preconceived ideas of how you think loving art works or any assumptions rooted in patriarchal garbage nonsense.