Cola Freaks, “Menneske Lim” from the SCION/AV split with Digital Leather.
First, I really miss this band. They riff hard, rock peripherally, their bass player has feel and they know how to paint a “moody” picture that isn’t a portrait of Joy Division. Does that last bit sound like a pedantic swipe? If so, you’ve been dodging a lot of dodgeworthy punk lately and I congratulate you.
This tune is kind of an almost-jam, not what I’d intended to post until I recalled its provenance and remembered how calmly we all accepted it when many of the gnarliest/best punk bands put out records sponsored by a car (company?) with some tastetakers on the payroll. [Well-put-together website looks like they may be breaking towards head-metal.] You can acknowledge that fact without exfoliating rage OR slipping on a condom of defensiveness. You can just let it sit in its place, like foamy piss bubbling off in the bowl.
My wife passed on an NPR lady’s spiel about downloading music, then Camper Van David Lowery’s response, and then a whole wine cellar of old acquaintances were off to the races on polemic. (You all know about this exchange? Was tumblr all aflame and I missed it?) ‘Wife replayed the bits for my benefit last night, I seemed to disagree with every position enunciated, and cursed the fact that I am WAY too fucked up to write what I have to say about related, less moral matters of rock. Well, that’s my problem. Have I mentioned having problems?
Clifford Geertz, hero of the sophomore anth major, remains a big influence via his suggestion - not a very “American” one - that often it’s better to describe than judge. It follows that the work of description demands observation that obviates judgement, and that the output of studied description “another culture/country/7” heard from” is as big as it seems small. After all, even as we see through a glass darkly, we hear as if taking transcriptions through windy seashells affixed to our ears.
But observation doesn’t rule out action, it merely leverages observers into having a normative theory of justice (or “the good life,” says Nancy Fraser) before during and after acting. This is incredibly difficult, and beyond what Adolph Reed calls the “delicious righteousness” of petit-bourgeois outrage we all known and loathe in others and ourselves. Show me a moralist and I’ll show you somebody whose moral architecture is built of blindspots and whose moral logic cannot stand formal and sustained scrutiny (i.e., observation). (Otherwise I’ll be showing you a religious adherent, which is a different species and part of another essay project I’ve left overripe on the web-vine.)
Punk records and car companies and the idea that obscuro-punk ripples into uninvolved members of the age-cohort and casts a pre-distressed cred on the brand. Consider that, after you consider how many of the aforementioned records are really good and gave the bands something else to sell on tour. You can’t illegally download that which you can download for free, can you? Scion offered you most of these albs, gratis in digital mode, for a long time. How does it feel to be a loss leader, Cola Freaks? Wrong question. No questions. Look to ideology embedded in behavior, the aesthetics mirrored or smudged by doing business. See if how we/they act is not an answer unsolicited by any type of question. Keep listening to records, play around with why you like them, but be serious about knowing them, the ones you love or that befuddle you.
Advice for nobody but me, that was. Than you Geertz and thanks 20 year-old me and thanks to records.