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Indie Rock Politics Post-Rock

Poisoned political discourse, Gonzo journalism & Rock n Roll: The Strange Existence Of Richard Milhous Nixon

“He has poisoned our water forever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand. By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.”

Hunter S Thompson, ‘He Was A Crook’

Earlier in the year, whilst furloughed from work in the midst of the pandemic, I read through Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Hunter S. Thompson. One of the most striking pieces in the book, for me, was the obituary he wrote for Rolling Stone following the death of disgraced Republican former president, & in many ways Thompson’s arch-enemy, Richard Milhous Nixon (Reprinted in The Atlantic here). The most striking thing about this article, here, in the year of our lord 2020, is that the poison that Nixon poured into the political discourse is what has, inexorably, lead to the batshit chaos of American politics today. The normalisation of lawbreaking by public figures, at least in the public eye, is probably the primary building block which lead to the incumbent Republican, criminal, president Donald J Trump. Unlike Nixon, however, Trump didn’t have the weasel cunning to jump ship, to resign, rather than face impeachment. As such the stain of being an impeached president will forever linger on his record.

The pardoning of Nixon in light of his many criminal acts, is perhaps the single greatest mistake made in US history. Had Nixon been convicted & imprisoned for his lawbreaking, perhaps the crass opportunism of Trump wouldn’t have turned so many heads in the 2016 election. This is all by the by, however, Trump’s opportunism isn’t his worse crime. He is merely a toxic byproduct of Reaganism/Thatcherism, a poisoned outflow. His greatest crime is the enormous amount of fraud & tax evasion he has committed o=ver the years to hide his greatest flaw, his lack of ability in business. Ironically, he presents his business acuity as his greatest strength, despite the wreckage of his many bankrupt business ventures littering the highway behind him. Richard Milhous Nixon normalised this use of criminal acts by a public figure, & normalised the notion of the said public figure then being able to ascend to the lands highest office.

The main reason, however, for my thinking about Nixon today, is that I heard the excellent hit single The Love Of Richard Nixon by Manic Street Preachers on YouTube earlier & decided that I’d put together a blogpost of artwork, pics & links about the both the song & the Hunter S Thompson article. The video & artwork are excellent & the song is extremely different to much of the Manic’s catalogue up until that point. Driven by synth sounds & motorik rhythms, The Love Of Richard Nixon resembles artists like Depeche Mode more than the usual list of Manics influences. Over this New Wave/Post Punk sound, singer James Dean Bradfield treats the lyrics with a wonderful vocal performance. According to one YouTube commenter, “it is loaded with wit, pathos, irony and humour.”

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Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Cribs – I Don’t Know Who I Am (feat. Lee Ranaldo)

Day 8.

This is the second (that I know of) collaboration between Wakefield alt-rockers The Cribs & Sonic Youth guitar wizard Lee Ranaldo. Unlike the top-notch spoken word Beat poetry of Be Safe however, Ranaldo brings noisy, fuzzy, melodic guitar to this exceedingly catchy song.

I also love the video’s aesthetic, which ties in somewhat to some of my current interests (ie. Hauntology).

Sometimes I think it’s strange I’ll never see you
Then I realize
I’ve been watching you my whole life in every
Look I don’t recognize
Every feature in my face with no relation
From my mother’s side
Shows where we came from

I was looking so hard I missed the sign that
I’d been waiting for
An obituary wrote in the local paper
From a town that is no more
Carrying this around gains nothing but I’m
Fool enough to care
Brave enough to try

I tried it
You know I tried it
I tried it

Are you a raw nerve like I am or are you more like
The bathrooms in the park?
Closed for the season every season
Seen in the lighter’s spark
The moment that the world began, it’s ending
Captured by chance on a field recording

We caught it
It’s not important

You wouldn’t love me
Keep out of my way, I’m not in your way
You wouldn’t love me
Descend a marble staircase
Slap me in my face
I don’t know what I am

There’s a telegraph pole, reminds me of you
Its shadow against the sky
Buzzing in the night but no one gets through
No longer on the line
Messages unheard are staying that way
Bouncing back like echoes in the valley

In the valley
In the valley

You wouldn’t love me
Keep out of my way, I’m not in your way
You wouldn’t love me
Descend a marble staircase
Slap me in my face
I don’t know what I am, ooh

I don’t know what I am, ooh
I don’t know what I am
I don’t know what I am

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Art Pop Dream Pop Pop Song of the Day Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill

Day 7.

Another one that came on the radio at work. I’ve never been a big fan of Kate Bush, but when I heard this again for the first time in years, it really hit me what a great song it is. Don’t really have much more to say about it than that. I’m just really digging it at the moment.

It doesn’t hurt me
Do you want to feel how it feels? 
Do you want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me? 
Do you want to hear about the deal that I’m making? 
You, it’s you and me

And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
Be running up that building 
See if I only could, oh

You don’t want to hurt me 
But see how deep the bullet lies
Unaware I’m tearing you asunder 
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love? 
Tell me, we both matter, don’t we? 
You, it’s you and me
It’s you and me, won’t be unhappy

And if I only could 
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
Be running up that building 
Say, if I only could, oh

You 
It’s you and me
It’s you and me, won’t be unhappy

Oh come on, baby
Oh come on, darling 
Let me steal this moment from you now
Oh come on, angel
Come on, come on, darling 
Let’s exchange the experience, oh

And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God 
And I’d get him to swap our places 
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill 
With no problems

Say, if I only could
I’d make a deal with God 
And I’d get him to swap our places
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems

So if I only could 
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems Say, if I only could 
I’d be running up that hill 
With no problems

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Categories
Electronic Music Experimental Hauntology Philosophy

Ruptures In The Fabric Of Everyday Life

So many dreams of collectivity have died in neoliberal London.

Now they are incarcerated in hospitals, or languishing in the gutter.

‘territories of commerce and control’.

Once those spaces are enclosed, practically all of the city’s energy is put into paying the mortgage or the rent. There’s no time to experiment, to journey without already knowing where you will end up. Your aims and objectives have to be stated up front. ‘Free time’ becomes convalescence. You turn to what reassures you, what will most refresh you for the working day: the old familiar tunes (or what sound like them). London becomes a city of pinched-face drones plugged into iPods.

No Pedestrian Access To Shopping Centre.

a bombed-out city, full of chasms, caverns, spaces that could be temporarily occupied and squatted.

The struggle here is not only over the (historical) direction of time but over different uses of time.

The whole city is forced into a gigantic simulation of activity, a fantacism of productivism in which nothing much is actually produced, an economy made out of hot air and bland delirium.

The eroticism here is not primarily to do with sexuality,

Fugitive time, lost afternoons, conversations that dilate and drift like smoke, walks that have no particular direction and go on for hours, free parties in old industrial spaces, still reverberating days later.

the city as a site for drift and daydreams, a labyrinth of side streets and spaces resistant to the process of gentrification and ‘development’ set to culminate in the miserable hyper-spectacle.

Cool Britannia. Old joke. ‘Space’ becomes the over arching commodity. Notting Hill. New Age cranks peddling expensive junk. Homeopathy and boutiques, angel cards and crystal healing.

ruptures in the fabric of everyday life.’

A new kind of human being was supposed to live here, but that all had to be cleared away so that the restoration could begin.

Haunting is about a staining of place with particularly intense moments of time,

trapped inside the drearily glossy spaces imagined by advertising and regeneration propaganda, sometimes free to drift.

Perhaps it is here that the space can be opened up to forge a collective resistance to this neo liberal expansion, to the endless proliferation of banalities and the homogenising effects of globalisation. Here in the burnt out shopping arcades, the boarded up precincts, the lost citadels of consumerism one might find the truth, new territories might be opened, there might be a rupturing of this collective amnesia.

Words by Mark Fisher &/or Laura Oldfield Ford

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Categories
History Politics

Ernesto “Che” Guevara – 53rd anniversary of his martyrdom

I’m a little late with this due to working until 11PM. The actual anniversary was 9th October & technically it is the 10th as I publish this.

Rest In Power comrade.

When asked whether or not we are Marxists, our position is the same as that of a physicist, when asked if he is a “Newtonian” or of a biologist when asked if he is a “Pasteurian.”

There are truths so evident, so much a part of the peoples’ knowledge, that it is now useless to debate them. One should be a “Marxist” with the same naturalness with which one is a “Newtonian” in physics or a “Pasteurian.” If new facts bring about new concepts, the latter will never take away that portion of truth possessed by those that have come before.

Such is the case, for example, of “Einsteinian” relativity or of Planck’s quantum theory in relation to Newton’s discoveries. They take absolutely nothing away from the greatness of the learned Englishman. Thanks to Newton, physics was able to advance until it achieved new concepts of space. The learned Englishman was the necessary stepping-stone for that.

Obviously, one can point to certain mistakes of Marx, as a thinker and as an investigator of the social doctrines and of the capitalist system in which he lived. We Latin Americans, for example, cannot agree with his interpretation of Bolivar, or with his and Engels’ analysis of the Mexicans, which accepted as fact certain theories of race or nationality that are unacceptable today. But the great men who discover brilliant truths live on despite their small faults and these faults serve only to show us they were human. That is to say, they were human beings who could make mistakes, even given the high level of consciousness achieved by these giants of human thought.

This is why we recognize the essential truths of Marxism as part of humanity’s body of cultural and scientific knowledge. We accept it with the naturalness of something that requires no further argument.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara

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Electronic Music New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): New Order – Temptation

Day 6.

Not really much to say about this one. I’ve been listening to New Order a lot recently & YouTube throws this one at me randomly quite a lot. It’s one of my favourite, if not my favourite, New Order songs. I recently shared this video on Facebook & posited the question, ‘does a more beautiful blending of melancholia and joy exist?’ If it does I’m yet to find it.

Heaven, a gateway, a hope
Just like a feeling inside, it’s no joke
And though it hurts me to see you this way
Betrayed by words, I’d never heard, too hard to say
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home

Each way I turn, I know I’ll always try
To break this circle that’s been placed around me
From time to time, I find I’ve lost some need
That was urgent to myself, I do believe
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home

Oh, you’ve got green eyes
Oh, you’ve got blue eyes
Oh, you’ve got grey eyes
Oh, you’ve got green eyes
Oh, you’ve got blue eyes
You’ve got grey eyes

And I’ve never seen anyone quite like you before
No, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go

Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before
Oh no, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before

Categories
Indie Rock Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Killing Joke – Eighties

Day 5.

Famously the song that “inspired” Kurt Cobain to write the riff for the Nirvana hit Come As You Are, Eighties is a fearsome slice of Post Punk savagery. With the famous pummelling riff, the angular rhythms & the soaring chorus, Eighties was one of the essential building blocks of Alternative Rock as we know it today. Like yesterdays song, this came on randomly while I watched music videos on YouTube this afternoon. I instantly decided to feature it as tomorrow’s Song of the Day.

Eighties, I’m living in the eighties
Eighties, I have to push, I have to struggle
Eighties, get out of my way, I’m not for sale no more
Eighties, let’s kamikaze ’til we get there

And we sang
You do it this way

Eighties, by day we run by night we dance, we do
Eighties, I’m in love with the coming race
Eighties, I’ve got the best, I’ll take all I can get
Eighties, I’m living for the eighties

Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push
Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I struggle
Eighties, I’m living

Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push
Eighties, push, push, struggle

Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push

Check out some great music with the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Electronic Music Indie Rock New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Church – Under The Milky Way

Day 4.

Okay, okay. I missed a day (or 2) & I’m sorry. This song came on randomly after I was listening to New Order on YouTube the other day. It’s stunning, cinematic Synth Pop from the end of the ’80’s, with just enough Indie cool to keep it in the company of bands like Echo & The Bunnymen & the aforementioned New Order on many a mixtape. Also a great song for a movie soundtrack, as evidenced by its appearance in a pivotal scene of madcap time-travel yarn Donnie Darko.

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight

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Indie Rock Post Punk

Pool Sharks – Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? b/w Sexyman

“We don’t overtly reference politics in the songs, but the themes we
use are critical of religion, traditional hierarchies, the cynicism
of capitalism,” explains Pool Sharks frontman Joey Whitehead. I wonder, in this context, of the title for this song is in fact inspired by a fierce debate on Twitter earlier this year based on whether or not white people wash their legs. The debate spiralled out of control & became a frank, if heated, discussion, over whether or not you should wash your legs. This kind of absurdity is emblematic of the breakdown of society which the collapse of late capitalism brings with it. This conversation is a surreal microcosm of greater, further reaching questions around race, class, community & social mobility.

Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? is a mournful lament to the soul crushing daily grind of the dreaded 9-5 world & the feeling of being controlled or owned by your job. This is particularly timely in a UK at the end of decades of rolling back worker rights & protections while facing the greatest “bonfire of workers rights” we’ve ever faced as a society. It’s a song about what Karl Marx referred to as alienation. Pool Sharks explain in their press release how the central character in the song is being “disconnected from his own identity and the parts of his life that matter.” This parable of late capitalist existence is set to pounding, Post Punk rhythms with distorted guitars & vocals. The press release mentions bands like Parquet Courts, Gang Of Four & The Cribs &, while this is accurate, the biggest sonic similarity I feel for this song is early ’00’s Post Punk revivalists Bloc Party & their biggest influence, The Cure.

B-side Sexyman seems to compare more, sonically, to the bands own list of influences, particularly Gang Of Four. Angular stop-start rhythms, stabbing guitars & a spacious arrangement underpin this tale of Jesus Christ as “a salesman, selling the concept of a saviour to people’s chaotic and unhealthy lifestyles, which they willingly accept.” this is a fierce satirisation of the “predatory nature of organised religion.”

On the subject of the high concepts of the lyrics, Joe Whitehead chuckles, “People usually just end up liking the chord sequence.”

Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? is out on the 9th October as part of Safe Suburban Home’s current run of limited edition cassettes. You can preorder it here.

Pre-save to Spotify here

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Categories
New Wave Song of the Day Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Peter Schilling – Major Tom (Coming Home)

Day 3.

Having just begun watching the cold war spy thriller The Americans after reading about it in Mark Fishers book (see Day 1), I started to think of one of my other favourite Cold War spy thrillers, the excellent Deutschland ’83 & it’s fantastic sequel Deutschland ’86. I also discovered that the third series, Deutschland ’89, is also due to be released in the next month. I found this particularly exciting.

Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling is the opening credits theme tune of the Deutschland series; interestingly though, only for the English language (subtitled) version. The original German version of the show features Blue Monday by New Order as its theme tune. I find it amusing & interesting that the German release uses an English Synthpop song as its theme while the English release features a German Synthpop song. A nice bit of pleasing synchronicity.

Standing there alone, the ship is waiting
All systems are go, are you sure?
Control is not convinced
But the computer has the evidence
No need to abort

The countdown starts

Watching in a trance, the crew is certain
Nothing left to chance, all is working
Trying to relax, up in the capsule
“Send me up a drink”, jokes Major Tom
The count goes on

Four, three, two, one
Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating, weightless
Calling, calling home

Second stage is cut, we’re now in orbit
Stabilizers up, running perfect
Starting to collect requested data
“What will it effect, when all is done?”
Thinks Major Tom

Back at ground control there is a problem
Go to rockets full, not responding
“Hello Major Tom, are you receiving?
Turn the thrusters on, we’re standing by”
There’s no reply

Four, three, two, one
Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating, weightless
Calling, calling home

Across the stratosphere
A final message, “Give my wife my love”
Then nothing more

Far beneath the ship, the world is mourning
They don’t realize, he’s alive
No one understands but Major Tom sees
Now the light commands, this is my home
I’m coming home

Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating, weightless
Coming home

Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating, weightless
Coming home

Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating, weightless
Coming, coming home

Home
Home
Home
Home
Home
Home
Home
Home

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