Long Strange Road*...
Updated: May 14, 2021
Life in (almost) permanent lockdown and quarantine conditions is very boring. Spending endless time binge watching old SNL skits in YouTube, I bumped again onto the first part of the infamous documentary "The Decline of Western Civilisation" by Penelope Spheeris. I still remember the first time when I viewed this, somewhere in late 90´s, aired on private TV past midnight (of course) and I have to admit that more than 20 years later it still remains relevant and retains its significance as a documentation of a youth cultural phenomenon in the USA. At the same moment it places the Hardcore/Punk "scene" and its members under the correct perspective, striping away any nostalgia or attempt for glorification. In my opinion, it was only a momentum that built up around a group of confused and troubled teenagers which were for sure neither politically mature nor socially conscious (with some of them eventually managing to further expand their artistic endeavours like X and some of them finally "burning out" like Darby Crash), rather than a genuine artistic or politically revolutionary movement.
Mentioning Crash, I consider him neither a victim nor a hero, however I do recognise that he was one of the most intelligent members of that scene and I believe that his "departure" was a result of him not being able to "sync" his intellect with the world around him. His biographical movie "What We do Is Secret" is also available for free watching on YouTube however I must admit that the result is rather disappointing. From the cinematography (which reminds cable TV series) to the acting, it is rather a "hit and miss". What is still interesting is the soundtrack which offers some Germ songs re-recorded by the original band having Shane West (the lead actor who plays Crash in the movie) on vocals! In some cases (like in Forming) it works well (it is not difficult to improve the original anyhow) while in others like Manimal, it fails to recreate the feeling of the initial recording (despite the bass of Lorna Doom being still there).
Other than my Hardcore/Punk revisits, one CD that I play lately on repeat is Pale Blonde Hell by Chris Cacavas And Junk Yard Love. Another case of an Americana album which strangely (like in the case of The Walkabouts) became more popular in Europe than in the country of its origin. Less dark than Songs:Ohia, it's an album I prefer for the late hours of listening music at home.
When it comes to new releases, unlike last year, I am still waiting for that release that will stand out. The new 4-song EP by Incarceration is one of the few new albums that I listen to this period. Raw, full of aggression and power, while old-school it still sounds more "fresh" than the rather disappointing new endeavours of bands like Gojira...
Closing this post with the below video, an acoustic version of Transilvanian Hunger which manages to look and sound more cold and unsettling than the original...
*The Blog post title is taken from the same-named song contained in the album Pale Blonde Hell by Chris Cacavas And Junk Yard Love
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