There’s so much going on in any given week in the music press/world of pop culture, I can’t possibly keep up with it all. That being said, there are definitely things I see that I want to comment on and that being the case, I thought it would be fun to share some thoughts/anecdotes/snarky observations on a few things and get a little cheeky each week on things that I either liked or scoffed at that happened in the world of music/pop culture. I always love a chance to be sassy, sarcastic, and a bit over-the-top-gay, so here we are! Welcome to me serving up my aging punk nerd thoughts—not all of them polite—on some pop culture moments and music news from the preceding week. A little Sunday Brunch if you will. Enjoy!
You couldn’t go anywhere this week in terms of the music press corners of the internet without seeing the news that the holy trinity of indie rock, aka boygenius, had finally announced their debut full length. Indeed we, among probably 500 other outlets, offered our take on it too (read here). And while I’m certainly chuffed at the news, me being a teen of the 90s meant I was arguably even more excited by their re-interpretation of two iconic Nirvana photo shoots of the 90s, which they very accurately nailed right down to the posture and inflection of the poses. Kudos not only to the band but to the photographer, Ryan Pfluger, and particularly the art directors and the team behind it who made it look so good. I haven’t purchased a print copy of Rolling Stone in years but I may just have to get a copy of this one.
I am also cackling with glee at the thought of the crusty old gatekeeping white men who you just know are losing their minds over three queer women replicating this classic photo of their grunge rock heroes. I’ve stayed away from Twitter/Reddit commentary on this, because it is surely a cesspool of toxic masculine chest beating that I don’t need in my life, but I also don’t even need to go there to know the trolls have most definitely emerged from underneath their rocks to comment. And to that I say oh well, fuck ’em, who is on the cover of Rolling Stone and who is bitching about it on the internet, amirite?
Also, I fully believe that if Kurt Cobain were alive today, he’d be one of the loudest voices cheering this on. He was always vocal in support of women and queers (for example, read the liner notes to Incesticide) decades before it was fashionable for men to be. He said shit/spoke up about inequality when so many of his contemporaries kept their mouths shut and/or looked the other way. I also do not believe it was some empty statement or lip service on his part like so often is the case from men in his position, it was his ethos. So really, the troll dudes can keep their mouths shut because anything else would just be these bros playing themselves.
[Update: I did crack and go look the day after I posted this and wow was I right! Loooots of triggered men flapping their gums in the wind. Refer back to my last sentence of paragraph two.]
If you wanted to take a peek at the pics that inspired the current colorful skirt/sweater shots, click the link here to see 20 photos from the original Nirvana shoot which appeared in a 1993 issue of Mademoiselle. (I’m still deciding if I love or hate the original headline from 1993, or the one that appears on the linked article, which in the context of 2023, both feel a little cringey.)
Okay this one was last week but since I didn’t decide to think up and launch this column til this week, here it is! A few different people sent this to me because well, I’m me, and they know that and know that this is exactly the type of shit I fucking live for. I have seen (and played) shows in all kinds of wild places (including on top of more than one skate ramp and one on the Williamsburg Bridge at sunrise), unfortunately never on a moving train though, so I’m pretty bummed I wasn’t able to see this in person. I also really hope someone pulls this off in NYC soon. (And while tempting to go for it myself, I’m not currently in an active band or booking shows much these days so it will not be me, but I would be happy to attend if someone else went for it.)
I looked up the two bands, False Flag and Surprise Privilege, and they’re pretty good, both playing crusty d-beatish hardcore which I always dig. The members are pretty young so not sure if or when they’ll be touring out this way, but I’d go to a show if they did. Read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle and check the bands out below:
Ah conservatives! Is there anything a right wing nut bag won’t lose their mind at? When they aren’t busy raging at cartoon pieces of candy not being sexy enough or trying to strip more marginalized communities of their basic human rights, they find time to be angry at classic rock bands celebrating the anniversary of landmark albums. Such was the case this week when people of a right leaning persuasion (aka mostly men) lost their damn minds over Pink Floyd unveiling a new logo with a rainbow on it to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their legendary album, Dark Side of the Moon.
You would think any fan of the band would be fully aware of what the album cover looks like and know what the logo is referring to already, since they are ahem, fans and all, but as we already know, this is the internet in the age of idiocy and extreme/immediate reactionary takes, so the comment section was quite the experience in the theater of the absurd. Read more about this on NME (or The Music) and be ready to roll your eyes a lot.
One of my favorite queer Instagram personalities, Matt Bernstein, who routinely roasts these clowns and beats them at their own game made an incredible post on this. I highly recommend following the account to see more hilarious takedowns.
Can we talk about Fat Mike for a second? Just a second though because I don’t really want to give him any more thought than that. He’s long been someone revered in the punk world and I have never understood why (though it’s mostly been by white men who are safe inside their bubbles of unrecognized privilege so consider the source). Sure, I listened to NOFX a lot as a teenager, it was the 90s and that’s just what you did if you liked punk. And he could get away with a lot more of his shit back then. But now, thankfully, not so much. Also thankfully, NOFX will be calling it quits this year. 40 years of doing the same thing over and over and Fat Mike saying/getting away with stupid edge-lord shit, I think it’s well past time.
While I can’t comment on the “emo nostalgia” aspect of this or much about it in general considering I was never a fan of emo or part of that scene, I think it’s great Hayley Williams called a spade a spade and pointed out some of the toxic attitudes and behavior of the past while specifically calling Fat Mike on his BS. In a Billboard interview (which the cited Loudwire article summarizes), Williams talked about how things weren’t always so great in the punk/emo scenes “if you were different, if you were a young woman, if you were a person of color, if you were queer. And that’s really fucked up if you think about it, because this was supposed to be the safe place, wasn’t it?” She further elaborated that “Fat Mike used to tell people that I gave good rim jobs onstage when I was 19 years old. I do not think that that’s punk. I don’t think that’s the essence of punk. And I feel strongly that without young women, people of color and also the queer community, I just think we would still be where we were then.” She said it best and I one million per cent agree. And as I said in the Facebook group I first saw this article in, “that guy ain’t it, never has been.”
There are innumerable other instances I could call upon for this that stem to way before he ran his mouth off about mass murder victims, but again, this is meant to be brief. Suffice it to say, I was pretty much done with him after he released a dis track about Kathleen Hanna on 1997’s So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes. I bought that album when it first came out and even saw them play on that tour as a tiny baby punk, but I wised up not long after that (probably in reaction to being at that show) that I was not in a place where it was going to be safe or affirming for me as a woman or queer person to be among their fanbase. I haven’t spent a dime on anything else they have done in the 26 years since.
And yes, I did recently review one of their new singles because I figured at the time oh why not, nostalgia factor and all (and in my admittedly weak defense, I was also on a bus from London to Cardiff with three hours to kill) but it will be the first and last time they receive anything remotely akin to positive press from me.
To bring it full circle for this article, I think this 2020 tweet from Phoebe Bridgers sums it up nicely!
society has progressed past the need for dudes in bands
— traitor joe (@phoebe_bridgers) July 21, 2020