Politics of popularity. Not to be a dick or anything … OK, to be a total dick: Do you any of you astute local newspaper watchers find it ironic that Chico’s downtown hipness factory the Weekly Synthesis is critiquing the music writing of Chico State’s student-run weekly The Orion? Granted it is Hot Flash doin’ the smack talkin’, and that’s what he does, but it’s still hard to take when you start reading the other “writing” that the H.F. column is tucked in between.
The sticking point this time around is a review by Orion staff writer Nick Franklin of a recent Fulcrum Records metal show. I read the review, and will say that Franklin went into the show with a preconceived notion of what he wanted to hear (bad idea) and isn’t in tune with this particular brand of scenester-metal. But, I will say that in the absence of any grasp of the aesthetic, he at least reports the facts as he sees them so that the reader can see what went down (this is the first job of a reviewer by the way): “night of screaming and fast drumming,” “relentless drumming and aimless, loud guitar riffing,” “Zeke Optimo and Ian Makau synched up beautifully, harmonizing complicated riffs to melodic perfection”—nothing fancy, but even if you don’t know metal, you get the picture.
In contrast, unfold this week’s Syn and turn to Matt Kiser’s profile of local country/blues troubadour Rev. Shelby Cobra. In what is advertised as a “the sins and confessions of an outlaw,” the only sins here are the confessions of Kiser. The bulk of the setup is a bunch of protracted, insecure, fluff about what is cool and what isn’t in the world of country music that for some reason references modern rockers Creed, and of course includes a display of cred-fueled toughness: “Yeah, I’m calling you fake-ass motherfuckers out.” The Reverend Cobra is the one who should be calling someone out here.
The problem is, Nick Franklin isn’t cool. That’s not such a bad thing, unless you are constantly talking tough and politicizing about how cool you are. Then, when you see an opportunity to smack someone around for not knowing the lingo, you can stand up behind the logic that says, “because I can point out how whack you are, that makes me not whack, and therefore you should read this ‘cool’ paper.” Keep selling it though—That, after all, is how the world runs.
• Taylor talk (scroll down for Orion smackdown): www.meshsf.com/blogs/ taylor.html
• Franklin review: www.orion-online.net/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/09/14/432772f57318c
A barrel full of ducks: Remember Sublime? The O.C. rockers with the lead singer dude who died of a heroin O.D. a couple days after playing a Chico show at the old Downtown Park Plaza? (Legend has it that singer Bradley Nowell scored the deadly H in Chico.) His buddy Q-Ball (yeah, bald) and a couple Sublime dudes have started a tribute band, Sublime Remembered ( www.sublimeremembered.com), and they’re playing for free at Chico State’s Free Speech Area (Fri., 9/30, 5 p.m.). From the S.R. site’s press section: “Sublime Remembered is available for concert performances and is welcoming offers from Talent Buyers from around the world!” Hello, Talent Buyer. Q-Ball here. I was wondering if you could score me talent. I’m jonesing, bad.
TO BURN: New Strokes song, “Juicebox” (Google it—it’s all over the place): aside from occasional tune-less rambling vocals and rip-off of “Tommy Gunn” riff, it’s actually … meh. Also, Britain’s Domino Records has reissued Neutral Milk Hotel, Aeroplane Over the Sea.
TWO MORE: Search the Sex & Sexuality section at Amazon.com: One-cent condoms, 69-cent vibrators and her new, super-cute, little friend the Honey Bunny (only $9.95). Also, follow the bouncing ball at www.magic-tab.com: Learn “Sweet Home Alabama” while the computer plays along, one riff at a time.