Monday, April 11, 2011

Emo, Slowcore, and unexpected alienation in the bagging area

Round-up of some recent non-Fight Back! related pieces (the book launched last week, here's a New Statesman column I wrote about the process of editing it).

A review-essay for The National on Bright Eyes, teenage malaises, and the history of emo:
"EMO Cult Warning For Parents" screamed a headline in the British Daily Mail newspaper in 2006... for harnessing the hormonal navel-gazing of economically comfortable teenagers, exaggerating it, caricaturing it, and selling it back to them, "Emo" may just be the quintessential 21st century western youth malaise."
A review-essay for The National on the quiet riot of Low, slowcore, and the power of restraint:
In the early 1990s loud rock reclaimed its place as the soundtrack of the youth zeitgeist in America, thanks to grunge - bands like Nirvana situated their guitar-heavy sound in cacophonic distortion, fuzz and reverb. Their denim jeans and checked shirts were ripped and torn, their politics were messy - a mixture of earnestness and utter cynicism - and musically too, grunge worked from an unashamedly shredded sonic palette, sublimating youthful angst by making an unholy racket. Against this backdrop, one band poked a tiny shaft of light through the clouds of guitar feedback.
A feature for The Independent on the final act of the self-service revolution, and unexpected alienation in the bagging area:
It took a while for Brits to come around to the idea of losing these personal relationships. The Times reported in 1972 that BP marketing men had seen a customer reading the instructions on their new self-service petrol pump several times, scratch his head, push a pound note up the nozzle, and shout at the pump through cupped hands: "Four gallons of commercial, please."