Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Every day claims a life and a half-dozen limbs:
Zengerle once asked where the Bob Dylan of the war on terror is. Myself, I would nominate Sleater-Kinney, whose 2002 One Beat would probably be considered shrill by The New Republic -- having the misfortune of being prematurely correct, in their view -- but is an absolute classic and was the right album at the right time. But it did make me wonder what had happened to punk rock -- the real, 180-proof, basement-show hardcore punk -- that it hadn't really produced music up to its subject matter. How could the Balkan massacre have produced Aus-Rotten but the war on terror hadn't?

Enter Behind Enemy Lines's brand-new record, One Nation Under The Iron Fist of God. Oh my God -- I'm blasting it into my brain via my iPod right now, and by track five it's clear that this is what punk rock in the age of Bush needs to be. Windows kicked in, storefronts smashed wide open, trash cans set aflame, tear gas canisters releasing their contents into the winter air, too late for compromise, too early for victory; but everyone is now a combatant. Way too shrill for TNR. It helps that these guys were in some of my favorite DIY hardcore bands of my youth: the Pist and Aus-Rotten. I was listening to this while I walked Kingsley, and even the dog seemed angrier, ready to sink his teeth into Dick Cheney. When a record can inspire a good-natured animal into a frenzy of exploded frustration, Zengerle has an answer.
--Spencer Ackerman
Marc, all those bands are way, way, way pre-war on terror. (Except JR, who I don't know.) I saw Ignite twice in the mid/late 90s, and in 1997 "Past Our Means" was my jam. Propagandhi is a sentimental favorite thanks to their first two records (especially Less Talk, More Rock) and their awesome double 7-inch Where Quality Is Job #1, which -- when last I saw it -- is in the hands of an ex-girlfriend. Bane I never bothered with; fuck all that brainless chugga-chugga crap. Sorry if I'm judging Bane unfairly.

Anyway, I just meant to say that the GWOT should be a catalytic event in the life of punk rock/HC the way that Reagan & the 80s arms race was.
Blogger Spencer Ackerman | 6:57 AM

I would certainly never characterize the Thermals as punk -- except in the K Records big-tent sense -- but their new record is a total paranoid rendering of current issue political life. There's even a song about peak oil! It's kind of hopped-up power pop more than anything, but definitely RIYL Sleater-Kinney.

Anyway, I like your blog. I don't know if you remember me, but I used to do a weird rap blog about Joe Biden.
Blogger Sam | 8:22 AM

Oh dude, the Joe Biden blogger is back! Your time is now, Sam -- you need to get back on this.
Blogger Spencer Ackerman | 8:27 AM

I think the protest music is probably most concentrated in ... I hate to use this phrase ... "intellectual hip-hop"; Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, etc.
Blogger Nick Beaudrot | 10:04 AM