The Dinosaur Jr-shaken-with-Pop-Rocks sound of Milk Music's hugely-fun debut EP is gone, but the fuzzy riffs and lyrical guitar solos that replace them on their new LP, Mystic 100's, are hypnotic. The band have stretched out, writing longer songs about environmental despoliation and the psychic warfare of late capitalism, melding the dark heart of punk and sage cowboy philosophers with the tie-dyed spirit of psychedelia.
"Crying Wand" evokes a dried-out desert viewed from the window of an old school bus full of hippies, and throughout, Mystic 100's brings to mind a series of landscapes. Over the album's runtime the band sonically describe the majesty and desolation of their world. It's a spaced-out land bordering on the Meat Puppets' arid realm, the old west of Neil Young's Dead Man soundtrack, and the liminal space Homer ventures through after eating the insanity pepper.
Smooth as a sweet springtime panic attack, fresh as a first bike ride on old pumped-up tires, free as it feels to pass an open window, be passed in turn by last year's favourite song, half-measures. Slick as a breath in played backwards, dark as a club dark, sound as a house party, sweet as a party you're leaving but not yet, not quite.
Three men in hoodies and nylon jackets standing amidst a pile of construction waste in front of a dilapidated house, looking utterly serious. This photo, on the cover of the (Young) Pioneers's Crimewave ten inch, was like a compass for me when I was eighteen. This was the life for me - standing in a semi-desolate urban waste space, surrounded by decaying brick buildings. Why??
It might have something to do with buying that record after seeing the Marxist rockabilly DIY punk band play at a hardcore fest in a VFW hall on the outskirts of Detroit near the end of the twentieth century. On stage they wore matching red button-up shirts and black jeans and performed in front of four flags that they'd hung on the wall. What were those flags? I don't know - likely they belonged to collapsed people's republics. As every other band at the fest was veering towards some shade of emo, the (Young) Pioneers, featuring half the final line-up of Born Against, were headed straight in the opposite direction. They were drawing from the Minutemen playbook and rockabilly and the ghosts of Appalachian country music but filtered through the distortion and grit of their hardcore lineage.
Their lyrics offer up a whole world in miniature, where scarce employment and bad choices lead to narrow possibilities. Their songs map a geography of freeways, prison cells, blood banks, empty buildings, and the oppressive tools of capital, the labour pool, the employer's blacklist. But there are glimpses of life behind the Marxist front. Broken relationships are dissected, dead dogs memorialized, letters are written to loved ones.
As re-issue fever reaches the late 1990s some label could do a lot worse than releasing the eighty-plus songs records by the (Young) Pioneers in a box set, complete with a 20,000 word essay re-evaluating the band and the times they were part of, but it's unlikely it will happen. This was a band that proudly never fit. They were a band out of time - die-hard socialists in Bill Clinton's post-history America, singing spiky short songs about class and brushes with the law when anthems about feelings with massively earnest rock leads were the order of the day. But their songs still sound as alive as they did at the beginning of the Internet, a band that knew they were swimming against the tide of history at every turn, but gave it their all.
Napster Vertigo - "Tragic Future Film Star". This song is also nauseating. But only mildly so. It is like a belly-ache on an otherwise perfect day. You had a rad brunch, you went for a bike ride, you saw the girl you're in love with. So what if there was something wrong with the eggs benny? So what if your stomach's slowly swirling. Your head already feels like aurora borealis, shapes passing through; and there are some drugs around; and she's a willowy beauty. Sometimes falling in love is like getting stoned and lying on your bed and listening to an old movie soundtrack. You need to get your turntable tuned. You need to replace the cartridge. You need to throw up. A little. Watching the spiral of the record's rotation, the swirly "Ka eyes" of the woman on the couch opposite. Each of you is staring at the rug. Each of you is silver on the screen. Eventually the question will be: is there an emergency exit? [with Basia Bulat on backing vocals / bandcamp]
I went to this place that sells marbles/granite, ceramic/natural stones for kitchens bathrooms etc that used in fancy hotels and restaurants where people have great table manners and fart quietly.
I needed to do some research for products I'm making for my day job.
I quite felt out of place like I was a chimpanzee in the time of monkey or Scarlett Johanson in Ghost in the Shell movie lol! whitewashing lol! gahhhhh.
So I went there in my Subaru 98 legacy with 2 big holes on the driver side doors that look like meteors hit my car. Front window shied has a crack running from side to side(I had to google "does window shatter on me while I hit speed bump with cracked window shield?" apparently, its OK as long as it doesn't bother your view.)
I parked in the parking lot far away from the store and I sat in the car, thinking about my "back story" of that I am young hip professional just bought a house and renovating. I made sure I looked like that, clean street wear which never touched the streets, nice sneakers with soles still intact, cleaned my clothes with rollers and got rid of my white cat hairs.
I sat in my car, getting hyped and getting into my character.
I thought about details like I have successful travel YouTube channel and +100k instagram followers but let the customer service imagine.
anyways, I thought that if I walk in confidence and dressed nice in fancy place like that I get better customer service.
Perhaps, I was right. I successfully made them think I somehow own a house. It wasn't the best service so maybe, they thought I have 20K followers instead of +100K as I aimed for.
As I was driving away, I looked at the store and I could see one of the clerk looking me and my Subaru 98. I saw his look in his eyes which is same look that Trump supporters have nowadays. "I-was-conned" look.
I drove away as fast as I could.