Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009: The Year of Lists - Zach Noland

Zach Noland is a national treasure who left a void in the COMO scene forever...or until he can't make it in the big city and returns to good ole Mizzou-Rah. Luckily, he pities me enough to contribute a post demonstrating wisdom well beyond his years and even further beyond my incapable hands. (I have carpal tunnel - self-diagnosed.)

Along with contributor Carrie Wade and a few other yahoos, Zach produced the infamous
Bathysphere. They did for COMO what Pitchfork used to do for everyone else, plus they took really good pictures. I wish I had the time to put together a music blog like that mother. Those kids were on to something.

Once again, you should know that the opinions expressed below are Zach's, not mine. There is no way in hell I'd be caught dead in a Hot Topic. Well, I would probably be arrested at my age for hanging around in one.

Top Ten Mall Punk Classix

Running out of space on your arm for tattooing the lyrics of your favorite indie jams? Forgot what the inside of a Best Buy looks like? Think you've sucked dry the teat of the waning decade's musical offerings? Think they just don't make 'em like they used to? Think taking the time to apostrophize an elision defeats the purpose of using an elision? Think again homeslice, 'cause this is your Top Ten Mall Punk Classix!

hough often difficult to delineate within the larger contexts of "pop punk" and "emo" - two loosely associated collectives of multinational tee shirt vendors occasionally known to convene for the secondary purpose of recording music - mall punk briefly reigned as one of the sturdiest sub-sub-genres of the young millennium. Ingeniously conceived as a self-perpetuating merchandising machine, mall punk first congealed in the darkest black-lit corner of a Midwestern Hot Topic store before rapidly metastasizing across the suburban landscape, consuming shopping malls, high schools, sports arenas, and social networking sites in mere months. And there was much gnashing of teeth.

But, as is true of any of the most insignificant micro-subsets of any art form, there were anomalies - those rarest of songs, so tasty and so wholly unforeseen that they sometimes threatened to redeem the genre entirely. Don't believe it? Consider the law of averages: Given enough money and studio time (and angst), Sum 41 had to write at least one song capable of temporarily exploding your mostly justified preconceptions about what passes for punk these days. Though mired in bad taste and the soulless exploitation of underdeveloped teenage psyches, the genre simply had no hope of coasting through the decade in its own feces when faced with the cold logic of statistical mathematics.

Still don't believe it? Listen to that chorus at the two minute mark of Coheed and Cambria's "The Suffering" (and it only gets exponentially better from there). Or better yet, imagine Jay Reatard wrote My Chemical Romance's "I'm Not Okay," and then try to explain to yourself how precious Pitchfork wouldn't change its name to Jay Reatardfork. Brains would explode. People jumping out of windows. Your top ten:

10. AFI - "Girl's Not Grey"
09. Boxcar Racer - "I Feel So"
08. Motion City Soundtrack - "Everything is Alright"
07. Alkaline Trio - "Time to Waste"
06. Jimmy Eat World - "Sweetness"
05. Fall Out Boy - "Sugar We're Going Down"
04. Blink-182 - "First Date"
03. Sum 41 - "Fat Lip"
02. My Chemical Romance - "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)"
01. Coheed and Cambria - "The Suffering"

* It may be important to note that I am of almost zero authority on this genre and that I simply heard these songs on the radio or saw them on MuchMusic in high school. In fact, Wikipedia says Coheed and Cambria is actually prog. And AFI is probably goth-something. Additionally, and if you have managed to pull your head out of your ass long enough to enjoy this music, most of these bands have several more excellent songs that are readily available pretty much anywhere you look online, what with the whole permeating-virtually-every-aspect-of-popular-culture thing.


Five Songs I Most Enjoyed Among Those Released in 2009

05. Dirty Projectors/David Byrne - "Knotty Pine"
04. Bill Callahan - "Too Many Birds"
03. Dirty Projectors - "Temecula Sunrise"
02. Animal Collective - "My Girls"
01. YACHT - "Psychic City (Voodoo City)"


Five Brilliant Songs Released in 2008 That I Am Horribly Ashamed to Have Not Fully Appreciated Until Various Points in 2009

Girls - "Lust for Life"
Nonreturner - "Sockhops"
Pomegranates - "The Bellhop"
Real Estate - "Suburban Beverage"
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Beach Song"


Five Shows I Most Enjoyed in 2009

Nascar Diarrhea @ Mojo's, Columbia, 03/06
Burger Kingdom @ The Bathtime Festival, Columbia, 04/11
Burger Kingdom @ Cafe Berlin, Columbia, 04/14
Dirty Projectors @ The Granada, Lawrence, 11/09
Max Tundra @ Czar Bar, KC, 11/20

1 comment:

Dirk Wayne said...

Zach Noland seems like a viable presidential candidate

Thanks for bringing that popcorn tin last night, people were going ape over it!