Seems like as of late, all the musical firestorms and uprisings have been about the Underground. Everybody is accusing each other of touting subterranean credentials. They’re offended with judgments on where they play shows, or have played. Well, I’ll say it for everybody. Motherfucker, there isn’t an underground anymore. And not because of people like you. With the way the environment is turning on itself, you should be happy it doesn’t send a Godzilla to even out the playing field again.
A half a decade ago, I worked for some grimy-hole in the wall, and I loved it. Every week we hosted hometown heroes and mainstream villains alike. It was the perfect iconoclast. Across the way however, was a malcontent, unsupportive hipster bar. We welcomed music of all types; from Chucotown Ska, to Forbidden Fruit Goth, to French Electro Pop Disco Bangers, to Interactive Films nights, with bands invited specifically to play before and after. Across the street, the malice sat back, criticizing… copying our drink specials. While we loaded and unloaded equipment and tore walls down to make room for bands, they played Top 40 hip hop and old news Prog-Rock for the people who didn’t have the heart to venture two bucks for a touring band’s gas tank. All from someone’s Ipod or Iphone Pandora app. We stayed true to music. We were open minded to everybody’s art and gave a home to plenty of the different scenes. Still, we had to be civil. On our dead nights we would go over and say hello to the neighbors. Likewise, we would allow them into our shows. Industry helps out industry, right? But every time we tried to put together a sublime (the adjective, not the band) street party, which pulled artists traveling through for SXSW, they refused to be a part of it. Our attempt to unify the alley scene was an affront to the chestpiece tattoo brigade. They even rallied the geezer wino bar against us and went so much as to go down to the county office to petition our permits, saying it would impede on business and risk public safety. Now, every year during that time period, I see their advertisements for the same idea. Last week, they even had mini road fest, with the same set up we proposed to the city. This is the monster we have created. Their Cassius levels of dissatisfaction grew from the simplest form hatred and envy. It became a hipster interpretation of Julius Caesar, all because we refused to grow out our beards into face mullets and play pretend with our crowd. No amount of horn-rim glasses could disguise their lack of originality or disassociation from the locals. Now, it has ravaged and infected that whole area, and it wants you to pay ten bucks to see the bands we used to let you watch for free. Lesson: it doesn’t pay to be underground.
Still, others argue to the fullest when it comes to not being mainstream, which would be… underground, right? Or you’re just straight up unknown. So, on the simplest terms, if you have to tell people you’re underground, then you’re more mainstream than the filthy river that runs by my house. Self-reinforcement is the first step of delusion, and fame. So with that outlook, you’re the King of Rainbow Unicorn Moletopia. If all of these people are underground, then I’m fully submerged
Each week, music is becoming increasingly undefinable. This is a fantastic thing. I’ve always loved a challenge, and it also means that people’s influences are expanding. This signals that we are moving away from the mindless self-indulgences of the last ten years. Those, who are still active members of the music community, are shedding the shackles of their elementary taste buds, moving into the next phase of their musical exploration.
Penn Alexander – Simple Things
This beautiful cover reminds me of the first time I heard the Crystal Castles cover of Crimewave. It is adjusted and touched up enough to showcase the artist’s vision, while keeping the integrity of the original. Penn Alexander however, remains an elusive force, with the “People Like Us” EP coming soon.
Astral, fun, Deep House with a clear reflection of minimal traits that speak volumes. Every bar offers a new sonic surprise, for those with sharp hearing… or musical O.C.D.(like me). It collapses musical boundaries and merges them to make beautiful harmony. Simple, yet driving. Clear, yet resonating.
What can I say about Robert Babicz, without the Techno illuminati coming after me? Well, I don’t care. Every week I look forward to any tidbit Babicz puts out. Astonishingly, he’s always on the same wavelength. I feel a kindred spirit with Babicz, although I try to never comment on his posts because it looks stalker-ish, and nobody likes that dude. Just like nobody likes that dude who posts on the comment section of anything remotely relevant, all with the goal of self-promotion. Instead, I sit back and share his music with people I know will appreciate it. People like you. This is a groove bass dance track with that flow that most Babicz tracks hold.
Corrupt – Bane
I found this song while I was listening to the Innocent Music Podcast. With the prime Bane sampling and set up at 33 minutes in. I decided to do some sleuthing, just entering random tags; all in the hopes of finding the one of the most elusive tracks I have encountered. I could never find it, or the tracklist from the podcast, but I did find this song. All in one song you’re going to hear a Mob Deep “Quiet Storm” sample and a Bane sample. These two producers from South Yorkshire are putting stacks of new songs out for free download, making it an oppertune time to go raid their soundcloud.
Gessafelstein – Control Movement (Valy Mo Remix)
I discovered Valy Mo while getting my daily dose of awesome on Earmilk.com. A personal favorite of mine for great music. I still want to do an article on my favorite music pages for you, but if Houdini shared all of his secrets, he wouldn’t be the legend that he was. I present you with this Gessafelstein Remix. Another personal favorite, a remix that dives deeper into the Electro than the original’s dirty Techno vibe. I’ve always loved French Electro and the multiple bridges of influences that it transcends. The original edit came out in the boom days, where crossing three, if not four genre styles was frowned upon. Now, we praise it. Overall, a heavy banger that I give kudos to. I hope you check out the rest of Valy Mo’s current works.
Underground doesn’t mean under appreciated. Let us remember that Shakespeare said; “once an idea is released onto the world, it doesn’t belong to you anymore”. Shakespeare said this… plagiarizing, historical figure overdramatizing, Billy Shakespeare, so yea. Showing us music follows along the same line. Once you present, play, mix, or share it with somebody else, it officially isn’t underground anymore.
Next Week: Foils and follies of throwing shows and a party I personally invite you too.
Raul Chacon is a self-aware douchebag, who only listens to bands you’ve probably never heard of. His years of writing for literary reviews and magazines, lead him to a couple of scholarships for his work, which he quickly squandered by moving to Austin and going to shows six days a week, instead of class. Eventually, he became as a touring security and witnessed hundreds of shows and dozens of festivals firsthand. He would tell you how many shows he’s been too; but there’s too many holes in his brain at this point.
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