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a little bit of BK in VA

Posts made in February 3rd, 2008


Mclusky was one of the greatest punk bands in history. There, I said it. They may not be superfamous. They may not even have been terribly influential. But I defy you to find a band with wittier lyrics and more complex music. Few did the genre better: Not Black Flag, not The Pistols, not the Dead Kennedys, nobody. It was true punk, without an alternative twist or pop production.

Of course, mclusky is dead. But rising from the ashes of the brazenly brilliant band comes . . . Future of the Left.

Andy “Falco” Falkous (vox/guitar) and Jack Egglestone (drums) didn’t hate each other enough to stay apart, so they joined with Kelson Mathias (vox/bass) of Jarcrew to form this new powerhouse group that released a shamefuly slept-on record back in 2007. (Count me among the sleeping– didn’t even know the album came out until last month!)

Much like Fugazi, Future of the Left doesn’t seem to want fame or success. They’re known for playing secret shows to avoid crowds, and seem to be truly just in it for the music. And their dedication shows.

Curses is easily as good as mclusky’s best work, blending the political with the humorous, brilliant random one-liners with heady concepts, and, always, incredible, stripped-down hooks. But, in addition to what you’d expect, Future of the Left stretches.

Oddly, though, one of the strongest tracks on the album is “Manchasm,” which weaves with the changed entreaty: “Audience, please! Every minute matters!” with lyrics that tease Mark Foley (who owns a record studio in Cardiff) and some guy named “Colin” who, according to the song, is a pussy. The thing that makes the song so odd is: No lead guitar. Just an electronic riff and heavy rhythm.

“The Lord Hates a Coward” is probably the most mclusky-like tune here, muscular, dark, and grinding, telling “tales of terrible men” and concluding that “violence solves everything.” Another unsurprising (but incredibly gratifying) track is “Small Bones Small Bodies,” an instant punk classic. And “Plague of Onces” features shouted verses between growls of “Why put the body where the body don’t wanna go!?”

But then there’s “Suddenly It’s a Folk Song,” which sounds vaguely like Peter Gabriel – and features some of the best drumming I’ve heard since the Foo Fighters’ first two albums. And “Fuck the Countryside Alliance,” which has an almost Nirvana-like creep and could easily have been written by Johnny Rotten, but on several of the verses, Andy actually sounds like he’s (gasp!) singing! (The vocals are center-stage in “Curses,” which is the most welcome change of all.) And “Real Men Hunt in Packs” has a piano!

Christ I wish I’d heard this album in ’07. It would have been in my top ten for the best album of the year. I’m tempted to include it in my 2008 rundown, even if that’s cheating, because it’s such a damn shame most of you never heard (or heard of) it.

What do you all think?  Is it fair to put it in with the ’08s?

Small Bones, Small Bodies

Suddenly It’s A Folk Song

Forget About Him I’m Mint-mclusky



I am not an asshole.  I’m not mean.  I’m not a knee-jerk anti-establishment liberal, either.  I’m not saying the recent economic crisis is good because venture capitalists can easily buy low, especially real estate foreclosures (but stocks, too), and later will almost certainly make money off these investments.  I’m not saying it’s good because the banks deserved to lose money.  But I am saying there’s an up side.

Hear me out.

I’m personally affected by all of it.  I may lose my house.  From that perspective, it sucks and I hate it.  But from a global perspective, it may be just what we need.  Under Reagan and Bush I, America and Americans were the most powerful people in the world.  Under Clinton, we started to use that power on a global level, going on peacekeeping missions, increasing aid to foreign countries, and moving our own industries abroad at a staggering pace.  We lowered trade barriers, too, believing that we were invincible and none of this would ever end.  And banks started seeking out homeless people and offering them homes at subprime rates.  I say sought out because that’s not an exaggeration.  Banks and loan mercenaries actively sought out clients for these loans, both as re-fis and to first time homebuyers (i.e., homeless people).  Many (most) of these subprime loans were provided without documentation.  These “no-doc” loans basically meant that the homeless person could say, “Yes!  I make $200k a year!  Trust me!”  They didn’t have to sign an affidavit, either.  Because the loaners didn’t want to know the truth.  The entire premise here was that the loaner remain ignorant, and then cut the debt into pieces and export it.  That’s right, financial institutions across the planet now all owned slivers of the U.S. home market.

Now that it has finally crashed, our country will have to learn to be humble again.  We may not even be the number one economic power in the world, for at least a time.  $holders who made a bad business decision will be hurt, although not as much as the folks who owed them money, but at least they’ve been hurt enough to stop offering these ridiculous loans.  And a few of these folks are actually able to allow the foreclosure to occur and walk away with cash in pocket.  Their credit ratings are crap for about 7 years, but at least maybe they’ve got a nest egg to ride out that storm.

Overall, of course the crash sucks for now.  But it’s also an AFGO.  A Fucking Growth Opportunity.  Those who borrow have to recognize that the purpose of a loan is to make money (so if the loan looks too good to be true, and if the house looks like more than you can afford, it probably is).  And  those who lend have to go back to the roots of their profession: Yes, you can make money.  But the idea behind homeloans is not to be a shark; it’s to help people get a place to live.  It’s a helping profession.

And the rest of the world can now see that the U.S.A. is not an unstoppable juggernaut.  We’ve done nothing but lose for the last eight years.  We now have the chance to come out not swinging but being humble, with the spirit of true global unity and change.

Is there any chance we’ll learn, or are we just going to wind up the same old punch?


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