Ever heard of the book (or zine, originally) called The Taqwacores? Written by Michael Muhammad Knight (a guy who left Rochester to study Islam), in it he imagines a Muslim punk scene.
His fictional manifesto gave rise in the last few years to a movement of real Taqwacore bands, and, most recently, a documentary about those bands.
I need to ear some new music. So I scoped all the bands in the movie.
The Kominas bounce over to the lighter side, but it’s not pop-punk in the stupid way. Sing-along friendly, especially if you speak Urdu.
The Secret Trial Five fronted by drag king Sena Hussain, is pretty rough around the edges. And I mean that as a high compliment.
Al-Thawra rolls a great deal more metal than punk to my ear. “Doom-crust punk” is the site’s description. Once in a while, a traditional string instrument seeps in. Not my thing, but it could be yours.
Sarmust is Omar Waqar with an acoustic guitar. Up-tempo, a little dark. I don’t usually go for a singer-songwriter unless there’s surprise in something—the chords? the voice? In this case, the lyrics are strong enough to pull.
Yoko Ono Tweets
I’m an Ono fan.
Find her on Twitter.
Some of my favorite recent tweets:
“Imagine tying balloons to the roof of every building in the city. Let the balloons wave to the breeze. See if buildings are lighter for it. “
“Find a spot on Earth that is comfortable for you. Keep that spot clean physically or in your mind. Think about the spot when you are away.”
“Send lots of love to that spot. Speak to your friend about the spot, how beautiful that spot is, and how proud you are of that spot.”
“If your judgment is clouded, you must be carrying too many things which are being a burden to you.”
“It's like carrying two tall shopping bags with both hands, and try to see where you are going.”
“The human race is still in its embryonic stage. We will be born, look around & start communicating with other planets in many Universes.”
If those are working for you, here she writes up 25 things even her best friends never knew about her.
Smells Like Foot Village
and The Mae Shi, No Age, Ponytail, Abe Vigoda, High Places, Gowns, Barr, HEALTH and Captain Ahab
Bob Bellerue made a movie about The Smell, the longest-running all-ages noise pit in L.A. That’s according to Raven Chacon (disclosure: friend), who for years split his life between here and there.
The Smell, in a Downtown L.A. alley, is totally volunteer-based, and homeless people help out. Somehow the venue has avoided being squeezed out of its location, even though, Chacon says, the rest of the area is being eaten up by insidious valet parking spots.
Why do you care about this film? (I always feel like I have to answer that, as if Albuquerque was a distant island and we only had a holey row boat and a single oar.) Because, one: The footage is fantastic and FREE for viewing right now. And two: When are we going to make a Dirt City documentary about all the good shit, noise or otherwise, happening here? (Maybe someone’s working on it?) Hell, I’ll even take a mockumentary. Or a hybrid. That’s how these things go.
Gogol Bordello Monday
I am possibly the last person on the planet to know about Gogol. But just in case you were in that colorless world with me, here he is.
Bassist and bartender Melissa Schultz tells me while she’s sliding my drink across the bar that Saturday, Aug. 8, will mark the last Roxieharts show. Singer and guitarist Peninah Wolpo is moving away. An all-girl band since 2003, (though some members were writing songs as TNA years before that), the Roxieharts have long been an Albuquerque favorite.
Man, the world needs more all-girl bands. Get to work, world.
Say farewell to the ladies at the show:
The Rum Fits, Forth Yeer Freshman, Black Maria,
The Roxieharts, Coke is Better with Bourbon, Outhouse
Saturday, Aug. 8
8 p.m. 21+ $3
On: Goggles, Crushes, a Saw Factory, the Wrench
Rain and rain and rain
+ sweaty me + facepaint = eye bath in the blazes. Later, I will dump 4 oz. of beer directly into my left eye when flailing dancers erupt because the Hot White chick is twisting on the floor all pained and sexy and furious. I should have worn the goggles.
Night two of Titwrench.
Let me tell you about Rusalka. Crushing, just crushing. Audience presses in tight, clumps around her table on the floor. We contract as she pulses. Some people get all choked up. And I don’t think it’s because they’re sad.
Christina the Hun plays drums and sings/speaks/shouts. Her drumming punches one in the neck? Nah. More like a hearty back slap that stings. Her lyrics definitely finger one’s guts. She finishes each song with a sheepish chuckle.
Burrow Owl reads like some high-frequency priestess ushering in piercing, saw factory-like sonics with slight movements of her raised arm.
Hell-Kite’s voice is probably my favorite of the weekend. And that’s saying something because singing talent squirts amply from the Tit(wrench).
And more. More I didn’t film.
Someone else will have to tell you about night three. Jobs, etc., yank us back home. Driving out of Denver we wonder: How will the festival organizers make it through another night? After Friday, they look spent. After Saturday? Damn. And still, another frantic, astonishing evening in front of them. Can’t wait for 2010. Thank you, women of the wrench.
On: Cake Batter Air, Avant Opera, Composting
NOTE: Hell-Kite is playing Albuquerque tonight on its way back from Titwrench. Friends, get thee to the house show.
No parking at a noise(esque) show? I’m sure it’s occurred in history, but not in mine. We roll up in our mom van (blue Toyota, three-disc CD player from the ’90s, drives like a champ) to Rhinoceropolis, an outsider venue in Denver’s industrial district.
Tired. Late. Stinky. Sitting among piles of gear and a delicate giant albatross puppet. Happy though. Way happy. Everyone involved will echo the sentiment in these next 48 (or so) hours, but an all-girl, DIY, experimental music fest is fucking good for the soul. Camaraderie. Inspiration. Best of all, the music is unfailingly phenomenal. A-games all around.
The room is hot. Hot Paris Hilton hot. And hot temperature hot. Stuffy. Who can live in humidity? The air is cake batter and I’m trying to suck it in through my pinhole nostrils.
Catch a beautiful set by local Sybil Vane. (Can’t find a web presence for her. Anyone else?) Showtunes. Lounge. Opera. Hilarious narrative about turning 30, about breaking bottles in the street after a relationship ends only to fall asleep to the sound of her neighbor sweeping up the shards. Brutal. Hilarious. The pianist shouts down the backyard partiers. Then spotlights his homemade man tits in honor of Titwrench. Vane closes with “Like a Virgin” and rounds it off by screaming about what it’s really like to lose one’s virginity. Walks up to me first to screech in my face. I must look alarmed—sister dies laughing next to me.
I only take two video clips all night. Stupid. Nothing personal, just burnt documentation on my part. All performers were something to see. But festival organizers had someone filming every night. When/if those become available, I’ll blog it here.
Tomorrow: Night two. Beer in my eye. Noisier.
Friday a.m. I’ll be loading local noise chicas into a minivan (thanks, mom!) and driving out to Denver for what promises to be one nipple-twister of a music fest. We’re going as Milch de la Máquina, a group that formed around the beginning of ’09 just to play in the all-girl experimental gathering Titwrench.
We’re bringing: string instruments, black feathers, thumb piano, goggles, many fx, bass, contact mics, voices and a giant albatross puppet with car speakers for eyes that requires all four of us to operate.
I mention this only to point you to the lineup, curated by Sarah Slater. (Descriptions ganked right from the Titwrench page.):
ASHLEY PAUL and ELI KESZLER (Dissonant clatter improv from Providence, RI)
BAST (Dance from San Francisco, CA)
BECCA MHALEK (Improv by Ex-Nightshark saxaphonist from Los Angeles, CA)
BOYS LIFE (Debut performance from Denver, CO)
BURROW OWL (Harsh noise from Vancouver, BC)
CHRISTINA THE HUN (Drummer/Singer extraordinaire from Fort Collins, CO)
DÖERSOVIT (Post-Riot Grrrl from Denver, CO)
EMILY FREMBGEN (Deep folk from Denver, CO)
FANCIE (Multi-media artist/composer from Berlin, DE)
HELL-KITE (Dark experimental folk from Tempe, AZ)
HDOT (Video Art from Denver, CO)
JUANITA WOW (Burlesque from Denver, CO)
LADY PARTS (Avant-chamber pop from Denver, CO)
LAST EYES (Experimental solo from Denver, CO)
CHRISTIAN TEENAGE RUNAWAYS (Glam Post-Punk from Denton, TX)
LUST CATS OF THE GUTTERS (Garage love rock from Denver, CO)
MARLO EGGPLANT (Experimental noise from Seattle, WA)
MARRIED IN BERDICHEV (Ethereal noise from Denver, CO)
MUTATING MELTDOWN (Noise-Punk trio incl. members of Finally Punk from Austin, TX )
NIGHT OF JOY (Dreamy no-wave from Denver, CO)
ORIGAMI HANDS (Lap Steel/Synth duo from Fort Collins, CO)
RACHAEL POLLARD (Folk from Denver, CO)
ROMA X MANKILLER (aka Joy Von Spain-Industrial noise with vocals from Seattle, WA)
RUSALKA (Harsh electronic noise from Vancouver, BC)
SALINA GOMEZ (Video art from Denver, CO)
SYBIL VANE (Avant-opera-punk from Denver, CO)
TIT 4 TAT (Collective experimental from Denver, CO)
(VIA) (Electronic fluids noise from Denver, CO)
YELLOW ELEPHANT (Sweet ambiance from Denver, CO)
ZAYANTE SPOILS (Avant cello-