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WHY SPIRAL? A message from the editors. Thanks for your interest in the inaugural issue of Columns. This issue, and the ones that will follow it, are the result of an artistic collaboration currently underway in Lowell. You will notice above that we have included a mission statement for an association called the Spiral Collective. As you may have deduced, this magazine has been produced by members of that collective as part of a broad initiative to foster both growth and appreciation of local art. We have among our ranks writers, musicians, visual artists, bakers, crafters, and people who just plain like creative expression. We are also interested in promoting awareness of political issues relevant on both a local and global level. To this end, we have assembled this magazine in hopes of simultaneously showcasing the talents of local creative minds and promoting awareness of political and personal issues. This magazine will always be open source, and will always be open to submissions. We are committed to knowledge, creativity, cooperation, compassion, and equality. Read our mission statement, and if you feel you can contribute in some way to either this magazine or the collective, please get in touch with us. Please direct submissions, questions, comments, and concerns to email@example.com. A spiral begins at a central point and works its way slowly outward, growing exponentially larger with each pass. We aim to be that central point.
Table of Contents Status Quo We Can Believe In . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Making Punk Make Sense Again. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 “My Computer is Slow!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 A Report On My Visit To Groovy Grub. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Movie Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Album Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Poetry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Recipes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
EDITORS Matt McCarthy Rich Ferrell Katherine Quinn
PUBLISHING Jarrod Delong Matt McCarthy
GRAPHIC DESIGN Jarrod Delong
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt McCarthy Rich Ferrell Jarrod Delong Rick Stec Sarah Lamothe Katherine Quinn Kitty Featherbottom Danielle Leone Dave Eger
CONTACT US Website: http://columns.spiralcollective.org
COVER ART Amelia Morris-Cronin
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Postal Mail:
ILLUSTRATIONS & PHOTOS Danielle Leone Amelia Morris-Cronin Rick Stec
Spiral Attn: Columns Zine PO Box 725 Lowell, MA 01853
Status Quo We Can Believe In By Matt McCarthy
With the changing of the guard this past January came a host of new and exciting promises of change and hope for a better day, a “return” to a higher global regard and an elevated sense of being. There was the promise of an end to one war and a reevaluation of another, of an end to the practice of throwing away countless lives (most often those of the invaded) for profitability and revenge. Five months later we have a new chic flashpoint; a kind of grim lab experiment performed by Washington and the Defense Department and an expansion rather than a reduction of our overseas threat. Pakistan appears to be next on the list of countries that the United States seems determined to topple in the ongoing pursuit of its freedom sowing agenda, and oddly enough it is one of the few Islamic countries in the area that is generally open to western ideas and influence. Without recounting the sixty or so years of Pakistani sovereignty and the thousands of years of Pashtun heritage, it helps to understand at least a bit about the spillover regions where conflicts between the Pakistani - Afghani Taliban, the Pakistani Army, and the U.S. military have been killing and continue to kill hundreds and displace hundreds of thousands of civilians. The Pashtun region of Pakistan lies in the area to the northwest of the country bordering Afghanistan. It is comprised of the northern part of the province of Baluchistan, the western part of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), and much of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Pashtuns hail from these areas of Pakistan and from the eastern parts of Afghanistan, but were separated by the Durand Line after Afghanistan had reached an agreement with the Colonial British Empire in the late 1800s that formed the modern border between the two countries. The Pashtuns are a very ethnocentric group with their own language, Pashto. Pashtuns in both Pakistan and Afghanistan have, over the years, supported the creation of an autonomous state called Pakhtunkhwa. The resolution has been voted down in Pakistani parliament consistently for fear of Afghani annexation of the Pashtun region, primarily because Afghanistan has long been opposed to the Durand Line and the separation of the
Pashtuns. Debate remains on Afghanistan’s real motives for supporting the alternate state, as critics claim that the Afghani government would not allow the secession of the Pashtuns in their own country. In the 1970s, adding more strain to an already tense relationship, the Pakistani government, led by Zulfiqar Bhutto, backed radical Islamic opposition to the Afghan government. This created turmoil not only between Afghanistan and Pakistan but also between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Complicating things further was the fact that the Bhutto administration reneged on an article of the Pakistani constitution that gave “Pashtunistan” its autonomy as a territorial province, souring relations between a very large portion of the country’s population and a very powerful ruling family that have been in and out of power for decades leading up to current day. Somewhat recently the U.S. has been stepping up its pressure on Pakistan’s civilian controlled government to confront the Pakistani and Afghani Taliban, who have taken refuge in two key areas of Pashtun concentration, most notably the Swat Valley which lies just to the west of the Islamabad Capital Territory in the NWFP. This, coupled with the cross boarder drone attacks of the U.S. military and the combined Afghani – Pakistani Taliban activity, has put considerable strain on the Pashtuns in the area. The disregard for insurgent versus civilian targets by the U.S. drone fighters and the Pakistani Army’s irreverence for civilian casualties have wreaked havoc on the local population. At most recent UN count 360,000 refugees have fled the area, with claims of up to 1.3 million displaced. This is not to mention the hundreds left dead and many more wounded. The most recent figure according to an April article in Pakistan’s The News reports that nearly 700 civilians have died as the result of over 60 attacks by U.S. drones since 2006. This figure, however, is likely to be much higher given the historical dishonesty of reports on 1
concentration. This would potentially create massive levels of nationalistic disenfranchisement given the many cultures and languages in the area. When taken in light of the situation faced in former Yugoslavia, the world, and more importantly the Pakistanis, could face a humanitarian crisis even greater than the one we currently have. Like the policies of his predecessors in Iraq, Kosovo, the Americas, and Southeast Asia, President Obama’s foreign policy is contributing to the long list of U.S. led humanitarian atrocities. Tell me where and when this open dialogue is going to happen, when this war is being fought by remote control? How are we going to stem the tide of radical opposition when we are driving innocent people into conflicts founded on religious idealism? What change aside from the dissolution of a repubcivilian casualties. The U.S. has made it clear by lic is to come of the Obama administration’s Af-Pak their actions that they have no intention on ceasing strategy? military operations in the area despite pleas by Pakistani citizens citing an infringement on their sovereignty. As the embattled region’s troubles grow, the citizenry are becoming increasingly skeptical of how deep Washington’s hands reach into the pockets of current president Asif Ali Zardari, widower of the late and former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. The existing tensions and ill will between the Pakistani central government, especially one which carries the Bhutto legacy, and the Pashtuns, are creating a very precarious position for the country. Some analysts believe that the conflict, unless resolved quickly, could end in a break up of the country with the major provinces splitting and becoming independent nations and Islamabad controlling the territorial regions. This theory is supported by the sharp linguistic and ethnic divide currently prevalent in Pakistan. Another fear is the remaining Pashtuns, bitter about their treatment by the U.S. and their own government, will be recruited by the insurgents to form a Taliban led state. The consequences of either outcome would likely be massive population migration with the different ethnic groups moving to the various provinces where their ethRick Stec nicities are have the highest levels of 2
Making Punk Make Sense Again By Rich Ferrell “Remember when we used to believe that music was a sacred place, not some fucking bank machine? Not something you just bought and sold? How could we have been so naïve? But I think when all is said and done, just ‘cause we were young, it don’t mean we were wrong.” Propagandhi, “Rock for Sustainable Capitalism” I’m pretty stubborn. I still call myself a punk, and proudly. I’m 26 years old—not old enough to have truly enjoyed the punk movement in its prime, not young enough to have any illusions about it. The “punk” that I see when I look around me seems unbearably watered down. It seems criminally vacant. The remains of a once-meaningful subculture, dead on its feet, propped up by record and clothing companies selling rebellion to teenagers eager to have an edgy, modern identity. And that’s why I’m such a dinosaur; kids ten years younger than me are fastest to describe themselves as “punk” without flinching. Of all the friends I had growing up who wrote “up the punx” on their backpacks in whiteout, I can only think of two or three who still have any use for the term. I’m one of them. Punk has acquired, or maybe always had, a multiplicity of meanings. That makes it difficult to even begin to discuss it constructively in broad, general terms. But I would argue that it is still a valid term, or at least it can be made into one, can be reclaimed. What follows is part memoir, part history, and part political argument for why punk is still something that I feel empowered by, and something that others can feel empowered by too. Punk saved my life. You scoff, and rightly so. But when I was 16, I had no idea who I was. Or, to be more specific, I had an idea of who I wanted to be, but I didn’t have the right tools or the courage to be that person. It’s incredibly hard in high school (or really anywhere) to say things like “I’m a straight male who doesn’t identify with competitive masculine culture.” Or “I believe that we need to fundamentally restructure society and government in order to provide for truly equal footing across lines of gender and race.” Or even more simply, things like “I don’t believe in God,” or “I’m more scared of cops than I am of criminals.” All these feelings were floating around in my teenaged head, but they lacked form or direction, and most of all, someone to listen to them who wasn’t going
to automatically call me a fag. I was a band geek; I played the saxophone (I still do some, but it’s mostly a happy memory). Not only was I a band geek, I was the Vice President of the Band, which made me Second Worst Band Geek There Was. I was also impressionable, given to trying to fit in and be liked by the athletes. To the football, soccer, and baseball players, this made me not only a fag, but a poser fag (their words). Looking back, the fact that I even for a minute tried to be liked by people like that makes me physically ill. But to judge the past from the present requires us to ignore the ways in which our social and historical context determines the way we think, feel, and act. My inability to fit in despite my misplaced desire to do so brings me back around to being in band. The one immutable truth of high school concert bands in the late 90s (and even today, maybe, in the rural areas to which modernity has not spread) is that the horn players start ska bands. And it wasn’t long before the horn players in my concert band asked me to be in their ska band. Sure, why not? I had been in bands before. I played the drums in a series of cover bands that grew steadily worse. By the time I was 16, we were trying to write our own material, but it wasn’t good and I wanted out. It’s not that we weren’t serious. We tried to get shows, but it was like pulling teeth. And worse, when we did play, it was always at the high school talent show or some kid’s backyard birthday party. So, twice a year we’d play our Blink 182 and Led Zeppelin covers in front of unappreciative people in the worst possible venue. That was that. My ambivalence about joining the local ska band was due to my experiences playing music that was in no way relative to any particular sense of culture or community. It was thankless work. I thought that being in a band meant that you worked on songs and then maybe someday a record label would notice you and then you would get paid to do more 3
thankless work. I didn’t realize that being in a band could mean something more than trying to be famous. The similarity between my old cover bands and my new ska band was that all of them were bad. There were some good musicians involved, but we wrote songs poorly and played them sloppily. But where that had made me want to quit my previous bands, this time it didn’t matter. And that was because being in that ska band introduced me to a culture and a community that was related to the kind of music I was playing. It introduced me to punk, and punk changed everything. This is a good time to explain what I mean by “punk”. It has become a term with a million different meanings for a billion (it seems) different people. Note that I don’t use the term “punk rock”, or “punk music”. As it turns out, the music was far from being the most important or empowering thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m into everything from Black Flag to The Bouncing Souls, from H20 to the Hal al Shedad. But the music isn’t what changed me. The music only talked about what changed me. It was the community that changed me. Suddenly, here were other people—real, living, breathing human beings, my age—who not only didn’t automatically call me a fag when I talked about the way I felt about the world around me, but sometimes even agreed with the things I said and added other, thoughtful things to them. Nothing in the entire world could have ever been so empowering, so affirming, so beautiful, as that was for me. I would’ve rather had punk than a million dollars. More than ten million. Like I said, everything changed. I found out that I not only had a newfound ability to give shape and meaning to the previously nebulous antiauthoritarian thoughts I had floating around, but also that I could voice them to other people—not only within my local DIY punk community, but also, eventually, to the reactionary buffoons at my high school who were starting to think that I was getting very weird indeed. After I got into punk, I was no longer an annoying fag like before—I was a dangerous one. I still believed funny things and was still the Vice President of the Band (public enemy no. 2), but now instead of trying to placate the jocks, I was mouthing off to them about their respect for authority and their unexamined racist and sexist beliefs. They had never hated me more and 4
I had never cared less. My ska band came and went. Over the next years, I was in all kinds of bands, playing all kinds of instruments, singing, writing lyrics. The music could come and go, because becoming involved in punk hadn’t just given me a deep appreciation for a new art form—it had fundamentally changed my worldview. It had legitimized my feelings of alienation and cynicism and given me an outlet for them. And it had given me new tools to critique the systems that I saw as being unjust. As I move kicking and screaming through my twenties, I find myself more and more feeling like an eccentric; the things I think, the way I dress, and the way I carry myself are not like those of people around me. And they’re not punk either, at least not obviously. I left my studded belt and skate shoes behind years ago. I rarely go to shows (though I would like to get better about this). My tastes in music have tended gradually towards the slower and softer for a while now. But I feel more punk than ever. It’s been ten years since I found punk (or rather, since punk found me), and with each one of them, I’ve grown more confident in myself and more passionate about changing the world. And with each one of them I’ve identified less and less with capital-p Punk. If it sounds contradictory, it’s because it is. My current comfort with describing myself as a (small-p) punk has been hard won. A couple of years ago I would’ve been right there with all my friends who left it behind for the next generation. I had to make it make sense again. But why, you’ll ask, would you need to force this community that had been so good to you to make sense again? There are several reasons. There is, at least among the women and men I know who grew up in the punk community with me, a tendency to become hardened and jaded as we get older. Our wide-eyed belief that the world can change, and that we can change it, tends to slip away. We get jobs and partners and don’t have the time, patience, or desire to commit ourselves to a community. Many former punks that I know finished acting out their rebellions against whomever they were acting out against, and slowly let their politics drift rightward and away. They stopped caring about empowerment and equality (or so it seems). They started eating meat again, if they ever stopped. Some of them might’ve even voted.
And voted Republican. Weirder things have happened. Still, the majority of the kids that I grew up with were permanently radicalized, though almost all of us were jaded to some degree. Punk also lost some of its shine for me because of its increasingly commercial orientation. At least, what I perceive to be its increasingly commercial orientation. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph of this essay, punk seems much less honest to me now than it did 10 years ago. For example, today I read an article in a UMass student newspaper about the local “punk” scene. The article lists by name the bands that were around in the scene when I was first involved in DIY—bands that were playing music not because they wanted to be famous, or even make any money, but because they were part of a radical community that espoused notions of freedom, solidarity, equality, and compassion. Or because they simply felt compelled to do so by forces they didn’t understand. But the article goes on to say that the current local scene is much better than the old one because it is dominated by bands that are technically proficient and goal oriented. Bands comprised of students in the UMass Sound Recording Department that have the ability to produce flawless recordings and shiny press kits. The argument is that these bands are more enjoyable for the listener/viewer because they have professionalized something that used to be emotionally and politically based, and because they have introduced a competitive, capitalist goal to something that used to be decidedly anarchistic and uninterested in profit. The new scene calls itself punk just like the one that radicalized me just under a decade ago. The two scenes couldn’t possibly be more different. I disagree with the article; I think the local scene is in shambles. With a few shining exceptions, the active bands are overly capitalistic and rely on macho posturing and/or recycled material. But more importantly, the current scene is exclusively about music. There is little or no radical politics associated with it. And worse, its primary concern is with art as a saleable product, not with art as a valuable end in and of itself. This is a process that’s happening in the microcosm of local scenes, but also on a larger scale. Punk, it seems, is becoming more and more commercialized with every second. Jonathan Formula put it well when he said that media and corpora-
tions had succeeded in taking the energy and radicalism of punk and turning it into “a nice, safe, consumable fad based on nothing more than hairdos, fashion, and the revival of various musical styles.” Yes, Jonathan, absolutely. But what gives me pause is that he wrote that sentiment in 1984. That was 25 years ago. Where do I get off bemoaning the commercialization of punk now, when I was born only a year before people started to notice it? On the one hand, there is more at work here than just the progressive commoditization of a political and artistic movement; as we get older, we are always prone to think that we had a harder time than the generation after us. The punks that were ten years older than me thought that we had too easy a time with our little rebellion. And, dammit, I feel the same way about the kids now. It seems easier to rebel than ever. Never before have record companies spent so much money on punk bands, and never before has punk been such a condoned, recognizable way of rebelling. It seems that way to Propagandhi too. In 2006, only 3 years ago, they asked “when did punk rock become so safe?” and went on to criticize the increasingly codependent relationship between punk and capitalism. There is ample historical precedent for this. Corporations got a taste for it in the 1960s; as soon as it was recognized that there was money to be made from the kinds of things that the counterculture was interested in, the commercialization of flower power began. As soon as this identity was being packaged and sold, it gained mainstream legitimacy and thus undermined the revolutionary possibilities of the movement. So in the end, we can safely agree that firstly, the commercialization of underground music has been happening almost since the beginning. And secondly, that it has accelerated in the past 10 years. Of course, there is something in the generational argument too; there may be some heartfelt music and political radicalization going on in fractious local scenes that I, as an older person, don’t have access to (and may be too jaded to notice). This brings us to a final reason why my selfcategorization as a punk became problematic for me. Isn’t punk, above all, a youth movement? And if it is, how does a punk reconcile themself with approaching thirty years of age? There was a moment, when I was 24, that I was forced to answer these questions for myself. I was in the middle of a 5
personal crisis anyway; I was living in a city with a strong but vapid music scene, feeling alienated and lonely, and as a result, like I couldn’t relate with the very people who professed to be just like me. It seemed too easy to me for someone to put on some skinny jeans and a pair of Converse, get some thick-framed glasses, move to the city, and join a band. All the form, none of the function. I started to question the very community that had empowered and nurtured my identity. And that, of course, led to questioning the identity itself. Was I too old to be a punk? Did I need to find a more relevant lens with which to examine the world? On the surface I know that “punk” is really just a word—a signifier for something else, in my case a set of beliefs, a worldview. What did it matter what I called myself, so long as I remained true to my politics, right? But underneath the idea of punk simply being a word, there is an entire history, both one that is personal and unique to me, and one that is societal. For better or worse, calling oneself a punk carries certain connotations. Just as I am exasperated by younger people who describe themselves as punk, and who align themselves more with punk music and fashion than with punk politics, so must they be confused by me, as I also identify myself as a punk but don’t look like any of the familiar stereotypes. And as punk gave me so much, and empowered me so completely at such an impressionable age, I feel that I owe it to myself to return the favor—to re-empower punk, at least for myself. This is the conclusion that I came to as I pulled myself through my moment of crisis. No, I decided, I wasn’t too old to be a punk. And no, it isn’t first and foremost a youth movement. I realized early on that punk had given me something more than just a transient membership status in an underground community. My values attracted me to punk, and the punk community’s values shaped me into who I am today. I will carry that wherever I go. I was radicalized by punk just like some people are radicalized by joining a labor union or going to a Rick Stec 6
protest. And if I ever stop going to shows, playing in bands, or having any idea what’s going on with local music, will it mean I’m not punk anymore? Nope. It might make me lame, but I’ll still be every bit as punk as the kids with the liberty spikes and bullet belts. And if and when they give up their ostentatious haircuts and extra-functional belts, as long as they see punk as a worldview and not a passing fad or phase, they’ll stay punk too. Some hard line punks who read this will disagree with me. And that’s fine. What they may not realize is that it is precisely debate and disagreement between reasonable people that keep a movement vibrant and young. Similarly, having that kind of ongoing dialogue with ourselves will keep us from feeling too old to be punks anymore. We just have to make punk keep making sense for us. And when it no longer feels like it makes sense to do some of the things we did when we were teenagers, we can grow, evolve, learn, adapt, and stay just as punk as ever. This certainly makes my vision of punk sound like a pretty inward-looking thing. But isn’t punk also supposed to be about changing the world around us? So many of us were attracted to our own little local DIY communities because we
felt somehow that screaming our throats out in a church hall or Elks Lodge would really change things. The powers that be would hear and tremble. There’s a really great band from Boston—a bunch of aging punks like me for the most part— called Bread and Roses. They play bluegrass and country in the rebel tradition of Johnny Cash, mixed with their own brand of punk-derived piss and vinegar. In one of their songs, “Making Punk A Threat Again, Again,” they point to the process that I’ve been discussing: not only are “yesterday’s taboos making bank for you know who,” but there is a distinct sense that a process of change and evolution are not helping. Whether punk is “something old” or “something new”, its “just the same old fuck you.” The chorus of the song goes on to encapsulate the frustration of trying to enact change through DIY music: We played it louder and they laughed at us. We played it faster but they were only acting scared. We raised our voices to the heavens in disgust. We put ourselves through hell just to find them laughing there. I think B&R is making a really great point, one that I have felt every day since my early twenties when the great jading began. I myself penned the line “not you, not me, not this scene. Pack up your fucking SUVs and take your shitty corporate rock back to those fucks at MTV.” When I was 22 I also was full of blood and thunder to protect hardcore from the corporations, as any good punk ought to be. But these sentiments are too quick to bemoan the goal unattained instead of celebrating the process itself. The process is what radicalizes. The process is what changes. No one is going to topple capitalism by playing punk music. And that’s that. But by playing punk music, by encouraging a sense of community within a radical, DIY context that emphasizes equality, compassion, skepticism and free-thought over competition and hierarchy, we are making successive generations of people who will go on to do other important things, and do them with a punk mentality. The end of that song I wrote when I was 22 went something like, “tonight’s show is gonna swallow you whole and shit you out the other side!” It sounds almost too over-the-top. But that’s what the DIY community
can do, at its best. Take one’s beliefs and assumptions and turn them on their heads. Not change society from the top down, as so many punks are fixated on, but change things from the bottom up. Change individual people like me. I was completely swallowed whole, and when I came out the other side, I was a new person. So yes, punk saved my life. I don’t mean that I would be dead if it hadn’t found me, but I doubt that I would be such a decent person. Maybe I don’t give myself enough credit. But I do know that were it not for my radicalization at the hands of the punk community, I would never have had the encouragement and support that I needed to become who I wanted to be. It helped me to realize that it is OK to hold animals in high enough regard not to want to eat them, and that it’s OK to try and find my happiness here on earth instead of placing it blindly in the hands of a scientifically impossible afterlife. Those are just a couple of examples that are particularly important to me. But whatever the issues are, punk at its best has the potential to free people from becoming too wrapped up in our capitalist culture of greed, hate, and oppression. Lest you think I’m too idealistic, I should mention some of my many fears. I worry that the capitalistic influence in local punk scenes these days is too pervasive. I wonder if the scenes that are actually radical are too scattered and exclusionary to really impart the punk worldview as widely as it ought to. I worry that punk is becoming so easy and widespread simply because it has lost much of its revolutionary connotation, and therefore is more attractive to people who don’t necessarily have an inner radical yearning to be given a nurturing environment, and people who want to enjoy the adrenaline of minor rebellion without the long term consequences of radicalization. And consequences there are. As punks, we’ve been empowered, nurtured, and supported by our little communities. But as punks we’ve also been alienated, questioned, and rejected by mainstream society. One only needs to reflect on the long and noble history of punk conflict with police to get a sense of this. As for me, the alienation is the worst. What to do when you feel that so very many people have it so very wrong? That this world is bent on consuming itself to death while making life as torturous as possible for as many people as it can? Over the years I’ve lost many of the tools I 7
once had to relate with the people around me, those happy god-fearing masses. My family worries about me because my behavior hasn’t fit their model of ambition and success. When questioned at family gatherings about my moral or political beliefs, I usually avoid answering directly. The last thing I need is to get in a tussle with my racist uncle because I suggested that NASCAR was emblematic of everything wrong with this country (which is probably the most benign suggestion I could possibly make in his direction). It’s tough placing yourself outside of a mainstream worldview. Tough to walk these little lines between alienation and acceptance. But all of us have done it, because what we’ve gained from punk has been worth some familial and societal misunderstandings. In short, being punk isn’t easy. And it shouldn’t be. If you think it is, you’re not doing it right. Or, if you think it is, chances are what’s going on is that you’ve aligned yourself with a musical style or with a look instead of with a radical worldview. And what the hell, if you’re taking the time to identify the cool bands and the hip looks, then you might as well take advantage of the true gift that punk has to offer, which as this article has argued, is its open-mindedness, its political awareness, its compassion, and its empowering nature. Today I ran into a friend of mine that I haven’t seen in a year and a half or so, and we had an extremely synchronous conversation. He was talking about how it was difficult to make music that wasn’t punk—indeed, music that is barely even “rock”—and be able to convince the DIY community that it’s valid. This friend is one of the most committed people I know when it comes to DIY ethics. But because he doesn’t make punksounding music, he finds it difficult to do the things he would like to do, to take full advantage of the resources of the DIY community. Because he, like me, was radicalized by the punk community. And he, like me, has drifted away from the typical “look” or stylistic inclination 8
of stereotypical punks. But he, like me, still calls himself punk. Proudly. And it really made me happy to have that conversation, not just because it made me feel like I wasn’t crazy to write this article. Mostly I loved it because I felt like, if there are two of us, there are two million of us. So lets remember why we’re still punks and be proud. Let’s make punk make sense again.
Jonathan Formula, Hardcore California, 6. Quoted in Craig O’Hara, The Philosophy of Punk: More than Noise, 45. Propagandhi, “Rock for Sustainable Capitalism”. On Potemkin City Limits, G7 Welcoming Committee, 2006. Bread and Roses, “Making Punk A Threat Again, Again”, on Deep River Day, 2007.
My Computer is Slow!” By Jarrod Delong
This is something I hear fairly often. The person can be referring to their machine running slowly when too many applications are open, or specific applications performing tasks slowly, or even the internet being slow. These all have distinctly different causes, and it’s good to know how to tell them apart. So I figure I’ll address them individually. Memory If you’re one of those people that just leave applications open even when you’re not using them, you may have the first problem that I mentioned. This is all based on the amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) that you have installed. Typically, any given computer will have somewhere between 512MB and 2GB of RAM installed by default. If you have less than 512MB, you probably hate using your computer. There are a lot of technical terms, acronyms, and processes involved in explaining how RAM works with your computer. But you probably don’t want to hear that, so I’ll just cut to the chase. While all of the actual processing happens in the computer’s processor (duh), RAM gives your computer a temporary place to store electronic data. This is necessary because while applications are open, they are producing this data. Thus, the more applications that you have open, the more RAM is being used. Depending on how much RAM is installed, leaving applications open could seriously slow down your computer. I’ve found people do this more on Macs than PCs. This is because if you use Windows, and you click the “x” in the corner of the application window, the application is closed, no longer using memory. But on a Mac, if you click the “x”, it only closes that window, leaving the application running. You actually need to quit the application for it to stop using memory. There are several possible solutions to this problem. Perhaps you’re just leaving too many unused applications open. On a Mac, an easy way to tell which applications are running is to hold the apple key and press TAB. This lets you toggle between open applications, but if you see things there
that you’re not using, just go to it and quit the application. In Windows, you can press Ctrl-AltDelete to bring up the task manager, which will show you the list of open applications. Another possible solution is to install more RAM in your computer. This may seem like a daunting task if you know nothing about it, but it’s really nothing you can’t do yourself. If you have a Mac, click the apple icon in the upper-left corner of the screen, and select “About This Mac”. A window will pop up and display some specs, including memory. For instance, on the MacBook Pro that I’m using right now, it says “1 GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM”. Don’t get all freaked out if you don’t know what any of that means, it’s just the type of memory that your computer uses. We’ll get back to that in a minute. For Windows users, if you rightclick on “My Computer”, and select “Properties”, it will tell you how much memory you have, though it may or may not tell you what kind. So I’d recommend using the System Scanner from Crucial.com, as it will tell you exactly what kind of memory you have, how much you can install, and even let you buy it online. So now you should know how to find the type of memory that you have. Now you’ve got to buy some memory (Crucial.com and Newegg.com are both good places for this). Once you have it, you can install it yourself and be happier with your computer’s performance. I could go on to explain exactly how to install it, but the truth is that it varies slightly between the many types of computers that are out there, so your best bet is to just search Google for “install RAM guide”, or “install RAM guide mac” if you have a Mac. Processors The processor (also called CPU or microprocessor) is the heart of the computer. It’s in charge of processing data. All types of data, whether you’re creating a spreadsheet, playing a game, listening to music... just everything. The speed of the processor is measured in Hertz (Hz). This is usually represented as either megahertz (MHz), or gigahertz (GHz). For instance, the computer I’m using right now has a 2.16 GHz processor. Processor speed matters greatly when it comes to how fast or slow your computer is. I’ll explain the basics. When you open an 9
application (which is stored on the hard drive), it’s transferred to the computer’s memory (RAM). An application, in essence, is just a set of instructions for the processor. The processor loads the data from the memory, and once the data has made it’s way to the processor, it’s processed. Seems simple enough, right? What happens next depends on the application you’re running. It could continue to load data in an application, or it could do something with the data it’s just processed, like display it on the screen, or send it to your audio card so that you can listen to it if it’s audio data. I’d probably have to write a whole book to explain all of the workings of the processor, and I’m sure you’re not interested in all the technical stuff, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Check your processor speed: On a Mac, just click the Apple logo in top lefthand corner of the screen and select “About This Mac”, and you should see “Processor” listed with the speed right next to it. On a PC, right-click “My Computer” and select “Properties” and you’ll see the Processor speed appear near the bottom of the window. If your processor speed is measured in MHz, it’s probably too slow to do anything very intensive (i.e. Pro Audio, Video, Photo applications). But it should be fine for general computing. I had a 500MHz PowerMac G3 for a long while that served me just fine doing general tasks and even a little Photoshopping. If you’re running a processor that is above 1.25GHz, you should be fine for most tasks, but it may still not be enough if you want to run professional applications. Even on my Dual Processor 2.7 GHz PowerMac G5, there is sometimes still not enough for what I’m doing in ProTools. In addition to processor speed, there is also a vast array of problems that could occur with your processor that could make it slow, including overheating, high CPU usage, etc. Diagnosing such problems depends on factors that vary greatly be10
tween computer models, so I’d urge you to use the internet as a resource in this case. Find your processor speed and model by doing what I mentioned in the previous paragraph, and search Google with those terms in the search field, in addition to words like “slow”, “common problems”, “diagnose problems”, etc. Hard Disk Your computer’s Hard Disk (or Hard Drive) is where all of your data is stored. Data on the Hard Disk is measured in bytes. You’re probably familiar with that term, as any files you download are measured in bytes as well, whether kilobytes (kb), megabytes (mb), gigabytes (gb), etc. There are a few factors that determine how fast a Hard Disk is. Data rate, seek time, disk speed... all things that I could go on about, but may not matter to you, so I’ll skip that part. There are a few things you can do to keep your Hard Disk running smoothly. One would be to avoid fragmentation. On a PC, if you open “My Computer”, right-click your Hard Disk (usually prefaced with C:) and select “Properties”, you can click the “Tools” tab and use the “Error-Checking” and “Defragmentation” tools to keep your disk running well. On a Mac, you can either use the built-in Disk Utility application, or download one of many tools from the internet. I would highly recommend a free utility called Onyx (just search Google for “onyx mac” and you will find a number of download locations). Once you’ve installed this program, when you run it, it will ask you if you want to check the S.M.A.R.T. status. That stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology, and it’s a monitoring system for computer hard disks to detect and report various indicators of reliability, in the hope of anticipating failures. It might be good to run this once at first, then on rare occasions if you think there’s a problem. It will then ask you to verify the startup volume (your main hard disk). This isn’t really necessary unless you’re really experiencing problems with it, but feel free to run it anyway, though it might
take a little while. Once you’ve gotten past those two prompts, enter your password, and you’re in the main program. The main things you want to focus on are “Maintenance” and “Cleaning”. Go ahead and select “Cleaning” first. Under the “System” tab, it’s a good idea to just select all of those items and hit “execute”. It’s good to clear all of those caches once in a while. You can do the same for the “User” tab. The other ones aren’t quite as helpful, but use them at your own discretion, or search for help if you don’t understand what something does. Also, it will ask you to restart the computer after each task, but wait until you’ve done everything you’re going to do before you restart. Next, go on to the “Maintenance” section”, and you’ll see the “Permissions” tab. This can fix a lot of common problems, and it’s a good idea to run it maybe once a month. It can also take a little while to complete the task, so be patient. Then you’ll notice the “Scripts” tab. This will list various maintenance operations that should be run daily, weekly, or monthly. Feel free to run any/all of them at any time though. Don’t worry about the “Rebuild” tab. So without getting into it too deeply, that’s all I’m going to say about Hard Disks and ways that you can help keep them running smoothly and problem-free. The Internet Sometimes when somebody says that their “computer” is running slow, they really mean that their internet connection is slow, intermittent, or otherwise problematic. This rarely has anything to do with your actual computer, but there are ways to diagnose the problem and possibly make things go a little faster. Though sometimes the internet is just slow due to any number of reasons, like a spike in internet use in your neighborhood, bandwidth throttling (I’ll get to that afterwards), etc. First, make sure you’re using the latest version of whatever browser you use (Firefox, Safari, Opera, IE, etc). You can check this on a Mac by going to the program menu and selecting the first option, which should say “about”, or something to that effect. With many browsers, there’s also an option in either the program or help menu that offers to check for updates, so that’d be the easiest way to do it. On a PC, you can usually find the
“about” option in the help menu. Regardless of what platform you’re running (Windows, OS X, Linux), I’d recommend using Mozilla Firefox, as it’s the fastest and most customizable browser available. Something you’ll want to do from time to time is clear your browser’s cache. Your browser has a folder in which web pages, or parts of web pages, are loaded and saved for future use. So if you go to a website very often, it may load faster because much of the page is already in your browser’s cache. The problem is that if there’s an update to certain parts of the site, you may not be able to see it because your browser is using the old version that it has cached. Clearing the cache is easy. I won’t go through how to do it on every browser, but it’s usually where ever the internet options are in your browser menu. Except with Firefox, they make it easy. You can just select the “Tools” menu and “Clear Private Data”. You’ll see the cache in there, among other things. I’ll also briefly explain cookies just to get that question out of the way. A cookie is a small piece of information sent to your browser by a web server when you visit a website. It’s stored on your computer and identifies you to the server when you return to the site. Some examples would be if you log into a social networking site like Facebook or MySpace, and then come back to it later, most times you’re still logged in, or at least it remembers your username for you. Target marketing is one of the main uses of cookies, unfortunately. Have you ever gone to a website and had it advertise something relative to your geographic location, or specific to your interests? This is because the site pulls cookies and looks at where you’ve been and considers you as a target market for whatever it may be that it’s advertising. So cookies have their good and bad points, but generally don’t slow you down. I generally don’t clear the cookies on my home computer because I like to stay logged in to any sites that require logging into. I mentioned bandwidth throttling earlier in the article. This is something ISPs (Internet Service Providers, i.e. Comcast, Verizon, etc) sometimes use to limit the amount of data that can be sent and/or received from your modem in a given time period. This has been a pretty hot topic as of late, especially the controversy surrounding Comcast’s practices of bandwidth throttling. I’m sure 11
you can read about that online. But a good way to test your speed is with a new tool that’s being developed by Google, called Measurement Lab (or M-LAB). You can access the site at this address: HYPERLINK "http://www.measurementlab.net" www.measurementlab.net, and choose from a few different options to test your connection speed. Now, assuming your problem isn’t with your browser or your ISP, the next thing I’d like to talk about is networking. If you have a router, or a modem that also functions as a router, you can run into any number of problems setting those up. And this is another thing that really depends on your computer(s). So for specific aspects of the setup, using the internet as a reference, try going to your router manufacturer’s website to get support. But some general things to look for in the settings are in security. You’ll notice different kinds of security like WPA, WPA2, and WEP. Usually the WPA/WPA2 option is the best bet, and most likely to work with your computer. When you see the options of “wireless mode”, you’ll need to know what type of wireless card is in your computer, which you can check in your system information. “Mixed (11b + 11g)” is a pretty safe bet for that setting. Wireless channel is usually set to “auto”, but if too many devices in the area are operating on the same channel, that can cause a slow-down, so feel free to change that to a specific number. If you see an option that says “extend range”, you don’t want to have this enabled. It doesn’t do what you’d think. The last thing I’ll mention is the MAC Address. This has nothing to do with Apple/Mac. MAC stands for Media Access Control. In short, it’s a series of numbers and letters that act as a unique identifier for your network adapter (ethernet and/or wireless card in your computer). So if this is enabled as the security on the router, you have to enter your computer’s unique MAC address in the router’s admin panel. Only computers whose MAC address is there will be able to access the internet via the router. And once the address is in there, you won’t have to enter it again. There are a lot of things that can slow your computer down, and in different ways. So hopefully this article has cleared up the different ways your computer could be slow, the reasons behind it, and how to go about fixing it, or at least where to look for help. In future articles I’ll address other computer-related issues that come up. 12
A Report On My Visit To Groovy Grub By Rick Stec
made breakfast bars, yogurt, etc. We settled on the following with two surprisingly tasty iced coffees: Chicken bomb on syrian bread
I am late. I am always late. Rachel and I are circling downtown looking for “that place” again, the one where eating good food outside meets parking. I spotted the purple sign and the dingy white plastic patio furniture. We have never seen this place before and Rachel and I are hungry and rushed. The decision to patronize “the new place” is made. Turning in off the street, Groovy Grub rocks the classic “Funky Lowell” design scheme. Vibrant walls, eclectic seating options, and abundant quirky wall hangings occupy this economically used space. The other patrons, as usual, are set pieces that tie into the décor and give it a movement and sound that is distinctly Lowellian. On instinct, I like the place immediately. We are sitting in the love child of a cabaret lounge booth and diner nook working on the menu while late ‘80s Tina Turner is blasting on a boom box. Renee is at the counter taking orders, fielding phone calls, and busting on Katie for a missing order slip. Katie is behind her at the grill; the two banter until the slip is found. Katie Kelly is the owner, a fact that is not obvious initially. The movements of her kitchen come across as symbiotic instead of hierarchal. This is not a new place, it only appears that way to us. Groovy Grub has history. It took over the site of the Old Quick Pickens deli in October of 2008. Katie cut her teeth through over a decade working in the restaurant business. A letter on the tack board from the owner of Vic’s Waffle house can vouch for that. So can the menu, which covers a lot territory. It touts healthy, homemade food and is a lot to take in at first: sandwiches, dinner plates, salads, breakfast fare, desserts and more. There is also a dollar menu with things that you would want to get at a chain bistro but pay twice as much for like fruit, bottled water, home-
To be fair, I scarfed this sandwich down fairly quickly, so it passed the preliminary test. I really wanted to be eating it! The Syrian was soft and had a nice chewy give to it. The chicken was not processed, pre-fabricated, “grilled chix product.” It was real and wholesome. Unfortunately, it lacked some of the trappings that make a chicken bomb “the bomb.” Fruit cup I am allergic to kiwi so Rachel took care of that item. It looked good, chock full of fresh blackberries, grapes and cherries. It is not the slouchy syrup drenched slop I have become accustomed to seeing. Turkey Wrap This sandwich is a new friend of mine. Classic lettuce and tomato synched in Syrian bread
with slabs of legit turkey. Not the sodium soaked super market deli junk and not the particleboard jerky that causes fights on Thanksgiving; it is the real deal. This is turkey that tastes like it was made lovingly by someone who knows their stuff and is well practiced, which is exactly the case here because Groovy Grub bakes their turkey fresh every morning. This is worth repeating: Groovy Grub makes a turkey EVERYDAY to serve as lunch meat! This sandwich is 7 bucks but it feels like it should be more. Besides the quality of the food lining the inside of this wrap, the sandwich is large… Like, “Look what I got myself into” large. Be sure to pick one up before your next night out on the town. Coming home to one of these sexy monsters will make you feel like a Czar two or three generations before the Bolsheviks, when things were good for Czars, really good. We walked out having dropped 25 bucks, which isn’t bad for a substantial late lunch/early dinner for two. Nothing on the menu breaks 8 dollars. Normally, things would end there. But Rachel and I got to talking with Katie on our way out the door. She is cheerful, direct, and cool. You’ll recognize her. She’ll be the strawberry blond with the dew rag at the prep station. I always like a place better when I have a social tie, no matter how superficial. We came back the next day. My coworkers and I had a morning meeting that Friday. I remember being excited. That’s right, excited. I love sampling new breakfast places. They all serve the same stuff: a few curveball specials here and there, but every one has a different… I don’t know. Thing. The French probably have a word for it, but alas, I don’t speak French. Katie recognized us and was dutifully extra chipper (I love bringing people to a new eatery and having the person behind the counter know me) and treated us like we were already regulars. I went a little over board for the sake of the review and picked off of some people’s plate for the experience, so don’t gag thinking of me actually eating ALL of this: Ballistic Breakfast Sandwich 14
Egg, cheese, ham, and bacon on a light sub roll, “yes, you can have some heart attack with your hangover,” and remember they serve breakfast all day (M-F until 3:00pm Sat until 4:00pm closed Sun). So if you roll off of a stranger’s sofa and a Boot Mill is long since out of the question, ask for this with some hash browns and take a shower. Chili and cheese omelet Now preference is preference, but I thought the egg was overdone and had that tough membrane leathery texture that I hate. Rachel, on the other hand, loves her eggs cooked to death. It is one of her idiosyncrasies that makes me think that she is gross. She feels the same about my penchant for eating them runny. On the other hand, the chili was spot on, rich with savory tomato and earthy cumin. No component was too prominent. The consistency was perfect, not soupy, and not pasty. Dead on. Waffle I have on occasion woke with a start in the middle of the night and whispered to myself and the darkness, “Waffles.” They have a supernatural draw on me normally, but this waffle was different.
It was denser, maltier, and moister. It didn’t need half the syrup and butter and other accoutrements that I usually have to drench waffles with. Fruit cup Katie remembered me saying I was allergic to kiwis when I was ordering and whipped me up a fresh one on the house. I thought that was really commendable. I have to ask her where she gets her produce. It was firm but fresh and looked like it had been handled very little. Grilled cheese
to steal her secrets, to earn the rights to eat as much as I want, and to catch up on gossip. But the primary reason is the chowder. Katie’s chowder is almost that good. You might think that isn’t a glowing recommendation, but you would be wrong. Eat at this restaurant. You will be happy that you did. Forego fast food, drive past the franchised sub places, and brave the midday downtown traffic (call ahead at (978) 452-8161 if you are in a rush). And visit Groovy Grub at 96 Merrimack St. Lowell. Unplug from the processed food machine. Eat some real food made by people worth knowing and be victorious!
You know what to expect; practically everyone is a grilled cheese connoisseur. The internet says Americans eat about 2 billion grilled cheese sandwiches per year. With 306 million people in the United States, well, you do the math. (that’s 6.5 per person yearly, dummy) I think that is a gross underestimation. If you had made this grilled cheese yourself at home, it would have been a truly proud moment. Very full of gooey cheese, a little crunchy thanks to the artisan white bread, and served at optimal devouring temperature with a bowl of soup for under 5 bucks. I imagine this is one of the most ordered items during the winter months. Clam Chowder Being a spoiled New Englander, I could have been jaded about this. I didn’t even order it. I asked them to surprise me with the soup accompanying my sandwich. Apparently, it is only made on Fridays. Not just served or just available. Again, they make it on-site, from scratch, only on Fridays. Now Maureen C., a friend’s mom, makes chowder so good that when she makes it, I take the day out of work, and drop all plans to go over to her house to help her make it. It takes all day. I do this 15
Movie Reviews By Sarah Lamothe LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Sweden Director: Tomas Alfredson Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson Picture all of the vampire movies you have ever seen: the classic Nosferatu, the ultra artsy Nadja, the blockbusters Interview With the Vampire and Underworld. Picture their shallow attempts at depicting loneliness, their over-the-top brutality, their powerful immortality. Now picture something different, something better. Let the Right One In is brilliant, a genius of a film. The cinematography alone would make this film worth the watch; every shot is gallery worthy. But add to that a sublime script, perfectly paced plot, and spot on acting by the sometimes creepy but innocent Kåre Hedebrant and the mysterious yet human Lina Leandersson. Oskar is a shy, slight, wimpy, fair skinned boy who is routinely bullied by a group of boys at school. He fantasizes about a brutal revenge. When he meets Eli, a strange and lonely girl who has moved in next door, he becomes inspired and empowered by his only friend. When he realizes she is a vampire, he is not frightened or enchanted -- a temperament that Eli latches onto. One would choose to be a murderer; the other is an involuntary monster. Together they save each other from their demons. Novelist and screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist rethinks “coming of age” and “first love” stories, but also changes our romantic notions of the vampire. Eli is immortal, but she will remain forever twelve, not just in body but in spirit. She sleeps in a bathtub, not a coffin. Oskar finds his heroism, but it is a vicious and unlikable kind, he finds love and friendship…but not from another human being. This romantic story of young love is also a gruesome and chilling horror classic. The film does loose points for a completely unnecessary CGI cat scene, but gains some back for the other immaculate directorial decisions of Tomas Alfredson. A must see. 16
MARTYRS France Director Pascal Laugier Starring Morianna Alaoui, Mylene Jampanoi Martyrs is like a crème-filled cupcake. There is golden fluffy cake, sweet and smooth icing, crunchy little sprinkles, and a center made of… complete crap. Lucie (Mylene Jampanoi) escapes a torture chamber and finds a friend, Anna (Morianna Alaoui) in an orphanage. Fifteen years later they find and kill Lucie’s torturers for revenge, but also stop a twisted and vicious ghost from haunting and physically harming Lucie. Everything up until this point is pretty ok; it could be a nice little edition to the horror film world, maybe even a three star movie. Everything after this point is gore porn and conspiracy theory at its worst. A torture program to find people who can transcend pain to be true living martyrs? I wish I could have transcended the pain of ever watching this redundant crapsicle. Poorly
man. He tries to escape by hiding with the help of an odd scientist, but is actually duped into traveling back in time to the beginning of the movie, where he plots his escape from the attacker and his reentry into his home. But Hector’s attacker cannot be outwitted so easily. Timecrimes is one of the best thrillers I have seen in years. It is an almost perfect horror film, combining suspense, brutality, voyeurism and subtle humor. Karra Elejalde delivers a palatable performance; it is hard to be that unlikable yet somehow still identifiable. Nacho Vigalondo is the director but also plays a scientist trying very hard to be an actor with genius bumbling. The things I didn’t like about this film at first, I soon realized were there on purpose, to make me not like it, to question it. Even the editing was annoying, but by the end of the film I wouldn’t have had it any other way. A great horror ride, but also a strong contender of a time travel piece, Timecrimes breathes new life into a genre full of clichés. It is sure to become a classic and a top-twenty favorite for both horror and sci-fi fans. acted by everyone except Mylene Jampanoi, this film overkills a translucent plot completely lacking in originality. Martyrs is not worth the watch.
TIMECRIMES Spain Directed by Nacho Vigalondo Starring: Karra Elejalde, Nacho Vigalondo, Candela Fernandez, Barbara Goenaga Hector (Karra Elejalde) is a regular sort of man; older, balding, tired, slow witted, and married to a beautiful and loving wife. You don’t like him. You don’t like him so much that, in combination with a slow start, you debate continuing to watch this dull and dubbed film. But then something interesting happens. Hector, who is also just as bored as you, sees a lovely young woman far out in the woods with his binoculars. She seems to be stripping just for him before she lies up against a rock to await the arrival of…? When he investigates, he is attacked and pursued by a masked 17
Album Reviews By Jarrod Delong
Good Luck Into Lake Griffy CD/LP I first heard of Good Luck when I got an email newsletter from No Idea Records sometime back in March. Just hearing the conviction in what Var (from No Idea) was saying about these folks made me want to hear the record. And even more convenient, they were streaming the entire album on the No Idea website. So I sat and drank my morning coffee and listened to the whole thing through. Something about the sound was new, inspiring, and uplifting. A few hours later, I ordered the LP. It’s not often that I just hear a band for the first time and want to spend money on their record. I’m stoked when something like that graces my ears. Good Luck is a three-piece, formed in Bloomington, Indiana, in 2007. They have both male and female vocals, sometimes together. There’s a lot of guitar noodling going on, but not too much, and it’s tasteful. I could focus on things it kind-of-sort-of sounds like (The Weakerthans, Bridge and Tunnel, etc), but that wouldn’t do it justice. The album opens with a song called “How to Live Here”, which starts with a certain sense of immediacy and a cool guitar riff. It transitions into more of a light punk/pop rock song in 4/4 time, which works well to set the tone for the album. The chorus presents sing-a-long vocals that go with the accompanying guitar riff, something that they do a few times throughout the album. “Hey Matt” starts with a frantic, palm-muted riff, pulsating bass, and a constant kick-snare beat, then opens up to a wider sound in the chorus with vocals you can’t help but sing a long with at a live show. By far my favorite song is “West Wind Ride”. The slick riffs in this song, the dual-vocals throughout, and the simple-yet-powerful chorus all make this one stick out. But most of all, about a minuteand-a-half into it, the song transitions with soft, fast guitar-noodling by itself, into a frenetic jam of this great riff. It’s more like a guitar solo at this point, on top of very punchy bass and drums. The song 18
is only three minutes long, and ends abruptly, but I can’t help but play it twice every time I come to it. The third song on the album, “Stars Were Exploding”, is a short jam with very catchy melodies, both musically and vocally. Ginger sings on this one, and the feel of it reminds me of happy night-driving music. The second-to-last track, “Bringing Them Back to Life”, is a reprise of “Stars Were Exploding”, with a softer feel and Matt singing. All in all, this is a feel-good album. It’s artistic and original, melodic and thoughtful -- one of the best albums I’ve heard in quite some time. I was able to catch a show recently in a basement in Allston, MA. They played with Sinaloa and The Serious Geniuses. I didn’t really expect more people than usual for a basement show, especially since I’d just heard them for the first time a few months earlier, and didn’t think they had a big following in the Boston area. But I was very wrong. I heard them start to play so I grabbed a beer from my bag and went inside expecting to walk to the front. But there were so many people packed in there that you couldn’t get much past the door frame. There were a lot of younger people I’d never seen before at local basement shows, so I could only assume they were there mainly to see Good Luck, which was awesome. I eventually made my way through the crowd to the front (just in time to see them play “West Wind Ride”, for which I was stoked). They played a great set, mostly stuff from “Into Lake
Griffy” and a couple new songs. Most of the time, they had a large group of people singing along to every word. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that way when I heard the record. You should go buy this album, listen to it, and be happy. And if you catch them at a show, you’ll want to sing along. http://www.myspace.com/wearegoodluck http://www.noidearecords.com/
The Paper Chase
Some Day This Could All Be Yours, Vol. 1 CD/LP The Paper Chase is a unique band whose songs usually conjure up feelings of anxiety and disquiet. Their songs are dissonant, and off-putting, and extremely captivating. Frontman John Congleton usually carves their bizarre songs around a base of lyrics centering on various neuroses and feelings that make the general public’s skin crawl. However, on this first installment of a conceptual double-album, the lyrical content moves out of the realm of Congleton’s mind and centers on the outside world, which is a scary place. On this record, they explore the destruction of the world by various means. Additionally, for good measure, they add a specific cataclysm for each song in parenthesis after the song’s title; for instance, “The Common Cold (The Epidemic)” and “This is a Rape (The Flood)”. Musically, this may be the most compelling material I’ve ever heard from The Paper Chase. They add a bit more melody to this record... not in the typical way, of course, but quite neurotically, the way only they can do it. It’s their way of adding pop sensibility to a panic attack. The album opens with “If Nobody Moves Nobody Will Get Hurt (The Extinction)”, which creeps up in volume and paranoia throughout the song, and asserts “It’s getting closer, it’s right around the corner. Something is coming for me”. Track 3, “The Common Cold”, is a fast-paced, nightmarish song laced with menacing guitar riffs and pounding bass notes as a backdrop to the infectious vocals, telling what sounds like a hypochondriac’s nightmare.
“The Flood” is a panic-inducing song that is checkered with a strangely anthemic chorus in which Congleton spouts “If only we could hold this forever (you know you can't hold it forever) the water, rain, the bridge, the lakes, the headline rise. We're gonna scramble just a dam up the river. But knowing full well we won't be staying dry”. Track 8, “The Small of Your Back The Nape of Your Neck (The Blizzard)”, could be compared to a demented nursery rhyme, or something you might not mind nodding your head to while the world is ending... with lines like “God only knows how cold it’s getting, and by his design he must know we’re starving” and ending with a maniacal
chant of “He’s got the whole world in his hands...” Someday This Could All Be Yours is the magnum opus that The Paper Chase has been working towards for years, and is completely unrivaled in a genre that no one else has been able to touch. I certainly wasn’t expecting such a deranged masterpiece to grace my ears this year. The Paper Chase is touring in June and July, with more dates expected to be announced later. The CD is put out by Kill Rock Stars, and you can buy it on their website, or the band’s site. The vinyl will be released soon on Magic Bullet Records. The second installment of this doublealbum should be released later this year. http://www.thepaperchaseband.com http://www.killrockstars.com http://www.magicbulletrecords.com 19
Danielle Leone 20
54 47 I once knew a boy who made love to his guitar. He could play all my favorite songs Strong wind can bend trees before he knew they were my favorite. but with roots as deep as these, He played in basements and we canâ€™t be brought down. living rooms coffee shops and front stoops. He played for no one and everyone. for me, and you, and himself. He played with passion pouring from his fingertips. He sang in his scratchy sensual voice. I Seek I once knew a boy Sometimes, I wind up in the wrong place who made love to his guitar, at the wrong time, and a girl who closed her eyes tight, but still I seek. a girl who wished she were a guitar. Sometimes, I uncover hidden truths that rock me, but still I seek. Sometimes, I think I have found perfection only to be proven wrong, but still I seek.
Letâ€™s dance in the rain, barefoot on freshly cut grass, no inhibitions.
Sometimes, I act without thinking and face undesirable consequences, but still I seek. Sometimes, I am surprised pleasantly pleased, but still I seek. Sometimes, I do not know where to look or what to look for, but still I seek.
sports sports sports sports sports I could not care any less! Get out of my bar!
I live in a perpetual state Of wondering what is around the bend, what else is out there. I enjoy experiencing endlessly.
By Kitty Featherbottom
So I seek. I always seek. 21
Just A Suggestion By Danielle Leone If you stick with me I’ll show you things not the things you never knew but the things you can create I’ll open your mind and climb on through trip over bumps and slip between the cracks I’ll lay there curled and read the writings of your thoughts I’ll grab your fleshy membrane and whisper secrets to a point of tingle I’ll wriggle downward through your spine and sit inside your stomach I’ll pull on strings to make you smile I’ll release within an instant and trickle down your cheeks I’m here if you need me I’m here when you need me Don’t leave me for stale morning confusion and we can ripen till our brown dots become freckles traced by fingers down each others arms embraced with perfection a fit never thought but found in question.
Epiphenomena By Dave Eger What to save and what to spend Time and time and time again Capital showing signs of growth While you and I wonder what we're worth
Oppression and depression are cause and effect The same is true with greed and neglect Indicators of a scope that's out of focus But when blur's all you've known it's hard to notice Manipulative monopolies and coercive cartels Giving free information to promote what they sell Until posters plaster every surface you see And you're never quite sure who you should be See what face comes up when you flip a coin Ignore the metal disc on which they're joined Does the subject or the object hold the value Does illusion or reality guide you What to save and what to spend Time and time and time again Capital showing signs of growth While you and I wonder what we're worth 22
Recipes By Katherine Quinn
Tempeh ‘Chicken’ Salad 1 package of tempeh (whatever kind you like) 1 clove of garlic (or more if you are like me) 1 celery stalk, diced 1 dill pickle, diced 1/2 of a red onion, diced 2 tablespoons of parsley or cilantro (optional) 1/2 cup vegenaise 2 teaspoons mustard 1-2 teaspoons of tamari, regular soy sauce or Braggs 2 teaspoons curry powder dash of cayenne pepper (optional - extra spicy!) dash of onion or garlic powder (optional)
this is also really wonderful with some halved red grapes thrown in... sounds weird but it’s life-changing! just sayin’
serve on a whole wheat bun with greens and avocado with homemade (or store-bought...) chips & a pickle on the side
cube your tempeh & steam it for 10-15 minutes remove from the heat & let it cool mix together spices, vegenaise and mustard add everything else & stir together add salt & pepper to taste put it in the fridge & forget about it for an hour or so
Roasted Green Beans pre-heat the oven to 400° clean & trim the green beans place as many green beans as you want on a lined baking sheets (silpats are life changing to line sheets) drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few healthy dashes of fresh ground black pepper if you can’t get enough garlic in your life: use your hands to make sure that every green bean throw some minced garlic on top of the green has some olive oil on it once the oven is pre-heated, put them in & let roast for beans during the last 3-5 minutes of roasting 12-15 minutes
Grilled Stone Fruit With â€˜Creme Fraicheâ€™ heat up your grill or grill pan to a medium heat clean, halve & pit your choice of stone fruits this recipe makes a lot! it will keep in the brush each half with a little vegetable oil and place cut fridge for about a week so just put it on everyside down on the grill thing for awhile after 1-2 minutes (or once you have grill marks) flip over & let cook for another minute or so creme fraiche: 3/4 cup plain or vanilla soy milk 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup sunflower oil 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon maple syrup blend the soy milk & lemon juice for about a minute on high mix the remaining ingredients together stream them into the soy milk mixture slowly & continually it should be thickened by the end of adding the oil mixture
Balsamic-Glazed Strawberries 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons sugar some fresh strawberries stir the vinegar and sugar in a small pot over medium heat, let the two reduce for a few minutes once it is thickened, remove from heat put strawberries in some cute little glasses & drizzle balsamic vinegar on top if you make the creme fraiche (above), plop some on top!
serve the stone fruit warm off the grill & plop a little creme fraiche on that plate if you are feeling particularly saucy, throw some fresh mixed berries on the plate