Saturday, August 21, 2010

Not The New Punk

I must admit, it's been a minute since I have been very excited about any HC/punk coming out and probably even longer since I felt any fresh sense of energy at a HC show. I have even pondered on if punk, as we knew it, is over. In this void, I have found myself finding interest in and drifting towards something else...

I hate to think of it as "the new punk" because it isn't but the (new) electro scene seems to be emitting an energy that resonates with me. What I find most interesting is that two groups I was drawn to also have a history in punk and seemingly a foot in the anarchist milieu. Crystal Castles play discordant electro with influences from punk and black metal. Vocalist, Alice Glass, was apparently part of a punk band and lived in a squat. The Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 (or their shadowy ringleader, Rifo) have a background in punk and still spout the semantics of anarchy.
One has to be careful when dealing with these subjects. Are the parties involved co-opting punk aesthetics and anarchy to sell music or is it a genuine integral part of their art? I wonder what it was that drew me to these two acts before I had any idea of their politics or punk backgrounds. Was it just because I thought they looked cool? (And can image actually be divorced from one's politics?)

It is also odd, coming from a punk background, that the majority of Crystal Castle & Bloody Beetroots' audiences do not seem to be counter-cultural nor do they even seem to resemble either group.
Where does this leave the politics? Can anarchist ideas be transmitted through the noise of these corporate channels? Perhaps it could even be the end of punk as the lifestyle ghetto of anarchy. I don't have high hopes but I am curious.

Punk and Anarchy are big words for anyone to shoulder. Anyone who wants to adopt this philosophy has a big responsibility and a duty not to betray it. I try to encourage freedom and independence through the channels that are available to me. In Italy, as usual, the sense of Punk has been misconstrued generating extremism that ends up confining itself to ghettos it builds with its own hands.


Anonymous Bryan G said...

To add to your whole picture/analysis: over the course of the last year this new electro became a very important aesthetic, cultural and tactical component of the larger student movement in the bay area and California. This was called, somewhat ironically, "electro communism". Roving dance parties played electro music as an accessible way to get people at any given action (it's easy to dance to) and as a cover for the political attack that was going to come (usually building occupations). There is something about the ease in which people can dance to electro that lended it's appeal to the student movement of last year. On top of that many younger radicals, in my opinion, are learning (however slowly) from some of the mistakes of years past by experimenting with new ways to distance themselves from subcultural ghettos. Lifestylism as a central component of one's politics and "radical ghettoization" are now on the receiving end of much criticism. I kind of see this music embodying that sentiment - same with the fashion that accompanies it.

12:16 PM  
Blogger shane said...

I love hearing how this music served as an inclusive and strategic tool in actual praxis.

Are you saying that this music's sentiment and fashion are rejecting the lifestylism of punk (while embracing some radical elements)?

3:05 PM  

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