Saturday, September 6, 2008

On "Groovy Hate Fuck" and the blueprint for western decline...

It's funny that Pussy Galore blew up (as in dissolved) and then The Message got out. Black Flag's "Damaged" is obviously the cornerstone for a hardcore of nihilism (PG was wont to cover their fair share of the Rollins era) but Jon Spencer and Julia Cafritz kept that rolling. Then came the inevitable break-up, the establishment of new projects that continued on to great renown (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Free Kitten), and the recognition of what was hiding in plain sight all along. I feel like so much nihilistic, dystopian rock music really speaks to the idea of prophecy in the American voice as outlined by Greil Marcus in "The Shape of Things to Come." So many of these musicians are far from outcasts, often integrated into broader culture but also the seedy underbelly. Perhaps it's a more holistic awareness combined with a certain cynicism that leads to this kind of sound; if you could take what you saw and extrapolated it out twenty years down the line, how would you feel?

All this comes from a really great interview of Julia Cafritz, relevant due to Free Kitten's recent resurrection. If you were wondering the new album "Inherit" is worth checking out, especially since it's a major shift stylistically. Cafritz admits that sonically it takes a turn for the worse, especially poignant considering she says "Free Kitten is an opportunity to express more dark as we live lightly." Life and art are imitable, but they're at their best when in discourse with each other.

What caught my eye, though, was the lead quote, which turned out to be the most poignant segment of the entire interview. Some of that old-fashioned prophesying is still at work, both in Free Kitten and Cafritz's life, continuous with a lot of ideas that came out in the days after punk got broken. What's it like to see a future and then watch it dissolve? What takes its place? Cafritz has this to say, and I'm still thinking on it:
New York was going to get taller, there would be sex clubs in buildings that catered to hospital fetishes. And there would be freeze-dried drinks at bars. In reality, because of 9/11, it's a run for comfort. It's the proliferation of cupcake shops. New York has tried to recast itself to look like the rest of America. Instead of rising like a phoenix, it retreated into itself.

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