Last week I had to update my No Days Off playlist to take a band off of it. The reason why I felt compelled to remove their song, one that has been a favorite of mine since its release, is something you could probably guess. Whatever the reason, it’s particularly difficult to deal with that kind of disappointment these days when you can’t gather in a space with people who haven’t disappointed you yet.
I’ve already been fending off that type of “remembering the good old days” spiral that comes with being at a certain age, but not being able to gather with anyone, period, has been absolutely wild for my nostalgia.
I can’t decide if this piece helped or hurt that mental spiral, but last week David Anthony wrote this wonderful reflection on the period of time I’ve been thinking about most lately: the late-2000’s scrappy punk-emo-folk phase of DIY where The Pink Couch reigned supreme and a lot of my friends and I wore black tights under cutoff shorts. A time where the Polish dance club in Brooklyn that gave bands an insane amount of drink tickets could be home to a surprise cover of "Sabotage” by Good Luck, Spoonboy, and Jeff Rosenstock. David encapsulated our intentions incredibly well and contextualized how and why a lot of those bands still exist today. As much as I want to ramble on about that time, please just go read what he wrote. I’ll throw my hat in the ring with something about the Anti Valentine’s Day Riot Grrrl Shows and The Big She Bang another time.
If I look back long enough, that cloud of nostalgia will eventually burn off and I’ll be happy to not still be drinking $2 High Life in the back of Tommy’s Tavern. I can see how far my friends and I have come just in terms of our mental health, if not also our chosen career paths. It was awesome, but I’m fine with leaving it back there along with my tights-and-shorts (as much as I’d trade 2020 for almost any other year at this point).
If I picked up anything from the 2010 era of my life it was to really love the things that speak to you. Simply thinking about that puts a fire under my ass to just make. more. stuff. Write more songs. Make more zines. Send mixes to friends. Fuck around with a drum machine. Play a Minor Threat cover set twice in a row because once was only 10 minutes long.
I miss being able to do that last one so much it hurts, but I’ll focus on the other things for now.
Getting back to the playlist I mentioned at the start of this thing, I started it as a playlist of the bands we had been touring with, or who I had recently seen live. Lots of friends and folks I admire. While I was taking one song off, I added a few more that seem relevant to this conversation:
Good Luck - Stars Were Exploding
This song is leaning against a car at night in the summer heat watching fireworks while wondering what the fuck you’re doing with your life even though you’re having fun. I miss Ginger’s voice!
John K Samson - Fantasy Baseball at the End Of The WorldThink Weakerthans - Bigfoot! but like the world is on fire.
Laura Stevenson - After Those Who Mean InOh, you thought the John K Samson song was going to make you cry? Buckle up!
Jeff Rosenstock - Scram!
From guest synths on “Sabotage” to sax solos at the Fillmore, Jeff’s got a new song that the 2010 version of all of us would be proud of.
Bad Moves - Working for Free
Power pop fighting the good fight. This one includes David Combs aka Spoonboy who I mentioned earlier and they made a killer record that came out this spring.
Des Ark - Which One of You Assholes Ate Christmas
True story, I only ever had an mp3 of this song that got from this Pink Couch Session and it was one of my favorite Des Ark songs for YEARS until I searched for it on Spotify just now. If you want a beautifully bittersweet song about three ex’s ago, this one is for you.
If thinking about any of these things made you smile, you might also laugh at this Mitch Clem comic that never gets old.
If you like a lot of the people I mentioned above, you might enjoy this interview I did with David Combs or this conversation I had with Jeff Rosenstock, Laura Stevenson, Chris Farren, and John Agnello.
keep the faith cut and paste,
PS - If you like any of these bands, or my band, please go follow them on Bandcamp or whatever platform you use to keep track of music.