I was never a punk. In high school I was a trendy little femme who liked the Smiths and sixties music. Duckie was my fashion icon. The only punk rock I listened to was the Dead Milkmen.
The king of the punks at my school was a senior named Alex who came to class one morning with perfectly spiked hair. Multiple four-inch spikes of Ziggy-red hair held up with egg whites or Elmer’s or some other gravity defying concoction. While he was walking down the hall some big dumb jock took a donut and placed it on one of those epic spikes.
Alex left the donut on his head for the rest of the day.
To me, that epitomizes punk rock. You make a personal statement that goes against the grain, you get hassled for it, but ultimately you subvert that mockery by reclaiming it and making it your own.
I didn’t see any donuts at Riot Fest this year but there was no shortage of that same punk rock attitude.
According to its website, the Wonder Ballroom in Portland was built by The Ancient Order of Hibernians, “a group committed to immigration reform, civil rights for those of Irish descent and the preservation of the old Irish culture.” It opened September 10, 1914 and over the next 96 years passed through a variety of hands and served a variety of services. It was an American Legion, a Catholic Youth Center, a day care center, and now sits on the National Register of Historic Places. Fully rehabbed and restored, the Wonder Ballroom is a glimpse of the past struck new. What better place to see and hear Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard translate Jack Kerouac to an audience of skinny jeans and beard scratchers?
As is known around here, I am a big fan of this album Farrar and Gibbard put out. I love everything about it as a modern musical interpretation of Jack Kerouac‘s most heart wrenching novel. It features two songwriters so steeped in illusion and imagery that you might guess they’re lost beat writers caught in a worm hole and trapped 60 years from their homes. As an album, One Fast Move Or I’m Gone is about as perfect as they come for me. It has lyrics I can pore over and reinterpret and ponder, it has music that strikes me dumbfounded on a regular basis. It simply doesn’t get better.
I have to admit I was a little baffled by the teaming of Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard for this project. As I said when news of the partnership broke, the only common trait I saw between the two was that each had a unique voice. I mean, this is one of the kings of alt-country working alongside one of the kings of slightly fey teen pop. But then I focused on their words.
Man, chicks love Twilight. If you live in a cave or haven’t recovered from the Harry Potter madness of five years ago you might not even realize that most of the young people in this country have gone crazy for vampires. Yes, vampires. The ladies in particular love this stuff. A spate of copy-cat movies and TV shows are in the works to capitalize on the success of the Twilight but nothing beats the original…except a sequel…and a tour.
And so it is with great excitement and just a bit of nervous giggling that the New Moon Talent Tour kicks off on a tour of—what else?—malls to celebrate the much-anticipated theatrical release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon on November 20.
Kick off starts in LA with Death Cab for Cutie, Band of Skulls, Sea Wolf, and Anya Marina, and then continues with Anya Marina and Hurricane Bells doing a few separate dates in the US.
I am busting out my best velvet smoking jacket and stealing my lady’s eyeliner and heading straight to Hot Topic to pick up some hot vampire love.
If someone had asked me what Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Son Volt’s Jay Farrar have in common I might have answered, “They both have unique voices?” As it turns out they have much more in common, including a shared passion for Jack Kerouac and it appears now, co-writing credits on the soundtrack for an upcoming bio on the king of Beat writers.
Gibbard and Farrar were approached by filmmakers in 2007 about writing music for the film One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur (IMDB), due on October 20. According to Farrar, approximately 90% of the soundtrack’s lyrics draw directly from Kerouac’s poems. One wonders how the filmmakers landed on these two as writing partners, a question that isn’t immediately answered by Gibbard.
“I’d never met Jay before, and we found ourselves in a studio with a film crew, just blinking at each other, diving right into recording sessions,” Gibbard told Billboard.com. “In that first session, we did 3 or 4 songs together. We had the trepidation of not really knowing each other; getting to know each other in real time as we were recording made for a beautiful recording.”
Alison Sudol, aka A Fine Frenzy, covers one of my favorite Death Cab For Cutie songs and applies the appropriate amount of puckishness (I don’t think that’s a real word) to this classic lovelorn ditty.