The “Hipster” Problem

My idol

Irony is a dead word. Impaled on the cruel spire of malaprop, its blood trickling to the dusts of a linguistic graveyard where the misused and abused lexical fragments of today’s culture go to be buried under the likes of “dawg”, “gnarly”, and “Vanilla Ice is cool”. Yes, you fucked up big time, “hipsters”, now no one knows what irony really means, and no amount of dictionary learnins will fix it.

BUT, WHAT IS A HIPSTER?

This asshole.

Son, I’m glad you asked, because this talk was long overdue, and I decided to keep it from you until you found out what “the gays” are. You see, a “hipster” is someone who has no clue what subculture to identify with, and likes to look poor whether they are or not. Though the definition itself is so anomalous, amorphous, and anus that I can scarcely be the one to finally nail down exactly what a “hipster” is. Anyone who listens to Ska, Indie Rock (as certain strains of Alt. Rock are diagnosed), Punk, and Metal (ironically, of course) can be called one, fer Fred Fuch’s sake. Hell, you can be called a hipster for liking something obscure, or not liking something mainstream. You can’t win, so nuke the world.

Some things most “hipsters” can agree on however, are Muse and Radiohead. Now matter how much of a cold shoulder “hipsters” give to the mainstream music, those two keep popping up as bands one would list as “hipster” food.

When someone says “hipster”, I imagine this:

But is this correct? Most likely not, as “hipsters” come in various forms. You have your Metal “hipsters” who insist that only Prog is real, and like bands from genres they claim to hate. You have your normal strain of Indie “hipsters” who have their pulse on Urban Outfitters’ latest in-store items and seem to fear eye contact with the sun. Then you have your punk “hipsters” who are a mysterious breed and dress similarly to the Indie “hipsters”, but go for more Three Chords And The Truth rather than whatever the hell witch house is. It’s fucked and left for dead, this art form.

Ironically, these people all believe themselves to be unique.

I’m not even sure where to go from here, as the concept of what comprises a “hipster” is as enigmatic as their ever-shifting trends. I’ve come to the scientific conclusion that since “hipsters” have no universal set of fashion or music characteristics, and that basically every young person speaks or dresses in a way that one would describe as “hipster”, I’m forced to guess that we are all “hipsters”, and my use of quotations around the term bely my lack of commitment to this post in general. Mind you, I’m basing this, much like anything else I post about, on personal observations, and if you’re mad, then go do heroin with a dog. Someone please tell me what ultimately defines a “hipster” and what weapon type/element they are weakest against. I’m betting swords and fire.

I don’t even know what it sounds like, but I know the kids enjoy it. Damn kids.

Fucked As Punk

And after an unexplained absence, I am back! It definitely had nothing to do with being voluntarily moored in Connecticut for Spring Break. Nothing at all. So proceeding as normal.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been falling more in love with what the kids these days refer to as Punk Rock, in all of its forms; dirty, spikey, unkempt, thuggish, and clean-shaven. Something’s just so irresistable about the way the guitars and drums seem to claw at one another for air while the vocals lead the pack in anguished howls or pissed off shouting. It’s a downward spiral in which missing a shower or two is kind of excusable, and ripped pants are not necessarily the end of the world. Throw in a dash of applied phlebotonium, a few quarts of cheap beer, and dialing back your self-preservation instincts a tad to enjoy thyself, you’re well on your way to antidisestablishmentarianirvanha. Vandalism of public and private property certainly not required, but it’s a huge plus.

Cerebral Ballzy

Sounds Like: High energy Punk Rock that could have come out of the 80s when everyone found out what skateboards, beer, and pretty young ladies can do to a man.

Frenzal Rhomb

Sounds Like: Vegan Aussies angry at everything, including you, and venting through melodic Punk/Hardcore.

Balzac

Sounds Like: Borderline Misfits worship, but with that J-flavor you’ve come to expect from a band of their country.

Doom

Sounds Like: Seething crusty hatred of authority figures.

Pg. 99

Sounds Like: A burst of noise and poetry that is at once scary and beautiful.

Ancient Filth

Sounds Like: Dirty basements everywhere, and sociopolitical content that will make you want to be less of a narcissistic asshole.

Trash Talk

Sounds Like: FUCKIN’ HARDCORE RADICAL, NIGGA.

Skin Like Iron

Sounds Like: Melodic but raw Hardcore packin’ some serious energy.

Limp Wrist

Sounds Like: The rage of LGBTQ oppression that knows how to laugh at itself.

Void

Sounds Like: Drunken Washington D.C. punks that don’t like your attitude. Or Jesus.

Riistetyt

Sounds Like: Depending on the era, it’s either straight up Punk, Crust, or Thrashcore. Whatever genre they’re playing, it’s angry Finnish guys that hate injustice.

Lights Out

Sounds Like: Californian Hardcore that’s probably angry about so many other non-Hardcore bands sharing a name with them.

Fucked Up

Sounds Like: If you mixed what is commonly called Indie Rock containing soft spoken female voices with angry vitriolic Hardcore vocals. It’s a lot better than it sounds.

Andrew Jackson Jihad

Sounds Like: Anti-Folk Punk that will tell you straight up; life sorta sucks and will fuck you. But in the most eerily upbeat way.

Close Call

Sounds Like: What Boston Hardcore is all about. Having fun while making some racket.

Gorilla Biscuits

Sounds Like: New Yorkers that want to lead better lives and use melodic Hardcore to tell people to stop being jerks.

Fuck you.

Good Times, Bad Times, You Know I’ve Had My Dying Fetus at the PVD Social Club

I haven’t been fucked like that in months. I’m sorry, I meant I haven’t been to a show that intense that wasn’t in such close quarters as to render all sensible movement impractical. There we go. I did pop into a free Punk show this sunday but had to leave only two bands deep, so that shall not be written about, as great as Ancient Filth were in a pure burst of Punk energy that threatened the demolition of the Midway. This here is my first time properly slamming it down in probably months, and the pains in my back, chest, arms and neck say “welcome back, faggot.” I almost didn’t make it in, but with some simple math and the fact that I kicked logic out and did the impossible made it all the better on Leap Day Eve.

Last Chance To Reason

Somewhere in a distant land, Powerglove is crying.

Notice how I skipped the random local bands. Right. Anyhow, Last Chance To Reason are a fucken good band, but their lack of keyboards and the vocal effects on their album make them cunts. The atmosphere they had at Metalfest was missing almost in its entirety, and instead of feeling awash in the sound, I was merely being beaten over the head with it. Luckily LCTR are great musicians on their own and their vocalist can still hold a tune even without the Masvidal effects, but it just felt a bit naked without at least some programming in the background. I’m not sure if they’re working to decrease reliance on the effects, but I kinda want them back, please. It’s just not… gamey enough. That being said, they were on point and had a nice flow, pumping out their normal blend of Progressive Metal, airy synths, and Metalcore with relative ease, smashing through boulders like it’s a breeze, you know the dealio. Now to pretend that their vocalist is still a machine and see what happens when they reach Level 3.

Volumes

Play chess in my white T, git crunk in my white T

Whether or not you like Volumes, it’d be a bit mean to say that they’re a shallow band. Sure, they’re doing the whole djentcore thing, but they’re doing it well and with feeling. The crowd certainly seemed to respond well, throwing their hearts and souls at Volumes while they threw theirs back. It was like a big ol’ lovefest but with more sweaty fat men, and we liked it.

Aside from almost having a couple front teeth knocked out by the more energetic partygoers with enormous logs for arms, I’d say their set went without a hitch. Where a lot of bands that rely on chugging riffs would fall apart at the seams —the proof being some of the local bands— Volumes could hold it together through entire songs, and that’s definitely worth mentioning, especially when you wanna get your dance on and need an actual rhythm to back your rompin’ and-a stompin’. Wake the fuck up, but try not to lose an eye while you’re in a Volumes pit, eh?

Job For A Cowboy

I love Jesus, best of all the messiahs!

Goddammit, Job For A Cowboy, you’ve had many years to get this playing live thing correct. If I were one of the Hahdcoah kheds, I’d be a little saddened that they teased with the beginning of Entombment Of A Machine, but it simply became that much more comedic when they gave the proverbial “Fuck you” to the crowd by swithching to Embedded after the high pitched squeal, which Johnny Davy didn’t do —sly devil, probably allowed himself a second to chuckle— but instead let the crowd simply yell ARRRRGH! as if they braced for pain in advance, predicting the bitchslap to come. I do like that song, but tell me this; where the fuck were the leads? Why was the solo 100% improvised (and badly at that)? Hell, why were there no leads in the whole set? Why was the sound so shitty? I’m not even a huge audiophile and I know little to nothing about mixing on a soundboard, but I know diarrhea when I hear it.

I’ll go so far as to say that the rhythm section and Johnny Davy’s steadfast refusal to point back when I pointed at him before their set were the only things done well. The vocals were er… okay, but it’s Job For A Cowboy, so you can’t expect the best of the best. I am sorely disappointed, but since I expect it, it all evens out to a solid meh. Job For A Cowboy stopped being interesting when they decided they were too cool for -core, and just to heap onto the monumental failure they’re carving in ice and the steady downward course their career has taken, they’ve somehow roped in Cephalic Carnage’s bassist to endure this torment alongside them. And he’s doing it all with a straight face. Though nothing is funnier than watching people try to relive JFAC’s glory days by hardcore pitting to their straight up no-bullshit Death Metal material, and from that I gleaned some form of enjoyment and distraction from the ball-peen rhythms to my eardrums that they referred to as guitar. Now I’ll let you go back to your scheduled Black Dahlia Murder copycatting.

Dying Fetus

One of these men is not quite like the others.

These fuckin’ guys. I think I could see them once a month and never get bored of the energy they consistently put out. For only three guys, all of whom being rooted to the spot due to having heavy instrument/vocal duties, they still manage to get a crowd willing to kill at the drop of a dimebag. These are the grand daddies of Deathcore. And by Deathcore I mean Death Metal with Hardcore, not what we call Suicide Silence and Emmure just because we can’t think of a better name for it. The fact that they were A) on such a strange tour with bands that would have a hard time competing with them in terms of impact on the music scene and B) in such a small venue was a bit jarring, but it’s always great to see a band outside of their comfort zone, provided Fetus actually got comfortable playing larger places like the Palladium in Worcester, and to be honest, I wish I could see more bands of their status playing venues this size all the time. Suffocation playing the Crazy Donkey, which is just a few levels up from being a dive, was probably the best I’ve seen them at in all the three times I had seen them. But I digress.

So call me crazy, but Your Treachery Will Die with you has got to be one of the best choices for an opener that they can go with at this point. It’s got everything quintessentially Fetus; groovy Death Metal riffing, challenging technicality, slams, and a love for Hardcore rhythms that’ll get the Metal and Hardcore fans trying to rip each other’s faces off. It just got better from there as slab after slab of aborted offal flew at the crowd in the form of One Shot One Kill, Killing On Adrenaline, Schematics, Shepherd’s Commandment, Opium Of The Masses, Homicidal Retribution, and the all new bruiser From Womb To Waste. How they didn’t already have that song title at the very beginning of their career is a bit of a baffle, but fuckit, they went there.

It would have helped the atmosphere tons if some people knew that Dying Fetus approves more of people throwing the shit down instead of shoving matches akin to how you’d try to take on the rival sect in the elementary school playground, but we powered through, planted our flag in the ground, knocked a few people over, and had a gay old time with the sultry smooth lyricism “Can’t these fuckers leave the shit alone? Always trying to start some stupid shit.” Dying Fetus aren’t there to make you feel comfortable, folks, unless your idea of comfort is in a forest of swinging fists and ducking acrobatic hardcore attacks from all sides, then by all means, please jump in. A couple of ways that the set would have been even better would be if they had actually played Grotesque Impalement —as unlikely as it was, as that release is encrusted in layers of neolithic waste— and if they finally played Kill Your Mother/Rape Your Dog. Only an extra minute, and it’s easily one of the least Technical song in Fetus’ entire discography with the exception of their cover of Next Step Up’s Bringing Back The Glory. But you get what you pay for, and I’d probably need to pay at least 30 for that. Though no admission price guarantees an unofficial meet’n’greet with John Gallagher. Stoners beware, he might ask to bum weed off you.

More like Kill Your Dealer/Steal His Hash.