03.16: Bones + Coyotes – Circle Bar
It was only weeks ago that I found myself on the late night airwaves of WTUL with the ladies of KG Accidental, spinning records exclusively from the archives of Washington, DC’s seminal hardcore label Dischord Records, recounting my love of its 1980s glory days in on-air segments, and talking shop in between those segments about the label’s strange invisibility in my own musical golden years, the late nineties and early aughts. Though always managing to wield some sort of amorphous influence over turn-of-the-century counterculture (which, at this point, was made up mostly of fad-whore emos, maybe a tenth of wh0m tenuously grasped the fact that there used to be this band in the mid-eighties called Rites of Spring that was responsible for their entire young adulthood), Dischord wouldn’t truly have any meaning to me personally until I discovered Q and Not U’s No Kill No Beep Beep in the spring of 2002.
The long and short of that extraneous introduction is that the Dischord of now (“now” including my golden years) is virtually unrecognizable from the Dischord of the glorious eighties. Having spent the last twenty years avoiding harDCore’s inevitable fate as a dumbed-down article of fashion in the American zeitgeist while at the same time refusing to ride the rise of “indie” for the sake of continuing to hold the attention of a fleeting nationwide audience, in 2012 Dischord Records is, precariously, a smaller-scale and tighter-knit operation than it ever was, with a progeny whose collective experimental take on pop music often plays like free jazz with a hint of modernity – a far stylistic cry from the jagged edges of Embrace.
But as the crackpot avant-gardism of former El Guapo/Supersystem bassist Justin Moyer indicates, the Dischord roster is still prone to its fair share of capriciousness. Moyer, who dresses in drag and purports to be a transgendered reincarnation of Edie Sedgwick (the long-dead “it girl” known for musing Andy Warhol and aborting a Bob Dylan baby), has concocted a performance art mise en scene – complete with a backing band, homemade visuals and what appears to be an attempt to replicate the vibe of a Mutant Disco compilation – over which he yelps and whispers full-on lampoons 0f specific figures at the top of semi-current pop culture (for instance, he has three full albums of songs exclusively titled after celebrities, including – naturally – one about Sean Young). Moyer himself describes it as “Fela Kuti meets Screaming Jay Hawkins meets the Ol’ Dirty Bastard at a Warhol exhibition,” but I’d be amiss not to mention that the majority of Things Are Getting Sinister and Sinisterer owes at least some debt of gratitude to At The Drive-In’s In Casino Out, an album that poetically owes at least as much to Dischord’s own the Nation of Ulysses.
On Saturday night, Moyer will be pulling double duty. Coming off a run to Austin for SXSW, he’ll be fronting his Edie Sedgwick project as well as providing drums for indie pop act Soccer Team. Joining them will be a couple of New Orleans acts – anthematic pop punk band I’m Fine and post punks Opposable Thumbs.
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