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June 07, 2010


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If we're talking seminal influence as opposed to pure sonics, I could conceive of Sleigh Bells having the sort of cumulative impact that Jehu had, but I don't think we'll really know that for another couple of years. However, I don't think there will ever be another band that embodies that exact combination of elements and that level of execution. Even if there was, it wouldn't be the same because they would be making something that had already been done, thus making it feel less revelatory. I don't know, I came to Jehu 10 years after you did and it was by way of The Blood Brothers, who I feel like were one of the last great aggressive bands (although Mae Shi, La Quiete and Titus Andronicus and others have all taken things to places that are pretty conceptually interesting, albeit in a way that's more deliberately knowing and conceptually oriented than the bands you mentioned). I think that basically, the 90s were the peak of a certain balance in aggressive music that was able to viscerally engage with a certain level of humor while being raw and primal. I think, and some of this may speak to the influence of politics/Chris Weingarten's thing about crowdsourcing killing punk rock, that aggressive music after a certain point had to embrace a level of knowingness (see last month's "Why We Fight" for a better exploration of that theme). Basically, I feel like you can trace a thread all the way from Fugazi as a reaction to the excesses to hardcore to Jehu's black humor to AtDI's surrealism to The Blood Brother's reintegration of classically pop melodicism to The Mae Shi's tangled relationship with biblical themes and reintegration of dance elements. Those are obvious examples on some level, butcCathartic music with heart and intelligence still exists, it's just that the surrounding cultural forces have led to a rebalancing of those elements along different continuums. Plus, a lot of the things that made those bands cool compositionally have diffused out into pure Noise music as opposed to Rock, which isn't to say that things won't come back around in different ways, just that the aesthetics of Jehu etc. were a product of their moment and that the next iteration of a lot of those things will be of a different moment and thus sound different.

Not sure about the others, but I can say for sure that there will never be another Craw. Heavy music has gotten way smarter and artier over the past decade or so, but still no one has been able to tap into that vein of genuine creepiness and eccentricity. Heavier (in all senses) than any metal I've ever heard.

Sam, I hear everything you're saying (except the Sleigh Bells part. I don't even think their "impact" will be considered three years from now).

When I heard the last Mae Shi album I definitely felt like they were tapping into that lineage... from whence bands like Jehu, Crom-Tech, Crainium, Arab on Radar, et al came. It only truly hit me, personally, on a couple of tracks--but I think it's like you say, that it simply isn't revelatory in the way Jehu or Fugazi were. Those bands remain seminal because they somehow managed to exist within a tradition (hardcore) and yet break with that tradition quite drastically, all at the same time.

I would say there'll never be another Fugazi..but their influence has been widespread,like that of Gang of Four or The Fall; I don't think it's about your being a nostalgic crank - I've felt the same myself about not having room for too many new bands in my life.On the other hand,if a band or artist you really love aren't together any more..then by all means enjoy their back catalogue and remember the good times you had seeing them live,but there are young,hungry girls and boys out there who are begging for the chance to blow you away.So get out there and see as many gigs as you can is my advice ;)

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