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Listen Up, Nerds - 2024 Resolutions

Listen Up, Nerds - 2024 Resolutions
making New Years Glasses a "thing" during the 2000s has created dire consequences

Welcome to the Listen Up, Nerds Newsletter. A new year, but I promise some of the same things will happen over here. Consistency is key, they say, so I am going to do a lot of the same stuff I usually do and maybe some more.

Real quick housekeeping stuff before we get into the big thing: Some friends and I put our resources together to help release the new Flesh Tape record. It rocks. I’ve been telling people that it sounds like throwing an Archers of Loaf record through a pedalboard with every knob cranked to 10. You can listen to the single “Gargoyle” below and preorder the record here. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Ok let’s cut to the chase: 2024 is here and we’re all trying to change or better ourselves or whatever. Maybe some of you are resolving to be worse this year. That’s pretty sick, tbh. I made some resolutions for the newsletter and myself, which I will share below.

1. Be less speculative about Hardcore

For years, the way I talked about hardcore was speculative. Spurred by the way that peers and podcasts alike spoke about the music I loved, the culture I was in, I became a Bill Simmons-type. Hell, we all did. We all worked our little trade machine brains into building festival lineups and dream splits and Miami Heat Big 3 hardcore bands. We’d ask “Who’s the Michael Jordan of Hardcore? Who’s our Lebron? Who’s Tom Brady?” The take machine of popular culture wormed its way into our collective consciousness and became the only way we could have a chat that dipped below surface level.

“Hot Take Culture” has infiltrated everything and we know that. It’s the only way we regularly have our assumptions and worldview challenged. It’s not a bad thing, per say. At its best, it’s Direct Action against our consciousness. Most of the time, it’s not worth engaging. It’s not a “protest” as much as it’s a guy in Union Square asking you to sign his anti-circumcision petition with three other hastily-scratched names on it.

Basically, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to predict who catches on or gets a big deal or whatever. It’s frankly some fencesitter behavior and nobody with any investment cares. It’s like talking about your fantasy football team with a table of grown adults. When’s the last time you gave a shit about *who* got it right? I think as it goes on, the most valuable thing you can lend is some skin to the game. At the very least, you can believe in hardcore. I dare to believe in a world where hardcore survives forever and the DIY punk rock ethos I stand by on a daily basis is the only way forward. I control what I can and let the chips fall where they may because what exists outside of the ideas my brain could conceive are often more interesting than any hypothetical I could cook up. 

2. Put more skin in the game

I want to contribute more. I love lending a voice or covering something that would’ve gone otherwise unseen but I do feel like doing a little more, either with art or volunteering or putting records out. Maybe I’ll write more in bigger places. It feels like it’s about time. I think it’s going to be more important than ever to have some skin in the game or to actively make what we want to see. It’s always been important but it’s going to be more vital to articulate what you like and learn how to make it yourself. 

3. Write less about Capital-H Hardcore

When I got back to Denver, I remembered what it was like to fall in love with hardcore. I remembered what it was like to be real. I remembered what it felt like to watch a scene, to watch the people you know make art and perform it for friends. I remembered what it felt like to recognize people and see the impact that you can bring by just being there. This city fought hard and continues to fight hard to stay independent after the pandemic and venue closures and who knows what else. What I really want to hammer home here is that Hardcore will never die. The scene here, and the scene in New York, and the scene in Jakarta, and the scene in Brussels, they will continue. DIY continues to thrive just out of reach from venue conglomerates and corporate airwaves and streaming charts. It’s not just hardcore, either. It’s every genre. It’s every form of art. It’s everyone. It’s all still moving and it’s moving forward wherever community and expression can exist together. The thing is that you don’t need me to tell you that. You know and I know that hardcore punk isn’t at any risk of dying out. It’s in big venues and on Taco Bell commercials. As long as there are 16 year olds getting pissed off and drywall to punch, hardcore will be strong.

4. Write more about hardcore

I want to talk more about hardcore and aggressive music as an art form, less about the scene implication. More personal, less abstract. There’s stuff worth talking about re: lack of political hardcore music and a general softening at the highest levels, but unless there’s something real crazy happening, there’s not much use in talking about internet posts or scene photogs or whatever.

I don’t really get bent out of shape during End Of Year List Season because what I listen to isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and doesn’t really tick boxes for shares. Most of the bands I share through the newsletter do not have social media or do not exist outside of two demos and 10 shows. This stuff is, in a way, for perverts. For almost my entire life, I’ve said things like, “Wow, why didn’t (band with 4000 listeners all-time) make any lists? I heard it, why didn’t (Big Music Magazine)?” That being said, the lack of aggressive music celebrated, save for the poppiest and brainiest examples, across the board from almost all outlets was a little surprising. So, hey, that’s where I come in. I’ll continue to cover weirdo heavy music across genre lines while focusing on punk/hardcore. Tell a friend.

Personal resolutions:

1. Wear more black.

I wear a lot of black already but I think it’s time to commit to the lifestyle. 

2. Learn French

I started doing this on Duolingo right before the pandemic and just never got back to it. I’ve been kinda busy.

3. Be more mysterious.

I want to be a little more mysterious but I can’t shut up. It’s my fatal flaw. This year, I’m making moves in silence. I’m going to be silent when I’m making moves. 

4. Rid myself of the ancient witch’s curse 

It’s been like six years, dude, get it together.

5. Read more, love more

Pretty self-explanatory imo

Thanks for reading last year and thanks for reading this year. I'm looking forward to whatever comes next, and I hope you are, too.