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Listen Up, Nerds: The Week of January 19, 2024

Listen Up, Nerds: The Week of January 19, 2024

Welcome back to the Listen Up, Nerds Newsletter. I’ve got quite a few new folks reading this week so hello to them. This is the weekly “Music Recs” part of the newsletter. Some quick housekeeping to lead off:

1. Thanks to anyone who checked out the Flesh Tape record after its release on Tuesday. I’ve heard some really nice words in response to it and I intend on forwarding those words to the people on the record. If you’ve not heard it, take a listen here:

2. I listened to Green Day for most of the past two weeks, but for good reason: Stereogum asked me to do that and to rank all of their records, including the new one. I did that, so you can read my thoughts below. I’ve received some compliments and some insults but no death threats, so I think I did an all right job.

Green Day Albums Worst To Best
It does feel silly in 2024 to try to introduce a reader to Green Day, of all bands. You clicked on the headline, you know who Green Day are. My mom knows who Green Day are. I told my mom about this article and she said “Oh yeah, I know Green Day,” but not in the way that your parents lie to you when they want to relate to you or pretend to understand. Everyone knows Green Day. You tell people you listen to anything resembling punk rock and they say, “Oh cool, I like Green Day.”

3. I’m DJing before/between bands tomorrow at the Hi-Dive. 7 S Broadway, Denver, CO. The bands playing? It’s none other than DespAIR Jordan, Quits, and my pals in Broken Record. I start music at 8, bands start at 9. Come hang.

Broken Record/Quits/Despair Jordan/DJ Listen Up Nerds

Obligatory P4k Mourning Post:

Music journalism is under attack... Well, that blows. Seeing Pitchfork folded into another, much worse, media outlet is of course depressing. I have no idea where I’d be or who I’d be without reading Pitchfork reviews from 2004-now. Maybe I’d have an MBA from another Midwestern state school. I’d have a wife, two kids, and a certified pre-owned Audi A6. We’d live just outside of Chicago. *shudders

Lionel Hutz Shudder Meme Generator - Imgflip

It’s pretty clear that the suits were upset about the Pitchfork Union and decided to assimilate Pitchfork with a property that wasn’t unionized. I assume GQ isn’t unionized because everyone on staff seems to be paid adequately for the task of saying “Big Pants good, Skinny Jean bad.” If you’re a GQ staffer and you’re not paid adequately, please reach out to.. An actual journalist. Not me. 

This seems, to put it bluntly, really stupid. Pitchfork was a successful media outlet that had pretty good standing with anyone who read it, especially in the last few years. I don’t really understand the business practices involved with buying something to make it worse if only to sell it to someone else for much less than I purchased it for and to deteriorate further the public perception of my brand. But then again, I went to journalism school. What do I know?

5 Reasons You Need a Pitchfork in the Garden - Minnesota State  Horticultural Society
learning how to write instead of learning how to tend to a farm... bro i was worried about the wrong pitchfork!!!!

There’s been talk of the death of the album review as a form of criticism, which I suppose I understand. The album is no longer hard to access, every album ever made costs $12/mo to go straight into your ears. Not to be all “Back in my day” about it but I definitely remember spending $16 on records that I listened to twice because they sucked, which probably radicalized me into the Pitchfork reader from the first paragraph. I think people still care about album reviews, though. The most enduring outlets of music journalism are based on the album review (P4k, Fantano). 

Do I know what the future holds for music journalism, the album review, so on and so forth? I sure don’t. I choose to accept the mystery. But also I don’t have any say one way or another. I’m going to continue posting cool new punk releases here and I’ll talk about other music as it comes out and ends up as something worth talking about. I’ll remain independent until the wonderful folks at Nike decide to back the truck up to my house. Nike: I wear a size 13. 

If you don’t mind, I’m going to break character for a second. I do think it’s really valuable that people continue to talk about music and write about the things they like. Outside of film, music is the artform that people engage with most. This is a passion for you and me. I would at least guess that if you read a niche music newsletter, you care about music. There are people who are deeply caring and considerate of Music, but everyone listens to music. Some people just care less than others. As long as people care, it’s worth talking about what they consume. I’ve met most of my friends, best friends, and girlfriends through experiencing music and talking about music. If I didn’t have sites like Pitchfork, Stereogum, Punknews, etc. to guide me and help me find the art that really spoke to me, I’d live a much sadder and lonelier life. 

So it’s been a few weeks into the new year and I haven’t written much about NEW MUSIC!! Where’s the NEW HOTNESS???? WHERE’S THE BEATS FOR THE STREETS????? They’re here, my child. New music is everywhere for those with the eyes to see.

Lethal - Hardcore Music Time Tape (Self-released)

I saw Lethal last year at The Bootleg in Brooklyn with Protocol, Hotline TNT, and Firewalker. Extremely sick night. I think there was another band but I don’t remember. Anyway, they ripped and I grabbed their debut, Lethal’s Hardcore Hit Parade, when it dropped. Really solid New York punk rock. If you enjoy Tower 7, the early Warthog 7”s, or Kinetic Orbital Strike, you’ll like Lethal. If you listen to this and want more, then go listen to the bands I just mentioned. If you’ve heard all of those, then, well, I guess there’s no more music! That sucks :( 

RIYL: Tower 7, Kinetic Orbital Strike, Warthog, biting on a strip of leather

Asbestos - Wishful Thinking (11PM)

“Another amazing band from the best scene in America, Denver. They cannot stop pumping out great records and if you've seen videos of shows there they a fucking packed to the gills with young people.” I KNOW THAT’S RIGHT, 11PM RECORDS MAN!!!!! Listen, 11PM has the best track record with hardcore releases over the past year, maybe two years? I looked at their releases on bandcamp just now and really, it’s more like four years. They put out Armor, Protocol, AND Sniper Culture’s 7”s in 2019! That’s goated, as the kids say. 

Anyway, let’s get back to Asbestos: If you’ve heard Civilized or Cadaver Dog, you know Denver has a penchant for hardcore that sounds like you got chained up in a basement and forced to mosh. It’s for freaks, by freaks. Sam Rupsa’s yowl cuts through the grime on this record and makes it sound as filthy and rotten as punk/hardcore/aggressive subculture music should sound. 

RIYL: Cadaver Dog, Total Abuse, Bib, shopping for knives on the internet

Lazer Bullet - Spirit Suck Shit (Convulse)

This shit’s got me barking like a dog and scratching my ear with my foot like a dog and dragging my ass across my floor like a dog and well basically I like it. This is the kind of punk rock I like most: fast, deranged, ripping solos, person who sounds like a nerd pushed to the edge on vocals. I think I read someone’s post that mentioned this had a member of GOON in it, maybe I’m delusional. If you haven’t listened to Natural Evil by GOON, you should check it out. Maybe my fav record of 2019 after everything was said and done. 


Hacker - Psy Wi-Fi (Beach Impediment)

Australians: You can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Sometimes they make a pretty good hardcore record, though. Sometimes I’m sitting here wondering what they have to be angry about. They've got very pretty beaches and cool animals. They also have really cool cars. You can buy a car with a pickup bed in the back of it, and people think it’s a nifty thing to have. They call it a “Ute.” They see it as a useful thing to own. They don’t run out and buy the biggest truck for the most money they can afford like Americans do. Can you believe that shit? Americans are so stupid. Everyone needs a big dumb truck to carry, oh I don’t know, a big screen tv in the back? Once? Maybe they’ll use their pickup truck to take a La-Z-Boy home or something. That’s worth $65000, right? To never pay $50 for delivery again? And now you park like an assclown because your truck is too big for any parking space so you take up two spaces or you drift into the bike lane because you don’t know where the corners are on your big stupid truck. I suppose you can be angry about anything if you try hard enough. I think this rocks.

RIYL: The Flex, GISM, knowing what the guy in the band is saying so that you can sing along

Old Record of the week:

Big Takeover - Madhouse (Triple B Records)

I don’t think this got any juice back when it was released, probably on account of the looming coronavirus pandemic. NYHC played by Californians always rocks for some reason. Diztort is probably the best band doing that right now, but this Big Takeover record was so cool. The drums pound away, the guy on the mic is doing that half-bark/half-rap thing, and it doesn’t fall into the hardcore “warrior poet” trope but it dances right on the edge of it without being corny.

RIYL: Diztort, Biohazard, Killing Time

That’s all from me this week. Take care.