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Saturday, August 27, 2011

20 - Tedious Nostalgia and Top 6 School Movies

We talk about Simon Reynolds' "Retromania" and living in the past.  Then we list our top 6 movies about school.


  1. The underground that led to the Alternative (or, Grunge) movement in the 90s had many more heroes than just Kurt Cobain. Granted, Cobain was a figurehead that more or less brought Alternative music to the mainstream, but the entire decade leading up to Nirvana's breach bred a host of names: J Mascis, Lou Barlow, Paul Westerberg, Mike Watt, D Boon, Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, Greg Ginn, Thurston Moore, Lee Renaldo, Kim Gordon, Steve Albini, Gibby Haynes... it's an extensive list of performers and bands that planted the seed to what would ultimately make the 90s happen.

    It would be fair to say that this first REAL wave of independent bands, though influenced and nurtured by punk rock (namely hardcore and post-punk), weren't interested in looking back. In fact, I would put this movement in the same ranking as the 60s, a wave of music that was tirelessly networked and performed (not much radio and certainly no major label interest till it became commercially viable) that carried somewhat of a disdain for reviving and recycling tired sounds. Seattle had more of a love of 70s arena rock and Sabbath and their approach was filtered through the punk rock aesthetic, agreed, but I think that Fugazi, Husker Du, Big Black, Black Flag...etc. were forward thinking bands. From this standpoint, I think it could be argued that the last generation of music fans to generate its own identity came about before the 90s, but faded soon after the corporate machine took hold.

    Just my opinion. Sorry for the long comment.

  2. Thanks for the feedback! Though I still don't like most of what the 80s produced, I think its fair to say that the bands you mentioned were not interested in "looking back". One point I tried to make is that grunge was more of a continuation and popularization of much of what went way underground in the early 80s. Black Flag kept it alive but were barely on the radar of mass culture in the 80s, and our discussion in this edition mainly concerns itself with culture on the larger scale, ie, things that have a felt impact. I'm interested in why we choose to do this so often and more often than in the past perhaps.

    And I know its boring to keep dragging Cobain into it, but he remains one of the few genuinely charismatic figures to "make an impact". Its like the crack I once made about Alex Chilton. I'm skeptical of "pop geniuses" who never had a hit. Now you may say that's because the Beatle moment for Beatle songs was over. Or you may say that Chilton just couldn't write a song like Lennon/McCartney. Or both. Same goes for Westerberg. Now maybe thats because I don't really dig the replacements or Big Star the way I'm supposed to, but I'd argue the real deals tend to get across in some way - Lou Reed being a case in point.