Monday, May 24, 2010

Popsters, Hipsters, Poseurs, and Other Local Fauna

So I'm going to a couple of shows this week, which will be fun: I haven't really been out since the great Ray Davies "You're-A-Snob-For-Accurately-Describing-A-Demographic" Controversy in March.

On the slab this week, Paul Collins Beat on Thursday, and Blue Oyster Cult (What, Blogger does not provide an umlaut? For shame!) on Friday.

You'll never guess which of these has drawn the ire of the soi-disant hipster press.

Unknown Local Musician Wears Terrible Hat, Hates Hipsters
Posted by Mike Conklin on Fri, May 21, 2010 at 1:58 PM

First of all, shame on the Brooklyn Paper for publishing this bullshit, and shame on Southpaw for booking it. 27-year-old musician Jay Banerjee has organized an event called Hipster Demolition Night, taking place next Thursday and featuring a bunch of no-name garage-rock/power-pop revivalists. "It's a miniature revolution," he says, "a revolt against what’s been dominating the scene for far too long." And what's that? "Hipster noodling," obviously.
here's the saddest part of all this: They're not actually battling hipsters for anything. They lost. Those guys always lose. The ones who pride themselves on being rock and roll lifers, the ones who wear shorts on stage and send out press kits with 8x10 glossy photos, the ones who complain about the cool kids simply because they're not among them, the ones who make lame, outdated generalizations to lame, outdated media outlets in hopes of getting a little bit of attention. Well, here it is. It won't lead to anything, though. It never does.


Most people I know who listen to this genre are pretty self-deprecating about it: we've learned to be, since we're so accustomed to being told that it's just not as cool as whatever the person lecturing us is listening to. Whatever. But this is a genre with a long history and serious fan base, one which does not necessarily change direction every four months. You don't really hurt us by calling us geeks: we already know that. But denying us the right to exist and peaceably to assemble is downright unamerican, dude.

The comments calling him out for not knowing a thing about any of the bands he's trashing (as well as Banerjee's gracious offer to buy him a beer) make my job surprisingly easy here: he doesn't know the music, never heard of Paul Collins, and seems to think Collins looks 27. (I met Collins last year: a handsome man, but not 27.) And he seems to be the music editor of this paper, and he's completely unashamed of his ignorance.

I do not know what the bug up Conklin's butt is, but he seems awfully earnest about making sure that we know that he doesn't think we're cool enough to share Brooklyn sidewalk space with people like him. Where's his unconcerned, ironic detachment? In any case, he's roundly spanked here, and justly so. I'm dragging my geeky ass to Southpaw on Thursday in any case.

Maybe Astoria will host the wretched refuse of our tuneful shores next time.

Betcha the BOC show is also irony-free.

PS: Dunno what your sidebar shows, but mine proudly contains a teaser for an article called "Hipsters in History." Ha!

PPS: Just ruminating: do we think Conklin knows what Disco Demolition Night was, either? Probably not, or he wouldn't be giving Collins a hard time about his beret, one which resembles the kicky chapeau worn by my beloved blogmate. Steve Dahl's hat is much worse.


Virginia said...

He's probably a Big-Ender, too.

Oooooh, I hate those guys!

steve simels said...

There's no self-righteousness like early post-adolescent self-righteousness.

NYMary said...

There's no self-righteousness like early post-adolescent self-righteousness.

Fuck you!

(throws punch, misses, falls over)

steve simels said...

Seriously, kiddo -- now I'm nervous about attending the Collins show with you.

I mean, I'm going to be wearing pretty much the same hat.

NYMary said...

I feel pretty confident that Conklin won't be there. Besides, I'll be your bodyguard.

FD13NYC said...

Steve, I presuming this is the same Paul Collins who made that terrific debut disc The Beat back in 1979? Great stuff! Enjoy the show.

NYMary said...

The same, FD. I love that record. I saw him play an acoustic show with John Wicks last year: it was terrific. And he has a new record coming out, I think next month, called The King of Power Pop.

TMink said...

Paul Collins Beat is great. My copy of the 79 album survived the flood too! And good call on him being older than 27, I bet all of us who remember "Rock N Roll Girl" and "Different Kind Of Girl" are over 27.

And loving it.


M. Bouffant said...

Umlaut: Ö

ampersand [&] + [O] (or any other letter, lower or upper) + [uml] + semi-colon [;]

Smush the characters inside the brackets together.

A handy reference

Herb said...

OK, you've always badmouthed BOC, why are you going to their show???

NYMary said...

Have I ever badmouthed them? I don't think so. They're not much on my radar. In any case, the spouse wants to: it's a trade-off.

Jay Banerjee said...

Thanks for the terrific write-up, Mary! In return, Jay Banerjee & The Heartthrobs are going to learn "Don't Fear the Reaper" in the next few days, just to save you and the spouse the trouble of going out on Friday. (I actually don't mind that record at all. It has ringing guitars and "la-la-la's". That makes it at least 85% of the way to power pop, right?)

As for Mike Conklin, I really hope he comes out to the show. Maybe he'll be so impressed that the next day, he'll shave, buy contacts, and donate his flannel to Goodwill. And then accompany you to the Blue Öyster Cult concert.

steve simels said...

A band I was in once opened a show for a certain 60s icon whose band included BOCs original drummer Albert Bouchard.

He as appallingly terrible. To the point where I could not for the life of me believe he'd ever toured or recorded with a theoretically world class band.

Just saying.

MBowen said...

Well, if I considered myself a hipster today, I'd be pretty defensive too. I mean, it's awfully tough to go around pretending that your new and cool and interesting if Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective are your hot new bands.

Nigel Tufnel said...

Steve, what the world wants to know is: Did Albert Bouchard play the cowbell on "Reaper"?

jacksurreal said...

Interestingly after reading about the Hipster Demolition Night and reading the blog on L magazine something came to mind, the fact that these cultural situations keep going in cycles. My point is that the same thing that is going on now with the "hipsters" VS the power poppers or garage rockers in Brooklyn is the same exact thing that happened to the band Radio City that I co founded with Gary Feldman in 1977. Then, we were definitely ahead of our time being heavily into Cheap Trick and Big Star, along with Grin and a lot of then unknown bands. We were having trouble getting good gigs at both CBGB's and Max's because we weren't weird enough (like Devo, Teenage Jesus or proto punk like the Dead Boys). Move ahead three decades and we finally get our due (well at least somewhat). A release on Radio Heartbeat Records (a cool retro label that also put out “Milk & Cookies” “The Speedies” and I think is doing “20/20”).The Radio City release got super reviews that all said we should have gotten a major deal back then.

below are some experts from Radio City interviews that are good examples of how the trendy hipsters(scensters really) had the same attitude towards rock and pop thirty years ago. The new generation always wants to have their own sound, only by this point there is nothing "new" that hasn’t been done before so I guess it's down to Cellos and handlebar mustaches. (and I like Cellos!)

Radio City Interview excerpts

In the 70s, a handful of bands would not give in to the pressures of the music industry and produced music from their hearts that would last forever because of its honesty and integrity. Given the climate of the industry in those years, this was, in hindsight, heroic action. Radio City tops this list and due credit may finally be given to them. They picked up where bands like The Beatles and Badfinger left off; gave us back our innocence in their fun, imaginative music that held us to what we thought we could be and would be in our minds and in our hearts. Where other bands crumbled to industry pressure, Radio City stayed true to their beliefs and gave us melodies and song crafting that makes one want to go out to buy a guitar and learn how to play. Radio City should have made it big but instead are now legendary. We need them now more than ever >>> Danny Shonerd, The Boys(USA)

NY native Gary Feldman formed Radio City in 1977, taking a love of The Raspberries, Todd Rundgren and The Byrds with him in the studio. In fact, the band’s big sin was being “too pop” in a fashionably punked-out New York music scene at the time. It’s another case of a group breaking up before it’s full studio release>>>Adam Kufleburg POWERPOPAHOLIC 2009

Radio City: Class Of ’77 (Radio Heartbeat, 2009)
This is a lost power pop gem from the late seventies.. or can you lose something that was never released. Radio City was too pop for the punk scene of New York and never got the break they would have deserved, but they did record a fantastic bunch of songs that finally thirty years later see the light of the day.>>>One Chord To Another, Finland.

Check out the Radio City tunes

Check out my latest release
Sunrise Highway and read the complete reviews for Sunrise Highway and Radio City