Burn, Gender Binary, Burn: Against Me! Turn North Carolina Show Into Protest

A while ago, when rock’n’roll behemoths like Bruce Springsteen canceled their respective North Carolina shows in a sign of protest against that state’s anti-anti-discrimination bill HB2, Against Me! and particularly frontwoman Laura Jane Grace announced that they would play their show in Durham, but would turn it into a form of protest. And they weren’t kidding: Laura Jane Grace, who is a trans woman, burned her birth certificate on stage, smiling, saying goodbye to gender. 

In an earlier interview she also pointed out that, in contrast to Springsteen’s mega stadium shows, her cancelling the gig wouldn’t hurt the city or state financially, and only affect the fans (and, let’s be real, the members of Against Me. The band is fairly successful, but losing touring income must still hurt them.)

As stereogum reports, she also made clear that HB2 is about more than just bathroom access:

“You know, there’s been a lot of focus on just the bathroom part of HB2, but one of the other huge parts is that it takes away a transgender person’s right to sue for discrimination on the state level and that is huge. I mean, if someone else has the right to sue for discrimination and I don’t, how that is constitutional?”

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/241348471/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Make It Right by The Coathangers is the kind of poppy punk jam that is played twice as fast and thrice as hard at live basement shows but that works on your balcony or during springtime joyrides as well. (Handclaps!)

Wednesday Night Melody

This week in “punk bands I discover on NPR:” Bleached with "Wednesday Night Melody. The sound reminds me of pre-midlife crisis Weezer, the video is an alt. Weekend at Bernie’s, part unsettling, part fun. Hauntingly catchy.

http://cache.vevo.com/assets/html/embed.html?video=USJ5G1610514

Their new record Welcome The Worms is out April 1 on Dead Oceans.

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/241056735/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Katamari Ququette

“Visit a new town/ Shake your fist/ You still have to follow all of them around.”

An artsy emo band from the East coast with an absurdly long name, featuring tempo changes, strings, and a past collaboration with an spoken word artist – how haven’t I come across The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die before? 

This would’ve been the perfect soundtrack for my time in Freiburg.

This is so good. 

(Topshelf Records)

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/242488957/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

What’s Making Me Happy This Week III

Spraynard live on NPR’s Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

I’m at a weird point in my life where I fall for punk bands recommended on NPR shows.

Spraynard play the kind of emotional pop punk that will forever have a special place in my heart and mind. Brilliant. Check out their great album Mable on bandcamp.   

Against Me! released a live version of True Trans Soul Rebel as a precursor to their upcoming new live album, which is awesome on its own, but it also means I get to add the best punk song of recent memory to my running Best Of 2015 Spotify playlist, aptly called “Wait, it’s 2015?”

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/187548911/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

We Forgot the Records to Our Record Release Party

Vancouver hardcore band Needs gives you the soundtrack for your daily WHAT AM I DOING moment. Off of their self-titled full length debut album to be released May 12 on File Under: Music.

http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157974797/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Allison Weiss’ “Take You Back” is a sweet, simple, near perfect pop song. This is my kind of summer music. It’s also one of the great songs on No Sleep Records new (and free!) compilation Summer of No Sleep. Great companion from the first coffee at your desk to the last drink by the lake/sea/campfire of your choice. (Or if you need to detox from all those soccer chants and EDM tracks.)  

Perfect Pussy’s Awesome Noise

Wednesday, middle of the week, time for some awesome noise. Perfect Pussy played their first show on a (inter)national stage recently when they were part of NPR Music’s SXSW showcase. Through all the noise, shouting, and feedback it is a really charming live performance. Especially the stage presence of singer Meredith Graves is undeniably amazing, even on tape. 

http://www.npr.org/templates/event/embeddedVideo.php?storyId=285775248&mediaId=291936718

Meredith Graves is also awesome, outspoken, and feminist off the stage. She and her bandmates took on their home scene of Syracuse, severely criticizing the sexism, racism, and homophobia in the hardcore community, with the backlash that is to be expected. The article about it on bitchmagazine.org gives a good look into the scene:

Meredith Graves did actually host a forum on sexism in the Syracuse music scene earlier this year. On the website badlandsdiy.com, Graves and the rest of Perfect Pussy defended their criticisms, arguing that they were aimed towards specific subsets of the hardcore community and not the scene in general. But the forum’s medley of violent, sexist statements did little to help her cause. One Syracuse performer who told a local media outlet that there were “no traces of homophobia, racism or sexism in Syracuse hardcore” described Perfect Pussy as “a bunch of fags” and implied that he wanted to punch Graves in the face for “running her mouth.”

 ”No one in Syracuse has ever taken my opinion seriously before,” Graves told Syrcause.com in response to the backlash. “Now all of a sudden I go off and say a couple of really mean things and bring on this maelstrom.“ 

Their noise punk isn’t something for everybody, but based on their full length, the live show above, and their public persona, the hype is well deserved.