Saturday, January 4, 2014

My New Year's Resolution

Like many Americans, I make resolutions at the beginning of a year knowing full well that most of them will fall into ruin by the time we all get pretty good at making those 3's look like 4's (just so nobody thinks we've forgotten what year it is.)

But I'm making a resolution here and now, inspired by the numerous facebook posts seen after the nuclear-winter level fallout that comes from the 'undergound' following the posting of year-end 'Best of" lists.

I'm making 2014 the year I bury the words HIPSTER METAL.

I'll bet you all know a person or two who never fail with their long, disjointed, mispelled, and possibly autocorrected tirades against "hipster metal" and against any metal record which got picked up or reviewed by Pitchfork Media, Vice/Noisey, Stereogum, NPR, or (god forbid) Spin or Rolling Stone. These posts are usually accompanied by a ridiculous claim that hipsters are invading the "scene" or that the metal bands in question are not actually metal bands, therefore the people that like the artist are not metalheads.

I've been discovering and listening to weird music long enough that I feel comfortable saying that this isn't a new phenomenon, but to be honest the discourse has become so annoying over the last few years that I feel the need to stick a (pitch)fork in this while the topic is still on everyone's tongue.

I remember six or seven years ago when the term first become the most common insult thrown at twenty-somethings. Since then its grown and morphed to encompass nearly every cultural or countercultural movement that the insulter doesn't approve of. The word is meaningless. The hipster has become the other by which subcultures identify in-group and out-group members. It's a mechanism to police subcultures and has little to no relation to any actual genres or bands. The hipster is a cultural terrorist. They ruin everything and appreciate nothing. By virtue of this omnipresence they can't be identified - which is precisely what makes it the perfect insult to hurl at an opponent.

What is hipster metal? I don't fucking know anymore. It doesn't describe a sound. It just gets stuck on records or bands that get popular, or on bands that experiment with genres that some metalheads don't like.

When you use the phrase hipster metal, you become a walking stereotype of heavy metal. You become the reason people remember nothing about metal other than that guy in the patch-vest who was a total dick to them at a record store when they were just trying to find some new music.

I'm not saying that a lot of great music doesn't get ignored in favor of a few records. I'm not saying that we shouldn't worship the old. I'm not saying we shouldn't fly the flag of awful, cryptic metal that you feel in your bones and in your worst nightmares log after it's over. I'm saying if you want to talk music, grow your personal vocabulary beyond the H word.

But that's just like, my opinion, man.

Back from the dead

Dorkthrone was a relatively short-lived music blog I kept back in 2010 and 2011. I got busy and stopped blogging, and then I just stopped. I'm not the biggest fan of music writing because like most consumers of the written word, I find it to be self-aggrandizing and redundant. Sure there are great exceptions, but for the most part a lot of people write reviews about a lot of the same material. I don't want to sink into that.

So, where does this leave us in 2014? Well, this is a new start. I make you the reader a promise that I will not give in to temptation to produce redundant reviews. I will try my best to write in a way that conveys the records as they are and not fill them with awful adjectives and metaphors. Why? Because you deserve better, and you can already get that anywhere else.

No redundancy, no mediocrity, no download links, no bullshit.

Your light in the dorkness,

Sean