Apparently, people are catching on now. The genre is called “drag” and I’m trying to not get irritated. Why? BECAUSE. This is a typical first step towards a mainstreamification of genuine artistic innovation, ALWAYS a dubious prospect in my mind. Pitchfork reported today that a new record label, called Tri Angle (distributed by Kompakt–is this an indie version of major label/small label–my mind is BLOWING UP here) will have a roster that includes the bands Creep (feat. Lauren Flax), Slava and oOoOO, all “drag” artists. Haven’t heard of them? Don’t worry, this is straight up niche-nerd stuff, we’re still in the first wave. It’ll be a couple of years before we hear a “drag” artist break out with some pop-friendly version and then we’ll all remember when and cry “LATE!” In any case, the genre is described by Tri Angle owner Robin Carolan as “”witching-hour vision of Cocteau Twins dream pop, meshed with the soundtrack to a particularly angsty Gregg Araki film full of Gen X shoegazer atmospherics and industrial beats, brought bang up to the date by the influence of raw hip-hop mutations like chopped and screwed and juke.” Pretty much EXACTLY what Salem is–I’m actually sitting here, slapping my forehead thinking about this druggy psychosis as a movement. The small amount of information we actually have about Salem clues us to their addiction/prostitution roots, it’d be shame if there were other bands with the same back story. Conversely, it’d be a shame if there were other bands that just pretended to be like that in order to make some fucked up sounding goth-juke. For now, my eyes and ears are wide open, the label name and it’s first releases have that familiar whiffa GAY.
Posts Tagged ‘salem’
It wasn’t too long ago that the universe anointed Salem with the greatest gift: cred. Buzz. WORD OF BLOG. A steady output of limited, (and pricey) 7″ singles and some mixtapes later, and this is an actual bona-fide underground sensation. I’m saying that a little tongue in cheek, of course. Unless you are a BUTT Magazine reader or totally goth, most people haven’t heard of them and looking further down the road, pop fans won’t have this. The music Salem makes isn’t close to easy listening. Half the time they are off key, the rap songs sound like you are playing the record at the wrong speed and they are SO ELUSIVE with the booking and contacting. What keeps me interested in the band is what it means for the future. I mean, I LIKE Salem’s songs…who else can say they invented “goth juke?” Their sound can be the lighter side of My Bloody Valentine or the twisted side of Lil Wayne, all with a homegrown Kraftwerkian feel. What I’m most geeked about is how many bands Salem will influence. The late 00′s are frought with a glossy nostalgia that while rewarding, is not necessarily reflective of the dark times we are enduring. The musical effects of the current unrest will be engaged in a few years, and I’m on the record as saying that Salem will have their filthy, black-as-ink tendons in future pop stars’ ears. Mark my words: while pop fans won’t be into this, the people making the pop music will list them in their liner notes. Check out the excellent mixtape Salem made for We Make It Good, and try and nab their forthcoming split 7″ with Tanlines over at the Fader. All their shit will be worth $$ in the future, TRUST.
I can’t tell you how bad I wish I was going to be in NYC the week before Pride. BUTT magazine just announced two pre-Pride Celebrations. The first one, called BANG, will be at The Knitting Factory with performances by Salem, Hunx and His Punx, and Sissy Nobby (more on Sissy Nobby in another post). The 2nd party will be at at Terence Koh’s gallery, Asia Song Society (ASS), and it will be a queer video film fest. They have just anounced an open call for submissions, and will be accepting films until May 20th, the show opens on June 19th.
Salem continues to enrapture the underground. This is one of those times when I can’t help but think that hipsters rally around a band or sound simply because they know that it will never make it mainstream, and therefore never lose its cred. Don’t think I am hating, there is a compelling inspiration behind making “goth-electro-juke.” And after that crazy music video and intense interview in Butt Magazine with singer John Holland, it is no wonder this trio (yes they are a trio and the 3rd is a lady and no one has ever bothered to ask her anything, WTF) of artists are making a splash. I was even further intrigued when I found John’s flickr page.
A little while ago, this really fucked video by a band called Salem was all over the blogs. It was grainy and depicted a car pulling into a garage, the driver was about to commit suicide via the exhaust fumes and in the middle of it, a naked dancing lady appeared on the hood and just started dancing all serpent style. It was CREEPy to say the least. This quarter, that same band is in issue #25 of BUTT, and the interview only adds to the intrigue. Very outspoken about his time as a hustler (behind the IHOP in Chicago’s Boystown) and drug addict, Salem front man John Holland is almost a passive player in his band’s goth/juke combo. Don’t look for feel good anthems here, but do take their shoegaze-y cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Street’s of Philadelphia” (yes, from the movie) as a sign that the band has something you might want. Download below.