Hey everyone. Here is my first blog post. I’m going to dispense with ceremony or manifesto, since I’ve got some other things I’d like to post about right away. In the meantime though, I figured I could at least call attention to two recent projects I’ve worked on:
The first is a mixtape I made for IASPM-US. I’m really into mixtapes these days, and I thought it would be fun to make one for the great series IASPM runs on their website. I put together a collection of 1970s punk music that I’ve come across during my dissertation research. Essentially, the goal was to highlight things that fall outside of the standard narrative about punk – the “Ramones looking tough in leather jackets” story – that gets repeated regularly. I included a short set of liner notes with the tape saying… pretty much that.
Read and listen here.
The second piece I’d like to circulate is an article that came out Jacobin magazine last month. I’ve been really excited about the magazine since they started a few years ago. They publish great, accessible writing on left wing political issues, and they’ve been really smart about using the internet. Really, I think they are one of the more interesting platforms politics today. And they are definitely one that trumps the otherwise click-baity and opportunistic engagement I usually see when big internet platforms try to talk about political issues.
Anyway, I was really excited when they agreed to let me write a piece about punk music. I’ve been tracking the relationship between punk and politics since I was a teenager, and I’m particularly interested in (/worried about) the way punk has often been recruited for right wing political ends. While punk generally enjoys a deserved reputation as a left-leaning genre, there are a lot of branches on its family tree that aren’t quite so nice. Punk, along with metal and other hard rock genres, has pretty persistently functioned as the chief musical platform for right wing musical subcultures since at least the early 1980s. Fans and artists do a pretty good job of policing this aspect of the genre, and a lot of them are well informed about this history. But punk is drifting into the media again as it hovers around its symbolic Ruby Anniversary (The Ramones came out in 1976 and Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols in ’77). So the story isn’t always getting presented accurately to the people who aren’t die-hard fans. For that reason, I wrote a piece that I hope will be a nice introduction to punk’s political history.
You can read the whole piece here.