Today’s Rebels Follow the Rules

I hadn’t checked in on alternative music (or whatever they’re calling it these days) and was disappointed to discover the Thought Police have taken over there, too. Today’s rebels follow the same strict guidelines college campuses do and to stray from the path is to be banished from Outsider Village.

The good news is, the music’s improved. Whirr are a band from San Francisco that does an instrumental onslaught of intense rock that sounds like it should be the soundtrack to that rape movie Baise-moi. Another great new band, G.LO.S.S., is much easier to classify. They’re just modern punk with some art-rock hardcore tossed in and they’re way better than my generation’s equivalent. I realize this doesn’t pertain to you, but there are just as many coal-mine canaries in pop culture as there are in politics, and they affect us all. Nobody in America cares that Canada just elected Joey from Friends, for example, but they should because that shows us Bernie Sanders is no longer anything to scoff at.

This week, Whirr’s label dropped them for making transphobic comments about G.L.O.S.S. The latter’s vocalist is an ugly dude with tits who must have at least some self-awareness if he calls himself a “girl.” He’s clearly insane, but I don’t have a problem with that when you’re talking about punk. In my day, we had a local band called Zen Slap and the singer would cry as he screamed his way through each song. He wore no shoes and had no friends and we loved him for it because weird music is better when it’s made by weird people. Whirr look like typical young kids who tell security guards to fuck off and smash beer bottles on the road. I may curse at them when I’m pushing my kid’s stroller down the street, but deep down I’m happy the asshole tradition of ignorant vandalism carries on. Whirr didn’t smash any bottles on G.L.O.S.S.’s van. They didn’t say, “May you burn in hell,” as the Rastafarian hardcore band Bad Brains did to gay hardcore band Big Boys. Skinheads didn’t show up at their show and kick the shit out of the audience the way they did when my band Anal Chinook opened for Millions of Damn Christians. The fans didn’t storm the beaches of Brighton and almost murder each other the way the mods did to the rockers in 1964.

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