What Music Do You Want To Talk About?

I am not super in the know for the punk scene. Google’s interpretation of nu-punk are punk bands that incorporate themes and sounds from the emo and hardcore genres. My interpretation of the label “nu-punk” is punk post-classic punk bands (of which I now realize Bad Religion technically counts) and, for lack of a better works, “mainstream”. That is, punk that is openly leftist and critical of the status quo but not aggressively anarchic or at least calling for praxis above “destroy the system”.

I would distinguish punk music based on it’s themes over any specific sound. While lots of metal/rock music is pretty counterculture, punk is more direct in its critique of existing culture with minimal metaphors to disguise it’s intent. I think it is definitely a muddied definition as, similar to the label of “cool”, someone self identifying as “punk” is equally backed up by credence given both by the in and out groups. Thrashing on a guitar and singing about Satan was “punk” for the 50s as much as criticizing the military industrial complex was “punk” for the 70s. There’s certainly a recognizable “punk” aesthetic that is pretty Ameri/Euro centric (bright colored hair, piercings, tattoos, leather clothing) even though punk both embodies that specific style as much as it incorporates whatever style is too extreme or uncouth for today’s pearl clutchers (like say, the Ganguro trend in 90s Japan or Hood/Ghetto fashion today (is that even trendy anymore? Christ I’m old)).

I think of it as a Venn Diagram. Honestly there are very fuzzy edges in terms of song content, song composition, and lets say branding (band behavior, outfits, press quotes, etc.). Protest bands and songs existed long before punk, its only in the hereafter of first wave punk (70-something to early 80-something) that we associate the protest song + hard rock/incompetent music playing as punk. Rock fashion has always had a bit of counterculture to it but I wouldn’t go back and then reclassify it as Punk.

Interestingly, “punk” initially was a synonym for “homeless hippie.” However, the first time it was used to describe a type of music was in Lester Bangs’ review of Raw Power in 1970 (I think that’s the year).

Anyway, arguing over the definition of genres is stupid because genres are only helpful in associating similar bands. I’d say Rise Against and Bad Religion are similar enough sonically (regardless of lyrics and time) that you can put them together in a genre, tho what that would be called would be left up to someone with more knowledge of contemporary punk than I.


I completely agree. Genres are just a tool for useful classification and to aid in discussion of like-minded works.

Oh, Rise Against and Bad Religion are definitely in the same genre, that being punk rock. However, I don’t think I could place them into a subgenre of punk rock without including like 99% of other punk bands, rendering such a subgenre basically meaningless. The only axis of differentiation is really the overtly political lyrics, and that is more a sliding scale in punk rock than any real stratification, more or less a given considering the origins of the genre itself.

I also want to apologize because I overreacted a little bit. I still believe group two bands that are 20 years apart together is a bit wrong, but I think I was more irritated by the label “Nu Punk”, which a) can’t exactly apply to Bad Religion, which was considered one of the founders of the californian punk scene, the progenitors to bands like Rancid, Green Day or The Offspring that were core to the punk revival in the mid 90s; and b) the prefix “Nu” appears to be derived from “Nu Metal” which spliced primarily hip-hop elements into metal. If you substitute “Metal” with “Punk” here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that really done outside of bands like Flobots or Optimus Rhyme, and those have always been considered a hip-hop act first and alternative rock (not even directly punk) second. Then again, one of the all-time greatest hip hop acts ever started out as a punk band: The Beastie Boys.

Genres are labels to apply to a thing, not a category for a thing to be in exclusive of all other categories. Genres are attached to bands, bands don’t go into a single genre.


I refer you back to:

Debating the similarity of two bands is silly. @Radmad felt the two bands were similar, and that’s really all that matters. I don’t think anyone else here is interested in genre puritanism (at least I’m not).

I am, but only inasmuch as it’s a meme in the extreme metal community used to make fun of ourselves.

See also: Cephalic Carnage self-defining as “Rocky Mountain hydro-grind” at one point.


I’m not advocating genre puritanism, but if you are going to apply a label to something that label should a) exist, b) be useful as a measure to distinguish one thing from another, and c) have a coherent definition.

I prefer to think in the idea that after the 2000s, Punk is a very open genre stylistically. Though I’m more of an advocate that punk is a reaction to authority than necessarily a genre of music. For example, I’ve really fallen back in love with hip hop these days cause the sheer amount of talent out there and how many of them are talking about current issues.

This is one song I’ve really gotten into specifically. I’ve known about Daveed Diggs for a while due to Hamilton and his roles in movies like Blindspotting, but I didn’t know clipping. was his musical project. And the creepy atmosphere here combined with his fast-paced, intense lyrics really create something amazing. That’s more how I perceive Punk in attitude, meaning, and reaction.


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Clipping. as punk is an interesting question. While aesthetically/sonically it’s nothing of the sort as most would construct it, there’s something to be said for having a similar motive and drive and ethos. I don’t think the band would consider themselves really part of the punk movement as a band, but might see themselves aligned with the core principals and on essentially the same path as some punks. I think they’d admit that the punk movement laid a lot of the groundwork for the sort of experimental landscape to exist that Clipping can run across, but that they owe their genresmashing to an equally broad number of movements, from gospel to horrorcore to metal to noise.

For a similar comparison consider City Morgue, one of my most-listened acts on Spotify for the year.
They’re clearly coming off as some heavy grimey crazy gangsta’s aesthetically, but at least for ZillaKami he owes as much to punk, black metal, and nu metal as he does to 36 Mafia, Bone Thugz, and the modern trap movement, not to mention of course ICP and the Juggalos, for his aesthetic and vibe. Clearly these kids are punk as fuck.


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very cool, reminds me a lot of what’s going on the Persona 5 OST, which I never would have understood without this video


It was mentioned in the Favorite Things About This Forum thread that I should do a history of the blues, so here it is. It’s a little superficial in terms of music criticism, but at three pages I decided I’d written enough and shouldn’t go back and add more.

Believe it or not, some people believe we know approximately when the blues was invented. Esteemed Musicologist Robert Palmer pinpointed the invention of the blues to Dockery Plantation around 1904. There were only a few musicians on Dockery Plantation, and only one was recorded, so Charley Patton is considered by many to be “the father of the blues,” Of course the chords of the blues were old, but his innovations in rhythm and introduction of the blue note resulted in what contemporary black musicologist WC Handy called “the weirdest music he’d ever seen” when he first encountered it waiting for a train in Alabama. Below is Patton’s most famous song, Pony Blues, covered by countless numbers of artists.


It is worth noting that, while musicology believes Charley Patton invented the blues, the earliest recorded blues singers were all women. The very first blues recording (that we still have) was Sara Martin accompanied by guitarist Sylvester Weaver singing “Longing for Daddy Blues,” recorded in 1923 (let me warn you, the rip quality is pretty awful).


However, most of the female blues singers of the 1920s and 1930s were not the country blues/delta blues that defines the popular perception of The Blues of that era. It was often a full string band, a more accurate representation of what was going on every Saturday night at Juke Joints in the Delta. Singers like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith (who tend to be considered jazz now, but were nevertheless considered blues at the time, as jazz was defined as the upbeat hot jazz of Louis Armstrong) would sometimes even bring in horns and piano, taking full advantage of the resources of the recording company.


The famous country blues players of the 1920s and 1930s were very distinct from this jazzier style that was more popular. It evoked an image of an elderly black man sitting on a porch in a plantation playing the songs his grandfather played for him (despite the fact that, as I said, the blues was a new invention). The most influential of these recordings were those of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Memphis Minnie. Minnie frequently played with Leroy Carr or her husband Kansas Joe, but was possibly the finest of the recorded blues guitarists of this time. Her tune, “When The Levee Breaks,” sung by Kansas Joe, was covered by Led Zeppelin (who were subsequently threatened with legal action for not crediting her).


But of course, if you only know one name from this period of the blues, it would be Robert Johnson. Johnson was a fine bluesman, not particularly popular in the Delta, and not particularly special in his style, but still notable for a few reasons. Firstly, he traveled everywhere. Whereas most blues players would only play in the South, and occasionally go up to Chicago or Detroit to record, Johnson toured all over the country as West as Wisconsin and as North as the lower Canadian provinces. He introduced the blues to people who never would have heard it if he hadn’t gone there.

Secondly, he was legendary A&R man John Hammond’s favorite of the blues singers. Hammond sent Alan Lomax down to the Delta to get him for a black music concert at Carnegie Hall, but Lomax found out then that Johnson had been killed under circumstances unclear to historians due to how many competing stories there are. He became the first “27 Clubber” of the 20th century, but Hammond loved his music so much he played the recordings he had gotten a few years earlier at the concert. Hammond’s love for Johnson was ultimately the reason for his notability, as in 1963 when there was a surge in interest in early blues singers with white audiences, Hammond reissued Johnson’s recordings before anyone else’s.


Robert Johnson’s death resulted in legends about him going to the crossroads and making a deal with the Devil to become good at guitar (the truth of the matter is a man named Ike Zimmerman took Johnson in for a year and a half and would take him to a graveyard to practice at night so “the ghosts can teach [him] how to play the blues,” a much better myth in my opinion). This legend was started by a man who knew Robert before and after his disappearance, Son House, frequently credited as having taught Robert how to play guitar (only half true). Son is probably my favorite of all the delta bluesmen. His voice haunts the soul and his playing is legendary in its beat and melody. Everyone I’ve spoken to or read who saw him before his death in the 1980s said “he was possessed by the blues” when he performed (more or less those words exactly every time).


In the 1940s, The Blues left it’s acoustic period and started to go electric. When Lomax had gone down to the Delta to find Robert Johnson, he had instead found and recorded a man named McKinley Morganfield, who would go up north and make a name for himself playing an electric Gretsch for Chess Records playing with Willie Dixon and Little Walter as Muddy Waters. He became the first blues artist to really land with white audiences as well as black. He is still considered a genius and was wildly influential to any electric or acoustic blues player who followed him.


Not that Muddy was the only one who was innovating with electric guitar at this time. Simultaneous to Muddy’s arrival on the national scene, maybe even slightly before, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an aggressively bisexual black minister from Arkansas, became the first recorded artist to play what we now consider lead guitar. She was using distortion before the famous “Rocket 88” where Ike Turner allegedly invented it, and created a musical structure and arrangement more recognizable to contemporary ears as “rock and roll” than most of the more popular nominees for “first rock and roll song.” This recording from 1939(!) doesn’t use distortion, which she didn’t start using until the late 40s (distortion in the late 40s!), but is nevertheless very recognizable as rock and roll.


Of course, the kings of the 50s and 60s electric blues scene were the Kings, B.B. and Albert. It has famously been said of them by every blues writer worth 2 cents that it’s not the notes they played, it was the notes they didn’t. This is really true of every blues player, but with the development of full backing bands as standard acompaniment for blues, The Kings were able to utilize white space in a whole new way.



This was about the end of the blues’s evolution. Of course there have been artists recording blues since, notably Canned Heat, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and The Devil Makes Three for a contemporary and mainstream act (all three of these acts are white, but the Whitening of the Blues is a whole different rant), but after this point any innovation in The Blues was spun off into its own genre. I wrote a whole piece on this a few months ago, but basically blues was a dead market and the record companies knew that when Chuck Berry and Little Richard injected a new energy, they could make more money off of it by selling it as something else, thus Rock and Roll came about. Even the blues acts I mentioned above usually get classified as rock before they get classified as blues. Anything slower would get lumped into R&B (which just stands for Rhythm and Blues, but nearly no one today knows that), and straight blues became a genre without any variation, because anything else will get placed in a different genre. Nevertheless, to prove that The Blues is still alive, here’s three of my favorite contemporary blues artists:





Never knew it wasn’t their song!

I was always under the assumption that very little of Led Zeppelin’s discography is original.

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This is fairly accurate up until Houses of Holy, when they actually did start writing their own material and their commercial success started to fade (possibly a coincidence). There are at most two original songs on Led Zeppelin . The rest are stolen from Jake Holmes, Bert Jansch, Howlin’ Wolf, and others. Whole Lotta Love got them threatened with legal action from Willie Dixon, Lemon Song was a variation on Killing Floor by Howlin’ Wolf (tho this one is more arguable than their blatant rip off of “How Many More Years” on their first album). Even songs they could have just cited as “traditional” and not paid any royalties for like Gallows Pole off Led Zep III were credited to Page.

I saw Gary Clark Jr. last June. He was absolutely amazing!

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I want to talk about Future Funk music. It’s been my jam for the last year or so. Great article about Neon City Records on Bandcamp today.


Thinking a bunch about what makes good lyrics today as I try to write my own. I tend to be very direct in my writing and I feel like when it hits it hits really well but usually it misses.

Most of the best English song lyrics I know are just poems that get sung. Maybe try writing a poem without thinking of music. Then do the music after?