Friday, February 18, 2011

3-Way Tie (for last)

Reading Slanted and Enchanted, The Evolution of Indie Culture by my old pal Kaya Oakes, gave me insight into the deconstruction of musical hierarchy through punk. I was listening to it, relating to it, relishing in it., but I had never before related the politics to the sound.
Interviewing Mike Watt of the Minutemen, Dos, and many other projects, she uncovered a conscious subverting of musical hierarchy through song structure, not just DIY ethics and antics.
 "The arena rock was kind of hierarchical with guitars and singers being way at the top and the other section way down there" says Watt. "Obviously, with the punk movement, everybody's lame, so it's kind of equal footing. So all that hierarchy got thrown out." What is more interesting, though, argues Oakes, is that this equal footing is what gave the Minutemen their unique sound by ridding themselves of the "aristocracy of the guitar."
I've always described the sound as 'sideways'... now it is clear why.

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