by Max Dropout
Whenever I begin my transaction with the smug, aging hipster rabble behind the counter at Waterloo Records, I feel like I’m handing my papers over to the Nazi guard for inspection. It’s that reigning attitude of condescension and supposed coolness that comes with these prized positions that makes me wanna stab a motherfucker in the eyeball with a Phillips head. Get over yourselves, assholes. You’re not scouring powerful sphincter at the UN. You’re a record store clerk. The only difference between you and the shit head who hands me my McNuggets is that you don’t benefit from of the ambiguity a uniform. You sell Modest Mouse records to dorky fifteen-year-old girls and recommend Bright Eyes to shaky mid-lifers. You derive power by eating the pride of your customer after you’ve wounded them with a vaguely clever quip. When I think “cool” I’m not thinking “thirty-three and still working retail.” If you’re lucky, by the time you’re forty-five, you’ll have saved up enough to afford the gun that will end your tragic trial of dire social want. Number one that with a bullet, assholes.
Unfortunately, though, because of Waterloo’s varied selection, at-times-decent pricing, and punctuality when it comes to new releases, they could probably afford to populate their floor with intestine-spewing Ebola sufferers. And of course, I still go there occasionally, like some hell-bent Argonaut fending off attacks from Moby-headed harpies and skeletal warriors spawned from the teeth of the hissing jowls of a Hydra to get what I need. However, I faced a more modern horror on the day I went down to Waterloo to pick up the Coachwhips’ new record, “Peanut Butter and Jelly Live at the Ginger Minge.”
What I mean by “it was no coincidence that an in-store performance was going down when I walked in,” is that my luck is for shit. A sea of assholes greeted me the minute I stepped in the door. As I pushed my way through the crowd, rudely, I noticed something peculiar about the pale suburban youth movement pinning me in: most of them looked nearly perfect. Their skin was porcelain, and nary a hair on their heads was out of place. They were groomed ’til they glowed like shellac under gallery lighting– their shagginess was invariably well kept. The budding female specimens, I swear, had these genetically altered lungs that exchanged oxygen for a florid solution to male impotency. But still, there was something off about them. Though they were all molded to mannequin perfection, there was something queer about each and every one of them, as if they’d warped in the sun. Their eyes varied between lidless, fish-like, and obscenely large. Queer shapes aside, the sizes of their heads approached proportions that you could easily file under other natural oddities, such as bumblebee flight. They stood fine under the immensity of these extremities, by some mystical means.
Befuddled by the odd mixture of wild science and my own arousal, I finally caught a drift of the band on stage. The first thing I thought when I saw them was, “hey, these fuckers remind me of the Kelly Family.” For the uninitiated, the Kelly Family were like the albino Menudo of Europe– kind of like if the Smurfs were white and had David Hasselhoff‘s writer. The band on the stage, however, was Tyler, Texas’ own Eisley, pollinating the imagination of their idiot congregation with a mixture of indie and Christian pop. Don’t let anybody fool you. This is a Christian pop affair at its most bland– milky, watery, soulless, meandering crap intended to sedate the guile of today’s youth. This is the modern equivalent of your Rosemary Looney. In the past, music has been used by governments to seduce the public with calm, while abrasive sounds were used to inspire violence in the hordes that pursued and defended against an enemy of the state. This is the shit they stick in your head because it is free of sass. There’s not even a slight hint toward the concept of rebellion. There is only sexless, angst-free, depressive ambience. Think this is perhaps a little paranoid and extreme? We live in a country that spends millions on studying the flow of ketchup from a bottle of Heinz. Nothing is too absurd or farfetched when it comes to any government ANYWHERE.
Perhaps this would explain why Europeans are so docile. There’s less radio variety than we’re used to here in the states, and pop dominates the airwaves absolutely. Perhaps it isn’t the violence in our films, video games, and television that compounds our crime rates. European television is undeniably more extreme and sexually charged than that which we are permitted to see here even during our latest broadcasting hours. Indeed, perhaps it is the violence on our radios that’s to blame, the dumbed-down dementia of riffless, repetitive crunchiness pummeling the eardrums and plundering the senses of mushy-headed dipshits like your Eric Harris types. Eisley may combat the extreme idiotic static that’s currently corroding the nature of your average teenager today, however, Eisley fans are still mindless, droning simpletons… they’re just easier to maintain. They are spineless, simpering, trouble-free, inoffensive, and dull: a carbon copy of the music they so adore.
Here’s a good example of what this music is doing to these little prisses. Eisley, in an ironic swipe, end their nonevent of a performance and a line for the autograph session begins to form. Fortunately for me, it’s forming in the same aisle I’m moving down, in my desperate attempt to get that Coachwhips’ record. As I push past one of these sycophantic sissies with privatized educations, he reaches out and stings the back of my shoulder blade with his palm, obviously under the impression that I was cutting in line. My reaction says a lot about what I listen to, I guess: I grabbed this motherfucker and slammed him up against a bare section of the display wall. He crumbled in my fist like the twenty-dollar bill I was aching to spend. I was disappointed by his reaction. He looked like he was going to cry all over his cardigan or something. Spot, one of the few exceptions to the dickhead Waterloo clerk rule, quickly defused the situation, admonished the fan, and helped me find what I was looking for.
I drove away listening to my purchase, and really putting into perspective the shit kids listen to today. Certainly, the Coachwhips are no less aggressive than your typical nu-metal radio fare, but their music is executed with grace and humor, and its minimal content is approached with warped genius and tender finesse. It’s sexually charged, it’s raucous… it’s got some dirty, dirty gumption to it.