There are a lot of things I don’t “get.” Coconut flavoring is one. Who in the hell wants to eat anything that tastes even remotely like tanning lotion? Another is turning without signaling. (You’re just asking to be rammed in the rear. Really smart. And safe. Dumbass.) Another is the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ insistence on running the ball on first and 10. (When the whole world knows you’re running the ball on first down, what makes you think they’re not gonna put all 11 guys on the line of fucking scrimmage? Grrr! Frustrating.) Another something I don’t fully understand is the horror-comedy genre.
I understand comedy. I vaguely understand horror, though the fetishization, the pornographication of violence is utterly repulsive. Deformed baddies, chainsaws cutting through limbs, oceans of blood — does anybody other than truly sick bastards really need to see that shit?! Alas, I do understand music, good music, which allows me to safely recommend the comedic wig-flipper Blood on the Highway, a 2008 indie outing about three attractive twentysomethings trapped in a vampire-infested Texas town — the soundtrack features contributions from several excellent North Texas bands, including two from Fort Worth: gothic-country purveyors Ghoultown and the violently named, cowpunking 100 Damned Guns. The film just came out last week on Netflix, and the Guns have a show coming up: Saturday with The King Bucks and Will Callers at Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton (103 Industrial St., 940-320-2000). Visit www.100damnedguns.com and www.bloodonthehighway.com. I would’ve given you the MySpace pages, but another thing I totally don’t “get” is Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
One thing I kinda “get” is mod-rock. I like a lot of the stuff I hear from 817 bands but not too much from elsewhere. So I’m a homer. In the words of the fisherman in the painting in Goodfellas: Whadda you want from me? And while indie-rocking hipsters uniformly write off contemporary mod-rock as a junkyard full of wannabe Pearl Jams or Toadies, I think most cool kids are mistaking sonic musculature, melody, and neat structure for artifice. Have we gotten to the point in our culture where rock music done well and in earnest is “fake” or “disingenuous”? Does a song have to be sloppy, out of tune, and subtle to qualify as “truthful”? Is ironic distance — essentially, making fun of yourself before anyone else can — the only criterion for progressive music? If so, my friend, you need to readjust your logic goggles. Moving your preconceived notions to the fore of your consciousness is the first step in achieving an actually honest perspective toward not just rock music but all art. I also bet that more than half of the guitarists and drummers in allegedly progressive local bands (read: Denton post-punks) couldn’t sit in with some of Fort Worth’s most exemplary mod-rock outfits, including Merkin, In Memory of Man, and Exit 380, bands that are loud, in tune, and tight as hell. So put your prejudices aside for a minute and experience some quality mod-rock for yourself on Saturday, when Exit 380 plays Lola’s Saloon-Stockyards (105 W. Exchange Ave., 817-386-5008) with Loretti, Pepper Lane, and Potbelly. Co-produced by Alex Gerst (The Feds, Slow Roosevelt, Fair to Midland), Exit 380’s fifth recording, tentatively titled Cities Townies, will be out early next year. Visit www.myspace.com/exit380.
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