Friday, April 20, 2012

Wizards, Weed, and Outer Space

Over the Elixir of St. Drogo this morning, we pondered the aesthetics of one of our mutually shared favorite genres, known for its general worship of Sabbath and Zeppelin, downtuned guitars, and vaguely arabesque instrumental passages and a generally kitschy lyrical amalgam well-known to teenage boys who read Tolkien and comics and played card games that involved mages and sages, and in this case, the girls who loved them. As I've gotten older, I've realized how devoid of estrogenic conversation I was when I was younger, because I still don't always know what to talk about in the world of women, and inevitably fall back into geekery of board games and MST3K, debating the merits of guitar solos and quoting Spinal Tap.

It may in part be the cultural heritage of being Parmastani in the last part of the 20th century and growing up on a certain strain of lovable loser pop culture, of acid-drenched classic rock, cherrypicking our favorite bands, deriding the boomers who still prefer the polemics of St. Robert of Dylan. That's completely different of course, because War Pigs has always resonated way more for me as a timeless commentary on the world than any Lennonista giving peace a chance or imagining a world that will never exist.

As a long-haired geeky teenage girl, I got out piles of CDs from the library, delving into genres without regards to cachet of coolness, and along with the spiky noisetastic indieish rock that actually had loud guitars and some teeth as opposed to what The Kids are into these days, found the sonics of stoner-rockdom much to my liking though the only thing close to a mind-altering substance I'd ever imbibed was an ill-advised Surge drinking contest at someone's birthday party because I'm really not too thrilling in real life. I transferred in junior year and spent a year anonymous, listening to a discman and doing my homework at the far end of the cafeteria, holed up in my room painting on the weekends of taking long walks with the dog before finding a niche later on. I like people, but I find I still enjoy the solitude.

Blame it on the Soundgarden, perhaps, and the college radio I listened to while getting my braces done and cutting class with my dad to drive around and listen to the likes of Pentagram as a gateway drug to the drop C, because the acolytes and contemporaries of the rest of the Seattle bands were found wanting. It didn't necessarily have to be earthshatteringly new-sounding, it just had to sound good, have that right amount of heavy low end and trippy lightness of being.

While the Fu Manchus and the Nebulas were a little too testosterony for me, as I'm into neither babes nor bikes, the more mellowed out sounds of Kyuss and Dead Meadow, the soulfulness and murk of Corrosion of Conformity, the sublime sludginess of the Melvins. There is a certain dorktastic aesthetic that doesn't lend itself well to hipsterdom. The touchstones don't involve New York artists, or the usual canonicals. D&D, Lord of the Rings, suburban drugs, wizards, outer space, the kind of things that get emblazoned on tie-dye t-shirts seen on middle-aged women. Kitsch, I guess, but awesome.

Up until the time I was gainfully employed here, this wasn't the kind of thing that most of my friends were into, as in high school, the most underground it got was usually Pantera, and the metal kids I knew in college were into sounds more technical and the indie kids preferred the Locust or whoever if they weren't listening to something more folky or twee. It's never going to be the thing that The Kids are into, if the ones in my world are any indication, and it's not as much a chick thing I guess most of the time, and I've never been one for leafy substances so I feel like that makes me even more of an outlier. At least 50 Foot Wave, Worm Ouroboros and Subrosa still like the low end and don't make me feel quite so alone.

1 comment:

  1. ♪ imagine there's no Lennon, it's easy if you try ♫

    Card games? Card games? No mention of Gygaxian table top first edition? I don't think we can remain homies, Miss Totally Not Thrilling.