I called my 2012 State Of The Scene Address “It’s Cool To Be Tr00,” because 2011 marked the death of any remaining vestiges of the scene era, and the dawn of a new grey/brown/olive green age. I am not sure who exactly drew all the neon cartoon animals that every band from 2007-2011 put on their merch, but I’m sure that 2012 and 2013 were not kind to them. And I don’t see 2014 being any easier for them, because this year officially heralds the arrival of your new king: the late 90s. Specifically, 1997.
I like to think of SHIFT as the posterchildren for the late 90s “hardcore ppl playing in alternative rock” trend– they had Mark from UNDERTOW on guitar and their drummer Samantha went on to play in MOTLEY CRUE, HOLE and Billy Ray Cyrus’ band. Note: I actually like them a lot.
The big trend in 1997 was for people who were in the big hardcore bands of the last few years to break up and start a new band that played boring alternative rock, but still kinda hung around the hardcore scene (unsure if that was because they ‘still believed in teh values of diy hardcore but have matured as musicians’ or just bc they weren’t good enough to play legit rock shows). The Revelation Records “In Flight Program” comp from 1997 was the perfect snapshot of this (see this post for more details) and when I look for new music on Youtube these days, sometimes I feel like I am listening to it again.
I was kinda hoping that #ezcrab would end up being a counterpoint to the rising 90s-worship trend, but it looks like that movement died faster than my boner when Miley Cyrus got a boy haircut and started wearing 80s one-piece swimsuits on stage. From what I can tell, 2014′s definition of “pop-punk” is a lot less like NFG, Blink, or The Vandals, and a lot more like “soft grunge sad boy twinklecore telecaster emo.” Reblog for more desaturated pics of forests, tattooed couples laying in bed, and Vans.
Exhibit 1, the new incarnation of SUCH GOLD (should we call this post-crewneckcore??). Back in the 90s, there was a show on MTV called “120 Minutes,” which was the alt-rock sister to “Headbanger’s Ball.” With no other way to see videos (no internet), I would sit through hours of crap in hopes of catching one of the 3 hardcore videos they would play per year. The biggest bummer was when I got all excited about a band who people in stupid magazines like Spin would refer to as “legends of hardcore/punk,” (SEAWEED, FUGAZI, SONIC YOUTH, etc) but then they ended up sounding like this: about as punk as eating lunch with the principle.
OF MICE & MEN basically sound like “shitty SLIPKNOT” now. They remind me of some band who would have been called TELLING JENNIFER or MAKING STEPHANIE in the late 90s whose biggest achievement was opening for THREE DOORS DOWN once.
And it’s not just the pop-punk scene: hot new signings to former scene kings RISE RECORDS include HOT WATER MUSIC, BOUNCING SOULS, 7 SECONDS, and WAR GENERATION (ft the singer of 90s post-hc icons SENSEFIELD)… it literally reads like the lineup of the “crappy little stage nobody paid attention to on Warped Tour 1997″ Say goodbye to breakdowns, and say hello to every former Risecore band copying SLIPKNOT, KORN, and LINKIN PARK. And in the world of Real Hardcore, in 2014 it’s all about being super into LIFE OF AGONY, CROWBAR, and TYPE OF NEGATIVE (basically, any band that they made fun of a lot on Beavis & Butthead).
*exasperated face emoji*
And it’s not just the music, it’s everything! It’s like someone found a big box labeled “90s STEEZ” in a dusty corner of the Victory Records warehouse and distributed it to every kid on tumblr. For example, these wiggerish windbreakers were all the rage in 97– if you had a dollar for every VOD or EARTH CRISIS windbreaker you saw at any given show, you’d have enough to buy a copy of the NYHC documentary on VHS and maybe even a vegan cookie from the Food Not Bombs table (protip: don’t throw away the idiotic flyer they forced you to take until you’re out of their sight). Oh and worst of all, fucking high-waisted jeans brb barfing
Back in the 90s, when Victory sent out promo copies to zines for review, it was super annoying because they would send cassettes (instead of vinyl or CD) and you’d be like “grose, a tape– cheap assholes.” Fast forward to 2014 and tapes are now a coveted trinket… my how times have changed.
While kids fetishizing dead media formats is hardly a new thing, I feel like 2014 is taking it to a whole new level. For example, the other day I went to a little ‘hxc xmas’ thing with some friends of mine who are 18-22 years old. The most popular gift? Records. I mean, if you like vinyl then that’s cool, whatever, but watching an 18 year-old girl in 2013 get all jazzed about hardcore 7″s is just weird. I mean the last time I owned a record player she was probably in 2nd grade… idgi. And then there was the time one of those kids mentioned that he wanted to do a VHS for his band………
Picture of some funny old stuff I found in my parents’ basement, or the TITLE FIGHT merch table??
And then there is the baffling, annoying and exhausting return of 90s-style, hyper-PC ‘social justice’ nonsense. I’m not going to get into that too much here because I’ve spent the last 15 years trying to forget living through that shit the first time and I have no interest in revisiting it in 2014 lol. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before tumblr kids discover stuff like this lineup of “workshops” from the 1999 More Than Music fest and take the insanity to the next level:
Kinda hard to read in the image, but a few gems include: Sizism (womyn only), Alternative Menstrual Products, Womyn In Bands, and Radical Politics Of Makeup. Oh and something called “Barbie Liberation.” No clue what that one was but I’m sure it was so fucking insane and retarded that it would make your head spin if someone explained it.
I guess you could file this under “crabby old guy complains about what Kids These Days are into,” and maybe u would be right. And hey, if kids are having a good time with this stuff then more power to them… but that’s exactly the reason I don’t like where this is headed: as anyone else who lived thru 90s hardcore can tell you, it was anything but fun. Kids, take it from me, you will regret this!!! Put down the Telecaster. Throw away the high-waisted denim shorts. Smash your CARNIVORE vinyl. I have seen where the 90s hardcore road leads you, and I promise you don’t want to go there.