Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Refused - 'New Noise' (video)/ The Shape of Punk To Come

Can I scream? Yeah!

"Can I scream ?

It's here for us to admire if we can afford the beauty of it

If we can afford the luxury of turning our heads

If we can adjust that $1000 smile

and behold the creation of man

Great words won't cover ugly actions

and good frames won't save bad paintings

We lack the motion to move to the new beat

When the day is over the doors are locked on us

Cause money buys the access and we can't pay the cost

And how can we expect anyone to listen

if we are using the same old voice ?

We need noise, new art for the real people

We lack the motion to move to the new beat

We dance to all the wrong songs

and we enjoy all the wrong moves

We are not leading


The new beat (10000x ...)"

"This Manifesto is Very Much For Real"

Must I paint you a picture about the way that I feel? This situation of Art vs. Life and the present elitism within the bourgeoisie and upper-class. The critics hold their heads high cause they know about the real suffering and the real work while we get the easy accessible forms of communication and entertainment, pinned down simple for us to comprehend. The lack of stimulants within art, politics and life lowers our standards which is why we settle for talkshows and MTV. We are not stupid, but if we are treated like ingrates we will start to act like children. The lack of challenging forms of expression and thoughts of fire and self-confidence gives us a passive and hollow nature. So reclaim art, take back the fine culture for the people, the working people, the living people and burn down their art galleries and destroy their fancy constructions and buildings. Cause we, unlike the bourgeoisie, have nothing to lose and therefore our expression will be the only honest one, our words will be the only challenging ones and our art will be the one revolutionary expression. We need new noise and new voices and new canvases to become something more than the last poets of a useless generation."

You should read this week's Popless column which goes from REM and the Replacements to the Ramones, Richard Hell, Rancid and even manages to fit in Refused at the end - "I'm not well-versed enough in hardcore to distinguish what sets this album apart from so many other punk contenders, but I enjoy the turn-on-a-dime tempo shifts and arty textures which in combination holds the constant promise of something breathtaking". That more than makes up for deleting Q and not U last week, if indeed that hadn't already been rectified by Kyle Ryan's Vinyl Retentive post on Fuel's Monuments to Excess.

Refused also came to my attention when urbanology left a comment on my Swing Kids post asking where the similarly important punk/hardcore records are today; in his opinion the "last important records I would say [were] Refused´s "shape of punk to come" and At the Drive-In´s "In/Casino/out" record, both from 1998!!". You dig? Personally, I very much dislike ATDI - not that I argue with their quality, I just don't like my punk prog - and Refused is heavily indebted to the decade-plus-earlier sounds of Nation of Ulysses, but it's a good stance to take on the last groundbreaking punk/hardcore albums of the 90s and the twentieth century.

The last great punk record of the 20th century?

The second part of urbanology's statement is that there haven't been equivalently or lastingly important albums released in the twenty-first century. I came up with a list of five or so off the top of my head, and I later added a sixth (which had slipped my mind before because it's not as hardcore as the stuff, even recent releases, that I usually deal with on the site). That list will be revealed in an upcoming post - and mixtape - The Shape of Punk to Come: 2001-2007. It's also, minus the sixth, still in the comment section of course.

I'm quite excited about this mixtape, in that it puts together six of my favourite records from the last eight years... of course it's a personal choice, and the criteria of 'importance' (which I will try to lay out) are mostly subjective to me. In addition, importance is often a condition of retrospection, so it may take another decade before people realise what were the really important records in this one. For example, I didn't actually think of any from 2007... I can think of ten good releases from that year, but none of them are particularly punk. And even looking around at a few other people's lists, nothing jumps out. Brainworms perhaps?

For the moment, peruse Refused's 'New Noise' in the various forms it's layed out here. Its admonition that "We dance to all the wrong songs/and we enjoy all the wrong moves" as well as its discussion of 'bourgeois' art can seem a little didactic depending on how you take it, but it is a large part of the core message of the album, reflecting the original 'new sound' of Coleman's The Sound of Jazz To Come from 1959.

From that, comes the image of punk as change (will Obama put out a split on Ebullition later this year?) and artistic revolution. You can't have revolution all the time, but you can want to, and that's the fire that makes punk and hardcore such a rejuvenating art form as well as one that speaks so loud in emotional and political terms.


cretin said...

absolutely fantastic song off an absolutely fantastic album. "new noise" was my introduction to Refused, and really, there's no better choice to represent the band and their mission statement.

looking forward to the playlist.

Anonymous said...

that split better be with man is the goddamn bastard!

gabbagabbahey said...

cretin - I especially like the intro to 'New Noise', hadn't seen that video in a good while... FYI, the Popless column uses 'Liberation Frequency' for Refused, which is a pretty choice too. No better song for campaigning for alternative radio, except for perhaps The Ramones' 'We Want the Airwaves'.

brad- nah, Kucinich...

Ol Fuss and Feathers - Fuss and Feathers Forevers said...

Good song, I really like Refused, but with this album they really seemed to be aping the aesthetic of Nation of Ulysses - who were, of course, aping someone else's aesthetic. That said, this is by far their best record.

As far as Obama's record on Ebullition - how about Iconoclast / Obama?

gabbagabbahey said...

the comparison also extends to the post-Refused bands like The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Lost Patrol Band which are similar to what Ian Svevonius did with the Make-Up and Weird War. but I think on balance The Shape of Punk To Come stands up enough on its own.

and as for Ebullition #60 (I think), yeah, it's all good!

Anonymous said...


gabbagabbahey said...

[^Dennis Kucinich's 'Wake Up America' speech from the DNC]

yes, I saw that this morning. from this blog on my sidebar; http://organizinggrievances.blogspot.com/2008/08/prime-time-speech-in-matinee-slot.html

better version, I think. From C-Span.

I'm not that au fait with American politics to make that kind of a joke without some kind of a reminder... it was exactly what I was thinking of. Although I got the Promise Ring song 'Wake Up April' stuck in my head for most of the time as well...

Anonymous said...

Isn't this like from The Daily Kel?