been absent a few weeks – a lot has happened, I’ll try to sum up soon BUT before I do, SUBVERSIVE ZINE everyone! Some of you (maybe all of you) have been waiting with anticipation for this thing to come out. The inaugural issue will unofficially hit the streets Friday March 24 — the quasi-official launch party is Saturday March 25 at Guido’s Speakeasy (543 N. Market St) for the dRIVIN BEATS show -plus the debut of Dead Byrd Pie. And for a pic of the first issue:
A disclaimer: I’m one of the contributors for Subversive. While we’d love to claim credit for getting the first zine out since, like what?the 90’s, it just so happens Feminist Equality Movement (FEM) beat us to it…by about a month. I stared at their hand stapled zine with all it’s xeroxed makeshift glory at Nola in amazement – but good on them. FEM meets next Wednesday March 29 to organize feminist resistance to the Trump agenda (more info -see their FB site).
Back to Subversive, the aim (as far as I can tell -we’re still flying by the seat of our pants) is to start a conversation on Frederick going forward into the future – and whether or not it can foster cool music, film, art, culture or whether we will see more of the same ‘bland arts.’ That’s a phrase coined by the Frederick News Post’s 72 Hours editor Lauren LaRocca in describing the safe arts that’s come to represent some of Frederick’s non-edgy art trafficked more and more in recent years. Is that due to the gentrification effects underway in downtown Frederick? If so, is there grit (that’s still very present) that might help resist the tide of ‘bland arts’ and stamp a different narrative – that Frederick is a goddamn creative city? That from within it’s denizens, a beating heart of subversive music and art can still inspire and raise the dead?
That much of the content is analogue (and not widely available digitally) is a throwback to the halcyon days before the coming of the internet (and with it breitbart news, Russian hacking & interfering in the US elections and all the crazy trump racist/ridiculous tweets. And Yes that’s an oversimplification – the internet is like a lot of things that belong to the category of being creatively destructive – it’s neither all good nor all bad). Nostalgia at play? Yes and no. I could go on about how the Subversive Zine could be tangentially linked to the slow foods movement (or as Gravel & Grind does it – slow coffee), or how it’s somehow attached to the vinyl resurrection. Honestly, what I really think is it seems like the right time to put out a zine. That and, why not?
The time seems to be right. There’s no alt rag in Frederick (and no I don’t think Subversive wants to be a weekly alt rag like the Washington City Paper). As much as the 72 hours tries it’s best to resembles one (another disclosure: I freelance write for FNP’s 72 Hrs), they have some virtual handcuffs that prevents them to be as rad as they want to be. Besides, there’s now uncertainty with the the Frederick News Post and it’s sale to West Virginia’s Ogden Newspapers. Nearly a hundred fifty years of a continually family owned local newspaper now in the hands of an outside company. Then there’s Frederick itself, transitioning and transforming rapidly – it’s identity changing just as quickly as the recovery efforts from the ’76 floods has reached it’s zenith. I’ve seen both progress and deficits within the cultural scene in Frederick. There’s been ebbs and flows with it’s art, music and film scene. Some have hilariously likened Frederick as the Brooklyn of Maryland or with Asheville. Seriously…
If that was the fucking case – where are the venues that’s hosting the likes of Dan Deacon, tUnE-yArDs, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, etc?!? Are those bands playing alongside our amazing jaw-dropping local bands at a midsize venue that should have been operating in Frederick like yesterday? Is Beach House playing Frederick -did Flying Lotus finish a set here last week with DJ Two Teks hosting that I didn’t know about? As much as that hypothetical situation of missing a show like that would have royally SUCKED for me—I’d have to admit, that’d be a damn good problem to have in Frederick.
But as cynical as I can get – there’s potential – there’s always been potential in Frederick – and there are rad events happening but flying just under the radar (like tonight’s house show at the SQUAT with Spill, Aficionado, Cosmic Halitosis, Olivia Henry Helen from 7-11pm / Don’t be a dick and behave yrself if you go). Even the past informs us of Frederick’s potential. The Weinberg Center -before it took on a different identity as the prim and proper Weinberg we know today -hosted Fugazi. YES you read that right – FUGAZI played our goddamn town. They played here 3 times (’87, ’89 and ’90). That potential for this city existed before – it hasn’t necessarily vanished away, even as some of gentrifications effects may have polished some of that edge off.
It takes a village to raise a rad scene. This is the unfolding story yet to be played out as Frederick goes forward into the 21st century. What path will it take? Blandification as a sleepy exurb of DC? Or something altogether different?
Before I ramble some more – do yourself a solid – walk to your nearest joint – Guidos, Cafe Nola, Gravel & Grind, Frederick Coffee Co, Good Juju, or the new African restaurant on 7th and Bentz (complete list of places to pick up Subversive will be on Western Machines soon), and pick up a free copy. Better yet, go to Guidos Saturday nite for the quasi-official Subversive Zine launch. And even better than that? Contribute. Next issue – not sure but you got the address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking of the Guidos show, Frederick Playlist did a Q&A of dRIVIN bEATS and they talk about Subversive Zine, allusions of Frederick as the Liverpool of the area, the need for more underground bands in Frederick + likening Guido’s as the CBGBs of Frederick. Check that out here.
There’s so much to catch up on. I caught a few shows, like Tuff Junior‘s debut set at Nola -in 3 words: DOPE AS FUCK (words you won’t read yours truly the next time I write for the FNP). Here’s a sampling with a link to their first song released on bandcamp -. As I walked in the Nola door, turns out I just missed Double Motorcycle (and their CD release show a week earlier) -file that under GODDAMMIT: shows that I missed. I did hear from many that was there that DM rocked the house despite a snare drum mishap. I just took a cursory listen to their CD (I’ll return soon with review of their album: spoiler alert – brilliant fun!)
I was in Annapolis with Sam Tressler IV about 2 weeks ago as a group of independent Maryland filmmakers spoke to the Maryland State Senate in support of Ron Young’s bill to support (surprise) smaller local indie filmmakers. I missed some great screenings at Area 31 lately, but Cinemonday’s is still wildly successful – I heard from a random gentlemen at the Y that even on slow nights, there’s still 30 people in attendance -brilliant! Truth: an awkward conversation actually as we were both naked at the Y locker room when he recognized me as a film columnist for the FNP. Another reason why I would rather not have my picture next to my Light in a Dark Box column. Still, good information is good information. Moving on…
I finally caught a house show -actually 2 house shows – one was reviewed in the upcoming Subversive Zine involving a solo set by Middle Kid. The other was hearing Vanilla Lord (I think a TJ High grad and now residing in Philly) and Cosmic Hallitosis at the Squat. This was wandering in a rabbit hole in Frederick: craziness, rock and roll spectacle, wildly feedbacking madness. In short – amazing atmosphere. I had to leave to play family man unfortunately and was bummed to miss the Fun Boys set (but I’ll try to catch their show in Baltimore at the Ottobar April 1: on sale at ticketfly here) .
Meanwhile Chili Town Radio debuted on SoundCloud in early March- that’s the podcast project of WM contributor Anthony Cecchetti
There are SO many more things I want to catch up on including a review of Double Motorcycle’s CD and more film stuff, but, you know, life. I leave you with Yellow K record’s Mr Husband – a new project by member of New God and Heavy Lights – a pretty insanely awesome project with loops, reverb, Brian Wilsonian-Animal Collective madness and more…they got some nicely written words about their initial set of songs from blogs like AustinTownHall and premiered their material on Stereogum. Anyway, Mr Husband will play Nola May 5 cinco de mayo and later May 20th for the Western Machines / Playlist the Thing fest at Skystage -along with Miss Lonelyheart, Tuff Junior and Drop Electric from DC. More on that band and possibly chatting with them soon on WM. Peace love and resistance.