Eulogizing Pastepunk

So, today it was announced that Pastepunk.com was shutting down. This might not be huge news outside of the “people who read punk website” set, but it is huge to me. When I first got stoked on punk rock, there were two sites I checked daily. PunkRocks was one, and Pastepunk was the other. Both of those site are now done, and it is a goddamn shame.

I have been reading Pastepunk for over a decade, even after it became heavy on strict hardcore and metal bands (despite my general ambivalence to the former, and general dislike of the latter). The reason is because I grew fond of the people doing it. I liked going back and reading the old columns. Jordan Baker always had good ones (my favourite was “Attention: Distributor Of Scene Points”), as did Tami Ryan. Punknews is great, but it doesn’t allow itself to have the personality that Pastepunk (or PunkRocks for that matter) had.

I started high school in 1999. As is the case with a lot of people, I really got into punk rock while in high school. I missed the mid-90’s punk stuff because I was too young to understand it (I was only nine or ten when records like Dookie, Smash, and Stranger Than Fiction came out and brought mainstream attention. Never mind the older stuff). After an awkward phase of radio alternative rock and nu-metal in the late 90s, I finally discovered punk. From then I was on a mission to find new things. Pastepunk was right up my alley.

Most punk sites and blogs want to be Punknews, which is fine. I want to be Pastepunk. My ultimate goal, if I could find a way to balance content and quality here, is to accomplish just half of what Pastepunk did. I want to provide to some young punk kid with what Jordan Baker and his contributors provided to me. I’ll probably never be that good, but it is my goal. While my tastes diverged from what they were covering, Pastepunk was hugely important in my growth as a music fan. It was where I fully formed my love for the forbidden beat.

Thanks a bunch Jordan. Broken Lamps And Hardcore Memories was fucking great.

Joe Kelly vs. Record Store Day

Yesterday was Record Store Day. Fuck Record Store Day.  I understand the whole idea behind it, but I think it is overwhelmingly dumb. The whole point is to drive business to small, independent record stores. I am all for that, in theory. The problem is the follow through. For one day, the entire music industry, both major label and indie, pretend like they actually give a fuck about mom and pop record stores. For one day, the industry cares. The other 364 days a year they don’t.

If the industry really gave a shit about record stores, they would make a concerted effort to stop gouging customers for physical copies of things. It is fucking insulting to go to a record store and see a record being sold for damn near $20. Especially when I could just mail order from the label directly and only pay around $10 (including shipping). Offering limited pressing stuff one day a year does nothing to actually help. Especially if there remains such a disparity between what the records are actually worth versus what they are having to be sold for in order for the shop to make any money.

Additionally, the bands who do these limited RSD only releases are missing the point. Yes, it is a nice treat, but consider the issue. For example, Lemuria put of a Record Store Day exclusive 7″ this year. As a fan, I want to have that record. But, as is so often the case, I didn’t have extra money around to get it right now. I don’t have the time to drive half an hour or more to my nearest independent shop where they might not even have it anyway. At this point the only way I can get it is off the internet. Given that it was limited to 500, I will probably only be able to get it on eBay. Having looked at eBay prior to writing this, I can tell you that douchebag record flippers already have it up there for anywhere between $25 to $50. The sad truth is, more often than not, these limited pressings are not ending up in the hands of fans. They are ending up in the hands of flippers who are unscrupulously jacking up the prices in order to make a quick buck. Fuck that.

I miss record stores being around everywhere. I really do. I had a lot of good times going to my local indie store, Kiss The Sky, back when they had a huge store out in Batavia. Shit, I even enjoyed going to Tower Records damn near once a week. I just find gimmicky bullshit like this pointless. I’m sure the stores appreciate the one day surge in customers, but as a fan it means fuck all to me. Most shops still have everything fucking overpriced, and most limited pressing items aren’t actually getting to the fans for a fair price either.

It is a fucking waste.

Kids And Heroes

Quick update, because it is Sunday (well, Monday now) and I have not updated anything. So, quick updates.

1) Went to day two and three of Bouncing Souls’ four shows this weekend at Reggie’s up in Chicago. Overall, they were great shows. Day two was their self titled record and Hopeless Romantic. The openers for that show were The Brokedowns and The Arrivals. The Brokedowns were great for what they are. If you are stoked on the whole D4 / Lawrence Arms type Midwest pop punk, check them out. The Arrivals were alright. They were never my thing. Souls were great. A few lyric flubs, but a solid performance.

Day three was How I Spent My Summer Vacation and Anchors Aweigh. Openers were The Night Brigade (who I missed) and The Falcon. It is always fun to see The Falcon. Their line-up consisted of Brendan Kelly, Neil Hennessey, Eli Caterer (Smoking Popes), and Derek Grant (Alkaline Trio). They were fun as always. Got to talk to Toby Jeg briefly, as he was doing merch for The Falcon. But, like a terrible blog runner that I am, I was drinking and did not ask anything worth noting.

The downside for the show was that it had totally sold out, and Reggie’s is fucking terrible with sellout crowds. Fucking nowhere to move. Souls were great when doing the songs from …Summer Vacation. Just good for Anchors Aweigh. Overall a good show.

2) Picked up the Hot Water Music / Bouncing Souls split. HWM’s cover of “True Believers” was great. The Bouncing Souls cover of “Wayfarer” is good. But, covering HWM is always kind of a pain in the ass.

3) Music Think Tank posted an article called “Do Social Networks Really Help Musicians?” Worth reading. As an editorial side note, bands need to have websites. The whole purpose of social networking sites is to send traffic to your website. Yeah, you can host music there, but most of those media players are terrible. Stop using those as your primary websites. Shit, even set up a Tumblr or something.

Also, good to see the Mavericks win the NBA title. Fuck the Miami Heat. I hope the Bulls can sign someone good in the off season. Chicago needs a championship.

Now that basketball is over all I have is the Cubs. Fuck.