When I was a teenager, the idea that kids my age would one day all own a cell phone, let alone a cell phone that had a screen bigger than a square inch, didn’t even occur to us. We communicated with one another face-to-face, we met up by arranging a time via landline and by being there on or around the time we had arranged. We managed to create close and lasting friendships with one another, with very little miscommunication. At the risk of sounding old and jaded, I think that there is far, far more miscommunication between people now that we have each other at our fingertips constantly. I also think that when I find myself surrounded by younger people, say late teens to mid-20s, I feel like each person has an invisible shield around them created by their phone, which is pretty much constantly in one or both of their hands, drawing in their attention with its life-sucking force. Life for many a young person is mediated by their device; it is how they live their life for the people that aren’t around them at that very second. Not sure why those distant people have become more important than the people standing right next to them, but that’s how it is. I think in some communities its more prevalent than others to live through your phone; for example, you don’t often go to a metal or punk show and see a bunch of kids filming it instead of actually experiencing the music, mostly because their phone would probably be knocked out of their hands, but also because I think it’s less socially acceptable. However, if you make the mistake of wandering in to a neo-indie show, you will find yourself surrounded with glowing screens – people either watching the show through their phones or texting their friends about it. I have even been told that kids will hold up their phones set on the “lighter” app to simulate holding an actual lighter. That’s unimaginably fucking lame. Thankfully I avoid such events. I do enjoy Instagram, I will admit it, but the people we follow through CVLT Nation post interesting and creative photos which I have come to realize are far from the norm. Case in point, CVLT Nation’s Most Annoying Tumblr of this Moment, Pictures of Hipsters Taking Pictures of Food. I had heard of said food photos, but maybe being older or just not in that particular loop, I had almost never seen photos of food on Instagram (except for the occasional delicious-looking vegan feast via Serge). So when we saw POHTPOF, we were horrified to see how many people think that the world wants to see what they are currently turning into shit. It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry – it might even make you hesitate over taking that photo of that brunch you are enjoying – so after the jump, check out Pictures of Hipsters Taking Pictures of Food, and a video that made me laugh…
Text & Photos by Matthew Grant Anson
Sundays are weird days for shows – they bring out a strange hodgepodge of people who either don’t have work or school the next day or do but don’t care. Combine that with King Dude’s already peculiar fanbase, and you had the perfect recipe of strangeness at Los Angeles’ The Echo Sunday, March 31st. King Dude, accompanied by Of The Wand & The Moon and A Story of Rats brought the tunes to match, together providing a unique and off-the-wall combination of neo-folk, drone, and everything in between.
A Story of Rats began the proceedings with ten lit candles, distorted vocals, driving drums, and bwwoooonnnggggg-ing bass feedback. This amounted to their entire set…they either played one long song or multiple songs with no breaks in between; it was hard to tell. The audience for the most part didn’t know what to make of the act, so far removed from King Dude’s sound they were. A Story of Rats had at least five build ups where it seemed as if the music was about to crescendo and transform into something, only to peter out into nothingness like a 4th of July bottle rocket that’s reached the apex of its flight. Drone music isn’t for the faint of heart, and it takes a particularly warped mind to appreciate the intricacies that are (probably, hopefully) hidden beneath the repetition and the feedback. Needless to say, that type of audience just wasn’t at The Echo that night.
I had friend who owned a hearse. It was how he got around town, in slow, loud and methodical style. One time, he had to drive me to work – I had 20 minutes to get there, it was a 5-minute drive, a no brainer. But he didn’t tell me that his hearse went 15 to 20/km tops. I was late, but I did arrive in a hearse, so my boss forgave me. There is something about these vehicles of death that fascinate us; the last earthly travel of a corpse, before it rests forever in earth. Back in the day, hearses were ornate and richly decorated, demonstrating a certain nobility in death. Especially in South America, where they were often made of carved wood attached to the standard Cadillac or Lincoln body – a huge, plumed and shiny black death carriage – or in Japan where mini-pagodas adorn the backs of hearses in gold splendor. I am a big fan of the 50s models, with their wings and tails and white-walled tires, or the 20s and 30s models with their false curtained windows, ones that the dead never need look out of. In California, you might even see a pimped-out, fully tinted hearse sitting on dubs if you’re lucky. After the jump, Check out a gallery of beautiful and strange funeral coaches!
One of my favorite fanzines/magazines ANP QUARTERLY has a new issue out with an article entitled “L.A. Punk Gangs of the 80′s”. Honestly this is the first time I have ever seen a publication tackle this part of the L.A. hardcore movement. It’s a very interesting and insightful read, and I’m glad ANP did this feature, it brought back a lot of memories. I wanted to shed some light on the Suicidal Boys part of the article because this is the scene that I was a part of when I first found punk rock. Usually people always talk about how violent we were, but they leave out the huge amount of kinship we had with one another. We had a central meeting place, which was Mar Vista park, where we would meet up before shows and down beers. Also this park served as the place were the Suicidal softball & football leagues would play ball. Somedays we could also be seen at Penmar playing golf with the Suicidal golf club or at the bowling alley with the Suicidal bowling team. For me it was more of a band of brothers than it was a gang. That being said, many of us did have older brothers that were a part of the local gangs, plus being from Venice we were taught to represent our hood! Many of the kids that were in our scene had known each other since the first grade, so of course as we got older we had each others’ backs. More than the shows in Hollywood, it was the house parties where the real fun would take place. I’m talking about kegger parties that would feature live performances from Suicidal Tendencies, No Mercy, Beowulf, Neighborhood Watch and Chaotic Noise; these were priceless events. When we did go to shows, we did not fuck with people unless they fucked with us. If someone called us out of name they would have to pay the price. The down side to growing up in this environment is that some kids actually did join gangs and went down a path that led them to prison. On a personal level, I realized punk was bigger than just the people around me, and I started listening to Crass and bands that opened my mind. I’m glad that I did not just close myself off to the broader punk scene, because I would have missed out on a lot! I’m way happy that ANP QUARTERLY did this article, because this was an era that has been forgotten about by many. Go to pages 57 through 67 to read “L.A. Punk Gangs of the 80′s”…much respect to everyone who took photos back then!..All of the madness is after the jump.
All photos & text by Jan Zeleny
Reportedly, this has been the darkest winter since the beginning of weather statistics in Germany – and as if that wasn’t enough, while the Japanese are already posting fucking pictures of cherry blossoms, over here we’re still in the grip of winter’s third coming. Which, thanks to a slashing east wind, has been even more brutal than before. Good for Germans that the end of March saw the third Doom over Leipzig festival take place, which offered the opportunity to huddle together in the cozy bowels of the beautiful UT Connewitz with a few hundred fellow misanthropes once again and simply embrace the gloom & frostbite while getting bludgeoned by an excellent line-up of some of the most crushing artists around!
Before the doom would truly be upon us, Thursday started off with a film screening (the UT Connewitz is not only a concert venue, but also one of Germany’s oldest cinemas still in existence): a tourist’s look at the black metal scene and its pivotal formative/destructive events, “Until The Light Takes Us”. I had already forgotten how godawful the film really is, and was glad to find out that the subsequent lecture by Sascha Poehlmann of Metal Matters was also meant to shed a bit of light upon the film’s various problems (most notably the filmmakers’ apparent infatuation with Vikernes). However, it quickly became much more than that, as Poehlmann went on to explore black metal’s aesthetic & anthropologic roots in Romanticism with lots of competence and humor – most intriguing food for thought. Afterwards, there was an open mic giving the audience the opportunity for further discussion, but I figure I wasn’t the only one in attendance that was simply overwhelmed by all the input since no one took it (although a bit of talk developed among the audience with Poehlmann later).
CVLT Nation is a place where people fascinated with the imagery of death and destruction can come to listen to music, see art and film and find clothing that exalts these things. But how many of us would choose a path in life solely dedicated to death, where we live, breathe and taste, literally, the stench of rotting and burning human flesh? The Aghori monks of India and Nepal spend their lives proving to Shiva, the god of death and transformation, that they are his true disciples by living at Hindu cremation grounds, bathing in the ashes of human remains, inflicting torture upon themselves to prove their immunity from pain – like wrapping one’s penis and scrotum around a sword (below); I would love to see Varg try that – and eating rotting human flesh. The initiates of the Aghori eat and drink solely from a human skull plucked from the remains left at their home. They eat rotting food and garbage, drink animal piss, all to show the complete acceptance of all that is considered terrible in this world, to blur the lines between good and evil, pure and impure. These dichotomies do not exist to the Aghori; they know that without one another, neither would exist, and they embrace their place in society as feared and disgusting to the average person. This lifestyle makes what we do here look like a bunch of pansy shit, to be perfectly honest. Yeah, I wear my heart on my sleeve, sometimes literally, when it comes to metal, and people in my community think me and Sean look kind of freaky, but I don’t think I could take it as far as these guys do. Admiring post-mortem photography is one thing, getting hungry looking at it is another. But there is something beautiful about these men and women who paint their faces with blood and ash and wear their dreadlocks long and proud. After the jump, watch a short documentary about the Aghori and check out some amazing photos of this 1000-year-old Hindu sect.
It’s time for another installment of the Creepiest Photo Album. This time I have done my best to title each photo with the name of the photographer or subject, so if you hover over it that will pop up if I was able to find it. These photos are mostly vintage and inexplicably weird. Some of these chilling images were created and others just happened in the way that old analog cameras sometimes caused weird, unintentional effects on the film. Some of these were meant to be scary and others were not. Either way, you will find this collection of photos enticing and terrifying. After the jump, check out The Creepiest Photo Album Part IV…
I grew up in a town with a healthy fear of global warming. Although we may not have felt “warm” during the 8 months of rain a year in Vancouver, we all chanted the mantra of recycling, conserving and composting in an almost paranoid frenzy. I knew from a young age that everything I used and threw away landed on one of millions of garbage mountains around the world, on land and sea, and I felt guilty about it. I mean, I still do – it’s kind of like a religion in Vancouver, the guilt never leaves you. I have seen people litter on the streets of downtown only to have the surrounding five people tell them simultaneously to pick it up. We are all communal watchdogs for the environment, disciplining ourselves and each other when we fall out of line, going out of our way to sort through trash to assuage the deep-set guilt that decades of research and evidence have instilled in us. It’s funny now to live somewhere where the effects of human consumption on the environment is still questioned, where politicians openly claim the overwhelming evidence of its ruin to be false (alongside their claims of Jesus riding a dinosaur 4,000 years ago). And this is the country of drought and tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes. The reason people all over the world feel guilt and shame about the way human beings treat this planet is because soon those things will be widespread across the world, and every place will experience superstorms like they are a normal occurrence. My kids will grow up in that world, with homes that are specially reinforced to withstand the extreme weather conditions. The amazing photos below and after the jump are taken by stormchaser Mike Hollingshead mostly in the US’s “Tornado Alley,” and are, for me, motivation to reduce my ill effects on this planet. I much prefer constant rain to having the roof blown off my house and my entire life swept away in an instant.
Nothing freaks me out more than bottomless lakes. I always feel like something is going to grab me by the ankle and suck me into its abyss. So here is a story about a weird and terrifying lake in Russia, along with some stunning photos of its mysterious depths.
The water is serene but deathly cold – and danger lurks beneath its surface. Yet, in the aquatic depths the promise of discovering hidden underwater caves and relics of our past awaits. Here, beauty and allure belie risks – but risks that some are prepared to take.
“A sapphire in a ring of green trees.” That’s how this stunning lake has been described. Even on overcast days, the water has a deep, crystal blue color like the gemstone to which it has been compared.
But there is much more than splendor to this lake. Beneath its smooth surface lie mysteries as yet unsolved. And some of these are secrets that the lake will not easily give up; at least, not if the recent tragic death of one diving explorer and the hospitalization of another are read as telltale signs.
Story Resource Dangerous Minds
‘A good photograph,’ says Steve Gullick, ‘is one that looks great, one that captures an interesting moment in time, one that tells a story, or in the case of a portrait, offers an insight into the subject.’
This is could be a description of Gullick’s own photographs—his beautiful, inky black portraits that are amongst the most recognizable and iconic images of the past twenty years.
Gullick was influenced ‘Mainly by the dark imagery of Don McCullin and Bill Brandt. I tried to infuse my photos with a similar drama—I spent all of my spare time in the darkroom working on getting good.
‘It was more difficult with color but when I started printing my own color stuff in the late 1990’s I was able to match the intensity of my black & white work.
Full story after the jump!