“flatiron” by feedtime

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Not music, not anti-music, but the sound of a failure to compromise between them. Grinding divergences, as between one child and another, or you and your dad and your mom, or you and your job, or you and your former best friends, worked out in a sonic language determined to exclude the higher register, the tenor and alto of regular old distorted electric guitars in good working order, in favor of a headache, a throb-throb bass that bumps—as in traffic jams—against a blobby, sticky slide guitar, then growls on top of that, and the only reliable good thing (if it is still a good thing) is the drummer, getting dumber, keeping time. A way to understand the urge to break things without literally actually breaking things. A confirmation that not only dozens but tens or hundreds of thousands of people have felt this way; those are the people who invented, and patronized, and nearly ruined, heavy rock and roll, to the point where the Ramones’ direct heirs in Western and Southern Australia (these guys are from Perth, and who gives a @#$%?) could not do this job. Sounds like these ought to have made the floor fall, the roof crack, the clouds crumble, the asphalt dissolve and send the traffic tie-up into Sheol, but it keeps going, just as the day itself keeps going, just as you could live through this day and the next and the next: that’s what the drums tell you. But the bass and the might-as-well-call-it-bass, tangled up around each other like the serpent that wrestles itself all day the end of the world, confirm something else just as true, what you already knew. Some things are not OK. Some things are never going to be OK.

-Stephen Burt

sbStephen Burt is Professor of English at Harvard and the author of several books of poetry and literary criticism, most recently the chapbook All-Season Stephanie.

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Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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Photo by Alex Dakoulas.