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Notes on Popism part 1: Poptimism and why Earyummy is important

Tegan and Sarah perform Roar with Katy Perry in the world which has become Poptimism.

Tegan and Sarah perform Roar with Katy Perry in the world which has become Poptimism.

Most artists don’t like critics because critics critique rather than create. As an app created by a former music writer that transformed into a label which aims to put out important emergent music, we are certainly on the fence about the principles of so-called poptimism as well as it’s critics.

For one, there are a lot of small labels out there working in the ethos of punk or even Virgin in it’s infancy trying to bring important, more challenging popular music to a wider audience. We get very little press and in the necessity of chasing viral hits to generate advertising revenue, most of the indie blogosphere has become a simulacra of Rolling Stone.

Earyummy was launched as an app rather than a website because we believe — or perhaps believed — people would get sick of chasing the incrowd, which is what reading trending stuff, exclusively, actually is in terms of a ‘the world is a high school’ comparison.

Earyummy is also a critique of criticism itself because who needs a writer to go on an on about a song or an artist when the near-democratization via digitization of media allow critics to become curators. Someone took the chance on giving Earyummy distribution as a label because costs are greatly reduced and therefore, risk in the model is reduced so instead of writing, we curate and in the process, fight for independent artists to get paid so they can grow as musicians, stay in our lives.

In our advocacy of indie dance and synthpop, there is also something positive in poptimism. Rockists, as Saul Austerlitz called it in his New York Times piece, centered around music preferred by white, mostly Midwestern bred, males and it excluded certain musical forms out of racism, sexism and homophobia. In the 1990s, several influential white male music editors told me synth music is ‘for gays and women.’ This opinion by the same critics was also lent to bands like Everything But the Girl, a decidedly feminist band, and Prefab Sprout, two bands who defined the last great era of music before the present, the 1980s. These editors shall go unnamed out of the realization people evolve. I’m not about to be like a certain former elected official from Madison, Wisconsin who is currently crafting a blacklist of people he deems racist. Homey doesn’t play that political correctness nor engage in left-wing McCarthyism.

Poptimism is a reaction to the exclusion of editors who worshiped at the altar of Bruce Springstein while ignoring the African-American soul influences on the music of the E Street Band, particularly the drumming of Max Weinberg which gave Springstein’s band a distinctive throwback sound in the era of Rush and Tom Sawyer self-important drum solos, (in addition to shitty views on other people, Ayn Rand has been responsible for some brilliantly shitty-ass music.)

Poptimism is also driven, historically, by a very specific editor at Rolling Stone, Nathan Brackett who while at Musician Magazine, fought to give respect to hip-hop as an equal to rock, alongside the hybrid pop-oriented hip-hop which has always been part of the genre, long before Drake ever had a Drake-ism.

Naturally, the elasticity of culture stretches in the exact opposite direction as the thumb of zeitgeist pulls back our pop culture rubber band.

Earyummy was built upon the belief the viral culture, which gives birth to Poptimism, would eventually snap. This happened in the early 1990s when record labels realized sugar-coated überpop of that era was not creating any catalog works which could sell in perpetuity outside of the costly promotional mechanism. Now, even in the age of Katy Perry, Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins sell records.

Bands like FIDLR and Jeff the Brotherhood are bringing loud guitar back. Loud guitar is the natural reaction to EDM-driven music everywhere for kids who grew up listening to dad or mom’s grunge. This is why we signed Sros Lords, because they are part of the loud guitar backlash coming soon to a suburb or hipster neighborhood near you.

Popism is also a reaction to the trustfunder elitism of indie, the whole quick turning against a band once anyone else has heard of them which has become a Portlandia joke at this point. Indie lost some of the spirit of punk and I would have to blame one of the labels which views itself as egalitarian, Discord. Why Earyummy is influenced by Discord, the bands on the label were also part of turning punk into something for rich kids and creating a confusing rubric of cultural signaling which pushed out people who were there just to rock, with the politics slowly sinking in for later. Discord was also the first label for Pussy Galore and as it stands now, the family of front woman Julie Cafritz is the singular entity responsible for the disappearance of affordable housing in Washington DC as the Cafritz family development companies is building 50% of all housing in DC right now and none of it affordable housing.

Oh yeah, we’re moving out of DC to New York City in 2016 with other offices somewhere else we haven’t announced yet. The irony of New York real estate is you can still find cheap office space, especially in the garment district. Manhattan commercial for small offices has been getting room to breathe with the epicenter of New York City culture moving to Brooklyn. Yes, we’ll still be around in Chicago — hopefully in Fort Knox studios — but presence in New York is best for the small bands we aim to empower and for an app which is soon going to be social network for the music community.

We are, by the way, part of a larger tech company creating apps with social for narrowcasted interests but apps which aim to create both a physical and online community. Music, especially music in relation to countercultures, has always been driven by community. For 80s people, we’re sort of hoping Earyummy the app, by adding social in it’s next release, can become the Star Hits of the current music renaissance.

Poptimism without other types of challenging music is an insidious form of conformity counterintuitive to all genres after rock and soul creating social change. As much as it is a product of viral confirmation bias-driven conversations as well as a lack of historical perspective in music journalism, it is also a product of indie eschewing politics in the George Bush era where the quasi-royalty of Paris Hilton and inheritance over merit was celebrated, every music outlet believing politics no longer mattered and people with trustfunds taking over the counterculture. Parental subsidies in this period also sent rents skyrocketing and killing off any organic cultivation of urban enclaves where artists and musicians could make labor choices to work towards becoming a full time artist, to push society forward through culture. Detroit is a return to the normal of people looking for cheap rent and a part time job with expendable income and so are other places like Lexington, Kentucky.

Earyummy is a part of those places. We named our compilations Songs for a Punk Rock Prom Queen because punk was egalitarian. There was not one static sound but a melange, from three chord guitar to Jamaican ska to the psychedelia of Psychic TV to the otherworldly sounds of the 4AD label. The main thing was to not make self-important extended jams like Emerson Lake and Palmer, rock-out-with-your-cock out Bad Company rock or easy listening dreck.

Earyummy considers itself as part of a movement, another generation of musicians who choose bedroom recording equipment and instead of big label dreams, want to work with smaller labels which give them more royalties or the freedom to release things outside of official releases. 

The blossoming of music right now is not out of context. Income inequality is the political debate of the day and difficult economic times have always been the yellow brick road to great art. Even some of the crappiest pop music, in giving nods to popism, is way better than the same type of music released 20 years ago, which is completely unlistenable to anyone with developed taste, to foist a little punk rock snobbery.

Unlike the first and second waves of punk, this movement going on around us, whatever it is, does not have the distribution limitations or the high cost of producing physical product. Also, in terms of physical product, homecrafted cassettes are considered as actual product rather than a sorry excuse for getting out the music of a band with no label connections.

We’ll be writing more about the so-called poptimism vs. rockism debate but in the meantime, support the bands we support by purchasing their music. Become part of the new social community when the relaunch of the app happens in May.

We can sit around complaining or we can come together to create something with serious cultural impact.




Daria Gomez is passionless for the new Passion Pit album Kindred

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By Daria (Dahlia) Gomez

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All I can say about Kindred is it is like going to a Death Cab for Cutie concert and instead of Ben Gibbard or anyone else, you find out that guy from Owl City has murdered everyone in Death Cab and claimed the band for himself.

Lots of bands who played with popishness in the emergence of the synth pop revival have made the transition to chart topping band without compromising their original spirit. Passion Pit is not one of those bands.

Even worse, this album seems to have robbed ideas from a whole buncha better albums which have gone unnoticed in the mad dash of un-criticism music criticism which has somehow made Taylor Swift into Blondie. Passion Pit has seemed to especially robbed a lot of ideas from M83’s classic, Saturdays = Youth without replicating the magical soundrackiness of songs like Kim and Jesse or Graveyard Girl.





Kindred is a balls out pop album which says, “Hey, Katy Perry, let me open for you!” I do realize Tegan and Sara opened for Katy Perry but in terms of doing a seance for the 80s, Closer was like a possession.

Ironically, Passion Pit was one of the few synth revival bands which didn’t boilerplate the era of new wave. They had a certain richness to them. Kindred is completely lacking in texture and almost sounds like jello-shot EDM in the album’s brainless enthusiasm.

I did kinda sorta like on track, Until We Can’t (Let’s Go) on this sell-outing, (yes, I realize their past two albums went to number 51 and 4 on the Billboard charts, respectively).

I’m super young and I always looked to critics of yore who could write reviews which evoked an album as a collection of short stories. I’ve been surprised so much F. Scott Fitzgerald word salad has been dedicated to this piece of dreck.

For a much better transition to ultra-pop from indie, try Tokyo Police Club’s Forcefield, one of the most under-rated albums of 2014 in my mind.



Daria Gomez has recently returned to writing for Earyummy after Jedi training somewhere in the Canadian Boundary waters.




Summerfest blows a load for 2015 lineup including Kendrick Lamar and Stevie Wonder

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Let’s be honest, when you say ‘Milwaukee’ no one says ‘excitement.’ Being so close to Chicago and largely post-industrial without much of a repurposed revival, Milwaukee is Chicago’s deformed twin stuck in the attic by an evil step-mother, at least in the mind of the world according to people who like cool shit.

Milwaukee has one big exception and that’s Summerfest, arguably the best summer music festival in the whole U.S. of A.

This year, Summerfest has taken a cue from the porn industry and blown a load with talent, most notably, in booking Kendrick Lamar for July 1st and Stevie Wonder for June 27. The full lineup can be found on the website.

The Rolling Stones are also playing if they all don’t suddenly die or forget all their lyrics from old age dementia.

What makes Summerfest unique is the ability to see a slew of bands at a low price. A three-day advance purchase pass for Summerfest this year is $45.00. It’s really worth taking a trip to the god-forsaken Midwest for this festival.

One big problem is the lack of affordable hotels in Downtown Milwaukee. In the next update of the Earyummy app, we’ll be including guides to major summer festivals along with tips on affordable lodging for Summerfest and a slew of lesser-known festivals.

Tickets for Stevie Wonder’s show go on sale Saturday, April 25th at 10 a.m. CDT and include Summerfest admission. Tickets can be purchased at the Summerfest Box Office in person and by phone at 414-273-2600, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, Walmart stores, online at Ticketmaster.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000 (live Ticketmaster Agent) or 1-866-448-7849 (“Ticketmaster Express” automated phone line). Patrons may also utilize “ticketfast” at Ticketmaster.com to print barcoded concert tickets from home. Convenience fees may be added to all purchases.






Spike Lee’s Chiraq: Violence is not the Only Reason To Compare Chicago to Iraq

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There has been a lot of criticism directed towards Spike Lee for titling his upcoming movie Chiraq. No so ironically, it comes from idiots who have been complacent about the problems which created Chiraq. Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale is one of these idiots telling the Sun Times Spike Lee should be sensitive to the city’s efforts to attract tourists. Why does one of the most important directors of the late 20th century have to create a travel promotion piece for the city?

Beale sounds like a Minister of Propaganda but coming from Chiraq, I’m not surprised.

Elected officials in Chicago and their minions are not used to living in the United States. An employee of Congressman Danny Davis, when I was talking to her on the phone, could not even pronounce the word congressional, even though she works for a congressional office. In the reality that is Beale’s, elected officials can control art or journalism and caused another Beal, Willis Earl Beal, to call Chicago ‘the worst place to make art’ in an upcoming interview for Earyummy.

Chiraq is a name embraced by South Siders because it gives us a sense of pride, it’s a name which represents our overcoming, like people who survide. As someone who does some underground hip-hop production, the term is widely used by rappers from Chicago. Spike Lee universalizing the term will only help narratives from that underground, something I am sure the director considered. Lee is part of a group of directors who created a New York narrative and it’s an honor — or it should be — for him to feel Chicago is important enough to consider making a similar narrative.

Lee filming in Chicago will also open up the dialogue around Chicago’s racial problems. Chicago’s black political class are a group of people I call The Capo Class because they are like the Jewish capos in the Nazi concentration camps, oppressing their own.

When the son of Silvano Melea Otieno visited me in Chicago, he said the segregation reminded him of apartheid in South Africa, only worse. Otieno is one of the men who liberated Kenya from the British in association with the Mau Mau uprising and his family is close to the family of Nelson Mandela. When a friend of the Mandella family says something like this, not a single elected official in Chicago has the right to criticize Spike Lee because they are part of creating the apartheid state of Chicago which creates pockets which are Chiraq.

I think the choice for a title is awesome. It reflects Lee’s canny ability to quickly absorb the brand new of black street culture into film-as-literature.

When we compare areas of the United States to distressed parts of the globe, we also have to talk about migration, those who fight to get out. Chicago has a brain drain problem it doesn’t like to talk about. Like Kurds leaving Iraq, many people who grow up on the South Side fight to get out. For me, going to college was the first visa to a place where violence didn’t dominate, where the color of our skin didn’t define us and where police didn’t profile us in upper class neighborhoods.

I found myself back on the South Side after becoming disabled. I wasn’t happy about it. The night before an interview in Maryland, planning to leave Chicago forever, I was taken from a Days Inn in College Park, Maryland, unable to walk. After six weeks in the hospital outside of Washington DC, I found my insurance would only pay for a physical rehabilitation facility in Illinois, nothing in Maryland where I had a robust support system. After three months of rehabilitation, I was placed in supportive housing by Access Living, a non-profit ‘serving’ the disabled. Serving is in quotes for a reason. I’ll detail those months in another article.

As a Netflix preview, it is the only time in my life where I have ever starved as Access Living doesn’t seem to think the disabled need food or maybe, oh, job search services to find the money to get nourishment. They just sort of plopped me down and put my name in a spreadsheet of faceless quantitative, ableist, lip-service liberal, self-satisfaction.

I’ve recently moved out of Chicago, the Englewood neighborhood to be exact, where I was placed, which is part of the larger South Side and West Side known as Chiraq.

The prime reason I relocated once again was domestic violence being committed against me by an ex-girlfriend. I’m in a wheelchair because of a combination of a head injury and multiple sclerosis. After I broke up with her, she continued to threaten to torture and kill me via text, on Facebook and by coming to my apartment in Chicago, thorough the front door or through the window. It turned out the girlfriend had a record of abusing the disabled, (see graphic of postings online below this paragraph). She has a long history of mental illness and addiction as well as a long history of felony arrests for distribution of narcotics — arrests going back to age 15 — which I would not mention out of respect for people who struggle with these diseases but has she has posted about these things online herself, including two YouTube videos of herself shooting heroin.

I was also contacted by the Drug Enforcement Agency about the ex-girlfriend and asked to turn over evidence about some of her purchases. Because she had mentioned the meeting with the DEA in overtures to ‘destroy’ me to other people, I was relocated by a domestic violence service outside of Illinois. I used a service outside of Illinois because she employed police in her threats against me and because I had staying with a friend in the other state while she was breaking in and doing other stuff to instill fear.

In this time, I discovered she had a long history of domestic violence, particularly directed towards the disabled.


A few gens from the ex-girlfriend’s domestic violence dossier

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After I left, I noticed a decompression. I was wound less tight by worry of what would happen next, not only because I was worried about this woman ‘torturing [me] in my wheelchair’ as she had said on Facebook but because of the potential for violence around me to explode at any moment, the minute I went outside.

In the summer of 2014, I had bullets miss hitting my head twice.

Violence is not the only thing which makes Chicago Chiraq, it’s also the paucity of services for people with challenges: economic challenges, racial marginalization challenges and in my case, the challenges of physical disability. There are even similarities which can be drawn to the regime of Saddam Hussein in creating a landscape where anything which does not lead to the palace of dear leader — City Hall and then the Madigan dictatorship — is obliterated. Yes, I do lean left but I think a true leftist doesn’t like any sort of oligarchy. It is unfortunate that the left squashing any criticism of Obama has only increased the Saddam Hussein-ness of Chicago and if you’ve been reading the news, you know Chicago police have ‘black sites’ where they disappear people.

When I was placed in the housing in Englewood by Access Living I brought up the contradiction of caring for the disabled yet putting them in the violent neighborhood where, when bullets fly, they cannot duck. It is one thing to run from gunfire, it is far more difficult to roll away. Of course, Access Living is probably the worst non-profit serving the disabled I have ever encountered. If Saddam or any other dictator created a non-profit to obfuscate their horrible treatment of the disabled, they could use Access Living as a model. They have no job placement services, no connection to wheelchair sports teams and and a large staff of abled people who literally talk to the disabled as if they are retarded when you deal with them. It does nothing to bring the disabled out of the shadows and by placing them in dangerous neighborhoods they transmit the attitude ‘you’re going to die anyway.’

Non-profits in Chicago don’t have competition. There is basically just a single non-profit for every service. In order for them to thrive, they basically have to become political entities. Access Living is one of these political entities where, like Iraq under either Saddam or the Islamic State, falsely represent politicians as doing something.

Certain non-profits are effective. Two examples are ASPIRA, the Latino education non-profit or The Annapolis Lighthouse, if we are talking about a homeless shelter. Other non-profits are what I call Dear Leader non-profits. Access Living and almost all of the non-profits in Chicago fall into the Dear Leader category.

I’ll use Access Living as an example of a Dear Leader non-profit which more than helping the disabled, obfuscates problems which disenfranchise the cause group the non-profit is supposed to represent.

I’ll be writing another article about Access Living and the problems with access for the disabled in Chicago. It’s an investigative piece where I discovered ADA complaints about businesses in Chicago sent to the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights disappearing. 22 cases in all, we’ve tracked. Access Living knows about these disappearing cases but did not want to get involved because it would illuminate how little they do to make Chicago an accessible city.

Chicago is a city rife with ADA violations: many of the train stops don’t have an elevator and there are sidewalks which still have stairs making it impossible for a person in a wheelchair to even venture into that area, just to name two problems which replicate themselves across the city. Groups like Access Living serve as political props, mainly for Democratic politicians like former Governor Pat Quinn. In return, they provide a certain authority — a nice way of saying cockblocking — which keeps individual activists in the disabled community from bringing attention to chronic problems such as snow which isn’t remove at bus stops for wheelchairs to board, widespread harassment of people with service dogs by city employees and injuries to people in wheelchairs on CTA busses because of broken equipment. Access Living is exemplary of other non-profits in Chicago basically servng as extras casting whenever an elected official needs people in wheelchairs to sit in the background. When Rahm Emmanuel announced in 2014 he was going to put more wheelchair accessible cabs on the street, Access Living provided him with the disabled extras. Emmanuel said nothing about Lyft, Uber or Sidecar, other services which are slowly putting cabs out of business and are completely unregulated to serve the disabled.

Like offices of propaganda for dictatorships when someone from a the group they are supposed to serve criticizes them, groups like Access Living in Chicago ban them from services. Access Living has regularly refused services to disabled people who have criticized them on their Facebook page, contributing to homelessness among the disabled in Chicago who have nowhere else to go for services when they become marginalized by the singular group. Asserting your dignity as a disabled person to Access Living is seen by their employees who engage in the worst sort of patronizing ablism as biting the hand that feeds, a common trait of tight leadership, to reference Mark Grannovetter’s studies on tight and noded leadership.

By Access Living having zero social activities for the disabled community, they create a situation where no other groups can organically grow out of interactions. To Access Living and their political associates we, the disabled, are not people but a public service announcement for the Democratic Party. We are the burning American flags on mall floor for the Chicago Mullahs.

The similarities of singular services serving a dictatorship can even be seen in the issue of food insecurity, one issue which should not be politicized but it is in Chicago. In order for any entity to run a food pantry, they must seek approval of the Greater Chicagoland Food Depository. One of the problems with this is there is a great deal of graft from the organization. Items from the food depository regularly showed up at a grocery store in Englewood on the corner of Halsted and Garfield which had the nickname ‘Al Aaeda Front’ in the community. The grocery store also sells cell phones and furniture, in case you are interested in taking a trip to al Qaeda Front Grocery Store instead of Oakbrook Mall on your next trip to Chicago.

Several Whole Foods in Chicago donate to Food Not Bombs instead of The Chicagoland Food Depository because it is well known volunteers for many of the pantries, particularly the South Side pantries, skim off the best products and leave people who actually need food with nothing but canned goods. Jason Hammond, brother of Jeremy Hammond’s brother, led the expansion of Food Not Bombs into creating clandestine pantries to expand the availability of fresh food to people at pantries.

If I was in Chicago, I would not be writing about these things because the way entities like Access Living or aldermen keep independent journalists from growing to create a more robust debate in the city is they use police to squelch free speech. Criticism is positioned as harassment and police are happy to tromp into civil matters in Chiraq. The American Civil Liberties Union doesn’t care because they are a national Dear Leader non-profit which basically serves to promote the Democratic party as the singular party protecting civil liberties when, last time I checked, it was Bill Clinton who turned the United States into the country with the highest rates of incarceration in the world.

In this sense, the oppression of minority groups in Chicago is not that different than the oppression of minority groups in Iraq. Since the power in the Democratic party has shifted to Chicago, the practices of repression have become party wide, which is one of the reasons Senator Mitch McConnell is mulling over an investigation of the Obama administration corrupting Federal offices.

There are things I miss about Chicago. I plan to keep offices there to help bands on the label secure gigs and do promotion at events such as the Pitchfork Festival. Right now, I view the move as a next stage as I am getting much better services as a disabled person and will start playing on a wheelchair rugby team. However, I don’t miss feeling like I live in an undeveloped country.

To start back at the top, the elected officials who criticized Spike Lee for filming a movie in the Windy City called Chiraq should look to themselves as the reason for the city developing this nickname. Why don’t they? Well, answer that question yourself when Chicago just had a mayoral candidate with a son in a gang, while his father served as an Illinois State Senator.

Spike Lee’s films have had a knack for capturing the zeitgeist of black America. The segregation and violence created by the segregation in Chicago is something which has disappeared in other places around the United States.

Artists – filmmakers, musicians, novelists — are not obligated to do things which enhance tourism. Elected officials in Chicago thought they could get juice with Spike Lee because they regularly use these same reasons to threaten people in the city trying to have a robust discussion.

I was threatened by police over the heroin epidemic expose we had been working on for the relaunch of the Earyummy app under the auspice, ‘children didn’t need to see it.’ There is nothing in the first amendment which falls under the clause, ‘children shouldn’t see it. The real reason the police threatened me over the article was it discussed issues with politically connected non-profits like the Heartland Alliance which had contributed to policy leading to the record number of overdoses in 2013. Less than 700 people died from gunfire in Chicago that year while over 7000 died of overdoses, with the deaths rising alongside a change in policy that came out of the Heartland Alliance and several doctors at Advocate. 
Saddam Hussein used his Republican guard to crush opposition, crush free speech and so do elected officials in Chicago.

Chiraq is a name well earned by Chicago and like persecuted Yazidi who has escaped to Europe, Spike Lee using the name in a work of his about Chicago feels like a justification for my own struggle of getting out and possibly, from the outside, making change through independent journalism done from the outside looking into the country which needs liberation.




The Reveal: Zorch is Van Halen with Synth but if The Flaming Lips Took Over Van Halen and Replaced Spandex with Anna Sui Slim Slacks (sumfin’ like that)

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Austin’s Zorch shares a lot in common with the brethren from the neighboring state of Oklahoma, The Flaming Lips. Dare we say it with the Animal Collective backlash all over indie internet world, they also take a lot from that band as well, (others have said that but before Animal Collective became Pfish to people who are trading in their Toms for Doc Martens). One big difference, Zac Traeger and drummer Shmu throttle a bit more with their synths mimicking electric guitar solos without the self-indulgence of a jam bands.

We should also add Zorch owes a great deal to Yes and King Crimson but pre Owner of a Lonely Heart Yes, which is the Yes everyone pretends they have heard. Oh yeah, one more thing: the Beach Boys Smile. All that is in the Zorch Cracker Jack.


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While the synthpop revival mimicking the 1980s — a body of bands Earyummy calls ‘neü new wave’ — is cresting in the mainstream as a Starbucks soundtrack, the so-called underground is embracing loud guitar rock. Interestingly enough, Zorch is one of those bands which seems to be able to take synth into the loud category with a sound completely outside of industrial. 

Cynicism also really has no place in the band’s songwriting and the forceful joyfulness makes one realize lurching toward happiness, with music as the stop-start fuel, is maybe a far more clever venture than the jaded distancing which has been the hallmark of so-called indie ever since Pavement decided bored as fuck was awesome instead of, well, boring.

Below the greedy capitalist grab of the Google ad is one of Zorch’s more accessible tracks, Zut Alore.


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Zorch | Zut Alore



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The Reveal: Pretty Boy Hefner

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We’ve changed the name of band of the day to The Reveal. There are just too many bands of the day out there on the interwebs. Plus, as platform dedicated to emergent music and contextualizing how new artists will have an impact on the cultural landscape, it’s silly to just focus on a single band or solo musician every day, there are days where it’s better to have none and other days where it’s necessary to have several, especially given the boom in independent labels.

We also want to be expansive and cover genres besides indie rock and indie dance, which has been our stable, even though we need to take Terfenadine when we say the word indie.

Enter Pretty Boy Hefner, a hybridized nu-soul/rapper from Madison, Wisconsin, a place not known for hip hop or its African-Americans beyond those recruited to University of Wisconsin, Madison sports teams.


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Sam Wright is the government name of this prep-geek-swagger artist who makes music referencing the 1990s street-smart romanticism of TLC and SWV, a trend which seems to be particularly strong in the underestimated Midwest underground.

Hefner, whose high school innocence on track belies the referent of his last name, has a similar story to Pharrell Williams at the begging of his career. Hefner won a Boys and Girls Club digital arts contest where he was discovered by producer Greg Doby, who has worked with artists such as Lloyd Banks.

Versus his contemporaries like Tory Lanez, Pretty Boy Hefner carries a crisper sound and employs his flow a lot more, sounding like a non-bipolar Kanye West, (we love Ye, sorry for the joke at his expense). Pretty Boy Hefner is also just that, a pretty boy which will work for him or against him, depending on whether or not hardercore hip-hop fans see a boy band element to his act. 

While he tilts commercial, one can’t resist the slow summer slide of those early 90s sounds, ironically, giving a fake nostalgia for more innocent times, (not so innocent because this was also the time gangster rap was exploding and murder rates in American cities peaked.)


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Free Speech? Not in Chicago: An apology for our breaks in publishing

Chicago Politics

No matter who wins, it’ll always be like this guy.

Update:

Many people thought this entry made allusions to current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. It actually references his challenger, Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia. In the past few weeks, we have received threats from Cook County Sheriff employees who posed as Federal Bureau of Investigations agents and a suburban police officer to keep us from publishing a number of stories in our Pulture section, (politics and culture), about a drug dealer from the Little Village area of Chicago who has an association with a seminal Garcia fundraiser and organizer.

Before this, we had been planning an investigative piece about the harm reduction movement and the contribution of this problematic practice to the rising number of deaths due to heroin overdose. We have been working on this article since last year since Bob Forrest, (who most readers will recognize as the assistant to Dr. Drew Pinsky on Celebrity Rehab), provided us with information on the negative impact harm reduction was having on recovery communities. Communication with Mr. Forrest dating back to 2014 can be found below.

We have since discovered one of the key proponents of harm reduction in Illinois is under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration for overprescribing methadone to the aforementioned drug dealer which, with full knowledge of the physician, was sold on the street.

We have received threats of arrest if we publish this article. Of course, this is a civil matter and police cannot threaten journalists, except in Cook County, Illinois. We have also discovered this physician and the rubric of individuals surrounding harm reduction in Chicago have associations with challenger Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, which is why believe we are receiving threats from Cook County law enforcement officials.

We have reported these threats to Chicago Police and they have not only informed us these threats are completely illegal but that they have been investigating the individual in question. They have asked us to turn over all the evidence we have.

We are currently doing the legal work to publish this article and resume consistent publishing. As we detailed in this piece, we were threatened with arrest if we posted anything, even YouTube videos. Fortunately, one of the individuals in law enforcement made these threats via email. We will be turning those messages over to the Department of Justice and starting a Change.org petition to push for an investigation.

There is much more to this story and we will be keeping readers updated as soon as we are able to exercise our First Amendment rights. It’s a sad day in the United States when law enforcement can be used to quell free speech. We hope we can count on people for pushback in the days to come and we will continue with updates.

BobForrest

Email correspondence with Bob Forrest, (assistant to Dr. Drew on celebrity rehab), about the problematic practice of harm reduction.

Bob Forrest and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the documentary about Bob Forrest Bob and The Monster.

Bob Forrest and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the documentary about Bob Forrest Bob and The Monster.

You might have noticed Earyummy has not been publishing consistently. There is a reason for inconsistency. Outside of the site redesign and launch of The Disquo social networking app for music communities, we’ve had to battle legal issues which prevented us from posting anything, even YouTube videos.

Things also grew kind of scary as we even had a Chicago Police officer threaten one of our editors with posting anything without the consult of an attorney. Of course, content on the internet is a civil matter but in Chicago, jurisdiction doesn’t matter nor does the constitution. To this sort of corruption which tramples on free speech, if the name Rahm Emmanuel leaves a bitter aftertaste in your mouth, the threats have nothing to do with his office. Corruption in Chicago and the State of Illinois are knotted balls of yarn in a basket which need to be untangled by processes beyond elections. One of the fingers doing the untangling should be the press, especially independent upstarts and a robust local blogosphere. Like the current mayor of the Windy City, this finger has been cut off.

Here is the full narrative, (below the banner ad, sorry).





When Earyummy was developed as an app-based magazine, the goal was to create a contemporary version of Rolling Stone, returning politics and culture to the music magazine. Despite the history of popular music playing the role of melodic pundit in American, British and now global life — from bawdy songs like My Girl’s Pussy during the prohibition era to the punk railing against the Thatcher economic agenda to the role of rock in Iran’s youth rebellions — the past decade has seen the music press distance itself from this historical reality. We tend to think this comes from the era of elite indie, the time period which gave rise to bands like Vampire Weekend , which reacted to hip-hop laying down empire and becoming the central expressive form of pop in the era of income inequality.

By the way, no, we don’t like Vampire Weekend and in the future, might explain why Jonquil is a much better band replete of the classism of this Columbia University educated group of lads.

Changes corresponded with the 2008 fervor around the election of Barack Obama and we actually have a modern marker album which reengaged pop: Los Campesinos! Hold On Now Youngster, a document of overeducated young people walking out of college into a world of shattered promises and diminished returns for pursuing higher education. The album, filled with the confused commentary of a mind jam-packed with critical theory, is essentially David Labree’s How To Succeed in School Without Really Learning: The Credentials Race in American Education.





This disillusionment eventually gave birth to the first significant, physical political movement in several decades, Occupy. We certainly recognize the movement as flawed and certainly a large part of it was smelly, unemployed 20-somethings hanging out in tents just talking about political action. However, one would be foolish to dismiss the conversations of the movement now playing a significant role in elections. Chicago’s mayoral runoff is driven by perceptions of one candidate being for the rich while the other — while still being someone who has been in the Illinois political machine his whole damn life — a man of those who begrudgingly have to still have roommates in their upper 20s. In terms of presidential politics going into the 2016 election, the movement behind Elizabeth Warren is also the effect of Occupy and the movement’s conversation around the corrupting effect of investment banks. 

Media outlets refuse to discuss this Occupy effect for one simple reason: American media is chock full of rich kids, trustfunders, trustifarians, whatever us regular folk called those snotty sons of bitches who destroyed Brooklyn and other arts scenes around the country. Having attended journalism school at an elite institution, I can report, with confidence, that American journalism is essentially the repository for the stupidest offspring of the upper class. Many have said real journalism died along with Anthony Shadid of the New York Times and having worked with the late Mr. Shadid at one point, I believe that to be so.

Part of the decline in American journalism is reporting elections in a singular party in a two party system, like the Chicago mayoral runoff, as actual democracy. Neither man is an outsider to the most corrupt political system in the nation and neither comes without serious baggage. There is also zero reporting about former mayor Richard M. Daley co-opting the configuration of politicians around Harold Washington in his first term as mayor to turn oppositional acid into a base.

To bring New York into this picture, we can draw a parallel to the complete absence of a conversation about affordable housing for the middle class and the poor, the very issue which propelled Mayor Bill DeBlassio to office.

How does this fit in with music? An abundance of cheap or affordable housing is what has propelled the rise of movements in music during the rock era. The 1990s, the years punk broke, were created by disillusioned 20-somethings migrating to artistic pockets of then-marginalized cities where they could pay rent with minimum wage jobs. Seattle and Chicago would be nothing against New York and Los Angeles if it were not for these music-centric migrations. Brooklyn was not developed into it’s current form by developers, it was seeded by artists. How the hell do outlets covering contemporary pop not have a conversation about affordable housing? In the age of affordable laptop production, this should be a concurrent discussion.

Earymmy was originally developed with sowing the seeds of those relationships between pop and other aspects of life, particularly politics and culture. We say pop, by the way, because electronic production can’t really be categorized as rock and has created an expansive vernacular away from guitar, even though loud guitar music is making a raging comeback.

Part of our goal was to expand into investigative reporting and in the process of preparing for this leap, we came across some pretty dangerous information which we felt highlighted not only the disgusting insider relationships of the Illinois political machine but highlighted the disparities in policing between whites and African-Americans. The investigative work unearthed two prongs of this problem: 1) white suspects in terrorism investigations being treated differently and 2) police completely ignoring white drug dealers and users as Chicago’s heroin epidemic grows.

Quite simply, we encountered a series of threats which not only prevented us from publishing these stories but from publishing anything in the app or in the supportive website.

We asked for help from the American Civil Liberties Union but as one would suspect in the age of institutionalized non-profits, they had no interest in representing a bootstrapping startup, especially if the representation meant creating a counter-narrative about the Democratic Party. Also, the ACLU does nothing to represent people of color unless you’re the Latin Kings gang in Cicero and you make a 250,000 donation to them with blood money.

Finally, we received help from a noted music attorney who gave us the green light.

At the same time, since we received phone threats from police, (nope, not kidding), we thought it might be better to relocate operations for our own safety and to provide consistent content while we fight for the ability of a content-based start-up to operate in Chicago without law enforcement overstepping boundaries into civil matters just because brown people and a woman run this thing.

For decades, music has been a force of social change, much of it good but some of it — such as the fascination with heroin in pop – devastating. We’re not much for binaries so we don’t view anything as purely good or completely evil. In the end, we’re practicing journalism. Through creating social networks within our outlets like The Disquo, we’re expanding possibilities for users to include crowdsourced content. All tech companies are experiments. We only hear about the few which are successful. We’re trying to create a cooperatively owned media company which delivers content not only through apps but through other digital distribution channels, hence the expansion into becoming a record label.

You can support us in one simple way: joining us on Facebook or following us on Twitter. Ask your friends to do this as well, even if they think think the music we cover sucks. This is not just about our survival as a bootstrapping startup, it’s about taking a stand for free speech and pushing back when police, instead of civil courts, are used to quash free speech. 

We’ll be publishing sparsely over the next week or so and in the week of April 6th, when we’ve fully arranged out temporary relocation, we’ll be publishing full Tesla car ahead along with releasing our first compilation album of the new artist mixtapes and walking out The Disquo, a social network for music communities.






Langtunes from Tehran, Iran is a band which needs to be heard: BODAY March 20, 2015

Langtunes from Iran.
Langtunes from Iran.

Langtunes from Iran.

Getting nine months in prison along with 160 lashes just for playing rock music is unthinkable for any Western musician. That’s exactly what Langtunes bass player Behrooz Moosavi endured before migrating to Germany with his bandmates from Tehran, Iran’s capital, to pursue playing live and recording music without fear of reprisal. As you probably guessed, rock music is illegal in Iran but there is still a vital indie rock underground, mostly influenced by British rock.

Langtunes was formed in 2009, the year violent clashes occurred because of electoral fraud by President Ahmadinejad. Despite forming in this politically charged atmosphere, they drift around the political and seem to make music which translates how those moments feel to be living in them.





Rock bands formed in protest scenarios within countries with little access to emergent trends because of suppression of art go two ways on the water divining rod: they drift to bordering on noise to replicate inner rage, or the music simply takes on a dated feel. Anyone who followed rock en Español in Mexico in the 1990s and wanted to, back in the day, advocate for the movement in relation to Mexican politics always had to cringe a bit before Cafe Tacuba’s Re came out and sped the movement up to US and UK indie. Langtunes actually exceeds the innovation of anything happening stateside.

When one cannot make Hollywood screenplay pitch comparisons to describe the sound of a band, that’s a good thing. Langtunes might be compared to Radiohead only in the fact they aren’t afraid of divergent sounds as pop or Tortoise in their instrumental pieces. Neither does the band justice because they are innovators in terms of using the distorted sonics of synth as the treacherous railroad tracks where the guitars begin to surf on top of the chunky blip cars like teenagers with no concept of mortality.





Instead of careening into a place where the music divides the audience by forcing them to listen to pop as one my listen to experimental, it’s danceable. 

Image is also important for a band and people from Iran do not exactly have the reputation for being unattractive, (although not certain if Langtunes is Persian in this). Members have the sort of brooding quality of Oasis without the arrogance but there is a sense a defiance of expected intellectualism is the most intellectual strategy a band from an oppressive country could adopt. 

Langtunes seem to not have ever broken out of Germany even though their narrative is similar to Pussy Riot. It’s strange considering how crucial music has been to defiance to the government by Irianian youth. 

If nothing else, Langtunes are incredibly important. In terms of US to Iranian relations, they show how much more effective a dialogue in the arts can be than pundits pundit-ing and congressmen posturing.

Langtunes Live
Langtunes Stars in Our Eyes



Does Jim Jeffries and Dan Bakkedahl Selfie Mean More Episodes of Legit?

JimJefriesLegit

JimJefriesLegit

A post by comedian Jim Jeffries with Legit cast members Dan Bakkedahl and Nick Daley with the cryptic status “this was my Wednesday” has Jeffries and Legit fans speculating the show is back in production.

Legit was heralded for the honest depiction of the disabled, especially in their pursuit of a sex life, and disability activists have been rallying to get the groundbreaking show back on the air.