MUSIC

Album Review: Glitoris’ The Disgrace EP

 

by: Joe Siess

 

Band: Glitoris

Album: The Disgrace EP

Label: Buttercup Records

Rating: 3.8/5

 

Before I’d call Glitoris a “band”, I’d call them a phenomena. Their newest single, “Trump Card”, is a kind of a rattling, vengeful, darkly humorous mockery against a shriveling patriarchy, but with a ball busting punk rock twist that makes you want to fuck shit up.

The sheer “audacity” contained in the lyrics, and the symbolism on the video, which can be found on YouTube, is enough to shrivel even the tiniest sorry excuse for a pair of balls dangling between the sad, alienated groins of the most hardened misogynists.

This is not the music for individuals with an kind of warped notion about the importance of their stinking, impotent, phlacid dongs, but might I digress.

It’s true. If you hate women or think it’s ok to “grab pussy” now that the president of the United State is a searing pus filled blister of a degenerate swine, then you should stay away from these girls. Far away. Yes. Glitoris is not for you.

They are outrageous, and as far as I am concerned, are a necessary musical reaction to the bitter backlash of a particularly rabid brand of global sexism and misogyny embodied in Trump’s noisome election.

Anyway, the song is of course an explicit mockery aimed at Donald, but it’s more than just that. Glitoris as a kind of phenomenon is essentially a middle finger to a set of societal norms. Their message however is rather “asexual”. Despite shunting away the societal restrictions placed on women, Glitoris’ music embodies a call to normalize the human body, both male and female. In that sense the music is about a gender equality.

Aside from all that, the girls look like they could be straight out of a punk rock video from the early 90’s. The old school effects on the video and in the sound itself evokes a potent nostalgia. Memories of watching MTV on my parent’s couch after school pop into my head. It’s all rather lovely. But their sound and politically charged message is undoubtedly modern.

And I’ve got a hunch that that’s what they might be going for. Then again I know very little about punk rock aside from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who despite their greatness, aren’t exactly “punk rock”.

But as far as Glitoris goes, the music is damn good. They’ve almost got like this female version of the Clash thing going on. And I love the Clash. But hypothetically speaking, Glitoris is what you get if the Clash were abducted off some dark smokey stage in a seedy part of London, castrated and sent to a penal colony in Australia for lude and licentious behavior ho ho.

When it boils down to the beating core of it all, the video for “Trump Card” is frightening, sexy and hilarious all at the same time. In that regard, I really like Glitoris, and I think their unique style and outspoken manner in how they communicate through their music is exactly what we need these days.

Something outrageous and provocative to give a solid jolt to bigots and misogynists all over the world. A thrashing, bucking tornado of pure musical force that threatens to upend everything you ever assumed about the way we think about gender norms. In a lot of ways their music is what I guess I’d call… post-establishment. It adheres to nothing, but says everything on its raunchy mind. Just like Donald Trump.

The difference between Donald Trump and Glitoris is that while Donald is currently dealing with forces he will never understand, Glitoris taps into it all and shoves it so far up Donald’s ass that it’s just a matter of time before the rubes and their cracked messiah stand in bewilderment.

Album Review: Mountain King Self-Titled

 

by: Doc Jeffurious Higgason

 

Band: Mountain King

Album: ‘Mountain King’

Label: Self-released

Rating: 4.8 outta 5

In life I am a firm believer in the notion that sometimes things don’t come to you until you absolutely need them. Like when your electric bill is due NOW and you are broke. But as fate would have it, your tax refund arrives. Whew! Heat stays on tonight, baby! I truly respect the idea that no plum shall be eaten before it’s time lends itself to many situations in life, especially in those times when music saves you.

The sweetness you crave is worth waiting for, yet somehow you don’t realize it until that moment.  Then you wonder how the hell you ever survived before without it.

Lemme tell ya, I hate the radio. I reside in a mainly rural area. The choices as you can guess are very limited. New crap country radio stations, mixed-genre-middle-of-the-road-hits-from-back-then radio, classic rock (If I hear ‘Free Ride’ one more damned time!), sports, Christian worship stations and sometimes late at night right-wing talk show programs. So being caught without an auxiliary listening option can ruin a long car trip.

This happened recently to me.

Bound to the seat of the car for about an hour in both directions and I had left my MP3 player back at the house on my desk with the sudden realized exclamation of “FAWWWWK!”. A quick glance into the center console of the car and I find two CDs. The first was a horribly damaged copy of ZZ Top’s ‘Recycler’ album (it came with the car) and the second CD was a copy of the June 2015 debut album of the Illinois indie-rock ensemble ‘Mountain King and the Plateau Queen’ simply titled ‘Mountain King’. I had forgotten it was in there, with relief and excitement I immediately shoved it into the pursed mouth of the car’s CD player.

The amped up drum kick of the first track ‘Moon’ seemed to accerate and lift my car as I made my way through the winding turns and hills of southern Illinois, the soft fragrant breeze of a rare warm night in February breathed itself through the cracked driver’s window complimenting the experience. The song slips, slides and builds into intermittent percussive orgasms. Excitement at every turn!

Eventually, the song turns you loose in the lilting, comforting beginning of ‘John Coffee’. Both songs set the very undeviating mode of shifting dynamics throughout the whole of the album. Another consistency is the magnificent and moody guitar work coupled with James Beeson’s vigorous vocals.

The band draws power from a score of influences such as The Beatles, Dr. Dog, The Black Keys and The Band just to give you a general idea. There are elements of each of those groups plus much more within each track. Yet it’s entirely a unique sound. A sound they themselves describe as “Interstellar Indie”.  If there is one thing to be said about this group is that they ooze talent and exude their own kind of vibe.

The diversified ambience of the album is reflected in the songs ‘I Mean No Offenses’ and the very radio friendly ‘I Fall Flat’ and it’s extremely catchy hook, “My head ain’t feeling right, I can’t stay up all night with you.” One more definite recommended stop on the tour is ‘Crystal Ball’. From the very beginning of the song you are zapped into a swirling drum and guitar flavored cloud, tossed about and finally smacked into the powerful, operatic vocal opening of the door to the rest of the magic. The words, hauntingly beautiful come to mind, a dream. ‘Mountain King’ is truly a mighty first outing for this band. You can contact them through their ‘Facebook’ page and have a listen to a few of the tracks over on ‘Youtube’ as well. But show em support and buy the album! This is a band that the world needs to hear more of. Incidently, they have a new release scheduled soon. Until that moment arrives I will keep myself company with this enthralling introduction…to be continued.

Music Review: Candy Cigarettes Self-Titled

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

This Portland, Oregon one-man band creates a sound that you would swear was being played by a six piece. Candy Cigarettes is headed by the highly talented singer/songwriter Lane Mueller and has earned a lot of praise and love in the highly proclaimed Portland music scene.

The music is everything that you would expect out of Portland. If you haven’t been to Portland well, get your flannel on, jump on the Max to Voodoo Donuts, get some coffee at Stumptown, and pop this album on the headphones and take the funky fortune 500 fast track into Candy Cigarettes’ world.

It isn’t normal to start off a review with the third track on this adventurous collection of work, but MY 45 is THE TRACK.

MY 45 is the obvious radio friendly hit. The song is so catchy that you are going to find your grandmother whistling it while she force feeds you liver-n-onions for dinner. Your Dad will even begrudgingly listen to it in the garage when nobody is around. Even that artless coxcomb “How Bou Dah” girl would bop her dimwitted head up and down on this infectious spellbinding track.

This track is not so candy sweet. When you listen to the lyrics it is about a guy who can’t be with the girl he wants. The song is like hiding a lemon inside an M&M and letting your friend eat it while everyone gets to laugh about it.

The chorus line:

“I want you, but I can’t have you. So I guess I’ll listen to my .45. And if she deceives me baby please leave me, I’ll find another way to die.”

If that gives you an idea?

The rest of the album is a sonic waterslide of adventure taking you through twists and turns that you may not have expected with your tube going so fast that you might go over the edge.

This collection of music is the real deal. Passion bred with true vision and art. Mueller catches your soul and flies you to a place of pure imagination.

Songs like MY 45, and the short but Beach Boys esque Sweet Love, all the way to the snappy The Party’s Almost Over; you will enjoy the unique and familiar sound that this self-titled album brings into your ear drums.

The Clown In Chief and the Juggalo Army March Washington DC

 

by: Brad OH

What is a Juggalo?

The question has been asked and answered in many ways. To music critics, Juggalos are the tasteless followers of the ‘World’s Most Hated Band’, the Insane Clown Posse (ICP). To ICP themselves, it has been asked and answered in the form of a song which provides a litany of silly explanations, but little in the way of deeper insight.

By Juggalos themselves, the most common answer is ‘Family’.

Finally, to the FBI, the rap fans who call themselves Juggalos are classified as gang members. This became the reality in 2011, when the FBI listed Juggalos as a hybrid gang alongside the likes of the Crips in their National Gang Threat Assessment.

It is for this reason—after a frustrating series of lawsuits—that the ICP are calling upon the Juggalos to stage an official march on Washington in hopes of finally having the Juggalos removed from the Gang list.

“We have tried to use the American judicial system to achieve justice and we failed. So on Saturday, September 16, 2017, we are taking our fight to the streets. Literally,” says the official page for the march.

And so, the current Clown-in-Chief will face one of the stranger events in an already whacky first year in office: an army of face-painted Juggalos taking over the Washington monument in defense of Civil Liberties.

Juggalos in Washington DC

As garish and unbelievable as this all sounds, there can be little question this march is being held for good reason. Since the 2011 classification, Juggalos around the country and beyond have been directly impacted by the label. Incidents including loss of child custody, denied entry into the army, and prolonged border delays (this writer himself being a victim), have been reported. In more extreme cases, Juggalo related tattoos have seen minor

infractions bumped up and booked as gang crimes on account of this dangerous ruling. Veteran Juggalo chronicler Nathan Rabin says, ‘This dubious designation is yet another instance of law enforcement singling out people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder for surveillance and harassment while simultaneously ignoring or excusing the crimes of the wealthy.’

But where did this start, what is the FBI’s defence, and where does it all go from here?

Admittedly, there have been several cases of people who identify as Juggalos committing some pretty heinous acts. Further, U.S. Justice Department attorney Amy Powell has stated that ‘a new 2013 FBI report on emerging trends does not mention Juggalos, and that the 2011 report, while still online and not superseded by any other report, is dated. “It’s increasingly unlikely to be used by any state or local agency as a source for any particular action,” she said.’

Still, the idea of labelling large subsects of people as potentially dangerous in order to better identify the true dangers is an increasingly frequent and altogether disturbing trend—especially when it results in such direct impacts on innocents. We’ve seen it with the government’s attempts at preventing terrorist activities by blocking or deporting immigrants from select groups (or simply bombing them in advance), and we’ve seen it with the two-sided attacks on voters of all ilk during recent elections. It would seem, in fact, that this ‘enemy-minded’ thinking is fast becoming the go-to approach for a government which has continually failed to justify or show any positive merit from the ever-growing list of freedoms it derails. ACLU Attorney Saura Sahu has claimed that “the FBI document created interpretive rules for law enforcement agencies and branded Juggalo tattoos, symbols and merchandise as gang-related. “They’re supposed to have an

impact on state and local law enforcement and they do, and usually it’s a really good one. It’s just that this time, they went too far here…

“To call someone a gang member or gang-related is to call that person a criminal… These guys are standing up against what happened to them, but they are also standing up for millions of music fans,” Sahu concludes.

As it stands, Juggalos are still subject to potential detention, harassment, and disproportionate punishment for no reason beyond their musical predilections.

It is the shocking and rather unpredictable result then, that the idea of thousands of clowns marching on the highest office in the country is indeed no laughing matter; not for the government now pressed to justify such a ham-fisted attempt at law-enforcement, and not for the Juggalos desperate to clear their name.

So too should it be a more serious concern for the millions of others watching this unfold, resting on the fence about exactly what all of it means. Juggalos are—admittedly—an easy target, and Juggalo watching may soon become the extreme-sport version of people watching, but to sit idly by with no strong reaction as one’s own government brands a large subsection of people as criminals for their taste in music is pretty high up the list of things which could prove that in the end, you are the real clown. It is a direct affront against the notion of free-speech by a nation increasingly hell-bent on snuffing out that quintessential right.

The very fact that this march needs to happen at all naturally raises one rather disconcerting question: ‘if they get away with doing this to the Juggalos, who’s next?’

If the reader of this article can immediately think of a couple of other music fan bases or other social groups they might not mind seeing criminalized, it is not surprising. But to allow such a thing to actually happen is a precipitous slope grounded either in absolute ignorance, or real hatred.

“If you can go out and brand any musical fan base as a gang, it could have terrible effects,” says ACLU of Michigan Legal Director Michael Steinberg.

Of course, it’s not just any musical fan base being labelled here, and not just any band. It’s the Juggalos, and the Insane Clown Posse.

When Bruce Springsteen claimed to have killed 10 innocent people on his 1982 song ‘Nebraska’, there were few people clamouring for his immediate capture. That’s because by and large, people can understand some level of artistic licence. They can follow along with the idea that not everything an artist claims in character is necessarily the full truth.

When ICP claimed in their 2002 song ‘Gang Related’- “Do you rep the Hatchetman, you’re in a gang,” there was a good deal more difficulty sifting the fiction from the fact.

What is it that separates ICP from so many other artists? Part of it, no doubt, is their scary persona and the rather gloomy corner of pop-culture to which Juggalos have been relegated. Another factor, perhaps, is that ICP was—in its nascent form—a legitimate street gang.

Starting out as the ‘Inner City Posse’, ICP’s original members—along with several inner-city Detroit friends who saw no other future on their dilapidated streets—endeavoured to be a real street gang, who rapped and wrestled on the side.

This idea fell apart after many arrests and confrontations with rival gangs, and the remaining two focussed on their rap career, changing the ICP from the ‘Inner City Posse’ to the ‘Insane Clown Posse’ we know today. This transformation involved not only greasepaint and the establishment of an extensive background mythology, but also a significant transition from young gangbangers to successful marketers and businessmen.

It took only six years for the band to go from wannabe gangsters to platinum selling artists, and the label they established, Psychopathic Records, has served to employ countless other potential gangsters in the metro Detroit

area ever since. This is to say nothing of the countless Juggalos for whom their music has often been a source of comfort and inspiration.

So, while gang-banging certainly has it’s place in the history of ICP and the Juggalos, it can also be argued that ICP and Psychopathic Records as a whole have done significantly more to improve the lives of many Detroit residents than has the government—who largely sat on their hands as the city fell in upon itself as auto-plants and steel-mills disappeared overseas, and citizens were left to a near-hopeless stretch of poverty and unemployment.

Sadly but unsurprisingly, the US Government and the FBI do not see things this way.

And so here we are. On Saturday, September 16th, 2017, there will be a strange sight indeed at the Lincoln Memorial. At around 12:00pm—or significantly earlier, if I know Juggalos—painted faces will abound and the Faygo will fly (seriously—watch out for the flying Faygo). In addition to the march, there’s a free concert, and myriad other events. If my experience with Juggalos has taught me anything, it will be an exceedingly unusual scene for Washington regulars.

Rest assured, there will be loads of soda, grease paint, strange costumes, loud chants, and possibly a few impromptu backyard wrestling matches.

Violent J of Insane Clown Posse

So too will there be signing, laughter, familial love and general merriment. Juggalos—despite their reputation—are not so unlike the majority of people after all, save for their unself-conscious willingness to open themselves up, have fun, and be whatever they feel is most suited to them.

It’s not such a bad lesson for the rest of us…even if you prefer more ‘mainstream’ music and ‘designer sodas’.

The hope here, of course, is that this demonstration of unity will change the minds of the powers that be and elicit an official recognition that being a Juggalo does not qualify one as a gang-member, nor expose one to any of the legal penalties associated with it. With the current intellectual capacity of the

administration, this may be a high hope, but even if the Juggalos fail to sway the legal process directly, it can be hoped that a peaceful demonstration and rational explanation of this outrage may change the minds of casual observers, and even the more justice-minded members of the law-enforcement community. It is, after all, not laws which are the true arbiters of justice in a society, but rather attitudes, beliefs, and the deep-held commitments to respect and decency which each member of that society harbour.

So what is a Juggalo? Well, they’re a lot of things. If the Juggalos are boorish and silly, they are also compassionate and sincere. They are odd, unique, and quintessentially their own breed of person. And yet they’re people all the same, and equally deserving of respect, dignity, and personal autonomy as any other group. If this march is able to demonstrate that to the world at large, then it should be a good day on the carnival grounds after all.

So keep it real Juggalos, and much clown love!

The ‘Juggalo March’ on Washington takes place Sept. 16th, 2017. All details for the event can be found here.

Brad OH writes for www.BradOHInc.com, and has been Down with the Clown since 1999.