The Carrie Brownstein Project
It’s 7:00 and I’ve just arrived home from work. I would normally put on my Pandora station dedicated to Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, but I am a professional journalist, so I bring up my GrooveShark playlist, hit shuffle, and the first song is “Milkshake N’ Honey” from All Hands on the Bad One. Cool tune with clever lyrics: “This music gig doesn’t pay well, but the fans are great.” After that, I hear “What’s Mine Is Yours” from The Woods. This is a Phishy tune. Many different parts and feels, with a little prog breakdown in the middle: I imagine Ernie Stires smiling with approval.
Good musics have more in common than they don’t.
As I listen to “Leave You Behind” from All Hands on the Bad One, it occurs to me pre-text is everything. Several months ago, I was told my beer was brewed by the St. George brewery in Hampton, VA. It tasted great because I love that brewery. Halfway through the bartender told me it was straight Labatt’s. The beer turned to piss-colored InBev schwagg on my tongue. When I first heard Sleater-Kinney, it was impossible to not associate them with my girlfriend and the scars on her body. I now hear the reality, and I must say, them women in Sleater-Kinney is good, but so are the Phish.
Starting in grad school when I studied creative writing, glitzy Hollywood movies began to disgust me, but whenever I would go out to the movies, my friends would inevitably decide on a hollow and formulaic blockbuster. One night they picked Any Given Sunday. I walked out, drove home, and declared an indefinite hiatus on movie watching. I didn’t see another movie until 2005 when I watched You Me and Everyone We Know. It is still one of my favorite films. It was directed by Miranda July, who directed the Sleater-Kinney video, “Get Up.” Since I look to artists I love for the artists they love, if Miranda July digs Sleater-Kinney, then they’re well worth checking out. Many musicians have a great deal of respect for Trey Anastasio. So many, it stands to reason the musicians you respect respect him and Phish. Is that not cause for a little open-mindedness? Did my ex give Phish a more open ear after a musician she loved declared her admiration and respect for them? No. And that is a perfect example of how many people don’t understand Descartes. Cartesian reality shows us that whether you “like” something is irrelevant. Whether you or I have ever heard of it is irrelevant. Whether something is your kind of music is irrelevant, just as whether punk is my kind of music is irrelevant. Phish are one of the best live acts in the world, and that is a fact that exists independent of your acknowledgement.
It’s eight and about time for me to slow down my brain by watching some Family Guy on Hulu. “The Swimmer” is a great tune. I have put out a call on the Internet to Sleater-Kinney fans, and the first response I received was this: “Female driven ‘rock,’ if you can even call them that, is so hard to find. It’s hard to find genuine, solid, REAL, female driven music: they deliver so unabashedly. I just love to sing, rage, paint, whatever, to their music. It’s honestly good.” I agree, and I feel the feminist vibe. But I immediately wonder why my ex didn’t channel some of that feminist rage into action and get out of the abusive relationship as soon as it turned that way. She eventually moved halfway around the country to escape him, so I wonder what the last straw was and how much did she endure before it was reached. . .? If Carrie Brownstein dated guys or was in an abusive relationship with a woman, I feel she wouldn’t put up with a speck of abuse. I certainly cannot imagine her allowing someone to force her to sit on the floor.
I miss Bob Dylan and John Prine and Vetiver, but I will soldier on.