Monday, May 03, 2010

"1991:: The Year Punk Broke" in Low-Fi Glory


A little more than 24 hours ago, HotDocs here in Toronto did a screening of David Markey's 1991: The Year Punk Broke {1992} at the Bloor. It's only available on out-of-print VHS, as this eyeweekly article explains it's in IP rights hell. It's also available on YouTube, but Chris Bilton of eyeweekly considers the video quality "craptastic", which I find ironic since the whole idea of a pristine copy of a post-punk documentary makes as much sense as the "pop punk" of Avril Lavigne. 

By the time 1992 rolled around, the heady days of 'Daydream Nation' {1988} were long gone and the band was the darling of the newly emerging "alternative" genre. I never warmed to 'Goo', 'Dirty', or 'Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star ', which explains why the band isn't one of my guilty pleasures. Don't get me wrong, there are good Sonic Youth songs, but they're part of an indie canon of overblown mythology that includes the likes of Nirvana, The Pixies, Pavement, and Chan Marshall/Cat Power that serve as badges of distinction to hipsters worldwide. It's not so much that the bands suck, it's their fans.

Here's Part 1 of "1991..."::

Nevermind waiting for the DVD, watch it on YouTube. The grainy footage from a 1991 Sonic Youth European tour is best viewed as a low-fi experience. Put on headphones and crank the fuzzy craptacular sound as it distorts {it's not that bad, actually}. You'll be in for a treat, as what you'll see and hear is closer to the DIY spirit of the bands full of raw performance, not the music marketing machine. While Sonic Youth's "Cool Thing" never sounded cooler, but there's a bunch of hammy schtick that makes Thurston of 1991 seem like a guy who tries too hard to be funny or interesting and deserves a punch or two.

Twitterversion:: #LowFi version of "1991: The Year Punk Broke" on YouTube. Sonic Youth on tour w/Nirvana before "Nevermind" defines an era @Prof_K

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