Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Homesick Hounddogs on the Rodent Hour

Last night was Election Night. Fortunately, my radio show is on Tuesdays and it gave me something a lot more pleasant to think about. Politics hurt my stomach. It's too much like listening to your parents fight: people holding your fate in their hands that don't even have enough on the ball to hold a civilized conversation, let alone guide a civilization.

There, I was topical. Now, the music!
ROCK-pical. And next week's guest is Rock Pickle. Weird.
Homesick Hounddogs are a Brooklyn-based Americana/bluegrass band. Two thirds of them came into the studio last night and played a great set for the Rodent Hour. They're actually the second vaguely folk-ish alterna-rock band that's been on the show this season, the first being The Tres Amigos, who were so good they made me want to be a better person. I'll give them another plug. Here's a slideshow of their appearance set to their song "Fiddleheads."
I had to put this up because we haven't made the video for Homesick Hounddogs yet. As soon as that one is up, I'll post it here. I also wanted to mention The Tres Amigos in this post about Homesick Hounddogs because I see them both as part of a movement taking place in music right now. I think it may have started with "O Brother, Where Art Thou," which came out in 2000 and seemed to revive interest in folksy Americana, especially among my generation.

I see it as part of the same fashion and cultural movement that's appropriated the aesthetic of the pre-war years. For brevity's sake I'll use the term "hipster," though I hate to pull out that word unless I'm referencing Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." Hipsters dress in outdated clothing, adopt the hairstyles of their grandparents, and fetishize the objects and technologies of a bygone era, like typewriters, fixed gear bikes, and Mason jar drinking glasses in order to project an image of authenticity (which is kind of an oxymoron, but I think they know that). The appropriation of this folksy aesthetic among the young and educated urbanite could be behind the resurgence of bluegrass/folk/roots inspired music.

And I am loving it!

That's right, you sit on the floor and jam with your mandolins and your harmonicas, you angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.
This fall season, we've had three bands who fall into this old Americana sub-category of music: The Tres Amigos, lushTongue (they do Indigenous-inspired a capella, not vaguely folkish alterna-rock, which is why I didn't mention them earlier), and Homesick Hounddogs. Not coincidentally, they're all my new favorite bands. I would actually go out to see any of them play live, and if you read this blog, you know I literally have to get paid to go out and see live music in this town. I've set up my life quite nicely so that the live music comes directly to me. But The Tres Amigos are playing a gig at Columbia University on November 30th, so the BF should be prepared to get his ass dragged to a social event, because I want in on that sweet, toe-tappin' all-American action.

It's easy to be down on hipsters because they're mostly young, which means they're somewhat powerless (no one claiming the hipster label got elected last night) and therefore a safe target to mock. And I won't lie, they are so eminently mockable.
Wonder Woman sneers at your mainstream fashion sense.
But I think there's real value in attempting to preserve and perpetuate our own cultural history. Using a typewriter or knowing how to can your own vegetables serves as a tactical bridge to the past, to say nothing of the heritage explored and experienced when musicians mine America's past for inspiration. Is it fashionable? Of the moment? Yes, but it's also of the past, and therefore timeless.

And for my money, it makes for a way better evening than a political rally.
Chelsea is looking at the election results as of 9PM last night. Don't be sad, Chels, Obama wins in the end!
Are you a fan of my radio show? The Rodent Hour is on Tuesdays from 8 to 10PM EST, on Pratt Institute's online radio station, The links to our various social media sites are below. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Tumblr, and listen to past guests on YouTube and Soundcloud. All free, all awesome, and all for one and one for all! (Wait, I think I got off topic...)

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