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Alt. History


On a recent post, I noted that Trudeau has a knack for putting words in Trump's mouth (there's a book, in fact). Every imagined scenario becomes a horrible reality within a month or two. But the clairvoyance goes deeper.

In 2000 Duke ran for President. By then, he'd grown (or devolved) from a parody of Hunter S. Thomson into a beast quite unlike anyone else. At least, until recently. The clip above features Duke as a digital puppet. The talented Fred Newman is acting within a cumbersome motion capture suit. Two pairs of hands are on sliders animate fingers and facial features in real-time. The system was primitive but allowed Duke to appear on live television, albeit remotely.

Anyway, I watched this ancient clip recently and realized Duke isn't getting enough credit as the godfather of the alt. right. This diatribe is now nearly two decades old. Trump was still just a lecherous Democrat back then. It really isn't all that different from a Trump stump today (although delivered with greater aplomb).

A racist, unstable cartoon character President seemed so... implausible.

Suggested Post Listening: "Alternative Ulster." No wait, that one fits neatly with the title and is one of earth's finest tunes, but since Duke (and Trump) have managed to turn white hegemony into some sort of persecution, I think I'll pick Downtown Boys' "100% Inheritance Tax." Bouncing around to this band at the Hemlock last year was fantastic. The crowd was as diverse as the band.

The song (it appears in 2015's favorites) makes the fine point that one way to level the playing field would be to make everyone start at a level playing field. Imagine the economic impact: a lot more money in the economy, new businesses, and philanthropy. Sure, it's an immodest, unrealistic proposal... but it might even behoove the wealthy. Without his family money, does Trump have multiple bankruptcies and affairs and divorces? Or does he behave in a less cavalier, more cautious fashion? Probably not. Still, the privileged could benefit from real-world lessons and real-life problems.

Late Music Addendum: Gosh, I think I might've failed to mention that last year was a great, great year of songs. My favorites (better late than never):

01 G0ggs - Falling In. Best song for 2016 from maybe the year's best record. I'm suspicious of supergroups as anyone (maybe more so), but Ty Segall + Ex-Cult’s Chris Shaw put together a thunderous record.

02 PJ Harvey - Ministry of Defense. So goddamn devastating and perfect. She’s Joe Strummer, except maybe better.

03 Ausmuteants - New Planet. So many great bands are striving for DEVO. Ausmuteants do it best (Mind Spiders = a close second). Another great album from these gentlemen.

04 Savages - The Answer. I saw ‘em a few years ago. While lead by female Ian Curtis, the band didn’t seem quite ready. I think they are now.

Wish me luck

This was a hard year

And I can't see

No brighter future

Wish me luck

I saw the answer

It was a girl

Will you go ask her

I saw the answer

Will you go ask her

Love is the answer

05 Black Mountain - Florian Saucer Attack. Seemed like a good slot for lyrical ridiculousness & 80s post-punk devotion.

06 Bad Sports - Don’t Get Your Hopes Up. I refuse to take this band seriously (previous record was called Bras. Bad Sports Bras, get it?), so I don’t read too much into their lyrical nihilism. I just like their sound.

07 Mekons - 1848 Now! Ah, the “Year of Revolutions.” Clever, Mekons, clever. Best band in the history of the world. I will fight you on this notion.

08 Mekons - Simone on the Beach. Very next song on the album, I simply kept it rolling. Saw ‘em live again at Bottom of the Hill in October. Best live band in the history of the world. I will fight you on this notion. Seriously, I will slap you in the face and kick your shin.

09 Oh Boland - Mutton Island. I don’t know much about this band. If the Kinks were an Irish garageband circa 1991…

10 Steve Adamyk Band - Swallow You Whole. I’m a shameless consumer of pop-punk anthems. Dirtnap Records had a banner year delivering hooks: The Low Culture, Sonic Avenues, Mind Spiders, Bad Sports… all fun.

11 Big O - Just One More Day. This year’s release features every recording of every song during his Whiskey residency. It’s not Otis at his best (that’s in front of the MCs) but it’s still better than almost everything.

12 Wilco - Cry All Night. Squint your ears and you can still hear Uncle Tupelo among the expertise.

13 The Roots - My Shot Remix. I let Wyatt select a favorite this year. Nice to hear Busta Rhymes chime in. I missed that voice.

14 Count Coolout - New Rap Language. Soul Jazz’s Boombox 1: Early Independent Hip Hop, Electro, and Disco Rap 1979-82 is great. This isn’t the best rap on the record, but it is pretty interesting and fun. I think I found Kool Keith’s dad. The lyrics. The delivery. It’s a vintage, disco version of Dr. Octagon.

15 Kate Tempest - Europe is Lost. Wake-up calls make great rap songs. Bleak, but the album is operatic and hope emerges late.

16 Run the Jewels - Talk to Me. Killer Mike is this decade’s Chuck D, more explicit... but so is his decade.

Two that almost made it: Ausmuteants side-project Leather Towel - Siding With Yoko & A Tribe Called Quest - We The People. Awesome songs.

Album cover of the year goes to The Lasters who assembled individual colleges for each their first pressing of 200. I adore the one I found at Red Devil Records in San Rafael. On the back, song titles include: “You’re Like Walking Pneumonia,” “The Lasters Go Antiquing,” “Ivory Tower of Beer,” and “What’s Up My Ass?” Brilliant punk from LA.

Nick Cave made three records this year. All of them justifiably somber. The Rolling Stones did a proper blues standards album. Future of the Left was full of piss and vinegar. Great records, all.

Here’s to the future of fighting & loving music.


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