Joe Surdna

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Joe Surdna  |  Jul 04, 2017  |  3 comments
A lot of ink has been spilled over what is and what is not punk rock. We know what historical punk is: Iggy, Sex Pistols, Wire, Flipper, but do we know what it is now or have we succumbed to the realm of conservative self-parody and stylistic boredom? The Dadaists were the first proto punks. The punk rock I want is a utopian ideal, while the punk I got is more dystopian. How does punk rock make me feel? Generally just annoyed—it’s an aural irritant. It’s rude, crass, dissonant, noisy and usually assumes a guise of nihilism. NY’s Show Me The Body is the closest Americans have come recently as well as this month’s selection North Carolina’s ISS.
Joe Surdna  |  Jun 01, 2017  |  2 comments
Last year at this time the cicadas crawled out of the earth and filled our ears with the cacophony of their singing. This is supposed to happen every seventeen years or so but for some reason the sonorous bugs are not staying asleep and dormant as they are supposed to and are back buzzing away again against all scientific facts and logic. Nothing is as it appears anymore, and as welcome as the buzzing might be there is an ominous sense that something is not right on the Ponderosa. Not to worry because we’ve discovered some wonderful new and sort-of-new music that will drown out all that unreal noise and hopefully soothe any sense of foreboding you might have from all the absurdity and buzzing going on.
Joe Surdna  |  Apr 04, 2017  |  1 comments
No doubt in bloom, with ambient noise, a polyrhythmic chorus of peepers, we slide into longer days and with it a growing festival of capitol nincompoopery. Milk of amnesia and nesting matryoshkas. How long will it last and where are we headed? ‘It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible black.’
Joe Surdna  |  Mar 01, 2017  |  5 comments
There’s an old Greek proverb that goes: now that you’ve eaten the donkey you might as well go ahead and eat the tail. We stagger into March riveted by a new gathering of sounds, once again drowning out the fetid squawk of competing propaganda. Ah, what a relief it is to strap on the headphones and vaporize the outside in favor of the inside, or maybe you use your car as a speeding capsule (the-sculpting-in-time-machine) that adds its own netherworld of field recordings to whatever you might be consciously playing. We’ll wait then, until the wheels fall off before succumbing to "what’s going on out there" vibrations. Meanwhile… let the music take you…
Joe Surdna  |  Feb 01, 2017  |  1 comments
What’s happening in February? What’s going down? Many who are involved with thinking all seem to be searching for a word, a signifier, some definition for the moment we now find ourselves inhabiting. Forget the words and definitions for now. Ambiguity is funny in the way that we so often define it as a corrosive irritant, a constant grinding away of our sense of certainty and contentment. Someone sits down with a guitar or synthesizer and tries consciously or otherwise to translate these feelings into music. So much power is found in ambiguity. There is nothing better for creativity. Great things are happening in bedrooms and studios and basements. Just keep searching for that sound and I promise you’ll hear it coming from a passing car, bleeding through a girl’s set of cans on the subway, or as background static embedded in a novel disguised as a TV show. Just listen...
Joe Surdna  |  Jan 17, 2017  |  2 comments
The thing about living in a post truth era is that that your house and the ambient atmosphere is filled with wifi-blutoothed-airdropped-4g radio waves, but your private space also swirls and eddies with a virtual maelstrom of highly crafted bits of information often described as "facts." For some there is a sense of ambient confusion and despair. Then again there is music, which does not rely either on facts or sometimes (not always)—words. Music has no part in the world of facts and information yet surfs on the incoming energies of the time. This is music for how it feels right now. We plough onward, one step at a time, hoping expectantly for constant surprises.
Joe Surdna  |  Dec 21, 2016  |  7 comments

[Please join me in welcoming Joe Surdna, our new contributor on all things music. Ed.]

December is my favorite month for discovering great new music, mainly because so many Best of 2016 lists are published. I discover dozens of overlooked and previously unknown albums, and for me that is the real point of publishing lists like this; not to create a hierarchical ranking, but as a way of sharing great music that you might not have heard and will come to cherish and be inspired by in the months and years to come.