Monday, November 30, 2009

Branching Out: Punk's Assorted Sub-Genres: 1

So punk music has been born and the genre is full of culture, meaning and fabulous fashion. Over the years, groups from all over have sectioned off and branched out -- taking the spirit of punk and diversifying.

Where to begin?


ORIGIN: England, 1970s

Punk music that promotes anarchy, the abandonment of rules/government. Anarcho punks are anti- something (or everything), whether it be government, war, religion, or various cultural beliefs. Many participate in direct action and protest, such as refusal to work, squatting, dumpster diving, social disobedience, hacktivism, and sometimes violent practices of vandalism, property damage, rioting and overall fucking shit up.

Fast, message-centric songs, structure-be-damned. Essential anthem is the Sex Pistol's "Anarchy in the UK," which basically summed up the early sound. (Ironically, the Sex Pistols were
formed in some what of a present-day boy band style, i.e. selected based on their looks for the purpose of selling sex toys and bondage gear. Not very anarchist).

More contemporary anarcho punk bands are the Dead Kennedys, Fear, Crass, D.O.A. and Flux of Pink Indians, among others. Later anarcho punks made their music harder and angrier than earlier acts, as they discovered more things to piss them off.

The anarcho punk look was extreme: they made bold fashion choices that corresponded to their extreme political beliefs. Mohawks, facial piercings and leather jackets (with spikes, studs, etc.) were
staples of look. Crazy colored hair, dramatic make up on females and a hard, mean mug on one's face were often used to accessorize their looks. Doc Martins or Grinders steel-toe boots were preferred footwear, because an anarcho punk must dress as though there were about to dismantle the world at any moment.

DIY was crucial in achieving the look, as many punks worked hard to create their original adornments. Clothes were deliberately deconstructed as a "fuck you" to the proper way of dressing. The look of an anarcho punk was meant to represent anarchy -- no rules!

The breakout stars of the scene are probably the least politically fueled and counter-intuitive of the genre, but they remain the Sex Pistols, because without them, anarchy might not have become the trend in punk music as it stands today.

Also, the film
SLC Punk! is a vibrant, funny and heartbreaking look into the lives of American anarcho punks that boasts a kick ASS soundtrack and tons of food for thought. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Below is a fantastic scene from the film where the punk protagonist, Stevo, rants about anarchy in the UK, POSERZ and the origins of punk music.

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