Dudes the subway ain’t coming!
We Are Scientists
Bill Cosby and the Pudding Pops
Stream: “The Great Escape” (Real)
Let’s put it all out there: the MTA strike, the intelligent design ruling in PA, that thing from a while ago about how “The Ketchup Song” is the catchiest song ever written, the trendy rock band called We Are Scientists that played last night at Rothko (no, they didn’t say “We are We Are Scientists,” or even “We’re We Are Scientists,” and don’t be an idiot, “We’re We’re Scientists” is a different band). For kicks, let’s even throw in an answer to 2005’s biggest question, “Who Is Mike Jones?” Well I do believe it’s this motherfucker! Case closed! Me and Cochran are hitting the links!
And let’s bring it all back in. You heard it here first: The time has come to reassess the death of biologist Stephen Jay Gould. We all know what it means to rock, post-Gould–but what does it really mean? Do we really want to know? I have to knock a post out today, so yes.
Accidental rock&roll upper Chuck Eddy comes closest to bringing punctuated equilibrium arguments into the game–it’s quite evident too that Gould, in his more senile years, ripped Eddy a fair bit, but that’s a different riff. Both men’s accounts privilege change-by-catastrophe over a steady evolution of tiny improvements, modifications, etc. One benefit being, there’s no hierarchy or supremacy or pecking order as determined by a species’s/band’s complexity, intelligence, fittest survival–it is what it is, eschewing potentially abused/abusive social darwinist type dealies where environment/culture become factors in marginalization, etc, etc. Listen, I got a 5 on AP Biology, so I know what I’m talking about.
Who knows what the last meteor was rockwise–maybe moe.? I have no good idea, just enough of another though to say we’re passing a shitload of time in Gould-style–possibly post-Gould–equilibrium. The gene pool of good riffs/aversion to career-killing musical no-nos continues to homogenize (and flourish via media-marketing driven feedback loops, etc.). So we’re getting a lot of post-post-punk, haircut, stiff-not-swing bands like We Are Scientists, Five O Clock Heroes, Franz, Futureheads, Maximo, Bloc Party, Interpol, Hives, Killers, Lavender Diamonds, Arctic Monkeys, Diamond Nights, Hot Hot Heat, and so on, each with one or two pretty good songs, as opposed to one band having them all.
I say post-Gould equilibrium though because these bands seem acutely aware of the situation, almost subservient to it. Innovation’s undervalued, so not under pressure–more than I can remember, it’s a lot more of “as long as the songs are good, who cares?” No judgment either way, just saying.
Sure, We Are Scientists shticked it up enough to shtick out–the bassist wore lab goggles and does the “who’s black glove is this? we don’t like to leave questions unanswered” stuff my high school jazz band was doing in 96. He also had a moustache, an evolutionarily advantageous adaptation considering the fact that he probably hides snacks in it. And the guitarist-singer’s hair-covers-right eye haircut had its evolutionary advantages too, especially if you want to wink at somebody and not have them see you.
The music’s still subject to the gene pool though. “Can’t Lose” could be by Green Day or Oasis; It’s A Hit” could be My Chemical Romance and Bloc Party just as easily; “Worth The Wait” is Hot Hot Heat, and “This Scene is Dead” is a prescient misnomer. You want more? The band’s big song “The Great Escape” pimps this line: “I’ve got a great idea / I’m gonna wait right here.”
So while they wait for the meteor, we should also admit that this drunkard walk evolution template also means a band can keep sliding against the wall–by no means a slag, and in fact, the band I’m talking about–Bill Cosby and the Pudding Pops–is so unnatural, so evolutionarily backwards, perhaps I mean it as a compliment.
The Pudding Pops played a noise dude’s birthday party last Saturday–short bursts of pop dementia, something between the Shaggs or the Fuggs and a high school Kinks cover band any other group that had or should have had a Farfisa organ. Songs were written beforehand for sure, but they had that improvised popwriting/Rodd Keith appeal–following a guiding principle, but with enough room for ranty one riotgrrrl kiss leads to another vox and other prophetic nonsense (saxophones). If I remember right, The Lost Boys, a movie about vampires, played in the background.