Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gregory McKillop -- Little Demon on the Back Seat

Gregory McKillop's Little Demon on the Back Seat sparked a heated (and maybe self-important?) conversation over on NineBullets about identity, art, and our "scene."

So this entry is a bit more about the context of this album rather than the music itself.

This is a queer album, no question about it (in my mind, anyway). While liner notes can be boring and self-involved, Gregory's are an important and engaging road map for this little opus. In it, he addresses the importance of expressing the various aspects of his identities and politics in art. "This Is What Self Defense Looks Like" is the most overt of these songs, but its brutality brings home a lot of the fear and anguish that many of us LGBT folk experience whenever we walk alone at night:

Another man makes a plan:
to go and kill a faggot and
he breaks my arm and breaks my nose,
and makes me bleed with all his bros.

And they will stop after awhile,
and I will run and hide and cry
inside a church where hopefully
no one bothers me.

This is what self defense looks like. 

It's a dark fantasy, but it's one that I know runs through my head fairly often.

It's really Important (with a capital "I") for these themes to be discussed -- particularly in the folk punk scene where -- let's face it -- most of the musicians and fans are cis (i.e., not trans) white men. I have to admit that I always feel a little out of place at concerts surrounded by lots of people who just don't look like me, or give me a surprised (but, I stress, not hostile!) glance if I happen to have a lady on my arm. At the end of the day, this is why queer bars exist, so I don't have to feel like a fish out of water just to get a drink with a human who I'm into.

A lot of the songs that get me ready to seize the day, that inspired me to start this blog to begin with, that make me Feel the Things, are about the disappointments of a rural, blue collar life. I grew up with Central Park as my playground. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was my playground. College was never a question for me, the fact that people who lived only two miles away from me had trouble keeping their fridge full was incomprehensible to me. My life is the complete opposite of guys like Micah Schnabel and John Moreland. But there's something about the defiance and isolation in their songs that resonates with me, maybe because that feeling of self-righteous loneliness matches my own experience as a (depressed) marginalized person -- but one who has been marginalized for different reasons.

So I'm gonna slap this rainbow sticker on this album with pride and certainty. This is an album like any of the other albums posted here: it's about not letting the world make you feel like shit. It just happens to come from a different angle than usual. Or, as Greg writes:

And perhaps if you are a person who is looking for such a map,
to get out of the maze of your own head,
our minds might not be shaped the same,
but maybe a picture of mine
might give you a few ideas
of how to get

If you want to open your mind and experience more great music by awesome queer folk artists, join me and Karen and the Sorrows at Branded Saloon in Brooklyn this Friday! The proceeds will go to FIERCE, a youth empowerment organization for LGBTQ young people. Donations of $10 or above will get you a download card for the Proud compilation album, so snap that shit up! If you can't make it to the concert, buy the album before May 1st!

Where: Branded Saloon (603 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY)
When: Saturday, 3/21 at 8 PM
Who: Me, Small Talk, The Paisley Fields, Karen and the Sorrows
How Much: $5 though no one is turned away for lack of funds. $10+ gets you a download card!
Why: Because you're cool and super sexy

You can RSVP here.

Also, Greg's on tour with Joan Smith! Go and adore them if you can make it!

Gregory McKillop -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

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