Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"It's a Burning Hell"

William Faulkner died and was buried in Mississippi 49 years ago last week, and William Styron went to his funeral. I have tried explaining to those who have never experienced it the sheer oppressiveness of high summer in the American South, and must always return to Styron's simple description of his friend's funeral:

"But the first fact of the day, aside from that final fact of a death that has so diminished us, is the heat, and it is a heat which is like a small mean death itself, as if one were being smothered to extinction in a damp woolen overcoat. Even the newspapers in Memphis, 60 miles to the north, have commented on the ferocious weather. Oxford lies drowned in heat, and the feeling around the courthouse square on this Saturday forenoon is of a hot sweaty languor bordering on desperation."

It surprised me when I learned that Raleigh and Oxford roughly share a latitude with Casablanca and Kirkuk, and the fact that I was surprised suggests to me that I must not have learned this in July. So with all respect to my blogmates, I do not think of breezy melodies and jangly guitars when I step outside in the North Carolina summer. In fact, the act of thinking itself makes me sweat. It inspires not lassitude, but frustration, anger and aggression. Thus, my July soundtrack would start off something like this:

Very few can do pure aggression like David Sardy, and that's why I'm putting two of his old band's songs next:

Killing Joke were doing aggro before just about anyone -- in fact if the dog providing opening harmonies in this song were still alive, it would be at least 210 (in dog years).

I hope David Yow lives in a cool climate. He's unsettled enough as it is.

My favorite current practitioners of the aggro craft are Allentown's Pissed Jeans. A buddy of mine from school was from Allentown. His name was Rom, and his first post-college job was driving a dynamite truck. Oh, and check out the angry sun in this video. Thematic consistency.

I'll sign off with classic Brainbombs (with nice Zep intro) -- "It's a Burning Hell."

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