A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring. I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up. I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever. Enjoy!
It’s always odd trying to write about or critique your friend’s bands. There’s that tendency, some might call it “blatant localism”, whereby you might like a bands music more if you are friends with them than you would if you didn’t know the people in the band. Undoubtedly this happens, but I think I think its easy to be aware of that tendency and to still be able to offer an honest critique. Such must I do today with our song, “Primitivism Re-considered” by The Frantic Heart of It, from their split 10″ with Playoff Beard that came out a couple years back.
Now i’m laughing at every time we said that we should burn it down
Why would we want to get rid of all this beauty in one place?
I know it could stand some fixin’, but hey, that’s any place.
I met Doug from The Frantic Heart of It not too long after moving to Pittsburgh in 1996. I believe he had moved here roughly around the same time. He played in a band called Halfanation and then would go on to form Gunspiking with my future-to-be bandmate Jim and his future life-partner-to-be Kalie. Gunspiking would continue to exist in various forms throughout the late 90’s, early 2000’s and various bands of mine would play with them and they would play Roboto with some frequency. At the time I don’t think I appreciated what they were doing, music-wise. They were good, positive, constructive punks of the type I liked, but musically I was so-so on what they were doing. In recent years they’ve done some reunion shows and I’ve found myself more fully appreciating their songs.
After Gunspiking, Doug would have a couple other projects. City Hands was his acoustic thing that I think he sometimes did solo but other times was with his friend Zach. Then there was The Frantic Heart of It – what I remember originally as being poppy folk punk. Once again, for whatever reason, I wasn’t really feeling these projects at the time. At this point I dropped out of going to many shows for a number of years and didn’t see The Frantic Heart of It for awhile. In fact, I feel like for a few years I barely saw Doug at all.
Then I got re-involved with Roboto during its transition into its new space. At the same time I think Doug was trying to get re-involved around the music scene. During one of the Roboto workdays, Doug came out to help and brought along a copy of The Frantic Heart’s recent recordings. He played them for me and I was really stoked. High-energy, snotty punk, smart lyrics, great recording. Overall I think I was just prepared to be like “oh yeh, that’s cool.” but instead I was really into it. I would ask them to play one of the Roboto book release shows a few months later. Sadly, not too long after they would essentially call it quits due to time conflicts within the band.
The song, “Primitivism Re-considered” is both a love letter to the city and a re-thinking of our young, anarchistic calls to knock it all down and live in the rubble. This isn’t a repudiation of our youthful beliefs, but it is a realization that perhaps the answers we had weren’t totally the way to go. We hold on to those beliefs that there is another world possible – but it doesn’t all come from having to “destroy everything”. In fact, making that other world possible may depend a lot on embracing the beauty that is already there.
People like Doug are why I still involve myself with punk and dare to even use the term. We were just kids when we met. Since then, Doug has grown up and in the process become a city firefighter, survived some scary health shit, raised some awesome kids, yet he remains someone who is ready to challenge all the bullshit in the world.
So apparently this second month of these write-ups is going to be me getting all sentimental and mushy about the punks that i’ve spent the last couple decades growing up around. So be it! You deserve it!! Thanks for the love and the memories. I raise a tiny jug of Turner’s in your direction.