Sunday, November 25, 2007

Antifolk Is Dead (deconstructed).

To kick off the new blog at, I'll send out the old Hypocrisy In The Genius Room by summing up the closest thing it had to a single. "Antifolk Is Dead" is one of the more popular songs from the album, probably because it addresses an enthusiastic niche of indie music. It seems to sell lots in the UK, which has a taste for the old a/f. Antifolk, as most do not know, is a niche of solo-ish songwritery acoustic-punk artists on the Lower East Side of New York City.

After I left NYC in 2001, I wrote this some of this song in a journal in 2002. I never got around to finishing it until 2004, when I finally went to record Hypocrisy, which was intended to be an magnum antifolk opus. Here are the lyrics, footnoted et al. with complete explanation for those that have been down since day one (c. 2000, which, yes, is not day one).

To listen to the song and album, visit iTunes or CDBaby.

On the ace of avenues I played my cards where the sidewalk meets the street
1) The antifolk scene resides largely on Avenue A, where 2) the mainstay venue is the Sidewalk Café, Avenue A & 6th.

The eastern side as the raven flies where you can surf unreality
3) This is all on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where 4) another popular open mic was Wednesdays at The Raven, Avenue A & 12th, and 5) more elaborate antifolk functions took place at Surf Reality, a rented space above Stanton and Allen.

Where every visionary is a latch-key kid and everybody's got a re-run dream
6) Everybody gets their start on the antifolk scene by playing the Sidewalk, which is booked by Lach. 7) Lach recounts his own history as a replay of Bob Dylan's experience in Greenwich Village, in which...

Of being thrown out the door by the folk-hardcore for sounding like a hillbilly
8) Bob Dylan was barred from his first gig by folk purists, who said, "You sound like a hillbilly. We want folksingers here," as told in the song, "Talking New York" on Bob Dylan's debut. In Lach's retelling, the folk purists rejected him for being too punk.

Where there ain't no strangers to the system whether it's heroin or heartbreak
9) Antifolk artist and writer Jim Flynn interviewed dozens of the homeless in Tomkins Square Park for his book, "Stranger To The System". 10) Mike iLL's antifolk opera, "The Seduction of Sarah Sahonie", featured the song, "Crack, Heroin and Heartbreak".

Or workin' 'til close in 50 shows in 50 nights in 50 states
11) Philly antifolkist Adam Brodsky set a Guiness World Record by playing shows in all 50 states in 50 consecutive nights.

And antifolk music is dead
I stood by the foot of the bed and I watched it go
No, no, no, I said antifolk music is dead
And as soon as it was cutting edge I should've known

When there's trouble in the country and the soil rains down like you're one foot in the grave
12) Paleface's debut album on Polydor features his signature song, "Trouble In The Country", which he later renamed "Say What You Want" and included on his Multibean Bootleg album. 13) Brer Brian's self-released, Man With The Artichoke Heart, includes the song "Soil Rains Down". 14) Beck's album One Foot In The Grave is an antifolk classic, as is his harmonica stomp, "One Foot In The Grave", from the album Stereopathetic Soulmanure.

And four score lightnings hit the sky, you're bound to drive out of range
15) Diane Cluck sings "Four score lightnings hit the sky / and that's 80 if you multiply" on her keyboard-centric debut. 16) The title track of Ani DiFranco's sixth album, "Out Of Range", is a classic expression of solo antifolk.

When the bad faces come and your lucky number nine is going east with the wind
17) Grey Revell's song "The Bad Faces" includes the lyrics, "Oh, I feel the bad faces coming". 18) The Moldy Peaches' debut includes the song "Lucky Number Nine". 19) Jeffrey Lewis' song "East River" includes the lyrics, "Three, two, first avenue / Going east with the wind / Across the FDR to the east river / Fall right in."

And you don't even wanna be a rock star anymore, grab these words:
20) Major Matt Mason's song "Rockstar" features the lyrics, "I don't wanna be a rock star anymore", while 21) Prewar Yardsale's song "Weird" includes the line, "Grab these words".


So let's all be beautiful and let's all be bulletproof
22) A Lach piano ballad pleads, "Let's be beautiful," and 23) a Joie Dead Blonde Girlfriend acoustic-punk song boasts, "I'm bulletproof, yeah yeah, bulletproof..."

And when I finally get back to that smoke-filled room I'll see the setting sun with you
24) My song "Finally Get Back / Na Na Na" from Brooklyn Demos is about walking back to Brooklyn from the Sidewalk's interminable open mic. 25) Turner Cody sings on his album This Springtime, And Others, "I see the setting sun / I see the setting sun..."

'Cause antifolk music is dead -- it floated up to balloon heaven and I watched it go
26) Antifolk producer Spencer Chakedis recorded dozens of antifolk projects at his Brooklyn (and formerly Jersey City) studio.


There it is for the record. For posterity. And you know how I feel about posterity.

1 comment:

Cameron said...

That's awesome. I had guessed right on many of the lyrics, but it's cool to see what you were thinking.

You might be keen to know, Matt V. has found a cool player to embed into his blogspot:

Also, I'm keeping a blog for my current project with DiscoveryBound:
No music for me, but video and photos.