Breaking: Tiny Stills - Laughing into the Void
RIYL: Lemuria, Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer, the Bombpops
I remember when I was first told that people made disney-themed battle jackets and roamed disneyland in faux-"gangs," sporting cartoonified-cuts. There is little, still, that makes me angrier and at the same time make me feel so old and "get-off-my-lawn-y." Something about the appropriation and bastadization of punk culture--co-opted and twisted for commercial purposes, lauding an empire while roaming it's gold-paved streets...the whole thing seems like such a corruption of what punk was meant to be. What it was meant to stand for.
I imagine, too, that this is what old punx felt about much of pop punk, or its more recent (and occaisionally twee) offshoots to include bands like the Bombpops, Lemuria, and dozens of other bands who take a softer approach to pop-punk. And I am forced to remind myself that not only do these bands have no need to impress old punks, but that they have no need to impress anyone AND THAT PUNK ITSELF IS ABOUT INCLUSION.
In the first song off Laughing Into the Void, Tiny Stills bring up Disneyland, but its there, seemingly, that allegations of twee or saccharine-sweetness must needs end. From there, Tiny Stills manage to confront sexism on multiple fronts in songs like "Lala" where they manage to ask that same question of dubiously asking just who it is they are supposed to impress, or the absolutely STELLAR "Don't Call Me a Catch." They tackle depression in "My Skin," which uses a slight broadway-esque cadence to hide a heartbreaking song about alienation and depression. It's with "Small Talk" where it really hits you that these are intelligent, snappy, catchy songs delivered in sweet pop-punk bites that hold the potential to deliver a massive dose of boldly presented introspection to the maximum amount of people, old punkers be damned.
Punk, if anything, is about inclusion--its about creating a place for those of us who feel like we don't fit in. Laughing Into the Void is going to find and appeal to an entirely new audience, bringing them into the fold and maybe saving them after all. This record could easily change some young people's lives, and will more than likely get some of those grumbling Clint Eastwood types grudgingly (or secretly) grooving along.