Seth Bogart - Men on the Verge of Nothing Music Album Reviews

Seth Bogart - Men on the Verge of Nothing Music Album Reviews
The storied career of the glammy singer-songwriter continues with a jangly, fuzzy, noisy album of bummer jams that sound like hugs from a pal who’s bummed out about boys.

In 1987, the sexologist and psychiatrist Richard Green published The Sissy Boy Syndrome, a sympathetic but, you know, problematic document of his search to find links between adult homosexuality and, as The New York Times then described it, “extreme cases of boyhood effeminacy.” Leaving aside the why of homosexuality—why not?—the twinned notions that gender-nonconforming boys are more likely to grow up gay and in need of medical help is retro in an ugly way.

Seth Bogart has been offering extreme cases of boyish effeminacy since his days in the fabulous mess that was Gravy Train!!!!, the electroclash outfit also featuring current Younger Lovers honcho and literary darling Brontez Purnell. As the Hunx in Hunx and His Punx, Bogart made retro, horned-up garage rock in such a beautiful way. Bogart’s world went Day-Glo for a slicked-up, self-titled solo album in 2016; since then, he’s launched a clothing line, the influential Wacky Wacko, staged art shows at NYC’s Participant Inc. and MoCA and MOCAD, and lately offered ceramic reproductions of queer classics like Cookie Mueller’s Garden of Ashes.

Men on the Verge of Nothing arrives at a time when much of California is in ashes and the rest of the world feels like it’s on the verge of collapse. But like many of us, Bogart has put his trust in the community of women, both real and imagined, assembling a band of sisters including Bikini Kill’s Tobi Vail and Kathleen Hannah, Kate Nash, ex-Punx Erin Emslie and Alana Amram (who also plays in the terrific psych-rock band Habibi)—and, most prominently, Roxanne Clifford of Patience and the shoulda-been-huge Veronica Falls. Men takes a note from Veronica Falls’ fuzz-pop, and another from the sound of the late Patrick Doyle, the much-missed Veronica Falls drummer who made his own kind of queer noise-pop as Basic Plumbing.

Seth and friends have made an album of bummer jams that sound like hugs from a pal who’s bummed out about boys. It’s got jangle, two tons of reverb, and that Sunday-morning-stroll-through-a-cemetery-with-coffee pep. “Professionals” deconstructs the current use of “queerness” as currency among straight men in academia and the art world. “They love to breed us,” Bogart sings, both winking and rolling his eye. “You smell like an amateur.” Experienced allies of all sorts get a look over in “Brainwashers,” a spry little ode to how the political left eats itself alive. “Everybody wants to tell you/what you already know…I’m desperate, I’m a dog/Who’s the attention hog?”

Queer guys don’t get off much easier. “Lavender Heights” minces like vintage Magnetic Fields, and Bogart’s voice is closer to Stephen Merritt’s dolorous Eeyore than his usual bratty self, but his reminiscences of mushrooms and merriment in San Francisco’s gay enclave sour with the realization of how privileged they all were. “Sunday Boy” is similarly distrustful of losing yourself in the comfort of a lover: “We used to talk almost every day/You had so much to say/But now you feel like a waste of time…Every Sunday you hang with your Sunday Guy.”

As it happens, a friend of Bogart’s was sent as a boy for “treatment” from Richard Green. “Boys Who Don’t Want to Be Boys” is an ode to him, a surf-rock beast which drips with scorn for those who seek to strip the sissiness out of young men and replace it with—what? The clenched menace of Mike Pence? The forces that make men warp them. “Mr. Know-It-All is always right/And I think the only way out of this, is somehow they lose all their power,” Bogart sneers before sing-songing the title of the title track along with Clifford and an insouciant tambourine.

One reason there aren’t a lot of grown men to look up to is that so many died in the AIDS pandemic. “Sometimes I wonder where are all the older guys,” Bogart murmurs in “The Other Siders.” “I find it hard to imagine a world where they are still alive.” One could say, join SAGE; look to what that generation achieved rather than swoon at their absence; fight for your life to extend past what theirs could. Unless we throw the category of men right out the window, we need to envision male possibilities.

Until then, like Pedro Almodóvar, the director whose masterwork Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Bogart almost-inverts as his own, we’ll just have to follow the lead of women. Men’s tracks venerate a certain kind of gay guy’s icons: X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene, whose classic “Oh Bondage! Up Yours” becomes, in Bogart’s hands, less enraged than engorged. And “Dawn’s Lips” doubles-up on the hero-worship, transposing the Vaselines’ perennial “Molly’s Lips” into a love letter to Welcome to the Dollhouse’s Dawn Wiener. Let the boys sissy out and shimmy like Dawn danced to her garage rock crush. The alternative is sick.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Seth Bogart - Men on the Verge of Nothing Music Album Reviews Seth Bogart - Men on the Verge of Nothing Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, October 09, 2020 Rating:

0 comments:

Post a Comment