Every Record I Own - Day 317: Diät Positive Energy
There’s the scene in Forrest Gump where we’ve already seen Jenny as the hippie activist in the ‘60s but now we’re watching her do cocaine at a booth in a dark nightclub in the ‘70s. The theme of cocaine symbolizing the death of innocence and idealism is something that would come to my mind a lot after I moved to Seattle after finishing college. The positive energy that surrounded the hardcore scene I’d grown up in was morphing into this dark world of dance music, cocaine, alcohol-induced blackouts, sex drama, and cynicism towards anything that questioned the nature of the hedonistic festivities. It was the death of ‘90s earnestness and idealism, replaced by the specter of the “me generation.”
There was a spot in Seattle called The Egg Room that was an illegal after-hours club/bar above a popular rock club in the early ‘00s. Parties would start around last call and carry on til dawn. DJs would spin a mix of electroclash like Peaches and Fischerspooner, classic post-punk like Gang of Four and Joy Division, and unrepentant pop hits by Kylie Minogue and Daft Punk. No one showed up to The Egg Room sober, and things only spiraled as the night progressed. There was always a line to the bathroom with people going in pairs and groups. I watched a female friend dragged out of one of the parties by nervous bouncers and thrown into a cab, passed out like a rag doll with blood gushing from her nose. It was like the nightclub scene from Forrest Gump, but messier and sadder.
I’ve always hated cocaine and everything it represents. But I also started hating the music I associated with cocaine. I already hated clubby pop music, but now I hated electroclash and post-punk. It all represented this new era of hedonistic narcissism and I couldn’t get on board with it. Even now, every band that self-assigns the post-punk tag gives me flashbacks of The Egg Room. It’s a shame, because bands like Gang of Four actually gave a shit about the world around them, but I don’t think my peers were picking up the post-punk torch for their Marxist themes as much as they just liked those four-on-the-floor beats and chirping guitar lines.
I’ve slowly gotten over my baggage with post-punk, and East Germany’s Diät were a good stepping stone. This sounds like something that could’ve played at those after-hour parties, but there’s also the topical piss-and-vinegar missing from so many bands of sallow-faced white dudes in militaristic black clothes with severe haircuts. It’s a good, raw punk record with the requisite reverb-drenched baritone-voiced singer. The Rapture may have corrupted post-punk in the ‘00s, but Diät helped make it a threat again.
Bought this from Other Music in NYC the weekend before it closed down.