Sorry for my hiatus from posting on Patrol. There is a place, very close and precious, that this site holds next to my fractured little heart, and while I would love to be a daily/weekly/monthly part of it, my time and brain can only handle so much. Also, in the words of my favorite Married to the Sea strip, "Shakespeare got to get paid, son!"
So here's an olive branch, (and free mp3) courtesy of our nation's mother. I've seen far too many shows, talked to far too many musicians and written up far too many D.C. metro-accesible versions of those encountersin the last few months. Misguided posturing aside, there's been one artist who has dominated my headphones and conversations in this time, and he comes to us straight from Uncle Sam's mother.
London's Frank Turner is the ex-hardcore frontman for Million Dead and one of the absolute best folkish singer/songwriters that I've heard in a very, very long time. He's become sort of a big deal in the UK, but is still gaining traction stateside. It blows my mind that more people haven't heard of this man, but as he's coming off a string of opening dates with the Offspring and prepares for a fall tour with everyone's favorite punk rockers The Gaslight Anthem, that American ignorance should be remedied soon.
There is a measure of deep insight and acerbic humor to Turner's lyrical gifts that makes his catchy hooks and punkish-anger an absolute delight to explore. Educated at Eton and the London School of Economics, Turner wields an indepth knowledge of history and a level headed view on political philosophy that would make him a far more qualified and intelligent candidate for most branches of the U.S. government (not hard, I know).
"I'm a cynical person to a degree," said Turner. "Human beings have an almost endless capacity to be awful to each other. And I think that any political philosophy which is based on a suppression of that fact is essentially naive, you know what I mean? People will generally be bastards to each other. … Winston Churchill said that anyone who doesn't vote socialist when they're 20 years old doesn't have a heart, and anyone who does vote socialist when they're 60 doesn't have a brain. … Everyone wants the world to be a fairytale place where everyone is f—g brilliant and lovely to each other. Part of growing up is realizing that most people are a–holes."
Getting a few chances to talk to Turner this spring has been one of my favorite experiences. He's one of the few musicians who doesn't disappoint –musically or philosophically — and I've been preaching the gospel of his music to everyone I meet.
The only thing better than listening to Turner, is seeing him live. People scream along to every song, put fists high into the air, and try to get as close as they possibly can to the music coming out of the microphone. There's a revolution happening, and it's in Turner's lyrical sermons on living poetically — instead of just writing smooth verse. There is no hypocrisy in his preaching, and people gravitate towards this man who understands what it means to grow up in a fractured world that deserves the cynicism it engenders. If there is a voice of our generation, Frank Turner makes a strong claim for ownership. People believe in his stories, Turner speaks from our same collective disillusioned experiences, but with the defiant enthusiasm of someone who hasn't given up hope yet.
I love this video from a house show that Turner played the night before I saw him in Baltimore… this is what I love about music. It's not always pretty, not always perfectly on pitch, but it speaks to something bigger than just a fashion statement or a form of cultural snobbery– his music defines our struggles.
So, let me convert you, my long forgotten Patrol family, because if this man doesn't explode in the next few years, it just proves the extent of our cultural decay. Don't let that happen.
The good people at Epitaph Records are allowing us to spread the first single from Turner's upcoming release, "The Poetry of the Deed," (which I can tell you is exceptional).
The Road (mp3)
and watch a few more of my favorites.
I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
The Ballad of Me and My Friends
… life is about love, lost minutes and lost evening
About fire in our bellies and about furtive little feelings
And the aching amplitudes that set our needles all flickering
And they help us with remembering that the only thing left to do is live
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