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March 27, 2013 1:05 AM   Subscribe

Ghost Mice are a 'FIRST-WAVE folk-punk band' who sing about playing Dungeons & Dragons as a metaphor for overcoming depression, wanting to be loved like John Hickley loved Jodie Foster and recycling so Cthulhu doesn't invade. They've recorded splits with other folk-punk bands like Andrew Jackson Jihad and Defiance Ohio. Ghost Mice's song Monsters Get Slain is a heartbreaking anthem about healing from a lifetime of depression.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants (29 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't know that first-wave means quite what they think it means.
posted by item at 1:57 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, any surf-rock band can be first-wave if they get to the beach early enough.
posted by solarion at 2:11 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is fantastic. I was feeling a real Mountain Goats vibe, and then they sang, "I wanna be a mountain goat". So there you go. Really, really reminds me of the very early Ookla the Mok bootleg, Poor Man's Copyright.
posted by cthuljew at 2:17 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know that first-wave means quite what they think it means.

Sure, but in fairness, Chris "Clavin" Johnston's been doing this for a while. Folk-punk is a lot more popular now than when Operation: Cliff Clavin started out.
posted by dubold at 2:59 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


cthuljew, Chris released a CD-R of Mountain Goats and Bright Eyes covers called "Your Bright Eyes Are Gonna Kill Me For Sure". Two years ago he managed to get JD to play in Bloomington, IN for Plan-it-x fest.

(Full disclosure: Chris and Emily (who has been playing mandolin with Ghost Mice lately) are friends of mine and I've hung around Hannah.)
posted by wayland at 3:03 AM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


They remind me a bit of Wil Wagner, especially his song My Little Sinking Ship. I hope they play with him in Australia, like Bomb The Music Industry did.

I heard 'Monsters Get Slain' today for the first time, and someone close to me is going through depression. I sent it to her without a word; I hope it helps.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:25 AM on March 27, 2013


John Hinckley

That's a really creepy fucking song, and it makes me want to punch that guy in the head (but, it's easy to get carried away.) This dude, I think, is like the Mountain Goats manque. Not being as smart as Darnielle means you can end up with this shitty song that valorizes serious mental illness instead of, say, Best Ever Death Metal Band... That piece of shit had a catchy tune, but a horrible message. Are any of his other songs about cool topics like how he'd like to have sex like Jodie Foster did in The Accused?
posted by OmieWise at 3:45 AM on March 27, 2013


Most of his songs are about dealing with mental illness, so I think he has the right to make the odd joke about it. And there aren't that many metaphors left for love, so an edgier version of comparing yourself to Johnny & June or Sid & Nancy or Romeo & Juliet makes sense. It's a funny and kinda attractive idea, that you wish somebody was obsessed enough to kill for you.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:50 AM on March 27, 2013


he has the right to make the odd joke about it.

This wasn't that. That you (he?) cannot tell the difference might be why this song is so offensive. Stalking, attempted murder, psychosis, long-term hospitalization, danger for all involved, his parents getting old and sick while he's incarcerated, his post-incarceration fiance having to break it off because the media wouldn't leave them alone: those comprise the John Hinckley story.

It's a funny and kinda attractive idea, that you wish somebody was obsessed enough to kill for you.

Not really.
posted by OmieWise at 4:01 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you only listen to songs about mutually respectful, healthy relationships you miss out on 'I wanna die with you Wendy in an everlasting kiss', Elvis Costello, the blues, metal, rap, and most music. If you demand metaphors be proportionate you miss out on Titus Andronicus' The Monitor, Jesus metaphors, songs about Yoko Ono, and the Odyssey. And if you don't want to sing about assassins you miss out on the musical 'Assasains'.

It's also a nice nod to The Clash, the godfathers of folk-punk, who sampled Taxi Driver.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:22 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought it was really perverse and funny, for what it's worth.
posted by cthuljew at 4:44 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


1) Google my username and then come back and talk to me more about what music I'm missing out on because of my pollyannaish attitude.

2) The song isn't a metaphor, it's a pretty straightforward excuse for Hinckley's mentally ill behavior. It excuses shooting a president and stalking a woman. There's no irony there. It plays it straight.

3) How is it a nod to The Clash? This is a song partially about one of the most famous movies in the American canon. I'm not sure that qualifies as a nod, just because you like both bands.

Liking a song does not make it good or moral. Songs aren't ironic or metaphorical just because if they were their message would be better.

This is a straight song, played straight, about how it's ok to try to assassinate the President and how it's ok to stalk a woman. There is no sign of any irony that would suggest that the singer doesn't actually think these things are ok. It's not like Last Caress, which is a song designed to shock and repel even as it pulls you in with great hooks. It isn't even like "Glad He's Dead" by The Huns, which has the incomparable line: "I'm glad he's dead—that fucking Red. I helped Lee Oswald shoot him in the head." That song at least recognizes how fucked up its sentiments are, and it takes responsibility for that. This is just a crappy "folk" song about "love."
posted by OmieWise at 5:01 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everything is serious.
posted by helicomatic at 5:17 AM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm such a Defiance Ohio fan. I'm also a hermit who doesn't normally hear new music. Excited to have something to listen to.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:31 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a straight song, played straight, about how it's ok to try to assassinate the President and how it's ok to stalk a woman. There is no sign of any irony that would suggest that the singer doesn't actually think these things are ok.
John Hinckley Jr might have been a little crazy
For letting a movie affect him so strongly,
But Robert De Niro was great back then
And it’s easy to get swept away.
I guess this is a matter of interpretive taste, but to my ears those lines can't not be ironic. The fact that there's no big flashing IRONY sign anywhere in the song is, I think, a good thing. I read some interview with Bret Easton Ellis where he said apropos of American Psycho basically "Look, this is a book about murder and depravity--OF COURSE those things are bad. Did people want me to have a disclaimer at the beginning like 'This is Bret Easton Ellis, the author, and I want to assure you that I think MURDER IS WRONG'? That would be an insult to the reader's intelligence."

I think that the song, while hardly on the level of John Darnielle or Elvis Costello, is thoroughly ironic in a slightly more complex sense than "Ha ha, I said X but I meant NOT X." It IS good to love and be loved, and it IS good to have the capacity to be powerfully affected by art, and Reagan WAS a piece of shit...and yet.
posted by DaDaDaDave at 6:09 AM on March 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


2) The song isn't a metaphor, it's a pretty straightforward excuse for Hinckley's mentally ill behavior. It excuses shooting a president

In fairness, Ronald Reagan.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:15 AM on March 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Metafilter discussions of music seem to invariable end up sounding like Dwight Schrute discussing beets.
posted by mecran01 at 6:15 AM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Google my username
posted by Lusy P Hur at 6:25 AM on March 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


OmieWise is Ron Paul?
posted by ardgedee at 6:51 AM on March 27, 2013


Just to throw my two cents into this aberrant musical discussion, Sun Kil Moon's heartrending song "Glenn Tipton" is pretty clearly about a serial killer, but sung with such compassion and such earnestness – does that mean Sun Kil Moon is a serial killer, or condoning serial killing? Or is he temporarily adopting another persona because sometimes people pretend to be other people and that's okay to do in order to talk about humans and what humans do?

At any rate, I usually hate the whinier iterations of rock music but I'll admit I immediately bought the Ghost Mice half of the album with "Critical Hit" on it and I've never even *played* DnD before.
posted by Mooseli at 7:05 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude, Glenn Tipton is one of Judas Priest's guitarists.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like this stuff. Thanks Charl! No need to defend it so stridently though, some people just arent that comfortable with darkness. Their loss.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:33 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Glenn Tipton" is an interesting example, because there's a ton of speculation about whether the "victim" in the song is a metaphor for something else. I guess I'm among the lightweights on this, because it's a song I always skip. Too dark by far, for me. "Black River Killer" by Blitzen Trapper is another.
posted by jbickers at 7:53 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude, Glenn Tipton is one of Judas Priest's guitarists.

Well, that's a conversation about Downing songs.
posted by ersatz at 8:13 AM on March 27, 2013


The only Ghost Mice album I could make it through without wanting to stab myself in the ears repeatedly was Europe. But even then, it's still pretty bad. Folk punk is probably the second or third worst genre of music.
posted by MetalFingerz at 10:53 AM on March 27, 2013


I like lots of folk punk stuff--including some Ghost Mice--but I totally agree with MetalFingerz that the genre produces an exceptional amount of ear-stab inducing music. Still, though, I enjoy the earnestness and sociopolitical messages of lots of folk punk acts.
posted by broadway bill at 4:00 PM on March 27, 2013


Folk punk, like most genres, is waaay better live. In a very smelly sort of way.
posted by Grandysaur at 4:21 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still, though, I enjoy the earnestness and sociopolitical messages of lots of folk punk acts.

Whereas I love the earnestness but ignore the endless songs about vegetarianism and anarchism.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:39 PM on March 27, 2013


In fairness, Ronald Reagan.

Beat me to the punch. Well played!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:33 PM on March 27, 2013


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