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It's The Ones Who've Cracked That The Light Shines Through
February 27, 2008 4:50 PM   Subscribe

Jeffrey Lewis brings you The Complete History of Punk Rock and Its Development on the Lower East Side (1950-1975) in eight and a half minutes.

A comic book artist and antifolk singer, he makes "low budget documentaries." And videos. Sometimes for his songs. Sometimes for other people's songs. Sometimes for his songs about other people's songs. Sometimes other people make actual low-budget documentaries about him. Or actual low-budget videos for him. Sometimes he makes actual low-budget videos for himself. Here are some interviews. And here he is playing with Daniel Johnston.

Here's a playlist of most of the above.
posted by StopMakingSense (24 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pshaw, well, I saw him perform it live just two nights ago, and it was more fun and awesome than a barrel of many monkeys. Admittedly, I did have thoughts while watching it about how it could likely spur on some heated debates between punk rockish enthusiasts, but as long as you don't take it too seriously, add some grains of salt, it's a deeee-light.

(The best part is, you don't have to choose between the comics and the music, if you don't want to. Some of his comics have cds clinging to their underbelly, and some of his cd cases flip flip flip out into delightful fold out comics. )
posted by redsparkler at 5:05 PM on February 27, 2008


Fantastic. I love the the chelsea hotel oral sex song.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:11 PM on February 27, 2008


I know it's petty, but I couldn't listen to more than a minute or so because his voice is so annoying. Plus the whole thing smacks of open mic night in some coffee joint near a university. Neat idea, though. I've always been more partial to the LA scene anyway. I love the Ramones (especially), Blondie and Talking Heads, but The Germs, X and The Weirdos were way cooler than, say, Suicide.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:16 PM on February 27, 2008


I cant believe I watched the whole thing. Is it suposed to be an anti-folk or a punk overview? Either way .. no Bob Dylan..no Johnathan Richman, .hmm
..and actually had a wierd effect - put me in the mood to go listen to Saturate Before Using.
posted by celerystick at 5:31 PM on February 27, 2008


The sort of rapid-fire low-affect rhyming meter that pretends its not rhyming meter at all narrative really kind of falls flat on youtube, like an ironic reading of a Dr. Suess book at, indeed, an open mic or something. I can see how it'd be a lot more fun to see him do this live, with an audience along for the ride.
posted by cortex at 5:37 PM on February 27, 2008


WOOT Jeff Lewis!!

creeping brain creeping brain
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:56 PM on February 27, 2008


Pompous, and self indulgent.
posted by Max Power at 5:56 PM on February 27, 2008


Well I thought he was just as cute as a button. He's a joyful performer and I learned some things I didn't know.
posted by DenOfSizer at 5:58 PM on February 27, 2008


Pompous, self indulgent, and pretty fucking good.
posted by suckerpunch at 6:02 PM on February 27, 2008


Saw him and his band open for The Mountain Goats last week. He was pretty entertaining; first time I had seen someone flip through self-drawn illustration on stage to accompany his story/songs.
posted by troubles at 6:33 PM on February 27, 2008


Awesome, thanks!

I totally read the FPP as Jerry Lewis brings you The Complete History of Punk Rock and Its Development on the Lower East Side (1950-1975) in eight and a half minutes.

That made my head swim for a bit.

posted by trip and a half at 7:25 PM on February 27, 2008


I've seen him play in various Lower East Side/NYC places, he's very good live but it doesn't translate to translate to YouTube for some people. However, this music video is fun and showcases his wit and style of dense, wordy songcraft really well. One thing I like about his songs is that he is very willing to engage with the modern world; he's not lost in folky nostalgia or abstraction.

This is another song of his that I like.
posted by Spacelegoman at 9:21 PM on February 27, 2008


I thought it was great. Thanks!
posted by tiger yang at 9:23 PM on February 27, 2008


New York City cultural navel-gazing, re-affirming a skewed history of punk which completely ignores 50s and 60s punk precursors outside NYC.
posted by D.C. at 10:09 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


...this being, of course, why the words on the Lower East Side were in the title.
posted by Spacelegoman at 10:13 PM on February 27, 2008


He name-checks the Holy Modal Rounders and the Godz, features octagenarian Tuli Kupferberg (sp) (of the Fugs and the film "W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism) in his Will Oldham video, and covers 12 Crass songs on his latest album.

The man knows his history.

Is he the most talented red or paisley diaper baby raised south of 14th street since Tim Robbins?
posted by doncoyote at 12:27 AM on February 28, 2008


...this being, of course, why the words on the Lower East Side were in the title.

Yes, but the title "The Complete History of Punk Rock and Its Development on the Lower East Side (1950-1975)" can be misread (which I did) to imply that NYC was the be-all and end-all of the early development of punk. (Imagine a comma after "Rock" in the title.) I've run across people who do think nothing mattered outside of that scene, so my knee jerked a little.

That said, Jeffrey has good taste in music and i liked the video.
posted by D.C. at 1:12 AM on February 28, 2008


Ugh.
posted by chillmost at 5:52 AM on February 28, 2008


I have been a long time reader of Metafilter and I just HAD to join up to say that Jeffrey Lewis and his band are all just waking up at my house after last nights show. Right now! They needed floor space, we had floor. Nice folks, great show. Great post for those who have not heard of him.
posted by paddysat at 9:12 AM on February 28, 2008


God I love a kid with a sense of history.
posted by It ain't over yet at 9:50 AM on February 28, 2008


While I like most of Jeffrey Lewis' music, does anyone else find his constant New York references obnoxious? It just gets tiresome to hear about West Eleventeenth Street over and over. And over. Maybe Im just listening with California ears.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 10:29 AM on February 28, 2008


I was introduced to the many delights of JL by way of the 'Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror' and it was a short skip to adulation via 'You don't have to be a scientist...to do experiments with your own heart'. He's playing at the End of the Road fest here in blighty this year, which pleases me greatly.

Also: go paddysat! :)
posted by freya_lamb at 11:43 AM on February 28, 2008


I also recently saw him open for the Mountain Goats and was utterly charmed. They did a bunch of the Crass covers, which rocked. Thanks for this.
posted by SoftRain at 10:38 AM on February 29, 2008


That's funny, paddysat. While I was watching them the other night I turned to my friend and said, 'that's the sort of band that stays at your house.'
Which is sort of obvious, I guess.
posted by redsparkler at 10:57 AM on February 29, 2008


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