Rations – For Victory

For Victory
86’d Records and Fanzine

A few weeks ago I wrote a short, fast diddy about this band Rations, from Long Island, New York. I expressed in that short piece my surprise that Long Island had a burgeoning, DIY, punk rock scene. Part of the reason for that is that every time I went to Long Island to visit family I got the impression that it was just this massive suburb. Sure, it’s a massive suburb of one of the most culturally vacant, capitalistic, image conscious cities on this planet, but mostly it reminded me of the suburbs I lived in with the same kind of people who failed to engage the slips of culture found in the city walls. I know, contradiction. New York City mostly sucks. Seriously, people on the East Coast are assholes for the most part and New York takes the cake. Their all angry and fussy. Add to that millions of hipster kids, white guys stealing your life, Botox filled house wives and the general dichotomy that capitalism creates in any town, and you get a shitty place to live. However, just about every other culture that exists on the planet has a pocket there. Also, Mike Law from New Idea Society lives in Brooklyn and he’s one of the nicest people in the world. He should be given sainthood in the church of awesome. Okay, I just did that.

My point? Oh yea, I don’t like Long Island. I find it filled with people who can’t be bothered mostly. I know it’s just how they have to work their asses off to get by in the world that makes them that way, but I’m striving for positivity in my life. Long Island doesn’t do that for me. So, yea, Rations, that’s what we are talking about. They are a punk band from East Setauket, NY. I’m not totally familiar, but I bet it’s like Oceanside. Filled with people that commute to the city, root for the Yankees and the Giants, barbecue in the summer, shovel snow in the winter and watch Everybody Loves Raymond. Wells, the singer and guitarist of Rations found my little blog post and we traded zines for records (self promotion plug: I do a zine called Korrupt Yr Self which you can buy here and visit the blog here).

When I got the record (Wells, I swear I am mailing the zines on Tuesday) I was in the middle of thinking about Fucked Up, Liturgy and Lady Gaga. All of those bands, even Fucked Up, are about as far away from Rations and what Wells is doing as this world will allow. Instantly, the smell of the vinyl, not factory sealed hit my face and I was taken back to a Wilson Center show in 1997, where I bought some hardcore record by some hardcore band. It was about that time that a sticker, poster and a newsprint zine fell out of the packaging and into my lap.

When did bands stop adding the zine to their album? As zines go, the one included in For Victory is pretty utilitarian. It’s got the lyrics and who played on the record and all the friends that helped listed. It also has pictures of East Setauket through the town’s history. But it’s such an affirmation to what punk rock is supposed to be about. The tangibility of this album makes everything come more alive. Which is something I have forgotten and clearly missed by simply downloading the songs off the internet. Songs the band graciously offers for free. This is vital to how we communicate. I struggle with the tangible objects we make verses the ease of digital media. Lord knows my apartment is totally a mess because of all the records and CD’s and books and other junk I have. But our sense of touch is going to suffer if we continue to embrace the ease, freedom and disconnected ways in which we consume media today.

What Wells did, by offering this trade, is remind me that on the other side of this art hands are at work. There are ideas that people are so charged over that they feel the need to recollect resources and present them to other people. The sounds are as important as the sights and smells and touch. It’s a story through as much of the senses as possible and I missed so much of the story by just adding more files to my iPod. Rations made me rethink and reevaluate the process in which I take all of this art, all of these ideas in. It strikes me harder and deeper as I find myself in a financial strain without the job in which I make the money in which I spend it on records. I’ve been blessed this year that people who have read my nonsense have sent me some vinyl. I can’t really express how much I appreciate it, because often times, it’s clear I have forgotten myself. We need to do a better job, especially in this fast paced world, to slow down and appreciate the art we make.There are so many companies that want us to import their ideas into our lives and even try to fit the impossible into something covered in gloss. But it’s the matte printed covers, the silk screens, the cut and paste zines, the folk art of today that we need to include in our lives.

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