Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

cover art

Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine


(Alternative Tentacles; US: 16 Oct 2012; UK: Import)

As you might guess, Shock-U-Py! is the latest batch of barricade-ready sloganeering from the former Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra and his band of old punk hands, the Guantanamo School Of Medicine. Coming over a year after the inception of Occupy Wall Street, the record shares both the righteous anger as well as the unfortunately inchoate political agenda of the movement it honors. The title track aims for Woody Guthrie-esque storytelling and couples it with acoustic guitars and driving post-punk bass. It starts out promisingly but quickly wears out its welcome via didactic lyrics and its seven-and-a-half-minute length. Meanwhile, “Barackstar O’Bummer” has about the same punny-invective-to-thoughtful-perspective ratio as your average Alternet message thread. The final track “We Occupy” is the record’s strongest, with Jello singing behind Vancouver punks D.O.A. in a fun, sprightly singalong number that strikes the right balance between stridency and charm, enabling it to hold up to repeated listenings. Though not necessarily clunkers, the songs on Shock-U-Py! can only ever hope to do one of two things – alienate non-believers or preach to the converted.


John is a lifelong Chicagoan, except for a five year sojourn to Beloit, Wisconsin where he studied History, Education and (especially) cheese. Like most humanities majors, he's still trying to find a way to turn his degree into money and spends his days writing rental contracts and planning events to pay the bills. John spends his free time enjoying Chicago's many wonderful craft beers, bemoaning the death of print culture and sending emails full of helpful suggestions to the GM of the White Sox which have so far gone strangely unanswered. He has been known to Tweet as @onwarmermusic which is also the name of his poor, neglected blog.

Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2015 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.