Baltimore is a city with a proud and beautiful history of DIY art spaces. I could tell you some stories. Consider, for example, the Copycat Building, the disgusting concrete hovel where Wham City was when Wham City was an actual physical location and where I first saw Lightning Bolt. For a while, my brother lived there with a whole lot of roommates. At one point, they had to kick one of those roommates out for I forget what reason. He asked if he could lock his stuff in his room for a few days and then come back for it later. They said sure. Weeks later, when he hadn’t come back, my brother and his roommates broke into the room. Here’s what they found: a rubber glove, two cups of water, and the words “I’LL BE BACK FOR MY SHIT LATER” written on the wall in human shit.
That story, granted, is gross. But I have had transformative, life-altering moments in spaces like that. And those spaces have had a hard time lately. Consider the case of the Bell Foundry, located at 1539 N. Calvert, a block away from the Copycat. Soon after Oakland’s Ghost Ship fire killed all those people in 2016, Baltimore police raided the Bell Foundry, shut it down, and kicked out all the people who were living there.
The great lo-fi noise-rapper JPEGMAFIA came out of that Baltimore DIY scene, and he pays tribute to the Bell Foundry on “1539 N. Calvert,” the opening track from his excellent recent album Veteran. Today, we get the video, in which director Audrey Gatewood builds a dusty art-punk Last Supper tableau. Check it out below, via The FADER.
Veteran is out now, and you can get it at Bandcamp.