SPECIAL ROUND-UP – Terengganu Punk Rock Returns with THE GOODNITE GOODIES & DIRTY DIVIDER
Through-out all these years, being a Terengganu guy myself, I‚Äôm always filled with pride whenever a punk rock band appeared along the beautiful beaches of the east coast state. One thing about Terengganu when it comes to punk rock, it‚Äôs mostly the ‚Äúold school‚Äù style. yeah, we have a fair share of hardcore, emo and even crust and grind etc., but mostly it‚Äôs the old school that really rocks my boat, especially the ones digging back to the late 70s to early 80s of the UK and the US period.
I‚Äôm sure there‚Äôs something in the water-system there that got new generations of kids keeping to the old sound and spirit, right from The Ramones to The Sex Pistols to the Anti-Nowhere League to X-Ray Spex to The Newtown Neurotics. I‚Äôm sure many of you would rather move on with your latest punk rock trends, from screamo to fastcore or whatever, but hearing a three-chord band with discernible lyrics and melodies that hark back to the days when I had a mohawk and blood-red plastic biker jacket is always fun.
One thing for sure, the dubbed tapes originally owned by dads, uncles and the older brothers are still making their rounds over there in Terengganu after all these years, savoured by a wholly new generation, and it goes on too, one after another, year after year and that‚Äôs very, very heart-warming indeed.
These past few weeks I had the good fortune to be listening to two new bands from Terengganu, and even though they re not really ‚Äúold-school‚Äù, the feeling is there and I‚Äôm a very chuffed guy!
Zero To Loose! CD-R
Now listen, and listen up well you people! This is THE band that‚Äôs going to bring back the great original punk rock sound of the East Coast back on the map! I mean, Kuala Terengganu‚Äôs Dirty Divider is the best punk rock band to ever come out of Terengganu since the classic DPSA (Dok Pa‚Äôka Sikit Arang or ‚ÄúTotally Useless‚Äù in English), which was the rage back in 1992. It‚Äôs wild, it‚Äôs unpredictable, it‚Äôs non-trendy, it‚Äôs rough and most of all it‚Äôs hilarious and full-on fuck-you fun! Yes! Yes! Yes! I‚Äôm very, very happy indeed!
First of all there are 9 tracks here, in short a full fucking album really. It‚Äôs also recorded well using a computer I presume but not really digital-sounding as most. It‚Äôs clear, the mix is loud and man, the guitar playing is awesome!!! Could this be the best old-school punk rock guitarist I heard for years? It must be! I mean, Ku Yie, Jijoe and that superb guitarist from DPSA; all Terengganu veterans, have all stopped recording anyway, so this must be it then! It‚Äôs been a while I have the chance to listen great solos in a local punk band and this 4-piece really gave it all to me!
Okay, lets go to the sound of the band. First of all it‚Äôs hard to pinpoint really; Dirty Divider is pretty original but they have the old pre-punk British pub-rock style in there (like Eddie & The Hot Rod, 101‚Äôers or Dr. Feelgood) also early melodic Oi! such as Demob and Cockney Rejects but mostly it‚Äôs the 1976-79 period of British and American punk rock really; from The Vibrators to 999 to The Ramones to The Revillos etc.
There are a couple of weak tunes, especially the more straight-ahead rocking ones, but they would be saved by great guitar solos! So they are alright!
Dirty Divider, the first and theme song is amazing. First of all, it‚Äôs starts with a fade-in of this wild wonky weird scratchy guitar, skanky but too fast to be called ska, then it goes headlong into this crazy mid-tempo pogo grooves with the vocals swaggering in loud and authoritative, ominously going ‚ÄúWe got a message for you, and a story to tell too, it‚Äôs gonna be a line, a line that never break,‚Äù and of course it didn‚Äôt break, even going into this cool dirty solos and all. Oh wowee! I‚Äôm in love!
Dirty Slug and S.O.B. sound a bit too digital especially on the drums but both top angry songs of The Partisans or The Destructors/Insane nature. Friday Bundle (yeah a song about getting second-hand t-shirts at the weekend pasar minggu, something that me and friends never missed to do back in the day!) is slower than usual, with a bit of The New York Dolls or The Heartbreakers sleaze coming in with much vengeance! Can you believe that? I‚Äôve never heard of local bands with a nod to Johnny Thunders ever!
Funfair Burst is one of the weak songs, with a bad early Oi! chorus, but hey the solos go for the Egyptian slink! Ku Lepaskan Kamu is the only Malay song, with a simple groove a bit like The Ramones meets The Vibrators; the melodies don‚Äôt really fit but the ‚ÄúGabba, Gabba, Hey!‚Äù break is awesome! The song also gives a lot of air for the bassist to go a bit crazy and nicely wobbly!
Little Rascals, just like Looking Through You, is more typical Oi! in method but the choruses go for a more of that sleazy but melodious Heartbreakers zeal. And you know what? The guitarist went all wah-wah on this one! The last tune, Urine Sucker, is almost The Dead Boys in its spirit and the chorus kills, going ‚Äúwhhhy don‚Äôt you just leave us alone, bastards, bastards, take our piss and run, test them in your mouth, uuuuurine sucker!!‚Äù
Oh dear. This is most fun. True some of the songs are way too simplistic 3-chords bad punk rock but all the fills, the solos, the chorus and the whole originality of the direction are just unique in this day and age. I may be bias because I really love the old school but I would rather listen to a cool reckless band that doesn‚Äôt care whether they play hip, trendy punk rock-derived music instead of the usual bands that are aping the current streams just like their friends, so much so that they all sound the same!
Go Dirty Divider!! Thank you for being here!!
contact: email Dirty Divider
1160-A, KM 8, Taman Purnama 20400 Kuala Ibai, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
The Goodnite Goodies
Anti Establishment Demo EP CD-R
Hailing from my own hometown Dungun (yes, I grew up there from 1976 to 1982 and yes, that the FIRST Punk Rock town in the whole of Malaysia! In 1978, we had a small crew going ape over The Ramones, Pistols, Clash, Patti Smith, The Stranglers, The Electric Chairs and The Dead Boys!), The Goodnite Goodies is a classic punk rock trio that‚Äôs not necessarily purely ‚Äúold school‚Äù but a few songs really hit the vibes of yore.
The first track Realize is my favourite. It doesn‚Äôt sound like any other band at first but the intro is a bass & drum combo that recalls the first few seconds of PIL‚Äôs first single ‚ÄúPublic Image Limited‚Äù before going into a melodic early 80s UK punk rock that sounds like latter-day Vice Squad (of the later Shotaway period) but with a male vocalist! There‚Äôs the similar sighing choruses and stomping mid-tempo beats with ominous breaks that also gets me thinking of Zounds. Excellent stuff if you were there back in the day when Beki Bondage was the main sex symbol of the punks allover the world!
However this excellent direction was not carried forward with the other songs and for me, it‚Äôs a pity really. All the other tracks; Left You Sorrow, It‚Äôs Okay, Pedigree & Breaker are pretty much run-of-the-mill mid-90s melodic American punk rock of the Screeching Weasel & Lag Wagon speed and spirit. Yeah, it‚Äôs fun and all, back to when Green Day was just another punk band playing Gilman Street and not superstars touring with 6 trailers, but I‚Äôm more inclined to the melodies of Buzzcocks than some American mall-rat any day.
The last track, Visit From An Old Friend, is however a bit different especially with its Gorilla Biscuits-style old-school HC frantic pace and breaks. Who would have thought of melodic 90s punk rock meeting early straight-edge sound eh? Short and sweet. Very good.
Production-wise this is pretty cool, none of the usual ‚Äúreally bad Terengganu underground demo sound‚Äù that has been giving the whole of Terengganu a bad name. Hell, it sounds much better than the recent The Dude Puked On My Lap comp. The playing and singing are also tight and on the ball, and if I may say so, The Goodnite Goodies is way better than Jellybelly or Dakootyroaches! Sorry Nizang and Mat Yie but just listen to this demo mateys!
contact: email Goodnite Goodies or phone 012 967 0875
Okay, people! Especially those distros and organisers out there, PLEASE HELP THESE BANDS OUT! Get them to play your shows, invite them for your comps etc. Terengganu has been a bit tenat recently, especially when the Coalition crew mostly moved to KL, so this is a chance to get the East Coast rocking again!