SPECIAL ROUND-UP – Vinyl Fever! featuring THE COZMICK SUCKERS COMP, FABRIC, FRANKIE STUBBS, THE MEN OF HELL, MOTHERFUCKERS, THE RESTARTS, SILVER, MACAU UNDERGROUND, GEORGIA UNDERGROUND, BLACKBIRD & MORE
My turntable is pretty unreliable, but here are some reviews done while sitting beside the old thing.
The Cozmick Suckers Comp: Volume Orange 12″
A German noise/electronica/industrial compilation from the label responsible for Stormbow’s excellent 10″. Down’t starts the disc up with Razor On Stone, a hypnotic drone/throbbing in a very minimalist, sparse manner without relying on typical rhythm programming – as troubling/enchanting as having a calm, static nightmare!
T. Raumschmiere takes up the lull with a more rhthmic groove (robotic, soul-less loop that is) and goes monotone with a gradual build-up in the layering department; adding a scratch there and taking out a percussive loop here – really mechanical but strangely danceable. Schimpanse1 on the other hand is more minimal than the two, turning found noises into layers of anti-percussive rhythm and keeping the heartbeat linear with jolts of strange samples – not for the easily bored.
Shrubbn!! starts the other side like a busy mechanical bee having engine trouble or getting stuck in some sticky cyber-muck, all the while enveloped in diminishing throbbing. Then it takes flight into a clanging soundscape where a rhythm developed, much like columns of chained prisoners banging steel in unison. Static Lounge follows that with planes of treated noise layers, mashed up into each other, then diminishing and comes back, again and again and again. It goes on endlessly, while a rhythm pattern appear more pronounced with every cycle. Hmmm.
All the tracks are as mind-boggling and fun as they’re challenging to my patience but when Makeem comes in, all that blissful mechanics are thrown by minimal, soulful fat-rhythmed disco. This last track really spoiled my mood. All in, a good sampler of adventurous soundscaping which had me thinking whether I should start getting stoned again. Hmmm.
Fabric: Dislocations 7″
Whole Car Records
Got this ages ago! UK pale & melodic, dampened powerchord, neo-metallic HC reminding me of The Instigators meeting Dag Nasty without having the necessary ooomph to rock the house. Two songs, both do nothing to me. Barcoded and a bit clumsy in the singing department. Sucks.
(Whole Car Records, 130 Talbot Rd., London W11 1JA, UK)
Frankie Stubbs: Unhinged 7″
Rugger Bugger Records
Leatherface’s gravel-throated, Lemmy-like singer goes solo and acoustic ala Bob Mould during his “Poison Years”. Grown-up punks with heavy-heavy heart will love this as much as I do. The choice of covering Moon River is rather suspect but Truly Beautiful and Plebs are both de-electrified Leatherface, without losing the wracked emotional downpour and heartfelt intensity. I’ve just heard that Leatherface reformed late last year. This is a great, unsung UK Husker Du-influenced punk band which everybody should at least check out. One of my all time favourite bands.
(Rugger Bugger, PO Box 357, London SE19 1AD UK)
The Men Of Hell (AKA ZORN)
The Return Of The Gods mini-Lp/12″
Featuring two guys from my current favorite-but-sadly-RIP band Stormbow, The Men Of Hell is a continuation of sort, but instead of building on the goth/post-HC mixture of old, this is more of a heavy, heavy exercise in intense. progressive metalcore. Before you think this is boring, moshy and macho, do stop and imagine non-chugga-chugga, abrasive heaviousity lined with screamed/growled vocals that’s screechy and also devastatingly emotional. Nope, this is not your typical metalcore bullshit but a hell of an intensely heavy record. Full of ideas, inspired and highly recommended. German lyrics.
(MaximumVoice c/o Andre Sieg, Postfach 26, 04256 Leipzig, Germany.)
Motherfuckers: We’re Fucked 7″
Beer City Records
Fucking awesome, ultra-excellent breakneck, spitting raw, heavy and intense punk rock that’s constantly moving from one riff to another like a man on fire. Seven short songs and jumpy, reminding me of early American stuff before Henry joined Black Flag and gone “progressive”. Another old piece of plastic but utterly brilliant.
(Beer City Records , PO Box 494 Milwaukee, WI 53122-0494 USA)
The Restarts: Frustration EP 7″
Blind Destruction Records
Four songs recorded in early 1996 see London louts going at it raw and dirty without the metallic guitar sound of the latter recordings. This is basically mid-tempo, loud and roucous early 80s punk rock which reminds me of early The Exploited without the stupid aggro, macho, thicko attitude; just drunken, rough-hewn punk rock fun with singalong terrace choruses. Not excellent, not memorable but still endearing as it is immediately lovable.
(Blind Destruction, Box 28, 82 Colston St., Bristol BS1 5BB UK)
The Restarts: … Just Gets Worse 7″
Blind Destruction Records
Another four slabs of The Restarts recorded a year later without much difference apart from a more pronounced production, confident guitar-solos and heavier approach. All of the above review still applies; just the type of punk rock you’d expect from people like The Bollocks if they are not from Kuala Pilah and downed a lot of whiskey! Great lyrics still!
(Blind Destruction, Box 28, 82 Colston St., Bristol BS1 5BB UK)
2004 note: The Restarts is now touring the US!
Silver: Charade 7″
White vinyl released in 1995! Yea, this is old. Don’t know whether they still exist but this is an excellent Samiam/Jawbreaker melodic American punk that’s driving, foot-tapping and raw (without touching the tired pop-punk cliche). Three songs that never attained the standards of the bands mentioned but these tracks grows on you.
(Perspex Records, 8401 hager SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108 USA)
Tian An Men ’89 Special:
Sindrome Colonial: Underground Macau 7″
La Haine, a Macau band now living in Portugal, starts the ball rolling with Tupac Amaru, a one riff raw as hell punk sung in Portuguese, but wins with the sparse, funky and sly-footing Curto-Circuito; almost rapcore and complete with a trumpet and sampled conversations. Eastern Red on the other hand is still in Macau and plays rocking, simple punk rock with melodic-but-raw singing, the second track however has this lame tendency to go mid-tempo grunge and I hate that.
Retsepti: Underground Georgia 7″
A brilliant band from Tbilisi, Georgia (on the eastern Europe front) which sounds like a lot of early 80s Polish and Italian bands who were not too enamoured with the typical UK or American punk. This is a mixture of rock, traditional tempos and even experimental/jazz done via raw and emotional, progressive punk rock filter. Definitely edgy with the definitive Euro touch missing with a lot of current bands there. Comes complete with translated lyrics concerning personal thoughts and struggles. Miles better than a thousand Promise Ring albums. *
Last call For The Lost Scenes 7″
An international compilation featuring bands from Albania, Jordan, Madagascar and Reunion Islands, featuring one track from each country. Medagascar’s Kazar is heavy-footed and almost metallic, Reunion Ilse’s Acid is raw, almost The Cramps rock’n’roll (not psychobilly tho’), Albania’s Guttersnipe is rough 60’s garage rock with a great Mick Jagger-ish vocalist while Jordan’s Megapower seems like a one-man band with a drum-machine and rocking guitar (blazing metal solos and all!). Not the best of bands but these are the sounds coming from countries not normally associated with punk rock!
Hong Kong’s veteran political punks sound harder and punkier than the old tapes I had since the early 90s, this is still jazzy and progressive as usual but the edginess is more pronounced. Still singing in Chinese (Mandarin? Cantonese? I don’t know!) except the sly What About My Pleasure, Blackbird goes faster on the beat, rawer on the guitars while the politics still as poetic as before. The last track The River Of Time is almost Cajun blues with steel, slide guitars and all. The production is a hell lot better than most Tian An Men recordings, I’m thinking of putting this out here and get my Chinese friends a bit of shock. A must have! Visit Blackbird site at www.tribal.com.hk/blackbird or write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org *
Injap Balik! – A Bandung punk/HC comp 7″
This is the beautiful sister to the excellent and more eclectic Masaindah… CD comp featuring Bandung rebels such as Puppen (raw, heavy punk/HC rawk), Closeminded (crazy, fast, screeching punk), Savor Of Filth (punk/HC, a mix between early UK speedsters and NY mid-80s), Deadly Ground (straightahead, one-grooved punk), Piece Of Cake (melodic, pop-punk sung in Malay!), Runtah (galloping, light-headed crustiness), Jeruji (dual-vocal Discharge or early Active Minds), Turtles Jr. (speedy early American punk) and All Stupid (more trad-punk but fast and edgy as hell). A great comp with great bands you’ll never hear much of until people start to bring them up here to play.
Each of these rare records (only 500 copies printed for each title) is available for USD 6 per copy or USD 10 for 2 copies or USD 15 for three from: Darbouka Records c/o Fred Ibrahim, 17 rue de la foret 67340 Menchhoffen, France. At the moment of writing, Tian An Men ’89’s main guy Luk Haas is still in Pristina; volunteering for UNCHR and helping out the people in Kosovo. He said a trip to Malaysia will be possible in early 2000.