Sunday 29 December 2013

Scum of Society "Violenza legale" Ep 1997

This will be the last post of the year 2013. The last 12 months saw countless brilliant records being posted on Terminal Sound Nuisance and, thankfully, there will be even more samples of my flawless tastes on the blog in 2014. You have been warned. So, in order to bring some sort of closure to this year, what could be more appropriate than a rather unoriginal and yet totally relevant 90's crust record with a lot of heart and guts? Because that's what TSN is all about and I gladly leave pointless quests for originality to others with a more artistic mindset than mine.

I have already talked about how I love 90's eurocrust (90's crust in general really, even the Japanese bands of that genre no longer seem to attract that much attention, which unfortunately doesn't mean I can afford to buy their records... yet!) and how I think it is being gravely under-appreciated right now. Bands like Hiatus, Homomilitia, Sarcasm, Proyecto Terror, Subcaos, Embittered, Enola Gay and so on. It is not all grim of course, and there are a number of bands still flying the flag but it certainly doesn't garner as much interest as, say, 10 years ago. But anyway, while crust punk spread like wild fire all over the world during that decade, one European country with a very strong punk tradition strangely seemed to ignore its greatness: Italy. Of course, there was the amazingly unique and genre-challenging Contropotere who incorporated elements of crust music, but, as much as they escaped easy classifications, I always saw them as being essentially an 80's band in spirit although they did record some brilliant stuff in the 90's. Besides, Contropotere sounded like no other band (were they even a band or more a collective?), so it might not be relevant to use them as a point of comparison. Italy had fast and furious hardcore bands, grindcore bands, all sorts really but crust (apart from Jilted who fitted the tag). How odd is that? The 00's fortunately saw a lot more enthusiasm towards loud dreadlocked noisy bollocks with bands like Campus Sterminii, Giuda, Berserk, Cancer Spreading or NIS.

Scum of Society musy have formed around 1995 or 1996, judging from their discography. I don't know what the band took in 1997 but in that year only, they managed to put out two Ep's and one split Lp. In 2002 (or 2003?) they released a split Ep with Full of Hatred and that was basically the end of the band. Musically, Scum of Society were nothing special I suppose: just straight out, bass-driven, raw crust punk along the lines of Hiatus and Doom with shouted rather than gruffy vocals so that you can understand what they are on about (assuming you speak Italian). The recording is a bit rough and ready, if not sloppy, but there is an undeniable urgency to the sound and there is actually some degree of variety in the song structures with metal or hardcore breaks and even a couple of blast beats for good measure. In terms of music, it is everything you can expect from mid/late 90's DIY European crust record.

As was often the case, crust bands were more directly political in those days or at least they showed it more. The record comes with a 17-pages booklets, no less, with lyrics and artwork and even some political writing and a list of active squats in Italy! From what I can gather, Scum of Society must have been involved to some extent in the squatters' movement at the time. There are staunch "DIY and proud" ethics at play in this Ep and radical politics are being worn unashamedly (they even borrowed the "proud to be punk"logo from Riot/Clone!). Lyrically, any anarcho-oriented punk will find him/herself in safe territories: an anti-nazi song, an anti-coppers song, an anti-rockstars song, an anti-alienation song, two anti-war songs and a song about how the poor are the scum of society in the eyes of the authorities. The perfect soundtrack for the party you will throw for New Year's Eve, isn't it?

The texts included by the band are probably better clues of the actual politics of Scum of Society. The first one is about the importance of staying DIY and what it means to them. In 1997, they were already pointing at the absurd prevalence of form over content:

"we think that the music, the attitude, the fashion, in the magic world of hardcore-punk has became more important than the spirit. So we confirm one more time that for us to be punx means self-production (DIY), political action, communication, in short the creation of physical and mental situations of freedom, alternative and antagonism to the power that oppress us all. We produce and distribute DIY stuff as a part of a project of self determination of our lives".

A good statement indeed. The second text is about submission and resistance to the different tricks of the State as it tries to mold us into good law-abiding citizens and the band is right in sending a healthy and hearty "fuck off" to all the armies, be they the official ones serving our current masters or the non-official ones serving our masters of tomorrow. The third text is about the oppressive power of the family unit and how it works as the first level of alineation in order to produce "normal" children. Finally there is the aforementioned stuff about squatting which, in addition to providing an exhaustive list of active squats, also briefly tells the political motivations of squatters, why they do it (to live and/or to organize things) and how they choose to live their lives according to their own rules. Some smart words about the dangers of being a legalized squat which would create a "good squatters/bad squatters" dichotomy (the good ole Victorian values of the "deserving" versus the "undeserving" poor).

It is definitely better you read it all for yourself anyway. And don't forget to listen to the record while you are at it. I found it in a 2 euros bin and so can you!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Filthkick "The Peel sessions 1989/1990"

Today's post will be an emotional moment for all of us (yet another one I hear whispering!). Because today I would like all of us to remember our fallen friends, those who did not make it through, who gave up living, for all kinds of reasons. This post is dedicated to all the fallen blogs, all the dead blogs that I used to visit daily and who are no longer with us. Is it because mediafire and co have become such a pain? Is it because of the apparent apathy of the blog-visiting population (myself included) who cannot be arsed to even leave a comment? Is it because sometimes we are under the impression that no one gives a damn about our rants and that what the punks really want is just the files and not the context? Am I being a cry-baby?

But anyway, more seriously, I would like to dedicate this post to a former blog called Panzer Badger that was done by an older bloke and documented very throroughly the mid/late 80's punk and metal scene in Norwich (among other things to be sure, but I remember it quite fondly for that). Of course you would find in the badger's hole (or wherever it lives) many unknown and obscure recordings of Deviated Instinct (from the very early stages to the later ones), a whole bunch of more or less listenable Rhetoric live recordings as well as many live tapes of big metal acts such as Venom or even fucking Metallica if I remember correctly. What I enjoy the most in Panzer Badger was the tone used, it was witty, informative, unpretentious and you could feel that the geezer really loves what he was writing about. Passion is what it is. For some reason, I never got in touch with him, assuming as we all unfortunately do, that blogs last forever and that bloggers won't get bored of getting little more than indifference. Panzer Badger was one of the blogs that prompted me to start Terminal Sound Nuisance. As a tribute to PB, and to all the other blogs that stopped breathing, I decided to make two absolutely crucial recordings that the badger posted at some point available again, two recordings that I had no idea existed but literally pinned me to the floor: the two Peel sessions that Filthkick did. I humbly thank the badger for making the world a nastier place by unleashing the sessions and the files that you can download from my post are originally his.

Filthkick should be a reference in hardcore punk today. Sadly, the are just "that band Extreme Noise Terror did a split with but I rarely (meaning never) listen to their side" and to be fair the songs on the aforementioned split are pretty average-sounding. Not that the songs are bad, on the contrary, the song-writing is strong, but you can hardly hear the guitar and the vocals are nowhere as mean and insane as on the Peel sessions. If you have always thought that Filthkick was an anecdotale band, be prepared to be refuted right now.

As you may or may not know, Filthkick was Leggo's ugly baby after he left Deviated Instinct and moved to Brum. The first Peel session of Filthkick was recorded in 1989 with the first line-up (the band has had a tumuluous, if short, existence it appears) that also included Jim from Ripcord (and much later on the brilliant Warprayer). In 1989, Filthkick must have been the meanest, most ferocious, aggressive, obnoxious-sounding hardcore punk band around in England. Influenced to a large extent by Poison Idea and possibly some Japanese hardcore bands, their music is like a sonic spit in the face, an nihilistic but smart embodiment of "fuck you". Don't expect childish provocation and fake misanthropy here, as Leggo can write good lyrics, a bit hopeless perhaps, but always snotty and quite smart. The seven songs of this first Peel session (among them a Poison Idea cover) will feel like being trampled to death by a rabid fox: fast, short with gnarly and ferocious vocals. Listening to this I cannot help thinking that Leggo should have used this style of vocals with Deviated Instinct at the time, because he does now and it sounds absolutely perfect. Missed opportunity I guess.

The second Peel session, just one year after, sees a different Filthkick in the BBC studio. Only Leggo remained from the old line-up as Pete from Doom and two blokes from death-metal band Obliteration now made up the band. Actually, in only three years of existence, more people came and went in Filthkick, among them future, current and future members of Acrasy or Policebastard. The fast and bitingly direct hardcore songs have not disappeared but you can also find heavier, venomous mid-tempo numbers that are probably my favourite songs from them. You have the same nasty voice, it is still bass-driven, still antagonistic but now aimed to pound you to the floor with a more crushing and groovy (dare I say crusty?) feel to the songs without going metal. Just terrific stuff.

The sound is not crystal clear as it was recorded directly from the radio I suppose). But really, who cares when the music is that good? This deserves to be reissued properly along with live recordings from the band as well (the badger had some cracking ones on his blog).


Wednesday 11 December 2013

Passion Killers "They kill our passion with their hate and wars" Lp 2010

Last week, I posted an utterly terrible reissue and emphasized its many flaws (I'm still thinking about its qualities to be honest). Today, however, I am going to talk about a top notch reissue, a record that is not only great music-wise but exemplifies how it should be done: with love, care, fun and snot. When I hold such records in my dirty hands, I realize how much I love punk-rock, how worthy it is and how tedious and miserable a punkless life would be. Call me a soft bastard but I am almost getting emotional.

Where "Oi! Sound of UK" (the name makes me cringe each time I type it) was a stale, passionless, heartless object, this Passion Killers record contains everything you need to know, not only about the recording and its creative context, but also about the band, its history and the scene it grew out of. Passion Killers is a little-known band that might have sunk into total obscurity if it were not for its strong Chumbawamba connections. In fact, it would be irrelevant to talk about PK without talking about Chumba. There is a brilliantly written history of the band in the thick booklet but let me give you a little information for the laziest ones among you.

Although very connected to Leeds, PK were actually from Barsnley, a Yorkshire town located between Sheffield and Leeds (that makes one dream, doesn't it?). You could say that PK was something of a Northern small-town punk band, a condition that often proved to create great punk bands in England. I am not sure why they picked such a moniker though. It may have sounded like a great idea at the time, back when the lads were 16. But anyway, if there is one band you must not judge on the name it chose, it is the Passion Killers (and while you're at it, try to ignore the broken heart on the cover as well). But back to the history of the band. Influenced by the motivations and DIY ethos of Crass and the first "Bullshit Detector" compilation, PK sent their demo to Crass and the song "Start again" ended up on the second volume, alongside bands such as Omega Tribe, Anthrax, Naked and... Chumbawamba. After the release of "Bullshit Detector Two", the people from Chumba wrote a letter to all the bands included on the compilation in order to strengthen the DIY network (or something). PK actually replied and they lived happily everafter.

Throughout their rather short career, PK sort of moved to Leeds, where Chumbawamba lived and were extremely active in anarcho squat scene, and they started to gig together regularly. In fact, they even released a split demo tape entitled "Be happy, despite it all", which saw PK using a more folk music-oriented sound (whether it was intentional or because they couldn't afford proper instruments, I am not sure). At some point, Mave from PK moved back to Barsnley in order to achieve some mischievous political activities (you know, the miners' strike and all that) which pretty much marked the end of the band. Fortunately for all music-lovers, they managed to record a demo, originally entitled "Motion... yet motionless", released in 1983 on a tiny DIY tape distro called Peaceville Records and reissued in 2010 on vinyl. Mave and Daz moved back to Leeds and ended up joining Chumbawamba, hence some vocal similarities between both bands and, I like to believe, their distinct pop sensibility as well, because, if anything, Passion Killers was an anarcho pop-punk band (I know it sounds terrible but it is literally true).

If you like Chumba's poppy punk but always found that they experimented too much with instruments, paces and genres (that's called being original apparently), then Passion Killers is for you. If you like the first wave of punk-rock, back when singers actually sang but always found the lyrics and the cocky behaviour a bit insulting to your intelligence, then Passion Killers is for you. If you love Naked, Toxik Ephex, Omega Tribe, Instigators, Shrapnel and you have a soft spot for Beat music, although you would never ever admit it, then Passion Killers is for you and you are my new best mate. Take the most tuneful, genuine, heartfelt, passionate (easy one) side of first-wave punk-rock, dip it in the anarchopunk scene for the anger and relevance and add some unashamed Beat music sensibility to the mix (yes, I mean Gerry and the bloody Pacemakers or Herman's fucking Hermits). That's Passion Killers. Sounds terrible? Wait until you listen to it. Every single song is an absolute hit and will stick in your head not for hours or days, no, they will stick for months, years, they will haunt you till the day you die for your greatest pleasure.

As if the music was not such a treat in itself already, there is a thick booklet packed with pictures, gig posters, flyers (Passion Killers got to play with The Mob, Lost Cherrees, Systematic Annex, Fallout, Anathema, Karma Sutra...), interviews, band history, drawings and, of course, lyrics about the indoctrination in the capitalist system, coppers and how our own lives belong to us not them. Naive maybe, sloppily played at times but undeniably genuine and heartfelt (and a bonus, you've got a proper Yorkshire accent). You can hear the passion (I know, I know), the love and the frustration in these beautiful songs. The booklet looks brilliant and is obviously a labour of love, just like the other Demo Tapes releases (A Touch of Hysteria, The Mental, Solvent Abuse, Violent Uprising and Blyth Power, all signs of a great taste if you ask me). For some reason, it has been a few years since the last Demo Tapes release (I had read rumours about upcoming Alien Kulture and Warwound reissues but that was a while ago) but I sincerely hope that the hard bloke behind it has not given up. I very much doubt he takes request but Systematic Annex and Awake Mankind would deserve the great Demo Tapes treatment. The world must know about them.

As a conclusion, if you ever come across this baby on a distro, do yourself a favour and get it. That is not optional but mandatory.