Monday 28 April 2014

Internal Autonomy "Only you have the power" 2 x Ep 1993

Fuck me. It's been two weeks since I posted something here and I still don't really have the time to write a proper review (read "a lengthy ode to my own tastes"). Don't get me wrong I absolutely love Internal Autonomy, but since I already posted one of their records last year and ranted over it, I basically encourage you to check out the review of their "Love and life" Ep. I also strongly suggest you get their discography and their new album "Ferox".

In a time when everyone and their mums is desperately trying to play "dark punk" but often end up playing overproduced, self-indulgent and soulless gothic rock, it just feels good listening to what Internal Autonomy were up to 20 years ago. When I come to think about it, this band had a terrible timing: whereas they were penning wondefully dark and smart old-school anarchopunk tunes, by 1993 Hiatus and Doom were all the rage and the new American anarchopunk sound of Aus-Rotten, Mankind? and the likes was getting stronger. Even in Britain, this brand of punk-rock was almost extinct by then as most bands were getting faster and heavier, even when they remained tuneful like One By One, or they were trying to blend other musical genres with punk-rock, like PAIN with dub music or Witchknot with noise rock (or something). Thus Internal Autonomy remains, in my opinion, a really unique band which, unvoluntarily - almost in spite of them, as I don't think they were really aiming for a specific sound at all - were flying the 80's anarcho flag (in that light, only Indian Dream and to a lesser extent PUS come to mind). This recording doesn't have a female singer like "Love and life" did so it is the bloke singing and while I am a sucker for female-fronted anarchopunk, this offering is still fantastic, somewhere between Lack of Knowledge, Sanction, Flux of Pink Indians and Thatcher on Acid, this would have been a great fit on "All the Madmen" (I mean, there is a bloody saxophone on most of the songs!).

And then, there are the lyrics. Actual anarchist politics that are smart, down-to-earth and radical, stuff you can relate to, stuff that can actually inspire you. "What's is coming to?" is a song about the so-called freedom in modern democracies and how you are only really free to do what you are supposed to do; "Faith" is a song against all rulers, against political parties blinding us with illusions of a perfect world in order to gain power; "Storm" is a class war anthem that will get motivate you to create your own "Bash the rich" march in your local area and finally "Death to discipline" is about the school system and how it brainwashes kids and destroys their indiviudality. The great-looking booklet includes some political writings that delve deeper into the topics at hand. This is a quite odd format, a double Ep, that was released by Profane Existence in 1993. I know this has been posted elsewhere on other blogs but I am not sure the scans of the booklet could be found so here they are.

Monday 14 April 2014

Desobediencia Civil "No hay libertad sin desobediencia" cd 2001

Most of the time, I focus on posting rare or obscure on Terminal Sound Nuisance. There are two reasons for this. First, I feel that the sharing of music and knowledge is what punk is all about. Although I alway try to give my own critical view of a band, a genre or a scene, I feel that it is our collective role to ensure that punk history doesn't get lost and that it is important to promote a sort of punk sensibility (for lack of a better term) through an accessible analysis of the punk-listening experience. Second, I am an opinionated bastard with an ego problem who likes to boast. But now is not the time for nerdy posturing, because today's post will be about one of the most crucial Latino anarchopunk bands ever: Desobediencia Civil.

In my (definitely not) humble opinion, DC is an unjustly underrated band that, had they not been from Mexico, would have its name on thousands of punk jackets across the world. I would even argue that they were easily one of the very best 90's anarcho bands worldwide. DC formed in Mexico City and started playing in 1993. From what I gathered, the people involved were all originally part of animal liberation and political collectives and felt the need to do something against the "chaos punk" apathy that prevailed then in the city. DC's discography is far from being massive as they only released one Ep and one album as well as a couple of live demos. I would venture that the band was more interested in getting their message across and touring than in recording twice a year and having coloured vinyls out. Although they weren't the first anarchist punk band in Mexico or indeed in Latin America, they may have been the first to call themselves anarchopunks (possibly along with Coprofilia, Empirismo and Regeneracion) and to merge the canonical anarchopunk sound and aesthetics with the aggression and the rabia of classical Mexican hardcore punk, thus creating a proper Mexican anarchopunk sound in the process. DC's first Ep, "Cuanto tiempo mas", though it already incorporated visual elements from the anarchopunk, still sounded very much like a traditional raw Mexican hardcore punk records and was closer to Massacre 68, MELI or Xenofobia (and my faithful readers already know that I love my Mexicore to death) than Antisect, Doom or Conflict. It is only with their Lp, "No hay libertad sin desobediencia" that the band managed to merge both worlds, seamlessly, effortlessly and with an honesty, a genuine anger that cannot be faked and that I wish I heard more often.

On this recording, DC kept the snotty, desperate anger and chaotic edge of late 80's Mexican hardcore but infused it with the classic UK anarchopunk sound of Antisect, Legion of Parasites or Potential Threat (especially with the addition of the female vocalist), with early Doom (whom they cover), Early Hiatus and early Extreme Noise Terror and finally, I would argue, with a bit of Swedish hardcore like Crude SS or No Security. The dual vocals work to perfection, the bloke having that raspy, raucous, threatening and just so bloody pissed off voice, while the girl shouts in a clearer, warmer tone, not unlike Potential Threat, Homomilitia or Antiproduct. The drumming is reminiscent of Stick (from Doom)'s early bands (Doom or more precisely Excrement of War come to mind): it beats the D but you still get some Disorder/Chaos UK changes and a couple of blast beats. The guitar sound is thick and crunchy, just what you need to get the crust in "crust-punk". The music is just incredibly energetic, catchy, angry AND catchy, as a lot of the chorus will stay with you. There is enough variety in terms of tunes and tempo hooks to make this album a fantastic listen from beginning to end and a real anarchopunk classic.      

To say that DC was a serious band would be an understatement and in that respect they really remind me of the best of the US anarcho scene of that decade, bands like Aus-Rotten, Antiproduct, Mankind? but they remind me more especially of Resist And Exist, a band that was outspokenly revolutionary like DC. Bands like Disaffect, Sanctus Iuda, Homomilitia or Paragraf 119 could also be relevant comparisons. Lyrically, you will find a whole lot of issues covered by the band, ranging from feminism, animal rights, the wage-slave system, class antagonism, social conformity, the corrupt political system to imperialism or being anarkopunks.

The influence of DC on the political punk scene both in Mexico and in the rest of Latin America cannot be underestimated and I see them in the same light as 90's bands like Abuso Sonoro or Execradores in Brazil or Apatia-No in Venezuela, that had relevant anarchist politics and merged the anarchopunk spirit with that South-American urgency and anger. DC split up quite soon after the release of that album, in 2002, because some of the members migrated to the U$ for economic reasons but I read that they reformed briefly in 2008 in order to play a couple of benefit shows in the States. I suppose you could say Mexican bands like Fallas del Sistema or Crimenes de Guerra are (or were?) the real legacy of DC in the 00's. "No hay libertad sin desobediencia" was released on the ever reliable Cryptas Records and I'm pretty sure it can still be found on decent distros everywhere.

Friday 4 April 2014

Social Insecurity "S/t" Ep 2002

Today's post will be less epic than the previous one for two reasons: first, I'm fucking knackered and second, this record should really speak for itself, so you don't really need me ranting over and over again. Unless you want me to.

There are actually two bands - at least - called Social Insecurity, one from Edinburgh that was active in the early 2000's and one from California that was around in the early 90's and was part of the blooming anarchopunk scene then. But for today, the Scots will suffice. As you are all aware, I am a self-righteous wanker who likes dictating what good taste really is to the unwashed among you (and there are more than just a few). To those who sport a studded leather jacket, a mohican or two and a faded Varukers top, then let me tell you that you should have painted at the back of your jacket, instead of The Unseen, was Social Insecurity. Like many bands that are a bit late to the party, Social Insecurity played that rather typical mid-late 90's British hardcore-punk style, not unlike Poundaflesh, In The Shit or even Hellkrusher, but they may have started playing it a few years too late, so that they may have passed under the radar of "da punx" who may have been thinking they were merely derivative and under the crust radar as well for not being "crust" enough, not having Tragedy-like tunes or a Dis-name. Life does suck sometimes.

However, not only are Social Insecurity a top-of-the-shelf 90's flavoured British hardcore-punk band in its own right but they are also heavier, and I mean HEAVIER, than most neocrust that was starting to be all the rage back then. Social Insecurity is the perfect mix of mid-90's Varukers and Hellkrusher. I am pretty sure that all the members had played in bands prior to Social Insecurity but all I could find was a Beergut 100 connection (a typical, though enjoyable, mid-90's British punk band) through the guitar player. This is bass-driven dischargey hardcore punk that is openly pissed off and that you can pogo and drink cider to. I would have loved to see them live, at a punk picnic for instance, with, say, Disorder, Poundaflesh, Hellkrusher and Red Flag 77. Social Insecurity have this thick sound that is effortlessly groovy and heavy. The songs are mostly fast-paced but there are a couple of crushing metal breaks (in the crusty sense of the term) to keep things refreshing (in a guttural breath way).

Due to numerous tours, there seems to have been an important connection between Edinburgh punks and Czech Republic. Like Beergut 100 who had a split with Zemezluc, Social Insecurity's next record would be a split Lp with Czech metal-crust heroes, Dread 101, released on famous local label Insane Society records in 2003, also a highly recommendable work of art if you are into records that no one really remembers. This Ep was released in 2002 on Emergency records a label from... Czech Republic (!) responsible for records from Exekuce, Mardröm or Demarche. The lyrics are pretty serious, with an anarchist leaning. "Burn all flags" is about taking your dog to the park, breaking down the borders and flag-burning; you already know what "Police brutality" is about (but could it be a nod to old Scottish band Toxik Ephex?); "Rage inside" is about a bloke going mental because he's possessed by the devil (I warned you there were some metal breaks); "Suffer in silence" is about not taking any shit from the authorities and fighting back and "Systematic slaughter" is about the horror of war and brushing your teeth twice a day (and could it be a reference to Reprisal?). Does the cover look like that Anti-Cimex Ep? Yes, it does, and that's three additional punk points in my book.

Translations in the Czech language included.