Thursday 25 July 2019

Records I Forgot I Owned (part 8): PUS "The real scapeghost" Ep, 1992

It could be argued that life in our so-called modern societies are being increasingly filled with petty, meaningless trivia through the overarching presence of the internet. It could also be argued that our growingly shorter attention span is a a result of this abundance of irrelevant details and that our greed for novelties is fueled by our own fear to be outdated and cast aside. Being irrelevant or even being socially sanctioned as such has become far worse than being dead. 

Still, trivia remains the easiest way to break the ice in many social situations, especially potentially awkward ones, like punk gigs for instance. Sometimes, all your mates are here so you don't need to come up with clever things to say during conversations that will make you look suave and sophisticated (aka SAS). Your friends are already familiar with your natural awesomeness. But there are other times when you don't really know anyone at gigs and you need to make friends, and for that you need clever-sounding introductory sentences and a good piece of punk trivia is ideal. This takes me to Terminal Sound Nuisance since this very blog has been voted the best place on the internet to find proper intel and anecdotes about cool punk bands that are obscure enough to make you look knowledgeable (but not too obscure, otherwise you are going to sound all nerdy and creepy and scare people away). Who knew these humble rants of mine would bring people together in friendship and unity! And since we're at it, here is a fun piece of punk trivia for your future new best friend: did you know that PUS stood for Punx Underpants Smell, a reference to the Pax compilation Lp Punk Dead - Nah Mate, the Smell is jus Summink in yer Underpants innit? Amazing, right? I mean it makes the name PUS - already a top punk moniker - even better. If knowing that doesn't get you at least a date, I don't what will.

I suppose that, in spite of their punker than punk name, PUS will be mostly remembered by the British punks active in the 90's who got to see them live. They were from Wisbech and were active for most of the 90's, at least between 1991 and 1999, an honourable run in itself when you compare it to modern hardcore bands' lifespan (or maybe ephemeral hardcore is the new black, I dunno). Quite sadly, PUS seem to have been largely forgotten and, although they were not the best band of the decade, they wrote some solid anarchopunk songs in their day. I cannot remember exactly where or when I got The Real Scapeghost but I know the Ep was lingering in a discounted record box, a fate that many 90's and 00's records are familiar with and that even more bands from our current decade will know when the deafening hype is over and people actually listen to them. I do remember exactly when I first encountered PUS however. I got their Death from the Skies discography cd in 2003 in Leeds at an Extinction of Mankind gig. And guess what, even then the cd was in the discount section. It must be karma. Despite the rather ugly cover depicting a warplane and the fact that I had never heard of PUS, I thought that spending a few quids for a discography was a bargain and brought the record home. I have to admit that the cd was a bit of a let down at the time for two main reasons. First, I expected the band to have more of a UK hardcore sound (c'mon, there's a bloody warplane on the cover, it was a fair assumption) and second, there are 33 tracks on the cd and it is a lot to digest.

This said, with the passing of the years, I grew to really enjoy PUS. In fact, the deeper I descended into the nether regions of the 80's anarchopunk wave, the fonder of PUS I became. The band can be seen as an embodiment of one of several relevant post "classic anarchopunk" paths. You could either take anarchopunk as a spirit and a stance not essentially bound to punk music and therefore go for a totally different sound (like techno, indie, dub...) but keeping the same political perspective. Or you could consider anarchopunk as both a stance and an actual genre which, as such, could legitimately be kept alive even 10 years after it peaked. PUS - and bands like Riot/Clone, Haywire, Kismet HC, Combat Shock, Substandard... - picked the second option. The Real Scapeghost was their first Ep, recorded in 1992, and while the production is undeniably thin, it is still a throughly replayable record with a genuine snotty punk vibe. Of course, there are sloppy bits here and there, some songs would have probably benefited from some structural changes and a more focused approach, but on the whole there is a freshness and a spontaneity that contrasts sharply with current bands that claim to be influenced by 80's anarchopunk but end up sounding like they calculate everything and value referential minutiae over everything else. In this light and for all its flaws, The Real Scapeghost is an interesting listen and, for the songs "Scapeghost", "Democracy", "Eternity" and "Shadow of death" (yes, there are eight songs on the Ep!), even a great one if you are into anarchopunk or UK82 (yes, you should be taking notes). There are several paces and vibes on the Ep, ranging from the fast and snotty Bristolian school to darker mid-tempo anarcho tunes and even a reggae-ish one (probably the weakest of the bunch but the band got much better at those afterwards). I can hear a lot of influences in the early PUS sound, Subhumans and early Conflict being obvious ones but you can also add bands like Riot/Clone, Karma Sutra or The Waste to the list.

This strong old-school anarchopunk vibe can also be seen in the lovely antiwar cover of The Real Scapeghost as well as in the backcover which depicts a logo comprised of a nuclear mushroom, a peace symbol and a crucifix (the ole 3 in 1 anarchopunk bargain pack). Lyrics deal with the atrocities of war, pollution, state control and of course animal rights, a theme that PUS tackled a lot as they included in the insert a list of useful addresses as well as some information about the ongoing exploitation of animals, pretty typical of political punk bands in the 90's and something that I always found great and indeed inspiring. After that humble snotty punk Ep the band recruited a second singer and meaningfully polished their sound into a powerful and tuneful blend of dual male/female vocals anarchopunk reminiscent of early Civilised Society?, late DIRT, PAIN and Toxic Waste that can be heard on their subsequent Ep's on Know Records, '96 A Life in Fear and the  '97 split with Omobna. PUS also appeared on a number of compilations throughout the years that you may even own since some of them were put out by labels like Panx, Loony Tunes, DIY Records, Discrete Records and Resistance Productions. As mentioned earlier, the best way to discover the band would be to get hold of a copy of the Death from the Skies cd, released on Bomb Factory Records (a label that put out some great 90's anarcho music by the likes of Contempt and Riot/Clone). This should not be too difficult considering PUS' current popularity. So if you see it gathering dust on a distro, you know what to do. Finally, I am not sure what the members did after the band split up apart from drummer Sonny, who also played in Combat Shock at the time, who would join Constant State of Terror and more recently Flowers in the Dustbin.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Records I Forgot I Owned (part 7): Protess "Positiveness" Ep, 2001

Ace epic cover

Once again, this is a record that keeps slipping through the cracks and yet one that I never intended to neglect. Although I can never quite remember how it sounds like, I know full well who I got it from. It was during an online record sale organized by Profane Existence about ten years ago. Money was needed to cover some debts (I think) and parts of record collections had to be sold away to that effect. I was an active member of the message board at the time so got the full list early and managed to grab a copy of Legion of Parasites' Lp, The Prison of Life. Needless to say that I was ecstatic to finally get hold of such a classic and although I realize that to still boast about it to this day is a tad embarrassing, I can't really help it. Yes indeed, the deal was pretty good. In the list there were a couple of records from bands I had never heard of but looked interesting judging from the short descriptions that accompanied them. So, upon reflection, I wisely added two Ep's to my shopping list, one being Jesusexercise's fantastic Ep, while the other was Positiveness by Protess, which was said to be a female-fronted anarcho hardcore band from Japan (or something along these lines). 

Protess formed in 1998 in Sapporo, hometown of Slang, a major player in the Japanese hardcore game (u feel me?) and as a matter of fact they may still be playing, as I have seen live videos from 2015 so it is possible. If it seems to have been singer Yumi's first band (correct me if I'm wrong), the other members were already playing in bands when Protess started. Guitar player Koyuru was in the furious Japanese grinding hardcore band Knuckle Head, along with bass player Takeharu and drummer Taketora who were also playing in Barricade, who were more of a distorted noizy hardcore unit. I am clueless about the actual origin of the name but I came up with three theories:

1. During a drunken band meeting in a bar, after much deliberation, everyone agreed on Protest and went on to celebrate the newly born band. However, a glass was spilled on the sheet of paper where the name had been written down. The next day, no one could actually remember which name they had settled for but fortunately the sheet was found. However the last letter of Protest was blurred and unreadable and the "t" became an "s", hence Protess instead of Protest.

2. The band had a very good friend called Tess and was originally conceived as a pro-Tess act.

3. It was a spelling nod toward the classic female-fronted Japanese punk band Gomess.

Anyway, I suppose Protess are best remembered nowadays for their 2008 split Ep with melodic punk band Signal Lost from Austin that was released on Prank Records, but even that would actually be a rather optimistic assumption (I mean, who still listens to records from the late 00's?). The band's first demo, recorded in 1998, was a raw but meaningful endeavour which set the tone for what was to come in terms of inspiration and songwriting for Protess. Although there was certainly a traditional Japcore vibe on the demo - especially in the faster bits and in the typical backing chorus - Protess did not aim primarily for that sound and were more progressive and versatile, "modern"-sounding if you wish, trying to blend different beats and genres in order to create a passionate whole. Of course, many bands were trying the same thing worldwide and you could argue that this artistic drive and desire to innovate was very much contextualised and even characteristic of the late 90's and early 00's. The 1999 split Ep with Noise Pollution on MCR showed the band in a much tighter mode with a very clean production that highlighted the band's emotional aspect (arguably a bit too much) but it was Positiveness, thanks to a potent and crunchy sound production from one Koji who had already recorded materials from Crude and Mustang, from that really summarized what Protess were all about.

I cannot claim to be a massive fan of the type of hardcore sound Protess were going for in 2001, however the song on the first side of the Ep, "心に花を", is undeniably a hit. It manages to be heavy, epic and triumphant in a Japanese hardcore way, diverse but coherent without ever losing the listener in spite of its length (almost 6 minutes) and above all intense and passionate. The song is mostly a dark, mid-paced number that reminds me of Scatha, Debris and Unhinged, with punishing and heavy tribal beats (the drumming is fantastic all around), but there's also an actual melodic emocore moment toward the end that gives Anomie a run for their money as well as a genuine and epic burning spirit abrasive moment. The vocalist Yumi sounds very ardent, both indignant and hopeful, and the fact that the words are in Japanese confers even more intensity to the prosody and therefore the song. On the whole, "心に花を" works very well and never sounds disparate, on the contrary, its circular structure of echoes maintains its narrative quality, which is something you always need to have if you are going for epic moody hardcore. The second song is not bad by any means and sounds quite similar to the first one, but it just is not as inspired and catchy to ears and it didn't grab my attention.

As mentioned above, a band such as Unhinged (who are cruelly underrated if you ask me) must have been a major influence, especially with the female vocals and the emotional but heavy and angry music, and I can definitely picture a Protess recording for Nabate. Beside them, I suppose the tentacular destructive power of His Hero Is Gone must have played a role in influencing the band as well as UK tribal hardcore bands like Scatha and Sedition (the visuals of the Ep certainly point in that direction), maybe some Antisect and Anti-System and obviously other progressive emotional hardcore bands that were contemporaries but that I know nothing about (but then, I decline omniscience). I don't really listen to that type of music anymore but I really enjoyed playing Positiveness. Of course, it is quite dated and the last decade was overrun with hardcore bands who wanted to be heavy, epic and melodic (cough neocrust cough), but Protess sound and look first and foremost as a genuine punk band who played hardcore with passion and in the end that's exactly what you need to have for an Ep to be solid. This one was released on Sprout Records, a label run by Tsuyoshi (who went to be sing in the MG15 fanboy band Desperdicio) that also released materials from Sacrifice and Youth Strike Chord. I just love the manga-like drawing of the band on the cover (I am a sucker for those) but haven't been able to find other pieces from the artist, so if you are aware of some, please let me know. 

Incidentally, the copy of the Ep contained two photographs from Protess playing live somewhere in 1999. I have no idea who took them but they are pretty cool so here they are.

There's even a bloody sticker!

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Records I Forgot I Owned (part 6): Positive Negative "Throughout the holocaust" Ep, 1999

Few countries can pride themselves on having an 80's punk scene as classic as Finland's. Vintage Finnish hardcore (I have bumped into the phrase "finncore" or "finn-core" on a couple of occasions but it sounds too cheesy, even for me) is the stuff of legend. That a dedicated bunch of Japanese punks have been trying very hard to reproduce that sound - as well as learn some basic skills in Suomi and wear the Bristolian headlace kinda gracefully - is no coincidence and proves that this brand of hardcore is not only a genuine style but also a tasteful one. I mean, you wouldn't see that with French punk, although now that French oi music has become fashionable I wouldn't be that surprised to hear about a Tokyo-based Komintern Sect cover band. What a world we live in. 

Although these days, we are quick in calling "classic" any short-lived band that vaguely recorded a demo in 1983, there is no denying that Finland produced its fair share of absolute classic bands. Back when I decided to educate myself about the world of hardcore, I used to make list of bands that, apparently, judging from what older and wiser punks said in fanzines, were "classic hardcore". Internet and downloading - without even mentioning streaming obviously - were still very much out of the picture at that time so, on a small budget, I had to target the good stuff and started to make lists of crucial foreign hardcore bands organized by country. I came up with a short list of Finnish punk bands that, if I understood well, I just needed to know if I did not want to be a poser, and since I was really worried that I might be called one at the time (yes, I know it sounds incredible in this age of social media but posing and wearing patches of bands you don't actually know was once frowned upon) I promptly bought some records. Of course, I could only find what was available (and affordable) at the time and I suppose I should have asked some old-timers to compile a mixtape for me instead, but that is how you learn. I remember ordering the Brazilian cd reissue of Rattus' Finnish Hardcore originally on BCT tape (not the greatest Rattus release to be honest and the whole thing's actually hard to digest as a first encounter with the band) and Terveet Kädet's Deep Wound cd (not a good one and it kept me away from TK for years) which I was not really happy with. However, I was lucky enough to find cheap vinyl copies of the amazing - bootleg - compilation Killed by Finnish Hardcore (the ideal comprehensive introduction to the genre) and two Höhnie Records reissues of classic Finnish hardcore, Riistetyt's As a Prisoner of State Lp and Kaaos' Totaalinen Kaaos Lp (basically the 1982 recordings of the band). The latter two completely won me over and the internet age even further consecrated the cult status that we collectively awarded these Tampere bands and the typical Tampere sound. I don't think I have ever met someone who dislikes early Kaaos. It is this kind of consensual band that is unanimously loved and really, I don't see how anyone could resist the insane teenage energy and snotty aggression that permeate their early works. Why am I talking about all this? Well, Positive Negative had two original members of Kaaos in its ranks.

I have absolutely no recollection of buying or being given the Ep so I am going to skip this part. If you lent me this record years ago and never gave it back, please leave a message. This is the only Positive Negative record in my collection and I am not really familiar with the rest of their discography. I don't think the band existed for that long but they sure were very active during their short run with four PN records being released between 1997 and 1999 (one of them was a split with Detestation). The members already had juicy resumes and the lineup was closely tied with the Kaaos story with Nappi on the bass (original Kaaos bass player who also played in Riistetyt in the 80's and Absurd Attitude and Ensam among other bands) and Jakke (original Kaaos singer) on the vocals, both of whom sadly passed away 2011 and 2007 respectively. On the drums you could find the first Janne who was also behind the kit in 00's-era Kaaos and Ensam, on the guitars you had another Janne (from Olotila and Diaspora) and Vege (from 00's-era Riistetyt and Vapaus) and on second vocals was Purtsi, who also sang in Absurd Attitude and Pause as well as playing the bass in 00's Kaaos. Some would call the 90's Tampere scene as a close-knit hardcore family, others would just say incestuous, I would just say that it is typical of the way punk scenes have always been working and it is always fun to make connections that you had never thought of before.

Throughout the Holocaust is a wonderful record and I don't understand why I haven't played more often. If you expect vintage Tampere hardcore revival, you will be disappointed, since the global trend crowning the minutious reconstructions of golden era hardcore music (and costuming, some people like to dress up as knights during the weekend, others choose 80's Finnish punks) only really started ten years after. PN definitely sounds like a 90's band in the best way possible. Of course, there is a solid mid-80's Finnish hardcore influence as PN could be defined - broadly - as a Scandi-thrash punk band. The aggressive thrashing hardcore riffs are there, the beats are fast and punishing and the presence of two guitars adds thickness to the sound. The dual trade-off vocals definitely point in the anarcho-crust tradition that was prominent in Europe however and, notwithstanding the fact I am an absolute sucker for this kind of vocalisation, it gives the songs a mean yet welcome crusty edge (I am reminded of Counterblast and Policebastard in the vocals' tones and structures). The Ep has a genuine narrative quality as all the songs either blend into each other or are connected with samples or quotes. In fact, the opening of side B is the same as the ending of side A, so you can see that PN were trying to tell a complete story and saw Throughout the Holocaust as a whole and not just a bunch of songs, something that the absence of song titles confirms. I am not saying that it is perfectly executed but it makes the EP more interesting and it allowed the band to include gloomy and melodic mid-paced moments with anarcho-tinged spoken parts that fit well into the work's structure as a whole. You could say that it is a well-balanced 90's blend of crusty anarcho-thrash bands like Disaffect or Homomilitia, of aggressive Finnish hardcore, with a dash of Brazilian crossover and some Bad Influence's anarcho weirdness. It certainly bears similarities with Kaaos' excellent 2001 record, Ismit and Riistetyt's best 00's materials and although it would be far-fetched to claim that PN was transitional in that respect, it is not completely absurd either. Lyrically, the band was in the anarcho tradition with antiwar and antiracist words and a foldout poster with a slogan that made me giggle: "The system is like a fart; you can not see it but it stinks". What's not to like about a crusty anarcho-thrash punk band that still adds a fart-related joke on a poster?     

Throughout the Holocaust was released on Fight Records, which will not surprise anyone, in 1999, like PN's second and third record, and it certainly holds up with the best releases of this quality Tampere hardcore label and since no one seems to really give a damn about this kind of sound, you should be able to blag a copy for cheap.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Records I Forgot I Owned (part 5): Red Flag 77 / PMT "Demolition Derby" split Ep, 1995

Before I start the new episode of my foolish series about personal memory lapses as they pertain to my record collection (potentially awkward stuff), I would like you to relax and close your eyes and follow my voice (I am aware you do not know my voice just imagine how it sounds like and if nothing comes, let's just say I sound like a wrestling announcer). Don't be so tense and try to release these flows of bad energies, these bad vibes, the ones that prevent you from liking top bands like Blyth Power and The Astronauts, you know what I mean. Now try to empty your mind and go back to the origins of the Self, of Meaning, of Life itself. Travel deep inside your roughed up psyche and unravel what you find at its core. That's right, it is a massive safety pin and it symbolizes bloody  old-school punk-rock, the class of 1977, the one that started all this nonsense. 

Since I am prone to panic attacks whenever I am being told to relax and especially when I hear the combination of the words "yoga" and "meditation", I am grateful I didn't have to reach into my inner self to see the '77 light and just had to browse through my Ep's. I am not the biggest fan of 70's punk music and while I do enjoy some of it, I tend to prefer the second wave, the one that was influenced by the original wave, basically punk-rock influenced by punk-rock. Of course, the huge success and popularity of bands like The Clash, the Pistols, The Damned, Stiff Little Fingers or X-Ray Spex implies that they have had, to this day, a lasting effect on punk music and aesthetics. In fact, '77 punk has become a punk subgenre throughout the years, a bit like UK82 but with a bigger claim to being "the original punk sound" (some people do treasure that notion to an unhealthy extent). If anything, this constant process of turning a specific, contextualized sound into an actual genre, this cementing "genre-ification", shows that we - us punks - have a very limited understanding of the diachroneity and fluidity of music. We love categories. On the other hand, it has also spawned a lot of discrete punk subgenres which, in spite of their inherent systematization and an archipelago structure, account for the diversity of punk music. And besides, I love the botanical approach that emerges from this somewhat unified fragmentation and I guess there would be no Terminal Sound Nuisance if it were not for it.

But anyway, I don't listen to many original '77 punk bands (although it is always fun to play some classics once in a while and Ulster bands are ace) and even less to the '77-styled bands that came after. With some meaningful exceptions of course, otherwise I wouldn't be sweating like a pig in front of a computer screen. I fucking love Red Flag 77. There I said it. I am still not sure how I could forget that I owned this split Ep but I think I got this one in Osaka last year during a record shopping frenzy when I blitzed a 300 yen record box. There were many casualties and it may have been one of them. Although I don't really know what records I have from them, RF77 hold a special place in my heart. Their gig in 2001 in a Parisian squat was not only insanely good but also one of my first "real" punk gigs (before that it was pretty just terrible ska-punk gigs in my sleepy suburbia) with proper punks with studs, spiky hair and shit. I was 17 and they played an absolute blinder with a cracking cover of "What's my name?". They were energetic and their brand of snotty old-school punk-rock with singalong tunes really spoke to me then and I am relieved to say upon listening to them again today, it still speaks to me now.

RF77 formed in 1990 in Ipswich, hometown of Extreme Noise Terror who were still going strong at the time. Although RF77 didn't sound in the least like crust punk or hardcore punk (on that level they were certainly oddities in the UK punk soundscape of the time), they still had Pete from ENT as a guitarist during their early years and two members of Screaming Holocaust, Malcum on the drums and Les - briefly - on the bass. Another great example of punk's porosity and incestuousness I guess. The band did their first gig - under a different name that was quite terrible - with Chaos UK, ENT and Filthkick and got to release a couple of cover songs for the 1991 Punk's not Dread compilation Lp (the punker than punk fellow on the famous cover being actually RD77's singer Rikki!). After that, they recorded a demo tape and then, in 1995, thanks to a stable lineup (something that the band never really enjoyed until then), the two songs appearing on their side of Demolition Derby, "The Martians" and "Nervous system". These numbers are perfect examples of what old-school punk-rock should sound like. They have the obnoxious snottiness, the catchy chorus, the direct energy, simple and clear guitar riffs. Of course, they are not reinventing the wheel but given the templates of the style, I cannot think of another 90's band doing it better. The genre can be pretty tricky to play and I have seen many bands trying far too hard to recreate the '77 vibe and ending up sounding (and looking...) corny and a little pathetic. RF77 have this spontaneity for them, and even though it is easy to hear that they are going for the sound of the UK Subs, Menace, The Clash or SLF, the tunes sound fresh and the band authentic. Old-school punk-rock for the punks. I can't help but hearing a Toy Dolls influence on the chorus of "The Martians" and the simple but wicked guitar lead on "Nervous system" turns a rather typical punk-rock song into a genuine hit. And of course, Rikki has got just the right voice for the style, rough but with some melodies.

I strongly recommend their first album A Short Cut to a Better World that was released in 1998 (with a vinyl version only in 2000 for some reason). As I said, it is not easy to play that overdone style well, especially on a whole album and on this one RF77 basically gave a lesson on how to make it sound both classic and fresh, snotty and catchy. A genuine 90's punk-rock classic. At a time when many bands are happy to release albums with only 8 songs, RF77 delivered 19 songs at the time and believe me when I say that, despite the relative length for a punk Lp, it never bores. I have to admit that I haven't really kept up with what the band did afterwards but I'm sure it's still quality.

On the other side of the split Ep are the mighty PMT, initials that did not stand for Pre Menstrual Tension but for Pissed Mouthy Trollops, a name that adequately summed up what the band was all about. PMT formed in Norwich in 1992 and they were and always have been despite numerous epic lineup changes an all-girl punk band. This was not so common in the UK punk scene in the 90's and although the 80's anarchopunk wave saw many girls playing in punk bands like Androids of MU, Hagar the Womb, Lost Cherrees and Rubella Ballet to name some of the most remarkable, the same could not be said a decade later. Of course, the riot grrrl movement was contemporary with PMT but it was essentially a North American phenomenon - though it spread afterwards - and its artier aspects, without mentioning its sonic proximity to the exploding US grunge rock scene, do not really fit with Norwich's female punk gang. According to the chapter devoted to the band Armed in Anger, PMT's career was an eventful, epic, drunken one with some stories that would be worthy of inclusion in a telenovela and while the band did tackle the issue of sexism in the scene (among other serious subjects), it was also very much about fun and fury (I mean, they had a song entitled "Cider slags"). The early lineup of the band recorded the Pretty Mental demo tape in 1992 and Tunes from the Womb in 1993 before Jenny P and Ella (on the sax and drums respectively) left to form another all-female garage punk band Compact Pussycat (they were replaced by Jenny D and Elaine). PMT finally released a third tape in 1994, In Tomato Sauce, before recording the two songs that would end up on the split with RF77 in 1995.

Before reading Armed with Anger I don't think I had heard of PMT before. I knew their brilliant cover of Crass, "Heart-throb of the mortuary", not an easy one to pull out, that appeared on Ruptured Ambitions' You've Heard it all Before compilation Lp, but I didn't bother checking out the band (and I never noticed their records on distro tables). So seeing that there was a whole section about them in the book was a bit of a surprise and I did get to discover a new band. I have to confess that I was also slightly upset that I did not know them before but the pleasure of the discovery exceeded the injured ego, albeit barely. Not unlike RF77, PMT had a raw old-school vibe to them although I would argue that they sounded closer to the second wave than the first one (in spite of their professed love the Subs and SLF) and even the saxophone, which would normally instantly bring to mind X-Ray Spex strongly reminded me of French anarchopunk bands like Psycho Squat or Kochise who also loved sax, a somewhat problematic instrument that I can find interesting in some punk bands but that I am usually prone to discard like all other wind instruments (since it is not too distracting in PMT's music and that I like the band, they get a free pass). Musically I suppose you could describe PMT as a punk as fuck, pissed, mouthy cross between The Expelled, Dan, Suicidal Supermarket Trolleys and the aforementioned Psycho Squat. The faster UK82 song "Ex punk" is the definite winner here with its catchy chorus and pogo-inducing beat and flow. It would not have been out of place in a Riot City sampler. "Anti fash" is a more of a mid-paced number with more prominent sax parts and unfortunately quite a lot of skips (it is a second-hand copy after all). If they were around today - and Instagram-compatible - I am sure they could be rather popular since this kind of 1-2-1-2 raw punk-rock is fairly popular. They went on to record a full Ep, Hazard!, in 1999 with a different lineup (bass player Clara left for Hackney and played in Zero Tolerance) that is better produced and more solid (although I have my own reservations about covering "I will survive") and will probably end up on Terminal Sound Nuisance one day as I certainly did not forget owning that geezer. PMT apparently reformed a few years ago since discogs lists a split with The Destructors from 2012.

Demolition Derby was released in 1995 on Weird Records, a label that was really active in the 90's and early 00's and was responsible for putting out records from the Varukers, Road Rage, Kismet HC and the superb Dogshit Sandwich (oh yes).

Now spike yer hair and polish your studs, it's time to dust off your Clash and Spex records, punk!