Friday 24 April 2020

Condannato A Sperare: a Look at Classic Italian Hardcore 81-90 (part 2)

Alright then, this is the second and final part of my brisk and hopefully pleasant walk throughout vintage Italian hardcore punk music. Since I am afraid many of us are still in lockdown, let's call such compiling endeavours mental artistic journeys that you can still pogo to in your bedroom (or in the bathroom if you do not want your partner to judge you). 

If you want to know more about the motivations behind these compilations, I refer you to the first part. Condannato A Sperare (a line from the exquisite last song of the mix), like its twin, aims at illustrating with relevance what made the Italian hardcore wave so special and unique (and, looking with disbelief the insane prices that some 80's specimens can reach, so sought after). You could argue that the Italian sound was the perfect synthesis between US hardcore, British anarchopunk, Bristol noize punk and Discharge-influenced hardcore punk and I guess you would not be wrong. But then, you could also contend that, for all its influences, Italian hardcore was first and foremost its own style and offered a new, rejuvenated aesthetics of punk anger and it is not coincidence if the adjective most commonly associated with Italian hardcore is "furious". 

The influence that Italian hardcore currently holds in the DIY hardcore punk scene is difficult to evaluate. While it is undeniably a prestigious and highly qualitative scene in the eyes of serious hardcore lovers and the fact that the genre has been steadily and widely reissued since the mid 2000's points to the existence of a genuine, if limited, interest. However, outside of Italy, it would be far-fetched to claim that 80's Italian hardcore music is a pregnant influence and referential point for contemporary raw hardcore bands, that generally prioritise American, Swedish, Finnish and Japanese worships, with bands like Wretched being a major exception. Rather strange methinks since some Italian hardcore bands utterly correspond to the notion of "raw punk". 

Anyway, like Quali Domani Quale Futuro, this compilation has 55 bands and 55 songs in a little above 90 minutes. This should get you through the weekend.



Sunday 12 April 2020

Bellicose pessimism and the melancholy of Ελληνική πανκ: a Compilation '83/'98

The day is April, 12th, the sun and the country is still confined. The sun is shining, birds are singing, bees (or are they wasps?) are doing whatever bees (or wasps) do and, were it not for a faint but still distinct collective complaint, like a background buzz or something, you would not know we are in France, the nation of moaners, the undisputed champions of grumbling. The lockdown is supposed to be over in a few days but since there is a high chance we are getting served an extra fortnight, I decided to be a proper national hero and help my struggling compatriots through this unprecedented ordeal, boosting the troops' morale so to speak, by making an awesome compilation of dark Greek punk. I know it doesn't seem like much but hear me out.

I already touched upon the subject of Greek punk in 2016 with the series Bellicose pessimism and the melancholy of Ελληνική πανκ (the first part can be found here), a five-part epics aimed at providing a general description and a relevant outline of dark Greek punk as a genre. Illustrating my claim were five fine examples of dark punk music that could not have come from any other place than Greece. I am not saying that those five bands - Γενιά Του Χάους, Γκούλαγκ, Αρνάκια, Χαοτική Διάσταση and Πανδημία - sound alike, because they don't, but that they all share a vibe of melancholia, a sorrowful moodiness and at the same time a tenseness, a sense of combativeness - be it a hopeless one - in the face of life. I am quite certain that none of those bands started out with the intent of sounding all intense and gloomy and that this "bellicose pessimism" permeating the songwriting was not only a reflection of the social and cultural context, but also a characteristic in itself, perhaps grounding the dark Greek punk genre in vibe and mood as much - if not more so than - as in songwriting and instrumentalising. 

I hope that this compilation illustrates such a claim as you will find bands that may technically sound very different in terms of style but share a common moroseness and fighting spirit, common aesthetics of darkness. I do not pretend to be an expert in Greek punk and I basically worked with the bands I was already familiar with, but I may have forgotten important bands that could also have fitted the bill while including some much smaller ones, so if you feel I missed some obvious acts, please let me know. It is, by essence, a subjective selection process. I focused on a 15 year period, from 1983 to 1998, and as hinted above, the range of styles is rather wide, the common denominator being that typical dark punk vibe, from dynamic punk-rock, to mournful postpunk, new wave or free rock. 

30 bands in about 90 minutes. Enjoy the doom and gloom.

1.Ex Humans « Στρατοδικείο », Ανώφελη Επιβίωση Lp, 1984
2.Ορεξη Για Τίποτα / Orexi Gia Tipota « Κορίτσι Βιάζει Αγόρι », Μην Φιλάτε Τον Βάτραχο Lp, 1997
3.Clown « Κλόουν », Κλόουν / Λευκά Κελλιά Ep, 1983
4.Ιδανικοι Αυτοχειρες / Idanikoi Autoxeires « Ωραία Ελένη », Πρώτη απόπειρα tape, 1995
5.Αρνητική Στάση / Arnetike Stase « Αυτολογοκρισία », Love is our Strongest Weapon split Lp with Kismet Hardcore, 1991
6.Όρα Μηδέν / Ora Miden « Σάρκα », S/t demo tape, 1988
7.Panx Romana « Ζω Στο Φόβο », Παιδιά Στα Όπλα Lp, 1987
8.Σκιες / Skies « Ισοβια Δεσμα », Ισοβια Δεσμα demo tape, 1992
9.Εναλλάξ / Enallax « Κόντρα », Κόντρα Lp, 1986
10.Stress « Γενοκτονία », Ήχος Της Ανασφάλειας Lp, 1985
11.Αναβιωση / Anabiosi « Γιατί », Ξεχασμένοι κόσμοι tape, 1990
12.Venericna Bolest « Πυρηνικό Καταφύγιο », Never Trash... a Pretty Face compilation tape, 1986
13.Νεκρική Σιγή / Nekriki Sigi « Ταξίδι Στην Άβυσσο », Ο Ήχος Της Σιωπής Ep, 1994
14.Αρνάκια / Arnakia « Κανείς Δεν Μπορεί », Στο Στόμα Του Λύκου Lp, 1993
15.The Yokels « Εμφανισιμος Πολιτης », Τελευταια Συγχορδια demo tape, 1990
16.Αδιέξοδο / Adiexodo « Εξακρίβωση Στοιχείων », .38 Lp, 1986
17.Metro Decay « Μαύρος Κύκνος », Υπέρβαση Lp, 1984
18.Χαοτική Διάσταση / Chaotiki Diastasi « Κομματικά Εξαρτημένοι », Πολίτες Της Κόλασης Ep, 1993
19.Χάσμα / Xasma « Ταξίδι », Όλοι-Τόσο-Μόνοι tape, 1996
20.Αδραστεια / Adrasteia « Ίσως άξιζε », S/t demo tape, 1998
21.Το Κελί 13 / To Keli 13 « Πλοίο Στασιαστών », Never Trash... a Pretty Face compilation tape, 1986
22.Χωρίς Περιδέραιο / Xoris Perideraio « Το Χρώμα Και Το Σχήμα », Άνωση Ep, 1983
23.Γκούλαγκ / Gulag « Εθισμός », Είμαστε Μικροί Μα Θα Μεγαλώσουμε tape, 1989
24.Πίσσα Και Πούπουλα / Pissa kai Poupoula « Κοινές Καταστάσεις », Πίσσα Και Πούπουλα Lp, 1993
25.Ausschwitss « Χαμένο Κορμί », Απειλή / Χαμένο Κορμί demo, 1983
26.Παρανυχίδες / Paranuxides « Ένα Μυστικό Στο Τέλος », Συνταγη Αντι-Θανατου compilation Lp, 1986
27.Αγανακτισμένοι Πολίτες / Aganaktismenoi Pollites « Φαύλος Κύκλος », Never Trash... a Pretty Face compilation tape, 1986
28.Γενιά Του Χάους / Genia Tou Xaous « Στίγμα », Γενιά Του Χάους Lp, 1986
29.Αποκτήνωση / Apoktenosi « Γενιά του κλικ », Τα Μαύρα Φεγγάρια Της Αποκτήνωσης tape, 1995
30.Anti... « Στρατός, Ελλάδα, Εξουσία », ANTI... tape, 1986

Bellicose pessimism

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Give Us This Day Our Daily Death, Uplifting yet Melancholy British Anarchopunk Songs '79/'95: a Compilation

This is the third anarchopunk compilation I did and it has not been banned from youtube (yet?) but I thought that it would be safer to post it on the blog proper. So here we go again.

Third compilation of dark and tuneful British anarchopunk with songs from 29 bands recorded between 1979 and 1995. As with the first two, the purpose of this selection was to emphasize the moodiness and the diverse ways to express anger and outrage that characterize the anarcho wave.  

1. Disrupters « Rot in hell », Alive in the electric chair 12'' Ep, 1985 (Norwich)

2. Faction « Turn away », You've got the fire Ep, 1984 (London)

3. Internal Dimenzions « Wargames », S/t demo tape, 198?'s (?)

4. Youth In Asia « When the wind blows », S/t demo tape, 1983 (London)

5. Potential Threat « A cry for help », Brainwashed Ep, 1984 (Blackburn)

6. Icon AD « Fight for peace », Don't feed us shit Ep, 1982 (Leeds)

7. 7th Plague « Painful death », Aristocrap compilation Ep, 1984 (Wolverhampton)

8. Toxic Waste « Traditionally yours », The truth will be heard split 12'' with Stalag 17, 1985 (Belfast)

9. Slaughter Tradition « Nightmare », Passion revolt demo tape, 1983 (Wales)

10. TVOD « War is for rich men », TVODemo demo tape, 1985 (Bolton)

11. The System « Their corrupting ways », Thought control Lp, 1983 (Wigan)

12. A Touch of Hysteria « Death cart », S/t demo tape, 1983 (Ambleside)

13. Anathema « Fighting to win », Smash the illusion/Acceptance split tape with Systematic Annex, 1986 (New Malden)

14. Wartoys « Ignorance », Indoctrination is the system, indoctrination is death demo tape, 1983 (Wigan)

15. Riot/Clone « A letter to no one », Still no government like no government 2xLp, 1995 (Ashford)

16. Schwartzeneggar « Child of the times », Art XX craft cd Ep, 1993 (London)

17. Honey Bane « Porno grows », You can be you Ep, 1979 (London)

18. Anthrax « It will be alright on the night », Who? What? Why? When? Where? compilation Lp, 1984 (Gravesend)

19. Alternative « Love and life », If they treat you like shit, act like manure Lp, 1984 (Dunfermline, Scotland)

20. FUAL « Repetition », S/t Lp, 1990 (Belfast)

21. The Apostles « Worker's autonomy », Punk obituary Lp, 1985 (London)

22. Chumbawamba « Common ground », Common ground demo tape, 1984 (Leeds)

23. The Assassins « Ronnie's bomb »,  S/t demo tape, 1983 (London)

24. The Mad Are Sane « Collision », Look further than vengeance demo tape, 1985 (Bournemouth)

25. Reality Control « Another sunrise », The reproduction of hate Ep, 1983 (Newcastle)

26. Two-Fingered Approach « World War album », My World War album Ep, 1982 (Cheshire)

27. Omega Tribe « When I'm with you », S/t demo tape, 1984 (Barnet)

28. Morbid Humour « Give us this day », Daffodils to the daffodils here's the daffodils compilation Lp, 1984 (Bradford)

29. Blood And Roses « Necromantra », Love under will 12'' Ep, 1983 (London)

The Terror of Loaded Guns, Diverse Textures of Moody British Anarchopunk '82/'93: a Compilation

This was the second anarchopunk compilation I did for youtube and, just like the first one, because of monetisation issues, it also got banned from the platform and cannot be uploaded again and I don't really care that much to be honest (do you?). Anyway, here it is with the original introduction.

This is my second anarchopunk compilation after "All the lonely faces" with a selection of 28 songs from as many bands that existed at some point between 1982 and 1993. 

This time I tried to go for a more narrative feel and convey a sense of storytelling informed by the arrangement of the songs. On the whole, the atmosphere is rather moody, sometimes melancholy or bitter, sometimes poignant and hopeful. I also intended to select songs that are different from each other (there are some acoustic and strange-sounding tracks here) but hopefully echo with each other significantly. There are some well-known faces here as well as more obscure bands but all were connected with the anarchopunk world.

1.Blood Robots « Loaded guns », S/t demo tape, 1984 (Newcastle)

2. DIRT « Mother », unreleased Ep, 1985? (London) 

3. Thatcher On Acid « Put it in », Frank Lp, 1990 (Somerset)

4. The Waste « Stop the hate », Not just something to be sung Ep, 1986 (Exeter)

5. Decadent Few « They shoot children », They shoot children Ep, 1993 (London)

6. Man's Hate « Porton Down », Forward into the abyss demo tape, 1988 (Peterborough)

7. The Amebix « Moscow madness (no gods part 2) », No sanctuary 12'' Ep, 1984 (Bristol)

8. Internal Autonomy « Trapped », Inquiry Lp, 1990 (Surrey) 

9. Flowers in the Dustbin « The journey's end », Freaks run wild in the disco 12'' Ep, 1984 (London) 

10. Terminus « Terror is the best of guards », Going nowhere fast Lp, 1990 (Scunthorpe) 

11. Joyce McKinney Experience « Ghost in the mirror », Braemar demo, 1992 (Leamington Spa) 

12. Decadence Within « A breath of fresh air », unreleased Ep, 1987 (Ledbury)

13. The Astronauts « Typically English day », It's all done by mirrors Lp, 1983 (Welwyn Garden City)

14. Dominant Patri « Experiment », Heroes'  glory demo tape, 1983 (Luton)

15. Passion Killers « Why? », Motion... yet motionless demo tape, 1984 (Leeds)

16. A-Heads « Forgotten hero », Forgotten hero Ep, 1983 (Warminster)

17. Conflict « To be continued », The ungovernable force Lp, 1986 (London)

18. Toxik Ephex « Final epitaph », The adventures of Nobby Porthole the cock of the North Lp, 1991 (Aberdeen)

19. The Pagans « Quality of life », The cuckoo has flown demo tape, 1982 (Warminster)

20. Hex « Initiative », Nothing ventured nothing gained split Ep with Feed Your Head, 1987 (Sunderland)

21. Earths Epitaph « Reality song », Child's play demo tape, 1985 (Cwnbran, Wales)

22. Flux of Pink Indians « Is there anybody there? », Strive demo, 1982 (Bishops Stortford) 

23. Virus « 3rd world wonders », You can't ignore it forever demo, 1985 (Dorset)

24. Dan « I think I should », Where have all the children gone? Lp, 1987 (Darlington)

25. Louise « Ribbons and roses », Chiswick demo tape, 1989 (London)

26. Kronstadt Uprising « The horsemen », Part of the game Ep, 1985 (Southend-on-Sea)

27. Blyth Power « Bind their kings in chains », The barman and other stories Lp, 1988 (Somerset) 

28. Paranoid Visions « Strange girl », The robot is running amok Ep, 1986 (Dublin)

All the Lonely Faces, Darker Shades of British Anarchopunk '82/'92: a Compilation

To help you fight boredom, here is a reupload of the first anarchopunk compilations I did and that youtube banned a few month ago. Below is the original text detailing the thought process and my motivation behind it. Unfortunately, youtube won't let me upload it again but if there are any takers, feel free to do it. 

This is a compilation of 30 anarchopunk bands from Britain with songs recorded between 1982 and 1992. 

The selection reflects a specific angle as I only picked songs that were not your usual snotty and punky numbers but rather, were informed by postpunk or goth. 

I am aware that both terms have been misused and overused in recent years and this is a modest attempt to show that anarchopunk was not a "genre" but an approach to music and shared values. On this compilation, the moody, dark, melancholy side of the anarcho spectrum is partially and hopefully aptly represented.

I tried not to pick bands, songs and recordings that are too obvious and focused on bands who, for some unfathomable reason, have not benefited from the "dark punk trend" of the 2010's (not that this is any sign of accomplishment in itself, trends come and trends go). 

I am not aiming for exhaustivity but intended to present a relevant, significant set of songs (some of them pretty obscure) as a meaningful testimony of the "postpunk" influence on the British anarchopunk wave.

I did my best to use my own rips whenever it was possible and to equalize the sound levels so it has a "mixtape feel". I hope I succeeded and hope you enjoy it!


1. Lack of Knowledge "We're looking for people" from the Grey Ep, 1983 (London)

2. Anarka And Poppy "P.O.P.P.I.E.S." from the All that is shattered demo tape, 1983 (Preston)

3. Famous Imposters "The cage" from the Cradle to the grave demo tape, 1983 (Newcastle) 

4. I'm Dead "Page after page" from the Page after page/Necrolatry split flexi with Epidemic, 1984 (Kent) 

5. Shrapnel "Autumn" from the Acts of desperation split Ep with Toxik Ephex, 1989 (Briton Ferry, Wales) 

6.Awake Mankind "Disappearing world" from the Freak demo tape, 1984 (Portsmouth) 

7. Systematic Annex "All the lonely faces" from the Acceptance demo tape, 1985 (Sheffield)

8. This Bitter Lesson "In the eyes of a child" from the Value of defiance demo tape, 1982 (London)

9. Civilised Society? "Tonight" from the Who would have thought? demo tape, 1985 (Batley)

10. Polemic "End song" from the S/t demo tape, 1982 (Fareham) 

11. Smartpils "Life cycle" from the Open mind surgery compilation Lp, 1985 (Bath)

12. Know The Drill "The offending article" from the Who? What? Why? When? Where? compilation Lp, 1984 (Manchester)

13. Nox Mortis "In memoriam" from the Spleurk compilation Lp, 1988 (Southampton) 

14. Null And Void "An old way" from the Four minute warning! demo, 1982 (Yeovil)

15. Hysteria "Tears of wax" from the Behind the veil 12'', 1984 (Plymouth)

16. Cyanide Scenario "Awayday to Auschwitz" from the unreleased split 12'', 1985 (Surrey)

17. Hysteria Ward "Vietnam" from the Breakfast to madness demo tape, 1986, (London)

18. Naked "War machine" from the S/t demo, 1984 (Sheerness)

19. Karma Sutra "Intelligent life" from the Daydreams of a production-line worker Lp, 1987 (Luton) 

20. Rubella Ballet "Slant & slide" from the 42°F 12'' Ep, 1984 (London)

21. Indian Dream "Discarded" from the Walk across America for Mother Earth compilation Ep, 1992 (Scarborough)

22. Paranoia "Dead man's dream" from the Shattered glass Lp, 1984 (Stoke-on-Trent)

23. Lost Cherrees "Who believes it?" from the Unwanted children 12'' Ep, 1985 (Sutton)

24. The Deformed "Psalms" from the Blind faith Ep, 1985 (Lowton)

25. The Dead "Prince of darkness" from the Rest in peace demo tape, 1984 (Whitehaven) 

26. Kulturkampf "3rd world holocaust" from The corpse of bureaucracy demo tape, 1983 (Barnsley)

27. Political Asylum "Trust in me" from the Fresh hate demo tape, 1983 (Stirling, Scotland)

28. Cold Vietnam "Winds of change" from the Blast into action with hunt the man demo tape, 1988 (Redditch)

29. We Are Going To Eat You "Life of lies" from the Four heads feast demo tape, 1986 (London)

30. Vex "Pressure" from the S/t demo tape, 1983 (London) 

Saturday 4 April 2020

Last Week's Trend is Now Passé (part 10): Eve of the Scream "Control" 12'' Ep, 1989

Like my mommy used to tell me whenever I could not stop stuffing meself with chocolate cookies, all good things come to an end. Now that I can be described, in the broadest sense possible, as a grownup, at least officially, I have come to understand the depth of such a saying, and although I allow myself to overeat at times, I am afraid that even the most incredible things in the world - like Last Week's Trend is Now Passé for example, off the top of my head - do have to end eventually. And so this is the last part of this series that has focused on works pertaining to the second wave of British anarchopunk, all recorded during the second part of the 80's. By no means was it the first time I addressed this topic and, being of an obsessive nature, it won't probably be the last either (but I shall reasonably wait until the next pandemics, the dreadful Covid 20, also known as the Walrus Flu, hit the world in 2022 to get back to it). But before I leave you to your torpor and the streaming of irksome lockdown videos showing middle-class families tunelessly singing together in their spacious living room, your day shall be vastly improved by this write-up about a band you have probably never ever heard about: Eve of the Scream.

An unknown band? For real? In 2020? I know how it sounds. Disconcerting to say the least. And I know what you are thinking. Lost marbles and all that. You are probably blaming such a dubious statement on my pathological tendency to hyperbolise, one that can be verified pretty much in every articles I ever wrote for Terminal Sound Nuisance. And you would be wrong. I did take my medication and I truthfully believe that you, my faithful readers, are not acquainted with Eve of the Scream and, for once, I am not going to sneer at your ignorance and condescend to lecture you about your inadmissible shortcomings. In fact, it pains me to confess, until a relatively recent time, I was myself completely and sinfully oblivious to the existence of EOTS and consequently I shall be repenting by reciting three "Punk is dead" and five "Persons unknown" every night until I fucking die. 

I doubt you really want the whole story but you are still going to have it. In late 2015, I traveled to Brittany to attend a mate's party for New Year's Eve. The day before the customary midnight trades of germs, I was staying at another friend's, who is, to put it mildly, "an older punk". And I enjoy hanging out with older punks. Really, I do. They always have fascinating tales of insane punk gigs of yore to tell, or captivating anecdotes about old-school tours going seriously wrong, or gossip about how the singer of a legendary hardcore band is actually expert at behaving like a spoiled wanker. And of course, they often own old records and demo tapes and fanzines that you may never have heard about. So anyway, I was at this friend's place and we were chatting pleasantly, talking about recent bands we were into, this kind of things. Of course he is well aware that I claim to be a bit of an authority as far as vintage anarchopunk and crust go, a bit like a pundit, except I'm slightly better at discussing the validity of Discharge clones instead of Manchester United's shit transfer policy. So he innocently asks if I am familiar an 80's anarchopunk band called Eve of the Scream (with a French accent, as you can imagine). I replied that I did not, so he started fumbling around his record shelves and took out what looked like an Lp. Before the first chords arrived to my delicate ears, I honestly thought that I had either misheard the band's name or that he had mispronounced it. So when I realized that, not only was the band actually called Eve of the Scream, but that it was, indeed, a vintage anarcho act from the UK that was unbeknownst to me, I fell off my pedestal, instantly got off my high horse and started to get very excited about that mysterious band that had all the attributes of a personal favourite. It was a truly humbling experience, one that reminded me of why I enjoyed the company of knowledgeable old punks so much, as there are always things you can learn from their experience and stories. So thanks a lot for that. 

Once back at home, I immediately formed a research team capable to gather as much intelligence as possible about EOTS, the band that had inexplicably escaped me. Predictably, they only had the one record, the 12'' Ep Control from 1989, and I have not been able to find much about them, although a former EOTS member did create a soundcloud page 10 years ago that included the two recordings of the band (the aforementioned Control 12'' and a demo tape entitled Unbelievable Genocide) as well as some biographical elements. EOTS were from the Merseyside area, very close to Liverpool, and must have formed in the mid-80's. Mentions are made of a previous lineup to Unbelievable Genocide, but another earlier demo recording seems unlikely, and I have a feeling that EOTS may have been run like a collective and were possibly close to the free festivals scene, and I am not just saying that because they have a ska moment. Ippy (called Sherry on the cover), who is responsible for the backing vocals was apparently involved in the Greenham Women's Peace Camp movement and main singer Martin - who was still at school - used to play in Happy to be Sad (whatever that band might be!). After some skillful digs on a punk archaeological site, I was able to confirm that the Unbelievable Genocide tape (that is not even referenced on discogs) was originally released on Bluurg Tapes (at number 77), possibly in 1988. Unfortunately, the version of the demo uploaded onto the soundcloud page is apparently incomplete so that only six tracks are included. Although, this recording is not as crisp as Control, it nevertheless indicates what EOTS were trying to do in term of style. The band's music hints at that "free punk" sound that a significant number of anarchopunk bands in the mid/late 80's embraced, bands like Culture Shock, Freak Electric, Hippy Slags, Smartpils, Karma Sutra, basically bands that did not take the metal path and endeavoured to free punk-rock from its stylistic chains (and inspired by earlier non-conformist 80's punk bands) through the infusion of psychedelic rock, dub music, indie pop, ska, prog rock... The results of such miscegenation did not always demonstrate impeccable aesthetic judgements but it was a perfectly logical evolution from anarchopunk, just as valid as the contemporary crust wave. I am not saying that EOTS is an anarcho-dub collective, however I do get that "free" vibe from their catchy and danceable chorus-driven punk-rock with percussions. Three songs from Unbelievable Genocide were included on an anti-vivisection tape compilation entitled No Justification released in 1989 on a French label called Acts of Defiance - responsible for a couple of other such tapes from 1986 to 1992 (says discogs) - that also included Media Children and Γκούλαγκ, two bands who have already been invited to Terminal Sound Nuisance (No Justification also has songs from Brotherhood but, to be honest, they are unlikely to ever land here).

There are five songs on Control, recorded between 1988 and 1989. In fact, I am quite sure the last song "It's your choice", which was performed by a different lineup as stated on the backcover, previously appeared on the demo tape so that it is basically a four-song 12'' Ep with one extra track. EOTS did all their sessions at a local studio, called the Station House, with the help of one Paul Madden who notably worked on We Are Going to Eat You's Everywen the same year. Frustratingly, my copy of the record is bereft of any booklet or insert, which are very helpful in situating a band inside the punk cosmos with accuracy. But I am reputedly famous - and usually celebrated - to never run out of zeal when it comes to formulate wild guesses about unrenowned bands so I'll have a go by myself (and I have got the soundcloud page saved somewhere). Apparently, EOTS shared the stage with bands such as Rubella Ballet, City Indians, Culture Shock, Radical Dance Fatcion or Thatcher On Acid, and if you were to blend all these bands together, the resulting smoothie would taste something like EOTS. Control is a multifaceted anarchopunk record, fueled by clever and versatile songwriting skills and led by an outstanding performance and a strong presence of frontman Martin who really sings his heart out. In terms of musicianship, EOTS were nothing extraordinary - and admittedly having two drummers was probably a little ambitious for the demo session - although they are all pretty sound at what they do and the playing is not sloppy at all. But what really set Control apart lie in the dynamics of the songwriting, its youthful and uplifting energy. Control sounds like a fresh call to action, not because it is a unique punk masterpiece, but for the sense of urgency and optimism it manages to convey. The five songs are very well thought-out. For instance the song "Control" contains four different movements, after a soft tuneful introduction, you get a direct and snotty punk-rock entrée, before jumping to a full on ska interlude, and then to a dark postpunk break and finally to a poppy Chumba moment concluded by some epic guitar-driven punk-rock. Thanks to the sheer positive energy permeating the songwriting, "Control" never sounds disparate or clumsy, on the contrary it sounds like a proper story, greatly told from an angry teenage perspective, and the four other songs are just as convincing and memorable. EOTS were incredibly and, one feels, effortlessly catchy and tuneful too. The passionate dual male/female chorus will stick with you for days ("Dare to dream" is absolute gold) and the songs have that inherent danceable quality that can be found those early 90's anarcho bands like AOS3, Citizen Fish or Scum of Toytown, though EOTS are definitely more punk-rock-oriented. However, positing that this modest Liverpool band can be seen as an aesthetic bridge between the mid/late 80's free anarchopunk sound and the 90's anarcho-dub-punk is not irrelevant. But what do they really sound like, I figuratively hear you ask? Well, I suppose that they would feel comfortable with versatile psych punk bands like Culture Shock, Karma Sutra or Smartpils, but they also have that driving, lively, tuneful punk-rock element to them that can be found in bands like Hagar the Womb, Indian Dream or Naked, and of course they are especially close to the early '82/'84 Conflict sound either, especially in the way they are able to vary the tempos while still expressing a mood of anger.

The lyrics to the songs are not included and it's a real shame. From what I can gather, traditional anarchopunk topics like animal abuse, genocidal Western policies and manmade pollution are tackled. You can spot a dream catcher on the cover, which may be a little awkward retrospectively, and associated with the epigraph "Love, peace and positive change", it does conjure up images of long-haired punks traveling in a muddy van. As for the name Eve of the Scream, I wish I had a witty interpretation to offer but I don't.

Old punx rule, ok?  

Dare to dream

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Last Week's Trend is Now Passé (part 9): AOA "Satisfactory Arrangement" Lp, 1988

It is April Fool's Day and the joke is that most of the world population is in lockdown because of a depressive-looking reptilian anteater. The ground we are treading is shaky and little is known about our post-apocalyptic future, even for a scholar as resourceful and adroit as yours truly. The sad truth is that all I can do is to keep burbling on and on about some obscure, and yet wicked, bands in an attempt to illuminate the daily lives of millions around the globe. It is therefore my imperious duty as well as my unshakable resolve to keep writing and, through sharp wit and astute examination, fight boredom, banality and vapidity, for a better and unconfined tomorrow, when the whole Terminal Sound Nuisance staff will be, once again, able to run free, or at least take brisk walks, in their natural habitat, characteristically littered with dog excrements, greenish phlegm and pools of piss: the pavements of Paris. But until the glorious day arrives when liberty is restored (and when Parisians can rudely and selfishly complain their way through life again), I am afraid we will have to anaesthetise ourselves with the blue light of screens but thankfully I am here to provide you with some quality, highbrow entertainment that will give you a precious opportunity to shine at punk trivias and maybe find a mate (recent studies in punk anthropology have shown that such social events play an important role in punks' mating season).

As we are drawing near the end of Last Week's Trend is Now Passé, it being a ten-part series, I figured that it would be interesting to include a hard-hitting and uncompromising hardcore punk record. Until then, I had favoured that brand of poppy, tuneful and moody punk-rock that we have collectively grown to associate, in a retrospective and sometimes decontextualised movement, with the notion of 80's UK anarchopunk. I believe that this tendency is a double-edged sword. While on the one hand, I can conceive that this propensity to isolate certain specific descriptive traits common to a significant number of bands pertaining to a similar cultural context (the so-called anarchopunk waves) can be useful to generalise and create an actual musical genre, on the other hand the rhetorical boundaries that "genre-making" inevitable occasion tend to exclude bands that, on the surface, do not fit with the established identificational parameters. This is a highly subjective process of course - and one that is completely independent from the band's volition - and the doxastic template that this past decade and social media qualified as "anarchopunk" is subject to change, but it also accounts for uninformed but loud discrepancies that, as a sanctimonious nerd, I just cannot let go. My point, you may ask? Well, why don't people worship more the mighty AOA? Granted, too many people wrongly equate "postpunk" with "anarchopunk" nowadays, with rather equivocal results, but that a band like AOA -who proudly stood for that influential and potent school of Discharge-fueled anarchopunk, who existed for eight years and released three records, who were undisputedly one of the most fiercest-sounding entities of the era and whose shirt I have been wearing since the mid 00's - is not held in the highest regard is just criminal. But I will do my best not to give the impression that I am declaiming from the pulpit and damning all the heathens to HELL.

There is a good chapter about AOA in The Day the Country Died so as usual I encourage you to get a copy. I remember distinctly the first time I read about AOA, or rather the first time I saw about them. My unhealthy passion for punk shirts - some would call it hoarding, really - is not new and I have been known to hover around distro tables, on the lookout for neat Amebix tops among other treats. As soon as I had access to an internet connection, I feverishly scrutinised online distros, often from overseas, that offered a wide range of punk shirts. Among them was Punk Stuff, who seemed to screen-print shirts from all my favourite bands which caused me to gasp in awe (and eventually pass out) the first time I browsed their selection. Among all these brilliant designs was one that I had never seen before from a band I had never heard of before: AOA and their legendary peace logo that can be found on the cover of Who are they Trying to Con. Here was an unknown punk band that I instinctively knew would irrevocably become a favourite of mine. A truly cosmic awakening. My attempts at intimidating older punks into taping some AOA materials sadly remained ineffective but fate was on my side since the extraordinary punk anthem "Who are they trying to con" got picked by Overground Records for inclusion on the Anti-Society compilation cd in 2006. Shortly after, I was able to find a copy of the Satisfactory Arrangement Lp for a decent price, an acquisition which made the purchase of the aforementioned shirt from Punk Stuff both legitimate and vital.

When one ponders over the trending topic of furious, hardcore-sounding, vintage anarchopunk bands - and one is entitled to do so every so often, as a health measure - one usually comes up with such Discharge-influenced legendary bands like Antisect, Anti-System or Icons of Filth, and one isn't wrong to be sure, however one still makes the common mistake to omit to include AOA in this exclusive list, a faux pas that would have you thrown in my personal pangolin tank in a Terminal Sound Nuisance utopia. AOA were from Loanhead, South of Edinburgh, Scotland, and formed in 1982. The AOA acronym originally stood for All Out Attack (if you were not into Blitz at 16, you definitely suck at being a punk), but other versions comprised All Our Anger or Antithesis Of Apathy. I suppose the band is mostly remembered for their blistering 12'' Who are they Trying to Con from 1985, released on Children of the Revolution Records, and fair enough, I would argue it is one of the best Discharge-inspired recordings to come out of the UK and songs like "Disaster area" or the title track are brutal slabs of unadulterated 80's anarchopunk anger. Also on COR, the following year, with a new drummer, they shared a split Lp with their partners in crime Oi Polloi entitled Unlimited Genocide that easily stands as one of the greatest Scottish anarchopunk records with both bands delivering some seriously hard-hitting anarcho thrash on their respective side, with AOA sounding like a no holds barred brawl between Antisect, Crucifix and Warwound. After this Lp, the singer Steven settled in London where he went on to front the crusty hardcore thrash unit Gutrot (with Darren from Axegrinder on the drums) which prompted AOA to recruit Murph, on vocals, and Loaf, on the drums, from another local punk bands called The Degenerates. This lineup recorded the Satisfactory Arrangement Lp on two separate occasion, the first time in December, 1986, and the second almost a year later, in November, 1987.

I am not sure why the band waited that long between the two sessions but unfortunately there are disparities between them, further reinforced by the fact that each session corresponds to one of the side of the vinyl. Let's start with the A side that includes the '87 recording session. Clearly the most creative of the two, this side sees AOA experiment more emphatically than usual with several pounding tempos, from their customary Discharge beat, to heavy anarcho tribal rhythms and mid-paced hardcore charges, the songs always hit hard but remain quite unpredictable in terms of patterns, not unlike a more raging Conflict maybe. While I love the songwriting on this side of Lp, I have to say that the guitar sounds too murky and lacks in aggression while you cannot hear all the elements of the drum kit (like the bass drum for instance). On the contrary, the bass sounds fantastic (and there are some ace bass lines for the listener to enjoy), groovy and driving, and the vocals are perfectly recorded for the genre, very upfront and distinguishable. As a result of this imbalance, you have very strong songs that are missing the energy and the precision that a cohesive production would have offered. I am not saying that it is a mess, it's really not, but just a missed opportunity especially since the band was bringing new things to the table, like more thrashing Broken Bones-like metallic riff, more diversity on the drums and even atmospheric and gloomy Amebix-like moments, almost qualifying this recording as proto-crust.

The B side with the late '86 session is probably half-way between the Unlimited Genocide split Lp and the A side of Satisfactory Arrangement in terms of songwriting, as the new drummer was already trying new things. Contrary to the A side, the production does justice to the songs this time. AOA unleash their crushing power there with six songs of manic anarcho hardcore thrash, somewhere between Antisect or Anti-System for the dark and relentlessness aggression, Exit-Stance or Icons of Filth for the direct suffocating heaviness and mid/late 80's Chaos UK for the furious hostility, the merging of those influences creating a Scottish brand of uncompromising anarchopunk that Oi Polloi would also carry. New singer Murph, for his first session with the band, does a magnificent job at conveying a sense of visceral outrage and of uncontrollable threat that take the whole Lp to a different level. The man could shout his head off like a demented soul, but also utter fierce political statements during classic moments of anarcho spoken parts, while always sounding naturally pissed off and about to grab you by the throat, the gruff tone of his voice like the epitome of anger. Unsurprisingly, the lyrics confirm that AOA were not exactly content with the state of the world. The mid-80's were bleak and it shows. My copy of the Lp does not have an insert but the lyrics can be found in the thick booklet that came with the official AOA discography double cd, Axis Of Ascendancy self-released by the band in 2008. From the brutality of the English colonial rule in Northern Ireland, to the lethality of so-called "non-lethal weapons", to the mass control of population, social subservience, the need to work together, global pollution caused by manmade economic systems and of course vivisection.

In the end, Satisfactory Arrangement leaves a strange taste in the mouth, with one side being decent but still impaired by a weak production, while the other one is an anarcho hardcore whirlwind foaming with rage. I personally cannot help imagining how bloody amazing the first side would have sounded with a crunchier, more powerful guitar sound and drum parts you can actually discern. Of course, "what ifs" being pointless to confront our sinister reality, I still warmly recommend this geezer. It was released on Endangered Musik in 1988, a label run by Steve Beatty who actually drummed once for AOA in Bristol (as he was already hitting things with Stone the Crowz) after their own drummer had left only days before the beginning of the tour!

Absolutely classic stuff.