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The DIY Punk & Hardcore Movement (Circa 2011)

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Simon Morgan's Secret War

Bonjour, bienvenue, et wilkommen to the latest instalment of what at least one of us is calling ‘The DIY Punk & Hardcore Movement’:

http://art4punks.blogspot.com/

See what I did there? Yup, that’s right, I evidenced! I know some of you think I make all this shit up as I go along, but hey, life’s pretty fast, sometimes you gotta to stop and take a look around.

Any road up, another busy month grubbing about in the margins has proved fruitful, once again. We’ve been to Birmingham, to visit Rich Perri at Ignite Records, deep in the bowels of the retail warren known as Oasis. Rich has been having a few problems with ex-squaddies under the influence of psychotropic substances recently, even had to shut up early one day when said squaddie persistently threatened to ‘make it all go dark’. On the crimewatch front, there’s been a spate of Black Veil Brides (fuck awful haircut band, big with the dumb kids) sleeve robberies, one of the major pitfalls of running a record shop. The bad record police have been informed. Rich has also been busy with his Speedowax Records imprint, and has just dropped the new artefact by Human Hands, to much applause:

http://www.collective-zine.co.uk/reviews/?id=8111&fb_comment_id=fbc_10150260041299708_17566429_10150260451049708#fc3ee2c695633e

We’ve also been to that London, once again, but this time not on the train. Outside, you see, the trains have not been running on time. They’ve been cleaning the rails, or something. My sister took the train to that London a few days before we set off, and what with busses, changes at High Wycombe, and massive delays at every turn, we didn’t fancy a 7-hour round trip, and elected to drive instead (petrol: £25 versus train/tube: £60 – go figure which way we’ll be travelling from now on).

As we set off, the weather began its impression of the end of days: rain, sleet, suicide badgers (they’ve heard about the impending cull and are taking matter into their own paws), and starling excrement-filled incendiaries hurled themselves at the intrepid VW Fox (hubcaps removed to make it look like a French drug squad vehicle), imploring us to turn back, to give in, to go buy CDs at HMV instead. Unperturbed, we forged onwards, capital-bound, and were soon edging through the traffic at snail’s pace, relieved not to be paying the congestion charge on a weekend. Camden was soaking on arrival, but packed with shoppers/tourists, none the less. Steam rose from drenched Pac-A-Macs, umbrellas threatened every passing eye. We parked up adjacent to All Ages Records, Rachel installed herself in the coffee shop next door, while I began digging through the crates (Over 1 hr total shopping time).

Many of the gems gleaming below were captured here, along with the latest couple of issues of the ‘still-essential-after-all-these-years’ periodical, Maximum Rock’N’Roll.

FyFan – Ingen Framtid For Alltid (No Way Records)

 

Malmo-based, four-piece hardcore punk outfit, stuffed with raging existential angst by a particularly skilful taxidermist. Six tracks of furious and righteous anger, veering deathwards, pummelling down hard. No song longer than a minute-and-a-half, it’s all over in under  seven minutes. Place this next to Brain Killer in your collection, and ensure you minimize the fallout from the sleeve image. Protest and survive! 

No Way Records

FyFan on Facebook

Ydinperhe – Ydinperhe (Oy Kaupalliset Levyt Ab)

 

Helsinki-homed, hardcore punkers ( two girls, two boys), who stand atop a diving board labelled ‘Minor Threat’, and hurl themselves into the swirling abyss of 30-years of hardcore punk evolution seething below. Twin-sex vocals, crunchy guitars, mentalist drumming, and enough energy to provide an alternative power source for Finland. Black Flag, Kleenex and Metal Urbain all rolled into one fat bifter, and fired up into the future. 

Ydinpehre on Bandcamp

IceageNew Brigade (What’s Your Rupture?)

 

Denmark has proved revelatory of late: first the long winter Saturday nights spent engrossed in The Killing, followed by long spring weekday nights spent engrossed in DVD replays of The Killing, followed by tepid summer evenings spent buried in Danish crime novels . . . and now, Iceage.

Impossibly young, improbably good, and impeccably marketed, Iceage transcend the hype to deliver what is a truly stunning debut long player. From their hometown of Copenhagen, Iceage have set out to conquer the known world, and, from where I’m sitting, right here, right now, they’re doing a marvellous job!

New Brigade delivers 12 songs destined to echo long into the future. The evolutionary history of punk junk is jumbled here, embedded within these very grooves. I can feel Wire, I can hear a young Robert Smith in the vocals, I can smell Joy Division, I am setting the controls for the heart of 1980! Are you going to tag along for the ride?

Iceage on MySpace

Chronic SickReagan Bands & Cutest Band In Hardcore EP (No Way Records)

 

Sent forwards in time from 1982, Chronic Sick are a KBD-appreciators wet dream on toast. Just check out the sleeve to the Cutest Band In Hardcore EP! A swastika on the forehead? A drummer in spandex? Lipstick writing on bare chests? Moustaches? Now we know where Jack White gets all his ideas from.

This one comes from an ideologically fragile, distant past, long before the concept of co-ordinated image construction had been fully developed. Reagan Bands is their one truly essential moment, a 100% genuine, raging punk rock slab, but the 12” EP is bloody good fun too. The music is still not quite sure if it’s as punk rock as the look the band are desperate to convey, but don’t let that put you off. Personally, I love the way these obscure gems float to the top like turds in a sewer years after the fact. Conclusion: it’s on No Way Records, dudes! Get with the program.

Smart CopsPer Proteggere E Servire (Sorry State Records)

 

Taking their cue from aggressive 1980s hardcore, Italy’s Smart Cops have gone all tuneful, gone into a big studio, and recorded this big-sounding, tune-adorned, big vinyl thing. The production adds layers of gloss to the band’s sound, and they’ve been polishing their songwriting skills accordingly, but don’t let that adversely affect your expectations of what is a mighty album. The front cover depicts them as heirs to Crime’s throne in the black leather department, and the rear sleeve contains the winning instruction: ‘Remove wax disc from jacket. Place on turntable and adjust treble, bass and volume. Turn on. Caution: Keep away from the old at heart’.

Sorry State Records

The Shitty LimitsSpeculate/Accumulate (La Vida Es Un Mus)

 

This is, sadly, the last record we’ll ever get from the Shitty Limits, which is a dog-gone shame. Thankfully, it’s not the end of the rainbow, as the band have fragmented into various subsequent outfits that are bound to be worrying the scorers in due course. Meanwhile, back at the finale, Speculate/Accumulate provides 6-further slabs of exactly what we’ve come to respect and admire from The Shitty Limits. For those of you who have discovered and enjoyed Tyvek, The Shitty Limits will tick all the prerequisite boxes. Highly recommended.

La Vida Es Un Mus

The Spastic Panthers/Throwaways (Handsome Dan Records)

 

The Spastic Panthers/Teenage Rampage (Handsome Dan Records)

 

The Spastic PanthersRock & Roll Beasts (Handsome Dan Records)

 

The Spastic Panthers deserve to be owned for their name alone. Along with the similarly excellently monikered Diet Cokeheads and the Useless Eaters, The Spastic Panthers are teenagers in a hurry. Get that Zimmer frame outta here, granddad, there’s a punk rock party going down, and you’re way too old to be invited!

What we have here are two splits and a four-track EP: The Spastic Panthers are hardcore as fuck, spewing out all the usual influences in a rainbow of organic punk puke that convinces and threatens where Cerebral Ballzy merely perplex. Teenage Rampage are on a mission, too. Their contributions tower on an equal footing to those of the Panthers, but with slightly more metallic fatigue. The Throwaways, meanwhile, are a three girl/one boy combo who tear punk pop a new one with maximum glee. All these priceless jewels are available on various shades of wax from the indispensable Handsome Dan Records, with mp3 download codes to boot. It’d be rude not too, wouldn’t it?  

Handsome Dan Records

Something Fierce – ‘Where Ya Goin Man?’ b/w ‘Spray Coat’ (Action Town)

 

I bought this ostensibly for the b-side, ‘Spray Coat’, which I’ve owned for a while on mp3, but just had to get on vinyl. Spray Coat is one of the finest minutes out there in DIY punk and hardcore land, mainly due to the orgasmic guitar solo that explodes at the end of the song. I’ve always been a sucker for energy laden guitar solos, and this one is up there with the best. I ranted on about the band’s latest LP, ‘Don’t Be So Cruel’ (Dirtnap Records), a few columns ago, and anyone who invested in that should track down a copy of this 45 too. BTW, the a-side is no slouch either.

Action Town Records

Rare PeelDiscs 1-4 (Bootleg)

 

And finally … four slabs of vinyl in a pizza box? Yup, that’s right, Rare PeelDiscs 1-4 collects four John Peel sessions from the halcyon days of first wave punk from the Models, the Drones, the Cortinas and the Crabs (I know, I’d forgotten all about them too!).

Obviously a bootleg, but a nice item nonetheless. You get ‘Man Of The Year’, ‘Freeze’ and ‘Defiant Pose’, amongst others, a 16-page booklet rammed with memorabilia, and all the records are labelled incorrectly! The fidelity leaves much to be desired, there are spelling mistakes akimbo, and the whole package feels as if it were put together by a boy scout with only a ‘box-set compiler’ badge to his name. The man himself would have loved this, and you should too.

NB: I bought my copy from All Ages Records for £14.99, but that doesn’t mean they are responsible for it, or the ones to go after if you’re Marco Pirroni, or some other ancient dude considering legal action. Drop them an email, they may be able to point you in the general direction of the reprobates who bootlegged this. They may even have more copies for sale.

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,
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And The Press Went Mad

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Simon Morgan's Secret War

Last time out, I likened the global punk scene circa 2011 to the one that exploded in the UK between 1976 and 1982. Eyebrows were doubtless raised, cornflakes were invariably spat bowl-wards, incredulity was understandably stretched to breaking point. There’s no focal point, no one-stop-catch-all media interface, no mail order house with fulfillment centres strung out across the land servicing those eager to own a slice of (and thus support) this incongruous creativity! You’re talking shit again, Morgan, and we claim our £5!  Hold your horses, pogo children, hang on to your hats and walk this way. Where do you think groups as worthy as Brain Killer, Raw/Nerve, Perdition, Crazy Spirit, Dawn Of Humans, Hoax, Unlearn, Urban Blight, Total War, Elektroduendes, Black Dove, Glam, Government Warning, Male Nurses, Slobs, Culo, Vaaska, Deskonocidos, White Lung, Brain F#, Coke Bust, B-Lines, etc … actually come from?

All over this punk planet there are pockets of resistance to mundane mainstream monotony. They’ve been there for years, but, due to a combination of UK/US-centric arrogance and free-market dominance, they’ve been confined to the odd Nuggets-style compilation retrospective years after the point of diffusion. While the US and the UK have been busy playing trans-Atlantic-influence-ping-pong, places you never heard of have been coming up trumps, time and time again. Awesome groups, born in isolation, transcending influence, destined to live and die in obscurity, only to be interred by academic thesis writers and youth cult archaeologists years, sometimes decades, after the fact. With the glory days of US/UK dominance on the back foot, however, countries such as Canada, France, Spain, Australia and Italy are stepping up to the mark.

Traditionally derided and marginalised by the stylemongers of the West, vital music is beginning to seep out from under the floorboards, as the intrepid and the inquisitive cast their nets ever wider in search of stimulating and satisfying new sounds. Like hunter-gatherers, armed only with search engine and browser, the post-post-modern music enthusiast sets sail on virtual seas to track down and capture music that still retains the kind of integrity 40-plus years of the capitalist model has eroded from domestic audio crops. Do you sit and wait for the next corporate creation to slouch out of the boardroom, designed by committee, funded by Alan Sugar, endorsed by a celebrity panel of judges, and reviewed by a respected (fully-paid-up) army of critics? Do you listen to payola radio style-prods from your favourite disc jockey’s podcasts? Do you subscribe to the popular myth that it’s all over bar the shouting? Move along, there’s nothing to hear here.  

With MySpace’s influence on the wane, and Facebook considered to be ‘trying too hard’, many of the globe’s contemporary crop of imminent insurrectionists are frustratingly hard to pin down in terms of accessible resources. Searches of Soundcloud or trawls through Media Fire databases may offer up an MP3 or two, but it’s operations like the essential Terminal Escape, and fanzines such as the legendary Terminal Boredom, that will put you on the right track. The former, mentioned last time out, is a demo-centric resource where you can download demo-tapes by groups from all over the planet, and, should you be lucky enough to fall in love, you can track down ridiculously limited related vinyl products and contribute to future funding on a pro-rata basis. After a while, you stop feeling like a voyeur, and start feeling like a maverick roving arts fund councillor. Add this to the ‘dropcard-download’ phenomenon that’s been engulfing the vinyl market for a while, and you inevitably arrive at the death of the manufactured CD. CDRs have become the cassettes of their day, loss-leaders for the vinyl format. We’ve come full circle, parity has returned.

Records need labels, and labels need distribution. The following groups and organisations are all vital combatants in the war against mediocrity. I’m off on another record buying jaunt to London this coming weekend, so a report will be issued in due course. Until then, get a bit of punk rock action in your life, and thank your lucky stars someone, somewhere cares more than you do!

Blitzhardcore Records – Website

 

Excellent punk and hardcore mail order outfit, based here in the UK. Available directly through this link, or through their many items listed on Ebay. Blitzhardcore are efficient, friendly, speedy, and well stocked.

B-Lines – MySpace

Vancouver’s finest nerd punks, reviewed elsewhere in these pages. Part of the stunning Deranged roster, and also not averse to the odd release on Nominal Records.  

Brain F≠ – MySpace 

Brain F rule. Their debut LP is due on Grave Mistake very soon. Recently joined forces on stages with White Lung during their storming of the US.   

Brain F≠ – Website

Ditto . . .

Convulsive Records – Website

 

Brooklyn based independent record label specializing in vinyl releases of contemporary DIY and avant garage punk music.  

Cowabunga! Records – Website

My mate Rich Perri’s mate’s label … awesome, dude! Home to the magisterial Slobs and a whole host of guitar toting angels with dirty faces.

Crazy Spirit – 1st 7″

Download the 1st Crazy Spirit 7″ and find out what all the hot fuss is about.

Dirt Nap Records – Website

Home of the hits: Something Fierce, High Tension Wires, Career Suicide et al.

Deranged Records – Website

Home of Brain Killer, Hoax, Unlearn, White Lung, Male Nurses, The Men and more. Canada’s numero uno label, and, pound for pound, the finest independent label on punk planet right now.

Deskonocidos – MySpace

El Texas hombres! Hispanic punk rock blending punk, post, hardcore and more. Their demo is available for free from Terminal Escape (see below).

Grave Mistake Records – Label blog

Stonkingly good label with a quality control jones and an excellent mail order service to boot. Home of Government Warning, the world’s official ruling hardcore punkers.

Hockey Dad Records – Website

More Canadian punk mayhem. Limited and often hard to find, but worth it in every way. Search and purchase.

In The Red Records – Website

 

Home of mates of trakMARX, Black Time, and still relevant after a decade . . . Tyvek reside here, and if you don’t own their ‘Nothing Fits’ long player, you really should get yr shit together and stop messing about.

La Vida Es Un Mus

Top British punk rock label … home of Glam (reviewed last time out) and UK issuer of Government Warning stuff too! Distro/label/etc.

Mongrel Zine

Top Canadian punk and garage ‘zine.

Needles//Pins – MySpace

Great garage punk from Canada . . . jingle, jangle, fuzz.

Nominal Records – Website

B-Lines label, amongst others . . .

No Way Records – Website

Superb label.

Raw Nerve – Band blog

Hardcore heroes . . . mysterious-guy-core . . . phew, wait, come back already, it’s way better than it sounds!

Sorry State Records, Punk / Hardcore / Metal / Noise Records 

Cool label.

S.S. Records 

Static Shock Records

Excellent fayre . . . nothing to do with Nazism!

Terminal Boredom

The ‘zine…

Terminal Escape – Blog

 

The demo-central-one-stop all-you-need-is-punk interface for the best in everything.

ϟLOBϟ – MySpace

The Slobs rule.

Quality Control – Web HQ 

Home of Crazy Spirit … this is how they roll: Borne out of a love for aesthetic terrorism and hate for all ironic signifiers, Quality Control Collective is a series of ruminations on the cultural detritus produced by the disenfranchised, the deceived, the angry. Empowered by a pencil, distortion pedal, scissors and glue, QCHQ attempts to cripple dominating voices with literary knives and auditory harassment.  

Toxic State – Label Blog

Crazy Spirit, Dawn Of Humans, etc…

Tyvek – MySpace

Tyvek – their LP, Nothing Fits shreds wimps.

Vaaska – MySpace 

Hispanic punk of a very high quality.  

White Lung – Website 

White Lung – MySpace 

White Lung’s ‘It’s The Evil’ is essential long playing. If only they’d stop touring and answer our tedious questions!  

Youth Attack Records 

Highly collectable and often influential US label.

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Music Post-punk Punk Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Year Double Zero

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Simon Morgan's Secret War

There’s been some debate in cyberspace recently on the differences between a music critic and a fanzine writer. I’d argue that a music critic sits at home waiting for the comfort packages to turn up in the post, reading a thesaurus, devising ever-more pretentious metaphors and irrelevant comparisons with groups that no one ever cared about, whilst a fanzine writer spends the much of their free time searching out interesting and challenging new sounds, and the rest of it traveling back and forth between the nation’s few remaining record shops tracking this music down on vinyl, and paying for it out of their own pockets!

Criticism is easy, anyone can do it. It’s basically an extension of taking the piss out of something you are never going to understand, and are secretly scared of. Prejudice, insecurity and paranoia are often in the mix, too. Then there’s the spectre of payola to consider, in all its varying formats. Are you saying nice things about this record because you owe the people who sent it to you a favour? Or because being sent free stuff somehow maintains your own fragile identity? Playing your part of the bargain? When you factor in the reality that proportionately fewer people make a sustainable living writing about music than they do recording and performing it, what exactly is the role of the so-called music critic in 2011? I’ll leave that ostensibly rhetorical questions hanging in the air, and press on regardless.

I’ve said this twice before, but it bears repeating, it feels like 1977 all over again right now. It takes a considerable amount of effort keeping your ear to the ground currently. There’s no one-stop central interface providing guidance or connection to this art. There’s no obsession with getting paid, either – moany young groups are happy to give their demos away online, and some even seem to view actually making a record as a sell out, per se. In terms of vinyl culture, the artwork and graphics on the records I’ll be introducing you to shortly, the inserts, the posters, the fold-out sleeves, the attention to detail are remarkable. Buy vinyl, celebrate the artifact, download and burn CDRs with the drop card.

The new groups’ desire to be plastered all over the covers of style magazines or hipster periodicals is negligible. It would appear they are concerned, after all! Gigs can spontaneously combust in your front room, your garden, your mate’s flat, or in a local disused industrial facility or recently vacated abattoir. Music appears to have finally freed itself from the constraints of the capitalist system and trickled down to the people.

Even at the ripe old age of 48, I’m not immune to change. The spirit of John Peel smolders within my soul. My thirst for new music that hasn’t been designed by committee has swept through the shelving of my mind like a new broom. This year I have given up buying music magazines, CDs, and spending any of my hard-earned cash at establishmentarian institutions such as HMV, Amazon or Play. I’ve also weaned myself off buying back my distant past on eBay. Fuck the distant past, it’s dead, time we buried it. The future is unwritten; this is Joe Artist speaking (Gluck, 2011).

Only the future can deliver what happens next. Don’t bore us with the inherent contradictions, the small print, and the so-called rules. The internet has finally come of age, it’s a game-changer, and the world has shrunk. Genres are irrelevant, there’s good music, and there’s bad music. Only you can decide which applies to you. It could be argued that everything is intrinsically derivative: original sin is over-rated; transcendence is key; influences are the raw materials subsequent generations forge into radical new interpretations. There may well be nothing new under the sun, but it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it!

The following sides have been captured from various sources: one love and maximum respect to Rich Perri at Ignite Records in Birmingham, All Ages Records in Camden, Rough Trade West in Portobello, Grave Mistake Records mail order, and Blitz Hardcore mail order. Some are new releases; some have taken a while to track down. All are wonderful in their own right, and all are described below. That’s right, described! I’m going for a descriptive approach from here on in. Thing is, I like them all, I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise, and I certainly wouldn’t be wasting my precious time sitting here telling you lot about them if I didn’t, would I?

VINYL

Crazy Spirit – ‘S/T’ (Quality Control HQ)

 

New York’s Crazy Spirit don’t fit neatly into any preconceived coffin. Their splenetic bursts of blackened punk are interspersed with insane field recordings and sampled conversation. This bunch of demos were allegedly remastered at Abbey Road studios, if you want to buy into the myth – It doesn’t really matter. Crazy Spirit’s unique concoction of metallic KO punk and Bathory-esque vocal enunciation comes on like The Revolutionary Dalek Faction trying their hand at existentialist Stoogism. Incredible packaging from UK-based Quality Control HQ, screen-printed mailer cover, fold-out poster, hand drawn graphics.

Quality Control

Raw/Nerve – ‘S/T’ (Youth Attack Records)

 

There are some who will tell you Youth Attack is a hipster concern. You could even be accused of buying into the label for its collectable reputation, but Raw/Nerve rise above such brickbats with their atmospheric and threatening post-post-hardcore attack. Vocals buried deep within the mix, underground punk and outsider metal collide in a septic wound of static. As the record progresses, Raw/Nerve drop their guard, and slouch into edgy jams that defy categorization. Released in ridiculously limited numbers in varying coloured wax. Includes large format homoerotic poster. 

Youth Attack Records

B-Lines – ‘Burnt CDs EP’ (Nominal Records)

 

Vancouver’s B-Lines have dropped one on my LPs of the year thus far with their s/t 12” on Deranged. This is their debut EP from 2009, and I’m stoked to oblivion to have picked a copy up on white vinyl. Including the group’s indispensably moronic generational signifier, ‘Social Retard’ and other quality tunes such as ‘Dryer Fire’ and ‘Busy Man’. This EP is a mandatory purchase for those who like a bit of pop with their punk but draw the line at melody. Breakneck, barefaced and as stubborn and infectious as herpes, B-Lines make music to fall down stairs to. Don’t bother calling the cops; you’ll need an ambulance after throwing yourself around the living room to this.

Nominal Records

Hoax – ‘S/T EP’ (Katorga Works/Deranged Records)

 

Ferocious, furious, d-beat mayhem veering back and forth, side to side, like a bumper car sandwich of hardcore and metal. Jensen Button’s McLaren on an ice rink. My old pal Garry Maloney would be stoked to know that his rhythmic influence continues unabated across the length of this muscular four-tracker 30-years post Hear Nothing/See Nothing/Say Nothing. Indecipherable vocals are crushed under the black metallic weight of the onslaught, and the Scandinavian vibe is complimented by bleak black and white UK anarcho-syndicalist art.

Deranged Records

Glam – ‘S/T EP’ (La Vida Es Un Mus)

 

Debut Glam EP, out of Barcelona, Espania. Frighteningly intense, claustrophobic, virtual tunnel music. The voice at the end of that tunnel is manic in the way street preachers only dream of. Immediately admirable in every aspect of it’s aggressive hardcore stance. Superb, total-quality-card stock, impeccable packaging. Iconic logo, insert, and graphics. Jacob Adult Crash, Andreas Trashbastard and Uri Sos are name-checked on the insert, and that’s a good enough reason alone to own this record. Five-minutes-and-one-second – six songs.

La Vida Es Un Mus Disocs

Culo – ‘Military Trend’ – ‘Toxic Vision EP’ (Deranged)

 

A brace of fairly extreme hardcore punk EPs from suburban wastelands: nah pop, nah style, mi strictly roots. This rips into your space with is misanthropic menace. Social commentary and mutant ideology fight bare-knuckle, rattling between the strings. Pissed up on life, and pissed off with all of us, Culo have hoisted the black flag, and would make one fuck of a mess if you ever inadvertently offered to put them up after a gig. Redecoration is an inevitability. Extensive emergency building-work and reconstructive facial surgery is a distinct possibly. Bad ass, glue-sniffing montherfuckers, if you ask me.

Brain Killer – ‘Demos’ – ‘Endless’ (Deranged)

 

Both Brain Killer’s 7”ers to date. Both harsh as fuck. A duel cacophony of competing elements at incredible speed. Technically astounding, ultra-intense. Gripping atmospheric hardcore melting influences from punk planet into one bubbling cauldron of hate. UK Anarcho-centric, far-eastern crust punk obsessed, d-beat propelled cultured aggression.   

Coke Bust – ‘Degradation EP’ (Grave Mistake)

 

Washington DC’s Coke Bust are a take-no-prisoners, ask-no-questions hardcore outfit of punks who go for your ears like you’re Chopper Reid. Heavy, chugging in all the right places, a forearm in the face of sensitivity. The artwork alone is worth the admission.

Grave Mistake Records

Diet Pills – ‘S/T’ (Force Fed Records)

 

Hailing from Leicester, Diet Pills spew forth  toxic bile of partially digested Jesus Lizard marinated in 15-years of outsider metal. Utterly deranged and strangely dependency forming, a strict diet of Diet Pills would probably lead to migraines eventually, but once a day’s not going to harm you unduly.

Force Fed Records

Unlearn – ‘S/T EP’ (Deranged)

 

Raw, disgusting, sick, venal punk rock that shoots first and shrugs nonchalantly later. Distortion on all channels, Unlearn have learned the lesson of d-beat intensity and driven it off a cliff. Their previous demos (available from Terminal Escape, see below) have been consistent too, making anticipation of their forthcoming split 7” with Kruel in June, and an S/T LP due in September. A 5-week U.S tour is planned for September/October.

The Injections – ‘Prison Walls’/’Lies’ (Last Laugh)

 

The Injections were one of San Diego’s earliest punk bands: Lou Skum – vocals, Bruce Perreault – guitar, Lisa ‘Acid’ Astin – bass, Joanne ‘Piggy Gargoyle’ Norris – drums. They formed around 1979 and released one single, ‘Prison Walls’/’Lies’, on Radio Active Records in 1980. This re-mastered and totally essential repress is slavishly attentive to detail, and sonically engrossing. Long cherished by collector scum the globe over, now everyone can enjoy a piece of these heroically naïve sides of pissed-off punk rock action.

Blitzhardcore Records

Something Fierce – ‘Don’t Be So Cruel’ (Dirtnap)

 

Something Fierce are a couple or three LPs and a bunch of 45s into their stride now, and this is a rewardingly assured piece of work, to be sure. Ingenious in its subversion of elements of mid-era Clash, ‘Don’t Be So Cruel’ ignites this trio’s claim to significant recognition. Already their finest hour, this is intelligent punk pop, too clever by half to get stuck in any dumb genre malaise. Copper-bottomed tunes ring out, sound as a pound, matching Something Fierce’s many distinctly English influences.

Something Fierce come correct on many levels, lyrically engaging, witty, these are intelligently written jams, operating across a wide spectrum. The soon-to-be stone classic ‘Future Punks’ invokes memories of Talking Heads, if they’d been a tad punkier. The outstanding song in their cannon, however, is closer, ‘Empty Screens’, a sunshine-pop-punker with a wry smile and a cheeky, knowing grin. The first time I heard this song I was immediately hit by one of the moments you think you’ve found the elusive, definitive perfect pop song, and you want the world to sing along. That very moment. You can’t, obviously, so you just phone a friend and leave a rambling monologue on why ‘Empty Screens’ is tune of some significant stature.

Meanwhile, back at the plot, it’s not all filth, fury, hardcore and gore here at Eyeplug Towers, Something Fierce let some light in on the darkness and despair, and the world doesn’t seem such a bad idea after all.

Dirtnap Records

DEMOS

elektroduendes – ‘It will be hard to accurately explain exactly why (or how much) I love this band – it’s just totally simple female fronted Spanish punk executed to complete perfection. Super melodic jams that positively command excessive pogo dancing around your room (or car, or the sidewalk, wherever you happen to be listening). This tape from 1998 was their first release, and preceded a fantastic EP and a 12″ that still gets regular rotations at Casa de Escape. When music can make you feel like a carefree teenager, but still make you feel like you are in a world where things matter, even when you can barely understand the language…that’s just good fukkn music.’ (Terminal Escape)

Womb Raider – ‘Smart and pissed feminist hardcore from Montreal – every bit as on point lyrically as they are crushing musically. Think burly ’80s Boston…raw and fukkn venomous. Awesome.’ (Terminal Escape)

Drapetomania – ‘The guitars, man…it’s all about the fukkn guitars. A sharp and clean staccato attack, like ’80s Italian hardcore playing Oi, but they are singing in Spanish and this shit is from Los Angeles. DRAPETOMANIA is the latest installment from the Silenzio Statico label, and if there was any doubt left as to the impact these kids are making on punks around the world (and I cannot imagine that there is a shred of doubt remaining), then one listen to “Cicatris” should erase it completely. A killer South American twist on UK82 punk rock – fukkn great of course, enjoy.’ (Terminal Escape)

Dawn Of Humans – ‘From the same scene that brought CRAZY SPIRIT into our lives comes DAWN OF HUMANS. This transcends good punk and blurs subgenre classifications until you don’t care what it’s supposed to be called – you just want to know how to cram more of it in your earholes. The new(ish) EP is brilliant, use the email on the tape to try to get yourself one.’ (Terminal Escape)

Unlearn – ‘Just like you like it: raw and brutal Dbeat attack from Vancouver. VACCUUM played with UNLEARN and  last year and they just leveled the place – it was 20 minutes of pure distortion and maximum volume with guitar torture worthy of comparisons to the greats. This one is over in a flash, so prepare for the most pummeling 8 minutes of your day…’ (Terminal Escape)

The above demos are all available to download free from the most excellent one-stop, demo-centric concern that is Terminal Escape

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Music Post-punk Punk Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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The Wind-Up Birds – Tense, Nervous, Headache?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Leeds. Used to admire their footballers back in the Bremner days, until I read David Peace’s The Damned United, obviously. No-one fucks with Brian Clough! I went to Futurama there once, too: Death Cult, Killing Joke, New Order. My oldest chum, Olly Little, also did time there at University. Then, much later, I was a fervent appreciator of the resurgence in real independent labels that burst out of Leeds during the trakMARX years. Very fond of The Lodger, !Forward Russia! (impossible to get the apostrophes the right way up!), labels like Dance To The Radio, Brew Records – standard bearers for the likes of Sturdy Records, of which, more below. That must be why I fell in love with The Wind-Up Birds: Northern heritage. Whatever the reason, of all the likely lads grubbing about in amongst the also-rans in UK pop culture circa 2011, the Wind-Up Birds are perched on the brink of greatness, standing on the shoulders of pirates. With their future classic 45, ‘Meet Me At The Depot’ (Sturdy Records), due for release any day now (any day now, I shall be released), I tracked The Wind-Up Birds singer, Kroyd, down to his rural retreat to quiz him about impending fame, cultural baggage and Christmas in rehab:

Firstly, welcome to the pages of EYEPLUG, how’s it hanging?

Alright.

We understand that the Wind-Up Birds emerged, phoenix like, from the ashes of the Conmen, sometime in the mid-noughties . . . talk us through that birthing experience from your perspective.

For me personally, it was weird. I had never been in a band, had no musical skills, and was extremely shy and unwilling to perform. So with the Conmen I was just a lyricist who tagged along to practices and things. It was exciting watching songs come together and I was thrilled to be close to actual musicians. It was also really just Ben’s old band with me and Mat tagged on. It was only really when we got Oli in on drums that it felt like our band and something new. Even then it took a long time for me to find what my place should actually be in this thing.

What was the initial inspiration behind the group’s formation?

Myself and Neil (Stafford – original TWUBs guitarist) where friends at school. We were both obsessed with music and always talked about being in bands. I never took it any further than talking but Neil became an amazing guitarist and songwriter. He got a band together with Ben and I was very jealous! I always liked writing and have always been obsessed with song lyrics. The one area of Neil’s band I thought could improve was the lyrics so I kind of started shoving sheets of paper at him. We ended up turning some into demos at his house. We wanted to be Morrissey and Marr, face to face on a sofa writing amazing songs. But even at that stage, singing wasn’t something I felt was in me. We got Ben interested in the demos and things moved on from there.

With a personnel demographic that incorporates varied representation from Leeds, Northampton, Blackpool and The Isle Of Man, do those geographical origins bring any specific flavours in terms of musical influences to the integral Wind-Up Birds sound?

It’s funny really, but because of my singing we are always tagged as a Yorkshire or Northern band and it’s not really the case. Obviously it’s a pretty blatant part of our sound and sometimes I regret that but we are where we are. I think the varied background and influences of the band are definitely integral. We are a democracy and everyone’s different inputs keep things boiling along nicely.

In terms of development, you would appear to have been growing up in public for some time now – are you working to an exponential master plan here, or just making it up as you go along?

No, we’ve never had any plans. We do things we enjoy and we are all pretty lazy. We get together once a week and try and remember what we played the previous week. When we are happy with a few songs we get them out. We play gigs whenever anyone lets us. Alongside that the band (mainly me, to be fair) have an insane obsession with not doing lame clichéd band things. I have a list of unrealistic rules in my head that I try and enforce on the others with varying degrees of success. I am bit of a control freak where the band is concerned and I hate anything about what we do (from posters, to sound checks, to this) to be ill considered or obvious. I have to let go sometimes but I don’t like it.

You cite a personnel change around the time of the recording of the ‘My Life Was Ruined by the Wind-up Birds’ EP as pivotal to the emergence of The Wind-Up Birds as we know and love them today – we’re intrigued by the concept of ‘bad ears’ . . . talk us through it, if you’d be so kind.

Neil leaving was a big change. The initial premise of the band was as a vehicle for the songs we had written together. When he left we were close to calling it a day. The encouragement of some special people and the friendship the four of us (Mat, Oli, Ben and I) had, was key. We initially just tried to get a new ‘Neil’ which proved to be a wrong move really. Things might have got there in the end but severe tinnitus struck and so we were back as a four-piece and we will never know.

The tinnitus thing was literally the day before we had booked a recording session. So we recorded some songs we had knocking round that weren’t connected to the new guitarist. We did a four track EP called The Wind-up Birds are Long Term Sick and we were really pleased with it. It gave us the confidence of being a four-piece with Mat as the sole guitarist and me, finally, becoming the front man. Once that was sorted everything clicked into place.

You eventually reached the ears of local entrepreneur and label boss, Mark Sturdy, who has been operating Sturdy Records in the grand tradition of labels like Dance To The Radio and Brew Records for a while now – how important to The Wind-Up Birds is Leeds’ recent musical heritage, and is Sturdy the kind of home you see yourselves occupying for the duration?

Sturdy recognised something in us early on and was the sole champion of the band for a long time. We played a few times with his band The Unexploded Shells (a great lost band) and got on. There seemed to be a mixture of admiration and frustration on his part that every step the band took was quickly followed by a bit of self-sabotage. For me, that’s all part of the romance of the band. For Sturdy it just meant people who might really like the band would never get the chance to hear us. It kind of made sense, I suppose. So, we took some advice about things and sometimes said we had taken the advice but then didn’t, and Sturdy slowly became a bit of a guiding hand for us. The position with Sturdy (the label) is that Sturdy (the man) tells us sensible things to do and tells us off when we don’t do them. As such it is the ideal home for the band.

On the eve of the release of your excellent – and I’m going to make a prediction here – break-through 45, ‘Meet Me At The Depot’ b/w ‘Popman’, you must have one of the biggest back catalogues known for a relatively new group – are you sure you have enough tunes left for the forthcoming LP you’re threatening us with before the year is out?

I’m really pleased with the way the album is shaping up. There was no real need to do an album but I think the music loving part of all four of us wanted to make that definitive debut album statement, although in reality with tracks we have already recorded and (mostly) put out, it would be a fourth or even fifth album. On a personal level a lot of the artists and bands I really love had a real work ethic and banged single after single after album out in quick succession. I don’t really buy the four year gap between albums that goes on now.

The b-side of said forthcoming 45, ‘Popman’, reminds us of a seminal Midlands’ punk band called the Shapes – have you ever heard any of their stuff (I was so convinced, I sent a copy of ‘Popman’ to my good chum, Seymour Bybuss, erstwhile singer of the Shapes)?

I know the Shapes but hadn’t heard much. Have just checked out some tunes and I can definitely see where you are coming from. I like the humour and the surreal edge. They are both things we like to play with in the band.

While we’re in this area, what eras of British popular song do you find appealing/inspiring?

If you asked each member of the band you’d get a very different answer but there is a definite overlap around the post-punk era. From a personal point of view I love that songs would chart that were interesting lyrically and musically experimental but also great pop songs. The range of freaks and misfits that could end up on Top of the Pops and have kids dancing and yet might also inspire someone to pick up on some of the references, maybe read some interesting literature or think about the world in a slightly different way, is still thrilling to me. Having said that, we hear and see new bands that give us that buzz all the time. The way music is consumed now is different though and that mainstream overlap just doesn’t happen.

Lyrically, there would appear to be a healthy sense of humor running through your music. Individually, and collectively, who/what makes you laugh on a regular basis?

Oli. Next question! I do like it personally when bands and art in general have a bit of humour in them. Most people deal with the worst kinds of news and setbacks, with a shrug and a bit of sarcasm. I find a lot of drama ignores this and it never strikes me as true. I find bands who take themselves very seriously kind of ridiculous and it can be enough to put me off a band.

I don’t like the humour in the songs to be cruel though and to belittle anyone. I see a lot of lyrics written from a kind of God-like perspective, looking down on how stupid people are and it makes me uncomfortable. (Sometimes, I can’t resist though!) I hate the modern Mock the Week, Top Gear etc, bullying comedy. It’s smug and unseemly (and not funny). I don’t think the rest of the band agree, but then they are all massive bullies.

Any other cultural signifiers, in terms of literature, poetry, cinema, etc?

Again, there is a real range of influences across the four of us and we bring a lot to each other in terms of things we find interesting. I think one of the problems with our digital culture is that you can very carefully filter your cultural inputs and essentially only ever hear and see things you know you will like. It’s often hard for people to feel surprised or unsettled by the art they consume and suddenly everything you devour has an aura of cosy nostalgia. Society has still got to adapt to the internet and it will be interesting to see what journey art takes throughout that evolution.

Any other combos treading the boards out there in punterland you feel anything approaching affinity with?

We respect anyone who goes out and play the music they love, it doesn’t matter the genre really. If people have that need to connect via music and it’s not just a short cut to a spot on a TV show then they deserve some of your time. I think people should take more chances with bands and music. Go out, take pot luck and see some live music. There is so much amazing stuff happening out there.

What represents success for The Wind-Up Birds?

An enduring friendship. A catalogue of songs we are proud of…and no compromises. I read a lot about bands and it is always how big they are going to get. Never how good they might get. It always seems a bizarre way to measure art’s success. But I have spoken to a lot of people in bands and that is the driver for many sadly. In some ways it comes down to being able to be a self-sustaining artist. What compromises do you have to make to do what you love full-time? We all work full-time and that means we can keep the band pure.

There’s a great saying that goes, ‘Make friends with your failures, they could be the best friends you ever had’ – are the Wind-Up Birds afraid of failure?

If failure formed a band it would sound like us. The only way we could fail as a band is if we sullied the name of the Wind-up Birds with needless compromises and nonsense. If that means that we never sell records or sell out venues then that is only right. Lots of bands end badly or childishly and I wouldn’t want that to happen to us. If people who like us can look back on us and know we were always honest with them then that will do.

Finally, where do we go from here? What does the rest of 2011 hold in store for the Wind-Up Birds?

We are definitely recording the album. We want to get some gigs further a field (if anyone will have us then please let us know). Apart from that just do what we do, it’s worked so far.

www.thewind-upbirds.bandcamp.com

www.sturdyrecords.wordpress.com

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Front page Indie Interviews Music Post-punk Tags:, , ,
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Brain Killer – New Album, US Tour

Boston punks Brain Killer take their chops from Discharge, their politics from Crass, their graphic influence from Flux Of Pink Indians, and their love of hardcore noise from Japanese crust punk. 

Every Actual State Is Corrupt is one of the finest, fiercest, most functional punk rock records of the year thus far. Reflecting the symbolic violence Pierre Bordieu places at the epicentre of über-capitalist system failure, Brain Killer’s habitus is the very anomie originally theorized by Emile Durkheim back in 1897. Occupying a compatible aural channel to Chicago’s Raw Nerve, Brain Killer’s songs are as aggressive as their titles: ‘So Much Hate’, ‘Consumers’, ‘Breakout’, ‘Resist Control’, ‘Freedom?’, ‘The Cure’, ‘Crucify’, ‘What’s Your Excuse?’, ‘No Escape’, ‘Bigger Problems’, ‘What Is Survival?’

Another indispensable release from Deranged Records. Mandatory.

Brain Killer – US Tour 2011:

11 June – Brooklyn, NY, 

15 June – East Hampton, MA, 

16 June – Hartford, CT, 

17 June – New Brunswick, NJ, 

18 June – Pittsburgh, PA, 

19 June – Columbus, OH, 

20 June – Chicago, IL, 

21 June – Grand Rapids, MI, 

22 June – Rochester, NY, 

23 June – Burlington, VT

Deranged Records

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : News Newsplug Tags:, , ,
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WU LYF – ‘Go Tell Fire To The Mountain’

(album, LYF Recordings)

The most hyped new English group of the last decade? My editor certainly thinks so, judging by his ‘NME-boy’ jibes. Are we down with Chuck and the crew? Do we believe the hype? Let’s have a shuftie through the evidence: Four lads from Manchester called World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation. Managed by an industry bigwig who once worked for Factory Too. Mastered by Mogwai’s producer, Paul Savage. Major label baiters and multi-album contract refuseniks. Until the product dropped (obviously), a tad tight lipped with the press. As likely to talk to the NME as The Guardian. Critically clichéd as an ‘art-rock-boy-band’.

All things considered, what can the average punter expect from the 10-track debut that is Go Tell Fire To The Mountain?

Visually, all looks spectacular – the vinyl artwork is a variant of that found on the CD, vaguely reminiscent of The Mighty Wah’s Word To The Wise Guy. A beautiful package it is to behold, replete with complimentary sticker, download code and tastefully apportioned art print (created by drummer, Joseph Louis Harland Manning). Recorded over three weeks in St Peters Church, Ancoats, and mastered by Paul Savage in Glasgow, GTFTTM is an exemplary exercise. Built with shards of sonic architecture recycled from Mogwai’s decade long refurbishment of Guadi’s cathedral in Barcelona, the album is both pseudo-religious in tone, and scripture-observant in the way it rocks the pulpit in deliverance of its hymnal vistas.

Musically, sterling organ interludes keep the evangelical atmosphere taut throughout, and in spite of the Mogwaisms, WU LYF are more compatible with the clarity and beauty of purpose found with Explosions In The Sky. There’s none of Mogwai’s filthy low-end here, no fuzz-tonal bottom register. Elsewhere there are snatches of Postcardesque jingle-jangle, the merest suggestion of the wide-screened-intention of the Triffids’ Born Sandy Devotional, and the stubborn understains of PiL’s Metal Box. Vocally, WU LYF’s collective love of SST Records era US hardcore comes on like a gang of indecipherable young Tom Waits clones chancing their arms at barbershop quartet harmonies, Henry Rollins style. There are no songs to speak of, no tunes to hum; it’s the kind of record you lie around in awe of, getting stoned to, or fucking through. It reminds me of near life experience I once had. Deja WU LYF.

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Indie Music Pop Tags:, , ,
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Slug Guts – Drilling The Anus Of Culture A New Hole

Slug Guts are drilling the anus of culture a new hole, one record at time. Their current long player, Howlin’ Gang (Sacred Bones), tips its sweat-stained Stetson in the general direction of the swamplands as it attitudinally crashes on your couch for a spell. 15-songs recorded in 24-hours straight, in a horrible house in Brisbane, Howlin’ Gang is dark-pop menace versus gothic splendour. Slug Guts hit below the belt till the bell rings. I’ve said this once before, but it bears repeating; there’s an authenticity here that’s rare in these days of lowest common denominator rock and/or roll. Wherever everyone else is going, Slug Guts are going elsewhere. Somewhere the sun don’t shine, somewhere they wear sunglasses after dark. If you like the kind of fuss the Cramps used to make, you’ll dig Howlin Gang and its rumbles, its underbelly odes, its hymns to nocturnal pursuits. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, there are traces of sugar smeared all over the other side of the coin, moments of fragile beauty that leer out of the inky blackness like a sad clown’s face on a ghost train ride. Just enough hope to stay focused, just enough pleasure to come again. Seemingly recording, releasing and touring at will, Slug Guts are one of the most prolific groups on the planet right now. I recently caught up with the band’s Jimi Kritzler to bring you this:

Tell us about the birthing pains of Slug Guts?

I guess It began I guess with JD and I. We were sitting around at this house waiting to pick up and there were these other guys waiting, and we were listening in on their conversation and it turns out they were picking up stuff to help with an armed robbery they were planning for that night…so they would be wide eyed and alert I guess. They were older guys we knew through other people, but not that well. After half an hour waiting for the man and talking to these guys, they asked us how our driving skills were and kinda asked if we wanted to be the getaway drivers. We were down to our last $100 and it was about to get spent, so we said we would have a think and call them. Me and JD talked about it for a while and decided it was the shittest idea or offer we had received in a long time. So we bailed and went back to this fucked place I was living. It was this house on the edge of this weird part of town and it just had this strange feeling to it. You would wake up in the morning and there would be a meth heads scratching and digging under their skin and bleeding all through the front yard. So we were sitting there, proceeded to get out of our minds and were pacing back and forth in the bedroom. There were instruments in the house and we decided that we would have a bash for something to do to take our minds off shit and alleviate the boredom. We just wanted to start a band that sounded as fucked, messed up and weird as our daily lives were at that time. We are saints now. We asked Falco to play even though we thought he was a complete piece of shit and didn’t like him. It worked out well, those dudes doing the robbery got caught and went to jail and we got a hit record and toured America and Japan.

After a mere four months as a band, you elected to record your debut album, Down On The Meat (Stained Circles) – is that an executive decision you’re still pleased with?

Yeah, no regrets. I haven’t really listened to it since it came out but it represents that time in our lives perfectly. It is strange though, the albums which have followed aren’t as messed up and ugly but the situations that gave birth to the newer songs are weirder, more fucked and ugly. But yeah, I wouldn’t change a thing.

You describe your home town of Brisbane as desolate and depressing . . . C’mon, have you ever been to Wolverhampton? Surely things can’t be that bad?

Never been to Wolverhampton. We don’t describe out town as desolate and depressing. I think whoever wrote the PR stuff which went with Howlin’ Gang LP wrote that sentence. Brisbane can be a little desolate and depressing but I wouldn’t describe it as that as a first thought. ‘Hellhole’ comes to mind.

Every feature on Slug Guts mentions The Birthday Party – But I hear more of The Cramps singing The Triffids – what have Slug Guts got in their influence satchel?

I think as time goes by I have realized no matter what we do, writers always mention the Birthday Party. I think it is misguided and lazy and happens because of the fact both bands are from Australia and play/played a musical form that is rooted in southern American music. Obviously, both bands explore a musical terrain that isn’t complete opposites, but at the same point lyrically, aesthetically and musically the two bands do not share much in common. The Triffids are brilliant, but at some points they are so heinously dated and sound like a Perth Tourism commercial, but they are great. We also sound nothing like them.

Who do Slug Guts rate in the rich tapestry that is Australian punk rock lineage?

As in old timers? Venom P, Feedtime, Whirlywirld, Laughing Clowns, Leftovers, Buffalo, Primitive Calculators, Xero, Sunnyboys.

There’s a lot of talk these days of retro-fixated new bands – folks moaning there’s nothing new under the sun – as far as we’re concerned, influences are there to be transcended, and anyone who does it with grace, style, wit and passion is OK by us – which side of the bed do Slug Guts get out of in that argument?

You would like to think that in spite of rock music being the anus of all culture, and despite the fact there is only so much innovation left in rock and roll, and despite the fact white boys playing rock and roll is such a tired form – despite all this, I think what we do is an honest representation of us and us alone. So I think yes, we transcend our reference points.

The new LP, Howlin’ Gang shows up on US hipster outlet Sacred Bones, how did you pull that one off? And, what do you make of the other acts on their roster?

Caleb and Taylor from Sacred Bones got in touch, sent us a huge cheque and then flew us to America to wine and dine us. Other acts? Religious Knives, Pop12.80, Cult of Youth, Naked on the Vague, Circle Pit all write songs I can appreciate. Zola Jesus is gonna be a superstar.

In terms of sound, Howlin’ Gang shows a marked progression from Down On The Meat – how did that transpire?

We didn’t want to repeat ourselves. I think Howlin’ Gang sounds like that brief period where you don’t realize you are ruining your life, you are just having a good time. I think it is an optimistic record even though it was written in a time that wasn’t particularly optimistic or positive.

We understand the new LP was recorded pretty much ‘live’ in a few takes – you have a growing reputation as quick workers in a studio – is this dictated by costs, or is that the way you like to work?

I guess, both. We know what we are doing and can do it in a reasonably short time. The fact we have to hustle, beg, borrow and steal everything to make a record because money ain’t what we got loads of means when we go to record we always have 14 or so songs and we get it done within a couple of days.

The excellent ‘Down In The Morning Sun’ and ‘Angie’ augment your sound with female vocals and cello, recalling – on the former at least – early Triffids. Is this an aspect of your sound you help to develop further in the future?

No, I think that was solely for Howlin’ Gang. Although the third LP does have a few songs in that vein albeit more developed and slightly more downtrodden.

You recently played out in the States for the first time – how did you go down with US audiences?

America was wild and I think we kinda got into trouble more than we expected. There was fucked nights where we got into fights with Texan promoters who tried to rip us off, trips to the hospital, near deaths, stupid risks to get stupid shit, losing money, and getting hustled. But for all the bullshit we bring on ourselves, there were amazing shows – playing in Cleveland with Puffy Areolas and Sic Alps two nights in a row, playing with Psychedelic Horseshit in Ohio, The Sacred Bones show at SXSW, the phrase ‘Kurt Vile is worried about me’. Shit got even more wild than Japan, but we look out for one another so it is always six against anyone.

Have you got any plans to come to the UK soon?

I think we are touring Europe in November. We will be in the UK then for sure. Yes, we would love to stay at your house.

Considering the speed you guys work, can we expect LP number three by the end of the year?

The third LP is finished and just being mixed. A live LP just got released, or is about to, which is out through Negative Guest List Magazine. There is a 7” for the Hozac singles club due soon, too. The third LP might be a double LP or split in half to make the third and fourth LP – Use Your Illusion style.

What has the rest of 2011 got in store for Slug Guts?

I think hopefully another USA tour and Euro and finish the third record.

And finally, what other new Australian bands can you recommend to us?

HTRK (though they are more UK now) – the most interesting, bleak yet beautiful band Australia has produced in twenty years.  Lowlife, Repairs, UV Race, Blank Realm, Circle Pit’s new 7” “Honey”, Martyr Privates – there is some real shit coming out – real jams.

SLUG GUTS on Facebook

To Order Howlin’ Bones direct, click HERE

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Front page Garage Interviews Post-punk Rock Tags:, , , ,
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Tyvek – ‘Nothing Fits’

(album, In The Red, 2010)

What made 1976/77 so enthralling was the divide that appeared in your record collection almost overnight. Suddenly, it wasn’t OK for new records to be in the same pile as old records. There was a musty smell, the danger of contamination, the insatiable urge to purge the old ways from your stash without delay. I can still recall rocking up at Renton’s Records in Leamington Spa, sometime in 1977, with a bunch of Led Zep, Sabbath, Deep Purple, Quo and Rainbow LPs, leaving with Damned Damned Damned and Rattus Norvegicus . . . or something like that, I can’t recall the details, it really was a long time ago. So long, in fact, that I’d totally forgotten what it felt like. I’d forgotten how significant generational divides in music are once they open up. They’re like time/space interface power chasms. They suck new energy in to feed off and expel cynical attitudes that have been around too long, seen it all before, heard it all before, got the fucking t-shirt, and the 27-CD boxset and the limited edition tea towel collection. It’s a kind of cleansing process. Cultural cleansing? We used to call them boring old farts, or BOFs. I wonder what they call us now?

This record has been around a few months now. I’m not claiming to have discovered it. I was alerted to its unquestionable brilliance by those hep cats over at Terminal Boredom, my punk rock one-stop web interface of choice. A quality periodical. Their round up of 2010 had more than a couple of field notes on Tyvek. The pull was impossible to ignore – Gravitational, almost. In The Red is also a quality label, home to erstwhile trakMARX collaborators, Black Time, so any risk was minimal. Anyway, a quick shuftie through Soundcloud/MySpace/You Tube confirmed what I already expected: Tyvek punk rock! 

So, it was with much anticipation that I patiently awaited the arrival of the postman (the post-modern equivalent of going to the record shop – is it as exciting? – answers on a cyber postcard). The record duly arrived, and the first spin blew me the fuck away. Back in the noughties, I was constantly advocating LPs of under 45-minutes duration, genuflecting against the CD-led trend of pointlessly expanding albums to meet the maximum material threshold (part of my future thesis: How The CD Format Destroyed Rock and Roll). The thing about this wave of young bands – B-Lines, White Lung, Homostupids (to name but three) – is that their records are over in under twenty minutes. How’s that for short attention span consideration? A wave that’s sensitive to the rapid rise in personality disorders! This is 2011; these kids are in a hurry – get the fuck on with it – or get off the stage!

Clocking in at a (comparatively) self-indulgent twenty-six minutes, ‘Nothing Fits’ holds twelve songs, mostly around the two-minute-mark. ‘Outer Limits’ is the longest, at a gargantuan 4:52; it’s almost Fucked Up worrying in its relative complexity! Relax – there are no concepts going down here. No mini-opera pretensions. This is paint-stripping punk rock of the punk fun variety. No political convictions, no Crass logos on the backs of their guitars, no Discharge or Heresy t-shirts moshing in the pit with Tyvek. No, this is artcore, dumbfuck, angulated, addiction in vinyl format. Just Google ‘4312’, and, if you dig that, buy the LP without delay. It’s easy, Amazon have it. No fucking around with import mail order, no postal charges that are more expensive than the record itself. One click. A couple of days wait, and you too can experience the total brilliance of Tyvek, live (kind of), in your own living room. 

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably thinking: why doesn’t he just tell us they sound like the so-and-sos covering the what-cha-ma-call-it’s on speed/smack/ketamine (deletes as appropriate) and get the fuck over this shit, I’ve got a life to lead. Well, you lazy-arsed motherfuckers, this time it ain’t that easy. Put a bit of effort into the process yourselves, and go do a bit of research. Along with B-Lines and White Lung, Tyvek are ruling my world right now, and I didn’t zone in on them by wandering into WH Smiths, casually browsing Mojo, and then nipping into HMV before meeting the lads for a crafty latte at Starbucks. You want quality rock and roll that ticks all the right boxes without sucking all the wrong cocks? Then get up off your comfort blanket, take that fucking dummy out of your mouth, and fight the fuck back. Life moves fast. Sometimes you have to stand back and take a look around, or you may miss it. Take a leaf out of Ferris Bueller’s book: take a day off!

Tyvek on MySpace

Tyvek on Facebook

In The Red Records

Terminal Boredom

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Music Punk Tags:, , , , ,
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B-Lines – s/t

(album, Deranged Records, 2011)

Hailing from Vancouver, four strong Canadian upstarts B-Lines know a thing or two about punk rock insurrection. Their debut long-player is anything but lengthy, with a total of just nine songs. A typical track runs about a minute in length (the longest on the LP is 1:54). The LP flies by in just under twelve minutes. I played it three times back-to-back on the way to work this morning.

Stating their primary objective as ‘doing shows’, B-Lines claim to be inspired by a shared love of vinyl and cassette tape culture. The band are allegedly pinning their hopes on their collective ‘bad taste’ confining them to eternal ‘obscurity’. We like that! Rolling self-confessed influences such as Red Kross, The Angry Samoans and The Descendents into a silver king-sized Rizla, B-Lines forge a sound that strips cobwebs at will, and in these increasingly convoluted and over-produced digital times, that’s half the battle won from the get go!

When you grab a copy of this from iTunes, be sure and download a copy of The B-Lines EP  ‘n’all. That way you get another six songs, including the morontastic ‘Social Retard’, and the rather splendid ‘Dryer Fire’. Then you can take time to track down a vinyl copy on Deranged Records, but don’t hang around, there are only 500 copies!

In terms of sonic lineage, B-Lines riffs are spiky, their guitars sound immaculate. The bass cuts space like benzodiazepines cut heroin. The drummer could give Animal from The Muppets a run for his money. The songs have titles like ‘Hastings Strut’, ‘Psychedelic High School’ and ‘World War Four’. The singer yelps and shouts, in fits and starts. The music surges then falters, the tempo rarely alters. It’s all over before you know what’s mugged you, time for another hit.

As you may have noticed by now, I have resisted the temptation to conform to post-modern-standard-music-hack-technique and inflict personal observations with regard to who B-Lines remind me of, or who I consider they ‘sound’ like. In the current climate, the words ‘punk’ and ‘rock’ should surely suffice. All you need from me is my assurance that if you like Punk Rock and you trust my judgement, then B-Lines is a record you should move heaven and earth to own. It’s the perfect companion piece to Tyvek’s ruling Nothing Fits (In The Red, 2010). No comparisons, no hyperbole, no generalisations, no hacking jacket required. B-Lines: punk rock and fucking roll.

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Music Punk Tags:, ,
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Letting The Train Take The Strain

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Simon Morgan's Secret War

Record shopping is not what it used to be, and with a mere handful of interesting places to buy interesting vinyl left in the entire country, a trip to that London is becoming a necessary regular evil. Besides, Brighton is too far for a day return! Anyway, thanks to the wonders of postmodern public transport, even for a sad-sack-yokel like me, the rail connection to our capital’s handful of visionary vinyl vendors is smooth, simple to access, and, all things considered, relatively cheap (including a London Underground all-day-travel-card). Dragging ourselves from bed at an ungodly weekend hour, circa 8am, the short drive to Warwick’s handy Parkway station meant we were walking through a busy Soho by 10.30, heading for Sister Ray Records on Berwick Street. 

Despite its excellent reputation, Sister Ray is a real disappointment. The staff are arrogant, the stock grubby and poorly displayed. They seem to pride themselves on their range of genres, but sadly avoid being definitive in any one of them, asking very pertinent questions of their buyer. They stocked none of the items on my wants list, and, despite spending £45 on a bunch of Sacred Bones releases; I still couldn’t wait to leave the establishment. Their second hand vinyl 45s were pricey too! Won’t be wasting any time there on our next trip.

The Soho venture was redeemed by an independent record market further along Berwick Street populated by stalls from Rough Trade, Heavenly, Mute and a whole bunch of others. Dudes like Steve Lamacq, Jarvis Cocker and other BBC Radio 6 Music faces are kicking around, hanging out, signing stuff. We swerve a beardy Jarvis, failing to ask for an autograph, and score sorely needed repress copies of both The Manic Street Preacher’s ‘Motown Junk’ and The Normal’s ‘TVOD’ (on white vinyl!). Phone calls are placed, plans made, wants lists consulted, stock levels checked at both Rough Trades, East & West. Should we truck west, or tube it east. A Black vinyl copy of White Lung’s ‘It’s The Evil’ dictates out fate, and we tube it east to Brick Lane, and the anti-establishmentarian institution that is Rough Trade East. 

My long suffering girlfriend has a long established relationship with RTE, she likes to drink their coffee and people-watch, while I get lost amongst the racks and the shelves, and the t-shirts and the books, and the fanzines and the nice security men. She holds the filled bags, I try my best to fill more! White Lung vinyl requirements fulfilled, a rifle through the US and Canadian 45s section is rewarded with several 7″ gems, and one or two stock items too. Enlisting the help of a very amenable staff member, a few risks are taken, some of them work out, some of them don’t, read below to find out which discs have outlived their initial first day buzz to resonate their way into my psyche!  Time elapsed since entry: one hour! The verdict: Rough Trade East is well worth the trek, a very worthy diversion off the beaten path. Total spend: £37.

In a bid to placate said by now already wilting fair female, we diverted south to Tate Modern in an expensive taxi, taking a phone call along the way from Eyeplug editor, Dick Porter, a man who will avoid a trip to London at any cost. The synchronicity of this is noteworthy. On arrival at the Tate, we lunched expensively but satisfyingly, and took a leisurely stroll through a veritable cornucopia of surrealism and modernity, in many varied mediums. Having surrealed out in the free galleries, we thus failed to use our freebie issue Art Pass cards to access the Joan Miro exhibition, which was a disappointment – we’d planned using the cards to get into something free, one of our major shared hobbies! Still, we did get to aggravate a Tate Staff member by stepping over one of the white wires for a photo opportunity, which was rewarding. With two hours left to retail closing time, a hike north in respect of All Ages Records, Camden, was not hypothetically out of the question.

Leaving the Tate, we strode north across the wobbly bridge to St Paul’s tube station, and, ere long, via a brace of train changes, we were on Camden High Street. The first friendly face I saw on exiting the tube station, I approached, asking for directions to Pratt Street. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be none other than Mike Matthews, erstwhile snapper and ex-pat of the SuponA Massive. Doncha just love it when that happens? Miles from home, in the middle of a jam-packed retail environment, and the first face you see is an ex-jeweler from your own parish. Small world, wouldn’t want to paint it. 

A matter of minutes later, I was digging through the crates in All Ages, picking out gems and ticking off items. A treasure trove of an emporium, the store is rammed to the hilt with punk rock vinyl, CDs, fanzines and t-shirts from all over the globe. Conscious of the time my other half had been taking tea at a nearby cafe, I restricted myself to 45-minutes browsing, and therefore didn’t have time to ask the proprietor to play any stuff for me, but still had time to spend £27. 

Mission accomplished, bags bulging, it was time for tired legs to head tube-ward and cross the capital to Marylebone. In less than two hours we’d be home, furiously spinning vinyl, jumping about manically. Here’s a summation of selections captured en route for your delectation and guidance:

Slug Guts – ‘Howlin’ Gang’ – Sacred Bones LP

 

 Slug Guts bust out of Brisbane with a bunch of Antipodean antecedents burning a hole in their leather pants. They crash on your carpet, skin up some early Birthday Party vibes in a bunch of Cramps embossed Rizlas, dress up as Crime, and proceed to roll a fat one that cuts a new genre hole all of its own. They have the walk, the talk, and can quite possibly do both at once. Tremolo arms whirling like Burt Wheedon on brown, baritone lead vocals augmented in places by a couple of female voices that lend an affecting maturity to proceedings. Drenched in reverb, recorded in pretty much one take, this is the band’s second LP, and a massive stride on from the lurching, gurgling oppression of their debut. This sounds like nothing else around at the moment, it has the authority and the uniqueness to stand out from the roster down at Sacred Bones Records, the NYC hipsters’ hipster label of choice. In the best tradition of all essential Australian punk rock, this is happening out of kilter with the rest of the planet, without anyone’s permission whatsoever. Awesome/then some!

http://www.myspace.com/sluggutshowlin

B R A I N  F≠ – ‘Restraining Order’ & ‘So Dim’ – 7″ 45s

‘Restraining Order’ b/w ‘God No’ – out NOW on London’s STATIC SHOCK RECORDS – ‘So Dim’ b/w “Symptom Set’ – out NOW on Richmond’s GRAVE MISTAKE RECORDS

Brain F≠ punk rock their way out of Charlotte, North Carolina, with these two enormously powerful 7″ 45s. All four songs pass in a blur of seconds. Distorted guitars, tub-thumping drums, rolling-thunder bass, barely audible male/female vocal exchanges. Grubbing about in the margins between the grooves are tunes of sorts, buried, interred within a coffin of crust. The energy is where it’s at, here, the vibe is heavy, the effect is heady. Both of these 45s are mandatory purchases for anyone interested in the future of punk rock as a viable art form. Every time you spin these records, another layer is stripped away to reveal a striking beauty lurking beneath the waves of nausea. If Flats are the UK’s most authentic punkers right now, then Brain F have got to be the USA’s answer to global hipster terminal boredom.

http://disdisdistort.com/brainf/

Hitler SS / Tampax – E.P. 7″

Fucking amazing repress of the first ever Italian punk rock record – a split 33 EP! Both bands offer dirty, filthy ditties that are never going to last  (two from Tampax, three from Hitler SS – and in the case of Hitler SS), that much is true – this was their one and only record! Tampax did progress to soak up their influences and discharge them over several later releases, but collector scum and purists alike rate this as one of the most toxic KBD releases ever, and I’m very happy with my repress. Originals go for what sensible people call silly money.

Authorities – Soundtrack For Trouble – E.P. 7″

This is another gem of an EP from these hardcore pioneers from 1982. ‘I Hate Cops’, ‘RadiationMasturbation’, ‘Achtung’, ‘Shot In The Head’, ‘Between The Thighs’, ‘LSD’ – every one a winner. Apply the tourniquet – six shots in the punk rock arm – six excellent reasons to search out this revolutionary record. 

Get Hip Recordings – www.gethip.com

Sauna Youth – Youth EP & Lists EP – 7″

Brighton’s Sauna Youth knock out a very engaging variation on garage punk that sounds Childishly simple, yet devastatingly effective. Two EPs, seven songs, no CDs in sight. All boxes ticked. This lot have that truly independent ethic, a la Flats, nailed to the floor with six inch spikes. Of the two EPs, Youth is the punkier, and Lists the more Garage – there’s a kind of grubby mod thing going on here somewhere too, but I can’t quite put my finger on it! 

After a string of limited edition cassette releases and one 7″, Brighton punks Sauna Youth have taken the next step in their recording career and have gone concept: ‘This record concerns itself with sex, death and the frustrations created by the practical necessities of banal life.’ 

Side A is about desire and detachment. The flip provides contrast to the fleeting highs and lows; the middle ground, the broken grey. The necessity of dull interaction in everyday life. 

http://sexbeatlondon.com/2011/03/09/sauna-youth-lists/

Brutal Knights – Blown 2 Completion – Deranged Records  LP

Brutal Knights return with their best yet – brutal, hardcore, catchy as herpes, funny as fuck on toast. An Albertos Y Los Trios Paranoias for a new era? 12 cuts of wittily expressed observational sarcasm delivered with infectious aplomb. The riffs are riotous, the lyrics as stupid dumb as they are sharp, and all elements combine in no time at all to make you turn the record over and start again. Crammed full of life-tips such as the importance of relaxing, taking regular breaks, shit tattoos, not watching your parents fuck, hanging around shopping malls, what a twat Charlie Sheen is . . . all very highbrow, all very entertaining, and all jolly raucous to boot!

http://www.derangedrecords.com/index.php/home/

Simon Morgan – Eyeplug – May 2011

Simon Morgan

Punk rocker, folk strummer, baby social worker, and parent, Simon Morgan is a polymath. He has brought you many things in his time – as Jean Encoule he created the legendary trakMARX website, but has now stepped from behind his alter ego to reveal his true, vibrant colours. Despite having gone prematurely orange, he maintains a youthful open-mindedness, which he combines with his vast experience and ready wit. His debut solo album, Domestic Abuse is now available.“Spirit/Is Life/It flows through/The death of me/ Endlessly/Like a River/ Unafraid/Of Becoming/The sea.” (Gregory Corso)

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Articles Culture Features Garage Genres Music Post-punk Punk Shopping Tags:, , , , , , , , ,
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