Blaggers I.T.A . – Guns Of Brixton EP

Guns Of Brixton sleeveArtist: Blaggers I.T.A.
Title: Guns Of Brixton
Source: Vinyl 1-sided 7″ EP
Bitrate: FLAC
Running time (h:m:s): 00:03:13
Size (mb): 22.1
Label: Disinformation
Cat. No: BITA2
Year: 1992

As an extra bonus for the Blaggers lovers, here’s the one-sided EP with their dubby bass-heavy version of The Clash’s ‘Guns Of Brixton’. As with most things Clash-inspired, I have a soft spot for this clever reworking. It was released on the label their manager set up after they were made persona non grata in the music biz world and dropped by EMI, mostly for Matty Blag’s altercation with a poncy journo from Melody Maker who was fucking stupid enough to accuse him of still being a fascist.

OP’s opinion: Four

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If you are the copyright owner and want us to take down your music, just click here and let us know. We’re really not trying to piss anyone off, we just want to share rare and out-of-print music with people who want to hear it.

Ramraiders I.T.A. – Wildside EP

Artist: Ramraiders I.T.A.
Title: Wildside
Source: Vinyl 7″ EP
Bitrate: FLAC
Running time (h:m:s): 00:07:11
Size (mb): 49.3
Label: Fluffy Bunny Records
Cat. No:
Year: 1992

Ramraiders A

Here’s another little vinyl rarity that’s long had a loving home at Old Punk Towers. This EP, recorded by the Blaggers, was a bootleg put out by their previous label under the Ramraiders name (presumably as some kind of protest) when they signed to EMI, and it features two tracks they laid down as a demo for the big boys. It’s pretty ballsy to include a track honouring the 10 dead IRA hunger strikers when you’re pitching to a major, but typical Blaggers style – this is us, deal with it. I’m glad these tracks saw the light of day in this form – the slightly rough ‘n’ ready sound and mix make these strong tracks that stand out in their own right among the more polished studio stuff.

I’ve already raved about how crucial I think the Blaggers were and still are – that sounds-from-the-streets mix of punk and dance coupled with a pitbull attitude that’ll see you through the tough times as well as the good. Expect nothing less from this cut too.

Ramraiders AA

OP’s opinion: Four half

Click here to request the download link.

If you are the copyright owner and want us to take down your music, just click here and let us know. We’re really not trying to piss anyone off, we just want to share rare and out-of-print music with people who want to hear it.

AOS3 – On A Knight Train 12″ EP

AOS3 - On A Knight Train labelArtist: AOS3
Title: On A Knight Train
Source: Vinyl 12″ EP
Format: FLAC
Running time (h:m:s): 00:15:00
Size (mb): 100
Label: Inna State
Cat. No: I.S. TV002
Year: 1996

With the British summer seemingly over, I needed something a bit warm and cuddly to perk me up so grabbed this and threw it on the platter. It’s been quite a while since I’d heard it and I’d forgotten just how chirpy it is. Don’t expect the usual AOS3 sound if you grab this – the remixers, Zion Train and Knights Of The Occasional Table, take these tracks on a dancey mission that nicely exemplifies how the punks and ravers could ‘get it on’ when the mood took ’em.

It seemed a shame to keep these uplifting beeps and bleeps to myself so, whether it’s grey or sunny outside, grab these and give yourself a drug-free boost (unless, like me, it’s too late for the drug-free bit).

OP’s opinion: Three half

Click here to request the download link.

If you are the copyright owner and want us to take down your music, just click here and let us know. We’re really not trying to piss anyone off, we just want to share rare and out-of-print music with people who want to hear it.

Blyth Power – A Little Touch Of Harry In The Night LP

When I first got this as a demo tape (remember them?) sometime in the mid-80’s I’d already fallen in love with the band. I caught them live in the early days and had a blast. Semi-serious sillyness for the fun of it spliced to some simple leg-stomping tunes guaranteed a good time, and that’s pretty much been the case every time since. It’s a musical path they haven’t really deviated from over the years, but why mess with a winning formula? I’ve got to say, though, that this remains my favourite BP release and era.

My copy went to cassette heaven way back but, while it lived, it was never far from whatever playback device I had to hand. When it finally gave up the ghost I felt like a little bit of me had died too. It had been the soundtrack to many good times, and I had hoped it would continue that way forever (or at least until rigor mortis set in). Not so many years later, the internet gave me the chance to find a reasonable rip, complete with all of its slightly wobbly, muddy hissiness. But the sound quality didn’t really matter anyway, it was something I was already well-accustomed to. I was just happy to have these songs back in my life.

Now the internet has come up trumps again. A few days back I saw a post on a forum where someone mentioned they’d just got hold of a vinyl pressing of ‘Harry’ and it immediately grabbed my attention. Was it a bootleg copy of a knackered old tape, someone chancing their arm to make a quick buck, or was it something more? A quick bit of Googling detective work and, from what I could work out, it looked like a bloke called Paco, along with Sean (Wat Tyler / Hard Skin), had pressed this and, from what others were saying, they’d done a sterling job on it. So I got in touch and sent Paco the cash (along with some more for a limited coloured slab of Hard Skin live) and the next day I had it in my hands.

This is, without doubt, the ultimate version of ‘Harry’. It sounds even fresher than I remember from the first time I played the virgin tape, and totally blows any of the subsequent mp3 rips I’ve heard out of the water (with one noticeable exception that I found just yesterday over on Mr. Embryo’s blog). What’s even more incredible is that this was remastered from one of those tapes and not from the studio originals. It’s pretty impressive what can be achieved in the hands of a skilled engineer. OK, it’s not hifi, but remember this is from a time when punks didn’t have access to fancy places with shit-hot kit and had to do things on a pretty tight shoestring, in this case using a 4-track portastudio (admittedly the shoestring’s still there but you can get a fuck of a lot more for it these days). I like that home-made rawness in my music now and again, and this is a perfect example.

As well as some nice well-pressed plastic, it comes with a glossy card fold-out poster covered with interesting blurb and pics and a copy of the booklet that accompanied the tape. The cover is a simple shiny black ‘n’ white affair with the original artwork on the front and a great old photo of the band on the back. It also bears the immortal words ‘Pay No more Than £6’! All in all, if BP float your boat then get in touch with Paco now (he’s a very friendly bloke to deal with) and prepare to fall in love (again).

OP’s opinion: Five

Download sample track – In The Ffucke-Masticke Room
Blyth Power website
Buy from La Vida Es Un Mus

Amebix – Redux 12″ EP

Amebix Redux cover
If I need to introduce you to the Amebix, then something’s gone very wrong with your punk rock education. Hit Google, read and learn, and you’ll quickly realise that they’re one of the most crucial bands in our history. They’re lumped in with the anarcho crew but that really does them a bit of a disservice – the band were well beyond the norm for the time. They were only around for a handful of years and their recorded output from back then amounts to not much more than a couple of EPs, a 12″ and a couple of albums. But what records they are. The music has far more weight and power to it than most of their contemporaries, thanks in no small part to the band’s love of Killing Joke and British heavy metal. It’s ethereal guitars layered with eerie synths, tribal drums and a bass that drills to your bones. And the words, semi-gutteral utterances that flow through the soundscape, simply add to the very real sense of menace and foreboding as they seep into your mind, before erupting into screams of defiance that, just in the nick of time, rip you from the clutches of the almost-suffocating darkness forged by the preceding sonic assault.

Now, more than 20 years on, the band have got back together. It’s not quite the original set-up, with Roy Mayorga (ex-Nausea, Sepultura etc.) replacing their last drummer Spider, but two-thirds is more than good enough. The Amebix have done with this release what I didn’t think was possible – they’ve raised the bar. None of these are new tunes, instead they’re reworkings of four classics from the old days – ‘Arise’, ‘Winter’ and ‘Chain Reaction’ on the vinyl, with ‘Progress?’ (live version from the forthcoming album & DVD) added to the free digital download included in the package. Using all of the wisdom of the intervening years coupled with access to decent kit and an engineer who seems to understand exactly what the band are trying to do, they’ve built a behemoth of a record. Every aspect has been polished to perfection, each nuance enhanced without losing an ounce of the original strength and feeling. It is, quite simply, fucking awesome.

Beyond the noise, the vinyl is black heavyweight virgin plastic, the cover is a beautiful matt affair with simple but stunning new artwork and a suitably moody picture of the band on the back, there’s a glossy inner with more incredible design, along with the lyrics and a bit of back story to the release, not forgetting the aforementioned free download card (my only criticism – why is it only at a mediocre mp3 bitrate?) and a unique and high-quality embroidered 5″x6″ patch for instant authentic crustiness.

Trust me, if you know what this band were capable of more than twenty years back then you are in for an absolutely intense aural orgasm when your stylus makes sweet love with this adorable beast.

OP’s opinion: Five

Download sample track – Winter (160kbs mp3)
Amebix website
Buy from Profane Existence (also available as CD but with no patch or analogue gorgeousness).

Left For Dead – Humanity CD

Left For Dead coverOnce upon a time, punk rock turned up uninvited and gatecrashed polite society. Before too long, spiky herberts everywhere took the sound and attitude and really made it theirs. And so street punk was born, not on the lucrative mainstream circuit but in dodgy clubs and ropey pubs frequented by ne’er-do-wells of every shade. The music was raw but tuneful, created as much for a good time and a sing-a-long as for the propaganda within (and some bands didn’t even bother with the second part). Since then, many bands, both full honours graduates from the university of life (Stage Bottles, The Restarts) and playschool poseurs (Rancid, The Casualties), have kept the street spirit alive. As it happens, I generally seem lucky enough to find plenty of the mature efforts from the former (even though I don’t mind the odd bit of the latter), and such is the case with LFD.

Lyrics are upfront and direct, dealing with the whole stinking mess that is ‘the system’ without being too preachy or too intellectual. Why waste oxygen when sometimes a simple ‘fuck off!’ is all that’s needed? That’s not to say they don’t use deeper ideas when the situation demands, but they still manage to keep it all short ‘n’ sweet. Each song challenges the restrictions that the current social order places on us and, more importantly, the ones we put on ourselves by playing along with and accepting the way things are.

When it comes to the tunes it’s definitely old-school flavoured, very reminiscent of UK punk circa 80-82. The guitar is a solid rock-out affair, distortion without destruction, and layered with some catchy fretboard runs, bass riffs are clean, fluid and in plentiful supply, while the drums are well-constructed without being flamboyant. The vox are nicely delivered by the mutant offspring of Frankie Stubbs and Lemmy with the full force demanded from the sound. The production is sweet enough, not overly polished and in keeping with the feel, although I would personally prefer a slightly sharper top end on some of the percussion, just to lift it a bit in places. That’s a minor quibble though, and overall I found the whole disc most pleasurable.

The packaging is right up my street, with some smooth black ‘n’ white work by Kieran Restart on the sleeve and fold-out poster (which also contains the lyrics), a photo of the band you can use to scare small children away, and all lovingly wrapped up in a semi-matt card digipak. Bonus points are also awarded for the fact they promote the use of Kentish cider, a simpler tipple when compared to our complex West Country brews but still a much-loved part of the family.

For people who also like: The Ruts, One Way System, Abrasive Wheels

OP’s opinion: Three half

Download sample track – We Don’t Need You
Left For Dead Myspace
Buy from Active Distribution

V.A. – The ABC Of Anarchy

Artist: Various Artists
Album: The ABC Of Anarchy
Year: August 2010
Genre: Anarcho Punk
Codec: LAME 3.92 (mp3)
Bitrate: 320K/s 44100Hz Joint Stereo
Notes: Even though the download is in 320kbps not all the originals were. It’s nothing major, just letting you know.

Track Listing
01) Tortured And Abused [Antisect]
02) Riot Style [Bored]
03) Berkshire Cunt [Conflict]
04) Unemployment [DIRT]
05) Operation Successful [Exit Stance]
06) Poem / Tube Disasters [Flux Of Pink Indians]
07) Time Bomb [G.B.H.]
08) Cosmetic Plague [Human Error]
09) Success On A Plate [Icons Of Filth]
10) Banned From The Roxy [Jeffrey Lewis]
11) It’s Our World Too [Karma Sutra]
12) Sea Of Desecration [Legion Of Parasites]
13) Another Day, Another Death [The Mob]
14) One Step Forward [Naked]
15) Man Made [Omega Tribe]
16) Jump Mama Jump [Poison Girls]
17) Q: And Children? A: And Children. [Discharge]
18) B Ward [Rudimentary Peni]
19) Rats [Subhumans]
20) Police Brutality [Toxik Ephex]
21) Tube Disasters (Flux Cover) [UK Subs]
22) Indo-China (Crucifix Cover) [Varukers]
23) Fuck The System (X.S. Cover) [Wat Tyler]
24) Fuck The System [X.S.]
25) Power [Youthanasia]
26) Fear (Live) [Zounds]

Here’s another compilation for your listening pleasure. This one is an ‘ABC’ of anarcho punk bands. I did have a nice idea for the track list but it all went a bit tits up at the letter Q so I’ve had to use a little artistic license 😉 This is actually all mixed together into one big mp3 file. Unfortunately I couldn’t use my decks as I don’t have all the vinyl so it was done on my laptop using Audacity, a free audio editor. It goes on for around an hour and I’ve included some covers if you want to burn yourself a copy.