Subhumans, Bristol 02.08.12

I spent a very pleasant few hours in the company of around 100 other folk and three cracking bands a few weeks ago. As well as the ageless Subhumans, support came from local loudmouthed ska-punkers Spanner and the superbly shouty Grand Collapse (my first chance to see ’em in action – very impressed by their tight, face-melting anarcho-hardcore sound). Here are a few pics (none of Spanner, but you’ll find around a gazillion on their own site). Click to make ’em bigger.

Grand Collapse

Cal

Bruce

Dick and Phil

Trotsky

Subhumans

Pro Patria Mori – Where Shadows Lie Demo Tape & Lament Of The Damned

Source: Tape
Format: FLAC
Running time (h:m:s): 00:16:58 (Where Shadows Lie) / 00:04:55 (Lament…)
Size (mb): 128
Label:
Cat. No: BRITPLOD2 (Where Shadows Lie) / none (Lament…)
Year: 1986 (Where Shadows Lie) / 1987 (Lament…)

Where Shadows Lie Side 1:
1. Where Shadows Lie
2. But A Child
3. Far Too Long
4. The Question (Chains Of Guilt)

Where Shadows Lie Side 2:
1. Intro
2. Clockwork Mind
3. Standing In The Hall Of Vanity
4. Lost In The Voices

Where Shadows Lie tape cover

If the internets died tomorrow I wouldn’t weep too many tears, for I have finally obtained my punk rock Holy Grail thanks to its myriad tentacles. The cousin of the bass player for Pro Patria Mori, the most criminally almost unheard of band in all of @-punkdom, somehow saw a post where I’d mentioned them and passed on the info to his relative. Said cousin, Paul, got in touch, we had a quick e-chat and next thing you know I’ve got my mitts on the cleanest ever rips of most of their recorded legacy (the first demo is still MIA).

The tracks on ‘Where Shadows Lie’ are nothing short of perfectly controlled fury. At a time when the metal edge was being taken on board by the @-punk crowd, PPM set a standard for others to aim for. Personally speaking, I don’t think anyone else did it quite as well. Even Antisect, for all the power hinted at in their later stuff, couldn’t quite hit the spot as sweetly or as competently as PPM did.

The ‘Lament’ track wasn’t brilliant to begin with, audio-wise – I remember Pete (guitar) having a good moan about the quality due to poor studio work. Nevertheless, once your ears adjust to it, the technical skill and lyrical strength on this track (originally intended for a comp that never happened if memory serves me right) showed a promising progression in their sound that sadly remained unfulfilled.

Paul has kindly given me permission to share these almost-unknown classics with you, and I would urge anyone passing through to grab them. Even if you’re one of the few who has/had the tapes, you’ll never have heard the tracks sounding this fucking awesome.

OP’s opinion: Five

Click here to request the link.

Finally, here’s a picture of the band playing live with a very young Old Punk (more hair, less fat) dancing around in the crowd:

PPM live with a young Old Punk

© Russ Snell

I’m the one on the far left. Some things never change.

More Misery Makes Me Happy!

Misery cover

Click for larger image

Responding to the earnest demands of aged aesthetes, veteran crusters Misery have had their recent DIY download-only release pressed on to vinyl by the good people at Inimical Records. Not any old vinyl, of course. It’s a double album, cut at 45rpm to ensure maximum heaviness, on beautiful grey splatter vinyl (limited to the first 200 who mailorder from Inimical, plain black after that), with a weighty matt card gatefold sleeve illustrated by Leffer that reflects the intricate monotones of the contents. Grey has never been so dynamic or intense.

The whole deal is only twelve Yankee bucks. Even with the postage across the pond, I got this beast for the equivalent of twenty quid. And that’s a price I’m more than happy to have paid.

OP’s opinion: Five (it gets the extra half an @ over the download for being a proper record with loads of class).

Anthrax – One Last Drop 7″

Anthrax cover

Click for larger image

No, not that one, the proper one.

This is a limited vinyl pressing (300, each numbered) of their first new studio tracks in 25 years, originally released on MCD in 2009. The band have put this out to raise money for Bradford’s legendary ‘1 in 12 Club‘, who are facing large bills for essential safety work on their building.

Which means the first thing you’ll get for your money is a warm glow from having helped out a punk institution.

You’ll also get a heavy fold-out card cover with a piece about the club, lyrics to both tracks and some classic Anthrax artwork. They even include the MCD for free. Oh, and there’s a record.

Never mind the 25 year gap, this is about as fresh as punk gets. The pace may have slowed a fraction but the urgency hasn’t diminished one bit. The A side has a really powerful sound, almost an Oi! feel but with more depth to it. The flip is more traditionally moody @-punk, perked up with a simple semi-acoustic refrain along the way. The whole thing is like the second EP on steroids, and I’m really impressed with the progression. I’d even go as far as saying that, as a whole package, it’s the best thing they’ve done to date.

The whole deal is £4 plus postage direct from the band at anthrax_uk@hotmail.com or buy it on ebay for a little bit more.

OP’s opinion: Five

Squat The Lot!

Squatingt benefit CD poster

I’ve been using whatever remnants of knowledge and wisdom I have in my head to help a young punk put this benefit compilation together. And I’m very excited by how it’s turning out.

There are some great acts involved, covering the whole gamut of punk, ska, folk and other related noise, and they’ve all given their time and tracks for free. Things like this just reinforce why punk will always be a central part of my life and why it’s about so much more than just the music.

Stay tuned for the release date, you’ll hear it here first.

Opposition Rising – Aftermathematics LP

Opposition Rising posterThis is the first vinyl release from the rapidly-expanding Riot Ska Records collective (among others), and it’s a great start for them.

Opposition Rising hail from Boston and band members have been heavily involved with the scene for many years. Their diverse tastes are reflected in the sound they’ve produced here, a pleasant cocktail of sharp old-school hardcore and dismetal with touches of what is probably best described as ska-crust. The production job is crisp without being too clean, very well suited to what they’re doing, and everything fits nicely into place.

The band have matched the noise to some creative and intelligent lyrics, which is exactly what you’d expect from folk who’ve been around the block a few times. There’s an an uncompromising attitude that could only really come from veterans of the social war. They’ve also made some conscious positive decisions about what DIY means to them when it comes to putting out their music in this day and age. It’s nice to see the old guard (still) setting the pace in political punk rock discourse.

Being a vinyl nut, I scooped up the limited edition swamp green version from Riot Ska. The other labels involved – Active Rebellion (UK), Crash Assailant Records (US), Pirates Press Records (US), Rodent Popsicle (US) and Tankcrimes Records (US) – have each got their own limited colour pressings too (and they’re all really nice). There are (not-so-limited) black copies available from the band’s own label, Opposition Records, and all of the above.

You may also be able to track down the free CD version or, if not, you can download it for absolutely nothing from the Bandcamp page.

For people who also like: Varukers, Toxic Narcotic, Mouth Sewn Shut

OP’s opinion: Four half

Opposition Rising website
Buy from the labels or from Iron Column Records (black version).

NB: the band also appear on a 4-way split 7″ with Embrace The Kill, In Defence and Hellmouth, which is also available from ICR.

A Year In My Ears 2011

Although I don’t think I’ve spent so much on new music this year when compared to last, what I have bought has been immensely satisfying. These ten releases have ended up doing multiple revolutions on various stereophonic devices around my house, and have definitely earned their keep.

Amebix – Sonic Mass LP (Easy Action Records). An album that was more than two decades in the making, and one that surpassed every expectation. There were some who didn’t ‘get’ this release, but I wasn’t one of them. Awesome on every level.

The Rebel Spell – It’s A Beautiful Future CD* (Rebel Time Records). Rebel Time have turned me on to some mighty fine noise coming out from the land of lumberjacks, and The Rebel Spell have continued that trend. Brilliantly tuneful and full of energy.

The Astronauts – Survivors LP (La Vida Es Un Mus). While the tracks on this release (a collection of their first 2 EPs and their side of a rare split) may be thirty years old, Paco at LVEUM has given them a new lease of life on this album. Off-the-wall kinda-folk-flavoured tunes for those willing to go on a punk rock adventure.

Burnt Cross – Break The Law, Not The Poor EP* (various labels). Two brothers with a mic, a guitar and a portastudio give Conflict a run for their money. When you want your punk rock old-school, no-nonsense and full-on, the Marriott boys should be near the top of your list. Like here.

Spanner – Crisis LP* (Iron Column Records / various labels). Disclaimer 1 – I have a financial and emotional interest in this. Disclaimer 2 – I can’t be held responsible for any outbreaks of crazy dancing and/or revolutionary activity that may result from hearing it.

ATU / Oi Polloi split EP* (Profane Existence / Nikt Nic Nie Wie). The 7″ single has never been so dangerous! A handful of blitzkreig attack tracks from two of the hardest-working and most genuine bands in the scene, ripping into a range of very legitimate targets. Saw both bands this year and they rocked!

Defcon Zero – Music For Gluesniffers, Terrorists And The Mentally Ill CD* (Pumpkin Records). This would get a place for the title alone. As it happens, it’s also a cracking disc. No-frills rapidfire punk rock delivered with just the right balance of venom and humour.

Misery – From Where The Sun Never Shines DL (self-released on Bandcamp). This took almost 6 years to put together in a punk’s basement, in true DIY style. It was worth the time, for this is a mighty beast that sums up the band perfectly. Soon-to-be available on double-LP vinyl from Inimical Records (limited pressing on grey wax for mail order).

The Freebooters – Ordinary Level Oi! CD* (Distro-y Records). Every time I play this, I end up singing along at the top of my voice and smiling like a loon. Grade 1 Oi! for grade 1 haircuts.

VA – Prisoner Of War Benefit CD (no label). Released initially to raise funds for JJ (Active Slaughter’s guitarist who did time for animal lib activities), this CD is now carrying on the good work for anti-fascist prisoners. A great punk pick ‘n’ mix of tunes by a load of bands who haven’t forgotten what it’s really all about.

Not bad at all, eh?

* available to buy from Iron Column Records

Mixing It Up For The Indonesian Punks!

As mentioned a couple of days ago, I’ve put together a mix for my punk friends in Indonesia. It’s not much, but I hope that someone who’s had a bit of a shit time at the rough end of this theocratic fascism ends up with a smile on their face after listening to it. Same goes for you lot too.

1. Blaggers ITA – Emergency
2. Extinction Of Mankind – Fourth Reich Religion
3. Rudimentary Peni – Teenage Time Killer
4. Inner Terrestrials – 1066
5. Burnt Cross – Mob Violence*
6. PAIN – Propaganda And Information Network
7. Appalachian Terror Unit – Judgemental, Ignorant, Stupid And Blind*
8. Doom – Reasonable Force
9. Bender – People’s Army
10. Oi Polloi – Bash The Fash
11. Restarts, The – Bolloxology
12. Warprayer – White Over Red
13. Jesus Bruiser – Oh Really
14. Propagandhi – Technocracy
15. Autonomads, The – Cloud Song
16. Hellbastard – Massacre
17. SubHumAns – This Year’s War
18. Division’s Ruin – Resist And Occupy
19. Spanner – Quiet Life*

*these are available from Iron Column Records

All in FLAC format. Once you’ve unzipped them, you’ll find that it’ll all fit perfectly onto a CD-R. There are a couple of skips, a few pops and the occasional bit of background noise in places. This is because some of the vinyl is old, not all of it was particularly well-treated in the past, and / or I didn’t have time to give it a deep clean before ripping. Nor could I be arsed with cleaning up the rips afterwards. Keeps it real though, eh?

Some notes about each song (and a bit of showing off):

1. Taken from the ‘Blaggamuffin’ mini-LP, Words Of Warning WOWLP19, 1991
2. Taken from the ‘Northern Scum’ LP, Profane Existence Vinyl Retentive Series VR001, limited edition of 200, split red / black wax, 2007
3. Taken from ‘Rudimentary Peni’ 7″ EP, Outer Mongolian Records BOOBOO1, 1981
4. Taken from the ‘Enter The Dragon’ 10″ EP, Maloka MAL017, 2001
5. Taken from the ‘Break The Law, Not The Poor’ 7″ EP, Tadpole Records tadpole030, Lukket Avdeling Records LAR-014, Loud Punk Records LOUD23, Opiate Records Opiate15, Rawby Records RAWBY008, Active Rebellion ACT021, Arripurri Records (none), Schizo Zine (none), Höhnie Records (none), Rusty Knife Records (none), 2011
6. Taken from the ‘Our Universe Commences Here’ LP, Iron Man Records IMB6003, 2001
7. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Oi Polloi, Profane Existence Exist120, 2011
8. Taken from the untitled 2011 US tour EP, marbled wax, Black Cloud Records (none), 2011
9. Taken from the ‘People’s Army’ 7″ EP, Words Of Warning WOW39, limited edition of 500, clear red wax, 1994
10. Taken from the ‘Guilty 7″ EP, Ruptured Ambitions RA01, 1994
11. Taken from the ‘Outsider LP’, Rodent Popsicle Records RPR105, limited edition of 500, split red / white wax, 2007
12. Taken from the untitled split LP with Morne, Alerta Antifascista AA53, limited edition of 400, white wax, 2009
13. Taken from the ‘A Political Treatise In Six Parts’ 10″ EP, La Société Pue Prod, limited edition of 300, 2009
14. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Sacrifice, War On Music WOM017, 1st pressing of 1000 copies, 2010
15. Taken from the ‘No Mans Land’ LP, Ruin Nation Records BOLLOX024, Mass Productions MASS124, Pumpkin Records PUM022, 2010
16. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Dissent, Torture Garden Picture Company TG-39.0, limited edition of 500, purple splatter, 2010
17. Taken from the ‘Internal Riot’ LP, Bluurg Records FISH50, 2007
18. Taken from the untitled split LP with Easpa Measa, Contraszt! Records #18, Suburban Mayhem 003, Holy Shit Records (none), Distro-Y Records DY05, 2010
19. Taken from the ‘Crisis’ LP, Iron Column Records ICR1, limited edition of 100, split red / black wax, 2011

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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.

Misery – From Where The Sun Never Shines DL

Misery - FWTSNS coverBack with a bang after too many years, heavy crusters Misery return to show the young pups how it’s done.

Embracing the new audio world order, this is a download-only release. But that doesn’t mean getting lumbered with crappy bitrate mp3s. No, this one’s available in full studio glory FLAC. Burn it to CD and you’ve got exactly the same thing the boys heard at the mixdown.

And this really needs to be heard uncompressed. It’s a monster of a recording, made even more impressive by the fact that “the whole lot was recorded in the HOM [House Of Misery – OP] basement over a five year period by some pissheaded bastard that is far from a pro producer” (in the words of Jon Misery, who does himself a massive disservice). IMHO, it sets a new milestone in DIY and delivers an album that nicely expresses what the band are about and how they want to say it.

As you’d expect, there’s a clear Amebix influence on many of the tracks. But it’s no clone. Misery have taken the sound and then mutated it into their own creature. There are also clear nods to the early UK anarcho scene throughout, some gothy touches, and even a flavour of Blitz-style Oi! (albeit with added gravel) in parts.

Bass riffs are hammered home while the chugging and riffage are all-encompassing. The strings are fleshed out with some smart use of effects. For the most part, the drumming is pleasingly heavy, although I found the cymbals and hats to be a little too crashy and dominant at times. But that’s just me, I know that many others love that crasher percussion. Overall, the end result is a cavernously big sound that embraces the senses.

The apocalyptic lyrics are well-written and stand out from the over-simplified ‘war/oil/man bad, nature good’ style that’s overly common in this scene. They ask heavy questions and pose challenges to us all, but there are glimmers of hope within them, a recognition that we can take the power away from the fools and find it within ourselves too. The shared vocal delivery leaves no room to hide and makes sure the message is received loud and clear.

It’s nice to see them have a bit of fun too, with their own takes on New Model Army’s ‘The Hunt’ and Amebix’s ‘ICBM’. They do a top job on ’em.

This is a quality piece of work and, for only five quid ($8), should definitely find its way on to your hard drive at some point.

For people who also like: Bolt Thrower, Aus-Rotten, Instinct Of Survival

OP’s opinion: Four and a half

Download sample track – Autonomy (FLAC)
Misery website
Buy from the band

Remember The Time…? (Part 1, Maybe)

On a certain forum that I hang around on, someone asked folks to write about their three most memorable gigs. Seeing as I’ve still got a memory, I put it to good use. And, being the generous soul I am, I’m reposting what I remembered here for me, you and generations to come.

Wow, tough. But I’ll give it a go.

Top of the list has to be Conflict at the Brixton Academy in April 1987. A van-load of us travelled up to London after a day spent hunt sabbing, parked up and went for a couple of pints. We headed off, joined the queue, chatted to various friends, and soon found ourselves inside. We spent a decent amount of time chatting to more mates and looking over stalls, where I picked up a copy of The Apostles’ ‘Mob Violence’ EP (still got it, still regularly played) and a map of places to target if (hah!) it kicked off afterwards. We headed into the hall, and I was blown away by the scale of the whole thing. I’d never experienced an indoor gig on this magnitude! It was called the Gathering Of The 5000 for a good reason (or at least not far off). I mingled for a bit, caught up with more people, then the gig started.

First up, Thatcher On Acid, a brilliant start. Upbeat, dancey punk rock was just what was needed to get the evening going. Then it was poetry time with Benjamin Zephaniah, delivering blistering rhymes and sharp humour taking aim at the monarchy, the politicians, the cops, mixed in with uplifting verses about what a vegan eats. He certainly knew how to fire up a crowd!

Finally, after a full-on 20 minute build-up of videos and audio clips (like an extended version of the beginning of ‘The Ungovernable Force’ with added riot film!), Conflict hit the stage. The place went mental! It was the band at their absolute best, and the presence of Steve Ignorant on the stage simply added to the immensity of it all. I’ve never been so exhausted and exhilarated, physically and mentally, before or since.

Like most Conflict gigs, it ended pretty chaotically. Punks were getting on stage and diving off of ridiculously high speaker stacks, brawls were breaking out in the crowd and the venue sent security on stage, complete with Rottweilers. Outside, lines of riots cops, many with dogs, were waiting. We left the venue sharp and, because we’d dressed fairly straight (like many others), made it through the cops with no problems. It didn’t take long for the rowdier elements to make it out on the street and start giving it to the cops, who were only too pleased to reciprocate. What they hadn’t realised is that loads of us who’d got through had hung around. The cops were pretty surprised when they suddenly got hit from the back too. And I think they’d misjudged just how combative us punks had become as they were battered fairly heavily once a decent crowd had gathered.

Before long a mini-riot had spread to Brixton high street, made worse by the cops’ stupid decision to close the Tube station. While a few punks got a bit of a kicking off of the cops, they didn’t have it completely their own way and a few were hospitalised with broken bones. Quite a few corporate targets were hit too, while local shops were left well alone.

Eventually we made our way back to the van and home, everyone buzzing and wearing shit-eating grins. Best day ever.

Second up would have to be Crass in Reading, May 1982. I’d seen ’em a couple of times elsewhere before then, but this was my favourite because of the support – Annie Anxiety, The System, DIRT and Flux Of Pink Indians. I’d hitched to the venue with a mate and, although it was only 50 miles, it took us about 9 hours to hitch it. A lorry driver who had seen us walking out of town that morning picked us up late in the afternoon on his way back after we’d walked bloody miles! Luckily, he was going right past the venue so we made it in plenty of time.

As expected, it was a great night, even the weird Annie Anxiety bit (especially the weird Annie Anxiety bit, just for the reactions she caused among some so-called open-minded people), and all the bands were in top form. I got to jump and sing along to just about all of my favourite @-punk tunes of the day. Also, as expected, trouble broke out when around 40 nazi boneheads stormed in, started fighting anyone in sight and tried to rush the stage. They were still expecting the majority of the crowd to be pacifists. But things had changed and the punks stood their ground, aided by quite a few lefty Oi! skins who, like many, had @-punk mates. The boneheads got battered out of the building, and a couple who’d made it to the stage were soon seen off by Igs and Gary Dirt with a couple of well-aimed boots to the face. We got back to enjoying the rest of the gig, spent the night sleeping on Reading train station with a few others (back in the days when waiting rooms were left open and had heat), then bunked the first train back home.

My third choice is Crucifix in my home town, Southampton, in March 1984. I helped arrange this gig. It was supposed to be with MDC, but they’d been refused entry to the country. DIRT headlined and local band Polemic were also on the bill. I’d seen Crucifix a couple of months before in Brighton, along with Antisect (it’s the gig that ended up on the ‘Live In The Darkness‘ / ‘Hallo There’ How’s Life?’ LPs), and was massively impressed by ’em. They didn’t disappoint at this one either and, although there were only around a hundred people there, they gave it their all.

Crucifix were staying at my mum’s house afterwards, what we hadn’t planned for were the seven other guests who were staying too! We spent a couple of hours chatting away, sharing stories with people form all over the world (the guests included an Australian and a Kiwi, a Dutch couple and a lass from South America), before crashing out. Fortunately, my mum’s a star and was completely unfazed by waking up and finding 11 punks sleeping on every available bit of floor in the house. She made beans on toast and tea for everyone, and even offered to make sandwiches for the journey to Brighton for another gig at The Richmond. DIRT turned up in the rusty transit (hence Drunks In Rusty Transits) to collect everyone and I jumped in with ’em, off for another night of punk shenanigans. And that’s another story…

I love punk rock, it’s given (and continues to give) me some of my greatest times. It’s also allowed me to find some of the finest people on this planet. May it always be so.

(I’m thinking maybe I should do a bit more of this before the grey matter finally fails to keep up with my punk rock life. We’ll see.)

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