Firstly, a tip: Whatever you do, do not purchase the 100 Fanzines/10 Years of British Punk: 1976-1985 book recently published by PPP Editions. I guess it was published to coincide with some exhibition that happened a few months back where I assume a bunch of never-fucked-before simpletons oohhed and ahhed at such "raw imagery." This extremely fragile and flimsy piece of shit CONTAINS NO ACTUAL CONTENT FROM FANZINES. It’s just a bunch of covers for the things. What the hell’s that?
Though I’m hardly a geography major, I’m a bit lost as to what a cover of The Offense–a fanzine from Ohio in the early 80s–is doing in here. I mean, I had heard from folks older than me that the zine's editor, Tim Anstaett, had wished he was a limey, but that shouldn’t really factor into the production here. Along with all those glorious covers you get two essays from a couple ponces who act like making a fanzine in 1977 was like walking the Bataan death march. I hate to sound like Chris Jensen here, but this thing is about as punk as fucking with perfect posture.
And now we will talk about the debut four-song 7-inch entitled Sydney Darbs from an Australian based group of youngsters who go by the name Low Life_._ When I first read the blurb on the inside cover crapping on people who work 40-hour-a-week jobs, I was all too ready to chuck this thing in the trash for all the hard workin’ joes such as myself who’ve got no choice in the matter. But then I decided to actually listen to the thing, and yeah, I’m glad I did. This thing teeters on sounding like a warbly, wobbly late-80s NYHC demo and the token "weird" band that would end up on an early-80s American Hardcore compilation...maybe somewhere between Red Meat and My Three Sons. Is this actually what the Omegas want to sound like? All I know is years from now, these fucks will certainly be selling hot tubs for their dads while I toil in shit. There’s no doubt about it.
The folks over at the Feeding Tube label have been nice enough to send parcel after parcel of records to my address and all I’ve done in return is scratch myself and listen to Starry Eyed and Laughing live sets. So I think it’s about time I write about the stuff they send. O.K. Midnight, You Win is the second vinyl outing from the Colorado/Vermont folk-pop conglomerate The Happy Jawbone Family Band, and the last few times I've listened to this release I've been torn. There are a few moments on here that cast visions in my head of present-day happy-go-lucky hippies in wire-rimmed glasses and ear flap ski caps having some hot chocolate-fueled hoedown, and that makes me wanna hurl. But then there’s a good chunk of parts where all ninety million members of this troupe are falling so genuinely and gorgeously on top of one another (especially on the track "Fireflies Made of Dust") that I can’t help but grin like a dipshit. And I’ll be damned if most of the second side doesn’t remind me a lot of the second Neutrons album. And when’s the last time a modern-day record has reminded me of that? How ‘bout never? For now, this gets a thumbs up. But if I read anywhere about any member of this band owning a candle "shoppe" or something, I’m taking it all back.
Trying to put together the puzzle, vinyl-wise, on the infamous late-70s/early-80s DIY art punk UK group The Homosexuals is a task best left to high-stepping types with the time and resources to spare. Best to bide your time, watch a few hours of Berlin Alexanderplatz, eat a roast beef sub, and just swim in the wake and catch something when the powers that be feel the need to re-issue a this or a that. And hey, lookie here–bigwig collector of such things Chuck Warner just did up a pretty boss re-issue of the sole 7-inch by 12 Minutes at the Hot Club Murphy, an embryonic formation of the lesser known UK nutbars the Orchestre Murphy, which at the time of this recording featured dudes from The Work, Homosexuals (ding! ding!), and many other early-80s UK troupes that get monocles foggy and trousers moist. It could be due to the cramming of so many ideas into the 7-inch format, but from David Doyle’s reedy Wyatt-like voice to the quirky "arrangements," I feel like I just heard a really compacted, bite-size example of the finer Canterbury damaged moments from the post-punk freedom seekers of this area/era. And that’s not a complaint. No Sir. No Ma’am. A limited number are out there apparently, so I would procure this quickly, Humphries.
Staying in the dreary muck of 70s England, we have some archival recordings from Colchester’s Plod recently released on Italy’s Rave Up label. If you’re a ducky type like myself, you probably remember them from that clunky stomper of a track they had on the Velvet Tinmine compilation a few years back. If you’re a real ducky type, you’ll also know this is the first band of Martin Newell from the Cleaners from Venus. Look at you, Mr. Ducky! Although the pickings are slim (just six tracks) the quality of the tracks is pretty stellar–barring the reggae tune, of course. I guess this is being pushed by the label as some sort of low-grade glam rock, but please don’t let that scare you into thinking this is some fancy lad fest or something. If anything, this sounds like a more pilled-up version of _Kings of Oblivion-_era Pink Fairies or something. And if that don’t make you want to get up from your desk or train seat or wherever you’re reading this, then forget about all those nice things I said up there about you being ducky.
And even more UK weirdos abound! Who knows who these people that run the Savoury Days label were thinking when they decided to fire off this compilation entitled Still Going in Offices, but someone better get him or her or them a bucket of fried kidneys and a vat of warm beer posthaste for their effort, ‘cause it’s a gemstone of the highest order. Even though I think it’s a pretty ingenious idea to make a comp split between UK-based weirdos of the past and present, I gotta say I find myself leaning more toward the unheard oldies on here rather than the present-day types like The Pheromoans, La La Vasquez, or Helm. Hey, I guess I’m just a dick. The highlights on here for me include the Passionate Winemakers' wonderfully plodding "Disintegrating Jellyfish," a live Door and the Window track that sounds like it ends in a riot(!?!), and Adam Bohman doing what sounds like his interpretation of Andrew Dice Clay's The Day the Laughter Died. Jesus, does it get any better than this? I think even Sir Thomas Rat would have to say, "Fuck no."
And that is that.
Previously - Last Laugh