Ad-Hoc Posting Schedule

Willkommen Leser, Down-Loader, Lurker und Teilnehmer alle.

It might have come to your notice that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you'll just kinda have to get used to. I will however, now and again, have bursts of creativity and if it was to please the massed hordes, who chose to visit this insignificant page, to supply some input on the direction and type of music you would like to sample (before going out and buying yourself a copy) this little communication will not have been in vain.

I will also say now that some of the outstanding music already available to sample will be reaching their 30 days without a click threshold, where by they're deleted by the host.


Many thanks for reading this far...and please feel free to interact.



slàinte


Thursday

I'M STRANDED

It's Christmas Eve and I have an awesome collection of music from Australian band The Saints for you all. The review below is "borrowed" from the Guardian but don't let that fool you. It's accurate and detailed and it notes the incredible impact The Saints had on underground Australian Music and the UK's growing punk scene. Pull up your favourite comfy chair, put your feet up, open a cold one and enjoy possibly one of the greatest débuts from any band.
Ladies and Gentlemen, (I'm) Stranded!

Released in September 1976, (I'm) Stranded was the first independently produced rock record in Australia, beating all the British punks onto vinyl. Until very recently in Brisbane, it was still possible to visit the decrepit building on Petrie Terrace and stand in front of the fireplace on top of which the words "(I’m) Stranded" were once daubed in red letters.
It’s not quite where Australian punk rock was born; that, arguably, happened a little further down the road, in The Saints’ rehearsal room on the corner of Milton Road, not far from the Castlemaine XXXX brewery. Club 76, they called it. But The Saints had been going for a few years by then, since mid-1973, by guitarist Ed Kuepper’s reckoning.
Being first can be an overrated virtue but, in The Saints’ case, it needs to be stated over and over again. (I’m) Stranded, which appeared on the band’s own Fatal label in September 1976 (the same month the 100 Club in London held a festival featuring a colourful assortment of new bands including the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Damned) was the first independently produced rock single in Australia.
In doing so, it beat all of the English punk bands, as well as Sydney’s Radio Birdman, onto plastic. The one band they didn’t beat was the Ramones, a fact Kuepper was crushed by: when he first heard the debut album by the New York pinheads a few months earlier, he knew everyone would see The Saints – a bunch of teenagers from provincial Queensland, fronted by singer Chris Bailey – as the copyists.
At that point, the state was still under the tyrannical thumb of Joh Bjelke-Petersen and, in no small way, (I’m) Stranded helped kick off a social revolution, at least in Brisbane. At the time, though, The Saints had little choice but to leave. Copies of the single soon landed in England, where it was ecstatically received. Sounds magazine dubbed it “single of this and every week”.
It must have sounded like an emergency telegram from a lost land. Such is (I'm) Stranded’s urgency, there’s no time for a guitar solo (the B-side, which actually was called No Time, did have a solo – of one whole note). True to its lyrics, much of the song was written on a midnight train and, whether intended or not, the central idea of being marooned came to stand for something bigger.
It’s one of punk’s many ironies that the London offices of EMI, desperate to claw back lost credibility after sacking the Pistols in the wake of their infamous expletive-flecked confrontation with Bill Grundy, instructed their baffled representatives in Sydney to sign The Saints post-haste in the wake of (I'm) Stranded. The band immediately recorded their debut album, also titled (I’m) Stranded, over a weekend.
That album was later described by England’s Dreaming author Jon Savage as “up there in punk Valhalla with Ramones and Raw Power”. But The Saints never fitted the punk straitjacket. When they arrived in England in May 1977, they were aghast to find EMI were designing a “Saints suit” for them: lime-green shirts and spiky hair all round.
Bailey’s tousled mop remained in place, and the band went on to make two more brilliant albums, Eternally Yours and Prehistoric Sounds, before imploding. Both records featured extensive use of a brass section, a move that won them few friends in a scene that regarded Never Mind the Bollocks as a blueprint, but which dramatically expanded the band’s sound.
Having kicked the door open, The Saints soon found themselves back out on the footpath. Kuepper returned to Australia and formed the radical post-punk band Laughing Clowns, while Bailey stayed in Europe, kept the name and pursued a much more traditional path towards heartland rock and mainstream success: Bruce Springsteen recently covered Just Like Fire Would on his album High Hopes.
But (I’m) Stranded has remained a touchstone – perhaps a millstone – the perpetually sparring Kuepper and Bailey would always be identified with.

Wednesday

AIN’T NOTHIN’ TO DO




Fellow Cleveland types Pere Ubu may have won the artistic kudos for their adventurous, surprising work, but if the goal was just to rock and rock again, the Dead Boys had them totally trumped. Growing up in the Cleveland area, in Catholic schools, the Dead Boys were typical punks, rebellious, disgruntled, and looking for a fight. As both title phrase and capsule description, Young, Loud & Snotty accurately defines the predominating aesthetic so well that one could just leave it at that, but there's a lot more going on here than on the face of it.
Originally named "Frankenstein", the Dead Boys were kicked out of their hometown venue after playing and at the bequest of Joey Ramone, moved to New York City to join in a "scene" which they knew very little about. 1977 was the ultimate year for punk rock. Before the leather jacket, spiky haired uniforms, before "New Wave" became a recognized genre of music. 1977 was also the greatest year for any punk on the scene... And, sadly enough, many excellent records by great bands got lost or unrecognized in the greater scheme of things.
Needless to say, the Dead Boys fitted right in with the rest of the bands that played at C.B.G.B.'s or Max's Kansas City. Fed up with the wimpy crap that was popular rock at that time, they, with the Ramones and many other bands, got up on stage with a mission to piss off and annoy. Eventually, they got the recognition they so deserved and thusly, this album was born. With perhaps surprisingly great production from demi-famous '70s rocket Genya Ravan, the five-some found something sonically smack in-between the US garage/punk heritage of the past and the more modern thrashings from overseas.
Stiv Bators sneers, gobs, gasps, and whines with the best of them, but he knows his rock history, as do his band mates. Cheeta Chromee (Lead guitar), Jimmy Zero (Rhythm guitar), Jeff Magnum (Bass), and Johnny Blitz (Drums) are all excellent rock n' roll musicians, Stiv Bators is the star of the show. Mixing Iggy Pop type whoops with his own unique style, Stiv was probably one of the greatest live performers in the history of the genre. In fact, Iggy himself said that Stiv was the second best vocalist, next to Jim Morrison.
Stone cold rock classic "Sonic Reducer" starts things off (amusingly) with all sorts of phased drums and other fripperies that later generations wouldn't consider punk at all. That said, it's still blunt, brilliantly sung by Stiv and kicks out the jams with messy energy. Other all-time greats include the perfect bored-and-needing-kicks anthem "Ain't Nothin' to Do" and the thoroughly wrong "Caught With the Meat In Your Mouth." There's even a rock oldie -- a cover of "Hey Little Girl" live onstage at spiritual home CBGB's. And why not? With great punk rock and great rock, Young, Loud and Snotty perfectly describes the sound and essence of this record.

Monday

ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE




The Misfits' 1982 debut full-length, Walk Among Us, rapidly became a legendary effort of U.S. punk, the more so because it so wilfully violated so many rules which were already ironically straitjacketing the scene. Utterly devoid of political confrontation or social uplift, embracing a costume sense that might have given Kiss pause for thought and generally coming across like the horror-movie nightmares they looked like on the cover, The Misfits just wanted to entertain and do their own thing, and that they did, brilliantly. Nearly every song on the album (13 in total, delivered in a light-speed 25 minutes) is a twisted classic, with the band's trademark '50s/'60s melodies running through a punk/metal meat-grinder on full display. The higher-budget (in very relative terms) recording meant a slightly cleaner and brighter sound all around, but nothing about Walk Among Us is slick, especially in commercial 1982 terms. One song title says it all: "All Hell Breaks Loose."
Danzig's gift for creepy, strong, and attractively dark singing was long since established and he uses it brilliantly, making the over-the-top lyrics all the more enjoyable, while Doyle, Jerry Only and Arthur Googy kick out the jams on Danzig's songs big time, have a listen to "Hatebreeders," "Violent World," and the crazed "Skulls." Everything ends with the giddily ridiculous "Braineaters," in which the chanting voices of the band bemoan their constant diet of cerebella and ask for intestines instead, but the real freaked-out highlight comes smack dab in the middle with "Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight." Taken from the show that made up the Evilive release, it starts out on the edge and, after Danzig delivers the title sans instruments, turns into an explosion of rhythm and feedback that should have killed everything within 50 feet of the amps.
The Misfits energy on their "debut" is undeniable. I say "debut" because apart from their slew of 7 inches, by this point they had already recorded a couple of records that were lost and weren't released until much later (1980's "12 Hits From Hell"). The hypothetical inclusion of tracks like "Die Die My Darling", "American Nightmare", "Horror Hotel", and "Ghouls Night Out" wouldn't have hurt this record, since they were written around the same time (1980) as the songs on Walk Among Us. In fact, the latter two songs I mentioned appear on the lost "12 Hits" album. 

CODE BLUE




My trilogy of L.A.’s original Goth/Punk crossover comes to an abrupt halt with T.S.O.L.’s (True Sound Of Liberty) outstanding 27 minute long debut album Dance With Me. There’s surprisingly little written about T.S.O.L. that doesn’t rehash the obvious influence they had on the Hardcore Punk scene along the West Coast of America. A lot of reference space is given up to other bands that were present in the early 80’s scene, but the link between T.S.O.L., Christian Death and 45 Grave seems to be continuously overlooked. With everything in life there has to be a link from Frontier Records to production duties being handled by Thom Wilson. Tenuous I hear you say, yet a link nonetheless. Even with 45 Grave missing their chance to release an album first, everything worked out fine with T.S.O.L.

A significant group in L.A.'s late-'70s to early-'80s punk scene, Long Beach's T.S.O.L. briefly flirted with pseudo radical politics on their exceptional self-titled debut EP, which included songs like "Abolish Government/Silent Majority" and "Property Is Theft", but that phase of the band didn't last long, as they cast away the politics in favour of horror-movie-inspired, gothy, Misfits-style shtick on their first full-length, Dance With Me. This album contains their most famous song, "Code Blue," an extremely catchy number about necrophilia, ever popular with fans who scream for them to play it at every show.
No mere footnote in punk rock history, T.S.O.L.'s early records are slam pit-inducing, infectious stuff. Dance With Me is loaded with fine numbers, including "Sounds of Laughter," "I'm Tired of Life," and "Die For Me." Other than the Misfits, no band has combined gothy subject matter and punk rock bare chords as well as T.S.O.L., who hit the nail on the head with this classic 1981 recording.
Dance with Me was recorded at Redondo Pacific Studios in Redondo Beach, California with producer Thom Wilson.

ROMEO’S DISTRESS




And thus was American Goth rock born. Perhaps an extreme statement, as one could argue 45 Grave beat Christian Death to the punch, if with a lot more intentional humour. Still, it's about the only thing that can be said upon listening to Christian Death's debut, Only Theatre of Pain, released in 1982 and influencing more bands that can be counted since then. The member who got the most attention was, unsurprisingly, singer Rozz Williams, but guitarist Rikk Agnew is the secret weapon that makes this album so good. With the first phase of the Adolescents (and a solo album) behind him, he brings his punk-inspired guitar work to the fore here, and with the help of long-time producer Thom Wilson, the two created a perfectly ominous world of tolling bells, heavily treated guitar, and general spookiness. Bassist James McGearty and drummer George Belanger keep the murky energy going and thankfully aren't afraid to kick up a storm when needed either. The most memorable song is "Romeo's Distress," a catchy slice of doomy punk-pop that admittedly has one of the most un-PC lyrical starts around. Throughout, the band either kick out the melancholy jams, McGearty's purring bass leading the way, or sheer atmospherics, some quite effective. Witness the slow wash of sound concluding the first side and kicking off the second, or the combination of noise, keyboards, and treated vocals on the closing "Prayer." And then there's Rozz Williams -- those who accused Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy of delivering up pretentious lyrics and overwrought performances must have flipped upon hearing this record. Sodomized boys in front of furnace altars, hilariously naïve reversed words meant to be spooky ("Reficul!"), incense-laden sex, "roses and candles, silver knives and spoons," "necrophiliac relationship," song titles like "Mysterium Iniquitatis" and "Spiritual Cramp," all delivered with a breathless moan at once low and whiny. His weird charm comes through after a while, but it usually takes a couple of listens to get the giggles out.
This CD version contains the Deathwish EP as a bonus. Recorded at Orange County Studios in 1981, these 6 songs were the first recordings Christian Death recorded in a studio before the band signed to Frontier Records for Only Theatre Of Pain. They were asked to provide some songs for the “Hell Comes To Your House” compilation album, however only "Dogs" ended up being used.


PARTY TIME




Los Angeles' 45 Grave were the leaders of the 1981 death-rock explosion that also birthed, among others, Christian Death and (Dance With Me-era) TSOL. The group was a breath of fresh graveyard air and, unlike many serious gloomsters, always kept tongue firmly in cinematic cheek. Playing with punky venom and a slick metallic sound (the goth-horror edge made it an absolutely prescient mix), the fearsome foursome (later a quintet) was led by Phoenix-bred guitarist Paul B. Cutler and his vampiric inamorata, vocalist Mary "Dinah Cancer" Sims, rounded out by ex-Germs drummer Don Bolles and bassist Rob Graves (Ritter), also a member of the Bags and Gun Club.
If Christian Death trumped 45 Grave when it came to releasing a debut album (Only Theatre of Pain having surfaced a little while earlier) then there's no question that Sleep In Safety is easily the equal, if not better than the other band's initial effort. It doesn't hurt at all that Cancer is a much better singer than the chronically groaning Rozz Williams, for one thing, while the clear sense of humour 45 Grave never denied ensured that the band never entered the realms of relentlessly ridiculous self-parody. How could they, given how entertainingly off they already were with songs like "Riboflavin," in praise of the nutritious forms of blood the healthy vampire needs
The legendary "Black Cross"/"Wax" single and three cuts on the seminal Hell Comes to Your House compilation inaugurated 45 Grave's career in 1981, establishing the blend of Cutler's crisp, offbeat riffing and Cancer's artless, icy shrieks. By the time their first album shambled in, Paul Roessler had joined, adding his effervescent keyboards into the macabre brew. The consistently creepy Sleep In Safety contains most of the band's best songs: multi-textured creations like "Insurance from God," "Dream Hits" and "Phantoms" (an '82 single), the catchy "Evil," a delightfully unexpected Ventures-like instrumental "Surf Bat", the giddy "45 Grave" theme song and a fist-waving anthem "Partytime," redone the following year as the B-side to a snazzy version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out".
Fusing everyone's varying punk/trash/art backgrounds into a Goth rock overlay and then never letting themselves be suckered into actually going and digging up bodies, the members recruited Craig Leon for effective production work and the well-recorded Sleep In Safety scored underground hit after hit. There's no question that the band's legendary "Partytime" is the high point, a stop-start, quiet/loud horror of a Goth landmark that lets Cancer sneak in a bit of pretty creepiness before everyone fires up into a classic rock chug with a great shout-along chorus that Joan Jett would be proud of. What really works best is how the music is the most truly dark part of the band, Graves' bass playing and Culter's post-Banshees guitar parts hitting all the right notes. In turn, Cancer isn't so much a dark priestess of gloom as a commanding figure who has to be listened to. The hilarious part of the band comes to the fore from the start, thanks to the introductory message about the creators of the album being skilled insurance agents. This later CD reissue includes the 12” single version of "Partytime" and "School's Out."

Saturday

AN IDEAL FOR LIVING




Northern England Ghetto Music


What was planned to be Joy Division's first LP (unreleased until 1994, except in bootleg form) sounds like an album from the punk era…raw and edgy, undisciplined but tuneful, unlike the group's proper debút, Unknown Pleasures. All of the tracks were later seen in different forms, but Warsaw still manages to captivate the listener through its pure energy. In addition to the original twelve tracks from the bootleg studio recordings, the album also includes five tracks from a recording session in July 1977, detailing the most punk-inspired songs in the group's discography.

Tracks A1 to B3 recorded at Arrow Studios, Manchester, England, May 1978.
Track B4 from the Komakino flexi recorded at Britannia Row, March 1980.
Tracks B5 to B9 recorded at Pennine Sound Studios, Manchester, England, July 18, 1977.

I remember this album of early Joy Division recordings was one of those úber rare bootlegs you’d have to pay ransom prices for in the 90’s and, if you could find it at all in record fairs and bootleg traders stalls, it was only available on vinyl. I didn’t buy a copy until a few years ago when I picked it up for a reasonable and I’m pretty sure discounted price.
Now not that Warsaw is a bad record, but it’s infinitely more “interesting” than it is “good” if you take my meaning.
It’s most interesting specifically from two different standpoints. The first is you often read interviews with ex-Joy Division members where they recount how they were unhappy with Martin Hannett’s famous productions. They’d considered themselves a punk band and weren’t happy with how he turned them into some kind of art project. But since Joy Division seemed so well suited to Hannett’s sound, I always wondered how much of a punk band they really were. It turns out they were a decent punk band (especially judging by the demo sessions recorded at Pennine Sound Studios). Though as a band Warsaw might not have had the lasting impact Joy Division has, they were still a lot more interesting than many other British punk bands from the 1977-78 years.
Which leads me onto the second quite interesting point, which is that this record suggests almost any punk band from the Manchester area, under the direction of Martin Hannett could have become Joy Division or something very much like they became.
Ian Curtis‘s cult of personality aside, in some ways Warsaw proves that Hannett was as integral to Joy Division just as much as anyone else. He took a decent enough punk band and made them a phenomenal genre-defining post-punk band that would go on to have a lasting impact on alternative and indie rock for decades to come.
So for classic punk fans who always kind of liked Joy Divisions songs but were never keen on their chilly post-punk aesthetic, this album might prove to be quite enjoyable on its own merits. The production however is still a little thin to be a true punk classic.
For those interested in Joy Division, it’s probably more a curiosity for the completest than an essential album. It’s not a lost masterpiece, far from it.  A lot of these versions bear similarities in rawness to the band’s BBC sessions and higher-fidelity live recordings which is a good, bad or an indifferent thing depending on your personal views of the band’s studio recordings. It’s always a treat to hear “Interzone” played with more rage-fuelled garage-punk gusto than the 1979 Unknown Pleasures version.
If you own everything else by Joy Division, including a number of live bootlegs, you probably can’t get around the fact you pretty much need to pick this up at some point. And it’s actually a lot better (and more enjoyable) than similar semi-apocryphal records by seminal bands.

Monday

GATHERING DUST


It's been a few weeks since my last post, but you'll find that might happen every now and again as I enjoy travelling and taking time to enjoy life. I return though with a blistering album from one of the forgotten 4AD bands who are not only responsible for 23 Envelope but also responsible for the outstanding This Mortal Coil début single. Hugely influential and yet sadly underrated was always going to be difficult to overcome for a band driven to achieve success, no mater what. Moving to New York and chasing chart status didn't endear Modern English to their core fans either. Below is a wee write up shamelessly stolen from the internet, enjoy.

Everyone knows the hit I Melt with You but does anyone know that before Modern English hit the mainstream they were a post-punk noise band in the vein of Joy Division and Bauhaus?
Modern English were one of the bands that Ivo and Peter had originally approached Martin Mills about in 1979. After a self-released 45 (‘Drowning Man’), they made their 4AD début with the ‘Swans On Glass’ single, which was followed later in the year by ‘Gathering Dust’. They also featured on the Presage(s) EP and were the only band from that compilation who continued to release records on 4AD. Almost 36 years on, ‘Gathering Dust’ remains a crucial release in 4AD's history for reasons that have nothing to do with the music it contains. When the original art director proved unable to provide the sleeve art, Peter called a friend who recommended a young graphic designer named Vaughan Oliver. A strange coincidence ensued: Modern English had printed up some T-shirts which utilized a Diane Arbus photograph of two people watching television, while Vaughan had utilized the same image in his design portfolio. Result: Vaughan landed the job and began a relationship with 4AD that continues to this day. Modern English expanded on the promise of their singles with Mesh And Lace, a memorably atmospheric album that helped re-position guitar-rock in the wake of Joy Division, PiL and Wire. It also sported the first official 23 Envelope sleeve credit, thus ushering in an artistic collaboration that would provide 4AD with a recognizable visual identity. Modern English finished off 1981 with the single ‘Smiles And Laughter’.
Formed in Colchester, Essex, England, in 1979 by Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), and Michael Conroy (bass, vocals), Modern English were originally known as The Lepers. The group expanded to Modern English when Richard Brown (drums) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) were subsequently added to the line-up of the band.
The début album Mesh And Lace and the accompanying singles are a must have for any discerning post punk collection.