Tuesday 21 May 2024

Total Big - It's Enormous (1986) C46

If you've been following this blog, you'll probably at least be aware of Total Big as a group for which I attempted to play guitar back in my days as a younger man when everything was better than it is now. If not, or if you feel you need a refresher course, please refer to other tapes listed in the index. In brief, my friends Carl and Chris had just left - or possibly been forcibly removed from - a band called To the Max which had featured both Martin de Sey and Paul Mercer, who are both represented elsewhere on this blog - except for Martin, possibly. Can't remember. Anyway, the aforementioned Carl and Chris had found To the Max a bit more rigorously structured than they liked and were keen to form a band more in tune with their own tastes / sense of humour. They vaguely knew I had a guitar, had no idea whether or not I could play it (I can't), and decided that if the worst came to the worst, I could probably knock out one-string riffs because it had worked quite well for the Cramps. Thusly didst they turn up at my place one Saturday and inform me that I was in a band. I didn't like to disagree, so we set up, went ahead, and this noise is what came out. It's a bit of a racket, although for what it may be worth, my guitaration exceeded their expectations in so much as that I could cope with bar chords in pursuit of a vaguely punky New York Dolls impersonation.

We rehearsed a lot, although really it was more like mucking about to see what would happen, and the only jams I recognise are the fruit preserve, Paul Weller's group up to and including the Setting Sons album but no further, and what happens to traffic at rush hour, so this isn't fucking jamming, it's us mucking about. After four or five bewildering but massively entertaining rehearsals, Carl and Chris made up this compilation for me, picking out things which sounded like songs, or at least like we might chisel them into sounding like songs - apart from My Baby Left Me, which I really feel we nailed first time. Having been given the tape, I drew a cover because that was the sort of thing I did. It's not exactly a greatest hits or the best of, but it's probably a better introduction - should you even require one - than all the rehearsal tapes I've already shared, and it's better than - off the top of my head - the entire Primal Scream back catalogue.

You're welcome.


1 - Rock Sandwich
2 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
3 - Armchair Maniac
4 - I Believe
5 - Robot Fun
6 - Big Smile, Baby
7 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
8 - Write It in the Air
9 - Instrumental
10 - My Baby Left Me
11 - For You I Have Nothing
12 - Reggae
13 - Simon Says
14 - When It Comes to It
15 - Cold Sore Herpes B
16 - Sofa Maniac
17 - Louie Louie
18 - Sister Ray
19 - Last Christmas
20 - Try So Hard
21 - For You

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Tuesday 14 May 2024

Sally Patience - No Fish (1984) C30

Welcome to the second week of our piscine collection. This one wasn't actually a tape either, being three tracks bequeathed unto myself by Larry Peterson for reasons explained last week, plus I've added their token 7" seeing as it's great and will presently set you back $75 on Discogs, or fifty-nine pounds and fifty-six English pence, if you like. As with the Peter North tracks, I've given it a title from one of the songs, and it's pure coincidence that it also refers to fish.

Down to business...

Sally Patience were Catherine O'Sullivan and Michael Jones. Michael Jones was a member of the Event Group who also had a solo tape available from Cause for Concern (which I should have bought but didn't) and who was half of the Mandible Rumpus. Mandible Rumpus recorded Laugh which possibly remains the greatest thing I've ever heard on a DIY cassette and which sends shivers down my spine to this day - and which is on Larry's excellent Sudden Surge of Power compilation in case you haven't already bagged it.

For the sake of argument you could probably call both Mandible Rumpus and Sally Patience - of which no member is named Sally, by the way - the same thing: early analogue synth duo with a faint touch of Banshees and probably what all the kids on the street now term cold wave. Actually, considering what some of the synth duos who made it big sounded like, it's a massive pisser that this lot didn't. I'm not sure I've even met anyone who owned an Erasure record.


1 - No Fish
2 - Susan
3 - Under Donahue's Church
4 - The Triangle Man
5 - Buried in My Boots

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Tuesday 7 May 2024

Peter North - Singing Fish (1984) C30

Here's another tape that wasn't actually a tape (but which I've labelled C30 because that's probably what it would have been were it a tape). These were five tracks Larry Peterson sent to me in case I wanted to stick them on a Do Easy compilation, presumably because Peter North had sent them to him and he was winding down his tape label by then. I was also winding down my own tape label at the time so nothing came of it. Peter North sent me a few tapes and I seem to recall one of them being three C60s with hand-tailored artwork (possibly Laminated Studies), and there was another tape when he morphed into Nort BC, which was the name he used for the two of the cassettes which appear on the Discogs page. They featured hand tailored covers - photocopies with rubber stamps and felt-tip colour, - but all I can recall of them was that they mostly sounded like Fish at Liberty, which you have here - someone dropping marbles onto a glockenspiel through an echo box for a long time. So, although they sound kind of interesting in small doses, a little went a long way, which is probably why I no longer have the tapes he sent me although I sort of wish I did.
I know. I'll bet you can't wait to hear it.
I still don't really know what to make of this stuff and I have to admit it didn't get a lot of rewinds from me back in the day, but listening to this now in 2024 I'd say the man was ahead of the curve with the weirdy tape manipulation stuff. With hindsight, I'd guess three hours of this was just a bit too much to work as my introduction, but I'd still buy a vinyl reissue if there was one out there.

Word of warning - there's also, as I have just discovered, a significantly better known Peter North who worked in the adult entertainment industry, so Google may let you down in this respect if you wish to know more; and if you came here looking for more of the star of the North Pole series, I'm afraid you're very much in the wrong place. This Peter North lived in Clapton in east London and wrote nice letters.


1 - The Singing Fish
2 - Fish at Liberty
3 - Walking with Mr. and Mrs. Fish
4 - He Fish Here in Gaps
5 - She Fish Here in Gaps

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Tuesday 30 April 2024

Man's Hate - President Botha Kills Children (1986) C30


I'm going to assume you're already familiar with Man's Hate, having downloaded this one, stuck it on a tape, then flogged it on eBay for a monkey after describing it as a rarity from my collection, you tosspot. I'm sort of cheating here because this was never an actual tape so much as five tracks on a cassette which Andi sent to me for my third Do Easy label compilation, the one which never happened because I'd run out of steam by that point - which was a shame because these Man's Hate tracks were, as you will hear, fucking gorgeous. Much as I often felt a great deal of sympathy with the anarchopunk cause, listening to those records often felt like being back at fucking school, so thankfully some people made the effort and gave you a reason to listen to their stuff, sweetening the message and thus - in my opinion - communicating it with more force than the increasingly traditional monochrome rants about Thatcher; and Andi Xport sweetened the message with killer tunes and a soulful voice. So enjoy.

More punky scrapings from somewhere beneath the barrel next week, readers! 


1 - Men and Women on Horses with Dogs
2 - President Botha Kills Children I
2 - Dewhurst the Master Bastard
2 - A Dog's Tale
2 - President Botha Kills Children II

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Tuesday 23 April 2024

Deadly Fish - First 1 (1985) C30


From the age of about fifteen to some point in my mid-twenties I made up a series of compilations which I anarchistically named The Illegal Tapes, and for which I drew covers and everything. It was shite I'd taped off the radio or borrowed from friends - anything which wouldn't fill a whole C60 because I didn't like loose ends. The series ran to 122 volumes before I could no longer be bothered, all of which I still have, you probably won't be surprised to learn. Anyway, having recently discovered that most of them still sound fine despite being forty years old - with the exception of anything recorded on a Sony CHF - I've been working my way through and digitising anything which seems like it should be preserved, notably demos or similar recordings sent to me while I was running my tape label, Do Easy - if someone sent me three tracks on a C90, well obviously I was going to fill it up and include it in the series. So that's what will be happening here for the next month of so...

I have no idea who the Deadly Fish were. I recall it as being one tape of many given to me when my friend Carl cleared out the office of Maidstone College of Art student union, notably including all the demo tapes he'd been sent by people who were after a gig. I assumed that Deadly Fish must have been one of them, except the cover mentions Yelverton, a village in Devon which is one hell of a distance from Maidstone meaning this tape probably came from somewhere else unless the Deadly Fish moved to Maidstone in search of fame and fortune - which seems a bit unlikely. Anyway, I taped over the worst of these demos, but not the Deadly Fish. They sounded sort of shambolic, and hardly the sort of thing which would have done well on an art college stage in 1984 given that we'd all just discovered James Brown and were pretending we'd always liked him, but - I don't know - once you get past the slightly self-conscious cover of Strychnine, I personally find it hard not to be swept along by the general enthusiasm and driving bass of their pissing around in a village hall. Maybe you will too.


1 - Strychnine
2 - Disillusion
3 - Wild Thang
4 - Live in the Living Room
5 - Thrones
6 - Dead Fish are Smelly
7 - (Wilder Than) Wild Thingy
8 - Untitled
9 - Week-End

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Friday 11 November 2022

The Gerogerigegege - Piano River (2016) C46


About this time last year I ordered a Smell & Quim album from someone I'm not going to incriminate by identifying (because describing what someone actually did apparently now counts as 'saying nasty things' about them in the noise twat microcosm), and who took a full eight months to send me the thing for reasons described in a series of increasingly lame excuses; but happily, he actually did eventually get off his fat ass and send me the record along with a bunch of freebie tapes. I hadn't asked for the tapes. He'd promised to chuck them in the package as compensation for the delay, even though it still took another six fucking months for said package to make it to the local post office. I didn't really want the tapes. I just wanted the record I'd paid for before I died of old age, but never mind.

Anyway, the Smell & Quim album was great - actually just about worth the wait. The tapes were of the usual kind which seem to do the rounds in noise circles - a crap plastic wallet containing a loose cassette and usually a photocopy of someone's knob, the equivalent of some postmodern wanker picking an empty crisp packet out of his bin, screwing it into a ball, and chucking it at you with the words, 'here - this is art. You can have it if you like.' Some might suggest such packaging strikes against the hegemony of boringly conventional cassette cases, but it always looks like they just couldn't be arsed to me - same as when I hear the words this is art in reference to anything which patently isn't. Make some fucking effort, dude.

To get to the point, now that I'm good and ready to do so, one of the tapes turned out to be this thing. I've never been particularly drawn to the whole Japanese noise thing, and the only legitimate reasons for anyone ever doing a poo on stage in front of the audience are 1) in the event of the venue lacking adequate restroom facilities, or 2) if you're playing support to the Electric Light Orchestra. Still, I'd at least heard of the Gerogerigegege so I gave it a listen, and as it turns out Piano River is not at all what I expected and is, in fact, pretty good. I couldn't really work out how he generated this noise, but presumably it's something involving turntables. Discogs breaks each side up into five pieces, which I've ignored because each sounds like a single work in five movements to me, just like you get with Beethoven and all of those guys. I assume this is the unofficial version issued by Michael Gillham, although given all the networking, I'd be surprised as to whether it was unofficial in the sense of Sting's I Hope the Russians Love Me Too triple vinyl bootleg (1986). Presumably being the unofficial version, I don't know if the sound quality has suffered. It seems a bit hissy, but then it still sounds pretty good to my ears.

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Sunday 6 November 2022

Forced Cohesion (1990) C46

I've never been entirely keen on the idea of split tapes, but I suppose it depends on who is involved, and Forced Cohesion has some justification for billing itself as neither entirely the work of Illusion of Safety nor Runzelstirn and However You Spell It. Dan Burke and Rudolf Eb.er are amongst those involved and it does its job very well, but you're probably best figuring out where one artist ends and the other begins for yourself.
Unfortunately this will be the last of the material kindly shared with me by Richard of Chainsaw Cassettes (there were a few other things but mostly already out there and I didn't want to go stepping on any toes), so I'm not sure what you'll find here this time next week, if anything. I have a few things I intend to digitise, seeing as I've had my tape deck repaired, so there will be more at some point.

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