Monday, 28 August 2017

v/a - Political Piggies (1984) C60

This was the first compilation put out by Trev Ward and Dave Padbury, then collectively known as Opera for Infantry. Opera for Infantry eventually morphed into the Grey Wolves and had a string of hits, as you'll probably remember, whilst simultaneously stirring up controversy of a general thrust implying they might actually subscribe to some of the extreme Fascist beliefs blasted forth in their music. Having met them a couple of times and spent at least a few years writing to Trev, I'm confident of this being complete bollocks, and clues as to why I might hold with such a conviction can be found here, a tape firmly rooted in the short-lived but fertile period of cross fertilisation occurring between weirdy electronics and the anarchopunk scene; and yes, I'm well aware of all that post-left green anarchist shite having been plopped out of the same arse, but that's something else entirely...

I think this was also the first compilation to which I was asked to contribute, so apologies for my tracks. Marginally less crackly versions can be found elsewhere on this blog if you're stupid enough to look for them. Anyway, it was massively exciting finding myself sharing ferric oxide with Nocturnal Emissions, Nurse With Wound and the Apostles, and I still say this was a fantastic genre-busting tape. You'll probably recognise a few of the names here, and I'm pretty sure the Nocturnal Emissions and Nurse With Wound tracks resurfaced elsewhere, although The Strange Life of August Strindberg was almost certainly an exclusive at the time. Steve Stapleton was known for his generosity when it came to tape labels no-one had heard of asking him for tracks. There's more by Anarchist Angels and Family Patrol Group elsewhere on this blog, if you want to check the index. There's more about Epidemic on the excellent Punky Gibbon site, and Alternative and the Destructors were pretty big names at one point so you should be able to find something about them if you look. Alternative released stuff on Crass, for example.

I suspect they may have been experiencing some technical difficulties at Anal Probe Tapes world headquarters when they were running off my copy of this tape, unless the fuck ups were on the master copy. The tracks varied in recording volume quite a bit so I've tried to bring the quieter ones up to the same level. Also there were a couple of instances of what sounds like a lead cutting out - first during Living a Lie, after which the track comes back much louder. I did some fucking about, raised the volume of the first verse, and copied the missing riff from later in the track so as to effect a repair, which is hopefully better than listening to the track with a few seconds silence just as the chorus kicks off. There was also a gap in the middle of Seen through Tear Stained Eyes, occurring during a sung passage ruling out the possibility of making a repair by copying anything from elsewhere in the song, so I've er... just copied and reversed a bit to at least make the screw up sound deliberate, which will probably make more sense if you listen to the thing.

1 - Nocturnal Emissions - Rabbits Don't Cry
2 -
Anarchist Angels - I Cry with Despair
3 - Destructors V - Urban Terrorist
4 - Do Easy - Waterside at 12
5 - Epidemic - Living a Lie
6 - White Elephants Over Jamaica - Adverts
7 - Alternative - Seen through Tear Stained Eyes
8 - Do Easy - Kick the Dwarf
9 - Epidemic - No Identity
10 - Family Patrol Group - Cronus
11 - Opera for Infantry - Resettlement
12 - Destructors V - Khmer Rouge Boogie
13 - The Cause for Concern - The Occasional Me and You
14 - Alternative - Caroline's Carnival
15 - Nurse With Wound - The Strange Life of August Strindberg
16 - The Apostles - The Phoenix

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Friday, 11 August 2017

Regular - Regulation Issue (1988) C60

Regular was the work of John Jasper, the man behind the Joneses and with whom I worked on the Illyana Rasputin tape. I already wrote plenty about him on the blog entries for those two, so please feel free to have a quick look at them so as to avoid my having to repeat myself. I can wait.

John recorded a ton of this stuff, and due to the general indeterminacy of his character, it wasn't always easy to tell when he'd run me off a copy of his new shit, or whether he'd just nicked a few bits and pieces from obscure On-U label records and failed to mention that they weren't actually by him. Anyway, the point is that he was very prolific, and this was definitely all his own work, and presumably the stuff of which he was most proud judging by the fact that he went down to that place on Rochester High Street which had a colour photocopier, ran off a load of covers, and decided it was an album. As you can probably tell, he was significantly influenced by On-U, Sherwood, Tackhead, Scientist, all of those guys, and for my money he definitely brought something new to the table.

The credits found on the insert were mostly pulled out of John's head, although let's face it, we've all been there with our own imaginary bands. I'm not credited but that's my voice you can hear on A Voice in the East, and also my cheapo Casio sampler which lived around at John's house for about a year. Glenn Wallis of Konstruktivists lived just up the road from John around this time, and I definitely remember them attempting to record something together. The voice on Naked They Go does actually sound a little like Glenn doing one of his characters, but I suspect it's something John took off the radio or another record. Janine, John's girlfriend of the time, can be clearly heard vocalising on Punjabi, but beyond that I've no idea where to draw the line between fantasy and reality. I'm not sure why Regular either - knowing John it was probably some esoteric nod to Reg Varney.

John was the most violently unreliable man on earth, but also a lovely guy and very funny, and I still sort of miss him. More than anything I wish he'd spread a few more of these tapes around, or that someone had chucked a load of money at him and forced him to put out a record; but never mind.

1 - Mission Impossible (Martial)
2 - Come into the Room
3 - Ghetto Swinger
4 - Touch (dub)
5 - Echo Bass (dub)
6 - A Voice in the East (a Memory)
7 - Naked They Come...
8 - Naked They Go
9 - Touch (Seikh Massacre)
10 - Touchdown
11 - Punjabi (Vaca-Dabi)
12 - Powder Room
13 - Bone Rattle
14 - Swing Low
15 - Likrish Tash
16 - Massacre

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Friday, 4 August 2017

Lead Shoes - Lead Up the Garden Path (1985) C46

Unlikely Records - whom I suppose might be best remembered for an early release of those Milovan Srdenovic numbers which were eventually reissued as Songs from West of the Pelvic Girdle - sent out a request for material. Put your best stuff on a C50, suggested Robert Cox - I think his name was - and if I like it we'll release it on Unlikely Records. I put together a Do Easy tape, which was rejected for obvious reasons, but I also mentioned the proposal to Steve Coots, with whom I shared a house. Like myself, Steve was on the Time Based Media course at Maidstone College of Art. To be honest, he could be fucking hard work at times, but he was often funny and I really liked the music which he recorded in the college sound studio under the name Lead Shoes.
Unfortunately, Unlikely Records didn't seem to like Lead Shoes any more than they had liked Do Easy, so I offered to put the thing out on my own label. Lead Up the Garden Path, was Steve's best of tape. There's a potted history of the band on the cover, included with the download, which I can't be arsed to type out here, but for what it's worth I recall Eat Your Peas as being fucking great, and I really wish I'd kept a copy, or that Steve had included it here, but never mind. Steve was into a lot of music which I couldn't stand and still can't - Pink Floyd and Genesis, but also Philip Glass, Michael Nyman and those guys, the influences of which you can probably hear on this collection. Neither the Cockney Rejects nor Sham 69 had established much of a presence in his record collection. I'm not even sure he owned a copy of Machine Gun Etiquette. Mental.
Lead Shoes were named after a pseudo-surrealist film by Sidney Peterson which Steve loved, although I wasn't that impressed when I saw it as part of our film course. Steve later ended up in a somewhat laboured wacky folk band with Charles Thompson called Heads on Springs. They were a sort of trying too hard hey kids, poetry isn't just for squares type operation which I prefer not to remember in detail, just as I prefer not to remember sharing a house with Steve in detail, but even with such unpleasantries in mind, it has to be said that the guy recorded some fucking great music. It also has to be said that Steve McGarrigle's wonderful trumpet playing on a few of these tracks didn't hurt.
This tape makes use of Brian Eno's old EMS synthesiser and the poorly quantified involvement of someone from And the Native Hipsters. There were two covers because the first one didn't photocopy very well, featuring a photograph of the head of a tailor's dummy called Norman. Steve had Norman placed at an upper floor window of an earlier house in which he'd lived so as to cause innocent passers by to shit themselves when they caught sight of him.

1 - Sniffing Glue
2 - My Street
3 - Baseball on Sunday
4 - Beautiful Dreamer
5 - Drowning in a Coffee Pot
6 - Submerged
7 - Blink
8 - Night Soiler
9 - Holding My Nose
10 - Four Legged Friend
11 - Waltz
12 - Happy Feet

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