Godspunk Volume Nine - Various Artists
Pumf 672. Pumf CD and booklet. £5
Howl In The Typewriter - Judas Kiss [The Lost Songs]
Pumf 665. Pumf CDR. £4
Ray Reagan And The RayGuns
Pumf 651. Pumf CD. £5
There’s no getting away from the fact that Blackpool manages to house more than its fair share of nutters and I guess we can call Stan Batcow [or pStan as I think he likes to be known] one of them but in a nice self deprecating way of course and not a dangerous ring you up at 6am on a Sunday morning wanting to kill you kind of way. pStan has been steadily ejecting Pumf release from Pumf HQ for donkeys years and every now and then our courses collide and I actually get off on one of them. Most of these are by the Ceramic Hobs of course of which Stan has been a core member for the last 25 years until something snapped and their ways parted but the Godspunk’s are welcome and hidden within their myriad depths their usually lies the odd gem waiting to be discovered.
A cursory glance down the twenty two tracks of Godspunk 9 though finds me face to face once more with UNIT, a band that I seem to have some difficulty with. I thought I’d turned a corner with UNIT as in a previous Godspunk I vaguely remember burying the hatchet and coming out all in favour of their wonky jazz pop punk pap but once again that jarring mix of vibraphone, keyboard, sax, crap drummer with crap singer has returned to haunt me. I imagine them setting up their gear in a pub in Hendon on a wet Sunday afternoon in February, a pub peopled with disinterested punters deep into their cups brooding over a final pint before going home to a damp flat and an angry missus. Arguing over whose turn it is to get the drinks in and who’s having the best amp UNIT eventually announce their presence, skittle through ten numbers to desultory applause before piling into the back of their rusty N reg Transit only to get lost on the way home. I dare say that they’re a decent group of upstanding human beings with all the attributes that combine to make talking to them a positive social experience [their info page on the insert mentions the Angry Brigade and one of them is a spin bowler so all’s not lost] but as ever, I struggle with their music. Let us not dwell on such matters for too long though for merriment is to be had.
Godspunk’s are co-operative affairs whereby each contributor chips in a set amount of money which guarantees them a set number of tracks and a set number of copies in return. Its a win win situation as artists who may find the expense of releasing their own work on CD prohibitive are given exposure whilst finding themselves shoulder to shoulder with like minded musicians. You do get the odd sore thumb though and past comps have seen the inclusion of noise based artists who stick out like pervs in a playground but on the whole they work.
This issues outsider is The Death of the Enlightenment Project whose sub four minute ansaphone cum noise tilt sits easy on these ears but may not be as welcome to UNIT or Boxhead who’s lounge ethnic ambience appears from nowhere like the offspring of The Penguin Cafe Orchestra meets The Art of Noise. John Tree’s ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ is equally beguiling; a forties gas lamp crooner ballad that he somehow manages to manipulate into one of Satie’s Gymnopodie’s before morphing it back to its origins - eerie, unexpected and most welcome. Stan’s own project Howl in the Typewriter bookends things as is custom and then theres the usual suspects including The Taurus Board, Dimm D3ciple, The Shi-ites, Lenin’s Virulent Muscle and the Balkan ‘oiks amongst a handful of batty others. Its all harmless fun of course and I’m loathed to cast any of it in a bad light seeing as they all seem to be having such a good time but most of it is passes me by leaving nothing on the ears but a vague sense of having heard something wacky and amusing but not entirely lasting. Godspunk 9 is in need of a stand out track and the nearest it gets is John Tree. Where are The Las Vegas Mermaids when you need them? As ever, comes with a full colour booklet and lots of contact info.
Judas Kiss is a collection of Howl in the Typewriter recordings spanning 14 years. Most are culled from submissions to compilation’s that never got to see the light of day; the Vincent Price comp, the Boredoms comp and my favourite the concept album of silence to which Stan sent some silence titled ‘Uninspired’ only to see it returned seeing as it was the only submission outside of the label proprietors own. For the most part though Stan’s work with HITT spans a pop punk aesthetic mixed with synth wash, high end production, vocal samples ripped from Hollywood through to police radio all coupled to a jolly hey-nonny-no I’ve had three pints and I’m fresh aesthetic. I like it for so long and then it all feels as if your trapped in some relatives house at Christmas with your hyper ten year old cousin who wants you to play with his Tracey Island when all you want to do is nod off with the Radio Times over your head.
What I take to be one of Stan’s early bands is Ray Reagan and the RayGuns. After gathering dust in a box for over 25 years Stan dusted down the 16 track master baked it and transferred it to digital. The result is 11 tracks of what is quite clearly Stan and sadly, some rather mundane sing-a-long punky pop. Stan takes on vocals and guitar and smothers it all in his various incarnations of the above.
After these three releases I’m all Pumfed out but somehow I feel as if I’ve been strangely entertained.
Those Godspunkers in full:
Howl in the Typewriter,
the taurus board,
The Melodramatic Monkey
Lenin's Virulent Muscle
The Death of the Enlightenment Project
Seven Footsteps to Satan.
25 Ivy Avenue