Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Harbinger Sound Radio Show.
I never really got the collector thing. The usual stamp collection as a kid and then in my teens a rather odd phase, that lasted a couple of years, whereupon I took it upon myself to collect cigarette packets. No, I have no idea why either. One day I chucked them all in the bin and thats been that as far as collecting goes. Even when I got into music I didn’t feel the need to collect everything by an artist I admired or a genre or a label or a certain period of time. I’m more of your gadfly picking up bits here and there before moving on, always in search of something new, being delighted by some unexpected sound or release thats just amazingly dropped through the letterbox thats the best thing I’ve ever heard since the last thing. Even now where I’m lucky enough to be in a position to be able to afford pretty much what I want music wise, I feel no need to own original Pharoah Sanders LP’s or some of his more obscure early singles. If the house were to burn down tomorrow a part of me would probably think someone had done me a favour. But this isn’t everybody of course.
Some people are collectors. There are websites and magazines dedicated to their pursuit, collectors fairs where they get to dig around for bits that have escaped them and meet other collectorists, online forums where the tiniest details can be gone over in even greater detail by even greater collectorists. The Record Collector is one such magazine and I buy the odd copy if something on the cover catches my eye. This months issue features Steve Underwood in their ‘Collector of the Month’ column [or whatever its called]. And Steve, as any fule kno is head cheese at Harbinger Sound, the label thats gone from reissuing Japanese noise cassettes to top ten in the album charts courtesy of Sleaford Mods.
Its no secret that I’ve known Steve for quite some years now and have actually seen, in the flesh, his record collection, or parts of it at leasts since the place he was staying in when I visited wasn’t actually big enough to contain his thousands of singles and LP’s. A few of us spent an evening at his flat playing ‘Have you got?’ and invariably Steve had. An original copy of The New Blockaders first LP was casually tossed across the carpet, singles that people had heard of but never seen were dug out for us to ogle and admire. Jaws were dropped and homage was paid. We are not worthy etc.
I knew Steve liked his noise and his punk and his Bukowski, he used to send me tapes of Urinals singles and Smegma LP’s all of which were gratefully received all of which acted as portals to new worlds but it wasn’t until much later that I discovered that what really made Steve’s pulse race a little faster were singles released between 1978 and 1984.
These were the years when punks DIY ethos ran riot resulting in an explosion of creativity where anything was possible and the only limits of your creativity was the time it took for a needle to get from one edge of a seven inch single to the run off groove. Exciting times that are unlikely ever to be repeated but are remembered fondly by those who were there.
Steve took some of these singles down to Torquay to play on Steve Cammack’s Muhmur Radio Show. Its a three hour show [split into two for ease of access] which I’ve now listened to in its entirety and what its shown me is that there is a reason why people collect things; Steve collects singles from this period because if you want to hear them then you have to buy them in order to do so - they just don’t exist anywhere else, there are no handy double CD comps for you to listen to whilst you do the crossword, there may be the odd music blog with online archives but where’s the fun in that? If you want to listen to what Steve listens to you have to get out of your chair every three minutes and get your wallet thrashed in to the bargain. Its part of what being a record collector is all about.
The list of singles that follows this piece will give you some indication as to where Steve’s tastes lie. These bands were working on the edges of the edges. On labels so obscure that some of their releases have only ever been seen and heard by the very few. We are in deep DIY country, a country populated by those for whom punk was a soon to be forgotten corpse fit for nothing but those hitching a ride to stardom and appearances on Top of the Pops.
I have to admit to being blown away by these three hours. Listened to as a whole they span everything from adolescent prankery to groove damaged loop to damaged DIY punk to pre LAFMS craziness and are in all probability unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Since 1984 at any rate.
01: The Agitators : "Alien Sketch" (Redball Records) 1979.
02: The Agitators : "Johny W." (Redball Records) 1979.
03: The Agitators : "Fat Boy lager" (Redball Records) 1979.
04: The Agitators : "The Very Reverend 'Slow Talking' Jack Ruby" (Redball Records) 1979.
05: The Agitators : "RASCLAAT" (Redball Records) 1979.
(All tracks taken from the "Bound & Gagged With A Length Of Rubber Tubing" EP).
06: Pre Fix : "Underneathica" (Subterranean Records) 1981.
07: Der Spielverderber : "Spielverderber" (Zick Zack Records) 1980.
08: Pulp Music : "Low Flying Aircraft" (Pulp) 1982.
09: Dix Denny/John Denny : "Adulthood" (Numbskull) 1979.
10: Zyklon : "Part Time" (Grim) 1981.
11: NG : "Ambivalence" (Unbalance Recordings) 1980.
12: Residenz : "Albert Hilsberg" (Rondo Records) 1980.
13: Anemic Session : "Anemic Session" (Output Records) 1981.
14: Eazy Teeth : "Car Noise" (Dental Records) 1980.
15: Orchid Spangiafora : "Dime Operation" (Orchid Spangiafora) 1978.
16: Enstruction : "Keep Out Of My Body Bag" (Deux Ex Machina) 1982.
17: Die Lemminge : "Im Himmel" (Pure Freunde) 1981.
18: Flesh : "My Boy Lollipop" (Flesh) 1979.
19: Michael Atavar : "Cabral Dynamic" (Chance Records) 1980.
20: Sex : "Correlation Coefficient" (Index Records) 1979.
21: Annie Anxiety : "Hello Horror" (Crass Records) 1981.
22: Anonymous : "Snake Attack" (Flat Records) 1980.
23: The Barons : "Boiled Dinner" (Doublethink) 1981.
24: 8 Voices : "8 Voices" (Plurex) 1980.
25: Rectifier : "Perversion Of A Refined Nation" (Local Anaesthetic Records) 1982.
26: Nun : "Riv Skf" (If Product) 1984.
27: Another : "Paris Tribe" (Backstreet Backlash Records) 1982.
28: The Magits : "Fragmented" (Outer Himalyan Records) 1979.
29: Survivors : "We Died …" (Peoples Records) 1979.
30: Collective Horizontal : "Beach Coma" (Dolmen Records) 1981.
31: Phil Bedel : "Voice Of Concrete" (Happy Squid Records) 1980.
32: Daisuck & Prostitute : "Ai O Itamu Uta" (Altamira) 1980.
33: Omming For Woks : "Cut Of Knives" (Jabberwok Records) 1984.
34: In The Pink : "Running In The Family" (Grey & Anxious Records) 1982.
35: Idol Death : "New Lesson" (Dispy) 1980.
36: Radio Free Europe : "Eno's Funeral" (MiG Records) 1979.
37: Monty Cantsin : "Paper Bag Syphon" (Syphon) 1978.
38: Men/Eject : "Draw" (Not On Label) 1980.
39: Neu Electrikk : "Converse Of Tapes (Synesthesia) 1980.
40: Neu Electrikk : "Hand" (Synesthesia) 1980.
41: Hovlakin : "Unknown Title" (Unbalance Recordings).
42: The Poems : "Achieving Unity" (Polka) 1981.
43: Culturcide : "Consider Museums As Concentration Camps" (Information Records) 1980.
44: Debt Of Nature : "Gospel Light" (New Alliance) 1982.
45: What Is Oil? : "Scrosh!" (Oof Potato Enterprises) 1982.
46: Precision Bearings : "Don't Fall Down" (Fowl Records) 1982.
47: Mu : "Turn Off The Radio" (Backstreet Backlash Records) 1981.
(Taken from the "Motion In Tune" LP).
48: Grønvirke : "Grønvirke" (Gry) 1982.