April 17, 2011


Though I knew and liked some punk back in 1981-82, the doors really opened around summer '82 when I heard three Dutch punk records that totally changed my ideas of what music should be like: The 20-song, 30-minute History's What's Happening by The Ex, the ramshackle Jam-on-78 of Schliessbaum (Trockener Kecks) and last but not least, the brilliant live-split-mini-LP (complicated huh?) Wielingen Walgt! by the Nitwitz and Gotterfliez. I played those records (or the tapes that they were on) relentlessly that summer, and when on a bike trip passing through Amsterdam I'd fantasize about those amazing people that were making this music right here, right now! What I didn't know was that in punk things were moving so fast, all of these bands had already either split up or were being thoroughly revised by then. Nitwitz and Kecks had lost their original singers and went their respective hardcore and pop ways; The Ex got a new drummer and became slower and more experimental. Gotterfliez' half-record - a strange off-kilter take on early Siouxsie - I probably played most of all; hearing it back some of it doesn't hold up that well, though I still love the long melodica-flavoured Change. When I later found out their singer Astrid had started a new band called Dance Macabre, I was already too deep into the louderfaster stuff to be bothered. I did hear their 1983 LP but didn't think much of it, so it was a nice surprise when I found it at some flea market last week, put it on and actually liked it. It's all pretty Gothic (as their name and the LP's cover already give away), but just raw, fuzzy and jumpy enough to be on the right side of the fence (also reminds me of the Svatsox' great Ruins LP in that way). Here's three stand-out tracks:

(Dedicated to Vincent, ex-Dance Macabre and Squelettes bassist, who passed away February this year)

March 26, 2011


While you won't find any "real" mid-60s Nederbeat at flea markets anymore, compilations from the turn of the 70s are still plentiful; I always like to check them out for the lesser-known tracks. The bands on the 1970 LP pictured above aren't "Nederbeat" anymore (no "Nederteat" jokes, please), but have split into pop and rock camps just like their colleagues abroad. It's funny to hear just what bands were all the rage that year; at least three bands (the post-Robbie van Leeuwen Motions among them) go for an all-out Blood, Sweat and Tears sound, not my cup of tea(t). Eddy Owens, who later turned into Danny Mirror of "I Remember Elvis Presley" infamy, does a Cats-type ballad. Ginger Ale do a pretty horrible faux-classic piece. Tee-Set and George Baker cover the teeny-bop area. There are three real finds: the reformed Q65's great heavy pop thumper Don't Let Me Fall; After Tea's beautiful desert-fried Sun (Calexico could have done this one), and Penny Wise (forerunners of glam rockers Amsterdam) whose Lily Come Near Me is actually "proper" Nederbeat as it's from 1968.

February 26, 2011


Saw this one at a charity shop today and just knew I couldn't miss; handmade black/white cover: check; 1980 vintage: check; reference to legendary punk shop: check. Only point of concern was the back cover mentioned a sax, but at 25 cents this was a risk I could take. And I'm glad I took it; this is a very nice slab of powerpop/punk. Too bad someone cut a piece off of the top, but hey, you can't have it all. And it's nice to be able to put a new record at the front of my A-C records box; grew a little tired of that Action Pact cover.
Just as much fun as finding a record like this is fantasizing how it could have ended up where I found it; the not too exciting town of Heerhugowaard. Maybe this once belonged to a member of local punk band Blitzkrieg?

February 12, 2011


You won't find anything about this band on the 'net; guess that's what you get with an un-Googleable/ unSoulseekable name like If. (I had a similar problem years ago when I was doing a post about the band London. Now Gerogerigegege, Splodgenessabounds or Ziffels, that's more like it!) I guess you can file this under Wormerpunk even though they weren't even Dutch. My band Gepopel once gigged with them + the Sox Pistels (Svatsox doing old punk covers!) around december '84, I vaguely recall they were a three-piece of mixed genders, and each one was from a different country; New Zealand, Switzerland and ?? I guess the Ex/ Villa folks put them up and helped them put out this EP, on which they sound like a slightly folkier version of the Ex, with great vocals (David Thomas meets PiL?) by a certain Flak who I believe was the New Zealand part of the band. The stamp design looks like it's made by Peter Pontiac (I don't think it's in any of his Pontiac Review books), the 33/45 rpm is a nice touch (I wonder if they knew about the Tandstickorshocks EP?), and oh yeah, they also had a song (called Eat Yourself Under The Table or something) on the Emma 2LP comp. That's it. Anyone who knows more: drop in!
P.S.: Jos dropped in to give us the following ifno (thanks, Jos!):
Hey Niels, some more InFo on IF: they were Mark and Dieneke, and they came from New Zealand to live in holland for a while, since Dieneke originally stemmed from Rotterdam. In NZ they used to have a band called Flak. First IF drummer was Rob who used to play in the amazing Dutch group (V/H) De Straks), and when he quit he was replaced by Flavia from Switzerland.
After this 7" they also released a 9-song 12" called Terminal. After that they returned to NZ.
(Actually, both pieces of vinyl are still available through me, if anybody's interested... (> mailorder@theex.nl).

February 06, 2011


I saw fellow vinyl junkies around these parts get paler and shakier as the month of January dragged along, but at last on February 5 Dropstyle opened its doors again... A quick browse throught the punk/wave (I hated it when - around '82? - the moniker "new wave" gave way to "wave"... Makes me think of heavily flanged guitars and Flock of Seagulls hair) bins yielded this nice 80's DIY single.
The Ziffels (named after a pig in the Green Acres TV series!) were from Groningen, a town with a disproportionate amount of great sleeve/poster designers as well as silkscreen printers; anyone who's ever been to the Vera club will know that. In the old Groningen tradition (starting with what I believe was the first Grunn-punk EP, Stad & Plat by Roeg Toeg in 1981) the Ziffels' sleeve is beautifully silkscreened in no less than 4 colours (five if you count the green). The music is pretty slickly-produced REM-type indie rock, which may put some of you readers off but just remember that over here in 1986 sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-Cure "wave" was what 90% of bands were playing so this sounded just great back then. Plus the songwriting is really strong.
Don't know anything about the Ziffels except a few stray mentions I found on the 'net. I saw them on TV back in '87, on the Jonge Helden show that showed lots of cool bands but had the irritating habit of making every band jump around and pull faces. The Ziffels acted relatively cool, although according to some internet source their drummer got an epileptic seizure during filming, which they kept in the video much to his dismay!

January 04, 2011


In rock music, words and music belong together; separating one from the other makes no sense (exhibit A: Bob Dylan lyrics books). With punk, you could go one step further and say you can't separate the music from its package. A punk song is just a pop song, only louder and cheaper sounding. A punk record, now that's something else! Its crude homemade graphics, funny catalog numbers, self-ridiculing sleeve notes ("recorded at home in their spare time"), even its smell are just as important as the actual tunes engraved in its vinyl. The best punk blogs out there recognize this fact and obsessively post scans of not only the records' front and back covers but also labels, lyric sheets, stickers, coffee stains, etc. etc.
Seen in this light, putting together a punk compilation CD is a bit of a challenge. It's not just a case of "you had to be there", but also of "you had to hold, feel and sniff the actual 45s".
Black Hole, last year's compilation of early Californian punk put together by the great Jon Savage, got reviewed in a regional newspaper last week; it got only two stars. Now the guy who reviewed it had Zucchero in his top ten year list, so I guess it's no big deal. But it got me thinking. If the aim of a punk compilation is to introduce outsiders to its greatness, then you have to separate the music from its package (and historical context) and treat punk songs like pop songs. Looking at Black Hole's track listing, I can see it's expertly put together but relying too much on historical importance and too little on killer tunes. Here's the changes I've made while compiling my own modified Black Hole (now called Ack Ack Ack Ack; easy to Photoshop!):
- Forming (Germs): the historic first LA punk record, and a mess. Changed it to Lexicondevil, their second record.
- I Hate The Rich (Dils): brilliant but an acquired taste; I went for Mr. Big, their Pop Song.
- Peer Pressure (Screamers): changed it to Vertigo for no particular reason.
- Murder By Guitar (Crime): swapped it for Hot Wire My Heart so the listener can say: hey, I know that song!
- Wimp (Zeros): replaced it with its A-side, Don't Push Me Around.
- We Are The One (Avengers): kept it of course, and used it as the CD's opening track.
- Anti Anti Anti (Consumers): great to include this little-known band (that were from Arizona, but never mind), but I went for Concerned Citizen, one of their songs later exhumed by 45 Grave.
- ABCD (Randoms): first release on the great Dangerhouse label, but you need the B-side, Let's Get Rid Of New York.
- Trouble At The Cup (Black Randy): hmmm, the Awful Noise aficionado in me says "Yes!", while the Punk Evangelist says: let's swap it for the Deadbeats' Kill The Hippies, skewed but also catchy.
- Nothing Means Nothing Anymore (Alley Cats): Classic. Stays on of course.
- Solitary Confinement (Weirdos): prefer A-side We Got The Neutron Bomb, slightly slower and with a Dolls-ish swagger.
- Beat Your Heart Out (Zeros): traded in one Zeros track for a track by those other great Mexican punkers the Plugz: Achin'.
- We're Desperate (X): Great, but changed it to Los Angeles nevertheless.
- 624803 (Offs): I'd swap this punky reggae ditty for the Nuns' classic Decadent Jew.
- Seventh World (Sleepers): We're treading sensitive terrain here, I've been a huge Sleepers fan ever since I found their first EP, and for years it seemed the only other person in the world who shared my admiration was Mr. Savage, who did all he could to revive interest in the band. So, from one Sleepers fan to another: Seventh World... great! She's Fun... ever better! Psychedelic Punk with backward guitars, how can you go wrong?
- Situations (Middle Class): Another Savage favourite and half post-punky, half ultra-fast hardcore-before-hardcore, I'd go for the hardcore bit: Out Of Vogue.
- Survive (Bags): A no-brainer, one of the greatest songs in the history of mankind.
- Media Blitz (Germs): traded it in for the equally short but catchier What We Do Is Secret.
- Love Is Just A Tool (Middle Class): We've already had Out Of Vogue, so why not give another brilliant Tooth And Nail track a chance, and add another female voice to the proceedings: UXA by UXA.
- Pony Dress (Flesh Eaters): great choice (Jay Reatard should have covered this one).
- Black Hole (Urinals): talk about Jay Reatard, but, great as this is, I'd change it for Ack Ack Ack Ack for short sharp shock value.
- Victims of Terrorism (Aurora Pushups): if we're going to do obscure one-offs, why not the Eyes' Take A Quaalude Now (aka TAQN)?
- The American In Me (Avengers): stays of course, but be sure to use the more in-yer-face version off their 12".
- California Uber Alles (Dead Kennedys): well, with Jerry Brown back, how can you go wrong? Single version, of course (slower and less smurfy).
- Sound Of The Rain (Dils): two Dils tracks and no Black Flag?? The sound of the rain gives way to the sound of a Nervous Breakdown.
- Los Gatos (Sleepers): yes, I know they're brilliant but let's just include their pals Negative Trend and the slow, haunting Black and Red (you can hear Flipper lurking around the corner).
There, that's it; I've changed 20 of the 26 tracks but I hoped I stayed true to Jon Savage's vision (I could have added some suburban pop punk like Red Cross or the Crowd but didn't).
Hope it gets 3 stars this time around.

Ack Ack Ack Ack - The Podcast!

Changed the running order around a bit and you get this:

1 avengers - we are the one
2 germs - lexicondevil
3 dils - mr. big
4 randoms - let's get rid of new york
5 crime - hot wire my heart
6 x - los angeles
7 weirdos - we got the neutron bomb
8 nuns - decadent jew
9 alley cats - nothing means nothing anymore
10 sleepers - she's fun
11 zeros - don't push me around
12 deadbeats - kill the hippies
13 plugz - achin'
14 screamers - vertigo
15 bags - survive
16 consumers - concerned citizen
17 uxa - uxa
18 middle class - out of vogue
19 eyes - taqn
20 germs - what we do is secret
21 avengers - the american in me
22 flesheaters - pony dress
23 urinals - ack ack ack ack
24 black flag - nervous breakdown
25 negative trend - black and red
26 dead kennedys - california uber alles

December 16, 2010


Not much to say, except this is effing brilliant. The Nightingales used to be the Prefects, Birmingham Ur-punks that had a legendary 10 second song (VD) as well as a legendary 10 minute song (the wilfully dull and repetitive Going Through The Motions). Whereas the Prefects's complete recorded legacy amounts to one Peel Session, the Nightingales put out lots of records throughout the 80's. At a time when most post-punk bands were going for a smooth, overproduced sound, the Nightingales kept on banging and scratching away; they're sort of the missing link between early Rough Trade ramalama (Swell Maps et al) and later 80's noise like Big Flame and Dog Faced Hermans. Singer Robert Lloyd also ran the Vindaloo label of We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It fame (who probably sold 50 times as many records as the Nightingales). Oh yeah, here's a nice picture of the guys standing in front of a pub called In The English Pisspot, can somebody tell me where this was taken?

Cakehole (both 1983)

November 25, 2010


Way back in the wilderness years of 1991-92, as grunge was sweeping the nation(s), I discovered a different kind of noise. VPRO Radio had a weekly show called Stompin' that was a grab-bag of primal r&b, soul, powerpop, punk and garage, and while I never cared much for the 80's garage revival, this new garage stuff had a freshness and excitement about it that elevated it above mere "neo-60s". Thee Headcoats, New Bomb Turks, Oblivians, Gories, all legendary (even, what's the word - "seminal") bands these days. One band seems to be all but forgotten though, and back then it was my favourite of the bunch: The Fall-Outs!
1992 single Don't Want The Sun was their 1 minute 58 of fame, a brilliant combination of 1965 vintage Kinks infused with the spirit of quirky 80's hardcore (Angst, Rebel Truth). After that, the records came few and far between, the band seemed to split up every other year, and tours were non-existent, so the Fall-Outs slowly slipped into oblivion.
Looking back, the Fall-Outs seem like a forgotten Evil Twin brother of that other Northwestern band, Nirvana; it's almost eerie how much they had in common: both bands were from rural Washington, were three-pieces, had blond singers with raspy voices, recorded cover versions of Dutch 60's songs (hear the Fall-Outs' 1993 Cuby + Blizzards cover Your Body Not Your Soul), had members of Mudhoney helping out in their rhythm sections, and combined 60's pop with 80's punk. Guess Nirvana just combined the "right" 60's pop with the "right" 80's punk. Plus Kurt was cuter.
One advantage they have over Nirvana though is that their singer, Dave Holmes, is still alive. Better still, in 2004 they (once again) reformed and put out a great LP called Summertime, which disappeared without a trace. It's much poppier than their early stuff, but still has the trademark spare scratchy sound; check out Flowers For Hours.

November 12, 2010


Someone puts out a single, then it becomes a hit - or doesn't; in any case, when it's time to do an LP, they re-do the song that was on the single, because they think the original sounds too primitive (Rezillos), there's a sax on the original that they decided was not punk (Suburban Studs) or simply because the single was recorded in Mono (Beatles, Otis Redding, lots of other 60s stuff). But then, years later, when the music gets reissued, comped and put on radio playlists, you'll always get the LP versions instead of the original - often superior - ones!
I first heard the Boys' I Don't Care on their LP, and didn't care; too rushed, too crass, trying too hard to be punk it seemed. When I got the actual single, I was surprised to find out it was much slower, poppier and er... nicer! Basically this is the earliest pop punk record, predating the (Shelley) Buzzcocks and Generation X by about 6 months (it was released March 1977 I think). So can somebody explain to me why they put the LP version on their "Punk Singles Collection" CD???

October 13, 2010


You can find loads of old Rob Hoeke records, but most of them will be by his boogie-woogie combo. His R&B Group records - the ones you need - are a bit scarcer but still not too hard to find; at least I come across this one, 1967's Save Our Souls, every now and then. You probably know their brilliant Sonics-style piano stomper Margio, which has been comped countless times; this LP is right from that era and mixes similar garage stuff (like the great Let's Get Out Of Here, clocking in at 1:26!) with cool attempts at Blonde On Blonde-style Dylan (Lights Have Been Changed), melodic folk rock (Drinking On My Bed, another hit) and oh, also some boogie. Singer on most R&B Group cuts wasn't actually Rob Hoeke himself but bass player Willem Schoone, a tall blonde guy who looked like a Dutch Brian Jones (and is now known around these parts for having been in loads of "famous" local cover bands like Shoreline).

October 09, 2010


There's this great little internet record store that I stumbled across some time ago; it only carries 7 inch records, mostly of the Dutch/ German "Schlager" sort, but every time I check it out I find a great treasure hidden inbetween; the Tits, Blitzz, Fallouts (Dutch 60s version), Yardbirds, and last week this gem by the Subterraneans, all at 1 or 2 Euros each.
The Subterraneans were 2 ex-members of legendary (and sadly unrecorded) 60's proto-punks the Kick; they were one of the first Dutch bands to move away from electric Beat to acoustic pre-war blues inspired sounds. Flipside Explain All This Stuff To Me is my pick of the two tracks.
O.K., as I'm in an altruistic mood today I'm going to give you the name of the record store... It's http://www.-----svinyl.nl/ (insert the first name of the drummer for Dutch punk legends The Vernon Walters)!

October 03, 2010


I have a sneaking suspicion all the DC/Dischord-related records I've been scooping up at the local 2ndhand record store lately (Deadline, Dain Bramage, Rain etc.) are actually the very same copies I offloaded at that place some 15 years ago... But then who can explain this find? I've never owned a copy of the Alive and Kicking comp. EP, and god knows I've been looking for it back in my DC-obsessed days. It's worth it's weight in gold alone for the presence of the greatest Gray Matter track ever, Walk The Line; an earlier version than the one on their own record, more primitive and with Jeff Turner doing some great almost Darby-like screaming.
The rest ain't no great shakes, although I'll post Marginal Man's re-recording of er, Marginal Man, because it sounds better than the one on their first LP. Oh yeah, and Mission Impossible's I Can Only Try, for being the world's first recording featuring Dave Grohl!

P.S.: I'm proud to say I once got this very Gray Matter song on Dutch national radio, when a band I was in in the 90's was invited to play some favourites on air. Of course, the other guys forgot to take CD's with them, so it was my party. (Since you asked: this track is also on the Gray Matter CD) (Since you asked pt. 2: the other stuff played was Johnny Burnette's Train Kept a-Rollin', some old K-era Beck song and the Louvin Brothers' When I Stop Dreaming - during which our very hip record plugger started laughing, thought it was a great joke)

September 17, 2010


I often hear people remark how this whole internet business should have been around 25 years ago, in the "punk days", when everybody was writing loads of letters and sending eachother records, tapes, etc. Another remark that gets thrown around a lot is how "blogs are the fanzines of today". Here I beg to differ: when as a wee 16-year-old I started my own 'zine, I filled it up with whatever bullshit (bios, lyrics, doodles) I had lying around; it didn't really matter that much as it wasn't about content, it was about communication, walking up to people at gigs pestering them to buy my little rag. With this blog it's the opposite: I only post when I think I really have something to say, and then, sitting at home, sipping my Tullamore Dew and clicking my mouse, it disappears into cyberspace. All content and no communication.
This letter-writing stuff we used to do 100 years ago actually held a lot of advantages over today's emailtwitspacebook. For instance, you could wait two or three months before replying, and blame the postal service! Try waiting 2 months before replying to an email (which I do, in most cases); they'll think you're dead, or an asshole (or both). Also, the tapes/ flyers/ zines/ records that would arrive through Ye Olde Snail Mail were real artefacts that you could hold, look at and smell. Try smelling an mp3.
One of my most treasured cassettes ever was taped for me in 1986 by a certain mr. Ian MacKaye. Thinking about it now it amazes me how someone like him would even take time to reply to my stupid letters, let alone send me a tape of unreleased music! (Sure beats a myspace page.) I was totally crazy about the tape, must have played it 3 months on repeat, Embrace and Dag Nasty were my new favourite bands. Oh yeah, and then there was this old demo from 1982 tagged onto the end of side B by Deadline, a short-lived band that I knew from Flex Your Head. Back then I thought this was "just" pretty good old hardcore punq.
Funny how nowadays I find it hard to recall the chimey sub-U2 sounds of Embrace, but the Deadline tape has grown and grown to be an absolute classic! Much more powerful than their Flex Your Head tracks (although I liked those as well), but still sorta primitive, this is a perfect example of more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts hardcore. No overdubs, sloppy drumming, out of tune guitar, and yet it's so powerful and slightly sinister to boot, in a Mecht Mensch/ Tar Babies kind of way.
This tape was eventually released as a one-sided LP in 1989; I had a copy but sold it long ago; luckily I found another copy in the Dropstyle bargain bin last week! The mastering on the LP is incredible, the low-end jumps out of your speakers. Dischord have recently reissued it on CD, if that's your cup of tea. Anyway, here's some highlights... No, let me rephrase that: here's some randomly chosen tracks, as all 11 tracks are equally great:

Closed Door
Outside The Law

September 05, 2010


OK, so tell me which town the following bands are from: 10CC, Barclay James Harvest, Sad Cafe. Any idea? Now tell me which town these bands are from: Joy Division, Buzzcocks, Fall. Got it in a micro-second?
In the immediate pre-punk era, there was no way of telling where a certain band was from; all local peculiarities were wiped out in favour of a generic Trans-Atlantic style and accent; no local references were used except for generic mythic Rock & Roll places like Mississippi, New Orleans, etc, places where the band in question probably had never ever set foot. This was one of the things that Punk "fixed": bands would sing about their own lives, in their own accents, again. Well, some of them. For a while.
Over here, Rotterdam bands like Rondos and Tandstickorshocks had a very identifiable sound of their own, as far removed from "Rock" (and most of their Amsterdam "rivals") as they could get: staccato, clean, primitive. I've posted the incredible 12-song Tandstickorshocks EP before; what I didn't know at the time is that their singer/leader Ronnie Roteb (nicknamed after his employer, the Rotterdam Waste Disposal Company) also sang for Railbirds, a band from 1 or 2 years earlier. They were on the 1979 Rondos debut/split EP, and couldn't be further removed from the "Rotterdam style"! This is meat and potatoes punk Rock with guitar solos (!) and ruff singing, in fact it's hard to believe this is actually the Tandstickor... guy. So much for local peculiarities.

Lonely (from split EP with Rondos, 1979)
Dancing With God And Pogo With The Devil
Go To Hell (from King Kong Records double EP, 1979)

August 31, 2010


In 1965, while on a U.S. tour, Ray Davies of the Kinks smacked a Musicians' Union official in the face; as a result the Kinks were banned from playing the USA for 5 years. This turned them from British Invasion hitmakers into an obscure, exotic acquired taste. The Kinks' American record company shrewdly turned their inability to come over and promote their records into an asset, cultivating their faraway English quaintness and printing up Union Jack badges with the band's name on them. This pretty much started a whole subculture of American Anglophiles who, sick of Woodstock pompousness and L.A. cowboy fashion, turned to Old Blighty for their musical heroes.
California especially seemed to be fertile ground for this Anglophile cult, despite - or probably because - it was the epicentre of laid-back country-rock. Almost all future key players in the L.A. punk scene started out rabid Limey fanatics: The proto-Germs bonded over a love for Queen and Yes; Alice Bag was crazy about Elton John (and sported similar glasses!); future Frontier label boss Lisa Fanchier was a card-carrying Mott the Hoople fan club member; Rodney Bingenheimer's club was even called the English Disco! To top it off, L.A. band Sparks liked England so much they moved there (a move 180 degrees contrary to the more common westward trek of UK musicians at the time). No wonder the Los Angeles punk scene would stylistically become the most extreme one in the States, avoiding any boogie or blues inflections, instead focusing on fast, staccato rhythms and cheap transistor distortion.
Dangerhouse records pretty much epitomized all that was cool, new and extreme about L.A. punk; their legendary catalog of a little more than a dozen 7 inchers (Bags, Dils, Weirdos, Avengers etc. etc.) contains nary a clunker. Then there's Howard Werth's "Obsolete". The least favourite and collectable Dangerhouse release by about 1000 miles, everybody seemed to wonder what moved them to put out a record by an old English hippie who used to sing for prog rockers Audience. Well, now you know.
P.S.: The cover scans don't really do justice to its beautiful day-glo colours. I scanned both front and back because they fit together so nicely, just like those old Roger Dean gatefolds!

August 29, 2010


This beautiful French 10 inch declares Lionel Hampton to be squarely in the "R 'n R" (R et R?) camp, a reminder that back in the Fifties mr. Heybabareba was universally slagged off by Serious Jazz Critics. Also note that, while mr. Hampton is holding his cymbal in the air, there seems to be a piece of the cymbal stand still attached to it!

August 25, 2010


It took a while, but I've finally played the whole pile of 1-buck-each records I obtained a couple of weeks ago. So OK, there's loads of stuff I'll never play again (anyone looking for that elusive Red Beat, Weird Strings or Family Fodder 45, get in touch!), then there's loads of New Wave Hits I couldn't pass up (c'mon, Party Fears Two is a classic). Also a pile of Dutch stuff like Catapult and Long Tall Ernie & Shakers, some of which I won't play a lot but I feel it's my Patriotic duty to have them. That leaves about a dozen of true jewels, my current favourite being the Stick Figures 1981 EP. Never heard of them, but the sleeve looked cool, even though there's no info on it apart from the members' first names. A quick Google search taught me they were from Florida and put out this EP in 5 different covers, each designed by a different band member. One blog compared this EP to late-70s NY No Wave, but while there's scratchy guitars, weird noises and lopsided rhythms galore, there's also some nice melodies to be found, especially in Rachel (Nolastname)'s singing.
Whereas I usually and lazily get my mp3s from Soulseek, I had to do some old-fashioned vinyl ripping myself this time, as these tracks were nowhere to be found!

August 23, 2010


(Wot, Als Je Haar Maar Goed Zit without the yellow? No, it's the Avengers!)
Two more Dropstyle finds. There have probably been more Avengers than Antidotes; this is the Dutch mid-80s version. They put out three pretty good 7 inches but were either 5 years too late or 5 years too early to earn the appreciation they deserved. First EP Escape In Time was recorded without a bass player and sounds like a mid-90s Crypt record, raw and primitive. The All I Ever Wanted 45 from a couple of years later is a slicker affair, with typical late-80s production, but still great songs. Singer Jeroen Vedder and drummer Jerry Goossens would later write Dutch punk history Het Gejuich Was Massaal, as well as compile the I'm Sure We're Gonna Make It CD. I used to see those Avengers EPs in record stores everywhere, for years. By 1986 the novelty of self-released records had worn off; before, people would buy anything that looked interesting, now they would only check out the stuff that was part of their particular clique. Which to today's collectors is good news, 'cuz you should be able to find these EPs at a reasonable price!
Rubber Doll (from Escape In Time EP, 1986)
Standing On The Outside (All I Ever Wanted 7", 1988?)

August 13, 2010


In the midst of Dropstyle's one-buck-each feeding frenzy, I bumped into this one. Feeling a little guilty already about scooping up so many beauties at next-to-nothing, I told Benno: you should keep this one, it's worth a few bob! The next day, as I resumed my vinyl hunt, Benno said: guess what, I've found two more copies of that EP, want one?
Hometown Atrocities is a fairly typical late 80's UK punk sampler. It's also the holy grail for Radiohead collectors, as Headless Chickens feature one Thom (then still plain "Tom") Yorke on guitar and backing vocals. I Don't Want To Go To Woodstock is a nice piece of slightly glammy pop punk, a bit out of step with the other 3 bands that are more U.S./Dischord-y, as a lot of UK bands were at the time. Like Mad At The Sun, whose track This Could Be... rises above most of their UK "Emo" peers thanks to some nice staccato guitar and its raw, basic production.

August 11, 2010


Even though I never heard Modern English, and always had a vague suspicion they were a sub-Joy D. doomy kind of band, I had to scoop this one up. Big surprise! Their Swans On Glass/ Incident 45 from 1980 is actually a slab of great, catchy, scratchy and slightly unhinged post-punk, sort of like the Scars circa "Horrorshow".

August 09, 2010


One of 86 seven inch records I bought at the great Dropstyle (Hoorn, NL) record store last week; they held an insane summer clearance sale with all 7 inches going for 1 Euro each!
Never heard of XXOO, but a peek at the back cover of their 1982 EP revealed this is actually Half Japanese. Apparently, they used the name XXOO ("kisses and hugs") to highlight their sensitive side, playing 3 love songs that sound like a blueprint for Daniel Johnston's career. How Will I Know? is the only original; That's What They Say (Buddy Holly) and Tracks Of My Tears (Miracles) are covers.

August 01, 2010


A Mekons fan once wrote: "Rock is the only kind of music that sounds better when performed by people who can't play". This doesn't hold true for every type of rock though: nobody wants to hear badly played funk, jazzrock or metal. But badly played punk, garage and soul: can't get enough of it! Personally, I'd like to rephrase above saying as "rock (punk/garage/soul) sounds just as good when performed by people who can't play", as I like slickly-produced, well-played punk (Rezillos, Generation X) as much as I like the Mekons. Likewise with soul, I love slick stuff like Etta James + strings just as much as yer ultra-primitivo Fortune records stuff.
One of my favourite soul singers, Joe Tex, put out loads and loads of singles in a bewildering variety of recording quality and slickness. In his case, I prefer his more primitive stuff, which for some reason can mostly be found on the "big" Checker label (I guess some smalltime producer leased them the recordings). 1963's "You Keep Her" was an answer record to James Brown's "I Found Someone"; I love the flubbed trumpet note in the first chorus. "Baby You're Right" is more or less the same song (or vice versa as an earlier recording predates "You Keep Her"). Both songs sound like they're recorded in some barn using one microphone. Joe Tex would achieve superstardom only months later with the great "Never Been In A Riot"... er, "Hold What You've Got".
You Keep Her
Baby You're Right

July 31, 2010


Tonight were a bunch of early Powerpoppers, Drummer Man (1978) was their first single; it was a sizable hit in England at the time, big enough to land them on Top of the Pops. I like the song, especially the "Lazy Sunday"-Cockney rasp of their singer, reminds me a bit of a pop band called the Look (that had a 1980 hit with "Tonight"!) (I'm sorry, I've just finished reading Nick Tosches' Where Dead Voices Gather, and as a result I'm seeing occult musical connections everywhere.)
Funny thing is, there are 38.000 Powerpop compilations out but Drummer Man - or any song by Tonight, who're supposed to have done 4 singles - isn't on any of them. Guess they should have put it out in a hand-crayoned pressing of 148 copies, with half of the press run melted by an irate ex-girlfriend, in order to warrant Powerpop credibility.

July 23, 2010


The Bintangs were the closest thing the Netherlands had to the Flamin' Groovies. Starting out in the 60's as a typical bluesy Nederbeat group, by the turn of the 70's they excelled both at meaner-than-the-Stones bluesrock and fun uptempo rock & roll, the latter under the guise of Kraaijeveld (an offshoot that gradually came to include all original Bintangs members!). They had a couple of pretty big hits and made some critically-acclaimed LPs, although their 1969 debut LP Blues on the Ceiling is relatively overlooked. Like the title says, here they turn the blues upside down, changing chestnuts like Smokestack Lightning around until they're barely recognizable. This "freaky" approach lasted only one record.
Fast forward six years: Kraaijeveld's 1975 swansong Johnny Do It Faster is a great piece of glammy proto-punk that wouldn't have seemed out of place on Clap Your Hands & Stamp Your Feet. After this, they'd continue as a reconstituted Bintangs, releasing the classic Genuine Bull LP (recorded at Rockfield studios, to continue our Groovies analogy!).

July 21, 2010


Infexion, Castricum, 1979
1979 seems to be the Lost Year of Dutch punk. The first bunch of bands faded away, the second bunch were just starting out. There were maybe only one or two records released in that year, but as a gestation period for punk's second wave ("punks that started making music" as opposed to "musicians that started playing punk") it was a hotbed of activity. Activity that slowly switched from the "big" clubs like Paradiso to small, squatted, self-organized places like NoName and Kaasee, where loads of legendary bands like Bugs, Gospelfuckers, Infexion, 123, the Duds, Ketchup, (Amsterdam) Scabs, Motorboat etc. would play, bands that never got around to making records to assure their place in "KBD" annals.
Early 1979 I spent a lot of time in Amsterdam. My parents and I went to the Scientology church every week; this wasn't as bad as it sounds, the people working there were mostly nice (if misguided), underpaid hippies, and the boredom of their "communication course" was relieved by the thrill of walking around Am'dam during the coldest winter ever. (Ironically, that very Scientology church was briefly squatted and used to put on punk gigs in the early '80's.) It's funny how, a stone's throw from much of this punk activity, the 11-year old me never, ever encountered punks or saw other evidence of punk (flyers, grafitti). I guess that goes to show how much of history is dictated by the artifacts future generations can hold, look at and listen to. In other words: records!
Infexion from Amsterdam were one of the "biggest" punk bands of the period; they played at the legendary 1979 Punk Festival that had the village of Castricum invaded by crazy punk hordes (and was called off after one day!). On these two demo tracks you hear a band that's already moving towards the ultra-fast 4/4 style of the Nitwitz and Pistache BV.

Dumb Dumb Cop

July 19, 2010


"Nobody Knows What's Going On (In My Mind But Me)" by the Chiffons, 1965. Written by Brute Force, later of "King of Fuh" fame.

July 15, 2010


Punk was over by 1986. That doesn't mean there weren't any great punk records made after that, but that particular dynamic that fueled all the changes and mutations up 'til then had gone static. Howard Devoto called it Negative Drive, I call it WHATEVER'S POPULAR OR COOL, DO THE OPPOSITE! To some, punk mutations like Grunge, Straight Edge, Cowpunk or even Twee Indie Pop might seem silly in retrospect, but the whole point about them was, they came about because people would go: EVERYBODY HATES COUNTRY; LET'S PLAY COUNTRY*! (*Insert Disco or Metal at will.) Or: EVERYBODY'S PLAYING AS FAST AS THEY CAN, LET'S PLAY AS SLOW AS WE CAN! Or: EVERYBODY'S INTO TAKING DRUGS AND LIVING UNHEALTHILY; LET'S, LIKE, DO THE OPPOSITE! By the mid-80's, all these twists and turns had become rigid institutions themselves. The last spasm of this Punk Dynamic might have been that often misunderstood thing called Emo. So, what was Emo all about? It was Hardcore kids going: EVERYBODY'S RUNNING AROUND WITH SHAVED HEADS, ACTING TOUGH AND SINGING ABOUT RONALD REAGAN; LET'S WEAR GLASSES, READ POETRY, THROW FLOWERS AROUND AND SING ABOUT OUR DEEPEST EMOTIONS! Makes sense now, doesn't it?
Even though the bands involved hated the tag - which means something entirely different today anyway - the greatest Emo bands in my book were Rites of Spring and Gray Matter, who both put out brilliant LPs in 1985 before promptly disbanding in true Dischord Records fashion. Another fine example of the original spirit of Emo was the 1988 EP by Moss Icon. Greta Garbo on the cover, that's brilliant! Someone at MaximumRocknRoll must have gone: "What's this? Why don't they use pictures of El Salvador torture victims?" Even better is singer Jon Vance's dedication on the lyric sheet: "and lastly, thanks to the beautiful Greta Garbo for... well, you know what I thank you for Greta, rest well dear, sweet girl, Rest." (Picture bald HC dude going "HUH??") I bought the EP off the band after hearing it on John Peel, it came packed in a piece of recycled cardboard. I love the primitive, almost clumsy sound, it reminds me a little of early Funeral Oration. Oh yeah, check out the sob at the end of What They Lack!
P.S.: I sold my copy a couple of years ago to someone who was desperate for it, which is why i asked a ridiculously low price. Just last month I found another copy, at a ridiculously low price. Whoo, karma!

Hate In Me
What They Lack
I'm Back Sleeping Or Fucking Or Something
Kiss The Girls And Make Them Die

July 13, 2010


1 Euro at Kringloop KaKee, Zwaag (one of my faves). BZN, of course, are the biggest-selling Dutch pop group in history. They're also from Volendam, the village where I grew up. That they actually played some pretty heavy rock before they switched to middle-of-the-road schlagers is sorta semi-well known. I never cared much for the StatusQuochuggachugga of their 1973 hit Sweet Silver Anny (which can be found on the otherwise brilliant Clap Your Hands and Stamp Your Feet comp), but when I first put on The Bastard, my mouth fell open. This sounds exactly like the Sex Pistols! In 1971! Well, o.k., a cross between the Move and the Sex Pistols (but then again, the Sex Pistols themselves sounded like a cross between the Move and the Sex Pistols on their best tracks). The lyrics are pretty sick, too, about a rapist or something (do I really hear "while I rape you, I let you die"??). Even the long laid-back part at the end is kinda cool (in a Love/Forever Changes way). Volendam punk history needs a thorough rewriting.

July 12, 2010


(A while ago I wrote the following piece for Christoph Lampert's photobook We Call it Punk, to accompany some pictures he shot of the Vernon Walters)
"The Vernon Walters were a little band I played guitar in, around the mid/late eighties. It wasn't my first band, nor my last one, nor the best or most successful one. But somehow it's the band I have the fondest memories of. The combination of endless, alcohol-fueled fun and zero responsibilities that came with crossing the continent in a smelly old van at that particular age is something that will never come back. Me and (fellow ex-VW) Joost's current band Sack-o'-Woes still occasionally try to live it up, but there's all kinds of stuff that gets in the way; like for instance having a driver's license. Why on earth did I ever take driving lessons? In the old days we just jumped into the van, started having fart contests or Rubberen Robbie singalongs, and rolled out when we'd arrived at our destination. Now I have to do all this boring stuff like drive, find the place, park the van, sip Coke all night, etc. etc.

Well, it's just one of those things that will never be the same now our Tour Mother Hans Engel has gone (he died in 2003). Apart from being the Vernon Walters' frontman, main lyricist and singer, he was also the one arranging the shows, putting out the records, contacting the people and getting us anywhere we had to be. He did pretty much everything short of wiping our bottoms, giving us free rein to behave like a bunch of idiots. It was great. The tours of Germany were the best; I think we did about five of them. Loads and loads of fun places to play; cool non-stuck up audiences that would go crazy even if they'd never heard of us; all the beer we could drink; nice places to crash. Two or three weeks of that and our mental age would be lowered to about half our actual age. I recall Joost walking around in Hamburg pretending to be a retard, jumping in puddles when unsuspecting citizens were passing by. Or me drawing penises on every person depicted in every magazine and newspaper I could find in this bar. Or the time when our drummer Danny started the drum intro to one of our songs at half the proper speed. This went on for about five minutes without any speeding up, us scratching our heads and leaving him to it. He then quit, to bemused looks of audience and band members. Upon which he started again, at the exact same speed. After another two minutes we grudgingly started to play along, snail-like; after that, the tempo picked up ever so slightly, to reach just about the right amount of bpm by the time we reached the end of the last chorus.
A big factor in this process of losing our minds was the sheer scale of the punk/squatting scene in Germany at the time. I mean, in Holland we had a couple of cool squats here and there, but Hamburg's Hafenstrasse, that was something else! It felt like the squatters had taken over the whole of St. Pauli, especially when we first glanced upon the famed Stortebeker building, painted from top to bottom in loud designs and slogans. About halfway through the first time we played inside the building, the electricity broke down. While doing some a capella improvising we saw several cop cars outside, lights flashing. In a matter of seconds there was a riot going on between a bunch of squatters and the riot squad, all done up in helmets, shields, the works. We stood looking through the window fearing for the windows of our van, but as suddenly as it started, it stopped. So we played the rest of our set. The day after, the newspapers wrote about how the squatters had started (huh?) a "terrible riot" landing "several policemen in hospital". The police were apparently looking for a "car thief" who, in the next column, mysteriously morphed into an "ex-RAF-member". Wow! This piece of villainous Bild-style gutter press put the icing of the cake of our first Hafenstrasse experience.
We'd play the Hafenstrasse another 3 or 4 times later on, always great. No more riots though."
Here's 3 tracks from the VW's first record, the Hoodoo-Do Da Coruba EP. This was before I joined them and it's my favourite. Hans had sorta dropped out of punk a couple of years before, so when they started the VW it sounded more like 1981 than 1986, without any of the post-Hardcore cliches then rampant.
The Truth About You
Y Va A Caer

July 11, 2010


Just got this at the great marktplaats.nl. Les Baroques were famed for using a bassoon, which sounds a bit like a flock of geese on this particular track, one of their earliest ones (1966). Great goofy vocals, too (I'd swear he sings "mongol" instead of "mine, girl"!). Their biggest hit was Such A Cad Am I, prompting the misheard answer record Sure He's A Cat by the Cats (who used an oboe instead of a bassoon).

March 11, 2009


For all you good people who just stumbled upon this here blog while a-Googling: I wrote these posts between 2006 and early 2008, when I quit because I didn't have the time anymore. The links to the mp3s don't work anymore, as there's been some IP address shuffling going on and I don't feel like changing a couple hundred links. Fancy hearing a particular tune: I'm sure you know where to look. Although I didn't come close to the great KBD Records, Good Bad Music or Last Days Of Man in terms of quantity (and sound quality), I hoped my "personal touch" made up for that, and I was glad to see a bunch of people did enjoy my infrequent postings, among them some of the actual musicians the posts were about!
Although I haven't posted in over a year, I still check the comments from time to time (why? cuz I don't have a life, that's why); nice to see they're still coming. I don't think I'll post any more mp3s, but I think I'll put up links to stuff that I like and that might interest you. We'll see.

March 09, 2008


As astute Eetusmakelijk readers will have noticed, postings became scarcer over the last few months, culminating in a record-breaking 7-week gap between the penultimate post and this one. Well, I'll just come clean about it: after 86 posts I've felt I've said about all I had to say within the narrow confines of this blog, plus posting mp3s is getting more and more useless since just about everything has already been posted/ is available on CD/ can be found at p2p programs like soulseek, etc. Add to that the fact that I've switched from a part-time job with access to a computer and lots of time on my hands, to a full-time job without access to a computer... But the last straw for me was when, inspired by Erich's posting of the first Bad Religion EP, I decided to post the first Offspring 45; after a bit of Googling it turned out that not only had KBDrecords already posted it 2 years ago, but I had commented on the post and totally forgotten about it! So, I'm sorry to say, Eetusmakelijk will be on er, eternal hiatus from now on. I'm thinking of starting another blog but it won't be (strictly) about punk (or even music), i.e. it won't automatically attract a niche of interested people like this blog did, in which case I wonder if it's any use... Anyway, thanks for checking me out, listening to the music and commenting!

I've posted something by my own (first) band, Gepopel, before, and am glad to announce there will be an LP out very soon of all of our old recordings (check it out here). But that LP won't feature the earliest (1982-83) recordings I did under that name. Those were tracks I recorded by myself in the attic, using old broken-down and borrowed equipment and "ping-ponging" onto a 2 track tapedeck. March 1983, exactly 25 years ago today, I released my very first tape called No One Can Stop Advance. It sold 30 copies; I still remember seeing the row of finished tapes and thinking: "Wow, I've just mass-produced something!"

Musically, it was a grab-bag of punk, proto-HC and more post-punky stuff, reflecting the records I'd been listening to just before it got all Hardcore. To me, it's part fun, part embarrassing hearing it back and thinking: "Oh, I copped this from a Siouxsie record...Stole that from The Ex..." Tracks 1 to 11 were on the actual tape; the other 11 are from the same time but were never released. I feel a little weird about posting this, sorta like showing someone baby pictures of yourself, but I hope there's sort of an early-80s charm to it (a writer's block-free era, as you could always write about The Bomb! Wish it was still as easy nowadays). I've also put up the booklet showing my first attempts at being John Heartfield.

Only one or two songs (like Eenheidsworst) made it to the later "actual band" Gepopel, although we recycled the chord structure of The Day After (sped up about 8 times!) for Two Days After. Not every song tackles nuclear war; the curiously-titled I Will Put Him is about much-reviled Dutch TV personality Henk van der Meyden and his bad English, while Cock Is Dead was about our (me & Henk Gepopel & Ruud Indirekt) Latin teacher, Mr. Cock (Nomen Est Omen). Come to think of it, I wonder why I never wrote a song about our German teacher, Mr. Goebbels?

Gepopel - No One Can Stop Advance (1983)

The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan
The Day After
Toy Town
Smashed Up Slums

Booklet cover
Booklet 1
Booklet 2
Booklet 3
Booklet 4
Booklet 5
Booklet 6

Bonus tracks

Why Spoiling Your Youth
Annual Ceremony
Cock Is Dead
I Will Put Him
Living Death
The Govern Tower
Two Stamps

January 23, 2008


A pre-skin Skrewdriver in front of Blackpool Tower, 1977.

By now, everybody knows the Skrewdriver story: early punk band with no political inclinations adopt skinhead look, as a result attract violent skinhead following, are dropped from label and can't get gigs; band implodes. Years later, singer starts new band using old name, adding ultra-right wing "White Power" agenda, thereby forever tarnishing their name. If this was just any run-of-the-mill band it would be merely pathetic; what makes it sad is the fact that first-incarnation Skrewdriver were one of the best bands around. One of the very first punk records (spring '77) from the north of England, debut platter You're So Dumb is a sizzling scorcher with vocals that make your hairs stand on end. All Skrewed Up (the first 45 RPM LP ever?) from later that year was very good too, and shows they could do more than just bash it out; on the mostly acoustic "Where's It Gonna End" the singing is more melodic, in fact it reminds me of Scream's Peter Stahl (!) every time I hear it. For a while, Skrewdriver were loved and respected by music press and fellow musicians alike, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Damned, the Jam (whose notoriously fussy Paul Weller even lent them some of his gear after their van got stolen) and Motorhead. In fact, their equal parts 60's R&B/ heavy rock sound occupied a sort of middle ground between both aforementioned (and soon to become huge) bands. For a band always branded as godfathers of Oi!, the music has actually very little to do with it; there's no football-chant type chorus in sight, the playing is tight rather than sloppy (in that light, the Faces are far more proto-Oi) and Ian Stuart sounds more Transatlantic than Cockney. Alas, one ill-judged style change and it all went down the drain.
Those great early Skrewdriver sides were never reissued by Chiswick/Ace, who understandably didn't want anything to do with what they had become. Try to find an original copy on eBay and you won't find a thing: the very word "Skrewdriver" is forbidden on that oh-so humanitarian auction site! So you try Soulseek; next thing you know you get a deluge of Skrewdriver mp3s, both "old" and "new", thousands of them, from users with scary names like i-kill-commies and skullsplitter. Well, I guess that unavailibility really worked! It's like Mein Kampf: why not just make it freely available, so everyone can find out for themselves it's a load of crap? I remember in the 80's there were quite a few PC-baiting fanzine types who thought it was really smart to insist those later Skrewdriver records were really great, all in the spirit of "it's like Celine, ya know, judge it by art, not politics!" Well, I've listened to some of it, and I can tell you it sucks. But don't take my word for it, go find it out for yourselves. I guess that's one of the good things to come out of the mystique-busting mp3/P2P-era...
Anyway, I'll leave you with three blazing tracks from their 1977 Peel Session, so you can reminisce about what could have been.

The Only One

December 28, 2007


No, you're not going to get any punk Christmas songs from me. But, just a couple of days after Christmas, I thought of something Christmassy to post anyway. It's a recording of the legendary Rock Against Religion festival held at punk club Kaasee, Rotterdam, on Boxing Day 1979, featuring the cream of Dutch punk like the Squats, Tandstickorshocks, Ketchup (of the prophetic song "Herman Brood Val Dood") and Jezus and the Gospelfuckers. Live recordings as well as on-the-spot interviews were broadcast by VPRO radio the week after; I was too young to hear it first-hand but luckily someone recorded this from his/her radio so we can plunge into the hissy depths of history now... (If someone has better recordings of this, please get in touch!)
The broadcast starts off with a sort of VPRO Theme Tune which I'm pretty sure is played by Dorpsstraat, the ramshackle neo-60s-without-knowing-it outfit whose "Lepeltje" was the second best track (after Ivy Green's "Pak 'm Beet") on the Uitholling Overdwars comp. Then it's over to VPRO's resident punk Marjoke Roorda, whose chewing-gum-in-mouth delivery sounds a bit studied to these ears now. She announces first act Jules Deelder; now this guy became very famous over here later on, and it's my guess that the TV showing of this very appearance, that showed him getting soaked in phlegm, might just have helped a tiny bit...! Now you can hear for yourself what it was all about; legend had it he never flinched under the Green Rain that poured down, but aural evidence shows he did lose his cool towards the end.
More than the music (great though it is, although I'm still looking for recordings by Tandstickorshocks; I have the part by Neh but didn't post it cuz it's boring), the interview bits are fascinating; some hippie VPRO guy walking around asking some random bystanders smart stuff like "Are you here for the music or for the anti-religion message?" What strikes me most is that back then, everyone still had their own regional accent; you can hear if someone's from Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Nijmegen (home of the Squats, who apparently took a bunch of fans with them). These days it seems like everyone in Holland has adopted the posh Gooi accent with the flat "R"...
When interviewing Jezus of the Gospelfuckers Himself (well, it was his birthday after all), the VPRO guy starts talking how some Youth for Christ guy he knew "felt just like his mother was raped" after reading their band name... It's the clash of the "We're sooo permissive (as long as...)" 70s and the "Fuck shit up!" 80s.
I've cut the broadcast (or the part that I've got) up in 4 parts; I haven't separated the music from the talking; a big apology goes out to my non-Dutch readers!

Theme Tune/ Jules Deelder
Ketchup/ Interviews
Squats/ Interviews
Gospelfuckers/ Interview

P.S.: These recordings were done by the RAR organisation themselves, straight from the mixing desk, and lent to the VPRO, who apparently were so slow in returning the tapes that a planned compilation LP never materialized! Too bad, as this would have been the first Dutch DIY punk comp.

December 16, 2007


Now what really kickstarted punk into being? The masses of untutored teenage hordes taking to the streets armed with guitars, or a bunch of journalists, pissed-off because the subjects of their writings were getting too rich and famous to hang around and do drugs with anymore? Fact is, the writing was there (on the wall, if you wish) before the music. As early as 1971-72, critics like Greg Shaw and Lester Bangs had a notion something new and exciting had to come along, dragging forgotten bands like the Sonics and Count Five from their graves as examples of how it should be done. Bangs' 1971 piece on the Count Five was set in a fictional distant future, in which he's telling his grandchildren:
"I recollect another mighty sad downer stretch long about the beginning of the seventies... 'xcept that one lasted so long we damn near dried up an' boycotted records entirely till Barky Dildo and the Bozo Huns showed up to save our souls..."
Barky Dildo and the Bozo Huns! Now if that ain't Punk Rock prophesized, I don't know what is! The truth is, of course, those Barky Dildos weren't illiterates; most early punk rockers grew up spelling every inch of their favourite music mags, so to many a teenage Creem reader this article might have been just as (subconsciously) influential as, say, a Stooges LP.
Some punk rockers actually were writers having a go at doing it themselves: some of them, like Lenny Kaye, Metal Mike Saunders and Jeffrey Lee Pierce did a pretty good job of it. For others like Charles Shaar Murray (Blast Furnace & the Heatwaves), it was just a lark. I'm not sure which category Giovanni Dadomo and his one-record-only Snivelling Shits belong to; fact is, their sole 45 is a stone cold classic.
Giovanni Dadomo's career as a rock journo goes back at least as far as 1971, when he did this interview with none other than Syd Barrett. (Just a side track: upon reading the interview I was surprised at how lucid Barrett sounds... Until I realized he's contradicting himself all the time; first he says he "learnt to work hard at art school", then later on he mentions his "art school laziness"...!) I don't know how much of a Harbinger of the Future Mr. Dadomo was in writing, but I know both Snivelling Shits tracks are right on the mark; he's razor sharp, wordy and incredibly funny at the same time, like a Cockney Cooper Clarke or Devoto. The music's as sharp as the singing, with weird effects thrown in (courtesy a young Steve Lillywhite, rumored to have been a temporary Snivelling Shit himself on bass guitar), and B-side I Can't Come goes on (without ever getting boring) for 6 minutes; must have taken balls in 1977!
Post-Shits, Dadomo co-wrote a couple of Damned tunes like I Just Can't Be Happy Today (typing this, I imagine hearing the classic lines "They're closing the schools/ They're burning the books/ The church is in ruins/ The priests hang on hooks" in his voice). Sadly, he passed away a couple of years ago.

Terminal Stupid
I Can't Come

December 06, 2007


I was talking to 433rpm about tapes I put out back in the Stone Age, when it turned out he owns a copy of the most "famous" of them all, the Alle 55 Kort sampler. Given the incredible quantity of music he manages to post I won't be surprised to see the entire tape up there soon; in the meantime I'll give you some hand picked tracks...

Around 1984 I'd make Hardcore mix tapes for friends that would sometimes contain 80-100 tracks (learnt to write really small back then!), and I figured it would be fun to put out a tape comp with as many Dutch/Belgian bands on it as humanly possible. As it turned out - because of some bands contributing 2- or even 3-minute (god forbid!) tracks - 55 bands filled up a C90 tape, still no mean feat. While hunting down bands I got a pretty good overview of the Dutch "scene", prompting me to write a Dutch scene report for MRR which you can find here and, in hindsight, is about as captivating as a page out of a phone directory.

I sold about 350 copies of Alle 55 Kort; I never dared say this in public, but I actually made a small profit from it. Shock! Horror! I'd found a small electronics store at the Sarphatistraat that sold C90 tapes of just-about-passable quality at 2,50 Guilders ($1,25) each. The tapes (including booklets) sold at 7,50 Guilders, retail; a nice addition to my scant pocket money! Of course, if I'd told this to anyone back then I would have been keelhauled or something; it wasn't merely unthinkable to make any profit, it was actually suspect if you were breaking even. People would specify in detail how many Guilders they'd lost on their latest zine/ record/ whatever, to show how punk they were. Of course, at the same time they were on the dole, ha ha; well, let's call it state money well spent...

Most of the tracks on Alle 55 Kort were pretty lo-fi; due to no quality control from my part, there were quite a few one-off/ spoof tracks, sometimes played by one person in their bedroom, which gives it a Bullshit Detector sort of vibe. Lots of "famous" bands like BGK, Pandemonium and Funeral Oration submitted tracks, but I'll give you some tracks by lesser-known bands.

Oigasm - Brutal Bugger: first track on the tape; I had a soft spot for this half-skin/ half-punk band that were living in a small village in the middle of the Bible Belt; heard they were getting shot at in the street, stuff like that...
Dasbreetels - Cowboy Henk: just a fun song by a little-known band from near Rotterdam.
Larm - Don't Want To Pay Their Debts: great lo-fi practice recording.
Black Vampire - Punker Parents Plan: from Limburg, like Pandemonium, but not as well-known. Drummer Han was later in Swampsurfers. I think this band is still around in some mutated form or another...
Chlorix - Suicide: these guys were from Hengelo in the east, played some rough but still melodic punk; I think one of the members was later in indie rock band Cords (or that's some other bloke called Marcel Morsink).
Kotsbrokken - Growing Older: band from the same area, same kind of sound, know nothing about them.
Sesamzaad - Ave Vis: these guys, also from the East, had some nice melodic HC songs on Holland HC 2, but I liked this slower track even more (even if it took up the space of 3 or 4 "regular" HC tracks!).
M.O.G. - Do, Bo and Al: didn't really realize it at the time because of the muddy sound, but these guys were already progressing away from their early HC sound towards the brilliant stuff on their classic Radio Rock EP.
Keine Fax - Masked Fascism: closes the tape. These guys handed me their tape in person at some gig, they were about 10 years old! Shit-Fi-aficionados, prick up your ears...!

A nice moment of glory came a few years ago when, while sleeping at this guy Clint's place in London (he runs Short Fuse records and is crazy about old HC), we were talking about obscure records; he'd show us one insanely rare record after another, then he opened some drawer in order to show us the piece de resistance, the Family Jewel...and out came a copy of Alle 55 Kort!

November 23, 2007


As a little kid I already wondered why the music I liked most - be it wild 50s rock 'n roll or mid-60s Kinks/Who-type stuff - seemed to have bloomed for a very short period, to be quickly discarded and replaced by more boring stuff. In contrast, the boring stuff (disco, barroom boogie rock) never ever seemed to go away. Later I found out this holds true for just about any musical genre I like: ska, psych, garage, rockabilly, bebop, even early New Orleans jazz: all disappeared after 1 or 2 years in the limelight. Why? Maybe these were all particularly combustible musical forms that appeared at moments of big social change so the music had to change with it.
But invariably, after some 15-20 years, these styles would all get "revived". Is that good, or bad? You can blame the revivalists for living in the past, but does that mean any boogie rock band playing music that never went away is better? The problem is, of course, that you can imitate what's on the surface but you can never duplicate the feelings and times that caused the music to sound like it did.
Somehow with Punk Rock there's a little twist in the tale. It never disappeared because it was never mainstream in the first place. Instead, it kept on mutating and branching off, all these little branches spawning their own little revivals every couple of years. One piece of bark off the punk tree didn't lend itself to reviving, though: those weird, squeaky, Beefheartian pieces of noise that labels like Rough Trade released around 1978-80. In New York they called it No Wave, though some critics preferred the word Skronk which I like too as it sounds like a blast from James Chance or Ted (Blurt) Milton's sax. These records, by bands like Essential Logic, Lemon Kittens, Slits, Blurt and many more, sounded like a bunch of kids were let loose in a toy shop; that's because these bands were kids let loose in a toy shop; DIY was in its infancy and for a while there were no rules. I guess that's why, after the little kids themselves grew up and learned to play properly, nobody could ever "revive" this kind of music.

The catchy named PragVEC, though very much part of that Rough Trade/Post Punk scene, were odd ducks in a way because on their EP you can hear they already knew how to play properly; the guitar squeaks and skronks with the best of them, but there's always this foundation of bluesy fluidity underneath. Susan Gogan's great vocals veer in all directions, from soft to loud to distorted, but always in control; guess that's why she got compared to Pauline Murray of Penetration a lot (Virgin passed them up using that as an excuse). Then there's the mock-French in "Existential", showing they knew their Beatnik roots. I don't know much more about PragVEC, except that their second 7 inch is pretty good too, though a bit more "poppy". Oh yeah, and the famous Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell played bass for them later on. An old NME piece on PragVEC says they rose from the ashes of "Trotskyite R&B combo the Derelicts". Trotskyite R&B? Now that explains it all!

(Actually, come to think of it, there actually was a revival of sorts of this type of music in the late 80s, with UK bands like Dog Faced Hermans, Badgewearer and Stretchheads, bands that I thought were much more exciting than their recycled-USHC peers of the time.)