August 19, 2006


August 11, 2006


Both punk veterans UK Subs and novelist Toby Litt have the habit of naming their works alphabetically; just like the Subs' LP catalogue goes Another Kind Of Blues, Brand New Age, Crash Course etc., so Toby Litt's CV reads Adventures In Capitalism, Beatniks, Corpsing, and so on. I wonder if he nicked the idea from them? Charlie Harper and co. were pretty famous for a while, even getting on Top Of The Pops (RIP) one or two times, back in '79. Even "CID", their first EP from 1978 (on City records, before they signed to Gem/RCA) isn't exactly rare, but it's here anyway because I think it's great. Brilliant production (Spaceward once again), incredible guitar sound (pre-empting grunge by 10 years), nice punk/r&b songs.
I liked Toby Litt's Corpsing, so I set about finding a copy of Beatniks. I'd read the two main characters in the book try using a 30-year-old road map while they're "on the road" (and of course fail miserably). Now this just happens to be something I thought up years ago... I was toying with the idea of starting a 60's/garage band, and thought that if I'd ever get one together we'd have to travel to gigs using a 60's map, avoiding the new highways, riding the funky old roads. It's this same romantic notion that drives neo-Beatniks Jack and Neal , living and acting as if it's 1966 forever, writing bad poetry, wearing sunglasses 24 hours a day and shunning anything invented after the 60's. The book happens to be a nice read (I won't go into the story here, check out; I was just disappointed Jack and Neal are made out to be little more than clowns in their quest for Beatnik purity... Toby Litt doesn't touch on the heroic side of it, the "we think the world sucks so we're inventing our own"-side that for instance gave birth to punk as well. (Wait, maybe I can get this post to go full-circle just like real writers do... Oh, never mind.)

UK Subs - CID
UK Subs - Live In A Car
UK Subs - B1C

August 04, 2006


I have to write this post on my lunch break at work; the space bar on my keyboard at home doesn't work anymore since my son played some game that involved a lot of spacebar-whacking, so this will probably be a short one.
Trockener Kecks ruled my world when I was 14. They were one of the 2nd-generation "DIY" punk bands like The Ex and Nitwitz, but much poppier than most of their peers. At the time of their genius Schliessbaum debut LP (1981) and early Rik Ringers and Niet Alle Meisjes... EPs (81-82) their lyrics were downright silly, about banana peel terrorism, penis size, waiting for the alarm clock to turn 22:22, stuff like that... Right up the alley of a bored adolescent like me! Alas, after original members Edward (1st singer), Arjan (guitar, formed Frites Modern) and Piet (2nd singer, ex-Panic) had left, guitarist Rick de Leeuw took over vocal duties and steered the band into more serious waters, his Elvis-Costello-with-a-bad-cold-warbling sabotaging their stabs at hit success (with almost every single alluding to that elusive success in titles like To The Top! One In A Million! Now Or Never!). Though they never got their chart hit(s), Trockener Kecks did turn into one of the biggest Dutch live acts of the 80's/90's, earning a big fan base by working hard and generally being nice guys (bass player Theo Vogelaars famously helped washing the dishes at every youth center they played!). Too bad about the music, though...
Here's three tracks from their Schliessbaum LP, showcasing their early Jam-at-78-RPM approach. The two other tracks are from the Niet Alle Meisjes Zijn Verliefd Op Kors EP, the title track of which was already getting into pop/new wave territory (still great though!). These 2 tracks made up the B-side and in hindsight served as a sort of "punk farewell"; in my opinion this is possibly the greatest pop-punk ever made in Holland... ("Lang Zo Aardig Niet" was quite rightly selected for the famous I'm Sure We're Gonna Make It/ Killed By Epitaph-comps)

Trockener Kecks - Gifbeker
Trockener Kecks - Samen Met Jose
Trockener Kecks - Zeeuws Meisje (From Schliessbaum, 1981)
Trockener Kecks - Finishing Touch
Trockener Kecks - Lang Zo Aardig Niet (From Niet Alle Meisjes..., 1982)