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)