From Ugly Things via http://www.hyped2death.com/Kugelberg100.html
1. The Desperate Bicycles -The Medium Was Tedium (Refill Records, 1977 UK) The Desperate Bicycles are the yardstick for this obscurist sub genre. No one did it as easy or as cheap as them. Of the slew of unfathomable brilliant pop 45’s, The Medium Was Tedium is the apex: The enthusiasm, anger and joy de vivre that oozes from the tracks contained within has me reaching for Village Green-Kinks and first album Cramps to describe the passion. For drunken, leftist dorm-room intellectuals to describe the faith and for Dez/Chavo-era Black Flag to describe the power ? notwithstanding that the recordings themselves are of 4-track bedroom shut-in lo-fi jangle. Too bad the band don’t want the material re-released but a good thing indeed that the records barely rate at all in the collector scum price guide pantheon.
2. Beyond The Implode -Last Thoughts EP (Diverse Records UK 1979) Barrett/early-Floyd psych as good (or better) than any Soft Boys, obscurist strum & drang way more passionate than any Flying Nun band I’ve heard and Inflammable vocals of the purest Oxbridge confusion. The Spacemen 3 never did anything to match this record. [Messthetics #6]
3. V/A -Weird Noise EP (Fuck Off Records UK 1980) The legend doesn’t start here, but at least this isn’t a cassette-only release in an edition of 50 copies or so like the majority of the Fuck Off Records oeuvre. This lines up the finest advocates of tuneless bashing within the UK late 70’s underground: The 012, Danny and the Dressmakers, the Instant Automatons, The Door and the Window and finally the Sell Outs who seem to be Danny and the Dressmakers under a different moniker. The cut “Please Don’t Make Another Bass Guitar Mr. Rickenbacker” showcases one of the odder qualities popular music can have: The ability to disorientate the listener. “Simply the very best in bad music” indeed! [Danny…Messthetics Greatest Hits]
4. Desperate Bicycles ? New Cross, New Cross (Refill Records, UK 1978) The godlike power of “I Make The Product” or “Advice On Arrest” (two of the songs on this six song EP) deliver a little salvation of sorts ? the Desperate Bicycles make you believe, make you feel a sense of belonging. Music does that when it is this good. 5.Slugfuckers ? Three Feet Behind Glass EP (No label Australia 1979) Invoke the god Nyarlathotep they do, cover Manson-songs w/o ever having heard him they do, shmear on the middle class art school elitism thick they do. This is an extreme record; noisier and more abrasive than most first generation industrial stuff, a hell of a lot more punk than, say, the Lewd and intelligent in a scary, vicious bullying kind of way. A blazing, hard record at the same time as everything is slightly out of tune, kind of inept and sorta shoddy sounding.
6. Popes -Knup In Your Eye (Vatican Records. UK 1980) This appeared on the worldwide punk list a few issues ago, and educated guesses can be made for this appearing on any other lists I might do in the future. Not only is the record the cats pajamas as far as relentless art school mirth goes (Derek & Clive go through puberty, again!) but the throb and spark of the band makes for repeated play. And then we have to tag on the swollen nostalgia of my friend buying the only copy at the Rough trade shop in 1980 leaving me with none until Bill Forsyth digs one up for me in his back room, oh yeah, and one for Geoffrey too.
7. The Flak -EP (Northern Records UK 1980 (?)) Starts with a depressed “why am I here” poem and moves straight along into “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” done dorm-angst-diy-style. This is followed by what sounds like the band attempting a Joy Division-style song the first time they pick up musical instruments. Completely inept, utterly charming and brilliant indeed. Top shelf genre defining DIY.
8. Fatal Microbes -Beautiful Pictures (Small Wonder, UK 1979) Certainly the best record with Honey Bane on it. Charming, relentless punk-crazed homemade guitar crunch. The window of opportunity of the UK underground musicscene in the late 70’s is clearly demonstrated here: I doubt the Fatal Microbes stupendous teen energy could have been nurtured in the world of merchandising deals and first-look demo A&R we live in today.
9. The Silver -Do You Wanna Dance (Black Label Finland 1980) The Silver -No More Grease (Black Label Finland 1979) A riddle wrapped inside an enigma etc. The band appears to be around 12 ? 13 years old. They hail from Finland where the trail grew cold a long long time ago. Maybe upon the release of the record. Pussy Galore without post-modern baggage. “Love Theme from the Snails” as performed by SPK. 12 year olds virtually destroying a recording studio captured on tape, not once but four times.
10. Instant Automatons -Peter Paints His Fence EP (Deleted Records UK 1980) More Fuck Off/Street Level-related sublime nonsense. The battle call is the track “People Laugh At Me Cuz I Like Weird Music” which states: “I was at a pub the other night, when a bunch of mods came in, they eyed me up, then they asked me: Hey man what’s your scene? Are you a hippie a mod or a punk? Got a scooter or a motorbike? I can’t understand why they burst out laughing when I told them the music I like, because: People Laugh At Me Cuz I Like Weird Music People just don’t understand Why pay six pounds for an album when you can, listen to a weird noise band for free I had a girlfriend named Josephine, she liked Abba and the Bee Gees. She thought music was about lawyers and accountants, percentages and legal fees. Just the other night we stayed up late, playing records til half past ten, then I played the Danny and the Dressmakers tape and I never saw Josephine again, because: People Laugh At Me Cuz I Like Weird Music People just don’t understand Why pay six pounds for an album when you can, listen to a weird noise band for free” The gospel, folks. From God’s mouth to your ear via the Instant Automatons. [Instant Automatons ‘Another Wasted Sunday Afternon’ CD]
11. Sir Alick and the Phraser -In Search of the Perfect Baby (Black Noise UK 1980) As Chuck Warner put it: They wrote beautiful pop songs then destroyed them. More Homosexuals pseudonymous mystique. The intelligent reader who followed our previous musings on this band and their universe know how much we love them and how much they perpetually pull our collective leg. No straight-ahead answers in this lifetime which is fine ? fine as far as record collecting is concerned, fine as far as lifemanship is concerned.[The Homosexuals -Astral Glamour 3CD]
12. The Four Plugs -Biking Girl (Disposable Records UK 1979) The subtle charm of marginal culture: Truly marginal culture where 1000 singles were pressed more than 22 years ago. How many got lost? How many are never being played? How many are stored in a box in the attic? How many are being played repeatedly on turntables that cost ten times as much as the recording and pressing of this given 45? “She used to be my biking partner ? she used to be my biking girl. We used to go for rides in the country side”. A true punk rock/diy statement issued by the Damaged Goods people, who knew their Chesterton and Thomas Browne.
13. The Evening Outs -Channel (Refill Records UK 1980) Super-fierce skronk from a pissed-off pseudonymous Desperate Bicycles. Puts that no wave stuff to shame, really.
14. Puritan Guitars -100 Pounds in 15 Minutes (Riverside Records UK 1980) How much it cost to make the record and how long it took. Genius sturm und sturm und sturm und drang clank from a seriously inspired one chord wonder.[Messthetics Greatest Hits and Messthetics #104]
15. The Flying Brix -EP (Modello Records UK 1980) So subtle it can barely be heard: A band consisting of Wally’s and Erberts, with the odd dead-end yob or two. This record could’ve been released by Illegal, Fuck Off or fit in on Carry On Oi. It could also have been performed on an episode of Noddy or by Flanagan & Allen. Ur-English music, this.[Messthetics #104]
16. Shrinking Men/Beevers -Hazards in the Home EP (Pop Records UK 1981) The Beevers present a Guthrie-esque talking blues here, except that it isn’t a blues, but a charming DIY-shuffle, and that Woody Guthrie as far as I know never sang about the plight and blight of the office boy. The Shrinking Men in turn showcase an angry, loutish anti-army rant that Phil Ochs would’ve been pretty proud of I think. And there you have it: The folk music connection rears its uncombed head. [Beevers -Messthetics #6]
17. Handgrenades -Demo To London (Phonographics (?) USA 1980 (?)) Coulda fooled me ? Excellent primitive punk/chug/diy from Noo Yak City! Who woulda thunk? Somewhere between “Pink Flag” and Fuck Off Records.
18. Homosexuals -You Are Not Moving The Way You Are Supposed To (Black Noise UK 1980 (?)) An untouchable band, and the lack of a retrospective isn’t much of a crime in this house (I have lots of their records snicker snicker snicker) but in other people’s houses it sure is. As if Gang of Four would’ve been any good, as if Wire would’ve immersed themselves in dub, as if indeed. Parallel universe chart toppers indeed. We all know that there is at least one world out there in the ultra-cosmos where the proverbial kids are kicking these jams daily. A truly inspired and inspiring record..[The Homosexuals -Astral Glamour 3CD]
19. Cindy and the Barbi Dolls -Press The Shutter EP (A Not Major Production UK 1980) Dorm angst at its very best. Dark, brooding overtly romantic without gothing it up, these jams have the same lurking power as the pre-Joy Division Warsaw EP or the spookier first line up Soft Boys tracks. A possible sister band to Beyond the Implode in the sense that they play a curiously British form of psychedelic music in the midst of the DIY lack of musical chops. This Cornwall band were seemingly very hip to musical peers, thanking the Desperate Bicycles, the Mekons and Ralph and the Ponytails on the sleeve. There are musical (and one lyrical) nod to the Kinks “Village Green Preservation Society” as well. A very good thing. [Messthetics #7]
20. Versatile Newts -Newtrition (Shanghai Records UK 1980) If this record hadn’t existed we would’ve had to invent it: The marriage/blend of the Swell Maps, This Heat and the TV Personalities. In equal chunks with no lumps. Gadzooks! [Messthetics #103]
21. Pink Dirt -Hey Sir (No label Norway 1979) As far as inept, crazed joi de vivre goes ? Here’s the acme. I’ve written this one up before and will do it again. While this is obviously a straight-ahead angry punk rock band, the abandon and enthusiasm of this record could raise the dead. An angry rant against organized religion (“I have this to say tonight ? never, never get involved with christianity!”) howled in a barely English Johnny Rotten-imitation by some Norwegian genius backed by shitrock more primitive than the first Endless Boogie rehearsal. There is no sleeve, no labels, just the legend “Pink Dirt Hey Sir/Hooker” scrawled in magic marker. Who were these gods and why did they walk among us? Please email me if you know anything about the people behind this stunning art experience.
22. Scrotum Poles -Revelation EP (One Tone Records Scotland 1980) Helicopter Honeymoon is going to be played at least three record collector funerals I know of, not including mine. The mighty, mighty Scrotum Poles, proudly proclaiming “DIY! We love the TV Personalities” on the shoddy, xeroxed sleeve. Their website (http://home.switchboard.com/hornstreet) is highly recommended, though we’re hesitant to vouch for its complete veracity. Here’s how they tell it: “'Pick the Cats Eyes Out’ featured lyrics found on the back of a set list by one of the first Dundee punk bands, Bread Poultice and the Running Sores…” [Somebody please send us a demo tape!] “Helicopter Honeymoon,” meanwhile, came from a headline “in the Sunday Post.” What we should add for American fans is that “cats eyes” are what Brits (and Scots) call those little orange reflectors embedded in highway pavement: “Cats Eyes Out Ahead” used to be a common roadside sign. [Messthetics Greatest Hits and Messthetics #105]
23. File Under Pop -Corrugate (Rough Trade UK 1979 (?)) Godlike DIY power. Primitive grunting, out of tune skeletal instrumentation and noises recorded at Heathrow. I know a guy with an extra copy who’ll swap it for Butchy Butch and the Butch Butchers.
24. Nancy Sesay and the Melodaires -C'est Fab (It’s War Boys UK 1981 (?)) Un-musical, un-punk and possibly unpleasant music hall-esque skronk/DIY by the godlike Homosexuals using one of their myriad of pseudonyms. And whence you can’t imagine the doofus art wank getting any more unlistenable, they spin on a dime and throw in a beautiful chorus sitting on top of a backwardsy funky drummer beat. I am, as per usual, in awe. Shall I hook some enterprising young bootlegger up with a CDR of all their stuff?
25. Performing Ferret Band -Brow-Beaten (Dead Hippy Records UK 1981) Deeply moving primitive musical fumble from this rare 45 by the masters behind the in my mind most seminal LP to come out of DIY. The eponymous Performing Ferret Band LP, which features jaw-droppers such as “Plastic Macho Man”, “Fizzly Drinks” or “Great Duos Of Our Time”. Fantastic over-enthusiastic juvenilia of an almost supernatural beauty. The Performing Ferrets - no one told us CD (Messthetics #216)
26. Different Eyes/Royston - Shish EP (Tuzmadoner Records UK 1979) One of the two masterpieces released on the Tuzmadoner label (the other being a 12" comp entitled, uh, “folk music” bringing up more parallels to skiffle that we should probably choose to ignore). Royston are like Flanagan & Allen fronting the world’s greatest shit rock band. Different Eyes sound more lethargic than anyone else I’ve heard I think, and I used to work for Pavement’s label. Simon Gilham from either Royston or the 'Eyes later played in Colin Newman’s solo band. [Royston -Messthetics Greatest Hits and #1; Different I’s -Messthetics #101 (plus their even better track from Folk Music)]
27. Homosexuals -Hearts In Exile (Black Noise UK 1978) Words fail me. As far as beauty goes, this is like Mozart or Shirley Collins. Probably their greatest moment. Somewhere along the lines of Brill Building and traditional UK folk and the Upsetters and ESP Records all at once in perfect harmony. A milestone, I think, and a record that I’d place in a timecapsule of 20th century folk art.[The Homosexuals -Astral Glamour 3CD]
28. Andrew Klimek -Felt Hammer (Mustard Records USA 1979) The guitar break alone sends this one soaring over the sky scrapers. Has that patented and most beautiful basement 4-track sound down pat even though I get more and more convinced that all those legendary Cleveland bands all were record collector rock of the umpteenth degree. Extraordinarily self-aware, sly and with meticulously thought out records, this one being no exception. The pompous liner notes on the sleeve of the 45 proves me right. You got to be some kind of Apples in Stereo-type shmuck to brag on a record sleeve that you put the bass guitar through a ring modulator.
29. Mekons -Never Been In A Riot (Fast Records UK 1978) Way before they became icky hippy-punk icons for aging counter culture types across the world they released a couple of singles of gorgeous nihilist slop. This is the first, and the funniest and the noisiest.
30. Jelly Babies -De Nada EP (No label name UK 1981) Simply heaven. A clumsy speed-chug with lyrics about a day of roller-skating and lovely pre-pubescent boozy backing vocals. Genius. Extra-tinny sound, extra passionate execution. I’ve quoted this portion of the notes on the (shoddy xerox, natch) sleeve: “Recorded at Dirt Cheap Studios, the best studios in the whole wide world by Grant Showbiz, the most silly person in the whole wide world, who steals your food and has a nice red guitar with a super tremelo arm which somebody gave him.” Like Blake, the words transcend space, time and mortality. You need this record. Crunchy granola collectors should also note that I have personally seen at least five different (shoddy xerox) picture sleeves for this record where the priority can be determined with relative accuracy using the carbon 14 method. [one from the EP is coming on London v.III: another song from the EP demos appears on Messthetics Greatest HISS (Messthetics #110)
31. Thin Yoghurts -Girl On the Bus (Lowther Street Runner Records UK 1980) More sing-a-longa-slop-charm. You can take the limey out of the music hall but you can’t Cute, touching and romantic lyrics about lusting over some tasty lassie on the bus to the kippers factory. They did this record as well as a cassette, which is a hundred bucks in your sweaty palm, if you send it to me. [Messthetics Greatest Hits]
32. Lucky Pierre -This Could Be The Night (No label USA 1984 (?)) Scuzzy, phenomenal art-rant by some Ohio Bowie-boy who’d re-record these musical chairs of Chain Gang, Klaus Nomi and cocaine freebase ten years later for Trent Reznor’s label adding a “industrial dance beat” to the mess and changing the band name to Prick. Supposedly (some record-log-pincher told me) there were only 50 copies pressed for Lucky Pierre to use as record deal bait (also the reason that the lyrics are etched on the flip together with a ten second excerpt of the song). Well, I guess it worked. I seem to recall seeing a video for the re-recorded version on MTV during ol’ Pierre’s 15 seconds in the spotlight. The awe-inspiring power of this record remains tho’.
33. Skabb -78 EP (Mistlur Sweden 1978) Track 2 side one is jaw-dropping Opus-style DIY-crunch punk with Kriminella Gitarrer-guitar breaks. I can’t believe this isn’t a hotly pursued record by herd-following punk rock turd-swallowers round the globe. Fantastic slop-o-rama-lama-fa-fa-fa production too.
34. V/A -Angst In My Pants double EP (Street Level UK 1979) Imagine how good the previous 33 records on this list are, as I guarantee by risk of punishment of rock writer hyperbole, that this is doubtlessly one of the finest records I’ve ever heard, and the second greatest compilation in the history of rock! How can I say this wonders Rutger the Punk from his bedroom in Krakow ? Well the proof is in the pudding: Not only does the record include some of the finest recorded moments by the legendary Instant Automatons (who unknowingly channel the Monks!), 012 and the Door and the Window, but furthermore a rare vinyl appearance by the Digital Dinosaurs, heralded by me, Mario and Geoffrey in that most smug sort of way as unheralded gods of music! If that ain’t enough you get some fine TVP-related spurts from the Missing Persons and extremely do it yourself DIY frenzy from the Midnight Circus. Who in “Silicone Baby” and “Hedonist Jive” have out-poignanted a tow-truck full of Aimee Mann’s and Michelle Shocked’s edgy humanity and funny as shit to boot. [Digital Dinsaurs and Instant Automatons are on Messthetics Greatest Hits: Midnight Circus have their own CD…And there’s more on Deleted/Street Level at the Instant Automatons website]
35. Pleemobielz -Dagenlang Balen (Kamikaze Records Holland 1981) More sociological sloganeering a la Midnight Circus here: Dagenlang Balen which needlessly translates as “fuck all day” roars through the speakers with all the might of a bunch of over-testosteroned 16 year old virgins singing about what they think it’ll be like to have sex some day. Tinniest sound in history. When a copy finally showed up on my doorstep after the fucking (literally!) record had spent a solid 10 years on my want list my expectations were quite low since anyone I had talked to who had heard the record all stated that it was weak/a waste of time etc. Well: It being a want list staple has more to do with the scarcity of the disc than it being a desirable punk rock record. However: It is an extremely desirable record if frenzied DIY bliss is your chosen poison.
36. Just Urbain -Guns & Guitars (No label Australia 1979) Another amazing DIY record from Australia, this one definitely sports a spiritual kinship with SPK, the Slugfuckers, the first Thought Criminals record, and those Systematics and Tactics records I need to find. Very dark, scuzzy art-damaged DIY that (a la Cabaret Voltaire or early SPK) is well aware of the fine krautrock musics coming out of Germany on Ohr or Sky a few years previously. The proto punk of say Neu or Cosmic Jokers is here handled with poisonous skronky passion.
37. The Gags -Sex Ist Schau (Leg Auf Records Germany 1981) And then one has to simply wonder if the belly laughs generated by this piece of vinyl have racist connotations: How much are we allowed to laugh at the Germans? This might be the stiffest record I’ve heard. The vocals lyrical bark manages to reanimate Basil Fawlty’s classic performance in the “Germans” episode as well as the Sprockets. The jams are crazed. Stiff, yes, but crazed.
38. Desperate Bicycles -Smokescreen (Refill Records UK 1977) Their debut, more aggressive than a lot of the other classics and maybe it was the year. This is the 45 that launched hundreds of others: Two songs on one side to save mastering costs, the cheapest packaging, music that had to be documented, and it didn’t matter if it was done in the cheapest and easiest way imaginable. [Messthetics #8]
39. Butter Utter -Jävlarnas Jul (Leonid Breznjev Records Swe 1977) Took me ages to find this one. Extremely inept, Shaggs-like fumble with a certain Je Ne Sais Qui of punk rock aggression. A lot of Killed by Death-types paid a lot of moola for this one, that some guy hyped to the moon in a Boston straight-edge fanzine back in the 80’s. Only truly “punk” in the musical disaster sense of the word.
40. Cut-Outs -DIY (EMI UK 1979) Great novelty pop monster complete with carpentry noises. Possibly not a DIY record at all, but since the genre is made up by people like me this is a DIY record cuz I sez so. [NOT on Messthetics #7]
41. Massmedia ? EP (Massproduktion Swe 1979) Debut sloppiness from future KBD mainstays. There is no discernable musical ability to be found on this record and yet they play and play and play. The energy level is however awe-inspiring.
42. Dagens Ungdom -EP (Mistlur Swe 1980) Having an art school wank with Dagens Ungdom. Brilliant faux-DIY released on one of the major noo wave era indie labels of Sweden, home of Ebba Gron. All songs have titles nabbed from Kafka books, lyrics are more adjective heavy than a tub full o’ Morrisey and the music is flawless DIY stumble n’ fumble.
43. The Discounts -Selling Records (Original Records UK 1980) Blank 1000-yard stare DIY novelty straight out of High Fidelity. The lyric is a monologue as by a bored-to-tears record store clerk. The jams are sub-sub-sub-Blockheads DIY stumble. Extremely amusing.
44. Grinder Wickford’s So Boring -EP (Wax Records UK 1979) Forget punk rock, bring in hick-rock! The aliases of the band read: “Dav-Id, Si-Kic, Terry-Ball, Stu-Pid and Holy-Grail”!. Three band members have moustaches! The singer is wearing a Rocky Horror t-shirt! The a-side is a “humorous” ditty about the acne problem of Spiderman, reflecting the sleeve front depicting some fool in a Spiderman costume driving a tractor, The b-side is an anti-fuzzy dice song. Genius. It is obvious to me that Wickford wasn’t boring at all as long as you hung out with the bold gents of Grinder. The songs range from primitive clunky riff-rock to DIY jangle of the highest order. Messthetics #101
45. Psykik Volts -Totally Useless (Ellie Jay Records UK 1979) More Music Hall-punk DIY genius. The spirit of Vivian Stanshall is looming large; as is the empty pint glasses littering the room as this 45 is stuck on repeat. All together now: “It’s to-tal-ly useless”!! The sleeve bears the legend: “Side A: recorded in a sock, Side B: recorded in a morgue. May god bless vocalist and songwriter Victor Vendetta. Now pardon me while I go to the corner and cry.
46. Raisinets -More Fun To Play Than To Listen To (Fun-Ethic Records USA 1979) Fantastic record-collector hippie-punk a la Gizmos/Afrika Korps/Half Japanese. Primitive guitar duets complete with questionable production values and mucho muchacho helpings of pure static. Great post-arrest pre-OD lyrics making fun of Sid too.
47. Dag Vag -Dimma (Ball Records Swe 1978) Two years after this record was released, Dag Vag were playing new wave-scented white-boy reggae to sell-out crowds all over Sweden. This, however, is a one-man band bedroom project by a Träd Gräs & Stenar roadie who had discovered punk rock and the DIY scene. Beautiful dark/sinister home studio atmospherics, killer fuzz guitar and demented lyrics about psychiatric care and drug experiences. A great record. And by all means: Don’t buy any other Dag Vag records after you’ve obtained this one.
48. I Jog & the Tracksuits - Redbox (Tyger Label UK 1978) More lost artform unique stumble-rumble from the UK. Sounds like it was recorded under water this one. A petty miracle of a pop tune with a sublime lyric about waiting for the bus. Gotta bless em for the stamina it takes to get a record out: Recording, Mixing, Mastering, Designing, Printing, Approving, Distributing, Balancing. All to get a little song about missing the bus heard by me 22 years later.
9. Injections -Prison Walls (Radioactive Records USA 1980) This has always been an extremely desired and expensive record in KBD/Japanese Tasty/Moustache circles, and it doubtlessly deserves its inflated price tag even though we aren’t talking chainsaw-buzz punk rock per se here.
50. Devils Hole Gang -Free The People (Slow Burning Fuse Records UK 1979) Huge moustaches, huge choruses, and a record that sounds like it was recorded inside one of those Moroccan hotel showers that basically consist of a huge tube of aluminum siding. My pretentious nature is such that I feel forced to unleash the folk art metaphor for this again. If your friendly neighborhood rare record dealer charges you a couple of C-notes for this and you feel like your being had for big G’s by the sleaze, then remember that you are investing in art, not buying a record!!
51. Funboy Five -Life After Death (Cool-Cat Daddy-O Records UK 1980) A pure pop record indeed, but where pricey production values would’ve turned this into a memorable Stiff Records 45, the band’s lack of bucks and resulting throwaway/enthusiasm production and energy has created a masterpiece. Both sides are stalwarts for a neighborhood sing-song or a rousing music hall chorus. Punk rock music hall: A genre waiting to happen again! [Messthetics #101]
52. How To Get Rich In Rotterdam - Dapper Dan (Vormgeving Rotterdam Records Netherlands 1981) Brilliant, plodding art-slop that reeks of inside jokedom. This record is a reason unto itself to pay ebay prices for vintage drum machines.
53. Come -Come Sunday (Come Organization UK 1979) Before William Bennett became the Benny Hill of industrial noise, his band Whitehouse were called Come and released a single and an album which both are quite lovely homemade art-dirge crankiness, a friendly psychedelic kind of crankiness indeed.
54. The Riotous Brothers -Vicki’s Dancing (Riotous Records 1980) How all these disparate bands came up with a sound this cohesive is a mystery to me. Any of the hints handed to us through fanzines and interviews only mess things up further: Yes, anyone could form a band, make a record, start a record label indeed. Where it gets weird is why so many of them harbor a similar tinny guitar sound, cardboard-y drums, messy synths, inept recording techniques, smart-assed lefty lyrics and nasal singing tone. This was not a movement. It was just a bunch of stuff that happened. That’s all. This record has the beautiful simplicity of a Shaker chair or a Maine seafood soup. The swanky speedpunk of "Operation Zero” or the plink-a plunk-a guitar solo on “Emotional Cripple” will some day have their own wing at the Victoria and Albert museum. Make my art primitive!
55. Partizans -Goods (A-Noyz Records UK 1980) Chain Gang’s retarded English cousins. Ace!!
56. Amor Fati -Economics 100 (Yuck/Flesh Records USA 1984 (?) Very angry anti-r&r/anti-big-business slightly tongue in cheek rant that shows spiritual kinship to “Rat City” by the Art Attacks. Vertical Slit/V-3. The odd blend of wanting in, wanting to play the game and wanting to stay the fuck away that is symptomatic for a lot of Ohio underground musicians (Shepard, Hummel, House etc.)
57. Desperate Bicycles -Skill (Refill Records UK 1978) Blazing DIY-shuffle and unmistakenly Bicycles. More pro production which has this one slip further down the list. Still godlike though.
58. Sarah Coffman -Titta Jag Ar Död (Konkurrenz Rekårdz Sweden 1980) Excellent primitive shit-rock by band from my hometown!
59. Hornsey At War -Deadbeat Revival EP (War Product UK 1979) Extremely amusing ultra-sloppy DIY. No discernable production values, sound-as-filtered-through-ground-beef, emotionally charged out-of-tune vocals, crackly guitar (broken cable?) and a true aura of dead end yobs (and jobs) instead of the more common middle class art school vibe as prevailing on most DIY records. Hornsey At War are complaining about English radio too: “They won’t play this record on the radio because it poses a threat!” Here tis again: That charming blend of hubris and defeatist that seems to penetrate the psyches of most people involved in underground music and/or collectors of it.
60. Take It -How It Is (Fresh Hold UK 1979) Stunning out of control DIY/noise not unlike a more frenzied Soft Boys, a more good Gang of Four or a less psychotic SPK. Igor and Simon seem like a couple of gents with some hardcore political and intellectual pursuits, and like the Desperate Bicycles before them I sense that the choice of releasing a noisy cheaply recorded 45 with a xerox cover was an act of some sort of political defiance, back in the day where such an act was not co-opted from the ground up by extreme sports and Wall Mart hair dye. [Messthetics Greatest Hits and Messthetics #2]
61. Rough Cuts EP (Z-Block Records UK 1980) Inspired sampler of four bands (The Boywonders, The Ghoulies, The Czechs and the Decadent Few) two of which tell us their age on the cover (The Boywonders are all 16, The Czechs are all 17). Humbling thought that such musical spirit could be mustered at such a tender age. Great variety of flavors too: The Boywonders great inept, spooky DIY strut where the band might think that a reggae influence is prevailing, us knowing that the stumbleblock shuffle bears more resemblance to ancient Celtic airs, the unbearable beauty of the Czechs utter disregard of tone, meter and signatures or the Ghoulies oddly Booker T-esque chug n’ scrape. The business, all and all. [Boywonders and Czechs on Messthetics #104: The Z-Block Story is here]
62. The Petticoats -Normal (Bla-Bla-Bla Records UK 1980) Ripping good-kind-feminist anti-normalcy rant. Spiritually uplifting in a way not dissimilar to first-hand experience of medieval church architecture, I shit you not. Recorded at Street Level which means that this record is Fuck Off Records related.
63. Reducers -We Are Normal (Vibes Product UK 1978) The sub genre Geoff Weiss-punk is hereby coined to describe this record. High-energy ineptitude. There is a strange kinship to the Pink Fairies/Deviants axis on this record ? A similarity in energy and attack, notwithstanding that the Reducers really don’t know how to play their instruments very well. [Messthetics #1]
64. Il Ya Volkswagens - Kill Myself (Mechanical Reproductions UK 1981) One more year in the rehearsal space for these guys and I wouldn’t be writing this. Discernable elements of gothrock and Bauhaus influence can be noticed as a faint vapor in this aural air to speak it in goth-speak, the crunch of the slightly sour guitar, the plodd of the (genius) bass line and the all-in slouch of the lethargic vocalist and the cracked-everyday electronics elevates this dirge into an 18 carat DIY-cruncher.
65. Quite Ridiculous Nonsense -Identity Crisis (No Label USA 1984) Most ace industrial wank of that rare late 70’s variety. Wildly entertaining experiments in four track flatulence and transistor radio static.
66. Pervers/Deutscher Abschaum split 7" (Suff Productions Germany 1984) The Godhead. Reminds me of Teddy and the Fratgirls or the Foams in the sense that one gets the notion that these must have been fun gals to hang out with or date. The timeless splendor of the arty urban misfit girl: Her goofy charm and no-holds-barred enthusiasm for all that she found weird, interesting or sexually appetizing. A toast to the art school weirdo outcast girls of the world: May they forever paint their room black or read Hermann Hesse to you in bed! The music is wild, out of control amateuristic slop goes from Electric Eels fuzzed out haterock to drumkits thrown down the stairs to minimal teen-angst and then back. Beautiful stuff. Got this in trade from Thurston Snore for some boring free jazz records back in the day. What a chump!
67. The Prats -Disco Pope (Rough Trade UK 1979) 15-year old Scottish schoolboy punks seething with rage over the demon disco. Early Downliners Sect-style one chord R&B shuffle complete with the drum breaks that made God decide not to spare humanity. Don’t miss it!
68. Plast -EP (Stranded Rekords Swe 1979) Four song EP of the finest in teenage punks attempting to embrace the confusion in their head from listening to TG, Cabaret Voltaire and Pere Ubu. An ungodly racket where the hostility of the chosen sounds meets the cozy ineptitude of the random noises. Plenty of short-wave noises and the crappiest of synths. Utterly charming.
9. Raincoats -Fairytale in the Supermarket (Rough Trade UK 1979) All enthusiasm/zero chops Ubu-esque DIY-charm from these stunning ladies. This is the best of their many records. Some kinda CD anthology that I can’t find right now was released in the USA on the basis of Kurt Cobain being a big fan.
70. Tone Deaf and the Idiots -Why Does Politics Turn Men Into Toads? (Blue Angel UK 1979) Tone Deaf and the Idiots how do I love thee. This flexi is taken from their debut album Catastrophe Rock which still stands alongside the Damian & the Criterions “Avant Garde”, Alvaro’s Drinking My Own Sperm and Kräldjursanstalten’s Voodoo Boogie as peerless monuments of original thought as far as late 70’s underground albums are concerned. Catastrophe rock indeed. This is what “Music from the Big Pink” would’ve sounded like if it had been performed by the Portsmouth Sinfonia.
71. Desperate Bicycles -Grief Is Very Private (Refill UK 1980) One of the mighty Bicycles more introspective and subtle moments. Their entire recorded output is well worth hearing, and the range of emotions they paint from their palate quite astounding.
72. Door and the Window -I Like the Sound (NB Records UK 1979) One of many brilliant anti-music art school rants by the grand old daddies of the very genre. They like sound, they don’t like the Pop Group, they like noise (um yeah!), they don’t like butter The list goes on and I can’t say that I reached any enlightenment as such by the end of this demented scratchy noise-fumble. But the journey sure was great.
73. Slugfuckers -Instant Classic (PRS Australia 1979) Homosexuals-y whiteguy funk/noise fracture that Liquid Liquid would’ve been pretty stoked about. Screeching scrape and dumb jokey asides. Who could ask for anything more?
74. Happy Cadavers -Nothing New (Undefined Records UK 1982) Punk/wave slop from the Midwest ? kind of aims for the Stranglers but hits Small Wonder Records. Charming stuff. Give me a fake English accent any day.
75. The Reflections - 4 Countries (Cherry Red UK 1981) Coulda been by the Desperate Bicycles this: stop/start gurgling plodding slop with most excellent Mark P. whining on top. Patented Karl Blake crumble-o-rific drumming not to mention the ambience added by the illustrious Nag of Door and the Window celebrity status. The Reflections album is well worthy of your grease as well as it is more of the same DIY-gunk but with a more contempo Recommended Records-type sound. [Messthetics #1]
76. Reacta -Stop the World (Battery Operated Records UK 1979) Another one that demands the Desperate Bicycles as cultural cookie cutter ? A beautiful ramble with the edgy guitars of Hilton Bomber-Thought Criminals.[Messthetics Greatest Hits]
77. Crash Action Winners - Hurricane Fighter Plane (Sonic International UK 1979) Somewhere in this mess of static and filtered mud are the chord-change(s) of “Hurricane Fighter Plane”. The sleeve hints at the band being American, the sounds point straight in the direction of an English middle class art school, and the record cover furthermore defines them as a bunch of record collectors to boot. Not only is a Roky Erickson tune given the same crap-o-riffic sonic treatment, but the shoddy crumb-bum picture sleeve showcases record covers by the Seeds, the 13th Floor Elevators, Russ Meyer and Question Mark and the Mysterians displayed in tasteful collage form. Messthetics #104
78. The Plastic Mechanical Pig -Book Brains (IX Recording Company Japan 1981) Tricky one here, Ricky and Paul, the two guys on the cover of the PMP 45, look like a couple of student teachers and the record sounds like a couple of student teachers recorded a Raisinets/Half Japanese hybrid on a primitive 4 track. Charming record this, with two folky DIY-punk cuts, but why on earth was it released in Japan?
79. V/A - Mell Square Musick EP (Yaw Records UK 1979) I’ve listened to this record a good dozen times or so, and my jaw still drops. Frenzied homemade punk where the energy could light up a medium-size town. Similar to the Tandstickorshocks, Seems Twice or Red Cross “Born Innocent” LP in its instinctive disregard for notes, chords and melody, the Accused or the 021 are more than deserving of particularly exquisite golden wings in the halls of the Valhalla of Amateurism. I bow my head. [Cracked Actor Messthetics #7; Accused and 021 - Messthetics #103]
80. Tandstickorshocks - Allan Vogalan (King Kong Records Holland 1980) The Dutch Puritan Guitars right here, it is almost spooky how similar the sound of the two bands is. Spinning these 45’s makes me wonder if this music somehow managed to sidestep rock & roll and the black music tradition as a core influence. There is something about the Tandstickorshocks which at the same time manages to remind me of Schoenberg, microtonal composers and Irish tin-whistle folk music. This is, needless to say, evidence that I should get out more often, but also that these slices of true-life counterculture juvenilia are not isolated from a cultural context, but embracers of it. Even if it did take a couple of decades for these records to be collected in some kind of organized manner. The kids in Tandstickorshocls must have been aware of Wire and the Young Marble Giants, but the minimal primitive music they create is original in the same manner as the artists on Pat Conte’s “Secret Museum of Mankind” compilations.
81. Foams - Paint Me (Pet Me Quick Records USA 1981) A classic of sorts. Frenzied, inept live recordings by this all-girl Austin Texas punk band. The only way that I can explain the similarities to the Slits or the Raincoats are that gals sure have a different way of looking at things, or at least playing drums. Great smutty lyrics and barky art-school vox too.
82. SST -Clutch On the Ward (Tidal Wave Records USA 1977) Super-inept hippie punk/DIY from California with lotsa early punk scenesters name-checked on the sleeve. Ted Falconi pre-Flipper on guitar.
83. The Simple Approach to Newtown Products EP (NTP Records UK 1980) My approach was to pay the inflated price the dealer was asking and happily walk home with this great record. 4 songs, four bands: Crimedesk are toilet-recorded DIY-slop, Basic Unit must be the most amateuristic goth band I’ve ever heard, Beat Necessity showcase only the finest in tuneless death-dirge with off-key howling and Story So Far is an awesome Joy Division/Factory Records attempt, but with no discernable musical talent. Needless to say, the whole EP is as charming as the day is long.
84. Hörförståelse -Förläst Jävel (CTR Sweden 1980) Demented art skronk of drums, bass and crap keyboards featuring out of tune vocals regurgitating about someone being an over-educated bastard. Perfect, really. A must for fans of primitive shit music.
85. What To Wear - Casual But Smart EP (Basic and Typical Records UK 1980 (?)) Inspired stumble as an attempt to play dub, The Homosexuals can do it ? These guys can’t. I don’t know if this given failure brought about something new, but this record is a very listenable stab at atmosphere by a DIY band with limited budget and equipment. The flip also contains a couple of amazing speed-pop DIY-rambles. [ Messthetics #104]
86. Contact -Future (Object Music UK 1979) An avantfied klutz by a band who probably wanted to be Tubeway Army one thinks as one gazes upon the sleeve. They move from sloppy pro-rock attempts to full-on art-noise to excellent DIY jingle and jangle. One of many excellent items on the Object label. [ Messthetics #106 and Messthetics #7]
87. Good Missionaries -Deranged in Hastings (Unnormality Records UK 1979) A great stop/start hiccup with the patented GM/ATV tinny guitars and peripheral production. What makes this stand out is that barely concealed aggression, like a slow fuse or something.
88. The Potent Human EP (L'Aventure Records UK 1980) I maintain, and not only because of my middle class lifestyle, that the Bathroom Renovations is the greatest band name in the history of rock. This EP is a four out of four winner. Brilliant DIY fumble from The Mekon (no relation), The Liggers , The Spurtz and the ultra-wah-wah power of the Bathroom Renovations. Let me type that again: Bathroom Renovations. [Liggers: Messthetics #106]
89. Disco Zombies -Here Comes the Buts (Dining Out Records UK 1980) This is my favorite of their three spectacular singles. Thw thuick brogue of an accent blends in a most interesting way with the crappy guitar and dull throb of the melody line or the voluptous Steve Severin-style bass line.
90. Record Players -Double C Side EP (Wreckord Records UK 1978) The Record Players came from Kent, which mustered a bit of a mod scene a couple years later, but otherwise wasn’t much of a factor in the punk (or DIY) world. Here they’ve mustered up an anti-MOR rant with a chorus that comes off kind of, eh, MOR-sounding. Imagine the classic DIY trashing, bashing and gnashing, but with one big ol’ chorus, and the most obvious bridge you’ll ever hear. “Ignore Us” on the flip is self-defeatist art that’ll piss all over any Magnetic Fields as far as smug self-hatred goes. “It’s just one thing you gotta do if you want to move along, ignore the music and ignore this song ? Ignore us and we might go away”. How about that. [Messthetics #1]
91. Boys and Girls Come Out and Play EP (Boys and Girls Records UK 1980) Might be a grade school project this one, and not an art school project. Bands like the Human Cabbages, The Profile and The Famous Five are very young sounding. The fragile beauty of these tunes remind me of the UK Voice of the People anthologies of field recordings of folk songs. The purity, private nature of the songs and homemade-ness makes for a truly intimate, moving listening experience. The people on this record should be proud of this slice of juvenalia 20-odd years later.[Profile -Messthetics #103 -also a Human Cabbages song]
92. False Idols -Ego Wino (Old Knew Wave Records UK 1980) Paul Morotta’s unknown English nephews. This could be a Poli Styrene Jass Band outtake. Great, spazzy DIY with jazzy chording and great, supressed aggression.
93. Bandage -Republik (Bandage Records Sweden 1978) Seems as if the average age of the band members is 16 or so, and that the mere existence of this record points to the purest and most blissfully unaware state of do it yourself: Some kids in a suburb of Stockholm getting turned on by punk rock and the notion of releasing their own record. The four songs are all fuzzed out riff rock, not unlike say, the Crucified EP, but the poor quality of recording, sound separation, levels and what have you is why the record is mentioned on this list. Not that any of that was done on purpose, mind you, for any DIY-ethic of sorts. Necessity and gratification and all that good stuff.
94. 49 Americans -Big Value (NB Records UK 1979) Another hidden Fuck Off Records release? The 49 Americans certainly moved in the same circles, and furthermore share plenty of aesthetic choices with Danny and the Dressmakers or the Instant Automatons. This record consists of 14 short blasts of fuzz punk meets art wank and is absolutely brilliant.
95. Gods Gift -925 (New Market Records UK 1979) Three tuneless tunes of the finest in fuzzed-out death-dirge DIY-slop. Kilslug jamming with the Door and the Window.[Messthetics #106]
96. Mud Hutters -Declaration EP (Defensive Records UK 1979) Mud Hutters ? Information EP (Dead Good Records UK 1979) Truly original band this. Somewhere in a Heartwork Records/Rock In Opposition neighborhood, but with a real Safe As Milk-crunch. There are psych elements on both these records, moments of blistering punk rock, and a generous infusion of the Desperate Bicycles (or Thought Criminals) ethics and esthetics. Fantastic records, and mandatory listening for any fan of the underground music of the late 70’s era. Unfortunately, their subsequent album isn’t great. By that time the band got Gang of Four damage.[ Messthetics #106: a track from their first EP is on Messthetics Greatest Hits]
97. Horrible Nurds -Consuming Passion (Half Wombat Records UK 1980) Oddly enough, this record sounds a hell of a lot like early Problem (Sweden) on the a-side, with the b-side being Tim Rose backed by ATV in a fantastic art-rock/DIY howler In that lost art form kind of way.
98. Reptile Ranch -Animal Noises EP (Z Block Records UK 1980) Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 (one of the most under-rated bands of the last 15 years says I and ponder an upcoming UT article) are here channeled way before they even were formed by some UK art school kids. Fantastic Beefheart-y R.I.O-hybrid DIY. Passionate, crude and obnoxious, sending this record to the top shelf of any record room! [Messthetics Greatest Hits]
99. Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle - EP (Zick Zack Records Germany 1980) Ace generic DIY/punk that could’ve been at home on an early Rough Trade 45.
100. The Rutto - Ei Paluuta (Ikbals Records Finland 1983) Figured I’d seal the circle with this one: A record as stupendous as “Medium Was Tedium” and as prominently throwing all the weight of the DIY-aesthetic on us, the listeners. The Rutto seem to be your 1983 run-of-the-mill small town punk rockers, and this 45 is generic, frantic buzzsaw guitar 2-chord punk. The magic with this one, however, is that in between the choca-blocks of teen nihilism is a noticeable sense of wonder and joi de vivre oozing thru’ the grooves, or maybe I am just getting old and sentimental. Thanks for reading.