The Magits- ‘Fully Coherent’ (1979)

November 15, 2008

Probably the shortest album I’ll ever link to, this eerie, spooky, claustrophobic release from The Magits runs at about 4 mins long. ‘Fully Coherent’ was the only thing ever put out by this UK band, featuring future members of Rudimentary Peni. It’s some weird, discordant, avant-garde synth punk, back when that kind of thing was unheard of, with spoken word style vocals, and pretty much anything other than ‘proper’ instruments making the music. Here’s some more info, from their site:

“The Magits formed in late 77 as a result of the punk rock phenomenon reaching into every home in Britian via the likes of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, among others. A young Nick Blinko, afflicted with a morose disposition and the burning urge for non conformity gathered 4 friends and formed his first ‘band’, The Magits. Their goal was to take the urgency and intent of punk and carry it on where it seemed to have presuambly ‘died’ at the hands of the media and its own chaotic implosion.

Speaking of chaotic implosions, the band soon found that as a four peice, each members individuality could not be expressed equally, leaving it a two peice consisting of Nick Blinko and Martin Cooper. Jon Greville, whom Nick would work with later in Rudimentary Peni, left the band. Even more detrimintal to their vision of individuality, the band shunned the defacto instruments of the typical rock band – drums, bass, guitar, etc. They proceded to use virtually every sound available to them other than thouse sources by banging and beating whatever came their way – from toys to floors.

Nick Blinko left Art College to work in a mental hospital. The third remaining member at this point split to pursue making music with synthesizers (which weren’t punk, maan). Througout the loss of members, the Magits were now convinced of just how many interesting and dedicated people there really were…

Their sole release, fully coherent, was recorded in several sessions at two studios with two instuments, based on a set they were preparing for a gig with Adam and the Ants, which never happened. Out of all the material recorded, just the 4 songs were chosen for the release based on atmosphere and effect.”

The Magits- ‘Fully Coherent’ (1979) (via Mediafire)

Burnt Cross- ‘Carcass of Humanity’ (2007)

November 4, 2008

I don’t know about you, but I was always more into the punk bands that came out of England than the ones from the US… not that there’s a competition or anything, but I was personally more influenced by bands like Discharge, Crass, Rudimentary Peni, Amebix, and Flux of Pink Indians than yer Black Flags and Minor Threats.

I also have a soft spot for two piece bands that use drum machines. So given all that, I almost exploded when I heard this Burnt Cross album from last year. For me this is a pretty much a classic anarcho-punk release from the Marriot brothers, Paul and Rob, who mix some catchy and infectious tunes with amazing political lyrics… the kind that leave no doubt that these guys aren’t just armchair anarchists, but write from their experience in the streets. Definitely check this one out if you like your punk music pissed off and political.

The download I’m linking to is via Moshpit Tragedy Records, which is an amazing online label that lets you download for free, but gives you the option of contributing to the artists if you like the album and support their work. They’re a great label and this is a great band, so do it!

Burnt Cross- ‘Carcass of Humanity’ (via Moshpit Tragedy)

Nanahara Shuya- ‘Switchblades at Dawn’ (2008)

November 2, 2008

Here’s a bit of a navel-gazing post. Since I’m linking to other peoples’ records, I thought I might as well upload some of my own for sharing. So back home in Hong Kong I used to play in a two-piece thrash/stoner/punk band with keyboards called Nanahara Shuya. Looking back on it now, those were awesome times. We must have recorded close to 100 songs on our crappy 8-track tape player, using shitty mikes (at one point we were down to a CB radio mike) and released a few of them as full-lengths and splits ourselves. We also played a lot of gigs in our time together, back when the metal scene in HK especially was looking strong, and played with some pretty diverse range of bands, from Birchville Cat Motel to RAMBO.

This is a collection of songs that we recorded at least two years ago, but never managed to put out ourselves- but I really like them so I’m sorta ‘releasing’ it here under the name ‘Switchblades at Dawn’.  Some of the tracks have been individually released before, ‘Alem’ was on an anti-fascist comp out of Russia, ‘Night of the Castronauts’ was on an anarchist comp from the Philippines, and ‘Crippling Fear…’ was on a split with another HK band called Dying Process. But collecting them all in one place seemed like a good idea, and I also think they work well as an album.

As with pretty much all our stuff, the recording is pretty ‘DIY-‘, ‘kvlt-‘ ‘insert-adjective-for-shitty-recording’ sounding, though I think this is the best it has ever sounded. Yep, I’m very proud of this one.

Earlier this year when I was visiting back home I ran into my Shuya bandmate in a bar, and we ended up playing an impromptu ‘reunion’ set, playing together for the first time in a couple of years. Ah, the memories…

Nanahara Shuya- ‘Switchblades at Dawn’ (2008) via MediaFire

No Rest For The Dead- ‘The End of Space’ (2000)

October 31, 2008

I first heard of the Japanese “stoner-grind” band No Rest For The Dead when I was living in Philadelphia. My buddy Pedro had organized a show for them in York, PA of all places, and had brought in a stack of their CDs which he was encouraging people to check out. As far as I can tell, The End of Space is their one and only album, and the band seems to have broken up some time ago. But I still have fond memories of Pedro and my time in Philadelphia every time I put it on.

As their genre suggests, this album is a schizophrenic mix of grindcore with heavy stoner rock, psychadelic, and even funk influences… but no hint of hipster irony here, No Rest For The Dead seem completely serious about and into all the different genres they play. Combine that seriousness with an album cover that has camels marching in space, song titles like Breed The Freak, and ridiculous lyrics like “I am a sheep and a clone, my dick reeking with blood”, and this band pretty much comes off as insane. The final track Any Green Here is almost an hour long stoner jam, so there’s plenty of listening time too… check it out!

No Rest For The Dead – ‘The End of Space’ (2000) (via MediaFire)

Cress- ‘Monuments’ (1997)

October 30, 2008

OK, first post and all that, blah blah blah. I like these blogs as a way of sharing music with anyone who cares to listen. That’s it. Needless to say if you can find any of these albums for sale, please do your bit to support the artists.

Now on to other matters.

Cress were (are?) a great anarcho-crust punk band from the UK, who released a couple of albums and EPs in the 90s, including a split with the legendary English punk band Doom. They mixed some really great lyrics about humans, the system, life, animals and the earth (“and still we call ourselves man kind”), with a pretty unique sound, which I can only describe as anthemic, psychadelic, anarcho-oi. It is lo-fi and crusty, has really trebly guitars, a range of vocals, samples, keyboards, and drum machines, and is dark, catchy, aggressive, and positive at the same time.

All that probably makes no sense, so don’t take my word for it. All their stuff is worth checking out, but if you’ve never heard their full-length Monuments, give it a click. This is one of my favourite albums of all time.

It also helps that Dave and Pete Cress are super nice guys who put my band on a compilation of Cress cover songs, which I’m sure will end up here very soon. Heh heh. And I say the “were (are?)” part because they’ve recently been playing a few shows over in the UK. Here’s hoping they put something else out in the near future!

Cress- Monuments (via MediaFire)