Album Of The Issue:
The Homosexuals – ‘The Homosexuals CD’ - (ReR HS1)
The Homosexuals have remained an enigma for many of the 25-years years since they fell apart in bitterness & frustration in the early 80s. Arguably the originators of lo-fi art school punk (their only serious challengers being Swell Maps) – The Homosexuals were denizens of the Speedwell Estate (Deptford) squat culture that gave birth to the likes of This Heat & Bourbonese Qualk.
Back in 1978, the idea of calling your group The Homosexuals was still considered somewhat risqué (note to reader: remember, this was some time before the satisfactory definition & subsequent application of terms such as political correctness & homophobia in the marketplace). The name was apparently chosen for exactly that reason: it was calculatedly confrontational - a barrier to make admirers feel uncomfortable & enemies feel threatened.
‘The Homosexuals CD’ contains 21 cuts of Homosexual action (16 previously released on vinyl as ‘The Homosexuals Record’ in 1984 – 5 previously unreleased bonus cuts) covering their classic 3-piece line up of 1978-81 (Bruno, Jim & Anton) – all recorded by Chris Gray at his brothers Surrey Sound Studios in 1978.
Musically, The Homosexuals took in plenty of early Wire, a Buzzcockian sense of brevity & a soupcon of Syd Barrett – which they liberally mixed with splashes of The Blockheads exuberance, vershuns on the reggaefied skank of The Slits & washes of the forthcoming ska revival (The Specials & Two Tone). A heady & eclectic brew, fe sure. Lyrically astute & morally correct – The Homosexuals were a product of their desperate times.
Apparently - Bruno, Jim & Anton are in continued acrimonious dispute with regard to mixing issues, track selection, publishing & the general management of The Homosexuals estate to this day - & thats a shame. With a rumoured 4 CD box set in the pipeline & the interest of a younger generation shining on them at last, The Homosexuals should finally be afforded their place in the annals of rock n roll history (slightly obscure dept.).
Marquee Smith – tMx 14 – 04/04
Stuffy & The Fuses – ‘Join Us Or Die’ – Wrath
Stuffy & His Fuses alternate between pastoral pop magnificence & brutal guitar attack – often in the same song. With a strong sense of rhythm & an equally adept rhythm guitarist to boot, Stuffy & The Fuses are highly recommended to anyone who likes their pop punk with a dash of eccentricity.
Olly Little – tMx 14 – 04/04
Young Heart Attack – ‘Mouthful Of Love’ – XL CD173
Texans, Young Heart Attack have been towing their particular brand of reconstituted rawk n roll around the seedier toilets of the UK for the past 12 months or so (possibly in the hope of stumping up some reverse hype here before focusing it back on the States – thus enabling YHA to backdraft their way up the US charts – well, thats the theory). In reality, Bon Scott & Joan Jett fight it out for vocal supremacy over 10 slices of MOR FM Rawk Lite.
One of the major downsides of any rock n roll revolution is that right at the bottom of the barrel, buried securely beneath Dantes 7th Rock of The Lowest Common Denominator, youll find a 100 YHAs. They breed like amoebas but thankfully have a far shorter life expectancy. In short, YHA are basically what we fought The Punk Wars to destroy.
Mama, crazee, were, all, now: NOT!
Johnny Forgotten – tMx 14 – 04/04
The Blueskins – ‘Word Of Mouth’ – Domino
When the major label sponsored race to find the UKs answer to the White Stripes began, The Blueskins were still in glorious isolation sitting their finals at the Gloria Hunniford School For Rock N Roll Clones (near Peterborough).
Having failed their respective auditions for Pop Idol 2001, all 3 members of The future Blueskins met at a Name Assembly Auction in Norwich where they bought one half of their name from a dishevelled Mark Morris (once of The Bluetones) & the other half from a noticeably emotional X Moore (ex-Redskins). One tube of Copycat Name Fixative later - & The Blueskins were born.
During the early months of their development, The Blueskins were sustained by a diet of Lonnie Donnegan A-sides, Paul McCartney B-sides & melted ice cream purchased in bulk from various faded English seaside towns.
Employing instrumentation & arrangements that would make The Stereophonics blush with contrition, The Blueskins set about recording their debut LP with a troupe of progressive Cossack dancers from St Petersburg in tow. Their subsequent interpretations of various songs from ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ were eventually honed down to form the basis of ‘Word Of Mouth’.
Needless to say, I would willingly have my head set in concrete if it meant I would never have to hear The Blueskins again.
The Katestar – tMx 14 – 04/04
Mission Of Burma – ‘ONoffON’ – Matador
Bostons Mission Of Burma return to the fray with their 1st set of studio recordings since 1982s ‘VS’ (MOB split in 83 due to leader Roger Millers worsening tinnitus).
Hailed by many at the time as the archetypal US alt.rock outfit (Michael Azzerads ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’ has an entire chapter dedicated to them) – MOB eventually transcended their wall-of-noise hardcore punk roots to stake a claim as one of the American undergrounds most influential & important groups (rather like Wire in the UK).
Recorded with Shellacs Bob Weston at the controls in the fall of 2003, ‘ONoffON’ is as broad as it is tall, proving MOB to be just as far ahead of their time now as they were back in 1982. This 16-track set is divided into 2 parts (much like the groups recent live performances) – except with a far shorter intermission!
‘Hunt Again’, ‘Wounded World’ & a spirited cover of The Dils ‘Class War’ prove MOB have lost none of their angst/edge, whilst the neo-hillbilly stomp of ‘Nicotine Bomb’ & the more introspective ‘Prepared’ show that there are always two sides to every coin (& that sometimes you have to actually flip it to discover this).
In certain circles of the US underground ‘ONoffON’ is viewed as more of a cultural event than a new release - & who am I to argue. ‘ONoffON’ is up there with Wires ‘Send’ & Rocket From The Tombs ‘Rocket Redux’ as ample proof that just because your getting on a bit it dont mean you cant still cut the mustard. Inspired.
Harrison Bored – tMx 14 – 04/04
Hyper Kinako – ‘Dont Delete My Frog’/’2 Tadgers’ – Purr 012
Hyper Kinako could well be deft exponents of the martial arts. ‘Dont Delete My Frog’ could well be chip music from the heart of Malcolm McLarens imagination (if wed ever heard any, that is). ‘2 Tadgers’ could well be an ode to ‘doubling up’ in the bedroom. Cutting-up traditional sounding Oriental instruments, raucous guitars, programmed percussion & helium induced vocals, Hyper Kinako could well be the last word in something – but what exactly that is – youd have to ask someone far more trendier than little old me. Sorry.
The Katestar – tMx 14 – 04/04
Super Furry Animals – ‘Phantom Phorce’ – Placid Casual
Someone – not quite sure who – has been plaguing me for some time now with a seemingly endless supply of Super Furry Animals releases – all of which have entered the nearest bin without so much as a cursory listen. In a bid to end this perpetual hail of patchouli-drenched hippy drivel, I have decided to mention the latest SFA remix project in the hope that the person who keeps sending us their CDs reads it & ceases accordingly: THE SUPER FURRY ANIMALS SUCK. Now go & haunt some other poor fucker.
Johnny Forgotten – tMx 14 – 04/04