22 Nov 2009

Wormer, mon amour

Never been to Wormer – a town located thirteen kilometres up north Amsterdam – but I definitely would like to. Why? Easy, because it had one of the most interesting scenes back in the day. Curious to know what was to be part of Wormer? Then, please read this.

The Ex – Money (1980)

Zowiso – Live @ Oktopus

De Groeten – Live @ Oktopus

Svatsox – Unplugged @ Oktopus (1984)

Villa Zuid was the “homebase of punkbands the Ex and Svätsox” and it was “squatted in August 1981. In the big garden next to the villa they organised every year a big party to celebrate this.”

Recommended listenings:

If you want to know more about Wormer bands, please click here for a complete discography, and here for another article – although it's in French only.

20 Nov 2009

How minimal can you get? #6

“You see, when Punk came, we were real embarrassed that we knew how to play. The other Punk bands were writing as they were learning. For us, we couldn't turn back the hands of the clock, so we tried all these real extreme devices to hide it, which we picked up from the English group Wire: you don't need verse/chorus, you don't need solos, you don't need shit. We thought Punk meant that no one was supposed to know you can play well! Then it seemed some Punk bands, as they played better, turned more Rock & Roll, and the joke was on us! We didn't give a fuck – no matter what we played, you could tell it was The Minutemen.” Mike Watt

Minutemen – Live @ at the 9:30 club (1984)

16 Nov 2009

How minimal can you get? #5

Beat Happening
“Here's my Beat Happening story. One day, spring of 1985 (I think), an Australian kid name of David Nichols showed up on my doorstep in Willesden Green clutching three records; seven-inch singles by Venom P. Stinger and Rabbit's Wedding, and the first Beat Happening album (the one with the cat on a rocket ship on a yellow background). He was on his way back home to Melbourne from Olympia, and had a 24-hour stopover in London, and had been given three addresses to try. So I invited him in, made a cup of tea, and stayed to chat a while. After he left, I figured I may as well listen to the record with the cat and I couldn't get past Heather's voice on 'Foggy Eyes', first song on. It brought tears to my ears. Stopped me dead. Killed me. A few days later, I called in to Rough Trade – Karen who worked there was just about the only PR who gave me free stuff back then, so I thought I'd repay favour by playing her the Beat Happening LP, too. She loved it too – and so did Geoff Travis, who later ended up releasing the trio's second album in the UK. Man, that felt good.” The Legend!

Beat Happening – Cry For A Shadow (1992)

15 Nov 2009

How minimal can you get? #4

Puritan Guitars
“Cardiff '80: Scritti Politti were the first band to print their manufacturing costs and supplier information on their record-sleeve… and this helpful gesture immediately touched off a widespread competition to show who could make their record out the cheapest. Indeed, an entire generation of bands were more likely to list their production costs than the band-members' names. So when later (and, naturally, anonymous) Cardiffians Puritan Guitars came out with '£100 in 15 minutes' b/w 'Making It' it was widely [mis]understood that they were singing/boasting about their manufacturing costs. (…) In truth, however, the £100 was the sum that Rough Trade had spent on an 'open bar' to celebrate the final gig of the Raincoats tour – which 'the assembled radical DIY types drank up in 15 minutes'.” Chuck Warner

Puritan Guitars – £100 in 15 minutes

How minimal can you get? #3

Tandstickorshocks “were part of the Rondos/Red Rock scene, but while their 'big brother band' often played pretty catchy, fast songs, Tandstickorshocks's music is totally hook-and-chorus-free. Though they sound like they're just starting to learn to play, the playing is precise and to-the-point. It's not 'energetic' or even aggressive in the usual punk way. In places, the music reminds me of stuff like early Minutemen, Teenage Jesus, Red Krayola and early Scritti Politti, but the difference is those bands (and the Rondos, too) came from an art background, while Tandstickorshocks were genuinely young working class kids.“ Niels

Tandstickorshocks – Tradition

How minimal can you get? #2

Aventuras de Kirlian
“Once upon a time there was a band called Aventuras de Kirlian. They got together in early 1986 in San Sebastián, where they all came from, and their line-up was: Peru Izeta (stand-up drummer), Jone Gabarain (vocals), Teresa Iturrioz (bass) and Ibon Errazkin (guitar). They were influenced by Young Marble Giants, Cherry Red bands, early Talking Heads, Tamla-Motown and a few assorted psychedelic bands from the 60’s. But, most of all, what determined their style was the fact that none of them could play at all. So they started writing songs that never went further than one minute long and never had very complicated chord changes. They were called 'minimalists' from the very start, and there wasn’t much they could do about it. Anyway, that was never a big concern.” Elefant Records

Aventuras de Kirlian – Un día gris / El cielo (TVE, 1989)

14 Nov 2009


Störung – Warschau Pact (Live at Mazzo in Amsterdam, 1983)

How minimal can you get? #1

This is the first post of a series dedicated to the most minimal records ever made. And what better way to start the series than with this terrific artifact by this mysterious band called GOD. No sleeve, no info, no pictures, no lyrics sheet, just a black vinyl with the word “GOD” written on it by hand. In the purest minimalist approach, the song titles are “God Is Dood Nr. 2”, and “God Is Dood Nr. 3”. And as for the music, it sounds as it was the band's first attempt to record these two songs at the studio – or maybe at bedroom?, and I am pretty sure they did both songs in one take. Minimal as fuck, isn't it?

God – God Is Dood Nr. 2
Get it here.

Last but not least, if you feel you can help or want to make a suggestion, you'll be more than welcome. Let's keep it minimal!

8 Nov 2009

Ich bin ein Berliner

Tomorrow is twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and this post commemorates this very special day. It's my little homage to the city of Berlin and its music scene, both so inspiring.

Berlin Super 80

Die Tödliche Doris – Naturkatastrophenballet (1984)
“On Potsdamer Platz, windy and deserted, variations of natural catastrophes were recited and illustrated by objects attached to Käthe Kruse's body.”

Recommended listenings: