23 Sep 2011

Asbestos Lead Asbestos

Originally posted December 20, 2008
“This is without doubt the sound of the mid 1980's from W11. Their first single and never bettered, despite being recorded in possible one of the worst studios in London. They had already been around for years on the free tours and playing in squats as part of the Street Level Organisation under the name The 012, who released the seminal 'Fish From Tahiti' and the even more seminal Weird Noise EP on Fuck Off Records. Anyway 'Asbestos Lead Asbestos' must be in the top 20 debut singles of all time? Discuss! But not with me.” Sean (Rough Trade)

World Domination Enterprises – Asbestos Lead Asbestos (1985)

The 012 – Asbestos Lead Asbestos (1984)
Get it here.

World Domination Enterprises – Asbestos Lead Asbestos + Interview

More info here.

22 Sep 2011


Campingsex – Fall ich hinein

This performance by Campingsex changed my life when I saw it on TV by pure chance years ago.

Church Police

Originally posted September 12, 2007
“Once there was a band called The Maroons which tried to be the stupidest band ever. It consisted of: Bruce – organ, Dave – guitar, Tim – drums, and some other people. Some of the band got mad at Dave for getting so wasted at a big gig that he couldn't play. Bruce ended up kicking him out of the band. After that everyone slowly but surely quit the band until there were no more maroons. Then Tim & Dave decided to form the loudest, most depressing band ever. Tim wanted to sing and Dave continued to play guitar then they got Eric to play drums. They needed a bass player so Bruce joined and thus formed the Church Police. They played countless nigths at The Sound of music for no money but they didn't care too much. It was fun and worthwile. They opened for Flipper at the Throbbing Gristle show last march. And it was ‘a real scream’. Subterranean Records keeps saying that the show will be released on a live record. They even have it in their catalog but nobody has seen it yet.” Cometbus

Church Police (clockwise from top left): Tim (vocals), Dave (guitar), Bruce (bass), Eric (drums). Dave Blakeslee

“The Church Police were one of the earliest underground punk bands to emerge from suburbia. The band performed their first live gig at the Sound of Music, a cheap, sleazy and accessible club in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, in the fall of 1980. An amateur studio recording was made around that same time at Diablo Valley College, in which the band's guitars were plugged directly into the sound board because live electrical performances would have been too loud and disruptive to the nearby classes. Only the drums were mic'ed. A cassette recording of this session began circulating through the San Francisco scene, gaining particular favor with two bands who had identified themselves as ‘pet rock’ bands: Animal Things and Flipper. The Church Police, mainly through Bruce's persistence, were able to land weeknight gigs at the Sound of Music with some regularity. One particularly memorable show occurred when Bruce Loose, lead singer of Flipper, made his enthusiastic appreciation of the band highly visible by dancing wildly in front of the stage as they performed. This convinced many trendies in the audience to consider the Church Police ‘cool.’ Even though their musical abilities were lacking, they had a unique stage presence and represented something fresh and unpredictable within the local punk community.” Dave Blakeslee

Church Police poster

“Unfortunately, along with their lack of humor comes a lack of originality, which negates taking any of their copycat antics seriously. The Church Police play and everyone stares woodenly. What is this shit, man? We thought this was gonna be a punk rock show. To put it lightly, the Church Police are not your garden variety thrash band. Not knowing what to do with this strange emanation, the crowd takes the easy way out and snarls its hate. They spit, yell, make gestures, throw things, hit – you know, your typical Type A look-in-your-punk-textbook-do-I-look-mean-enough bullshit. The band reacts in an exemplary manner and just goes about their business. After all, they were asked to play, no one asked the crowd to come and make trouble. And 'twas surely a loutish crew. I mean, ready to kill. They really loved the band (even if they wouldn't see it that way) simply because they hated them so much. Finally the Church Police were pulled off stage, which was wise. I would like to see them play again. Their steadfast behavior at this show again proves the motto: Church Police is God. Church Police is Disco.” Eric Bradner

Church Police – The Oven Is My Friend

Church Police – Life Is Fun
Get it here.

More info here.

21 Sep 2011

Vibrant Fiasco

Originally posted June 12, 2009
“What a piece of shit!! Why don't you idiots out there send us somethingood.” Dave Damage's review on Vibrant Fiasco 7" (Flipside #22)

I like it when music is so bad that makes people get angry, because there's a point when the bad is so bad that it turns into good. Not everybody can appreciate that, though. That said, this song by this rare art punk combo from the Midwest is not so bad to be good. Instead, it is just great, catchy and addictive!

Vibrant Fiasco – Lizard Lips
By the way, this song also appeared on the Sub-Pop 7 compilation released in 1982.

More info here.

15 Sep 2011

The Terrace scene: Wellington Punk & Post-Punk 1979–81

“The Terrace scene in Wellington, an arty, vaguely nihilistic, vaguely decadent post punk scene unlike any other in the country.” Gary Steel

“The Terrace scene was so named because of the area of relatively cheap housing around which the people and parties moved, giving rise to a group of bands with similar musical taste and outlook. The scene began with ‘underground’ parties for the punk set, which began to feature bands, or just as often, jam sessions within a small group of like-minded people.” Wade Ronald Churton

“Wellington's emerging punk and post-punk scene made it's home in a couple of houses, (212 and 246 The Terrace) occupied by members of Beat Rhythm Fashion, RIOT 111 and others. Located only 5 minutes from parliament the ‘Terrace scene’ as it became known was a key location from 1979–81 with house parties by touring and local bands. It's place in the local scene was considered prominent enough to feature as the principle location in Chris Knox's documentary on the Wellington Scene featured below.” Up The Punks

Wellington Scene – Part 1

Wellington Scene – Part 2

“The Terrace scene spawned several shortlived bands, only one surviving into 1982. The overall sound was harsh and confrontational with a strong emphasis on improvisation, contrasting sharply with the other centers' general revved-up dance-pop zeitgeist. Punk here meant anti-stardom, and an attendant militantly uncommercial musical stance; art as opposed to crowd-pleasing pop. There was much more of a psychedelic influence at work; the Cure, the Fall, Beefheart, PIL… all in a punk-fuelled witches' brew and available at Thistle Hall, Billy The Club, or someone's party.” Wade Ronald Churton

Thistle Hall at the top of Cuba Street in a photo dated 1980.

Life In The Fridge Exists (LIFE)
“Life In The Fridge Exists could have been brilliant if they had practiced, but when they did practice, it was in front of an audience.” Alan Jimson

LIFE playing at Thistle hall.

“LIFE was largely the conception of artist/guitarist/vocalist Michael Gallagher, with vocal and musical support from Samantha Swan and her guitarist brother Nick. In the early days there was also guitarist/bassist Adrienne Hally. The drum stool was taken by a succession of candidates with varying degrees of ability over the band's chaotic six month existence, notably Wellington's own answer to Sid Vicious, sheep-immolator Rhys Bassett. If spontaneity and loose jamming was the prevalent attitude amongst the Terrace scene musicians, then the envelope-pushing LIFE made a positive virtue out of non-practice.” Wade Ronald Churton

LIFE, Billy The Club, May 1980

“In late 1980 LIFE recorded a number of original tracks at Sausage Studios, three of which feature on the **** (Four Stars) compilation of bands that made up the Terrace scene. Track one on this LP, Have You Checked The Children, is regarded by some as the theme song for this period of first wave Wellington punk/post-punk. The title references a 1970's slasher horror movie in which a babysitter is tormented over the phone by a unseen psychopath. LIFE's song neatly turns this around casting the children (who have all become ‘punks’) of Wellington's complacent middle class as the imminent threat to polite adult society. Wade Churton's 1999 book on New Zealand punk and post-punk from 1977–81 references this song in it's title. The group played in the Cuba Mall and Thistle Hall circuit during 1980–81 before splitting with guitarist Nick Swan continuing the use of music and ‘theatrics’ in New Zealand's first political punk band RIOT 111.” Up The Punks

Life In The Fridge Exists – Have You Checked The Children 

Beat Rhythm Fashion
“This band is different – the two very British Birch brothers have spent most of their lives in Hong Kong and view New Zealand as a cultural wasteland. They don't even want to be associated with local bands. ‘We're a solar system band,’ Nino chips in. Even Kiwi drummer Glen whose nasal twang stands out from these toffee tones whispers ‘I hate New Zealand bands’.” Gary Steel

Beat Rhythm Fashion

“Formed by brothers Dan and Nino Birch in 1980 Beat Rhythm Fashion made some initial sporadic appearances as The Westown Quintet and The Mixers before settling on the BRF moniker. Conceived of initially as a studio only project the band recorded two tracks for the **** (Four Stars) album released in August 1980. Living in one of the flats (no. 246) that made up the vibrant Terrace scene the brothers appear playing in a living room and interviewed outside by Chris Knox in his documentary on the Wellington post-punk scene.” Up The Punks

Beat Rhythm Fashion playing and interviewed at The Terrace flats, Wellington 1980.

“BRF made wistful, introspective art-pop with complex arrangements and an immaculate sound (the production on their singles is uniformly excellent). They were a great deal less improvisatory than most of the other Terrace scene bands, but prone to preciousness and fussy arrangements which could become a minus (‘Art And Duty’, based on a Coleridge poem, sounds uncomfortably close to progressive rock).” Wade Ronald Churton

Beat Rhythm Fashion – Beings Rest Finally

Naked Spots Dance
“Originating from a High School garage jam in 1979 (Stephen Norris, Phil Harfield and Geoff Smith), Naked Spots Dance formed in 1980 with an original line-up of Kate Walker, Stephen Norris, Phil Harfield and Jenny Leyland and were an integral part of the Terrace scene with three songs included in 1980s' compilation album **** (Four Stars). Heavily improvisational and accompanied by an ethereal vocal style NSD were regarded as one of Wellington's best bands of the time, releasing one album and two EPs between 1981 and 1983.” Up The Punks

Naked Spots Dance in In Touch magazine.

“The music the early band made was recognisably punk but different; short and spiky songs alternated with long, rumbling, improvised epics going well past the three-minute barrier. Lyrics were discontented, sullen and often ‘you’ scenarios. Norris and Walker achieved a fine musical rapport early on with their highly individual yet complimentary styles; raw, sparse and scouring guitar scraped over a warm, fluent bass which provided both rhythm and melody. They took their time over the music, and would not make a live appearance until well into 1980.” Wade Ronald Churton

Naked Spots Dance – Governed By You
Get it here.

Shoes This High
“With an anti-pop Public Image Limited/Pere Ubu/Fall sound, Shoes This High were one of the key defining outfits of the post-punk era. Formed around the hub of Hawkins and Walker in late September [1979], Hayward joined on vocals in November, and the band began to have the familiar drummer problem. There were one or two more in circulation by this time, however, and the band tried a few out, playing increasingly over summer, which was rich with parties, Cuba Mall and Thistle Hall events.” Wade Ronald Churton

Shoes This High (Dec 1980). Pic by Peter Avery

“The band were plainly punk-based (though influences like funk and even disco were coming through) but shared little of the form's clichés. Plummer and Walker locked together to form one of the country's finest post-punk rhythm-sections; taut, slippery, staccato and even funky (and remarkably reminiscent of 1980s' Features). Fused with Hawkins' menacing jangle and unusual melody-lines, the three were exemplary improvisers who could extemporise on a theme on a par with most jazz-rock hotel outfits. Shoes This High were working with much more exciting rhythms, however.” Wade Ronald Churton

“Unfortunately for Shoes This High, their music is just too extreme, too intense for the average Joe Public who frequents The Last Resort, Willy's Wine Bar etc. The band aren't prepared to compromise their music to gain commercial acceptance… A Shoes This High concert can be a pretty intense experience. Chris and Jessica lay down a solid, rhythmic foundation around which Kevin weaves patterns of jangling, often discordant guitar. Above all this Brent spits out the words as if his life depended on it. A lot of people I've talked to about Shoes This High complain that they can only take so much of Brent screaming insults at the audience in the songs.” Dave Maclennan

Last gigs in Wellington, 1980

“I was living out in Wellington's suburbs. I was psycho. I was going off my tree. I just had the most violent thoughts about stuff.” Brent Hayward

“Inevitably this doctrine of ‘rile up the punters’, together with the band's singularly abrasive, difficult music meant that Shoes This High was always going to be the proverbial acquired taste, only ever appealing to a few fellow travellers and hardy souls (and very few hotel venues). From the word go they were destined for cult status for the whole of their 28-month existence.” Wade Ronald Churton

Shoes This High – A Mess
More info here and here.

* * *

Excerpts taken from the book Have You Checked The Children? by Wade Ronald Churton and the website Up The Punks – Wellington Punk Culture.

4 Sep 2011

Cassandra's Ears

Dunedin was surely safer than many places in the country to be 'different'. (It still is.) It was also prime garage band turf, with the Dunedin Sound syndrome testament to that fact. Things could be tried out in (relative) safety, so even though they were not locals – not part of the Dunedin Sound scene per se – this was the perfect location for Aucklander Jan Hellriegel and her friends Venessa Anich, Felicity Rhind, Sarah Macnab and Meaghan Millar to form the next ground-breaking all-woman band. In doing so, they carved out for themselves a small but vital place within the rich and varied history of New Zealand rock music. Ian Chapman

Cassandra's Ears
It's any teenagers dream to be in a band. We will be rock stars and we'll be on the road together – forever. And for a time the dream is very real. We are five girls in various groupings, we travel up an down the country for five years. We record our tunes and grow into our 20s knowing the joy and challenge of collaboration. Life long friendships are firmly established and our creativity fed and honoured. In 1989 we play our last gig at the Powerstation and the dream comes to an end. We part ways and it's very sad but we are all the richer for our experiences together. Felicity Morgan-Rhind

Cassandra's Ears flyer
We toured the country countless times in an old Bedford van with a couple of cushions thrown in the back, played loads of orientation shows, got thrown off stage on occasion, released a five-track LP and a three-track EP, and apart from a $500 grant from the Ministry of Women's affairs we did this under our own steam. Jan Hellriegel

Cassandras Ears Private Wasteland 12" (Jayrem Records, 1988)

Cassandra's Ears – My Command

Update July 23, 2013
Cassandra's Ears – Silver Sheen (1988)

* * *

Excerpts taken from the The Cassandra's Ears story CD. More info here.

Making Waves #1

ISSUE #1: AUGUST 2011 | buy |
A5 / 88 pages / English
Cover: Anna Nasty (Phoenix, US)
Contributors: Anna (Leeds, UK), Camille (Paris, FR), Constance (Rennes, FR), Darryl (San Francisco, US), Edu (Barcelona, ES), Jaspin (Auckland, NZ), Jenn (UK), Mary (Los Angeles, US), Jenny Woolworth (London, UK)

| download |
01. Jeri Rossi - I Left My Heart But I Don’t Know Where
02. Dolly Mixture - Shonay Shonay
03. All Girl Summer Fun Band - Charm Bracelet
04. Finally Punk - Environmentality
05. Ludus - Too Hot To Handle
06. The Petticoats - I’m Free
07. Chalk Circle - Easy Escapes
08. LiLiPUT - In A Mess
09. The Bags - Violent Girl
10. Devil’s Dykes - Fruitless

More info here.