VVAA – Heroes & Cowards/English Waves! [A rough guide to punk rock ]

January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Another one from the “private library” at my uncle’s.
This tape is a selection of two vintage punk rock samplers/compilations from Stiff Records and RCA Victor entitled Heroes & Cowards and English Waves!. This was my very first taste of what English punk rock  meant apart from The Sex Pistols and The Clash: these two records were the hunch I needed to start digging deeper and deeper. With hindsight I reckon they’re both quite interesting in terms of selection and quality (see for yourself by clicking on the links above) my favorite being the Stiff one: you know, we love our label… Strange fact: combining these two records you have the full tracklist to the infamous Snuff Rock EP by Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias a parody of punk rock so good it may actually be the  real thing: try listening to Kill (which mocks The Damned, who mocked The Shangri Las) or Gobbin’ On Life!


As you may see by the front card, Side A & B of Gary Gilmore’s Eyes 7″ by The Adverts replaced Patti Smith‘s Piss Factory and The HeartbreakersLove Comes In Spurts. These two  tracks, followed by Sonic Reducer by the Dead Boys (on the tape the song comes after a ten seconds gap after Bored Teenager) were part of a compilation called Punk Collection, an early Italian attempt at describing (but mostly selling) punk rock.

Download Side-A /Download Side-B

Stream Side-A on MixCloud/Stream Side-B on MixCloud

Originally recorded on a TDK HF60 cassette from vinyl.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

[Side A] Arturo – Ar-cor / Anarki og Kaos: Norsk Punk ’79-’81 [Teenage Angst]

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

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I remember listening to Arturo on a road trip with my friend Diego. We were 18, it was early november and were speeding on the highway at 140Kmh in Diego’s Fiat Panda, windows rolled down, screaming the lyrics at the top of our lungs. We were coming back from a short visit at my uncle’s in the mountians: four wild days of no sleep, weed, partying and alcohol. Four days of exorcism, trying to forget, trying to mend a broken heart. I can’t imagine a better soundtrack to this than some raw, fast, juvenile, stupid, passionte, angry, desperate hardcore punk.  I want to be speechless / Tears in my eyes, rage in my heart [Senza Parole (Speechless)]. Teenage angst at its maximum.

For the Italians: you may find all the infos you need about Arturo on Wikipedia. For the non Italians: Arturo are (were?) a hardcore-punk band from Turin. Ar-cor was their first album released on Panx Records in 1995. Sorry if you don’t understand Italian: the lyrics sometimes are quite good.

Anarki & Kaos – Norsk Punk 79-81 is a norwegian punk-rock compilation released in 1992 on Voices Of Wonder records. I bought it in Olso in 1996, during my first trip to Norway. If you’re into early punk-rock and like digging for rough gems I strongly recommend it. It’s still possible to find it here and there, legally or not: you choose. Featured here three of my favorite songs and a fourth which I wonder why I taped.  Diego used to say that Monster by Front Page reminded him of  Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show: in fact he’s right…  Du Er En Dritt (more or less: You’re An Asshole) by Rough Trade says it all in 22 seconds, while I suspect that Holocaust by Sjølmord may have “interesting” lyrics: it’s sung in German, so it’s hard to tell. About the last song…I think I should have taped this one instead.

One of best things about C-60s was the fact that you could tape a full album and you had some blank space to fill at the end of each side: main course plus a dessert. In this case I could tape a full album on one side plus four more songs: ask a punk about economy.

Download Side-A  or Stream on MixCloud

Get to Side B

Originally recorded on a TDK D-60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

VVAA – Fat Music For Fat People [Sony Cdit II 46]

January 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

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It is my opinion that the years between 1992 and 1995 represented the zenith of melodic hardcore punk before the genre started living on its own cliches and/or being diluted into pop music.  Fat Music For Fat People was the first sampler released by Fat Wreck Chords (the label founded by Fat Mike, singer of NoFx) in 1994 and it features some of the best bands of that period. Represented here are samples from Propagandhi‘s How To Clean Everything (plus a non album track), Don’t Turn Away  by Face To Face, both Duh and Trashed by Lag Wagon (though being quite good, may be actually the first copycat band of the time sounding more or less like NoFx) For God And Country by Good Riddance and NoFx‘s The Longest Line. Check out the yearly users polls on Sputnikmusic and you’ll find all of these records and many more.

Not much to say about this tape, my friends and I have listened to it so much the memories are just spread over like a thin layer of butter in such a long timespan it’s almost impossibile to recall any highlight. To be fair, only a few friends of mine listened to it:  by that time some of the guys were a lot into death metal (I was a bit…) and they wouldn’t even touch anything that stank of punkrock with a Ten Foot Pole (hahaha). They said none of these bands were “technical” enough… Some of them later, but maybe too late, started to pay attention and changed their mind.

A note on the cassette: Sony CDit II tapes sported a “slim case”. Personally, I hated them: the card was usually very small, the case would break even more easily than on normal cassettes and, last but not least, when you were piling tapes on a shelf they didn’t fit anywhere screwing the carefully stocked piles big time!

Download Side-A /Download Side-B

Stream Side-A on MixCloud/Stream Side-B on MixCloud

Originally recorded on a Sony CDit II 46 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

VVAA – The 2Tone Story [Everybody has a rock’n’roll uncle]

January 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

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My grandparents had a house in the mountains where they usually spent most of the summer. My troubled uncle, their son, used to live there for some years to get away from the temptations of the big city, so to speak. In the summer of 1992 my parents, God knows why, decided that I was to spend my holidays with my grandparents. At first I was not so enthusiast about it (a teenager is never enthusiast about something imposed on him by mum & dad) but, truth being told I was curious and intrigued. I used to spend months up there with my grandparents when I was a kid, and I loved that place: it was (and it is) beautiful, it smelled good, people talked with a funny accent and some of them were really weird. And, last but not least, I enjoyed having lot more freedom that in the city and I had plenty of friends. It was almost ten years since my last visit.

More to this, I didn’t meet my uncle in years as well. When I was still a child he used to tease me a lot. He used to shoot me behind the ears with a toy soft-air gun, he stood in front of the TV when I was watching cartoons, stuff like that. I went crazy when he did these things and I found him really annoying. He was in his early twenties by that time and he was still living with my grandparents. I remember him coming home from work and immediately storming into his room: seconds later the house would be shaking with the loudest music I ever heard. He used to go to see concerts and gigs at least twice a week, he knew lots about music. Some years ago he even won a bet against Joe Strummer whom he befriended while living  in Spain. He had like a million cassettes and ten million vinyls. I would be sneaking into his room when he wasn’t there to peek at magazines and the record covers… Anyway now I was fourteen and I had developed the same kind of music fever which he had. So yeah: I was pretty much excited about meeting him again.

My granny and my uncle picked me up at the station in his car. He a had an old red Dyane 6 which I fell in love with immediately: it was so old, that on the way home from the station the numbers on the odometer reach 200.000. There was a strange smell in the car: he told me later that some nights before he went with a friend raiding a maize field where he knew somebody was growing weed hidden among the plants. There where leaves scattered all over the trunk.
That very same evening he took me with his moped to a cabin where some of the local guys where having a birthday party. The muffler came off and the noise of the engine loud as an aeroplane, could be heard for miles echoing in the valley above the lake, while we where climbing on the dirt road to the cabin.  There, I met all the kids I used to play with when I was little and a guy who was later to become one of my best friends. It was the start of an unforgettable summer.

So about this, and many other tapes. Even if  many of  his vinyls were sold or went lost, my rock’n’roll uncle still had a pretty decent collection and he still had one million cassettes. It was like huge library to me, where I could go whenever I wanted and listen to bands and records I had only heard of, and discover new stuff and hidden treasures. I would tape everything I liked. From that year on, I spent many holidays up there and I cherish the memory of every one of them. For instance that’s where I first kissed a girl (it happened that very summer actually!) but, along with these teenage kicks, came also the pure and private pleasure of discovering new music, and the newfound kindom with the tormentor of my childhood, now turned into an ally: how good was that!

Note on The Two Tone Story.
I was already a bit into punk in 1992, and I heard about reggae and ska from there. Also in those years a new ska revival was rising. When I found this record I realised I had a goldmine in my hands. The tracks that really made me jump out of my shoes where Ghost Town by The Specials and One Step Beyond by Madness: I didn’t know how huge and famous these songs were. I know that it felt like I knew them already, like they were waiting for me, even if it was the first time I listened to them.  Some songs i didn’t like, and in fact while taping That Man Is Forward by Rico, I found it really boring, so I decided that I would…edit it. If’ll you ever get to that point on the tape, you’ll find out what I mean.

The Two Tone logo, with the stylised rude boy was inside the cassette. I drew it on the backside of a business card.

Download Side-A /Download Side-B

Stream Side-A on MixCloud/Stream Side-B on MixCloud

Originally recorded on a TDK HF-60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched

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