Thursday, May 03, 2007

Spirit of '77

Time to go back to basics. Recently I've found myself getting all nostalgic for the Spirit of '77. I mean it, maaan.

As I mentioned in my interview below, I missed the detonation of UK punk by at least a good six years and several thousand miles. Truth be told, even had I found myself at age 15 that year in Malcom & Vivienne's emporium at 430 King's Road, I would probably have been too repressed to do anything about it. But my curiosity-driven purchase of Never Mind The Bollocks some seven years later from a record store on Austin Street in Queens, NYC electrified me.

So, Dearest Friends, I offer you a gobby set of punk artefacts from the frothy days when all you needed were a few safety pins, a couple of chords, and a slug of attitude. I wasn't there, but the mark these rammy (Hi Marcy!!) tunes left on me is indelible.

Anyone fancy a pogo??

X-Ray Spex - Oh Bondage, Up Yours (buy here)
Poly Styrene was not yer typical frontwoman. Spotty and with a mouthful of braces, she belted out bratty anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist diatribes over a squalling saxophone. See it all here!

Eater - I Don't Need It (buy here or e-here)
Famous for their 14-year old drummer. Eater were the real thing - no artistic pretensions, just angry young lads with little conventional talent who got together to make a righteous racket.

Siouxsie & The Banshees - Love in a Void (try eBay for the single, but another version can be found here)
Oh yes, we all know Siouxsie the Goth Queen. But remember she came straight outta Bromley propelled by the The Pistols. This is my favourite Siouxsie track EVAH!! Check out the YouTube vid up top to see why. The mp3 is ripped from an old copy of the 1979 Polydor single, so please excuse the pops & cracks...

Alternative TV - Life (buy here or e-here)
Mark Perry founded Sniffin' Glue, the fanzine that documented the early days of UK punk. Eventually he got tired of reporting on the scene and focused instead on the band, folding in heretical elements of dub, psychedelica, and heavy metal (throw devil horns! wooot!!).

Subway Sect - Ambition (buy here or e-here)
Oh my, very different indeed. Stuart Goddard and his mates eschewed the "three-chord wonder" approach and instead served up a rich mix of parping organs and sparse strumming that presaged post-punk while punk was still in full flow. I possess this 7-inch single and it's probaby my prize piece of vinyl. I sleep with it.

Sham 69 - Borstal Breakout (buy here or e-here)
Fronted by the blue collar and politically conscious Jimy Pursey. Shame about all those skins.

Penetration - Don't Dictate (buy here)
As a band, Penetration were also-rans. But this shrill ditty can hold its own with the best of 'em. Here, have a look - just mind the beer...

Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device (buy here)
Proof that punk wasn't just for the Engerlish. The Northern Irish Troubles set to shouty lyrics and a few magic chords.


I had intended to include this track last night, but ran into technical difficulties that have since been resolved. So now I can give you:

The Nipple Erectors - Nervous Wreck (buy here)
Fronted by a gobby, sped-up, punk scenester named Shane MacGowan (yes, him of The Pogues), The Nipple Erectors started out in a peppy, punkabilly stylee . This track was the b-side to the group's 1978 single, King of the Bop.

You can see Shane and The Nips in action here back in 1980, by which time they'd added a coat of pop gloss. And if you're into trainwrecks, feel free to compare and contrast that video with this one of him being interviewed in late 2006 by two Celtic muppets on Irish TV. Ye gods!!