The message, the mentality AND the sound of the truly independent music scene.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Punk Rock Record Fair + Give Up All Hope, Death Race, Cruelty, Coma, Ruin and Gurkha live in Brixton, the Grovesnor pub 28/01/06

A punk rock record fair took place this Saturday in Brixton. Lots of vinyl was there to be purchased for your collecting pleasure, mostly crust and old school hardcore stuff. Charles Bronson, Los Crudos, Gray Matter and Christ on Parade lps,classic Finnish re-issues (Kaaos, Appendix, Riistetyt), early Japanese stuff (Gauze) along with new releases from some of the best contemporary European bands (Burial, The Now Denial, Regulations) were there to remind everyone that doing it yourself has been in the past and still is able to outrival most corporate music products at honesty, emotion and ability to inspire.

Delicious vegan food and drinks of all sorts were your fuel for the evening, genuine punk rock was blaring from the speakers, loads of lovely punks, hardcore kids and crusties flooded your surroundings and sheer love for this counter culture was what brought you there in the first place.

A gig with Give Up All Hope, Death Race, Cruelty, Coma, Ruin (ex-Doom, Scatha, Disaffect) and Gurkha followed for your dancing pleasure.

The proceeds went to the Advisory Service for Squatters, "an UNPAID collective of workers who have been running a daily advice service for squatters and homeless people since 1975". They publish The Squatters Handbook, the 12th edition of which can be obtained directly from them, Advisory Service For Squatters, 84b, Whitechapel High St, London E1 7QX.

Check their website and support their cause. Human dignity and the right to live are alone more important than any commercial exploitation of public spaces and deserted buildings.

Here are some pictures from that evening for your viewing pleasure. Hope to see you there next year.

Feel free to copy and reproduce (I would appreciate it if you mentioned the source).

Useful links
Active Distribution
Advisory Service for Squatters

Flyblown, Sayyadina, Rotten Sound
Live in London, Underworld 25/01/06

Starting off with a confession to all the extreme music enthusiasts out there, I have to admit that I never enjoyed blasting the –let’s pack a hundred songs in a 7inch- Agathocles releases at full volume nor have I ever thought of Obscene Extreme as my dream music festival.

That said and oddly enough, I had a great time witnessing Flyblown (d-beat from the U.K), Sayyadina (grindcore from Sweden) and Rotten Sound (grind from Finland) stripping contemporary music of any sense of melody, warmth and smoothness on a cold Wednesday night.

Hundreds of bands nowadays plow the same strip of hyper fast and raw musical ground. These three however manage to pull something rather exciting and fresh (or rotten) out that sets them above the mediocre pack.

Sayyadina especially, with the release of their newest lp, “Fear Gave Us Wings” (an engaging blend of visceral grind riffing, ultra fast rhythms and screaming vocals) on Sound Pollution Records and recent international touring, are poised to turn heads on a larger scale than ever before and they are surely worth it.

Useful links
Sound Pollution Records
Rotten Sound

Monday, January 23, 2006

Plan it X records – “If it ain’t cheap, it ain’t punk” (compilation sampler)
The title pretty much reflects the way Plan it X, an Indi(e)ana based music label, works and approaches music in general. It kinda reminded me of the “pay no more than” mentality of the Greek punk scene of the early nineties, a thing which is rare these days, even in the so-called ‘alternative’ communities.

Plan it X started back in 1994 when Sam from Peanucle released 40 tapes and sold them for 1$. 12 years on and this “group of friends” is still active producing music and keeping the quality high and the prices as low as 5$. They maintain an honest and soulful approach to music that rivals the overpriced, overproduced and overhyped mainstream sounds out there.

“If it ain’t cheap, it ain’t punk” they say and this cd comes as a both cheap and punk sonic introduction to the world of Plan it X. 30 bands with 30, mostly unreleased, songs deliver diverse rockin tunes. “Punk music should not be expected to have a sound”, the booklet reads. Deed follows word and anything from poppy indie rock to folk, new wave, country, acoustic, funk, garage and straight-up melodic punk serves as music “about making friends and having fun”, “about sharing what we have inside” as the label says.

Personal favorites, well, This Bike is a Pipe Bomb definitely, who rock in an early Against Me kind of way, The Bananas who rock in a modern Briefs kind of way and Madeline who do not rock but they’re great anyway. The booklet comes with contact information about every band here.

When purchasing Plan it X stuff, bear also in mind that the label benefits the mid-west pages to prisoners’ project Boxcar Books and Community Center Inc, “a volunteer run, non-profit organization that exists to provide new and used books, zines, magazines, and comics on topics of social justice, independent media, and fiction for the community; send literature of all types free of charge to prisoners in the midwest; and to provide a meeting space for community and literary groups”

Be sure to check out their website and support this decent, non profit, politically aware and inspiring community.

Then go and create something of your own. “Sing your hearts out, we don’t live forever” as the label says.

Useful links

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

MORE THAN MUSIC an introduction

It's more than music, it's more than a sound, it's more than a dance or a dressing code. It's about building communities and networks around non-commercial ideals and values, about facing bigger challenges than what product to choose, about creating, about wanting to communicate and share rather than sell, about taking the control of your culture back from the jaws of image makers and marketing managers, about facing reality and building realities around what "might seem dumb to them" but "it's pounding in our hearts".

This blog aims to report on the communities, the efforts, the work and the sweat of the people who chose not to sell themselves to the music business. They did it and they're still out there spreading their messages worldwide. In addition, this blog will report on these messages and the issues they raise when music becomes a platform of social awareness and political activism. This is for the ones who travel ten hours to play in front of ten people who didn't go to that big club that night, this is for the ones who set up that show in a non-profit way and the ones who were there reporting on it, this is for me and this is for you who made the effort to read it.

A glossy cover on MNE does not equal passionate and true music, an HMV ad and a high-budget video do not either. We all know that. A cheap amateur blog might lead you to some. So, be on the lookout.