Said the Gramophone - image by Matthew Feyld
by Jeff
a white-haried women sitting at a table, smiling

Poison Girls - "Crisis"
Poison Girls - "Persons Unknown"

Vi Subversa's voice is a vicious but versatile instrument. On the Poison Girls' debut 1979 album Hex she conveys anguish, anger, exhaustion, and gleeful mischief.

Throughout the record, Subversa skewers the hypocrisies of Britain in its first year under Margaret Thatcher. "Jump Mama Jump" slags off the nuclear family, showing how the unending work of motherhood keeps women trapped (and includes a recording of a vicious child cursing out their mother). "Under the Doctor" confronts the horrors of mental illness head on, criticizing the indifference of the medical establishment. The sound of boots marching in lockstep at the beginning of "Crisis" ties the military state to the domestic sphere. Over pounding bass and spidery guitars, Subversa's lyrics brought the war home, connecting it to domestic abuse and consumerism. The repetitive chorus "Normal, normal / Crisis, crisis," cuts right to the uncertainty at the heart of everyday life.

On the seven minute long single "Persons Unknown," released by Crass Records in 1980, Subversa's voice is less anguished, but calm and clear-sighted. In one epic verse she presents a panoramic view of England at the end of the 1970s including "Accountants in nylon shirts," "anarchists and dissidents," "smokers with heart disease, cleaners of the lavatories." After offering a long list of social types, members of various classes, professions, religious and political affiliations, Subversa equalizes them all, singing "Flesh and blood is who we are." All difference is superficial, Subversa told us. All we ever are is what was given to us by our mothers: flesh and blood.

Vi Subversa (born Frances Sokolov) passed away last week at the age of 80. She was over 40 and a mother of two when she started her band in 1979, possessing a voice that refused to be silenced, the voice of a woman who had seen enough and wasn't going to take any shit. Her voice was sharp and fierce, unable to tell a lie. You can see an amazing video of her singing "Old Tart" last year in Brighton here. Rest in power.

[buy]

(image source unknown)

by Sean

Cannon Bros - "Fall Down". Why are you in such a hurry? What are you in such a hurry to do? Sometimes you fall down so fast there's no chance to catch yourself. A song can snag your heart like a barbed arrow, a fish-hook on a lure. One barb and you're down. One tune, two voices, an unfettered pronouncement of drums. 99 seconds.


[bandcamp]

by Mitz
(Photo Source) Pelada - "Ten Cuidado(Jock Club Remix)" [Free Download Directly from them]

"Dance Dance Revolution will not be televised." Me, 2015

by Jeff

a wild rose, with a few droplets of water on it, on the shoulder of a road

Gun Outfit - "Expansion Pact"

The lyrics to "Expansion Pact" are full of riddles. Who is the stranger at the door? What is the darkness that was invited in? Who are the familiars that protect our narrator from the blues? It's fitting that a song about being confused would make us scratch our heads, refuse any simple resolution. At the end Dylan Sharp sings in his baritone that "I alone know what I intend," making it clear that he isn't going to share any answers.

For a song whose lyrics examine confusion, the construction of "Expansion Pact" by Gun Outfit is perfectly clear, streamlined and concise. The intricately tangled guitars are high-strung and buzzy, sounding almost like a sitar at certain points. As they shamble on the drums follow close behind, along with gentle backing vocals. Mid-way there's a few seconds of colourful organ, and a well-behaved guitar solo at the end. This song has the fragile sound of something which came into existence in a few moments, and resisted revision. A single moment in time, perfectly preserved.

[Gun Outfit's Two Way Player EP is out March 18 / soundcloud]

(photo by Spike)

Elsewhere: I wrote about how my obsession with zines made me a writer for QWF Writes.


by Emma

Kanye West - 30 Hours

Wake up cross-legged in a concrete room. The length of the world and twice as tall. Flat gray with variations. No windows. No doors. Somehow squares of daylight still scattered before you. Descending order. Soft. Sit there for a very, very long time. Nothing. Do you still have a body? It's hard to tell. Occasionally a flutter, like a breeze except pure darkness, a feeling that comes from nowhere with nowhere at its end. Are you okay? Have you tried to scream yet? Try. No sound. Instead: beams of different-coloured light, four or five of them, flashing and lovely, all dark-laced with stutter and shimmer and echo. Very beautiful. Very useless. Try again. Stop trying. Never.

[stream T.L.O.P. // soundcloud]

by Mitz


[Pre-Order]

Nisennenmondai is a Japanese trio. Nisennenmondai directly translates to 2000 problem. I think safe to say it Y2K problem they are talking about.

I graduated my high school in Grad 2000. I remember the grade above us Grad 1999 thought they were cooler than us. We had a heated argument in the parking lot with Grad 1999 who already graduated but stuck around in town. We even brought up "The Anthem for Year 2000" by Silverchair, that we were gonna use as a grad song and Grad 99 said they had a better one which "Time of Your life" by Green Day so the argument never settled.

This band name Nisennenmondai makes me think of that time of my life in year 2000.

Amen
Ramen
Miso Ramen

by Jeff
Description of image included in text


Lemonheads - "Mallo Cup"
Lemonheads - "Luka"

When I was fourteen I sent away for a t-shirt. When it came all the way from California I took it out of the package and looked at it. Was this the one I had ordered from the tiny picture in the catalog? It was hard to remember, it had been six weeks or more. On it was a photo of someone licking a bald head. Above the photo was the word Lemonheads and below was the word LICK. It all seemed mildly licentious - could I wear such a thing? Yes, I could. I did, a lot. (There's a hilarious photo my mother took of me and my brother standing in front of a birch tree in Algonquin Park. I'm wearing that shirt and ripped jeans and my brother's wearing a shirt that says Canada. My mom liked it so much she blew it up. It's still hanging on the wall in the den.)

When I got the shirt I hadn't heard the album Lick yet. Actually, I'm not sure I even knew it was a record - band t-shirts were so mysterious. But It's a Shame About Ray was a classic for me, and still is, really. And I knew they had a past, a prehistory before they got big, records I couldn't find at Music World.

Weirdly, considering how much I wore that shirt, if I ever did listen to Lick back then I don't really remember it. But I just listened to it this week. It sounds a lot like The Replacements, even a bit like Husker Du in parts. There's a brilliant cover of eighties mega-hit "Luka" by Suzanne Vega on it. Evan Dando's voice is golden to me, poppy and smooth, but with just the right amount of rasp. I love it.