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(en) Britain, Direct Action #35 - MUSIC:

Date Wed, 31 Aug 2005 11:15:55 +0300


Music • Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys – Empty House; The Ex – Turn;
Eastfield – Express Train to Doomsville; Jello Biafra with the Melvins – Never
Breathe what you can’t See; Blaze Foley – Oval Room; Various Artists – States
of Abuse; Asian Dub Foundation – Tank; Umlaut – Total Disfuckingcography
. Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys - ‘Empty House’
Bloodshot Records 2005 - CD www.bloodshotrecords.com
Francis Wheen - Harper Perennial ISBN 0-00-714095-5
The current leader in heartbroken honky tonk songs to sob salty
tears into your bourbon to, Rex Hobart’s latest is more of the
excellent same as before and not an overtly political song on the
whole darn thing – so why review it in DA? Because of its
beautiful heart on sleeve wearing gorgeousness, of course – oh,
and because in the pre-release publicity, Rex and band were
described as ‘crypto anarchosyndicalists’. And if that
isn’t an excuse to put a review of a finely crafted piece of music
in DA then please write in with what is.


The Ex - ‘Turn’
(Ex Records 2004 - double CD distributed by Konkurrent
ex@theex.nl ; info@konkurrent.nl)

Perennial Dutch anarchomusicians, The Ex produce another
masterful slice of music that is not quite punk, not quite jazz, not
quite folk, not quite pop, not quite world but consistently excellent.

After roughly two and a half decades of constantly entertaining and
intelligent releases (and nearly a decade of reviews in DA) if
you’ve not already encountered The Ex then give ‘em ago.
If you have encountered them before and are not a cloth eared lost
cause you’ll probably have bought, stolen or blagged a copy of
this by now. The music is driven guitar, drums, double bass and
vocals, and is the sort of thing all these bands re-discovering the late
seventies/ early eighties post-punk sound should have progressed
that sound on to, rather than trying to ape the one and a half good
moments that the Gang of Four stumbled upon. The politics is in the
lyrics from the celebration of pie-ing the infamous in ‘The
Pie’ to ‘Huriyaet’ an Eritrean liberation song, which I
think is the second one mentioned in DA (see reviews in DA 1 for
the other). The lyrics are less than straight forward polemics, but the
compassion, anger, urgency and drive is clear.


‘Express Train to Doomsville’
Ruptured Ambitions 2005 - CD (www.eastfieldrailpunk.co.uk)

Eastfield’s latest CD carries on their proud tradition of
anti-authoritarian good time punk rock with a distinct railway motif.

This is the first outing for the new line up of Jessi - guitar and out of
tune singing, Bambi - bass and singing, Chris from Bishops
Stortford - drums, Trina - tuneful singing.

The songs include an attack on the decrepit British railway system, a
new campaign song for the sharks against surfers (T-shirts available
too), a celebration of the deaths of the neo-fascist McWhirter twins
and a put down of Burt Reynolds, not for his moustache or crap
films but for his penchant for domestic violence.

All in all a good 12 song CD to set the toes tapping, the mind
thinking and the mouth laughing, remember – get on board for
the Eastfield Express tickets cheap as chips.

£5 from gigs or the website


Jello Biafra with the Melvins -
‘Never breathe what you can’t see’
Alternative Tentacles 2004 - CD

At last - what we’ve all (well me at least) been calling for since
the 1999 No WTO Combo and the 2000 Lard mini CDs - the
erstwhile lead vocalist of the Dead Kennedys Jello Biafra returns
with some more music and this time with fellow hardcore veterans
The Melvins. Whilst Jello seems to put out voluminous CDs of his
admittedly entertaining and informative spoken word material at
regular intervals his musical output has been somewhat less intense.
His choice of musical partners since the DKs split has been fairly
exemplary and it works well this time, although given his distinctive
voice it’s always going to sound like Jello Biafra. What you get
with ‘Never breathe what you can’t see’ is probably the
closest to the Dead Kennedys sound since they split.

question everything

Again, as usual, the lyrics are worth a listen/look at for Biafra’s
skewed slant on things – helpfully printed inside for those of us
who can’t quite pick them up from the record. It opens with
‘Plethysmograph’ (apparently it’s a device that is
clamped around a male suspects penis and they are then shown
images and according to whether the old man twitches or not they
are deemed clean or unclean of mind) which continues on from
previous songs about peeing in jars at work and lie detector tests as
Biafra looks at ways those that would care for us find increasingly
dubious technical ways to carry out their witch hunts. Other include
‘McGruff the crime dog’ which had me baffled until I
checked out mcgruff.org and if its what it says it is its a sort of Tufty
Club for US kiddies only more about crime prevention than crossing
the road safely. ‘Yuppie Cadillac’ attacks the selfishness and
arrogance of those driving round in SUV “armoured luxury
tanks, To drive to work and drive home, keep my children safe, as I
run down yours’. ‘Islamic bomb’ covers the ground of
arms trade and the whole thing ends wih ‘Enchanted
thoughtfist’ which calls on people to question everything,
including things said by people they generally agree and then
‘Dawn of the locust’ puts activist as the magic plague
undermining the decaying society form the inside out.


Blaze Foley - ‘Oval Room’
Munich Records 2005 - CD (www.blazefoley.com)

A renegade singer songwriter even in Austin, Texas where the
streets are paved in renegades (possibly not true) Blaze Foley slept
on coaches and pool tables whilst plying his trade in bars and clubs.
He was murdered in 1989.

This CD is one of two available (there are apparently at least three
tribute CDs out there as well) and captures some beautiful and
poignant songs along side political pieces and humorous ditties.
From the opening ‘oval room’ about the presidency to a
song ‘WW III ’about the patriotic types who whilst
unfortunately too old to fight war love and demand more war. Then
there bizarre ‘Springtime in Uganda’ a comic piece about
about Idi Amin. Musically its American folk - country and western at
its stripped down guttural bluesy best - rough cracked ole voice
splendidly set with vocal harmonies, guitar, fiddle, piano, bass and a
light touch on the drum where needed.


‘States of abuse’
Entartete Kunst 2004 - 2 X 12” (possibly on CD by now)
www.entartetekunst.info

More high quality ‘no-field electronica’ from the San
Francisco anarchist collective label that DA is endanger of losing
critical faculties over.

Given that we’ve waxed more than exicitedly about Entartete
Kunst releases in the past this is going to be fairly short. Fifteen
tracks ranging through hip-hop, electronic, garage and even a bit of
fairly house like stuff whilst it won’t have them dancing in the
streets – the beats all a bit slow for that. Artists From a country
across the seas somewhere between Canada and Mexico and also
from the islands off the coast of Europe all imbued with
revolutionary spirit.

Highlights include, for title alone, ‘shoot Ted Nugent’, a
slowed down track of drum and bass from Ruminant (for those lucky
enough not to know, Ted Nugent is/was a reactionary old metal
merchant obsessed with killing things in his macho way); ‘Judas
Goat (terrorismo mix)’ by Filastine, which mixes up samples of
spoken word about war, the US and killing of Arabs, with beats and
the like; politial hip hop from Emcee Lynx on ‘Nature of the
threat’; Malatesta feat. 187 (AKA Raw Knowledge)…err ...just
about noting in time the danger of listing all 15 tracks - this review is
now curtailed. They make music better than this reviewer writes
about it. Trust me, I am not a politician.


Asian Dub Foundation - ‘Tank’
EMI 2005 - CD

Hitting the heights of 2000 release “Community Music’ in
terms of political delivery and musical fusion is obviously a big
daunting task for anyone, but it’s obvious Asian Dub
Foundation are treading slightly different waters.

Last outing ‘Enemy Of The Enemy’ consolidated a new
line-up without Bengali rapper ‘Deeder’ who is obviously
sorely missed, instead ADF have incorporated new aspects of
dancehall, reggae, and drum’n’bass to the the already heavy
lashings of bhangra, hip-hop, ska and sampling. While it still holds
the same quality of their old output it doesnt seem have the same
flow, which I put down to the acquired taste of overused electronic
synths. But when ‘Tank’ is hard hitting its as good as
anything they’ve previously done, tracks such as ‘Oil’
and ‘Take Back The Power’ definitely stand out. And of
course political it touches many bases with songs on militarism,
indigenous struggles and challenging the status quo.

A good album and worth trying to see if you can catch their dynamic
live shows.

Umlaut - ‘Total Disfuckingcography’
Crimethinc 2004 - CD

While I don’t think much of Crimethinc’s lifestylist politics,
I have to say if the rest of their music pressings are as good as this,
they have earned my respect.

Angry, fast paced, hardcore, indecipherable lyrics amidst a constant
heavy wall of sound isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, granted, but
if discontent or uprisings ever had theme music this would surely be
in for the running. Having a track listing of 35 sort of tells you what
to expect really(!) Add to that, lyrics which are both thought
provoking, managing to address countless issues, from bigotry to
capitalist economics to political hypocrisy, throw into that inspiring
art work (think Crass) and a lesson or two about Finnish culture, you
have yourself a potentially devastating album.

Crimethinc have kindly hosted some of the best tracks on the
website, definitely worth a listen.
=====================================
Journal of the anarchist Solidarity Federation
THE BRITISH SECTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS'



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