Tuesday, April 9, 2013

RETROSPECTIVE LP COMPILATIONS

VA - MINIMAL WAVE TAPES VOLUME 2 DLP (Stones Throw)
There's a current boom of reissues covering electronic music from the 80s. Most of them are pretty average, but this double LP compilation is totally amazing. It features music by fourteen hardly unknown artists, that released their music on limted tapes and vinyl releases. None of them was famous back then and only a handful of people took notice of their music. The editors of this compilation did a great job finding tracks by obscure bands from countries all over the world, which are the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Greece, USA, Canada and Belgium. Plus they've added pictures of all artist, all well as short informations. The first volume of this compilation series was already great, but this one is even better, because there's really not a single boring track. The music ranges between different 80s subgenres of electronic music. So if you dig minimal wave, trance, synth-pop and electro-punk you'll be digging this double LP. Felix Kubin's electronic version of the German punk classic "Japan Japan" (originally by Abwärts) is one of the standout tracks As well as Ohama. His song starts with the words: "My name is Ohama and I live on a potato farm in Western Canada". In Trance 95, Das Ding, Subject and Antonym are amazing too, just like this whole compilation. (Listen to it here)

VA - KETTERS VAN HET VLAAMSE PLATTELAND LP (Mauerstadtmusik)
Another brilliant release by the Berlin based Mauerstadtmusik label, which is focused on reissues of postpunk and electronic music from the early 80s. "Ketters van het Vlaamse Platteland" is a compilation that documents the punk scene of the smalltown (or big village with it's 10000 inhabiants) Hamont in the North of Belgium close to Eindhoven. In the late 70s and early 80s Hamont has been a cradle for a booming cold wave and postpunk scene. The center of the scene has been the "De Kwiet" bar next to Hamont's church. Most people in the small conservative town perceived punk as a serious threat for public morals and order. The result were house searches, raids and the shutdown of the "De Kwiet" bar. It's just amazing how many band full of creativity and energy Hamont produced between 1979 and 1983. The most famous amnong them are probably De Brassers, but Enterprise Incorporated, Struggler, Suspects and Camera Obscura are also worth to check out. In contrast to most other Belgian bands back then, the scene in Hamont was heavily incluenced by dark post-punk from the UK. So don't expect any The Kids like punkrock here. The LP features multiple tracks by each band taken from different sources like demo tapes, rehearsal recordings, live recordings and 7" releases. Some of the tracks have been unreleased so far. Plus the LP comes with pictures and detailed informations about the early punk scene in Hamont. (Listen to it here)

VA - KILLED BY SYNTHS VOLUME 1 LP (Rave Up)
I don't like the concept of most Rave Up Records release: A usual Rave Up LP contains of 2-4 songs from a band's classic 7" plus tons of shitty demo and live recordings to make it a full lenght. This compilation is a lot more intersting. It follows the Killed By Death concept of the "all American" volumes, but it's focused on 14 bands using synthesizers. No foreign junk, only American punk, taken form hard to find records released between 1977 and 1986. Informations about the bands and their releases are missing, which would have been interesting, but the music is great and there's not a single filler tracks. The musical styles range from Devo like synth-punk to classic punkrock and a more nervous and noisy sound. Bob, Big Boys and Screamers were the only three bands I've known before. Rave Up made some strange mistakes: on the cover they say: "16 nervous Synth punk tracks from the earliest days" even if there are only 14 tracks included and the tracklist on the backcover is wrong. The songs of Active Ingredients and BPA are misprinted. Instead of that you get songs by Big Boys and Nervous Gender. But the following not mentioned bands are really part of the compilation: Shox Lumania, Last Four Digits, Red Asphalt, A-Mos, Asbestos Rock Pyle, Oil Tasters, F-Systems, The Girls, Anti-Matter and Cardboards. This is the style of music modern bands like Lost Sounds, Jay Reatard, The Spits or Blank Dogs took their influences from. (Listen to it here)

VA - STRANGE PASSION LP (Finders Keepers)
The subtitle does a good job summing up the concept of this compilatation: "Explorations in Irish Post Punk DIY and Electronic Music 1980-83". Of course there have been tons of punk and postpunk bands in the whole UK including Northern Ireland, but I until now I thought Ireland as been a black hole in the history of punk. I haven't known a single Irish punk-related band before I picked up this LP. Thanks to this compilation I have now learned, that punk also found it's way to Ireland. Back in the early 80s there have been perfect conditions for punk and teenage hate: social conservatism, a desperate economic situation and religious hegenomy. This compilation features 14 tracks of different 13 artist, varying between different undergorund subgenres of the 80s, which are post-punk, cold-wave, minimal-wave, synth-pop, indie and shoegaze. Most have them have a dark, gloomy sound influenced by Joy Divsion, Bauhaus or Killing Joke. My personal favourites are The Threat, Dogmatic Element, Chant! Chant! Chant!, PH, Tripper Humane, Choice as well The Peridots contributing "No Water", probably the best track of this LP. The compilation features detailed information to all artists and their discographies and it's just a very well done document of the Irish underground scene during the early 80s. Highly Recommended! (Listen to it here)

V/A - WE GOT POWER: PARTY OR GO HOME LP (Mystic)
Mystic Records released countless of amazing compilation LPs during the 80s, but this is probably the most classic among them. Originally released in 1983 "We Got Power: Party Or Go Home" documents the Northern American hardcore boom on it's peak level. It must have been a lot of work and a big effort to bring 40 bands together for one compilation. The result is one of the best hardcore compilations ever. It never ceases to amaze me how many great hardcore bands existed during the early 80s in the USA and Canada. This compilation features the "big names", but in addition to that you also get tracks of bands, that are less famous. So this LP is also a great opportunity to discover bands, you probably haven't known before. "I hate cops" by The Authorities is one of the standout tracks, but it really doesn't make sense to point out more certain bands and songs, because the whole LP is nothing but a masterpiece. Just have a look on the following list of bands and you'll know what I mean: JFA. Dr. Know, White Flag, Stalag 13, Ill Repute, Big Boys, Adrenalin O.D., Willfull Neglect, Minute Men, 7 Seconds, Dayglo Abortions, Red Cross, White Cross and tons of more classic hardcore. (Listen to it here)