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Here’s the reasons why hardcore punk doesn’t make sense on vinyl.

1. Hardcore negates the need for vinyl’s superior sound quality.

People buy records because of their accurate sound reproduction. Vinyl brings out a richness of tone you won’t hear on CD. The sound is crisp, robust, and mellow all at the same time. It’s like a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie for your ears.

Hardcore punk albums have nearly zero production quality. I understand that this is the point; it’s meant to be raucous and abrasive. The artists want to sound as raw as possible. Vinyl isn’t the way to go about achieving this sound.

I strongly believe that all hardcore punk should be recorded and played on a Talkboy. The microphone’s limited capabilities, paired with the Talkboy’s half-inch playback speaker, will give punk artists the terribly tinny sound they all so desperately crave. Plus, you can always speed up the sound to make tracks totally shred. Or you can slow it down to turn the album into a goth punk affair. So many possibilities.

2. Thirty-second songs make track selection a total bitch on a record.

Not only that but what’s the point of a 30-second track? I know it’s tough playing drums that fast for an extended spell but come on. By the time I can figure out what the hell the lead singer’s saying the song’s over. I want to know what you’re so angsty about, Mr. Man!

**Pig Destroyer is the exception to this rule.

3. The album artwork always looks like the inside of a junior high bathroom stall.

Back when I was in junior high I thought the album artwork  on punk albums was totally boss. Screeching Weasel’s simple covers were my shit. And this album, with all sorts of gnarly dudes missing eyes and chicks with huge head tumors, would have been especially edgy to my tween eyes. Almost as edgy as a wild boar and an alligator working as cooks at Waffle House. Uh oh, somebody call the health department!

Now it doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe I’m just too old. But then again, the guys making hardcore punk aren’t in junior high. They’re all around my age. Hell, one of the guys featured on the album liner of The South Will Rise Again is suffering hardcore from male pattern baldness.

Is there something I’m not seeing? Should I look at this like a Magic Eye?

4. It’s more expensive than other music genres. Seriously? Seriously.

When I visited the local punk vinyl shop I ended up buying this 7″ because it was $4. What I really wanted was a full-length LP from a band I listened to when I was younger. Unfortunately everything, from used discs to re-releases, was priced at $20 and up.

I thought the whole point of punk was that it’s made for the poor youth of America who are hell-bent on fighting the man and his capitalistic oppression of the masses. Now it seems that the tables have turned and only those making prodigious gains from that capitalistic monster can afford to rock out with their cock out. At least if they want to do it via big black discs.

5. You can’t make music for a genre that doesn’t exist. Punk is dead because Green Day killed it.

Capitalism in action.

 

>>>Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

 

Tracklist

A1 Ugly Law – SBBS
A2 High Life (3) – Four Dead, One Drunk
A3 High Life (3) – M.A.D.
A4 Logic Problem – Untitled
A5 Socialcide – Morning Disaster
B1 Bomber (10) – Go & Tell
B2 Reason Of Insanity – Job Nazi
B3 PMRC, The*  – Madonna Death Cult
B4 Archaic (3) – Black Hole
B5 Cult Ritual – Eat The Police
B6 HRT – Big City

In 1966, the same year the majority of these songs were recorded, the Sutro Baths in San Francisco burned to the ground. The Sutro Baths, built in 1897 on the Pacific Ocean shoreline, was a 3-acre collection of salt water pools, water slides, taxidermy exhibits, and curiosities from the world around. The main attraction was, as the name implies, the temperature-controlled salt water pools, which held up to 1.7 million gallons of water and 10,000 swimmers on any given day. The structure itself was a spiderweb of steel girders which supported over 100,000 window panes, allowing swimmers to enjoy sunlight while taking a climate-controlled dip. Surviving pictures of the Sutro Baths are both alluring and terrifying.

Sutro Baths 1897 San Francisco

I hope they had their tetanus shots. Oh wait, that wasn't invented yet. Bummer.

The Sutro Baths are even more horrifyingly awesome when you watch them on video, as is evidenced here in footage taken by Thomas Edison in 1897.

So why is any of this important? The artists in this band grew up in a time when places like the Sutro Baths still existed. They were surrounded by remnants of the European Industrial Revolution, be it the bridges they took across town or the musty warehouses in which they held band practice. I feel that the music contained on this album reflects this environmental influence at its core. However, it is not an ode to the manufactured trappings of the early 20th century but rather a full-throttle attempt to break free from its rigid sense of order and symmetry.

Yet I find it ironic that machines were necessary in order to rebel against their world; a world created by steam engines and diesel geargrinders. After all, electric guitars and amplifiers are nothing more than machines. Yes, they’re sound-producing machines, sound which is interpreted as art that in turn stirs the gamut of human emotion. But essentially they’re nothing more than wood, steel, and wires brought to life by a mysterious electric demon.

Furthermore, I have a gut feeling that these artists’ very simple machines had a direct role in the fire that burned Sutro Baths to the ground. It could very well be that every one of these bands was practicing at the same exact moment on June 26, 1966. With the overdriven amplifiers all running at once they could have sent a cataclysmic electric surge from Europe, past schools of dolphins under the Atlantic Ocean, past herds of cattle on the Great Plains, blew a few fuses in Hoover Dam during a detour, and into the water heaters at Sutro Baths, causing them to explode in a ghastly ball of fire.

Why would a power surge from Europe target one seemingly innocent bath house thousands of miles away and not instead, perhaps, something for the greater good like frying the USSR’s entire radar control system? First, it’s a well-known fact that every man, woman and child in Europe during the 60’s was a closet communist, so the previously mentioned scenario doesn’t hold water. Second, San Francisco’s a hot spot for European tourists. I can’t walk around on the weekends without seeing an Italian in a funny hat, a Pole wearing weird jeans with funny pocket stitching, or a group of Germans barking and hacking out what they call their native tongue.

When you think about it the answer is quite simple as to why these European rockers, and one Canadian, decided to destroy the Sutro Baths. Every one of them, throughout their childhood, visited the Sutro Baths on family holiday. They, being used to Europe’s nude beaches, didn’t pack swimsuits and were forced by Sutro Bath employees to rent one of their turn-of-the-century wool numbers. These, of course, were entirely itchy and unflattering.

swimsuit 1900s wool one-piece

Looking good. Not.

American swimmers, cocky as ever with their post-war short shorts and polka dot bikinis, harangued the European fashion misfits to no end. I mean, they really gave it to them. It didn’t end at calling them Soggy Bottom Bambinas or Frumpy Frogs. They kept it real by administering wet, woolly wedgies. I’m talking real ass-rippers here, folks. Blood and shit exploding everywhere in a frothy, briny foam–all set to a chorus of teenage American laughter. This is a trespass for which the Europeans never forgave the Americans and the site of their humiliation: Sutro Baths. Can you blame them?

I’m still gathering data from European energy conglomerates and PG&E before I bring my case before the International Court of Justice. As such, I must make the legal disclaimer that these opinions are most likely the truth and are probably not false. So kiss my ass, legal types.

What I can safely say is that these European garage rockers did succeed in kicking my ass with a six string blast. And then some.

>>>Click here to download Searching In The Wilderness on 320 kbps MP3 from vinyl

Artist and Track Breakdown (Preview vids at the bottom.)

Searching In The Wilderness Muziek Express Op Art '66 Serie

1. Namelosers – But I’m So Blue

Sweden’s Namelosers deliver a fine, aggressive folk-punker with “But I’m So Blue”, the B-Side of a very confused version of Rufus Thomas’ “Walking The Dog”. Propelled by a powerful rhythm track, with terrific harp, strong vocals, and a chaotic guitar break, this 1965 track captures the Namelosers evolution from a standard beat group into archetypical Euro-Punkers!

Searching In The Wilderness "Muziek Express"

A2. Red Squares – You Can Be My Baby

The Red Squares “You Can Be My Baby” stands as one of the most powerful and well produced Mod Ravers of the sixties, in a league with the best releases by the Birds, Eyes, Creation, or Small Faces. Transplanted Englishmen, the Red Squares enjoyed much greater success in Sandanavia than in their native England.

Slashing guitar chords open this 1967 release, with strong, melodic vocals and chorus leading into the wild, Pop-Art style rave-ups, the vocals sounding clearer and convincing as mayhem occurs on the instrumental front.

An alternate version of “You Can Be My Baby” was also released, this take being much slower, with a thin, sparse production, almost demo quality, lacking most of the power and excitement for this issue, which stands as one of the best Swedish records of the sixties!

Searching In The Wilderness muziek express

A3. Motions – For Another Man

Holland’s Motions are generally considered to be one of the finest European sixties bands, sort of continental Remains. Led by songwriter-guitarist-singer Rob Van Leeuwen, their reputation rests on a handful of singles and E.P. tracks, and one fabulous album, Introduction to The Motions, from which this track is taken. Their range of styles was impressive, from Beatles style uptempo ballads to the full-throttle pop auto-destruct of “Everything That’s Mine”, a 1966 non-L.P. single. “For Another Man” is a good example of their more melodic style, with punchy acoustic guitar, irresistible hooks, and great vocals.

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

A4. Sean Buckley and The Breadcrumbs – Everybody Knows

This 1965 U.K. Release is distinguished by Shel Talmy’s solid production, and is highlighted by some startling guitar work by Jimmy Page. The song and band performance merely serve as a springboard for an electrifying guitar break, as exciting as any session playing Page is credited with in the 60’s. See the excellent James Patrick Page – Session Man double LP for further examples of  some of his most inspired work.

A5. The Boys Blue – You Got What I Want

The Boys Blue were an early incarnation of the Sorrows, and released this version in late 1965.

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

Ferocious, mutated post R&B guitar mayhem characterizes the In Crowd’s monumental 1965 feedback and overload orgy of strangled guitars, howling vocals, wailing harp, a truly brutal rhythm attack, compression, leakage, demented 6-string axe murder, and the Parlophone kitchen sink, all combined into a sage witch’s brew of HELL RAISING FURY!

Steve Howe joined the In Crowd (the embryonic Tomorrow) in mid 1965, apparently in time to play guitar on this track.

“Things She Says” is certainly one of the greatest records of the entire R&B/Beat explosion, and is re-issued here for the first time ever. Roll over Beethoven, and tell Crawdaddy Simone the news!

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

A7. Cherokees – Little Lover

“Little Lover” is a track off of The Cherokees scarce 2nd Australian LP, a rare example of the band favoring hard-driving, aggressively electric approach. Fuzzy guitar, upbeat vocals and an enthusiastic performance lead into a wild guitar break, perhaps offering future members of Radio Birdmen early inspiration.

A8. Outsiders – Won’t You Listen

How great are the Outsiders? One listen to this and one look at the cover photo should give you a good idea!. “Won’t You Listen” is off of the Outsiders absolutely outrageous first LP on the Dutch “Relax” label. Amphetamine guitar leads over a pace, changing tempo almost at random, with Wally Tax’s vocal and harp somehow keeping pace with the instrumental pandemonium.

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

A9. Muswell Ravens – All Aboard

The Muswell Ravens entertain with this previously unissued 1965 studio recording. “All Aboard” is distinguished by sloppy, exciting guitar breaks and a drunken, leering vocal delivery. This track is straight ahead rock’n’roll oiled up by liberal applications of Nut-Brown Ale.

B1. A Passing Fancy – I’m Losing Tonight

Brutal Detroit-style electric guitar kicks off this Bo Diddlin’ pounder. “I’m Losing Tonight” is rivalled only by the MC-5’s “Looking at You” and the Underworld’s “Go Away” for sheer electric intensity and attack.

Hailing from Canada, A Passing Fancy released a crappy psychedelic styled album in 1967, including a truly awful version of this track. Fortunately, it was re-recorded for 45 release, and stands today as one of the best Canadian releases of the 60’s.

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

B2. Outlaws – Keep A Knockin’

England’s Outlaws contribute a Scream Lord Sutch style version of “Keep A Knockin'”, a 1964 Joe Meek production, highlighted by a succession of stunning guitar breaks contributed by a teenage Ritchie Blackmore, heard here displaying the technique that made him, along with “Little” Jimmy Page and “Big” Jim Sullivan, one of London’s most in demand session guitarists during the period 1963-1966.

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

B3. Q-65 – It Came To Me

Holland’s Q-65 released a large number of excellent 45 and LP tracks, and “It Came To Me” is certainly one of the best of them. The production is excellent, lending both the vocals and guitars a bright, clear sound full of bite and energy. Driven by an amazingly solid rhythm track, “It Came To Me” stands as a milestone of European Beat/R&B, and sounds just as exciting today as it did 45 years ago.

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

B4. The Golden Earrings best ever performance was relegated to the B-side of their 1st single, and was has never been re-issued until now. “Chunk of Steel” is fabulous, a great song, lyrically intriguing and musically adventurous. Heavily Beatles influenced, the vocal interplay on this 1965 release is counterpointed by biting guitars, pounding drums, and a driving production.

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

B5. Cuby and The Blizzards – I’m So Restless

A high energy rocker, “Restless” by Holland’s Cuby and The Blizzards, the B-side of their first single is a wild, guitar raving, mod flavored Euro-beat blast off!

Muziek Express Searching In The Wilderness

B6. Snobs – Heartbreak Hotel

The ridiculous outfits the snobs popularized do nothing to detract from their spirited approach to raving-up anything from “Buckle Shoe Stomp” to “Heartbreak Hotel”. Enjoying most of their admittedly limited success in Sweden, this 1965 released features and awesome live, wild sound. A video performance on the “Red Skelton” TV show in late 1964 has reportedly survived, rekindling Snob-mania amongst those already in the know. One could hardly do worse than to join them.

B7.The Buzz – You’re Holding Me Down

Having previously done business as the Boston Dexters, who released a strong single with “Nothing’s Gonna Change Me” In 1965, England’s The Buzz hooked up with eccentric producer Joe Meek in 1966 to record this, their sole 45. The full range of Meek’s studio genius is displayed on this recording, with highly compressed vocals being blasted by staccato bursts of machine gun guitar, all drowning in a cesspool of echo and feedback. This release stands as one of Joe Meeks finest: wild, adventurous, no holds barred experimental rave-up.

B8. Alan Pounds Gets Rick – Searching In The Wilderness

OUT-FUCKIN’-RAGEOUS!