Gems from the music underground: Part II
|July 20, 2011||Posted by Joe Towse under culture, reviews|
Okay, I have decided to write another one of these, and perhaps branch out a little into other sorts of music so that it appeals to a wider variety of people. I do not wish to debate whether Ulver and Crass are underground, it’s no more than a title.
Sutcliffe Jügend – When Pornography Is No Longer Enough 
Originally formed as a side project to power electronics masters Whitehouse in 1981, Sutcliffe Jügend intended to be even more sonically extreme than their main project (which, if you’ve ever heard Whitehouse, is pretty hard). However, despite their We Spit On Their Graves series being held as a masterpiece by many, it took them until 1998 to release a true classic; this album. A concept album, but far from progressive rock, it tells the story of Peter Sutcliffe’s murders from a first-person perspective. It’s not hard to imagine this being inside the man’s mind – it is a truly sick and scary album. It combines harsh electronics with a distinct lack of melody and deranged screaming over the top, and lyrics that would make Cannibal Corpse shrink away - to me, it has a kind of disturbed beauty to it.
Crass – The Feeding Of The 5000 
In stark contrast to the Sex Pistols’ more populist, violent attitude towards anarchism, Crass were a band who promoted pacifism and peaceful protest, while still possessing the anarchic quality to their beliefs and their music. This is their début, and it is often similar to the style that the Subhumans would later develop – its shorter songs and rhythmic vocal delivery are far more pleasing than John Lydon’s forced accent. While later albums would see more experimentation (but not in a bad, London Calling-esque manner), this is quintessential to all punk fans. The later Thatchergate scandal only adds credibility to the band.
Ulver – Wars Of The Roses 
I’ve got to say that despite being predominantly a metal fan, this Ulver album, having long since transcended from black metal and now playing an avant-garde style of electronic music, is one of my favourites of this year (out of 100+ I’ve heard, which means it’s a big deal!) Parallels could quite easily be drawn to Roxy Music, but this is better, to my ears, than that. Standout tracks include heavily poppy opener February MMX, the ethereally beautiful Providence and the droney 14-minute closer Stone Angels.
Anal Cunt – Morbid Florist 
Despite the controversy and tedious repetition that would surround their later works, Anal Cunt’s debut is an essential of the noisegrind genre. Seth Putnam’s recent death spawned a whole wave of parody song titles (my personal favourite being You’re Dead (And Gay) ), but on this, AxCx didn’t need silliness to mask anything, simply naming tracks Some Songs, Song #6 and Some More Songs, as opposed to later ‘witty’ titles like I Sold Your Dog To A Chinese Restaurant and You’re Pregnant, So I Kicked You In The Stomach. Sociopathology like this will never be equalled.