The godspunk compilation CD series is a co-operative venture, in which all contributing bands / artistes share the cost of manufacture. Each contributor pays a fraction of the total CD manufacturing cost for each six minutes of audio contributed, gets one page in the accompanying booklet and receives a number of copies of the finished CD album. For volume thirteen, as an example, six minutes allocation cost £70 and the contributor received 40 copies of the CD. This is an effective way of working, as each band / artiste gets their music on 500 'proper' CDs (not CD-Rs) and has their music heard by the other bands' audiences without the hassle of distribution being the responsibility of one person. If you would like to be considered for inclusion on a future CD, contact Pumf by going to the 'contact' page of this website.

 

 PUMF 721

godspunk volume thirteen

(2013)

A compilation CD featuring twenty songs from nine bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, UNIT, John Tree, Dimm D3ciple, The Large Veiny Members, Nil By Nose, The Melodramatic Monkey, The Flesheaters and Shaun Robert. 

"In the booklet that accompanies the new godspunk record we see a picture of multiple schoolgirl pStans (aka Howl in the Typewriter) hanging out with Sir Margaret of Thatcher. Somehow this “obviously doctored” image brings to light the Oz trial of 1971 especially Neville and co’s jolly, consciousness raising japes. With a little reflection on our side we can see that somehow this image is a blast from another time, a sort of memento mori of how “indie/alternative shit” used to be. Not busy with trying to make everything into some platform-friendly unit of production.
The opening track, Memory and Howl cuts such as The RooHniverse, In Derek's Briefcase, and the things that may or may not be true, somehow picks up on these vibes (as well as the hippy feel in the image described above) and steer this record through a frayed world of long forgotten raves, the bellybutton fluff of squat gigs and miserable, comedown, Aldi-bakery breakfasts. So hippy that Your Brain is aJah is very much like Robyn Hitchcock’s acapella stuff on I Often Dream of Trains. We could be watching the Pink Fairies under an underpass off the Portobello Road, so thick is the fug down in this ur-provincial netherworld.
The other (dare we say) house band, UNIT come on like Marvin the Robot from Hitchhiker’s... with the anti-love song Anthrax, (somehow sounding like a scuzzy version of the Ex too). Beaming in from planet UNIT takes a lot of courage and determination, just to keep on beaming in the way they do. Which is one of the reasons why I’d probably say - just because of their sheer bloody-mindedness - they are up there with the Biscuits in being one of the country’s greatest groups of all time. UNIT throw in a few more crackers with White Trash (the ultimate in open wound pathos; basically this digs a big hole for coiffeured dudes like Walker & Gainsbourg, hoys them in, and leaves no bouquet. “He says you’re a bloody nuisance”, indeed . . .), a daft, falling apart at the seams instrumental break called Eric Cooper, an insane rap featuring some rooks, (Shells & Stars) and Friends, a spit in the eye of history itself.
Old Pumf compilations often had a fair bit of punk sand in the Vaseline. And while we get some Dr John psycho schlock with The Flesheaters Graveyard Love, and some psyched out growling and scraping in Shaun Robert’s Portal, this compilation is more like some Gong fag end, a snot rag retrieved from the chilled-out, ephedra-popping, arse-end of Rave, probably in its most anal incarnation, the Amsterdam squat scene from about 1999 . . . Well, that’s what listening to Dancing Ants or Discotheque Repetition (courtesy of Large Veiny Members), Nil by Nose’s Contacting Hassocks, or John Tree’s remix of the KBC’s Not Any More does to my memory anyway. Mention should be made of The Melodramatic Monkey’s increasingly fried song titles too. Every compilation seems to throw up a new verbal construct; this time we have The Ritualistic Mating Dance of the West Highland Terrier and the Fluorescent Floating Human Eyeball (Eggnog Variant #4). And it sounds like? Well, the usual, reassuring jazz-off using Soft Machine offcuts. The morning after is well documented by Dimm D3ciple’s The Prozac Song, a massacre of Marley, and rightly so.
Just remember fellow wizards; you can’t beat your brain for entertainment!"

- Richard Foster, Incendiary, January 2014

"John Tree
Not Any More - regular readers may recall how I frequently acknowledge the technical facility of this chap then damn him to perdition for boring me to distraction with music that is absolutely not the kind of stuff I’d ever wish to hear. We clearly have very divergent and probably incompatible tastes. However, finally, after all this time, he’s created a piece I actually like; I even played it through a second time before I listened to any of the other tracks on this collection. Take Five Or Six, Eyeless In Gaza and a hint of The Shock Headed Peters, when each of these groups are at their most restrained and subtle . . . oh yes, that’s how highly I rate this track . . . which is strange because generally I dislike slow, gentle music and I detest works that stay glued in one key throughout their duration so I really ought to find this tedious - yet I most certainly do not. My one caveat is that it does possess a slight late 1990s droning groove now and then but this may be deliberate - The Chemical Brothers without the dance beat. 8/10
The Flesheaters
Graveyard Love - the bass guitar is a little too prominent and the vocals are far too quiet - which is a shame because, in the latter instance, much of the humour and impact of this delightful little pastiche of bad taste 1960s pop songs is diminished. I admit I loathe this, not because there’s anything wrong with the music or lyrics but because I simply dislike this kind of idiom. Still, for enthusiasts of this genre, if the vocals were louder in the mix I expect they’d rate this highly and why not? The performance is crisp and well executed; there’s a hint (perhaps not intentional) of The Fall in the drums and guitar lines but that’s hardly a cause for complaint, is it? 2/10
Dimm D3ciple
The Prozac Song - I find this slow, dreary, almost moronic dirge with its half speed vocal absolutely horrible. Even at 2 minutes I sat here and suffered! Now, I remember I praised and lauded a goodly number of their previous works which indicates an ability on their behalf to produce pieces which reveal variety and originality - fair enough - but I still detest this - sorry, chaps. Mind you, to be fair: this piece doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve ever heard. 1/10
Shaun Robert
Portal - there’s a curiously Lemon Kittens mien about this which is high praise indeed - but the first time I played it I found it boring, irritating and tedious, apart from a few seconds here and there where sounds sparkled and glittered among the sonic morass. Intrigued I played it a second time; I’m glad I did. On my second encounter, it reminded me very much of Dome and I wondered how I could possibly have formulated my previous opinion. I can imagine listeners virtually ignoring this as just so much indistinct faffing about before they move onto the next track but believe me, it does merit a second and third hearing. Oh all right, don’t believe me then . . . it’s your loss. 7/10
Nil By Nose
Contacting Hassocks - when Whitehouse, Ramleh and Lustmord make their electronic industrial racket, I find them intensely tedious. When The Nocturnal Emissions and Konstruktivists do the same, I find them intriguing and enjoyable. This work suggests the creators have been listening to The Nocturnal Emissions and Konstruktivists. Look, let’s not faff about with subtle hints in order to be polite - this work is a bloody racket - but it’s an interesting bloody racket. I listened to this again on headphones and here you experience the full impact - this piece is extremely dense with plenty of different sounds and noises quite carefully combined (or at least that’s how it sounds) but it is a more extreme example of the genre and I doubt many other people will find it as diverting as did I. Radio play - hardly - which is a shame because I could respect a DJ brave enough to launch this baby onto the airwaves. 9/10
The Melodramatic Monkey
The Ritualistic Mating Dance Of The West Highland Terrier & The Fluorescent Floating Human Eyeball - with a Hammond organ, a baritone saxophone, a deep growling bass guitar and a funky drum beat, how could I not immediately turn up the volume and jive around to this groove? Then, 90 seconds in, a flute enters - straight out of a Stax record from 1975. An abrupt change of mood and mode introduces strangely disjointed vocals and a Glaswegian lost soul asking questions in the firmament. When the bass guitar and sampled brass enter underneath this vocalise, the work enters magickal territory. There’s even a smattering of wah wah guitar for those of you who like that kind of show. However, these apparently retrogressive references to historical idioms fail to impede the ability of this work to sound contemporary and vibrant in an utterly 21st century manner. THIS PIECE IS ABSOLUTELY BLOODY BRILLIANT AND ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH ME IS A BUFFOON. 10/10
The Large Veiny Members
Dancing Ants - with its strangely ethereal electronic sounds and lilting vocal I ought to enjoy this but I don’t - I wonder why that should be then? I think the continual drone in one key is the primary reason this aggravates me so much. Certainly the vocal is the main reason I’m able to listen to this while only becoming slightly homicidal. 3/10
Discotheque Repetition - initially it would be difficult to believe this track was produced by the same creators as those responsible for Dancing Ants - which in my opinion is a cause for commendation. Unfortunately the constant robotic sampled drum beat, fragmented keyboard and murky vocal, occasionally spiced up with odd metallic percussive effects later in the piece, only irritate me intensely, probably because I dislike repetition of any kind (usually). The sound is clear and crystalline. Perhaps this track might be more effective played in a nightclub or even (ahem) a discotheque. 4/10
Howl in the Typewriter
Memory - after a strangely uncertain 6/8 prelude flavoured with 1980s keyboards we launch into one of those marvellously mutated pop songs with which Howl in the Typewriter have become justifiably associated over the years. Although this is not one of my favourites, one facet of the work generates a question: pStan has contributed 4 or 5 tracks per disc on each collection since 2005 and yet still manages to surprise, intrigue, enrapture, confound, confuse and (occasionally) infuriate me. I suspect it is not possible for this chap to exhaust his store of ideas and creativity. Maybe by godspunk volume twenty-seven he’ll start to repeat himself. 7/10
The Things That May Or May Not Be True - sampled Americans engage in a silly dialogue while pStan plink plonks away on a banjo in the next room . . . until a minute has passed when suddenly we’re flung into 1990s disco mode with utterly no mercy. Then, after 2 and a half minutes, we’re back to that flipping banjo again and we’re treated to a voice which sounds like that chap who spoke over early Psychic TV tracks . . . Christ, this is tedious! 2/10
Glass Heart - you know what I said earlier about repetition and pieces which stay in 1 or 2 keys for their entire duration? Well, here’s a slow, plodding dirge which alternates in 4/4 between 2 chords a tone apart . . . again and again for interminable length (or so it seems). The feedback sounds and the bitter, mournful vocal / lyric raise this above total monotony, however. 5/10
(traditional) - often I’ll mention the names of other groups in my descriptions in order to aid readers who have yet to purchase the disc and thus give them a few musical signposts although these only serve a useful function if those same readers have actually heard of the groups I mention - most of which are rather obscure so I suspect I’ve not succeeded in my attempt. Well, I defy anyone anywhere to name a single group who have produced a work similar to or which sounds like this. The keyboard lines are superb. Nursery rhymes and old fashioned playground tunes and chants are incorporated into a strangely disturbing piece which might be a study of the manner in which the minds of very young children perceive the world - then again I may simply be writing pretentious bollocks. 6/10
Your Brain Is aJah – each Howl in the Typewriter track is separated by only 2 tracks from other groups so pStan is in full effect here, hitting us with a new work every 3 tracks. Unaccompanied vocals in a vaguely 1970s soul funk vibe are occasionally treated with electronic effects but their presence is subtle. Nearly 4 minutes of unaccompanied vocals could be tedious but instead pStan gives us his most effective and impressive work yet (so far as this disc is concerned). You see, this is why so much conventional pop music is so ineffably onerous: how many of them would consider recording a track scored only for solo vocals and manage to do so in a manner that is dramatic, funky and enjoyable? 8/10
The RooHniverse - someone finds an old reel to reel tape of a third rate hippie combo circa 1972 and tries to reconstruct it without knowing how the music is supposed to sound . . . result: this infernal mess! I like the bass guitar sound but that’s all I like about it. Hawkwind gone horribly wrong . . . or something. Bah, sod it, I give up. 3/10
Howl in the Typewriter in Dereks’ Briefcase - at 7 tracks, this just may be the most number of tracks pStan has ever contributed to one of these collections (if you discount the disc on which one of his pieces was split into umpteen short sections). If I had to depict a sonic interpretation of a kaleidoscope then this would be similar to how I would imagine it to sound. That doesn’t mean I actually enjoy the experience, of course. Oh, I like the concept - assuming I comprehend it correctly - but somehow the net result induces in me an impression of a track which fails to realise its potential. 4/10
UNIT
Anthrax - over the past few years we’ve recorded far too many versions of works by other groups. That we should record a new rendition of this is annoying, to say the least. I can appreciate why the others felt it necessary to do so - this certainly reveals more clarity, precision and impact than the previous attempt (on our double album Civil Disobedience issued in early 2012 but recorded late in 2011). However, in my opinion, The Gang Of Four did it better . . . so there. 5/10
White Trash - this is a major remix of another track from Civil Disobedience which I made because it deserves to be heard and heard in its proper glory. It is one of the best ballads I’ve ever written (despite - or perhaps because - of the 1970s groove) but (sigh) why do I so often achieve such attainments only when I’m being thoroughly nasty about other people? In case any of the recipients (Garlen Lo, Thanh Trung Nguyen, Wong Yit Sinh, Luc Tran or UJ) wish to come round to our houses to beat us up, I admit (after 2 years) that this is not really a proper UNIT piece since every instrument and vocal is performed by me - no other member of the group appears on this piece. 10/10
Eric Cooper – this is the same track which appears on our album The Workshop from 2012. We’ve included it here because Ben Watson of Late Lunch With Out To Lunch (Resonance 104.4 fm) featured it on his programme and we were intrigued not only by his comments but also by the strange remix that occurred as a result of being converted into an mp3 file and then broadcast from a minidisc or some other modern technological gubbins beyond my comprehension. Cooper was the lad who adopted me into his gang when I was 13 at school; he taught me to respect myself, to believe in my abilities and to apply my brain to the discipline of self education and body to the rigours of unarmed combat lessons (which usually simply meant he battered me every Saturday). If I had not met him, if he had never bothered to take an interest in me then it is absolutely no exaggeration to state that I would never have become a writer or a musician and nobody would read my books or listen to my music. I owe him virtually everything and it is beyond my ability to repay him for what he did for me. This instrumental is my musical depiction of his character. That said, he deserves a superior work to this 1970s rifferama but then his favourite bands were The Stranglers and Judas Priest so I’m allowed to be somewhat insulting, aren’t I? 6/10
Shells & Stars - in December 2012 we performed a live session for Resonance and we were absolutely abysmal. It ranks as the very worst live performance we have ever given. A group of teenage grime rappers were meant to perform with us but we were asked to play earlier than planned and they were slightly late so the collaboration was postponed. After they arrived, they recorded 3 numbers with us for use on their own programme called Sick Notes. To date, I’ve not been able to obtain the other 2 tracks. Evan Scherer plays the bass guitar on this because Fritz wasn’t able to leave Germany in time for the performance. This is the weakest of the trio of tracks we recorded with the lads (in my opinion) but at least it displays our ability (limited by unfamiliarity with the genre involved) to engage with an idiom previously unexplored by the group. I retained the Resonance jingle at the end because I like it. 4/10
Friends - we recorded an account of this way back in 2010 for the album Facta Non Verba but it was a bit of a mess so we revisited the ballad to see if we could improve it. Well, yes, we did although the tempo is a little too fast. That said, I am justifiably proud of this piece with its memorable melody, adventurous harmonic progressions and crisp playing. My singing is a little ragged (no change there then) but I found this almost impossible to sing without crying. I find this almost unbearable to hear now, primarily because the lyric is agonisingly honest. 9/10
Postscript: when I went to the studio in October to record a few more tracks with Fritz and Colin for the next album, I looked at the collection of godspunk albums Fred Baggs (the engineer and owner of Redchurch Studio where we record nearly all our works) keeps on his shelf and as I looked through them all I realised just how many different groups and individuals have appeared on these collections since 2005. I definitely mourn the absence of LDB and the taurus board from the discs. However, their departure has been compensated by new arrivals of equal (if rather different) content and quality. The later editions seem to veer slightly away from the more aggressively avant garde soundscapes I tended to enjoy so perhaps our next contributions will venture into that territory for the next edition . . . then again maybe I’ll just write another brace of miserable depressing pop songs and Hammond organ driven instrumentals in 7/4 time et cetera. However, look at what these compilations do: they serve as an excellent advertisement for truly independent pop music and alternative sonic creativity in a nation drenched in corporate mediocrity. For this reason alone, anyone who hasn’t purchased any volumes of godspunk yet should surely do so."
- Andy Martin (of UNIT), October 2013.

 

 

godspunk volume twelve

(2013)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-two songs from thirteen bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, UNIT, Data's Cat, John Tree, Dimm D3ciple, XxiiJ, The Large Veiny Members, Nil By Nose, Stevan Barnes and The Flesheaters.

"Yet more from the institution that is Pumf Records: volume twelve of the long running godspunk series no less, though sad to report an LP that charts the breakup of what constituted UNIT’s line up since 2005, which is sad because I have a particular soft spot for the records they’ve knocked out since then – hopefully a phoenix of sorts will soon rise out of the ashes.
Typically we get 11 tracks from UNIT (there are 28 tracks in total). And of course what we have is fabulous: messy, idiosyncratic, thought forms and off the cuff instrumentals that sound like car crashes, polemics delivered with conviction. Some of these, such as BBC Bastards and Luc Has Gone document the eventually irretrievable band tensions. Ho hum.  Of course we get some cracking Howl in the Typewriter tracks too: Sanitised being a particularly breezy opener what with talk of snails and (doubtless sardonic) impersonations of Jimmy Savile.
Outside these stalwarts the compilation is often quiet, concerned with abstract work outs like Dimm D3ciple’s The Wiring, that have a flavour of the Orb or Coldcut or even the Nutty Professor. Some are whacky in a coy way: Squid Bullets turns from some sort of cod-90s groove to an expostulation of the Spanish guitar amidships, before piloting a course through teen metal territory. I can’t really work out. Others catch you out because they just float by until, a few listens later, they decide to let you into their secret. Examples are Loss bu XxiiJ, Nil By Nose’s These Sounds, Samba Savarah (what’s that about?) or Pipe Slippers & A Basket of Flute by Data’s Cat . . . I’m guessing that Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld must have been a big hit on the Fylde coast. When Howl in the Typewriter start joining in with tracks like Derek’s Briefcase, you begin to note that this is the most psychedelic, most cinematic of godspunks yet.
Things can’t be all abstract can they? Well, no. As well as UNIT’s growls and Howl in The Typewriter’s The Fishman In Derek’s Briefcase (which is a sound recording of bunch of kids yelling over who is the fictitious superhero The Fishman), we get Sans Moi which is a brooding soliloquy in French (and damned good too), and Let’s Eat Rotting Flesh by The Flesheaters, a zombie work out which sounds just like its title.
One day these LPs will become collectors’ items."
- Richard Foster, Incendiary, April 2013

"Howl In The Typewriter Sanitised
BUGGERY BOLLOCKS but this is so groovy, so superbly performed and so deftly produced that I know it’s going to make our track sound messy and miserably mediocre by comparison. Crystal clarity in the production, dexterous finesse in the playing, a funky break-beat rhythm, a memorable tune and an extremely clever lyric make this beyond all possible doubt the very best track HitT have ever done – it is utterly brilliant. So much for that tedious old maxim that claims a pop group generally exhaust all their best ideas within the first 3 years of their career. I also enjoy the topical Jimmy Savile reference! 10/10.
UNIT Martin’s Gone
In the same key as Sanitised which helps – possibly. See? Although this track sparkles, it’s still murky compared with the pristine production of the previous track which glitters whereas this just glares. God knows who Sector 27 were but Luc Tran found this single in a junk shop and played it to me. It had a picture of a teenage boy in brief shorts on the front so he thought I’d be interested in it – bah, sod that – but, without realising it, he provided me with ammunition for a lyric directed at what he and Richard would do to me barely 3 months later. I could have written new music but it seemed appropriate to cover the song fairly faithfully since we were technically able to do so. I’ve not altered any of the words except for the names although the song title is actually called Martin’s Gone. 7/10.
John Tree Samba Savarah Ft Veronneau
Hello, it’s Xavier Cougat without his orchestra together with an arrangement by Edmundo Ross of a traditional Brazilian folk song – or else it’s Mr Tree proving once again that he’s a master of pastiche while still able to present music that bears a highly distinctive voice of its own. Yes, I do enjoy this – it’s Latin exotica gone wrong in all the right ways. 7/10.
UNIT Male Slag
Well, it’s certainly a contrast to Mr Tree but that’s not necessarily a compliment. Decent lyric, shame about the music. Why ever did we record this hoary old tosh? At least we used a Hammond organ and no guitars which is probably its only saving grace other than clarity of the production and decent performance. 5/10.
Datas’ Cat Squid Bullets
Ah – a flute – any track that uses a flute (or indeed any woodwind instrument) is liable to receive commendation from me. Although this has an excellent break beat, it desperately cries out for a bass guitar and a chord change or two. The combination of marimba and wah wah guitar shouldn’t work – but they do. Oh, right, so there is a bass guitar after all – now that’s more like it. Aye, this is pretty damned fine or at least it promises to be so. The sudden interruption of a flamenco style guitar is groovy even though I don’t like guitars. Mind you, ultimately I still find myself waiting for the main event to happen even when it goes all heavy metal and Rammstein on us. It’s a fairly groovy instrumental all the same – I’d just like a little something extra . . .God knows what. 7/10.
Nil By Nose These Sounds
Christ, this is irritating – or is it? Let’s listen to it again. No, I was right the first time – it IS irritating but I’m not certain why. Perhaps it’s because the track sounds like an introduction to a piece that never appears. That’s how it sounds to me at least but then I’ve been listening to classical music for the past 5 months so what the hell do I know about anything? The production is superb, clear and precise. 4/10.
UNIT Subhuman Debris
Look, we recorded this because it was requested by a pal of ours but honestly, this sounds so woefully old fashioned and outdated now. The lyric is trite and the music is simply silly. Why waste time playing punk rock when there are punk bands who do this kind of crap all day and probably better than we do? 3/10.
Howl In The Typewriter A Short Unprepared Speech
Oh right, here we go – Death In June meets Hawkwind. I reckon HitT are the only outfit who are even more bonkers than we are. A creepy taped voice doesn’t help proceedings either. Ugh. 3/10.
Dimm D3ciple The Wiring
Well, this is bloody boring as well – a crisply smooth, slow drum beat that needs a decent musical companion but all it receives is some grotty synthesiser and a tape of Stephen Hawking wittering over the top. I have always maintained that Hawking is an arse-hole and this gives me no reason to alter my opinion. I reckon I’m just peeved because normally this bunch provide tracks I tend to enjoy – but this time unfortunately. 3/10.
UNIT Why Russians Rarely Smile
One of my cleverest lyrics – the facts about Russian are all correct, by the way – set to ridiculously 1980s music that should have been cremated and promptly forgotten. Instead we go into a studio in 2012 and record it. I have managed to subvert the original arrangement and remove most of the punk elements but it isn’t convincing. My feeble vocal doesn’t help either. 4/10.
XxiiJ Loss
Top marks for the most enigmatic name for a band / artist ever. This reminds me very strongly of Dome (the outfit created by Graham and Lewis of Wire) combined with Five Or Six plus an element of Throbbing Gristle during one of their more restrained moments – yet it doesn’t sound 1980s – on the contrary it brings industrial music firmly into the 21st century – but do we want industrial music in the 21st century? Yes, when it’s like this. The entrance of the piano is highly disturbing. Minor caveat: once the rhythmic pulse commences – staying in the same key for far too long – some of the dramatic impact is diminished but this is still highly effective . . . until the final 40 seconds or so when we a curiously contrived cut-up reggae music intervenes and ruins the atmosphere! That said, this is still one of the most exciting contributions to godspunk in quite a while. 8/10.
UNIT For Nick Wong
Now this is 1 of 3 tracks written by Evan Scherer, our American guest so perhaps I shouldn’t be too unkind and, after all, it was my idea for us to record his pieces. The trouble is, we are not a punk band – as you can hear. 4/10.
Howl In The Typewriter Dereks’ Briefcase
This is so Nurse With Wound it’s almost surreal. A curiously contrived collage of words, taped speech from various sources plus occasional musical interludes – more flamenco guitar – comprise a piece that is occasionally irritating, often inspired but never boring. A lot of work and effort has gone into this. 6/10.
Nil By Nose Take It Easy Guys
I can’t comprehend what this outfit are trying to do – well, maybe I’m too concerned with musical structures and a recognisable idiomatic language to appreciate these whimsical interlude (which may not be intended as a whimsical interlude at all, of course) but indistinct sampled voices and synthesiser sounds rarely impress me. 2/10.
UNIT Vita Odiosa
So, after being viciously unkind about Nil By Nose, we ought to provide music that justifies such dismissal of somebody elses’ work – you know, I can be rude about other peoples’ tracks because here’s what WE can do. The trouble is, this sounds like an experiment which failed – probably because it’s an experiment which failed. 3/10.
Datas’ Cat Pipe, Slippers & A Basket Of Flute
What a superb title! I find this a little repetitive at first but then the flute enters and I can forgive almost any impertinence. I’d love to do some recording with the chap who plays the flute on this – since UJ left UNIT I do miss his flute playing but this is a more jazz inflected style that I find extremely satisfying. Once the bass guitar and drums kick in properly, this piece really rocks but in a strangely funk influenced manner – Ian Anderson goes to Stax. 8/10. Just a moment, let’s hear this track all over again. No, it’s much better than that. 10/10.
Howl In The Typewriter The Fishman
Oh come on, Stan, get it together, pal, what are you playing at? You’ve gone all folk on our arses and I’m not impressed. This does reveal one aspect: anyone who tries to predict what HitT will do next is on a hiding to nothing. The production is clear and precise but I’ve never liked acoustic guitars. This is compensated by the inclusion of childrens’ voices now and then. When I hear this I think of Ringo Starr which probably isn’t too healthy either. 5/10.
UNIT Nimbis Tonantibus
All these Latin titles are by Evan, incidentally – he speaks fluent Latin and Greek, you see. Well he’s an archaeology student, after all. So it’s a pity what I’ve done to his music isn’t as effective as I intended it to be. No, I’ve certainly not done him any favours on these tracks. Sorry, Evan. 3/10.
The Large Veiny Members Sans Moi
Drum machine + synthesiser bleeps + vocal en Francaise = unavoidable comparison with Métal Urbain. If the music itself was more interesting, i.e. it didn’t stay in the same wretched key all the way through, I could begin to enjoy this far more than is actually the case. That said, it is highly memorable and it does possess a kind of relentless aggression I find appealing. 6/10.
UNIT BBC Bastards
Isn’t it rather churlish to write a track called British Born Chinese Bastards which is obviously directed at Luc and Richard and then place it in a public forum? Yes it is. Do I care? Not at all. Does that mean I’m a nasty little cunt? Yes it does. Do I care? Not at all. Is this music a profoundly failed attempt to turn hardcore punk rock into something more interesting? Yes it is. Do I care? Well, er, yes actually – because godspunk compilations merit better tracks than this. 4/10.
The Flesheaters Let’s Eat Rotting Flesh
Why do I find sampled voices so annoying? I don’t know – but I do. However, the other components of this strangely unpleasant track are rather enjoyable in a 1960s Mondo soundtrack manner. There’s more beefy (groan) power here than is to be found in our previous 5 tracks – a lesson to be learned maybe. Complaint: if you’re going to include a vocal then turn it up so we can hear it properly! This needs a Hammond organ. 7/10.
UNIT Conspiracy
My only vaguely successful attempt at hardcore punk rock which I wrote for Pete Williams shortly after the Earths’ crust cooled. We recorded this because we were asked to do so. It’s okay I suppose but it sounds so old fashioned and out dated now. 5/10.
Howl In The Typewriter The Nightmare Of Childhood
I can definitely relate to the title of this piece. The metal percussion is effective but that sampled voice can bugger off for a start. What a miserable old cow! Okay so she’s right but I demand the luxury of being able to live in my deluded fantasy in which I retain the youthful ability to rock and roll until I die, thanks. 4/10.
Stevan Barnes F You
If XxiiJ provides the most enigmatic name for a person or group on godspunk then Stevan Barnes provides the most prosaic. What we have here is an example of musical minimalism that serves to exaggerate the vicious brutality of the lyric – harmony backing vocals, a sneering lead vocal (that ought to be a little louder) over the most basic percussion of bass drum and tambourine doesn’t sound as if it promises much but actually this has more power and intensity than any of our feeble attempts at raucous noise. 8/10.
UNIT Go Ahead
Colin Murrell and Fabian Fritze each possess virtually the entire recorded works of Wire. Even I possess all the studio works from 1977 to 2002 and many of the live tracks – so maybe it was only a matter of time before we recorded a cover of one of their works. This was originally the ‘b’ side of Map Ref 41°N 93°W but I’ve wanted to record a rendition of this for many years and finally I was able to do so, with assistance from my pals and Evan taking the part of the record company executive. This is one of our better efforts although it’s a pity the piece continually speeds up all the way through. The viola playing is a little rough but it makes a pleasant change from tedious old electric guitars at least. 7/10.
Nil By Nose Balloc
Easily their best contribution on here as far as I’m concerned. This is deeply disturbing and reminds me of Ampnoise by Dome – a grumbling, malevolent, nightmare noise that has all the best elements of a science fiction soundtrack minus the histrionics associated with the genre – actually, this is so good I’m going to play it again. Yes, I was right to do so. 9/10.
UNIT A Song For Eric Cooper
Yes, all right, I KNOW there are 5 verses included in the CD booklet but only 4 are sung on this version, well, that’s because this was an early rendition of it – I considered it complete at the time but on subsequent plays I realised it required a central verse to add strength to the lyric. We recorded it again and included it on our album, The Workshop. However, this version is too good to go to waste so we submitted it here. Anyway, this is easily the best UNIT track on the collection and it is only marginally spoiled by my weak, feeble voice. I wish I had one of those powerful, full bodied voices that sound good when recorded – but I don’t. I sound like a homosexual crow with influenza. Buggery bollocks. 9/10.
Howl In The Typewriter The Fishman In Dereks’ Briefcase
Remember ‘Hometime’ by Throbbing Gristle? That’s what this reminds me of – only this is far more interesting. The conversation between Stan and that child is utterly superb. The very subtle, minimal accompaniment (primarily disjointed sounds) provides the most appropriate context for the almost painful innocence of the conversation. The piece is apparently only 2 minutes long but it’s followed by a long tribute to John Cage – I cheated and moved the cursor forward because I know what silence sounds like – then we have some Yankee chap telling us how much he loves godspunk volume eleven – quite right too. 8/10.
Howl In The Typewriter Sanitised       
XxiiJ – Loss       
Datas’ Cat – Pipe, Slippers & A Basket Of Flute       
Stevan Barnes – F You       
Nil By Nose – Balloc       
UNIT – A Song For Eric Cooper       
Howl In The Typewriter – The Fishman In Dereks’ Briefcase       
These are the best 7 tracks on the compilation in my biased and thoroughly unreliable opinion. If I had to pick just 3 from that set – it’d be Sanitised, A Basket Of Flute and Balloc – so there. Meanwhile, what’s the significance of the warning ‘they’re coming to get you, Barbara’ hidden on the inner spine of the tray card?
"
- Andy Martin (of UNIT), February 2013.

"Right, well I've decided to put pen to paper . . . or to be more exact, finger to keyboard, write a review of godspunk volume twelve. This review has been re-written six times, I keep listening to the tunes and reassessing them each time. I've taken a leaf out of UNIT's book, going to rate each contribution. Each score is a combination of subjective reaction moderated by how close I think they got to their objectives.
The godspunk series is a collaborative effort, each contributor paying towards the CDs manufacture, getting a full page in the booklet, and receiving a number of copies back. It's a bit of an open-door policy so it is strong on community, perhaps patchier on quality control, but it is a great vehicle for people nonetheless. It could be argued that in these days of online self-publishing it is becoming less important to have physical product out there, but it still feels more real when on a proper CD . . . vinyl more so.
There is such a dizzying array of styles on these comps, there is always something for everyone to both love, hate, and be indifferent about . . . although there does seem to be a lot of ambient noise stuff this time round. The main challenge is adjusting your viewpoint to embrace such different approaches on the one album. Not an easy thing to do. Anyone who feels misunderstood, feel free to put the record straight!
Firstly, it's good to see the comp creator and major contributor pStan Batcow has found another Blackpool-based clown for the cover, and my own particular macabre favourite from the Pleasure Beach.
HOWL IN THE TYPEWRITER
I've known and worked with pStan for over a decade now. I have much respect for him, but still have no idea where he is coming from musically, but I can usually spot his style instantly. This is a compliment.
Sanitised ****
Blimey, he's gone pop. I do like the silliness of this, ebullient, uplifting, but he can't resist peppering it with punk sensibilities in the lyrics. 'I know how to appreciate a fine sunrise / and how to put a bullet right between your eyes'. Hmmmm. It's a densely packed tune with many twists, turns, and surprises. Absurd, silly, intricately constructed, and quite fun.
A Short Unprepared Speech ***
An exercise in noise. Slightly dissonant synth washes, obtuse plodding percussion, claustrophobic atmospheres. Sinister spoken word. huh? Hnnnnng very Howl
Derek's Briefcase ***
More Howlisms here, and touches of Negativland. A collage of apparently unrelated sounds. Voice sound bytes looped. Spoken phrases pasted cheek by jowl. Bits of fractured acoustic guitar. Reverse loops. Stereo pans. Shades of White Album Number 9. Do I like it? Biting my face off.
The Fishman ****
A song. Acoustic guitar, animal skin percussion. Another dose of surrealism in the lyrics. Kids brighten up the proceedings. I AM THE FISHMAN! Memorable.
The Nightmare of Childhood ***
Blimey, where to start here? Squelchy synth and junk percussion. A sardonic ode to turning old. Gulp, nearly there! Sign me up for euthanasia.
The Fishman in Derek's Briefcase **
Kid talk. Cut and paste stuff from before. Amusing for the live interactions but will it stand repeat listens?
UNIT
UNIT have been major contributors to godspunk from very early on. In many ways, their approach is so far over the other end of the spectrum from myself that I personally find them difficult to access. Their sound is initially awkward and jarring, but they have an endearing quality somehow, like a post-punk Bonzo's. I guess it's something to do with being honest. There is something very 'in your face' about UNIT, hard to ignore. They talk of many changes in the band, but it's probably to Andy Martin's credit that they still sound very much the same . . . although the drums seem to have tightened up considerably, which I personally find a big plus.
Martin's Gone ***
Tuned percussion, punk drums, growling bass. Very quirky post-punk but with a traditional construction, verse/chorus/verse etc. . . . but it seems to me the lyrics are main purpose to their tunes, which in this case, seems to be all about the changes in the band.
Male Slag ***1/2
As I said, the main purpose to these tunes seems to be about the meaning.
Subhuman Debris **
 Sore Throat territory. Revenge tune on an enemy. I'm not keen on this, but that ain't the point.
Why Russians Rarely Smile **
Silly xenophobic lyrics. Fuzzed guitars, galloping tempo, chaotic morse code.
For Nick Wong **1/2
Similar instrumentation and feel to previous tune Why Russians Rarely Smile, but with the benefit of no lyrics.
Vita Odiosa **
More post punk scratchings. Mine's a pint.
Nimbis Tonantibus **
More post punk scratchings. Another pint please.
BBC Bastards ***
Is that really Tony Iommi on guitar? Blimey, I'm impressed . . . add a star, in spite of the fact that I could quite happily live the rest of my life never having to sit through another guitar solo.
Conspiracy ***
More grungy songs of bitterness and revenge. Grunge, screech. Add a star for the excellent line 'well I prefer mathematics to sex any day, baby'.
Go Ahead ***
A blunt attack on the music biz. Kind of hits the target.
A Song For Eric Cooper ****
A touching ode to a school friend. Again, I was more impressed with this once I realised the confessional nature of the lyrics.
JOHN TREE
Samba Savarah ft Veronneau (John Tree's Full Brazilian Remix) ****
I had a mess with the stem tracks from this tune from the second album of US bossa/jazz band Veronneau. Wanted to see if I could transform a bossa nova, which was basically an acoustic guitar led song to something more attuned to samba, which is closer to home for me. Quite pleased with the result although others, including the target audience for this CD, may find it bland.
DATA's CAT
Another regular contributor to godspunk under various aliases, he usually hits the mark for me.
Squid Bullets ****
This has a really good feel, can't quite work out if it's samples mixed with live playing, but it's right up my street. It's a style butterfly that flits from a funky lick, bringing in tuned percussion before changing to a flamencoish section, before entering Grunge St. Disorienting.
Pipe, Slippers, and a Basket of Flute ****
Still life parody for the title. Nice and funky . . . percussive scraped guitar, piano stabs, and taut gritty flute leads into darabouka and breathy melody line. Groovy!
NIL BY NOSE
Dull Bedsit Blogger's alter ego has had varied output, always interesting in a sparky, intelligent, occasionally sarcastic kinda way. Here, his output turns its back on amusingly edgy tunes for the murky realm of ambient noise. YouTube parody graphic is cool.
These Sounds****
Takes a leaf out of Howl in the Typewriter's book from the previous godspunk volume eleven, and samples the redneck YouTube blogger 'Wakey420' to reflect back at him in abstract form. Added a star for this nice concept.
Take it Easy Guys Oomba Goomba**
Short dreamy atmospheric ping pong non-event.
Balloc (Remixed by 1001101000)**1/2
Longer dreamy atmospheric ping pong semi-event.
LARGE VEINY MEMBERS
Sans Moi ***
Nil By Nose's other hat. Droning backing of synths and drums squelchy synth overlays . . . and a frenchman talking . . . about? If I could understand the words I might not say it overstayed it's five and a half minute duration, as it stands, the sound of his voice begins to annoy after a bit.
DIMM D3CIPLE
DD is now a familiar contributor to godspunk, and to his credit, his varied output is never predictable.
Fear Nothing **1/2
Keyboard sounds have promise, but needs more treatment to escape the slightly plodding clinical feel. Interesting text-to-speech Steven Hawking style shaman monologue adds metaphysical interest. Judging from his previous contributions, could have been better, but a laudable stab.
XxiiJ
Loss ****1/2
Wow, where do I start here? This one caught me completely by surprise. Another dreamy noisescape, there do seem to be a fair few on this album, but this one has real beauty to these ears. Totally unhurried throughout it's unnervingly exact six minutes, a haunting backdrop with glitchy sounds in sharp relief. Muted and breathy monotonic flute [plumber's pipe?], rhythmic elements lumber in . . . bass, piano stabs . . . a real and tangible soundscape. Mournful and slightly menacing. I suspect this beautifully produced piece will withstand many listens. Nice graphic too.
THE FLESHEATERS
Let's Eat Rotting Flesh ***1/2
The drummer, Ging, I've known for some years. Don't think I know Wakey.
We are in Cramps territory for this ghoulish romp. Low-slung bass and Link Wray style guitar, trashy drums. Heavily processed vocals are hard to discern . . . very Lux Interior, but I like it.
STEVAN BARNES
F You ****1/2
Sparse percussion and harmonies form the backdrop for this claustrophobic, sexually charged vocal delivery. Creepy, yes, but that's exactly what it intends to be."
- John Tree, February 2013

PUMF 707

 

 PUMF 693

godspunk volume eleven

(2012)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-two songs from thirteen bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, UNIT, Laszlo Klemke, Data's Cat, The Johnny Lieberbaum Pops Orchestra, Dimm D3ciple, The Large Veiny Members, Kunzysteem, Nil By Nose, Englandz Glory, Spycore, The Glue Machine and The Earls of Monte Cristo

"Where to begin? Well this, the eleventh godspunk compilation has UNIT’s eloquent and remarkably insightful ode to Middlesex and England’s Phil Tufnell, which is as good an excuse as any to buy this record. In fact we could stop the review there; such is the power of that image, but we won’t. godspunk compilations always throw up things that just couldn’t be heard anywhere else. This is a stage for the forgotten, the unwashed, the bunker dwellers and the slightly deranged and as such Incendiary embraces it. No scrubbed up types here begging for your attention. If you don’t believe me listen to another of UNIT’s offerings on the LP, My Parents Are Dead But I Wish It Was Me Who Had Killed Them.
Howl in the Typewriter has a bunch of new tracks including the downbeat and somewhat psychedelic campfire ditty, 2012. As ever (with 2012 and When I Was a Little Boy) Howl in the Typewriter sets a whole range of personal reminiscences and ruminations to tape. Balancing extreme navel gazing against intelligent arrangements doesn’t always work (and it can very easily fall into the musical bear trap known as “whacky”) but when it does it creates a message that you can’t really hear anywhere else.
This compilation seems a bit more laid back than previous, Laszlo Klemke’s Le Treizieme and Kunzysteem’s Brighter Than Light are maudlin and unobtrusive instrumentals and the Data’s Cat’s normally splurgy and organic soundscape is very well ordered. The Johnny Lieberbaum Pops Orchestra give us one of the straightest tracks ever on a godspunk record (it is good, mind), and even Dimm D3ciple seems that bit more spaced out than previous. Tuffers aside, our first signs of some naughtiness and joie de vivre come with Howl in the Typewriter’s Cheesebuger Eating American and the daft collage Chewed by Badgers. The dippy and cod-innocent brace from The Large Veiny Members and featuring Vag – namely Narwhal and Yeti hit the spot too. England’s Glory, UNIT’s The Chinese Boy and Nil By Nose’s Douchebag are all a bit of cheeky fun as well. Best is the ode to Beefheart in Nil By Nose’s So Long and Thanks for All The Masks.
godspunk: daft as you can imagine but essential nonetheless."
- Richard Foster, Incendiary, June 2012

"Many thanks for the wonderful godspunk volume eleven - I listened to it all weekend whilst doing mundane tasks like stripping layers of old wallpaper and it was stunning, nothing sounded like anything I had heard before which is a rare thing these days. 23 out of 10, go to the top of the class and fall off (an old Spike Milligan joke)."
- Dr. Adolf Steg, April 2012

"More bloody clowns – I hate clowns! No, the real reason I’m irritated is because the taurus board are absent from this edition – YOU ROTTEN BASTARDS! Come on, own up, what’ve you done with them?
Laszlo Klemke –
Le Treizieme
We’re in that basement cafe again somewhere in eastern Europe, circa 1965. Harmonica, guitar, bass and subtle percussion while we sip Pernod and swap military secrets under the table. Highly evocative stuff. 7/10
Data’s Cat –
Game Over (Life On Venus)
What an absolutely SUPERB BASS GUITAR sound and what absolutely SUPERB BASS GUITAR PLAYING! This is what we’ve been trying to do in UNIT for about 3 years and these cats show us how it should be done. My God, I wasn’t prepared for this. The slight rave inflections combined with acoustic instrument interludes shouldn’t work but they do. I could do without that hippie 1960s lead guitar twiddly dee but perhaps I’m just being obnoxious? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time, would it? This piece contains stylistic elements from the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s (yes, well they can be forgiven for by-passing the 1980s after all) and is very clever indeed. I’m going to try hard to have this played on Resonance FM because it deserves wider recognition. 9/10
Dimm D3ciple –
Boogie Monster
Jazz Funk Greats era Throbbing Gristle inflect this strange piece. The trouble is, unlike TG, this begins to irritate me really soon after it starts. It’s only a matter of musical preference – in fact this is a subtle hybrid of horrorshow soundtrack and humour whose emptiness and only occasional loud moments paint a sonic picture that does conjure up how a honey monster would look if you’d taken an industrial dose of LSD25. Hmm . . . 5/10
Spycore –
Industrial Espionage
One of the customers from that eastern European cafe suddenly dashes for the door, perhaps to reach the 21st century before the CIA or KGB catch him. Er, at 11 seconds long, maybe it’s a little too brief? 7/10
Kunzysteem –
Brighter Than Light
This is a track by Five Or Six that was lost in the archives – early 1980s feel to this and that’s not a criticism. The vocal sound is murky when it should be sharp and in your face, i.e. brighter than light, especially since it is sung very well indeed. The subtle keyboard / synthesiser warbling is sufficiently disciplined to prevent it being the sonic mess that can often result from such tomfoolery – here it works. Quietly mysterious and highly effective. 8/10
Englandz Glory –
Burning Bright
It’s about time someone did the reggae routine – I thought it was going to be us but this bunch have beaten us to it. Personally I’d have that bass a little louder but my main criticism is the murky, indistinct sound of the vocal line. This is unfortunate because in every other respect this is a mighty fine track, mutant reggae that hurls an early 1980s sensibility into a 2000s era sound-world – sorry, that sounds rather NME pretentious pen pushing piffle but you know what I mean. 6/10
The Johnny Lieberbaum Pops Orchestra –
Shameless Love
The Radio 2 track title and group name provide only a partial clue to the gentle (pleasantly naive) simplicity of this splendid track. It’s easy listening, certainly, but heard in the context of this collection, it is superb. It reminds me of Ronald Binge or the kind of music you might have heard while the test card was on the television (so of course most people reading this won’t be old enough to remember when television programmes never started until the early afternoon or have any idea what a test card actually is). There’s nothing pretentious about this – it quite shamelessly says ‘here’s a gentle, pleasant piece of music for you’ and if I failed to hear the secret, subliminal vocal underneath that urges us all to tear out the livers of prepubescent children while we invoke Satan then I do apologise. The artwork in the booklet is clever too. 8/10
The Glue Machine –
Positive
My God, it’s 1981 again! I didn’t think people still recorded music like this. This is strongly reminiscent of Exhibit A or the superior examples of bedroom recorded cassette albums that people used to send to each other at that time. The recording quality is crisp and clear which means we can hear that delightfully cynical lyric. 6/10
The Earls Of Monte Cristo –
Howling In The Canyon
I really don’t like music of this genre – which is a pity because it’s performed superbly. Actually this seems to me like a cattle ranching deep south of America Budweiser and Marlboro variant of the Laszlo Klemke experience. Why? I’ve no idea – maybe after reviewing 10 previous editions of these bizarre compilations, I’ve finally started to go bonkers. 4/10
The Large Veiny Members –
Narwhale
Oh Christ, this is HORRIBLE! Bloody hell, it’s so IRRITATING! I do like the plaintively sung vocal but it should be much louder in the mix. Dear God, doesn’t this go ON and ON and ON? Squeaky synths burble away in fractured fragments way over there somewhere. This is why I have probably begun to go a bit bonkers, you see? 2/10
The Large Veiny Members –
Yeti
So after they’ve trashed that poor narwhale, let’s see what they inflict upon a yeti. Well, this is a damned sight better than the previous track. I’d like that really deep synth line to be a little louder but this does come on like a pop song that someone has pulled to pieces before selecting a few scraps which they’ve reconstructed wrongly: in other words it’s quite interesting and enjoyable. 6/10
Nil By Nose –
Douchebag
Look, will someone please tell me, what exactly IS a douchebag? On the other hand, no, perhaps I’d rather you didn’t – I’m still drinking my tea and only just finished my salad. Oh, right, I see what a douchebag is now thanks to that taped voice. This is really unpleasant, it simply oozes out of the speakers and drips all over your laptop. There’s a distinct Throbbing Gristle element to this which can only ever be regarded as a compliment coming from me of course. Very synthesiser driven but what’s wrong with that? Nothing! 7/10
Nil By Nose –
So Long, Thanks For All The Masks
Cabaret Voltaire on mescaline – more American taped voices – very strange, rhythm machine and synth driven dance track that I find slightly tedious after a couple of minutes. Yes, it really does go on far too long for its content which is a pity because the actual track is decent enough. 5/10
Howl In The Typewriter –
2012
What an oddly plangent start to the disc – acoustic guitar, gentle percussion and plaintive voices. I didn’t realise Howl in the Typewriter played music like this. There are at least 4 different musical elements here jigsawed together into a composite whole. This is definitely not my kind of music but the sheer energy and effort required to produce a five minute work that contains this many changes in this many styles on this many instruments must have been formidable. I’d prefer the vocals to have mixed a little louder since pStans’ lyrics are usually worth hearing. 5/10
Howl In The Typewriter –
Cheeseburger Eating American
It is a really strange experience to hear my drum machine programme used on a track by a different outfit and in a totally different context. The music is fairly low-key and repetitive but this is fully justified because it enables you to concentrate your rapt attention on this fat greasy moron of a radio presenter who you just know genuinely believes Aerosmith and Bon Jovi represent the zenith of western pop music. He advises pStan to listen to The Beatles, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, The Pink Floyd and The Kinks – er, excuse me, but didn’t something happen in music around 1976 sometime? Wasn’t there some sort of cultural revolution during the 1990s as well? I can understand why someone who likes the groups mentioned above would not enjoy most of the music on a godspunk disc BUT he then suggests it couldn’t have taken much time or effort to create and compile the disc. Not only is this deeply offensive to every contributor but it also reveals the crass ignorance of the speaker – you see (for example) I detest most country and western music but I accept that it requires a high level of musical ability and that it takes considerable time and effort to produce a top of the range C&W album. This chap is saying that because he doesn’t personally enjoy the kind of music on the disc that therefore it can’t have taken much time and effort to produce. How is it possible for such people to exist in a world that has discovered penicillin? 6/10
Howl In The Typewriter –
Chewed By Badgers
Any track with BADGERS in the title is going to be awarded one point immediately. This is another jigsaw track only here its disparate elements are shoved up against each other whether they like it or not – usually they do not. This is a rave track designed to break the legs and fracture the ankles of everyone on the dancefloor. Mozart receives a right bashing, too, which is always a good sign. Just as this begins to become irritating it slams to a swift conclusion. It should be placed on a loop and played to that cheeseburger eating American ALL DAY EVERY DAY until he finally does the world a favour and DIES. 7/10
Howl In The Typewriter –
When I Was A Little Boy
Drums – lots of drums – and then some – plus a Slade sample. Of course, the fact I recognise the sample shows what a severely sad bastard I am, doesn’t it? Oh I see now – various old songs sampled from the 1970s as sonic snapshots of childhood, all set to a drum machine. I’m not sure how much of this I can take – especially since I recognise far too many of them – Gary Glitter was always good fun of course – well, unless you were a little girl I suppose. This all reminds me why so much of the 1970s was sheer hell for people of my generation (I was born in 1966 in case you wonder). The section where Captain Pugwash, Monty Python and Tiger Feet by Suzi Quatro are all superimposed on each other is easily the most effective. The Sweet – yes and what a bunch of bastards they were as well. Creeps. Splink and Smash, yes I remember those adverts, too. Trumpton, Camberwick Green and The Magic Roundabout all appear, too – childrens’ programmes underneath Gary Glitter – naughty naughty! Oh God, bloody T Rex – Marc Bolan: the best thing that sod ever did was die. His greatest hit was a tree. 4/10
UNIT –
Giving It Large
Yes, I was right to send this as a contribution. It fits the compilation superbly and provides a slice of pristine pop subverted by its ridiculous lyric. Now both Luc Tran and Richard Wong have left UNIT I shudder at the prospect of trying to maintain the high musical standards they set, especially with my feeble technical ability. The only problem with this piece is that my singing isn’t as good as the musicians who accompany it. If this was sung by a man or woman with a really clear, smooth yet powerful voice, it’d be brilliant – but it isn’t so it’s not. 8/10
UNIT –
The East Is Red
What a superb (but far too short) rendition of this Maoist tune! As you can tell, I had nothing to do with this which is presumably why it sounds so grand. The bass guitar sound is slightly odd but that caveat aside, I still find this highly enjoyable. 8/10
UNIT –
The Chinese Boy
I know what the original pieces of music sound like so to hear what Luc has done is slightly bizarre. It is effective since he’s managed to include a couple of studio sound-checks not intended to be kept. It features the work of new member Fabian Fritze most effectively as well. The trouble is, now Luc and Richard have gone, I find this piece with the youthful vitality of those Chinese melodies almost unbearably sad. The playing is a little ragged here and there but again, I had nothing to do with this – it would no doubt have been worse had I been involved! 7/10
UNIT – The Sword Of Erin
This is preposterous and yet I really like it – Luc on no less than 7 overdubbed vibraphones. Daft I call it. Again, I struggle even to listen to this – I’ve known Luc since 2003, he’s been on every album since Rock In Opposition Phase 1 (2005) and this is one of the last pieces he recorded for us. Obviously other listeners will be able to enjoy this work (hopefully) as he intended it to be heard. 9/10
UNIT – My Parents...
I realise that in the booklet Richard Wong forgot to credit the chap who played the viola – namely himself! He omitted to mention that Luc plays a Casio VL Tone toward the end, too. Such a magnificent slab of 1980s technology must never be forgotten! I also realise why I rarely play guitar on our records – because I’m so woefully inept. No wonder UJ suggested the prodigious use of flange and delay pedals to disguise my technical limitations. As for the content – sorry, there’s nothing I can say about it. If the vocal sounds ragged, well, for once I have an excuse: it took seven attempts before I could complete one without breaking down in tears. To follow this harrowing account with When I Was A Little Boy was a nice touch. That said, I suspect Godspunk is perhaps not the place for such a deeply personal number as this – then again, maybe it is. 7/10
Summary – for the first time since (I can’t remember) there isn’t an all out mind blowing pure pop anthem by Howl In The Typewriter and the absence of the taurus board doesn’t assist matters either. However, the almost continuously high quality in both musical ability and production from every contributor marks this as another largely successful venture into the realms of independent music with which Pumf is associated.
"
- Andy Martin for (what remains of) UNIT, 2012.

 

godspunk volume ten

(2011)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-six songs from thirteen bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, UNIT, Laszlo Klemke, The Melodramatic Monkey, John Tree, Dimm D3ciple, Seven Footsteps to Satan, Nil By Nose, Cyril Bagels & the Alpaca 5, The Shend, Foxhole UK, The Red Guards and tbd.

"Time for more godspunk, how can we mere mortals resist? And resistance should be futile, because there are some crackers on here. I may be guessing but this is possibly the best of the 10 thus far, what is missing in eclectic acts is made up for in the consistently high level in terms of quality and intent. It’s as if the bands are really going for it this time.
There seems to be a more psychological bent to a lot of the material as well. We have dreams explained (The Stolen Carrot) and UNIT’s monologue on Second Desert is almost Thespian. Lord knows what The Shend want to convey in It’s Lovely Today but it ain’t on the level. And what has happened to Howl in the Typewriter? One minute he’s railing against vaginal discharge and the sexual connotations that faeces could have and the next he’s ranting about Sciatica, whilst telling Lionel Richie to piss off. Oofph.
A number of stompers are here to ensure you can’t with Seven Footsteps to Satan’s, Lava Surf (a hairy, straggly stomp if ever there was one) the gloopy and weird nonsense (otherwise known as Dem Ol’ Llamas) served up by Cyril Bagels and the Alpaca 5. The techno and drumnbass bastardisation that is tbd’s b600 is pretty hot too.
UNIT carry on their war against the ills of humanity; possibly their strongest set of tracks on any of the godspunk compilations: Ming Hai is a great track (about a Chinese takeaway), Universal Soldier and Nazi Scum are powerful tracks and Death to R & R is really something else, a shambolically bad but heroically, epically dismissive declamation against the entire genre of Popular Music. And Laslo Klemke’s weird 60’s Iron Curtain vibe surfaces again; the pastoral Slavic workout that we are given on The Danube Affair apparently is a take on 60’s spy themes. Damned if I can see it but it doesn’t really matter.
Marvellous and invigorating stuff."
- Richard Foster, Incendiary

"Rock & Roll meant something once . . ."
"I was tempted to start this review with a few stanzas detailing the time I met Russ Abbott at a school fete in Blackpool but let's not go there shall we? I'm sure nobody reviews a godspunk album with a lot of shite about them hanging with the stars do they? :-)
A new godspunk CD means many things to many people but to this particular twat it means I'm likely to be introduced to some strange types I've never heard before and it also always means new stuff from UNIT and Howl in the Typewriter. Howl weigh in with a marvellous eclectic set of tunes of which "Hello . .?" caused unadulterated gales of laughter through Biscuit Towers and is the natural successor to volume six's Shitbomb. TMI is pure classic Howl pop and surely it's about time for a new Howl full-length? (I said that last time didn't I?)
Of the usual godspunk mainstays Dimm D3ciple and John Tree don't disappoint neither do Nil By Nose and The Shend. The Shend track is particularly impressive and reminded me just how much of my misspent youth I spent listening to the DCL flexis.
But the annual godspunk best track trophy goes to UNIT this year. I admit I'm a fan but this year they've contributed a superb set of tracks and Ming Hai is instantly in the best 5 UNIT tracks of all time. Besides, any song that begins with the line "Rock & Roll meant something once, but now it's only played by cunts." and then goes on to sound like Zappa's Brown Shoes Don't Make It on a budget has also got to be genius right? Fuck, yeah!
So there you have it. As ever a godspunk album is a mixed bag and some of it you'll like and some of it you won't but there isn't anything on here that isn't worth at least a couple of listens and for me that's what sets the godspunk albums apart from most other compilations CDs. Roll on volume eleven!"
- Biscuit Psychosis, July 2011

"Okay then – me (that’s Richard Wong) & Andy Martin sat here, Saturday afternoon, 2nd July, to review godspunk volume ten. UJ never reviews these things coz he reckons he’d be too rude about the stuff and Luc hasn’t spoken to Andy since December last year so who knows what’s going on? I reckon it’s coz Andy started to collect the complete recorded works of The Lemon Kittens in January and now I’ve heard nearly all of it as well, I reckon Luc has a bloody good reason to feel murderous. Is that really what people used to listen to in the 1980s? Anyway, here goes . . .
Howl In The TypewriterTMI
Wong: They always start these things with a pop song, don’t they?
Martin: Another potential pop song subverted into fragments of spite – the spoken vocals are a little quiet in the mix – mind you, if you reckon this is a pop song then your mind really has been frazzled and bamboozled by being in UNIT.
Wong: No, but it is a pop song – a pop song that’s been put through a mangle and then someone’s tried to iron it into shape again only they’ve spilt acid on parts of it and it’s all gone a bit wonky.
Martin: Only Howl In The Typewriter could generate words like ‘bamboozled’ and ‘wonky’ from us. I like those plaintive cries of ‘T M I’ every now and then.
Howl In The TypewriterLurking
Wong: Here we go again – he likes all those funny noises, doesn’t he?
Martin: Interesting rhythms though – what metre is that in?
Wong: Probably a gas meter. It’s a bit over the top for me – the lyric’s bare sarcastic though.
Martin: You think so? I thought it was about those occasions when you look into a clear blue sky and you can see squiggly lines in front of you because a hair or speck of dust has attached itself to your eyeball.
Wong: He’s playing on Luc’s organ near the end.
Martin: I think there are plenty of people who’d like to play on Luc’s organ and not only at the end, either.
Wong: You’re a sick brother, man.
Howl In The TypewriterFrederick
Wong: It’s that guitar sound again so you know who it is – that vocal sound’s strictly from ELO.
Martin: Jesus, you’ve heard of ELO?
Wong: Yeah man, all big hair, flares and cellos, terrible band. This is a bit better than ELO though.
Martin: Only a bit better?
Wong: Yeah, well, that vocal effect is f****** terrible.

Martin: Actually, yes, it is now I come to think of it. That’s a shame because the musical accompaniment is excellent – mutated funk turned inside out. Yes, a less electronically treated vocal would be an improvement.
Wong: The drum sample and low synth are groovy, though.
Howl In The TypewriterThe Stolen Carrot
Wong: What? Stan being happy? I don’t believe it.
Martin: Don’t worry – he’ll start ranting in a rage any second now.
Wong: This music is excellent – not by itself but under this lyric it works perfectly – it really makes you pay attention to the words.
Martin: He’s just said he wants to paint himself blue.
Wong: Yeah, I know the feeling, we’ve all been there. I usually go for a shade of turquoise myself. But seriously, this might just be a contender for best track so far. As he’s speaking you’re there with him, you’re in the scene.
Martin: Yes, a remarkable track; it’s certainly up there with b600.
Howl In The TypewriterHello

Wong: Hello, it’s Phil Collins . . . or maybe Robbie Williams . . . one of those c**** anyway.
Martin: What a superb ending! Just when I’m about to scream with indignation, Stan saves the day.
Wong: S*** man, let’s play this again, it’s really funny.
Howl In The TypewriterPut It On Top Of The Settee
Wong: Christ, this is dreadful.
Martin: For once we agree – oh Stan, what have you done?
Wong: He’s completely lost the plot – this is boring, man, it just goes on and on with lots of silly voices and stuff.
Howl In The TypewriterSciatica Blues
Martin: He’s used a vibraphone or at least a vibraphone sample.
Wong: Those vocals need more treble, more edge to them, they’re too muddy.
Martin: Well spotted – let’s turn up the treble on these speakers – there! That’s better.
Wong: So what? Shoulda been recorded properly in the first place.
Martin: Coming from a member of UNIT that’s somewhat ironic – the words ‘kettle’, ‘pot’ and ‘black’ come unbidden to mind.
Wong: Yeah, true, but normally Stan produces his stuff really well. Hold on, it’s only 4’ 26” long; then silence . . . what’s going on. Bet there’s something else near the end of the track.
Martin: So are we going to sit here like a couple of c**** waiting for it?
Wong: May as well. Pass us that lighter – time for another fag and a cuppa.
Martin: Why don’t you just skip forward?
Wong: Nah man – that’s cheating. Oh here we go – synths and keyboard stuff with some old bastard nattering over the top.
Martin: Stan likes his backing tapes – some of the text sounds quite intriguing but I’m not able to discern what he’s saying. Something about the working classes is it?
Wong: I’m not sure, it’s all too muffled – actually this’d be better without that silly voice.
Martin: Yes, especially since it’s so badly recorded you can’t tell what he’s saying anyway.
Nil By NoseExplosive No.1
Wong: What on Earth is going wrong here? Daft, I call it.
Martin: Well, it does display an unusual use of how to record voices – they sound almost inhuman – actually this is quite effective.
Wong: No, man, it’s daft.
Martin: Oh all right then, it’s daft – but I like it anyway.
Nil By NoseDragon Ninja
Wong: Another great lyric – this is really funny! It shoulda been called Pity The Poor Ninja or something like that.
Martin: The music isn’t up to much.
Wong: Well, maybe not but it has a kinda sad, sentimental, Cantopop feel to it that really suits those words. You’re in a mood today, aintcha?
Martin: I’m mourning the absence of the taurus board.
Wong: Yeah but be fair, you can’t take it out on all the other bands on here. The only track you’ve been kind about so far is b600.
Martin: Quite right too. Everyone else ought to shape up or ship out. We need some discipline here!
Wong: Okay, well, there haven’t been many out and out pop songs yet, true, but there’s not been a single track that I hate or find unlistenable so far.
Martin: Actually, yes, that’s a good point. The overall quality of the contributions so far has been fairly good, apart from a couple of amateur moments in our tracks.
Nil By NoseExplosive No.2
Wong: I prefer this to the first explosion. There’s more going on here, more interesting stuff happening.
Martin: It’d be a lot better without that infernal drum machine.
Wong: You reckon? No, it’d sound incomplete without that. It’s a bit mechanical, a bit like music made by machines but I still quite like it.
The Melodramatic MonkeyPissing In The Coffee
Wong: This is a bit of a mess, innit?
Martin: Sounds as if Stan has sneaked onto someone elses’ track again. He’s a bugger like that isn’t he? 1970s jazz funk as it would sound if performed by a group of cybermen. Anyone reading this who doesn’t know what cybermen are really shouldn’t be listening to godspunk discs, at least not without psychiatric supervision.
Wong: Oh right – I thought this was ‘Lurking’ – as soon as Stan appears on a track it sounds like Howl In The Typewriter anyway. Well, I suppose if he sang or rapped over a Lee Perry reggae dub or a hip hop instrumental by The Newham Generals then it wouldn’t.
Seven Footsteps To SatanCrow Crested Cobra
Wong: This is just some geezer messing about on a guitar.
Martin: Well, why shouldn’t ‘some geezer’ – or some bird, for that matter – mess around on a guitar?
Wong: I knew you’d say something like that.
Seven Footsteps To SatanLava Surf
Wong: Oh right, well this is much more like it – kinda 1980s synthipop meets early 1960s guitar instrumental after Throbbing Gristle have been at it.
Martin: That’s a remarkably apposite description.
Wong: I’ll take your word for it. No but this is good, man, it’s sorta . . . dunno, like listening to 3 tracks at once that just happen to be in the same tempo and key. He (or she) likes that distorted fuzzy guitar – but it works though. Yeah, this one’s a winner. What d’you reckon?
Martin: I can take it or leave it – but I think I’ll leave it.
Wong: Ah, you’re such a sap, man.
tbdb600
Wong: b600 – sounds like a type of analogue keyboard and tbd sounds like a disease you get treated in a clap clinic.
Martin: Well, you’ve evidently revealed your cultural starting points for all to witness.
Wong: Don’t worry I’m not knocking it – this is the best thing on here so far.
Martin: You mean, it’s even better than UNIT?
Wong: Yeah, at least it’s better than some of that crazy s*** you write. This kind of almost compensates for the absence of the taurus board on here.
Martin: The absence of . . . oh I see what you mean. Yes, it is a bit 1990s – but it has that curious amalgam of 1990s rave track mutated into a 21st century sound; but if you ask me why it manages to sound 21st century-
Wong: Why’s it manage to sound 21st century?
Martin: You had to do that, didn’t you? Well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the use of broken rhythms or the keyboard sample sounds . . . but yes, it’s a barry track, I agree with you. In fact, yes, I think it is my favourite so far.

Wong: Look, here in the booklet – it’s from 2000, even older than that track by The Red Guards. It says here that our pal HeF is one of the people involved – no wonder it’s so good!
Martin: We really are stuck in the 1990s, you and I, aren’t we?
Wong: Yeah, we’ll have to learn to live with the 2010s soon!
John TreeMoon Star Tail Lights
Wong: Here we go: a car engine and windscreen wipers – only I reckon it’s instruments made to sound like a car engine and windscreen wipers. Yeah, this is way cool, man.
Martin: It glitters, doesn’t it? It sparkles, as if from a distance – oh bollocks, they’ve added a drum machine and spoiled it all.
Wong: Yeah, I have to agree – when that beat box comes in the whole effect it ruined. He shoulda left that sound alone and gone with what he had already. Other than, this is pretty good stuff I reckon.
Martin: Yes, certainly in the top five or six.
The Red GuardsMao Tse Tung
Wong: This is superb. It’s the best thing on here so far. Where the hell did Luc find this?
Martin: Well, he was briefly in contact with Kwan Siu Lung, who used to play guitar for UNIT back in the day. We’ve lost contact with him since then. This outfit apparently recorded 2 or 3 numbers before being sent to prison.
Wong: Why were they sent to prison? Was their hair too long or the wrong colour?
Martin: I’m not certain. Luc mentioned one e-mail about the group being attacked by audience members in 2000 or 2001, hatchets drawn at dawn etc. You have to be careful about political statements in China. It’s odd though, you’d think singing a song in praise of Chairman Mao was fairly safe territory.
Wong: Maybe to praise Mao Tse Tung in the 21st century is not a clever exercise, even in China. Well it’s still a superb song, bare hard. The use of a Chinese shawm and saxophone together especially and you can hear every word he sings. Pity the lyric is so, you know-
Martin: -embarrassing?
Wong: Yeah man, big up the red flags and follow you to the end of the world. S*** man, following Mao anywhere, that IS the end of the world, sheer disaster. How can a bunch of Chinese people my age support that crap? I knew communism was evil and stupid even when I was in junior school.
Martin: Yes but you were born in Malaysia where capitalism is virtually a religion and where there are literally people begging for food on streets lined by huge tower blocks where businessmen shift millions of pounds-
Wong: That’s Singapore, you dick.
Martin: Oh. Sorry.
The ShendIt’s Lovely Today!
Wong: I tell you what – this is definitely the best lyric on here so far. This is one of those lyrics that makes me smile and cheers me up.
Martin: I could do without that bloody megaphone effect through which he speaks. The music is already strange enough so it doesn’t require even further weirdness.
Wong: You mean like over-egging the pudding? Yeah, maybe, but I think it fits somehow. A normal vocal sound wouldn’t work either, I reckon – you have to have some kind of effect to make it sound like it belongs to the backing track. Anyway, 10/10 for that lyric.
Lazlo KlemkeThe Danube Affair
Wong: Here we go, we’re in that Greek restaurant on Mare Street, eating kebabs and kerfuffle.
Martin: Kerfuffle? Don’t you mean cous-cous?
Wong: I don’t know, what’s that crap they serve up, looks like brown cement? Anyway, this is just bloody terrible, it’s boring Radio 2 stuff.
Martin: It’s played well enough though – there’s nothing wrong with the technical ability and the recording is really crisp and clear.
Wong: But it’s so . . . sounds like a film soundtrack but one that’s taken from a film I’d never want to watch.
Martin: You really don’t like this, do you?
Wong: Nah man, it’s really irritating. It’s too normal, too middle of the road. I don’t like plink plonk mandolins and stuff, sounds like an advert for ice cream.
Foxhole UKPolitics Of Punk
Wong: This really needs a bass guitar on it – as it is, it sounds too weak and top heavy. It sounds like a track they discovered on one of those horrible 1980s cassettes they used to have back then.
Martin: It’s wretched. Come back Lazlo Klemke, all is forgiven. This is the worst track on here by a mile.
Wong: Nah man, what’s the matter with you? It’s okay, it has power and passion – it just needs a bass guitar on it coz it sounds unfinished as it is. The vocal sound is a bit muffled, too, needs more top edge on it. But as a song it’s okay, it has potential.
Martin: Potential? It has the potential to appeal only to the homicidal side of my nature. It needs to be subjected to extreme verbal abuse, have its parentage called into question and then hurled into a furnace and destroyed forever.
Wong: You really don’t like punk rock, do you?
Martin: No I bloody don’t!
Dimm D3cipleTo The Beat Of The Drum
Wong: This follows Second Desert really well, too, cuz it has a kind of Arabic feel to it. It’s really subtle – it makes something out of nothing – see how that keyboard snakes around now and then in the background? I don’t normally go much on their stuff, at least not the tracks I heard on previous godspunks but this is bare hard, the best track I’ve heard by them.
Martin: It’s rather too repetitive for my tastes.
Wong: Yeah but it needs to be – this kind of music calls for it – this is really convincing, yeah, it’s up there with b600 and The Stolen Carrot as one of the best tracks on here.
Martin: I’m not convinced yet – click on ‘previous’ and let’s hear it again.
Wong: So? What do you reckon then?
Martin: Actually, yes, I see what you mean now. It does work – yes, I think I agree with you. I don’t quite share your unbridled enthusiasm but certainly I agree it’s one of the more memorable tracks on here.
Wong: Right then, well, there’s hope for you yet. See what happens when you stop listening to UJ’s Jethro Tull albums? You start to develop some musical taste!
Cyril Bagels & The Alpaca 5Dem Ol’ Llamas
Wong: Right – this starts brilliantly! Could be good . . . when something eventually happens.
Martin: But listen to that saxophone! This is James Brown for the 21st century.
Wong: Who?
Martin: No, come on, surely not – you mean you’ve never heard of James Brown?
Wong: No – look I’m 19 for crying out loud.
Martin: All right – he’s the godfather of soul. He’s The Man. Look him up on google after this. Anyway, this is probably one of the best track on here.
Wong: Yeah, it’s okay but the mix is all wonky.
Martin: Ah, you mean the bass up front and all the interesting stuff shoved way back in the distance?
Wong: Yeah, exactly. I wanna hear what’s happening.
Martin: It’s obviously deliberate since it’s so self evident but I agree with you, I’d like to hear that organ louder – I’d prefer this without those sampled voices, too.
Wong: I agree with you there – shoulda had more organ and more saxophone.
Martin: Richard, in my next life you may have my babies. We’re definitely in agreement on this. But is it up there with the top three?
Wong: No, not quite – top five though definitely.
Martin: Definitely.
UNIT – Universal Soldier
Martin: This is why UNIT needs a proper singer. The timing is all over the place.
Wong: Maybe you’d find it easier to sing in time if my f****** drumming was in time.
Martin: Perhaps – in any case, we should never have recorded this. I’m sick of UNIT being turned into a tribute band – all we do these days is works written by other bands.
Wong: Yeah but he’s done a good job on this arrangement – Luc played me the original and I much prefer our version.
Martin: Well, so would I if it had someone who could actually sing properly.
UNITDeath To Rock & Roll
Wong: Hey, this sounds really good after b600.
Martin: That’s because you wrote it.
Wong: Don’t knock it – it’s a cracking good idea – it’s just a pity we weren’t able to pull it off effectively. We should have used more different instruments.
Martin: H’m . . . yes, that and someone who can actually sing. It’s a real shame because I love the idea, the concept – it’s so splendidly arrogant – you dismiss the whole 50 year history of pop music and insist that UNIT are the only way forward – real champion. It’s that kind of conceit that I find so entertaining about a lot of rap and grime. The trouble is, arrogance is only really effective if you have the technical ability to support it. To me, this track sounds . . . I don’t know . . .
Wong: It’s a bit budget in places, yeah. My drumming isn’t really up to some of the beats. Isn’t that you doing one of the crazy saxophones?
Martin: Yes, the lower pitched shabby one. UJ isn’t a saxophone player but he’s more of a saxophone player than I am, that’s for sure.
UNITMing Hai
Wong: S*** man, I don’t remember this track being so good – it kicks serious a***.
Martin: Oh beyond doubt, it’s one of the best tracks we’ve ever recorded.
Wong: Well, yeah, you say ‘we’ but isn’t that Luc doing everything?
Martin: Almost – UJ is on bass guitar.
Wong: This embarrassing – he’s our keyboard player yet he’s a better drummer than me!
Martin: Yes, I sympathise. It’s rotten being the two crap musicians in UNIT, isn’t it?
Wong: Yeah and when I hear this I realise UJ and Luc could easily do UNIT by themselves if they didn’t want any vocal tracks.
Martin: I think that’s one of the other reasons I enjoy this track so much – it doesn’t have what Ben Watson refers to as my ‘abysmal vocals’ on it. The constant changes from 4/4 to 7/4, the fairly complex and unexpected harmonic turns-
Wong: So what’s Ming Hai again?
Martin: Richard, where have you been since 2005? It’s the name of his parents’ take-away in Sandringham Road.
Wong: Oh yeah! I forgot, totally lost it there for a moment. But why is this on here when it’s already been used on that Class War album?
Martin: He remixed it slightly and gave a deeper, bigger, wider sound. He also cleaned up the ending. I’m glad he and UJ elected to submit this track to godspunk volume ten anyway because it really is superb.
Wong: Probably coz we aren’t on it!
UNITSecond Desert
Martin: This is an effective piece of programming by Stan – this track follows Lava Surf really well – but why did you choose this for inclusion, Richard?
Wong: Well, I definitely prefer your reading of this poem to Andy Nunn, the guy who wrote it. I know you, UJ and Luc all wanted his version to go on Facta Non Verba but the way he reads it is so dry and deadpan whereas your one has emotion, fear and nervousness in it – there’s a kind of . . . it sounds like you’re dreading something all the way through – there’s a real sense of horror there that’s missing in his version of it. I prefer the lack of instruments, too – just birds in the background, that’s all it needs.
Martin: To be honest, Andy Nunn’s poetry is often so visceral and with such visual imagery, that any music added to it seems superfluous.
UNITNazi Scum
Wong: I reckon I agree with you about UNIT doing cover versions. This is like a jazz band trying to play punk rock. It’s only Luc on that Hammond organ that saves this from being budget.
Martin: UJ wanted us to do it in response to that dreadful attack on the Warzone Community Centre in Belfast by Nazi skinheads last year. The sentiments are superb-
Wong: -so we shoulda written our own anti-nazi anthem instead of dredging up this old thing. The bass guitar part’s good though.
Martin: Yes, UJ really has improved as a bass guitarist recently. But the whole sound is wrong – light jazz drums don’t work on this – which is a pity because you played this really well. 
Conclusion
Wong: Another varied collection then. You know, one of the best things about these albums is the artwork. Some of it is really staggering. Look at the back cover – that’s bare hard, man. There’s a sort of vicious humour that runs through a lot of this.
Martin: Yes, I know just what you mean – humour that bites. The only aspect I dislike and have always disliked is those horrible clowns. Otherwise I agree with you, visually these compilations are highly attractive. But as for the musical contributions, no, for me it suffers from the same property as the previous set – there need to be one or two out there avant garde tracks and there need to be two or three pristine pop songs to extend the sheer range of material on here.
Wong: Yeah, maybe you’re right. Wonder why most contributors never write much stuff but rely only on visuals?
Martin: I’m not sure – perhaps they believe words superfluous and that the music ought to speak for itself? Personally, I like all those comments Luc makes when he sends our tracks in. It’s as if he’s having a conversation with the recipients of the disc. Anyway, name your 3 favourite tracks!
Wong: Okay then – the best 3 tracks are b600 by tbd and To The Beat Of The Drum by Dimm D3ciple while The Stolen Carrot by Howl In The Typewriter and Ming Hai by UNIT tie for 3rd place.

Martin: That’s cheating – you’ve chosen 4! 
Wong: There’s no way out, man, I had to do it.
Martin: Oh very well. For me the choice is both obvious and easy: b600 by tbd, The Stolen Carrot by Howl In The Typewriter and Ming Hai by UNIT.
Wong: So b600 by tbd, The Stolen Carrot by Howl In The Typewriter and Ming Hai by UNIT win the gold, silver and bronze medals! While we’re on colours – the next key colour for godspunk volume eleven should be green – maybe a lime green or yellowish green so it contrasts with godspunk volume six. Purple hasn’t been used yet either.
Martin: Yes, too many reds and oranges – keep it cool, keep it blue – and be rid of those bloody clowns.
Wong: No, you have to keep the clowns – they’re iconic now – as soon as you see those clowns, you know it’s another godspunk album."
- Wong Yit Sinh & Andy Martin 2011.

 

PUMF 686

 

 

PUMF 672

godspunk volume nine

(2010)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-two tracks from thirteen bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, the taurus board, UNIT, Laszlo Klemke, Dimm D3ciple, The Shi-ites, The Melodramatic Monkey, Balkan’oliks, Boxhead, John Tree, Lenin's Virulent Muscle, The Death of the Enlightenment Project and Seven Footsteps to Satan.

"Ah godspunk, what would we musical procrastinators do without you? And  what’s more, volume nine is possibly the best of all the godspunk compilations. Some inspiring and challenging stuff is encased within (as per normal), but where this compilation wins out is the sheer consistency of the material and the compilation’s pace and sonic direction throughout. As seems to be the norm, Howl in the Typewriter kicks proceedings off in lugubrious style:  this time with the paranoid stomp of Edge of the World: (outside of John Shuttleworth’s celebrated number, is this the only popular song with repeated mention of Dandelion & Burdock?).
Following this we have take-off towards an underground Nirvana of sorts, beginning with an old fashioned rave up with a funny ending from the taurus board: (the hod cloppers: the first rehearsal) and something nice but all too quick from Dimm D3sciple. UNIT’s Employment Enjoyment then combines po-faced tweeness, a hilarious instrumental middle section and blasts of intemperate language that needs to be heard to be believed. At this point you really do wonder what on earth is coming next. (As an aside I’d probably say UNIT’s four tracks on volume nine are the strongest I have heard from them: Labor Callum Obducit Dolori is a beauty and Eagle is an affecting tale of social care industry & one unfortunate lad’s fight against it).
Moments of beauty are also found with John Tree’s floating fancy The W*y You Look T
*night (solvent abuse mix) and Howl in the Typewriter’s Whales is another. We get cod spy themes, courtesy of Laszlo Klemke, cod-Balkan knees ups courtesy of the Balkan’oliks and a take on the dreamy instrumentals Paul Simpson used to turn out, courtesy of Boxhead. There are the usual uncompromising sound collages too: The Death of the Enlightenment Project’s Iblis is one such and Melodramatic Monkey’s soliloquy, Giraffe and Egg, is another. And we have a welcome return from the Shi-ites, whose Dopamine Dream is a messy dole-queue ballad of the highest quality.
A brilliant & singular record in a remarkable series, what more can I say?"
- Richard Foster, Incendiary

"Pumf Records' never ending godspunk series is now at number nine, and for that we should all be cock-a-hoop. Showcasing the mad-bollocked bastards of the underground is an essential job and here are another 22 tracks of questionable sanity. A new godspunk is always a cause for celebration even before the CD hits the tray for two reasons. Firstly, it means new Howl in the Typewriter tracks. To this warped mind, and aside from the legendary Dandelion Adventure, Howl is the very best of all pStan's musical projects and things he's been involved in: not always brilliant but always interesting, likely to challenge but often extending melodic tendrils into your brain and the tracks here are no exception. The Edge of the World is prime Typewriter, nice scattershot beats and  farting synth noises evoking an alien invasion of South Pier, vocals are in pStan's "slightly more hysterical John Cooper Clarke" delivery. Ace! The other tracks are of a similar quality, Whales even recalls Joy Division's Atmosphere and words can't really describe Summer Baby. Surely it's time for a new Howl album?
Secondly, a new godspunk means new UNIT stuff. I've become quite a UNIT fanboy over the last few years so much so that I made a 2 disc compilation of all their godspunk tracks and even made my own cover for it. Makes a great listen too. The tracks here are even more wonderful and eclectic than usual, at times there's a Bonzo Dog Band sense of mischief and Minh, Binh & Vinh sounds like a demented Bill Hayley & The Comets. Awesome!
So to the rest of godspunk volume nine, mainstays the taurus board weigh in with a chemical brothers on cheap cider vibe. While maybe not a taurus classic it's fiercely great. John Tree's contribution is mildly disturbing and wouldn't have sounded out of place on Chris Morris' Blue Jam (and yes that is a compliment). Dimm D3ciple's opener is a  tantilisingly brief welding of Tubular Bells and Stephen Hawking. If this hasn't whetted your appetite then you are probably dead. Or a cunt. There's much more genius on display such as The Balkan'oliks and Lenin's Virulent Muscle and this could well be the best and most varied godspunk yet (modesty forbids me mentioning a couple of tracks). So clasp hands, wave your intestines above your head and prepare for the earthworm invasion!"
- Biscuit Psychosis

"Blackpool-based Pumf Records has ploughed a lonely furrow of independence and adventure for years and this latest bargain-basement compilation continues its tradition of shining equal light on the gloriously self-indulgent and the accidentally nearly commercial. Run the gamut from John Tree's inspired take on The W*y You Look T*night to Boxhead's Static and Silence".
- Robin Duke, Evening Gazette, September 2010

"There’s no getting away from the fact that Blackpool manages to house more than its fair share of nutters, and I guess we can call Stan Batcow [or pStan as I think he likes to be known] one of them - but in a nice self deprecating way of course, and not a dangerous ring you up at 6am on a Sunday morning wanting to kill you kind of way. pStan has been steadily ejecting Pumf release from Pumf HQ for donkeys years, and every now and then our courses collide and I actually get off on one of them. The godspunks are welcome and hidden within their myriad depths there usually lies the odd gem waiting to be discovered.
A cursory glance down the twenty two tracks of godspunk volume nine, though, finds me face to face once more with UNIT, a band that I seem to have some difficulty with. I thought I’d turned a corner with UNIT as in a previous godspunk I vaguely remember burying the hatchet and coming out all in favour of their wonky jazz pop punk pap but once again that jarring mix of vibraphone, keyboard, sax, crap drummer with crap singer has returned to haunt me. I imagine them setting up their gear in a pub in Hendon on a wet Sunday afternoon in February, a pub peopled with disinterested punters deep into their cups brooding over a final pint before going home to a damp flat and an angry missus. Arguing over whose turn it is to get the drinks in and who’s having the best amp UNIT eventually announce their presence, skittle through ten numbers to desultory applause before piling into the back of their rusty N reg Transit only to get lost on the way home. I dare say that they’re a decent group of upstanding human beings with all the attributes that combine to make talking to them a positive social experience [their info page on the insert mentions the Angry Brigade and one of them is a spin bowler so all’s not lost] but as ever, I struggle with their music. Let us not dwell on such matters for too long though for merriment is to be had.

godspunks are co-operative affairs whereby each contributor chips in a set amount of money which guarantees them a set number of tracks and a set number of copies in return. Its a win win situation as artists who may find the expense of releasing their own work on CD prohibitive are given exposure whilst finding themselves shoulder to shoulder with like minded musicians. You do get the odd sore thumb though and past comps have seen the inclusion of noise based artists who stick out like pervs in a playground but on the whole they work.
This issues outsider is The Death of the Enlightenment Project whose sub four minute ansaphone cum noise tilt sits easy on these ears but may not be as welcome to UNIT or Boxhead whose lounge ethnic ambience appears from nowhere like the offspring of The Penguin Cafe Orchestra meets The Art of Noise. John Tree’s ‘The W*y You Look Ton*ght’ is equally beguiling; a forties gas lamp crooner ballad that he somehow manages to manipulate into one of Satie’s Gymnopodie’s before morphing it back to its origins - eerie, unexpected and most welcome. Stan’s own project Howl in the Typewriter bookends things as is custom and then there's the usual suspects including the taurus board, Dimm D3ciple, The Shi-ites, Lenin’s Virulent Muscle and the Balkan'oliks amongst a handful of batty others. Its all harmless fun of course and I’m loathed to cast any of it in a bad light seeing as they all seem to be having such a good time but most of it is passes me by leaving nothing on the ears but a vague sense of having heard something wacky and amusing but not entirely lasting. godspunk volume nine is in need of a stand out track and the nearest it gets is John Tree. Where are the Las Vegas Mermaids when you need them? As ever, comes with a full colour booklet and lots of contact info".
- Idwal Fisher, September 2010

"Sunday August 1st 2010 – I (Luc Tran) went to UNIT HQ for a rehearsal and also to do the regular review of the latest installment in the godspunk franchise (with Andy Martin). I had to wait until the end of the Test Match between England and Pakistan (I still can’t understand what Andy sees in this ridiculous sport) – unfortunately Pakistan lost. To compensate, I discovered that godspunk volume nine is up there with the very best of the collections – it doesn’t quite match the glory of No.5 but it must rank among the top 3.
Howl In The Typewriter: The Edge Of The World
LT –  This is a bit of mess, innit? Nice organ sound tho.
AM – The backing tapes – 
LT – You mean ‘samples’ – get with the century.
AM – As I was saying, the backing tapes are most inventive but the music is too fragmented, the changes lack logic – the result is too much like a sonic jigsaw.
LT – That dance-y bit later on is good tho. The lyrics are totally Rob Simone territory.
AM – You’d best explain that for people who aren’t familiar with him.
LT – Oh yeah, there’s still some people who haven’t heard of Resonance 104.4 FM.
AM – There are still some people, not there is still some people – plural clause.
LT – Oh shut your face. Anyway, Rob Simone presents a programme called Head Room every Monday evening on Resonance 104.4 FM. He’s been doing it since 2004 at least. Check out his website – www.robsimone.org – he interviews all these wild and wacky people like David Icke, Uri Geller and some American pensioner who spent 3 weeks living in an underground city on Venus. He also does shows that are highly critical of American foreign policy, too. Right, advert over. So what d’ya give this then? I reckon 7/10 coz it promises lots but, unusually for HITT, never quite hits the spot.
AM – Yes, 7/10 seems fair enough.
Howl In The Typewriter: Whales
AM – If you’re so concerned about being ‘with the century’ then why don’t you ask Stan to change the name of the group to Howl In The Laptop?
LT – No, it doesn’t have the same romantic ring to it. Famous authors used typewriters – any old cunt can use a laptop.
AM – But I use a laptop.
LT – Exactly. Anyway, this is all a bit wishy-washy, innit? Maybe it needs more analogue keyboards on it rather than –
AM – Oh come on, Luc, get with the century.
LT – Shut up, man, you’re not qualified.
AM – Not qual-
LT – You’ve been listening to Black Sabbath all week. Can you honestly say you’re qualified to give any opinion on anything now?
AM – Well, if you put it like that, no, I suppose not.
LT – So I’ll give this 8/10 – it’s catchy and grows on you.
AM – No, it’s too dreary – 6/10 at the most.
LT – You’re just a sad sap. Go back to your Ozzy Osbourne then.
Howl In The Typewriter: Summer Baby
LT – The vocals are mixed way too low on this – makes the piece sound clumsy and unfinished. That bass guitar sound is groovy tho.
AM – Yes, that’s similar to the sound UJ has adopted for most of our recent material.
LT – This sounds sharper and clearer than our stuff.
AM – Yes, the production on Howl tracks is generally highly professional – but I agree with you about the low volume vocals. This really irritates me, actually, despite the nice bass guitar playing. I’ll give it 4/10.
LT – You keep doing that and he won’t let us be on godspunk volume ten. But I agree, it’s a bit of a platypus this piece – I’ll give it 6/10.
AM – A platypus?
LT – Yeah – sounds as if its made up from bits and pieces that don’t quite mix properly.
Howl In The Typewriter: Ram Raiding
LT – What’s that French punk band from the 1970s that Achoi raved about?
AM – Oh yes, odd little bunch weren’t they? Mind you, so was Achoi. What the devil were they called? Paris Maquis – no, that was their single – Metal Urbain-
LT – That’s it, Metal Urbain – well, don’t you think this sounds like them? Imagine if Stan sung in French instead.
AM – Oh I see what you mean – yes, you’re quite right.
LT – I usually am these days. That’s coz I don’t listen to Black Sabbath.
AM – Look, be fair, I was under direct orders from UJ. There’s no need to be so ineffably otiose.
LT – So in-elephantine what? Oh hold on, the Whales have come back. You know, I can imagine this sung by Liam Gallagher.
AM – Liam Gallagher? You have to be . . . mind you though, now you mention it, yes, I see what you mean – my dear old thing, you really are on sparkling form tonight.
LT – That’s coz I haven’t had my IQ lowered by listening to Black Sabbath CDs. Anyway, what d’ya reckon? I’ll give this 8/10 coz its cool.
AM – No, not for me it isn’t. I’ll give it 5/10.
LT – Ozzy fan.
AM – Ha! That’s rich coming from someone who listens to punk rock.
Dimm D3ciple: The Dream
LT – They’re using my vibraphone! Right, they gain points for that straight away. Wish those vocals were clearer – I really don’t like that weird effect that’s on them. Mind you, when that dance beat comes in and it goes all 1990s on us, that’s really effective – oh bugger it, it’s over.
AM – Yes, it doesn’t hang about, does it? I’ll give it 4/10 and most of that’s for the vibraphone.
LT – No, they deserve more than that – 7/10 at least – it’s a nice, crisp sound and that dance bit in the middle kicks arse.
Dimm D3ciple: Stranded
LT – This is brilliant – punk rock lyric over Brian Eno music – this is really odd. I like it, especially those backward bits.
AM – There’s really no need for the swearing though.
LT – What? This coming from the man who wrote Employment Enjoyment.
AM – No, there was a reason for that – I attacked the gratuitous use of swearing by Channel 4 whereas this-
LT – This is an angry response to parts of our society, there’s a justification for it. Ah, there’s that rave-y type beat again – oh, it’s stopped now, just when I was enjoying it, too.
AM – Well, this doesn’t do it for me at all, musically anyway. The lyric is the best aspect of it. I’ll award it 3/10.
LT – Christ, you’ve really lost the plot. There, the beat’s returned and it grooves along nicely. It deserves 8/10 at least.
The Balkan'oliks: Tree Peva Kozol
LT – The bass guitar and the percussion are crisp and punchy – plus that’s a mighty fine strong vocal, too – this lot were good on the last godspunk as well, weren’t they?
AM – I think so but, to be honest, this piece suffers from being in the same bloody key all the way through. It needs more harmonic variety. The chap has a fine set of lungs though and the mix between vocals and instruments is excellent. I’ll give it 5/10.
LT – Only 5/10? No, it deserves more than that – I know the music’s a bit repetitive but it’s only 2 and a half minutes. No, I like this enough to give it 7/10.
The Balkan'oliks: Dicky Dicky Dick Boom
LT – Do you know, this sounds like – well, it has the same kinda feel as those reggae tracks Resonance plays every Wednesday night. Can you imagine this as a dub reggae thing?
AM – Yes, I see what you mean; it does possess that atmosphere. I tell you what, these people can certainly play – I mean, it’s rather simple but the music is crisp, clear and punchy as you said earlier. It’s a strong production but the music isn’t going anywhere is it?
LT – Well, where d’ya want it to go – Manchester?
AM – Oh come on, my little piranha fish, be reasonable. I mean, I’m waiting for something to happen but it never does. 4/10.
LT – But with that fiddle and everything, it makes the piece more interesting. No, it deserves more than that – 6/10 at least. I reckon this bunch could put together a really interesting album – maybe with a few more chords and different instruments used tho.
Lenin’s Virulent Muscle: Turf The Roads
LT – This is excellent! UJ would love this lyric. It’s really funny if you picture Vladimir Lenin singing it, too.
AM – Yes, full marks for the words . . . pity about the music. I’ll give it 4/10.
LT – But the music sort of growls quietly along in a controlled rage, it’s really effective, especially with the contrast between the high female and low male voices. This warrants 8/10.
Lenin’s Virulent Muscle: Spider Crabs
LT – Ooer – this is a bit drippy, innit?
AM – Acoustic guitar valium rock – it’s dreadful.
LT – Oh come on, be fair – the words are good and the playing’s nice and clear. At least he or she can play that acoustic guitar well.
AM – It’s still dreary to the point of being morbid – it’s horrible.
LT – Bah! May all your pies be filled with quorn for ever more!
AM – Fair enough – I’m a vegetarian anyway, have been since 1983.
LT – Really? I didn’t know that.
AM – You didn’t know I was a veg . . . how long have you known me? Since 2002, wasn’t it? 
LT – Well, what about the track then?
AM – Well it is, it’s horrible. I can’t stand this kind of stuff. 2/10 and that’s for the lyric.
LT – They don’t deserve to be dismissed so easily. Mind you, the music is a bit much after a while. I’ll give it 5/10.
The Death Of The Enlightenment Project: Iblis
LT – So what’s going on here then? Ansaphone message . . . someone eating crisps down a telephone line . . . oh shit, it’s one of those tracks, all grim and grisly noises – bloody hell, the speakers are rattling.
AM – Quite right too – if our speakers are to be destroyed then let them be destroyed by something exciting, something vibrant, something that kicks serious arse – so far this is the most impressive track yet.
LT – What? You have to be joking. It’s just a repetitive noise.
AM – Just a . . ? Look, this is the first really impressive track I’ve heard so far – it’s the first piece to display any passion or originality.
LT – That’s being really unfair to Dimm, Lenin, The Balkan'oliks and-
AM – I’m simply being honest. I know The Balkan'oliks have a distinct sound of their own, granted, but their tracks tend to sound similar, to my ears anyway, whereas this piece-
LT – . . . is a repetitive noise. 
AM – Jesus Christ in a tutu.
LT – Well it is, listen to it.
AM – There! They heard you – it’s suddenly changed, cut to a slaughterhouse – now we’re in Jacques Cousteau territory – camera pan to a 1920s salon!
LT – Idiot – that’s the next track. That’s what happens when you listen to a racket that deserves 1/10 and that’s just for the ansaphone message – you’re brain’s gone for a burton.
AM – My God, that’s an old phrase – I’ve not heard that for years!
LT – That’s probably coz this horrible noise is sending me back to the womb.
AM – I wonder what the derivation is of that term, ‘gone for a burton’ – it’s most odd.
LT – So was that bloody racket.
AM – Oh you’re a hard bastard at times – I’m giving it 8/10 at the very least, it’s menacing and merely needs a little more variety in the central section to merit full marks.
John Tree: The W*y You Look Ton*ght
LT – What the bloody hell is this all about then?
AM – No idea – Resonance would love this – bits and pieces – that bloody Eric Satie again.
LT – Eric Satie?
AM – Yes, hear that dreadful piano? It’s his most famous piece. Satie is the most stupid, tedious and boring composer France ever produced. The 1920s gear sounds positively ecstatic by comparison. I wonder if this is an original 1920s piece modified by 21st century computer technology or a contemporary person doing a pastiche or a homage to that era?
LT – I dunno but it’s really irritating. 2/10.
AM – You think so? Well, it is a bit ponderous but it’s also rather unusual – I’ll give it 5/10.
Boxhead: Static & Silence
LT – What’s this in – 6/4 isn’t it?
AM – Probably. Jesus, why does this have to be so repetitive? It’s a shame because this is a really nice, cool groove – it needs a vibraphone or a saxophone playing a lead melody or improvising over the top.
LT – Yeah, I agree, it sounds like a backing track to something. The drums are too loud, as well.
AM – Yes I think so, too. There, they heard us – it’s changed now.
LT – It’s still in that same key tho – I wish it’d do something different – it’s started to annoy me now.
AM – The electric piano does that to most people – I do like it even though it is a bit 1970s.
LT – Yeah, that’s what it is – film music– 
AM – Absolutely! Imagine this played in the background as an angst ridden young detective in side-burns and flares searches for the missing body somewhere in the backstreets of Paris. I’ll give it 7/10.
LT – No, I can’t be that generous – 6/10.
Seven Footsteps To Satan: The Devil’s Janitor
LT – Oh yeah! All right – this is more like it. Yeah, this is the best one yet.
AM – Bedroom rave – the Chemical Brothers without the technology – but I agree with you, it is rather gear. It merits 8/10.
LT – Yeah, it has energy, a wonderful Hammer horror laugh in the middle and – what? Is that it? It’s over already? Right, well, I deduct 2 points because it’s far too short – I was really enjoying that, too. 8/10.
The Shi-ites: Dopamine Dream
LT – More acoustic guitars-
AM – Yes, acoustic guitar valium rock again – bah, this is miserable, dreary-
LT – Shut up, man, you don’t know nothing about anything. There’s a nice folky type of thing going on here.
AM – It’s perfectly horrid.
LT – That coming from the man who owns every recording Gentle Giant ever made.
AM – Your point being?
LT – Well, it proves your opinion on anything musical simply can’t be trusted at all . . . not at all.
AM – What, so you’d like to hear this again, would you?
LT – Yeah, I wouldn’t mind – it’s all right, I mean it’s nothing special but it’s a bloody sight better than that Iblis racket you raved about.
AM – I don’t care – I give it 0/10 because it’s the most irritating track I’ve heard so far and also because I know they’re capable of much better material – they recorded some far superior tracks on previous godspunks.
LT – You better hope they’re not real Shi-ites or you’ll go to work and find your office has been blown up. No, they should have 4/10 at least.
AM – See? Even after all that ingratiating waffle, you only give them 4/10.
LT – Oh shut up, man, you’re just a pussy. Worse, you’re a pussy who likes prog rock. Worse still, you’re a pussy who not only likes prog rock but you don’t even have the decency to be ashamed of it.
The Melodramatic Monkey: Giraffe & Egg
LT – Hello, it’s Stan again. Not content with sneaking onto one of our tracks, he’s crept into this one as well. He has a very distinctive voice, doesn’t he?
AM – Yes . . .
LT – Why’re ya chuckling?
AM – Because he always sounds so spiteful and feisty – always sounds as if he’s ready to insult someone – it’s a most endearing characteristic.
LT – Here, listen to this – it’s gone into a rolling juggernaut groove. This is pretty bloody good.
AM – Yes it is – an excellent bass guitar or bass keyboard sound – and there’s a xylophone!
LT – A reggae groove’s crept in now – this is brilliant!
AM – Luc, I think we’ve discovered the best track on here!
LT – Yeah, there always seems to be one, doesn’t there? I mean, one track on these compilations that’s obviously and clearly superior to all the others.
AM – Yes . . . pity it’s never one of our own works.
LT – But that’s different – we can’t judge that, can we? We’re too close to our own stuff to be able to offer a proper comment on it.
AM – No, it’s the curse of the creative artist ever to be denied the luxury of objectivity.
LT – Fair enough, I couldn’t put it better myself.
AM – No you couldn’t, because you never read books and you always have that damned I-pod stuffed in your ear like so much plastic spaghetti-
LT – Oh shut up, man, and get back to your Gentle Giant records. Anyway, I’m giving this 10/10. What d’ya reckon?
AM – Yes, certainly 9/10 – I think I’d prefer it to last a little longer.
Lazlo Klemke: The Spyral Suitcase
LT – Now, is this really some undiscovered soundtrack from the 1960s or is it Dan Whaley pretending? I reckon it’s him pretending.
AM – Why?
LT – Coz the music’s all too well produced – the bass guitar is deep, punchy and clear. The only 1960s recordings where bass guitars ever sound like that are those on Japanese pop ‘groups sounds’ records. No, this is all too clear and precise – it even sounds digital. This is someone doing a very clever recreation of 1960s spy thriller soundtracks.
AM – Well, you can always check on the net – type Lazlo Klemke into Google.
LT – Okay then, when I go home I will – of course, if you weren’t such a bloody retro-head luddite, you’d be on the internet here and we could check it out and give a more intelligent review of the piece.
AM – It has nothing to do with my hostility toward technology – I simply don’t want the authorities and the advertisers to know where to find me. I intend to remain below the radar for as long as possible.
LT – Oh well, yeah, that’s fair enough; I can understand that.
AM – Anyway, here we are again with that French detective still searching for the body-
LT – No, he’s found it from the sound of this.
AM – Good – now maybe he’ll bugger off and make his racket somewhere else.
LT – You what? D’ya mean to tell me, in all seriousness, that you don’t like this?
AM – No I don’t – I mean to say, hang it all, this kind of stuff has been done and dusted decades ago and it really wasn’t any good at the time so it’s hopelessly out of step with the contemporary scene now. It’s not relevant to what’s happening now.
LT – But does that matter? Is Bach relevant to what’s happening now?
AM – No, you can hardly make that comparison because Bach serves an entirely different function. It’s music designed-
LT – But it’s still ancient music – it might be really good, I dunno, I find Bach and all that baroque and 18th century stuff boring but if a piece of music was really good in 1966 then isn’t it just as good now? Besides, you could say UNIT is retro – if we were that 21st century then we’d be doing slow jams, R&B and grime.
AM – Oh yes, certainly, but you see I don’t believe most 1960s film music was anywhere near as exciting or dramatic as modern listeners would have us believe. Look at all those trendy Camden types who rave about The Kinks, The Small Faces and 1960s pop groups – most of it is utter drivel. What they’re doing is trying to resurrect what they perceive to be a magical era because they’re too young to have lived during it. Well, I was born in 1966 and my only abiding memory of that period is intense bigotry, ridiculous attitudes and desperate poverty. The sixties were only swinging and fab if you were one of the elite minority of trendy young things whose parents were sufficiently wealthy and indulgent to support your decadent lifestyle. If you were an ethnic minority in Britain, the 1960s were definitely not swinging, fab and groovy.
LT – Well, I can’t say much about that, can I? I was born in 1989.
AM – Good – that means you missed the 1980s, the decade that decency forget – crap fashions, crap politics and crap music. This is irritating as well. 3/10.
LT – Oh come on, it deserves far more than that. I’ll give it 7/10. Actually, if it really is an original 1960s soundtrack then it deserves 7/10 but if its people recreating that sound in the 21st century then it merits 8/10 for being so clever.
the taurus board: the hod cloppers: the first rehearsal
LT – Here we go – you can nearly always rely on Hef to deliver the goods.
AM – Yes, usually it’s worth saving the taurus board until last because his tracks generally form the one contribution to any godspunk album on which we agree.
LT – Pity about that voice toward the end tho.
AM – Really? I rather enjoy that about his pieces, those strange, daft people nattering on about this and that.
LT – But they interfere with the music – like when you try to listen to a programme on an FM radio and some other foreign station starts to butt in – that’s what it’s like. I wanna hear this without that voice.
AM – That’s a fair point actually. It’s a kicking groove though.
LT – Yeah, it’s one of his stronger efforts. Let’s play it again.
AM – Fair enough. Do you realise that when people read these reviews, we come across as real taurus board fans? ‘Oh, it’s those lads from UNIT again – well, I suppose they’ll do what they always do, save the taurus board till last and rave about it as usual.’
LT – Tough! We can’t help it if his stuff is always so good.
AM – UJ doesn’t like the taurus board much.
LT – UJ likes Metallica so his opinion is absolutely worthless. Christ, he’s even more far gone than you are.
AM – Oh, thank you very much. So does that mean you accept my love of Ornette Coleman, The Sun Ra Arkestra and Peter Brötzmann?
LT – Oh shit, yeah, I forgot about all that crap – no, I take it back – no-one’s as far gone as you are. Anyway, I’m giving this only 9/10 because of that silly voice at the end.
AM – Fair enough – but I’ll award it 10/10 despite the silly voice!
UNIT: Employment Enjoyment
LT – You know this could be a really good pop song with an excellent lyric but you had to go and spoil it with all that silly saxophone squealing in the middle.
AM – But Luc, I put that in to make the piece more adventurous and less like a normal, conventional pop song.
LT – No, you’ve already achieved that with the lyric and the splendid harmonic progression you asked me to write for the keyboards. It sounds like a bit of one of your avant garde jazz records has gate-crashed itself into our pop song.
AM – Well, yes, I see what you mean. You know, what really annoys me about this?
LT – Your vocals.
AM – Yes! How did you know?
LT – Because you always complain about your vocals – honestly, they aren’t nearly as awful as you think they are. Okay, you don’t have a very powerful voice but at least you can sing in time and in tune.
AM – I still sing like a strangled parrot.
LT – Anyway, I like this version because I prefer pStan’s voice to Richard’s in the spoken bits. I’ll only give it 7/10 because that saxophone and piano string scratching in the middle spoils it.
AM – Well, I’ll give it 8/10 because those aspects improve it!
UNIT: Minh, Binh & Vinh
LT – God, this is boring. I much prefer the version on Sons Of The Dragon.
AM – What’s the matter with this one then?
LT – It’s too much like heavy metal and it’s repetitive, all that daft twiddly lead guitar. I’m glad UJ wanted the Hammond B3 to be used, tho, that makes a big difference.
AM – Yes, your playing has definitely improved over the years – not that it was ever bad.
LT – No but sometimes I went out of time – my time-keeping was dreadful when I first joined the group. This rocks along nicely but it needs something more to make it interesting and less like some 1970s rock thing. I’ll give it 5/10 and even then I’m being generous.
AM – Well, I quite like it, especially since I’m not on it, so I’ll give it 7/10.
UNIT: Labor Callum Obducit Dolori
LT – Here we go again – this could be a really catchy instrumental like Ming Hai but Richard has to put in a bloody drum solo and it’s not even that well played.
AM – You really are dicing with death here, Luc.
LT – No, seriously, if you’re going to shove in a drum solo then you have to be able to use the drums in an interesting and inventive manner – he just bashes away like a maniac.
AM – Quietly bonkers is what you wrote.
LT – Well, I was being polite because he was in the room at the time.
AM – Who’s that on the vibraslap?
LT – That’s Richard as well. He had 5 bloody cymbals and 2 floor toms but it just sounds messy. The aeroplanes are good, tho!
AM – My favourite is your additional melody on that Casio VL Tone when the main music returns after Richard has done his Ginger Baker bit. I missed most of this when you 3 did it.
LT – Well you were reading that crazy book by Frank Key. I’ve never understood what you see in that stuff.
AM – Have you never heard his programme Hooting Yard on Resonace?
LT – A coupla times, yeah, but it’s too silly, I can’t get into it at all. I can get into this, tho. Yeah, I’m actually enjoying this now. Maybe the drum solo isn’t so bad after all. I’ll give it 7/10.
AM – This is the first time I’ve really listened to this since it was first mixed – yes, it really is one of our better tracks – 8/10.
UNIT: Eagle
LT – I’m glad we included this version of this track. It really is one of the best things you’ve ever written. That said, I still prefer the version with your singing.
AM – Really? My dear old thing – but UJ has a mournful, restrained character that really suits this piece. It also means that out of the 4 pieces on this album, I’m only on 1 of them!
LT – Yeah, he sings really clearly, I’ll give him that – you can hear all the words – I really enjoyed playing this – all those unconventional chord progressions. Who is McKenna anyway?
AM – He doesn’t really exist – well, no, he does exist but he’s actually an amalgam of 3 different people I’ve known over the years. The name derives from Joseph McKenna, a young Glaswegian actor who appeared in Coronation Street, the play The Slab Boys by Johnny Byrne and the episode A Little Learning by Ian McCulloch from the 1970s science fiction series Survivors. It was that latter appearance that inspired the piece – he plays Eagle, the leader of a group of children forced to fend for themselves in a post-apocalyptic society, Britain after its population has been decimated by a global plague.
LT – Well, I’m glad you watched it then since this ballad was the result. Is that the same series UJ has been watching for weeks?
AM – Yes – I showed him a couple of episodes in 2009 and he was so inspired he asked me to buy him the complete box set of all 3 series. In fact, I only vaguely remember it from when I was a boy but Andy Nunn sent me the first few episodes in 2008 and I was so amazed and impressed that I ordered the original box set of DVDs from e-bay.
LT – Well anyway, I’m giving this 10/10 because now I’ve removed that horrible saxophone and flute section, it’s perfect.
AM – Indeed? I’ll give it only 9/10 because now you’ve surgically removed the saxophone and flute section it isn’t quite so impressive or interesting! Mind you, it does work as a more conventional ballad like this and you’ve done the remix really well.

LT – Okay then – so how does godspunk volume nine compare with all the others?
AM – Well, I still haven’t heard a collection that matches the almost continual excellence of godspunk volume five but there are a few fine moments on this set.
LT – I reckon it’s one of the best yet. Congratulations and respect due to Stan & Co!"
- Luc Tran & Andy Martin, in a personal e-mail to pStan Batcow, 1st August 2010.

 

godspunk volume eight

(2009)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-three tracks from eleven bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, the taurus board, UNIT, Evil Jack McDeath, D.I.M.M., The Cockfield Two, The Shi-ites, The Melodramatic Monkey, Balkan’oliks, Boxhead and Heffalump Trap

 

"Stan Batcow’s continued mapping of England’s underground lunatic fringe reaches volume eight and brings with it the usual bunch of anti-establishment, off their heads, jokey named, lets-hope-they-don’t-move-in-next-door oddities. And very good it is too.
I enjoyed huge swathes of volume seven and even found it within myself to start liking UNIT and their Chas ‘n’ Dave angst Londoner poppets of verite rap but maybe I’m tiring of them, or life. Its hard to tell.
Lots of new faces on volume eight with some Orb-like ethnic trance via the Balkan'oliks and some experimental wanderings on a track called Ixx Perra Mental by D.I.M.M. in which D.I.M.M. go for the unashamed Andrew Liles/Nurse With Wound dollar with five minutes worth of treated vocals and loops. Maybe Stan puts these on just for me? I’d like to think he does. Nothing hangs around for long so you have to be on your toes: sampled mania in the style of Mixed Band Philanthropist and The Broken Penis Orchestra are the preserve of The Melodramatic Monkey, The Cockfield Two are Bob Log III with a synth instead of a slide guitar, Boxhead play around with the kind of crap you hear blaring out of the windows of a souped up Saxo’s driven by open mouthed 17 year olds with socks tucked into their kecks but maybe I’m being unkind, maybe this is The Art of Noise brought back to life and then again maybe no. Evil Jack McDeath pull into the car park of an all night American diner order two cups of Joe, everything over easy and greasy and then write a song about it. the taurus board, one of the few surviving outfits from volume seven, float about in some kind of drum n synth heaven and Stan’s own Howl in the Typewriter book end things, as is custom, with his own take on pumped up bass driven 80’s pop anthems washed up on Blackpool beach with one hand holding a day-glo head band and the other Carter USM’s Surfin USM single which is apt as the last track is called Beach Bum. I’m saving the best for last though, Heffalump Trap’s Bus Shelter is six minutes of Boris meets a six string Ramleh. A slow melting, slack rimmed beat that comes with squally guitars and a series of slow chord changes designed to make driving with one arm out of the window whilst slowly nodding your head compulsory.
Stan’s godspunk comps contain the coloured drawing pins that litter the UK map of musical oddity. They’re the home for those who react to psychiatrists as much a vampire would garlic. This one has 23 tracks on it, runs to well over an hour and has music by 11 bands on it and I bet you your last fiver it still costs less than a back street blow job by a Blackpool tart."
- Id
wal Fisher 

"Evil Jack McDeath: The Sunglassed Eye - Far too long and repetitive - definitely 1981 cassette bedroom feel to this. 5/10.
DIMM: Ixx Perra Mental - Dear God but this is bloody irritating and there are 6 minutes of it, too. I definitely prefer the tracks on the previous CD because this is intolerable. However, one thing is obvious: this has the most professional sound of all the tracks here and since it is evident that plenty of work and thought went into it, I have to award it at least 6/10.
The Shi-ites: Spatial - Bloody hell, it’s Oasis . . . oh no, my mistake, it’s actually The Sh-iites. OK, so where’s the hammond organ then? Sorry lads, but this is horrible. The vocals are too quiet as well. 3/10.
Heffalump Trap: Bus Shelter - Over 6 minutes of this - hey oop - for that amount of time I want progressive rock, free jazz or decent heavy metal - but this is none of those. Christ it’s repetitive. DO SOMETHING! Change that bloody riff, go somewhere interesting, yes yes yes, you’ve done that same thing for 3 solid minutes now do something else . . . no? Oh. Are you sure you won’t go to another key, a different sonic background or a different time signature? No? Oh. Well, sorry, but you leave me no alternative. I did warn you. 2/10.
The Cockfield Two: On The Hook - The booklet image and text are excellent - but the music is, er, less so. Keyboard too loud, vocals too quiet & I absolutely loathe drum machines (as Stan now knows, having read my review of The Def-A-Kators CD). 3/10.
Boxhead: Sebok Goes To The Shops - This is what those baggy trousered I-pod bedecked Chavs deserve to have done to them! 8/10.
Boxhead: Murderer - More Resonance material; they’d love this. Highly amusing but way too long. 7/10.
The Melodramatic Monkey: Eaten By A Giant Razz - Related to Boxhead perchance? This is from a similar stable. A bit too silly even for me but it could start a new genre: avant garde hip hop. 6/10.
The Melodramatic Monkey: Ragzilla Vs Octopus - The various bizarre sections prevent this from being a ‘skip forward’ job but it’s still bloody tedious after a while. There are interesting moments where it is by turns intriguing and amusing but it still only rates 5/10.
The Melodramatic Monkey: Nipples - This is better, more effective and unpredictable. All 3 of these should be sent to Resonance as I’m sure they’d be played on air. Certainly they deserve to be heard by a broader audience - and no, I don’t just mean fat people. There is something delightfully unpretentious about these 3 pieces as if they are saying ‘it’s okay to have fun with technology’. 7/10.
The Balkan'oliks: Sabaka Casa - More fun with technology but inna gypsy east European stylee. Romany folk songs versus drum ‘n’ bass and why not? A bit tedious after a while but still enjoyable. 6/10.
The Balkan'oliksSyrnyj Poezd - Christ knows how you pronounce that. Again, it’s too repetitive for my ears but still interesting and highly unusual. 7/10.

Howl In The Typewriter: Rainbow Footsteps - Typically nasty lyric backed by mutated pop music; it all sounds unusually murky and muddy but there’s a nice guitar sound. 6/10.
Howl In The Typewriter: (The Very Long Title) - Bloody hell, I’m not typing all that out. It’s a superb sentiment anyway. Actually, the cosmos is mainly just empty space where nothing happens at all. I think it was designed by Samuel Beckett. Turn up the vocals, for crying out loud, so we can all hear them, what are you playing at down there? Superb end quote. 4/10.
Howl In The Typewriter: Seven Men - Highly disturbing taped voice set to totally inappropriate and extremely irritating music so the whole effect is ruined. You’re a cruel man, Stan. 3/10.
Howl In The Typewriter: The Circuit - Harp glissandi (The Beach Boys come to mind) plus sampled church bells that are totally in tune with the music - blimey, Stan Batcow joins New Order. This is absolutely brilliant, mutant pop at its best. Superb. One of the very best tracks Howl In The Typewriter have ever recorded; should be on Radio 1 and X FM on a daily basis. 10/10.
Howl In The Typewriter: Beach Bum - Ah, I mentioned the Beach Boys just now and look what happens. I have a CD on which I have collected all my favourite Beach Boys tracks...so I suppose you don’t want a copy, do you, Stan? No, I thought not. 7/10.
UNIT: One Of The Lads - Can yellow men play the blues? Based on this excursion, apparently not. Why did they ask me to resurrect this ancient Apostles number? It’s ridiculous. My singing is even worse. 2/10.
UNIT: Shameless - I try to be Karl Blake and fail but UJ enjoys himself on guitars and Luc drags his Casio VL Tone all the way from 1983. So that little instrument was manufactured 6 years before he was born. Some of my sax notes are actually in tune - sell out! 7/10.
UNIT: Buckingham Palace Burns Down - The bass guitar is too quiet. Probably the best drumming Luc has ever done for UNIT so far. UJ excels himself on guitar - or knackers himself trying - ee but it’s reet champion all the same. 9/10.
UNIT: Mr Arsehole - Lovely chord sequence by Luc and excellent bass guitar by UJ with his sarcastic vocals that just emphasise what a crap voice I have by comparison. The drumming is only just in time though! 8/10.
UNIT: I Heard Him Call My Name - They insisted we record this and what a waste of time it was, too. The original song is crap and the recording and performance is a mess. Backing vocals too loud, Luc on drums is too quiet. Despite some frantic guitar from UJ, this is still dire. 1/10.
the taurus board: In Der Teestube - The first 2’35” constitute the most boring, tediously repetitive nonsense I’ve ever heard; it’s absolutely abysmal. I’d never have thought it possible from the taurus board. Then at 2’36”, normal service is resumed and we have a kick ass groove straight from the Ministry Of Sound. The first half: 0/10. The second half: 9/10.
Summary: more humour and fun filled frolics on this issue but it requires a few more conventional pop or rock songs plus one or two more ‘traditional avant garde’ pieces (a la Hebetation or Stream Angel) for an ideal balance of genres. Major discovery this time around: The Balkan'oliks - make sure they’re on godspunk 9 please!"
- Andy Martin (in a personal letter to pStan Batcow, Nov 2oo9)

PUMF 630

 

PUMF 602

godspunk volume seven

(2009)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-seven tracks from seventeen bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, the taurus board, UNIT, Maybe Alaska, John Tree, The Richwoods, Arkon Daraul, HRT, Dimm D3ciple, Richard, SAASSS, Upwey-hey, RooHmania, Chelsea from Essex, The Cheeky Buddhas, Ray Reagan and the RayGuns and Las Vegas Mermaids.

"Stan Batcow has been collating the godspunk series for quite a few years now but with volume seven he’s finally pulled together a selection of people and music that bears repeated listening and may go someway to providing a finger post for people travelling in new directions here in credit crunch Britain 2009.
These 18 artists are a varied bunch of mongrels whose Englishness reminds me of Morris men, the M1, wet Sundays and abandoned car boot sales. The miserable clown on the cover is the giveaway as is Stan himself singing ‘Techno techno techno notice’ on the opening track Planet Head. American listeners may need some help here but they can still sit down with volume 7, beef tea in hand and listen to as fine a selection of ‘new music’ as there is flying around these lands today. 
Take HRT, he’s Tony Conrad, Howl in the Typewriter he’s end of the pier techno pop a la Fruitbat Bob and his Carter USM crossed with Paul Hardcastle and the birdy song. I even liked the contributions from UNIT. UNIT being an outfit who, not liking the way I took exception to their piss poor cockney agit punk on previous godspunk comps, decided to write a song about it, I’ve still to hear it. Here they’ve found a xylophone player to augment their angst and it works wonders. Their four tracks run together: Better Dead Than Red is an angry letter to Gordon sung in a dithering falsetto, Michael’s Brothel is a touching lament that seems to be their nod to Elton John’s Song for Guy and Eagle is Patrick Fitzgerald meets Tortoise. There’s nothing better than being proved wrong and enjoying it. 
Water Wings by the Cheeky Buddhas is a field recording of bathers filled with water sounds, ukulele’s [?] and spoons [?]. Its nothing short of a sheer delight.
Last time around the Las Vegas Mermaids sang about bus drivers, here it’s Bruce Willis. The Richwoods three tracks are not that far removed from what The Penguin Cafe Orchestra got up to. Maybe Alaska’s Sound Effects is just that, seven minutes of obliterated mouth organ, 20’s dance hall music, John Carpenter doom and a voice that says ‘sound effects’ in a scary manner. pStan has three contributions but they’re all under different monikers; Richard is straight forward punk, SAASSS is a recording of a French infant class singing a nursery rhyme and Upwey-hey is but 19 seconds of nonsense. John Tree’s track is a piece of film music flummery. RooHmania’s three tracks of soporific ambience are spread at intervals acting as cleansing sorbets. I know I’ve missed some people out but to be honest its hard to find fault with volume 7 so you’ll just have to take my word for it and buy it and enjoy it for what it is - the glorious sound of an inventive island providing a positive alternative to the vast oceans of mundane pop pap that passes for mainstream entertainment today."
- Idwal Fisher

"Blackpool’s greatest set of avant garde music poets compile yet another brilliant CD choc-full of punk & outré tunes to satisfy every taste. I fucking love Pumf, they can’t fail. While the rock world blethers on and on, seemingly forever driving at 3mph round that drearily existential musical roundabout named underachievement, Pumf churn out committed, funny, intelligent and affordable releases by the bucket-load.
Volume seven of the godspunk canon has a number of old friends; Howl in the Typewriter’s demented Planet Head (replete with “advice” & bagpipes) kicks things off in style. And UNIT do a passionate mini set amidships, with Better Dead than Red the highlight.
Picking up on Howl’s occasional screams of “techno” on Planet Head, it seems as if a dye has been partially struck for volume seven. There’s a lot more dancey and droney stuff. RooHmania take us back to 1991 with thoughtless whereas HRT take us into outer space (with a nod to the likes of Coldcut on the way) with The Hairline Crack. And Las Vegas MermaidsBruce Willis can be called a dance track of sorts: (for me it’s like an oddly appealing mix of Long Blondes chanteuse-isms and a spazzcore take on a Euro beat not heard since Jive Bunny). There are the usual oddities too. The Richwoods’ brilliant ukulele tracks Snow on the Sea, Chinned and Uke Crazy Mother, a sonic impression of swimming (courtesy of The Cheeky Buddhas) and a school choir give a welcome levity at just the right times.
Taken all in all, a most enlivening and stimulating listen."
- Richard Foster, Incendiary

"Myself and Luc Tran listened to this CD in the order in which these tracks are reviewed here. Most tracks we played twice before committing ourselves to any opinions. In general, I favour avant garde and experimental soundscapes whereas Luc is more interested in rock and pop pieces. In this manner, perhaps the resultant review will be more balanced and indicative of the contents – or perhaps our views will still be a load of bollocks. You decide.
SAASSS: La La La (6/10)  - Horrible song title, dreadful name – but this field recording of a primary school music session is strangely attractive – taken out of context by appearing on this compilation, the music has a slightly plangent quality. Luc gives this 1/10 – he says its boring – I told you he was a sap.

Ray Reagan And The RayGuns: Dopamine (4/10) - This grunge infected pop song veers too close to punk rock for my tastes – the quiet section works best – the vocalist has precise diction so the disturbing words can be heard clearly as they’re spat out over the distorted guitar noise – Luc gives this 8/10 but then he would.
HRT: The Hairline Crack (5/10) - If Five Or Six were alive and active today, they might just record music like this – guitars like humpback whales – drenched in reverb and digital delay – my one complaint is that this is far too long for its content – after about 3 minutes I become bored with it. Luc, being perhaps more patient, awards this 7/10.
Arkon Daraul: The Dogs / Fording Principle (9/10) - This is the kind of sonic weirdness Cherry Red used to release circa 1981 – so it should sound old fashioned and dated – but it doesn’t! Why? I don’t know yet – perhaps it doesn’t matter – this works because it creates an interesting and slightly disturbing atmosphere (and boasts an intriguing title, too). Luc also gives this 9/10 because he’s a genius.
Las Vegas Mermaids: Bruce Willis (9/10) - In our brief experience, this outfit are generally much more satisfying in live concerts than in their studio recorded work. However, they have a hit here: they’ve managed to create a wonderfully spiteful assault on Hollywood action heroes set to a pastiche of 1980s synthi-pop that positively oozes sarcasm with its combination of satirical text and smooth, sexy female vocal delivery. Luc goes further and awards this 10/10 so this is definitely the hit single from the compilation.
Dimm D3ciple: Take A Day (1/10) - So come on chaps, just how do you pronounce ‘D3ciple’? Christ, I can’t stand this, it really irritates me! Luc gives it 7/10 because, unlike me, he isn’t allergic to acoustic guitars. He reckons this would sound even better if there’d been a vocal harmony going with 2 singers.
Dimm D3ciple: Smoke Screen (2/10) - Bloody hell, what an excellent introduction – then it goes tits up and enters Mike Oldfield territory – bah! Luc, who says this would be excellent if that ‘noise’ at the start was removed, still gives it 8/10.
The Cheeky Buddhas: Water Wings (7/10) - This is from very similar territory to La La La – manipulated field recordings – but that insistent marimba rhythm becomes irritating after a while. On the other hand . . . I can’t make my mind up about this. As more instruments are added, it becomes more interesting – an African sound – then the clarinet enters and I’m hooked! Even Luc is prepared to give this the benefit of the doubt with a generous 8/10.
Maybe Alaska: Sound Effects (6/10) - Is that Little Walter on amplified harmonica? Is that Brian Eno on synthesiser? Is this ‘a tedious self indulgent seven minute sonic mess’ (Luc) or ‘an intriguing exploration of distortion on disparate juxtaposed musical genres’ (me)? The 5/4 rhythm that kicks in around 6’ heralds the section that convinces me: ‘if you don’t stop (garbled) down the stairs while I’m recording, I’ll f****** explode’! Luc shamelessly awards this a mere 1/10.
Richard: My Life As A Supermodel (1/10) - Christ, is this a mess or what? It’s horrible! Sounds like the singer’s stood next to me while the band is in the basement. Luc likes the lyric so he gives it 4/10.
Upwey-hey: Clare’s Noodle (1/10) What on earth is this all about then? Luc mutters ‘too silly’ but still gives it 3/10.
John Tree: The Fetishist (8/10) - My God, this is so cool it’s straight out of the fridge. It needs a saxophone instead of that irritating banjo, though. The keyboard lends an aura of menace. The pizzicato string section is effective. The title really suits this mood music. Now look at Luc, he’s given it 4/10, says it goes on too long, what a pussy.
Chelsea From Essex: Deal Ear (1/10) - This hurts my ears – if Whitehouse wrote pop tunes, they’d sound like this. I don’t mind telling you this is driving me quietly bonkers. Mind you, it’s obvious a fair amount of thought and effort has gone into this. Luc says it makes him laugh – maybe it’s driven him psychotic? He gives it 2/10.
RooHmania: Thoughtless A (4/10) - Vangelis meets Tangerine Dream, God help us. Luc gives this 2/10 – well, really!
RooHmania: Thoughtless B (6/10) - Vangelis meets The Tomorrow People – this is a definite improvement – an apparently gentle new age electronic wallpaper piece but there’s an unhealthy threat of violence in the background. Luc gives this 2/10 as well – there’s no pleasing some people.
RooHmania: Thoughtless C (7/10) - Vangelis meets Tangerine Dream in the Tomorrow People laboratory – probably the best of the three – but these are at their most effective when the trio are joined together to make a continuous work. Luc gives this 6/10.
The Richwoods: Snow On The Sea, Uke Crazy Mother, Chinned (6/10) - All 3 of these otherwise delightful ukelele pieces are seriously spoiled by the O.T.T. reverb that has been plastered over them – the final piece works best, perhaps because the effects actually become part of the music – but it sounds unfinished – still, it makes a change from the electric guitars and cheesy keyboards favoured by most other groups. Luc gives this 4/10 which is bit cruel, surely?
Howl in the Typewriter: Planet Head (8/10) - It hovered between 7/10 and 8/10 – then the bagpipes kicked in – that did it! Luc only gives this 6/10 because he’s a sap.
Howl in the Typewriter: Dandelion (3/10) - Sorry, Stan, but this falls way below your normal standard – we wait for something to happen but it never does. Even Luc, who normally enjoys HITT, can only go as far as 4/10.
Howl in the Typewriter: Garden Of Eden (7/10) - Nice use of choir sample and drum track in related rhythm – closely recorded spoken vocal is oddly disturbing – on second hearing this is really rather good – especially the sentiment spoken clearly at the end with which we both agree totally. For that reason alone it deserves the 8/10 Luc awards it.
the taurus board: Starfish (8/10) - The best aspect of godspunk CDs is that there is always a taurus board track. This is the one outfit that both Luc and I agree on, i.e. we reckon they’re bloody brilliant and that anyone who disagrees with us is simply wrong. I was a raver in the 1990s so I have an excuse – Luc missed it all (he was born in 1989) so with him there’s no possible accusation of nostalgia kicking in. However, this (like all their contributions so far) is not retro – it’s rave music for the 21st century. Once again, Luc starts jiving and dancing and I have to stand up and join in. That’s the effect this outfit has on cool, groovy people. As a piece of music to hear through speakers in my home, it loses some of its effectiveness, being rather repetitive: in a club with the right vibe this would be a kicking tune! Luc awards it 9/10.
Finally, it’s over to Luc for our own group.
UNIT: Scoop Six Place Pot (6/10) - I wrote this to give UJ a hard time on bass guitar. I find punk rock really funny – it’s silly but enjoyable. The drum sound is crap, mainly because I can’t really play drums, I just fake it. The title is by Birmingham poet Andy Nunn and is something to do with betting on horse racing. I enjoyed this at the time but hearing it now, it’s a bit moronic. Andy gives it 3/10.
UNIT: Better Dead Than Red (7/10) - The music to ‘F*** Off Gordon Brown’ is used for a new lyric by Andy which I think is a bit worrying because it veers too close to the BNP manifesto for my liking. This music is brilliant, one of his best pop tunes, but those words make me cringe. Andy gives it 9/10 because he’s a right wing nutter.
UNIT: Michael’s Brothel (6/10) - The title is by UJ – we’ve been trying to persuade Michael to join UNIT for nearly 2 years – he’s a better keyboard player than I’ll ever be – and he rattled this off in one take then asked me to add electronic keyboards and a bass guitar part. UJ does okay on bass but I’m not sure this actually needs the vibes – the time keeping is a bit suspect in places too. Andy gives it 7/10.
UNIT: Eagle (10/10) - This is easily one of the very best pop songs Andy has ever written – it’s bare hard – excellent words and strange, haunting music – I like the interesting harmonies, the Wire guitar and the vocals by UJ – a version of this without the guitar and with Andy singing instead of UJ is on our latest album ‘Class War' but both Andy and I prefer this version. UJ insisted what he considered the ‘better’ version (with Andy singing) be included on the album – well, he was wrong – this is the definitive one! Andy only gives it 8/10 because he reckons the central saxophone section spoils it.
In conclusion: far more purely instrumental works on this compilation than previously – which makes a pleasant change – but this needs a couple more out and out pop or rock pieces for variety. On the whole this is still one of the best godspunks yet."
- Andy Martin (in a personal letter to pStan Batcow)

 

godspunk volume six

(2008)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-four tracks from thirteen bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, the taurus board, UNIT, The Haddenham One, Jaw-D, Bartles, John Tree, The Shi-ites, Evil Jack McDeath, Turn Leathers, The Style Pigs, DimM D3ciPLe and Elwyn Temple Meads.

 

"Stan Batcow’s steady trickle of lunacy continues with Pumf’s sixth volume of godspunkyness. After four attempts and varying degrees of success [in my opinion anyway] Stan finally hit pay-dirt with a cracking volume five. Juxtaposing a single noise track around the usual bunch of non-conformist popsters like the Las Vegas Mermaids, Needle Park, Stan’s own Howl in the Typewriter and the implausibly named Satan The Jesus Infekt’d Needles and Blood [amongst a host of others] he managed to harness all that ribald lunacy into a single cohesive unit that was both listenable and for once, repeatable. If dotty pop songs coupled with the fringes of mental health are your bag you missed out.
So to volume six. I see Unit are still there. Last I heard, London ‘punk’ agitators UNIT had taken time out to pen a song deriding yours truly. Not content with hating multinationals and loving trees they seem to have taken a dislike to Idwal Fisher. I can only assume they have more time on their hands than they know what to do with. Here they chip in with a song called Eco Warrior Blues which if I was in charitable mood would suggest was a cocky, cheery pub rock Greenpeace anthem but I’m not - think sub Chas ‘n’ Dave penning an anarchist anthem after too many ales dahn the Elephant and Castle.
The Haddenham One’s sampled voice repeating the line “they spilt my medicine’’ over rumbling dubious hip hop cheers had me in its thrall. Characters like Evil Jack McDeath, The Style Pigs, The Shi-ites, Bartles and Elwyn Temple Meads populate godspunk releases like tramps on a park bench on a warm day. When not knocking out witty sideways-on songs about mental elf and stuff they build up dreamy techno-y worlds like DimM D3ciPLe [yes that is how its spelt]. So there’s something for everybody y’see. Top trumps on volume six tho is Stan’s own Howl In The Typewriter outpourings. The man comes at you like a demented Stock Aitken and Waterman production and because its his label he can have six goes - the best of which is a split channel affair; one channel sounding like someone putting on an anorak in a gale and the other a lonesome industrial drone. godspunk discs are little pieces of creation that every dysfunctional, tee-total, alcoholic, tree hugging, London b-boy, mental health sectioned largactyl numbed person should have. Keep em coming Stan."

- Idwal Fisher

"Ye Gods! How good is this compilation? Pumf’s collation of all that is weird, wonderful and uncompromising continues with godspunk volume six. As usual there is a plethora of sounds and attitudes ranging from the thumpingly assertive to the downright mad. Howl in the Typewriter’s Weigh How is a fabulous indicator of things to come. The weird synths couple with an oddly charming melody and increasingly demented vocals. It’s poppy, amateurish and lots of fun but it’s not normal lad, I can tell you.
A number of acts are highlighted on godspunk; Jaw-D make high energy lo-fi pop songs to die for, (Let ‘em Dance); Evil Jack McDeath creates short, snappy sampled guitar growls (Interference, Hijo de Puta) and Howl in the Typewriter continue to make warped pop throughout the length of the record; (Shitbomb being their affecting take on Sexbomb). The Style Pigs make an eclectic and refreshing racket with stuff like Hog II and the brilliant Mr Hatchet Dead Man.
My favourites come late on; the magnificent Elwyn Temple Meads somehow contrive to keep kitsch out of their affecting tales of the Isle of St Claire (if it is a piss-take it’s still a very charming one, la) and UNIT’s shambolic but utterly riveting Eco Warrior Blues is great. The Haddenham One ft. John Tree’s timorous is a menacing collage of samples that opens out into a dance track of sorts.
If you’re on the look out for something different, then this is your release, it’s a brilliant compilation."
- Richard Foster, Incendiary

"A compilation CD full of real Alternative & Underground music, they dont come finer than this! Pumf Records put a whole new meaning to the word 'Art'. Their musicians being given the freedom to produce interesting, amusing and avant-garde music, at a level you'll be pushed to find elsewhere. The CD includes Howl In The Typewriter, Elwyn Temple Meads & Evil Jack McDeath but to name a few."
- album of the week, April 4th 2oo8, StarshipOverflow.com

"Howl in the Typewriter: Weigh How - It is due to tracks like this that I much prefer Howl in the Typewriter to the Ceramic Hobs. There is a slightly 1980s synthipop aspect to this is highly effective, not unlike Exhibit A or Twelve Cubic Feet. Luc says it oozes with suggestions of menace but I reckon he’s just quoting a review by someone else of a different piece entirely. 8/10.
Evil Jack McDeath: Interference - A bizarre instrumental that threatens to break into something interesting but never quite manages it. If it was a little longer perhaps I’d prefer it more. Still, it’s worth 7/10.
Jaw-D: Let 'Em Dance - Boring monotonous tedium recorded in a biscuit tin – which is probably rather a cruel thing to say but then it’s rather a cruel number. I did enjoy the occasional electronic noises that shoot across the piece. 2/10.
The Style Pigs: Fountain Of Blood - This is another of those songs that irritate me because it uses one of those old cliché chord progressions – although the brazenly vitriolic words do provide a highly bizarre contrast. 5/10.

Howl in the Typewriter: Shit Bomb - Well, this is related to the previous number really – less than interesting music plastered with raucous invective that is too violently cynical even for me to be in total agreement with it but by ‘eck, what a mushroom cloud laying lyric! 6/10. NOTE: So it’s a crying shame that, after trying 11 different copies of the CD at random, this 1 track will not play properly all the way through on any of them – this is hardly deliberate since the skips and crackles are not identical on each of them but similar, i.e. they appear at around about the same time and continue, off and on, throughout most of the song. NOTE: Oh all right, so it IS deliberate you awkward sod.
John Tree: Fen Rap - A ‘nothing’ number – I had to play it a second time because the first time it made so little impression on me. No, sorry but it’s no better the second time around either. 2/10.
Turn Leathers: Rock & Pop Volume 1 \ The Rise & Fall Of Western Capitalism - This starts in Henry Cow mode then comes on like a northern answer to Derek & Clive – although the music is far more interesting! The first time I played this it irritated me but parts of it amused me so I played it again and it improves on second hearing – a kind of avant garde approach to humour while still, possibly, making a serious point – or maybe not. Who cares? It’s stuff like this that reminds me how incredibly pompous I can be at times. We need tracks like this to remind us we’re still just animals with I-pods and a neat line in designer sportswear. 8/10.
The Shi-ites: Swirlygig - Nice bass guitar sound – nice guitar sound – nice keyboard sound – pity about the music. (Ooh we are in a crabby mood this evening, aren’t we?) Sorry lads, I want to like this but there’s something missing from what should be a groovy instrumental. It’s vaguely 154-period Wire in sound – that’s certainly a compliment from me. I like the way this submerges itself underwater towards the end. 6/10. Now we’ve just gone back and played this again – yes, on second listen it merits 7/10.
Howl in the Typewriter: Iodine Twat - Oh it’s these miserable bastards again. Backwards doesn’t cut it, folks – it still sounds like an unfinished backing track. 3/10.
Bartles: The Psychiatrists Head - Thank Christ this bunch returned for another stab at godspunk – their previous 2 contributions were superb so I was prepared to be disappointed this time around – but no, this also makes the grade albeit in a very different (cool jazz) musical mode. The kind of incisive lyric we’ve come to expect from this lot with that ever reliable combination: fury and humour. It rarely fails. 8/10.
Elwyn Temple Meads: All Right Me Lads - Lyric: excellent assault on folk music clichés. Music: bloody terrible, ruins the whole effect. This extremely amusing text deserves much better music than this. 4/10.
Intermission: as an aside, I notice that there are many short tracks this time around as opposed to a few longer works. This means few tracks are ever long and tedious (apart from our contribution) but some do sound like disposable filler material. From here on I listen to the tracks in a slightly different order from how they appear on the disc.
Elwyn Temple Meads: Isle Of St Claire - Lyric: excellent assault on folk music clichés. Music: bloody terrible, ruins the whole effect. An extra point because these words are even better! The music, like its companion All Right Me Lads, is simply too normal, too restrained, to do adequate justice to these wonderful words. 5/10.
Howl in the Typewriter: Never Killed Anyone / This Way Down - Ah well you see I cheated – after I played this, I listened to it again but this time with both tracks re-mastered as mono tracks in both channels. This Way Down is one of the worst things I’ve ever heard; it’s dreadful. 0/10. Never Killed Anyone is superb and probably the best thing on here. 9/10. As a ‘single’ number, it doesn’t work when combined – one interferes with the other and spoils the effect. 3/10.
DimM D3ciPLe: Saw You Again - Dreadful folk suddenly gives way to electronica – I absolutely loathe this but it has to be said this is well put together and finely crafted, very professional in performance and arrangement – pity I can’t stand it! 1/10.
The Style Pigs: Mr Hatchet Dead Man - Much too punk rock for me to enjoy, not my cup of tea at all and I detest vocals when they’re put through that megaphone effect. So there. It’s even more annoying when this lot write lyrics that are generally interesting, too. 4/10.
Vance Palmier & Evil Jack McDeath: Hijo De Puta - Again, it’s too short – just when I start to enjoy it, it fades out. You tight fisted buggers! Come back here an’ play dat banjo, boy. 6/10.
Howl in the Typewriter: Three Chrome Hooks - More marvellous lyrics – one thing that Volume 6 has in spades is a far higher quality of texts this time around which make the brief instrumental contributions even more worthwhile. Anyway, this is another winner although the bass is far too quiet. 7/10.
The Style Pigs: Hog II - Too much punk rockery for me here, far too much in fact. Oh, see? They heard me – it’s gone all 1980s synthi-funk – which is even worse! 1/10.
UNIT: Eco Warrior Blues - Now, compare the actual sound of this to most of the other tracks on here . . . and I had the nerve to accuse Jaw-D of sounding like they’d recorded their piece inside a biscuit tin. Well, what’s this, then, Tupperware? Also, here are six and a half minutes why I should not be encouraged to play saxophone on any of our recordings. Technically this is probably the worst contribution we have ever submitted for godspunk, at least since Volume 1, and apart from some of the keyboard playing by Luc, most of this sounds spastic, amateur and woefully inept. It’s painfully obvious here that I can’t sing for peanuts either. Worthy lyrics, yes, but those poor departed extinct species deserve a better send off than this clumsy sonic mess. 3/10.
Evil Jack McDeath: Miercoles - You see? A big professional sound with people who actually sound like they can play their instruments and enjoy doing so. Oh, that’s it, finished – another one that’s at least a minute shorter than it should be. 7/10.
Howl in the Typewriter: Nation Of Two - A curious deliberate use of atonality which sets off the plaintive text nicely – although this whimsy soon descends into brutality before too long, naturally! One of those almost unbearably intimate songs that make Howl in the Typewriter one of the more unpredictable outfits to parade their wares on godspunk. 8/10.
The Haddenham One: timorous - You know what I said about the pleasant absence of long tedious tracks apart our own messy affair? Well, I spoke too soon. Unlike our track, however, this doesn’t sound like it was cobbled together in a biscuit tin by a bunch of amateurs. This reminds me of early period Nocturnal Emissions although I’m not sure why. 5/10.
Jaw-D: Story Time - Remember those late 1980s computer games? Failing that, think of the Sega or some of the music used on early Playstation 1 games – that’s what this is – after it’s been filtered through life experienced in the 1990s. I absolutely hate this; it actually hurts my ears! But at least it has personality and character. 2/10.
the taurus board: Angel One - Luc is actually up and dancing! Oh sod it, that’s it, I’m joining in. Why should these teenagers have all the fun? Yo, gonna bust me some moves here! Right, let’s play this bugger all over again – yes, another winner from this dynamic duo. Their Bus Stop things on the previous collection were a little disappointing but with this cracker they’re back on track. It could do with a bass guitar or bass sample of some kind, though, says Luc – and as usual he’s right. But it still deserves 8/10."
- Andy Martin (in a personal letter to pStan Batcow, Feb 2oo8)

PUMF 588

 

Why Aren’t You Listening? – The Godspunk compilations
"Not so long ago I gave godspunk volume six a deservedly positive review in this Organ. And lo! There soon came through the post volumes 1-5, each bearing the distinctive (nay, trademark?) cover artwork; that of a slightly out of focus clown face, and each boasting titles that just scream out for recognition. I can’t resist sharing the title of this track that nestles on Volume 5 with you:
Thank You For Being Insane Pervert Human Being – Try Getting A Hearing Aid On The N.H.S., Shithead (Sorry If This Is Printed Upside Down)
That’s by Satan The Jesus Infek’d Needles And Blood. And it sounds like five minutes of screaming bloody madness.
There’s only one thing to do when faced with this sort of challenge, (or that sort of song title) and that’s listen to the entire 5 volume set; which I did. I can say I enjoyed it thoroughly. This is music with a grand, profound agenda; even if, (as with Howl in the Typewriter or Norman) it sets out to take the piss at times.
The music mostly consists of cut ups: lo-fi, sometimes wildly sloppy punk, bedroom rave and ‘dark’ techno; or fabulous bitter singer-songwriter rants. Howl in The Typewriter (with his scuzzy acidic agit-pop) is an ever-present, as is the fuzzy righteousness of UNIT. Acts to look out for are the brilliant Litterbug on volumes 3 and 4; their thrashy tales of suburban underachievement, (Who am I? and Looking Back Then) are fucking out there and should be dance-floor staples. Things veer from straight forward song-writing, like Las Vegas Mermaids’ tremendous Bus Driver (which graces volume 5), to obtuse ideas; a great run of found sounds and acoustic balladry from pinkeye can be found on volume 2.
There’s far too much to describe, really. But it’ll keep you off the streets for hours.
To be honest this is a series that really deserves a place in your collection. Just like those beaten-up small town classics that make up the Pebbles and Rubble compilations, these LPs offer a flip side view to what’s going on. It is also highly intelligent, contrarian, raucous music and genuinely looking out for a chance to expand your mind. It’s all way too honest with itself to play any pop-star games, this in a sense is true punk; no star trips, no entertainment schmaltz, just perverse, searching musical enquiries. Great sleeve notes for each volume, too."
- Richard Foster, Incendiary

 

PUMF 560

godspunk volume five

(2007)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-five tracks from fourteen bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, the taurus board, UNIT, The Haddenham One, Jaw-D, Bartles, John Tree, Needle Park, Big Ron Turner, Mrs Edna Watley, Evil Jack McDeath, The Charles Napiers, Satan The Jesus Infekt'd Needles And Blood and Las Vegas Mermaids.

"At the fifth attempt Pumf finally manage to put together a godspunk comp that is not only eminently listenable but worth returning to not just once but several times over your lifetime.
I'd almost given up on Pumf supremo Stan Batcow to deliver a more than cursory listen godspunk but with number five he's not only given me something to treasure, it also contains three UNIT tracks that I didn't hate and and and get this kids A POWER ELECTRONICS track. Yessirreebob surenuffandyeshedoes knock me over with a feva lawks a mussey etc etc etc there it is track nine Wound. Whether that's the artist or title track I dunno but the refrain of 'fucked if you do fucked if you don't' over prime Con-Dom like ear batter had me all weak at the knees and ready to dash out and buy Stan a drink and then I remembered, he doesn't drink. But then I search on the incredibly well put together booklet that makes up the cover and there's no contact info for Wound so I begin to wonder if this is some kind of wind up but what the fuck it's a good track let it be for what it is.
So, godspunk five. Some of the names may be familiar. UNIT for one. But here they ditch that lame punk crap for some mighty parping. It suits them better. The 25 tracks kick off in fine style though with some Carter USM like pop brightness from Howl In The Typewriter. Three minute perfect pop don't you know. The man is massively underrated. There seems to be some Hobs involvement in the shape of The Haddenham One who sneaks in a few lines of Milovan's Raven [I'm gonna fuck you up the ass tonite!] in Rave 'Un and some Hobs lines from Amateur Cops in Amateur Dub then again in Satan Jesus and the Infekt'd Needles and Blood who play destroy everything Hijo like on the ridiculously named Thank You For Being Insane Pervert Human Being - Try A Hearing Aid On The NHS Shithead [Sorry If This Is Printed Upside Down]. Needle Park sound like an instrumental shoegazing band, which may not be a bad thing seeing as there seems to be some kind of revival in such matters if my reading of the runes is correct. There are but a few low-lights this being mainly some kind of techno babble from the taurus board whose version of Bus Driver [I'm Going Home] sounds like the crap that emanates from the open windows of badly customized Peugeot 106's driven by young men wearing baseball caps. There's a 40 second track that sounds like a warm up to a whirling dervish session from Big Ron Turner that seems to be chucked in for the fun of it. Enough of these trifles though for track 8 sees The Las Vegas Mermaids encapsulate everything that is bad about getting on a bus in this country with a syncopated bopping bass version of Bus Driver that is quite possibly one of my favourite tracks of the year. After hearing the bus set off and a quick tinkling of the bus bell female Vegas vox Fay Greenhaigh tears into her bus driver with a resigned familiarity; 'No I don't have change I have a note though it is legal tender' before looking out of the window and realizing she's lost and being kidnapped [I only wanted to go on an 18-30 holiday - where is the station?]. Sheer pop perfection that deserves to get The Las Vegas Mermaids on Top of the Pops or failing that Richardand Judy.
There's probably some folks I've missed out here but that's all the more reason for you to get your hand in your pocket and buy it.
For once I'm looking forward to the next godspunk installment."
- Mark Wharton, Idwal Fisher, 2007

"godspunk is a series of compilation CDs my friend & longtime Hob Stan Batcow's Pumf label puts out. Released by pooling money from the contributors, its an easy & relatively cheap way to make available stuff you've done to lots of people who just might like it, on shiny little discs & with the luxury of a nice package. Natty.
Erm . . . I should also mention that I'm on it. Ah well, why not. Its certainly not a Philfest, with a mere six minutes of my addled ideas being wrestled into shape by said Batcow at his homestead studio (on this occasion in the form of some Hobs remixes). This is more like an excuse to talk a bit about the other people on it. Last Sunday afternoon was spent reviewing it alongside some of the other contributors, as we snapped jewel cases together, inserted booklets & got ready to receive our allotted copies. I'm listening again now & feeling it settle nicely, like all the other ones before it.
As usual, Stan provides material himself. His long-running Howl In the Typewriter project offers both brief musical conceits & longer, considered pop of a beguiling nature. Howl completists have a rich history to work on, as he revisits the feel of warped tunesmiths from the Beatles to my bloody valentine. Bartles is one of the sporadic foreign joes slipped in amongst the Sandgrown'uns & other UK postal addressees. A songsmith of the curious kind Stan loves to encourage & promote. Another long history of quirkiness & myth pops its head above the parapet. Elsewhere, top man John reappears in yet another incarnation (John Tree), this time to lay down upon us some jive-talkin' sambafied wiggle-gear. His output is illustrious but sadly still relatively small. The Las Vegas Mermaids get better & better with their crafted nu-age music hall tuneage & Heffey's taurus board is a game of two halves, with the second of the two contributions providing the smile-inducing acidic trance follow-on from the bubbling ambience of the first.
The mystery track is just entitled Wound, & apparently came unaccompanied by information or address, only money. Stan relayed this story with a slightly proud air (is a Batcow hand at play here? Or Simon Hob?). It certainly doesn't sound Stan-stylee. A full-on power electronics track, it kinda falls somewhere between Whitehouse & something Dave Walklett might do. I'm not sure if PE experts will be tracking down the comp for this one, but they should be. As edgy to listen to as PE should be, it is in some ways my favourite track on the CD. Sounds a bit odd amongst the rest, but then we were talking about how this volume is a return to the experimentalism featured right back on volume one (with Hebetation & Stream Angel). It is an interesting aspect of the series. Instead of being a state of the union address from Stan, its a procession of the thoughts recently found bouncing around the heads of his contacts. A veritable Affleck's Palace of sound! It is disparate, but there's some sort of connection created by the very fact that everyone has chosen to come together in the same place.
Moving on, there are, as usual, some tracks from London's UNIT. They are an intriguing group, which you should really check out if you haven't already. I'll leave out their very individual biog & just say that the make-up of the group always seems to inform their truly adventurous music. Sounding different every time, here they have an experimental jazz angle to add to the Gaelic-Chinese rock guitar sound & odd timings of previous efforts. Referencing Denmark Street and Buddhism, they are as different as ever & hence sit very well on this strangest of series. Wouldn't be a bad Termite Club booking as stands here...And then there's the return of Satan the Jesus, Simon Hobs' late eighties project. I was too late to see these live, but they always sound excitingly mangled on tape. This is a new Satan the Jesus piece, a cut-up of previous efforts that takes on the effect of a noise collage. It wasn't my favourite on the CD, but maybe should constitute the beginning of a somehow appropriate updated incarnation of the band, the start of a revival even. More mangled even than the originals, it gives Simon the chance to flex his text-scrambling muscles. What it all means . . . I'm at a loss, old bean. Jaw-D & Needle Park are amongst the most conventionally tuneful cards on the table. Jaw-D has appeared in the series before under another name & is an ex-Blackpool Stan-pal. Needle Park is the brainchild of Hobs stalwart drummer, Ging. Melodic but still quirky, Pumfers to the core, lovers of pre-Britpop guitarness who have developed in a different direction to the posterboys & fashionistas. Finally, there are a number of tracks under various names including Mrs Edna Whatley, which I haven't truly got my head round yet but which all come from the same source. John Fahey pops into my head once or twice, but doesn't really sum it up. Blues fed through a teastrainer & an old tape-deck.
All in all, then, another godspunk that in some way, you do kinda need to hear. Much more entertaining to me than some dull genre-specific effort. Stancore in effect once again! The only missing link is LDB, the highly entertaining highlight of volumes one to three, a rapper in some ways able to stand his ground amongst the great, so good are his lyrics. LDB, we miss you. It should also be mentioned that RooHmania of the Hobs sticks his head in more than once, operating the desk. Kinda hitting the point of being in-house Pumf producer number two, the lad RooH has got it! He is also one of those people with little out & available but hundreds of things on the computer waiting to be unleashed. Get on it, RooH."
- Phil Smith

"This is just about the best godspunk yet.
1 hour later: this is definitely the best godspunk yet. If only LDB was on here, too (sigh).
Wound - Whitehouse . . . Lustmord . . . Nocturnal Emissions . . . Konstruktivists . . . The Grey Wolves . . . but mainly Whitehouse . . . I didn’t realise people still made rackets like this . . . it’s still disturbing and powerful though in 2007 it does seem a bit, you know, let’s make a horrible noise and shock Auntie Mavis when she comes round for cucumber sandwiches. Still, all power to them for doing it regardless. 8/10
John Tree: Night Of The Samba Drummer - Despite the not inconsiderable technical ability on display here, I find this really tedious and boring which probably shows what a philistine I’ve become these days. 20 years ago I’d have loved this I’m sure. 4/10
Las Vegas Mermaids: Bus Driver - The music’s absolutely horrible and boring but the words are most amusing and certainly accurately describe 95% of bus drivers in Edinburgh where they are trained to be as rude, abusive and incessantly miserable as possible at all times. 5/10
Jaw-D: Skateboard Park - This hurts my ears and that’s all there is to it. 0/10
Bartles: Iran & Iraq - By Christ, this bunch kick serious ass (so to speak). Very clever puns on place names . . .but what’s going on? There’s a band who are more political sounding than UNIT on a godspunk album – shock horror! What a voice, too. I wish I could growl like that. 9/10
Bartles: Pumpkin Dump - My God this is so creepy it’s frightening. Those deliberately out of sync voices + distant loud guitars are strictly from RIO 2 only better! Now this is what punk bands should sound like . . . innovative, powerful, interesting and shit-kicking with intelligence. 9/10
The Haddenham One: Rave 'Un - Yawn . . . sorry but this is just The Residents only worse. 2/10
The Haddenham One: Amateur Dub - . . . and so is this. The bass playing is good, though. 3/10
Evil Jack McDeath: Harmonium In My Head - Toothache . . . laying in a sweat stained bed with influenza and a migraine . . . ugh! Effective though grim. 4/10
The Charles Napiers: Things've Changed Round Here - Ennio Morricone on LSD only better . . .6/10
Satan The Jesus Infekt'd Needles And Blood: Insane Pervert Human Being - Jesus Christ, where do you find these people? Otomo Yoshihide when he was 15. This is almost as painful as Star Gate by UNIT. 3/10. Second listen: no, I was wrong . . . this is actually more like Faust without their hippy crap influences. It’s much better 2nd time round. 8/10
Big Ron Turner: Oh Kerim Bey - Acoustic guitar valium rock. Ugh! 2/10
Mrs Edna Watley: The Fifth Letter - More drones . . . okay, I know it’s short but . . . ugh! 2/10
Needle Park: She Comes In The Storm - This is what happens when a 21st century band has never heard any music from 1967 (nothing before 1976 in fact) but they have it described to them in words and they then try to recreate what they think it sounded like. Well, 1960s crap was never as good as this! 9/10
Howl in the Typewriter: The Last Crumb - Such restraint is unusual for HITT – you lot really should write more out and out pop songs, you’re so good at it. The words are interesting, quite powerful in fact – music duzny move me much at all although when the bass comes in at about 1’50 the whole thing lifts and changes it from a mere 5/10 to a creditable 7/10.
Howl in the Typewriter: I Seen Man - I bet you all had real fun putting this together . . . sounds like you all chose your own Radio 2 music and played multiple layer samples to see what it would sound like . . . occasionally it’s effective. 6/10
Howl in the Typewriter: Preliminary Mash Up - No and I don’t like it either. 1/10
Howl in the Typewriter: Penultimate Mash Up - Silence would indeed be preferable to this. 1/10
Howl in the Typewriter: Concluding Mash Up - Bob The Builder is not the way to win friends and influence people, Stan . . .really, it isn’t. 1/10
Howl in the Typewriter: Bus Driver - Well, again, parts of this are really gear . . . while others just irritate me . . . but taken en masse, for the intricate arrangement and the constant changes of mood and tempo (plus occasional downright nastiness), it deserves at least 7/10.
the taurus board: Bus Driver On The Road - Not one of their best . . . too much poncy rhythms and not enough interesting stuff happening . . . it barely makes the grade. 5/10
the taurus board: Bus Driver I’m Going Home - This is more like . . . early evening in Ibiza, one of the warm up tracks to start people moving and bust some moves on the floor.
UNIT: Ivor Kallin Goes To Denmark Street - Hardly a classic but it’s good to hear U-J (on drums) try to keep in time with Luc (also on drums) while Trung (on bass, right) is clearly out-classed and a little over-awed by Dave (on bass, left). Achoi gives it large on his little keyboard and the vibraphone that has now become the most defining sound by which UNIT are identified. Ivor Kallin (correct spelling) presents Ambrosia Rasputin on Resonance.
UNIT: The Buddhist Response To Western Aggression - Eastern civilised boy teaches western barbarian how to behave . . . so stereotypical it’s almost condescending but it still works, just, although it would be better had I been able to play a little more in tune! 7/10
UNIT: No Matter, Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better - U-J on flute (through wah-wah, octaver and flanger) and drums and Trung (on sax and one of the 2 bass guitars) are the stars of this piece although Luc (drums and piano strings) and Achoi (relentless piano) are not far behind. Dave is rather restrained on his bass guitar but this isn’t really his kind of music. All the same, this is quite simply one of the best pieces of improvised music UNIT has ever done. 9/10
It’s a pity U-J didn’t include the list of who plays what – this is the first time UNIT tracks have been included on which I don’t appear at all! Oh, no, apart from my abysmal sax blowing on Buddhist Response . . . but it has a reason for being there as you can understand.
All in all, this is probably the most consistently avant garde and inaccessible godspunk yet which is probably why it is also the most original, inventive, innovative and interesting. Even UNIT sound (almost) as adventurous as some of the other acts on here. Bartles are the major discovery here, of course although the rag-head contributions (tracks 2, 7, 15, 16, 19, 21) do much to make this one of the most intriguing compilations anyone has put out for years."
- Andy Martin (in a personal letter to pStan Batcow, May 2oo7)

 

godspunk volume four

(2006)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-one tracks from ten bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, the taurus board, UNIT, Litterbug, Pilzin Sox, Yximalloo, RooHmania, Stream Angel, The Haddenham One and Lenin's Virulent Muscle. .

"A collection of 21 tracks from a variety of sources, combining electronica, experimental and some poetry and talking. Samples abound on a number of the tracks and the vast majority have strong bass and rhythm. A few are discordant and quite disturbing and, to me anyway, grate after a while. There are several quite dreamy tracks, and Alice Floats Away by Pilzin Sox stands out of the crowd. In a Nutshell combines the simple sweet tinkles of ‘The Hills are Alive with the sound of music’ with samples and industrial clanging. Litterbug has a couple of great tracks, reminding me of the alternative noises that came out of the early 80s. Nine and a half minutes has a fantastic guitar hook and strong bass, combined with ecstatic moanings and breathing throughout and yes it does last 9.5 minutes and does come to a conclusion! A finer collection of group names you’ll not find – how about Lenin’s Virulent Muscle or Howl in the Typewriter. For sheer variety from one track to the next, UNIT can’t be matched – spoken words, vocal juggling, ethereal sounds and ear-ripping noises over 5 tracks. As usual I could go on and on here when I’m writing about godspunk stuff, but naturally everyone is going to have their own favourite style and sound. Again just excellent".
- Liam, Modern Dance

PUMF 553

 

PUMF 518

godspunk volume three

(2005)

A compilation CD featuring twenty-one tracks from twelve bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, LDB, Litterbug, the taurus board, Pissed Off, Norman, Razor Dog, The Time Flies!, The Reverends, The 3 Ages of Elvis, Kate Fear & Nigel Joseph and UNIT.

"Whether it’s ‘God’s Punk’ or ‘God Spunk’ I’m not entirely sure, but this 21 track comp contains music by the likes of The 3 Ages of Elvis, Razor Dog, The Time Flies!, UNIT, Pissed Off, etc, etc. Names to make even the BIGGEST indie snob scratch their head and say ‘Who?’
There are only a couple of names that ARE familiar to me here. Howl in the Typewriter (who have been going for YEARS and who kick the CD off in fine style with some English hip-hop track called Affairs of the Heart and end it with a brilliant spoken piece called Personal Ads) and Litterbug (a couple of whose CDs have been reviewed in past issues of this very zine. His two tracks here – Who Am I? and Looking Back Then – are good old confessional, guitar-driven rockers, although the latter descends into instrumental techno with samples, for some reason). Kate Fear and Nigel Joseph (Kate’s in Ceramic Hobs and I think Nigel is some sort of big boy on the noise scene or something) contribute something called Little Bird, which is eerie spoken-word poetry over ambient spookiness. Elsewhere, there’s dirty be-quiffed rawk ‘n’ roll (The 3 Ages of Elvis; their Dishwash reminds me of that brilliant/annoying song covered by The 5,6,7, 8’s ‘Woo Hoo’ that’s in ‘Kill Bill’), electro-blasphemy (Asylum by Pissed Off), cheap keyboard techno strangeness with indecipherable shoutings (Paranoia by Norman, which has more changes than ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’), fist-in-the-air pub rock (the two tracks by Razor Dog), amusing Streets-like spoken-word rap/poetry (The Trial by LDB), lo-fi odd-bodness (World of Cricket by The Reverends), wimpy indie-rock with flutes and shit and out-of-tune singing and strange Japanese spoken bits one word of which sounds like ‘wanking’ (the FOUR tracks credited to UNIT) and gentle electronica (courtesy of The Time Flies!) It all comes in Pumf’s usual lush, colour packaging too, with some barmy sleeve-notes. Nice!"
-
HIROSHIMA YEAH! issue 8, October 2005

"(Note: Dave has already listened to the CD but was not that interested in much of the contributors. I've relayed his comments, however. I have already listened to the disc through once but since I'm sat here with Achoi, who also wants to give his review, I have the benefit of a second listen before I allow my opinionated, biased comments to insult 75% of the bands and artists involved).
Howl In The Typewriter: Affairs Of The Heart - Gangsta rap now is it - oho - howling typewriters check out the LDB flAava - bossman Burton definitely up in yo 'hood. Enough: to date, this is beyond doubt 1) the most interesting lyric you have ever written (that I have heard), 2) the most proficiently performed work you have ever recorded (that I have heard) and 3) easily my favourite Howl In The Typewriter / Ceramic Hobs track of all. Even the brief punk excerpts are forgivable . . . but I find it extremely difficult to believe this is not either a deliberate homage to Lawrence or an intentional pastiche of his style. It surely cannot be a coincidence. 10/10 (Achoi somehow contrives to award this masterpiece a mere 8/10. Bah - youngsters, what do they know?)
The 3 Ages Of Elvis: Buttercup - No, no, no . . . this sounds like late 70s / early 80s pop punk - it's horrible. 1/10
The 3 Ages Of Elvis: Dishwash - Oh God, save me from hearing any more punk rock of any kind ever! Yes, I know they can play well and all that but this is just horrible. It's even more out of place on godspunk than our stuff. It's so conservative . . . well, too much for me. Nice band name though. 1/10 (Dave says these tracks are a gas but he's probably biased because he loves the band name! Achoi awards both these 0/10).
Pissed Off: Asylum - What the devil is this supposed to represent? Poor Eve Libertine now set to a bad dance track? This was one of the very few good tracks the otherwise odious / boring / tedious Crass ever released - so this bunch decide to ruin it. I see what they've tried to do and it's a brave attempt but the power of the lyric is obliterated. 3/10 (Achoi gives this 9/10 . . . but then he's never heard the Crass version which is perhaps an advantage in order to appreciate this. Dave, who used to like Crass, largely agrees with my sentiments).
Norman: Paranoia - Resonance FM would love this. Pity, really, because I can't stand it. I ought to like it, really . . . it's not so far removed from some UNIT material . . . the middle section is more intriguing, of course, until he goes punque roque and then I switch off entirely. It's also far too bloody long for my no doubt Simpsons addled attention span. 2/10 (Note: please tell Norman that Mr Dave Fanning reckons this is the best track on the whole CD! Achoi says it has possibilities and awards it 5/10 but he says if the punk section was removed it'd rise to 7/10!)
Litterbug: Who Am I? - Why do I like this band? The guitar sound is wretched, the vocals are horrible . . . yet there's something . . . something I can't quite define . . . bits of punk, Joy Division, Oasis and The Swell Maps all rolled into one decidedly curious mix. It doesn't quite match the excellence of their godspunk 1 tracks but it still makes the grade. 6/10
Litterbug: Looking Back Then - Well, after the above, this is not so good . . . musically, at least . . . but as with the previous number, the lyrics are actually very odd - without being abstract or pretentious. I like these lyrics; bizarre holiday and television references that I don't understand, probably because I don't have a TV. I'd still prefer a clearer production and the vocals to have been sung in a more definite pitch. 6/10 (Achoi gives these pieces 2/10 - I don't know what drugs he's on but they're doing him no good at all).
the taurus board: Green & Neon - Each time you release a godspunk CD, Achoi and I await the next instalment of the taurus board. This lot prove that all those nights and days spent during the 1990s at raves and in warehouses were not misspent youth after all but merely preparation for this - no, really they reveal there is still plenty of life in the old dance / techno dog yet. This track is a little too chill-out for me. I prefer my dance style more hardcore (drum'n'bass / jungle is my preferred genre). Still, it deserves 8/10. (Dave says he simply cannot comprehend what Achoi and I appreciate in this stuff. Bah - oldsters, what do they know? Achoi gives it 10/10, but then he'd give this lot 10/10 if they came round his house and blew fog horns into his ears at 4 in the morning).
Razor Dog: Gonna Catch Up - The bass playing is solid. That's it. I managed to say something positive about this horrible late 70s noise. 1/10
Razor Dog: This Love's Absurd - Not that hoary old riff yet again . . . this sounds so 1979! It's abysmal even though it's played very well. 1/10 (Note: there is far too much pub-punk rock on this instalment of godspunk. Don't do it again. Achoi (true to form) gives these pieces 0/10. Dave reckons he'd have really liked these tracks had he heard them 20 years ago. Talk about damning with faint praise! He still likes them both, especially the second track).
Howl In The Typewriter: Walter & Frank - Not one of your best, Mr Batcow . . . strange tape of strange northern gents notwithstanding. 5/10 (Achoi likes this one, too - an 8/10 no less. Have you acquired a new fan or is he just a crawler?)
LDB: The Trial - Can this man do no wrong? I have the fortune to have heard all his rap numbers - all of them - the double album Mind Of A Postman is the most criminally neglected gangsta rap classic ever recorded this side of the Atlantic. Being primarily a writer of texts I can appreciate how he hammers his couplets into shape and forces rhymes out of virtually nowhere . . . but this one escaped my trawl of his works. Just as it begins to become a little repetitive, the music fades and this courtroom skit reveals why he is not a bad ass black rapper from the Bronx - then we're back into the music as he comes across with pure honesty, no clichés, no pretence, no fake gangsta rap image . . . this is that rare bird: a humorous rap that also contains a serious message to all poseurs everywhere. 9/10 because it's a little murky in sound quality, the only fault I can find in it. (Achoi only gives this 7/10 because he's a punk ass muthafukkin bitch brained ho').
The Reverends: World Of Cricket -Marvellous title . . . interesting structure . . . but the 'production' is like some Apostles crap from 1983, which is a pity because this piece is better than most of what The Apostles ever did - although it needs a more forceful or interesting vocalist. It then fails to develop any of the initially interesting ideas - to my satisfaction at least. It's one of the more adventurous pieces on this CD and would be improved with more work done on it. 6/10
UNIT: Make Believe - I didn't realise just how commercial Garlens' stuff was until I hear it in this new context. We do sound professional and even quite slick here - nice pop song but, I don't know . . . it's still old fashioned somehow. Is that Garlens' fault? Then again, does it matter anyway? I still like this track. 7/10 (Achoi gives this 9/10 but then he likes Garlen and tends to be too generous in his opinions of the lads' musical abilities / limitations. Still, this is one of his more inspired works. Dave and U-J can't listen to anything Garlen wrote - they hate it all with a vengeance!)
UNIT: Intlatol In Tiamacazquime - Ha! How to ensure LDB appears twice on godspunk 3. No, I can see why U-J remixed this as a purely instrumental track with the bass and guitars louder. In being kind to Lawrence I made the music backing indistinct and murky so it loses 80% of its power and majesty. As a result, this now sounds as if Lawrence is reciting this tract in a big empty hall while some band is playing in the next room. 5/10
UNIT: In A Chinese Youth Club - Poor Garlen - tries hard to sing a vocal designed for me originally. Still, with the third person tense, the text has more intense power somehow, less self pity than the version on which I sing. Musically this is the most adventurous of the quartet we sent you and it shows. 8/10
UNIT: Breaking Barriers - Well, despite my weak singing, this remains my own favourite despite being over 10 years old (mainly). The winning combination of U-J on two flutes, Achoi on vibraphone (and drums, obviously) and stealing the bass and guitar riff from Incandescence for the middle section (as I'm sure you noticed - such conservationists, we always recycle riffs and melodies) has definitely breathed new life into this old standard. Pity about my voice, though. 9/10
Kate Fear & Nigel Joseph: Little Bird - A bit of a mess, this, but an interesting mess nonetheless with some intriguing texts. Unfortunately, once it starts, it stays in that groove and goes nowhere - the vocals have been recorded with way too much bass and no treble so after 30 seconds the whole thing becomes little more than a drone. Like The Reverends, this track has possibilities and potential that aren't realised.
4/10
The Time Flies: Mr Jeffrey Martin Lichtmann - The pun in the band name is cool . . . the music less so, although the keyboard bass groove is nice. The trouble with this stuff is it's too well mannered, too polite - techno should be in your face and kick ass - this is too ambient for my taste although it's still a damn sight better than many of the tracks on this CD but then I would say that, wouldn't I? Mr Hippodrome Ibiza here with his friggin' Chemical Brothers and Andy C collection! 7/10 (Achoi also gives this 7/10 although unlike me, he's only heard all these tracks once so far, whereas I'm hearing them the second time around (and it was a bloody pain enduring Elvis and Razor Dog again I can tell you).
The Time Flies: Spiritual Fornication - Now we diverge - this track reminds me of Out Of Afrika by the Chemical Brothers but without the kicking hardcore references which make that track so good. Again, this has potential - with a different mix and some extra samples, this could be a dance-floor killa. That's it, I've just cracked it: both these tracks sound unfinished. Still, on the strength of these two tracks, I really
hope they are included in godspunk 4. 7/10 (Achoi gives this 9/10 although I can't see why this is so much better than Mr JML).
Howl In The Typewriter: Personal Ads - A howl . . . followed by a minute of silence . . . followed by a rant that, if read in a Scottish accent, could so easily be The Apostles circa 1989 a couple of weeks prior to my departure when I loathed and despised everything and everyone, including myself. What a way to end a CD! For that reason alone - 10/10! (Even Achoi gives it 9/10, mainly because he finds it really amusing - as if you're telling everyone to 'fuck off' after they've had the decency to purchase and listen to the CD! I know your ire is directed at those grim personal advertisements such as one finds in Private Eye but I prefer to imagine you're directing your comments at your record buying public.
In conclusion, I have to say this is the godspunk edition I enjoy least, primarily because there is a surfeit of pub punk gear, early 80s sounding cassette pet type tracks, not enough avant garderie and only 1 LDB track. Achoi says the Howl In The Typewriter contributions were far more adventurous and interesting on volume 2 although we both agree that Affairs Of The Heart is an absolute classic. He asked me to play it again and he's revised his initial score to 9/10 - he says the brief punk interludes spoil it or it'd be 10/10. Fair enough."
- Andy Martin (in a personal letter to pStan Batcow,
August 2oo5)

 

godspunk volume two

(2004)

A compilation CD featuring thirty-four (or possibly twenty-seven) tracks from ten bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, LDB, the taurus board, UNIT, pinkeye, Higgins++, Pissed Off, RooHmania, Gays in the Military and Las Vegas Mermaids.

"That old post-punk 'cassette culture' is still going strong, you just have to look for it . . . godspunk vol. 1 was one of my favourites of last year, so I was well chuffed to be sent the latest instalment by the man like LDB. It's a bit of a gargantuan effort this time round, with a whopping 34* tracks by 10 bands.
(*0r perhaps, 27 tracks - confusing? Yes!).
Label owners Howl in the Typewriter inhabit low-tech techno & post-punk territory with a nod to Wire, 70s Eno, and a whole truckload of other influences- It's definitely post-punk in 'never went away' modus operandi way, rather than a revival cash-in. (Although hopefully they will do alright now that the stars are correctly aligned again for this sort of stuff!) Some good poppy tunes + cynical lyrics = HIT! 'I'm not going to see the mormons again  / I don't think the mormons are my friends.' Innit. [It's llamas, not mormons! Ed].
Some more standout tracks from LDB: hip hop stylings which work precisely because he is too white, too old and too grumpy. This set builds on the innovation with the beats etc we saw glimpses of last time - samples of Candi Stanton's You Got The Love, the Pixies, etc. It's incredible that he does all of this without the aid of a sequencer. Basically I reckon this is just as good as The Streets (but in another direction to them/him), but I am biased. Stadium R 'n' B is the HIT! here. Last Days of Rome is the head-nodder for walking those mean streets. Warrior, is the, uh, stooped rawk number. (I really hope this is a one off!)
'Have you ever been porked? Ever had a man smoke your pole?' Gays In The Military contribute serious homo-swamp-rock topped & tailed with some great campsploitation film samples. Lyrically it's a voyage into the underworld of yesteryear (?) 'the yellow hankie boys/ they don't like to kiss / they just want to get down on their knees and drink your piss!" HIT!
Las Vegas Mermaids don't seem to live in Las Vegas, but I reckon they really are mermaids. Their first track here is a tender, yet upbeat number - a touching daughter's tribute to her father 'you're just a rich old man with his ball bag hanging out / please put it away / I'm going to join a commune in France / and get fisted on stage every night' HIT! Track two is Weevils - deeply twisted sub trip hop 'weevils - insects of the night'. Errrrrrr?!
RooHmania's remix of Howl in the Typewriter (one of their catchiest tracks from volume 1) is a bootleg mashup charting the history of UK pop. It covers Strawberry Fields, Satisfaction, Pretty Vacant, Blue Monday - all killer no filler! Their other track here is a rather fine skittery folk number, like a punkier Beta Band.
UNIT storm in at the last minute to deliver four tracks which average about 2 minutes each. As you would expect they cover quite a lot of ground in that time - a humanist version of All Things Bright and Beautiful and a couple of anti-bigotry rants (one of which is the latest instalment in a long line of autobiographical incidents). Two Weeks in Malaysia is another classic UNIT pop ditty, tailor made for Andy Martin's delivery; 'I know this song isn't very deep / and maybe it'll send you fast asleep / but it's better than pills / or counting sheep' - HIT!
Other tracks veer from experimental field recordings to politicised EBM.
I think it's safe to say that you won't find godspunk vol.2 in the shops, but you can order it for just five quid (inclusive of UK p&p) via the Pumf Records website - while you're there check out their other releases."
John Eden, Uncarved, 2004

"Gays In The Military: The Aids Team - You fuckin' what, John? Atonal faggot road rock - this I do not like. The lyrics do not sense make and the music, while unusual and nicely recorded (especially the bass guitar) is not really my cup of tea .. . all this handkerchief stuff and nonsense . . . my God, this is why I have being queer! Bizarre structure - horrible vocals. (4/10)
Las Vegas Mermaids: Rich Man's Ball Bag - Now this is more like it (vocals) although the music is a bit of a dirge, isn't it? Excellent lyrics, though. Pity the music is so grim. Superb ending! (7/10)
Las Vegas Mermaids: Weevils - The music here is much better - techno with style and more marvellous vocals. The keyboard sounds are much more interesting and effective here. Disturbing lyrics to create a most effective atmosphere. Real techno done properly! (9/10)
Pissed Off: Rivers Of Baby Lon - My God, this is excellent too! Where do you find all this stuff? Sampled machine guns in time with the drum machine, too. Industrial techno - superb tape montage. It's perhaps a little polemical but it's none the worse for that . . . a little too long but. (8/10)
Higgins++: Silent Weapons For A Quiet War - Polemic? This virtually preaches at me, I mean, lighten up! No, I shouldn't complain because 99% of pop music these days says nothing and supports the corporate mind numbing machine . . . but (groan) this goes on and on until it irritates me but then I know all this . . . I'd like to play this to the HCYC lads though. (5/10)
Higgins++: A New England - By the way, their page in the booklet is brilliant! Techno punk rock? Sounds like a track from Bullshit Detector that failed to make the grade, no doubt because there's no swearing, you can hear the words and it's quite tuneful. I still don't like it, even though I sympathise with his sentiments and stance. (4/10)
RooHmania: Shulavon7 - What's he/they done to your song, Stan? I prefer your version although this is quite interesting - punk rock segues into techno segues into New Order: very clever! Howl in the Blue Monday already. Yes, this is very smart indeed. (8/10)
RooHmania: J.I.G. - Fairport Connection and Steeleye Span played by New Order circa 1991. This lot are beyond doubt the most technically accomplished artists on the CD by far. It's nice to hear a purely instrumental work, too. (9/10)
Howl in the Typewriter: Llamas - I remember this from that CD-R you sent to me. Pity the production is a little, er, bass and middle biased. Nice tune, strange words - actually, 'nice tune, strange words' applies to many of your pieces. (6/10)
Howl in the Typewriter: Here Comes The Butterfly - You must now be called a MOST ANNOYING CUNT for writing the best thing I've heard you create with the best lyrics I've ever heard you sing . . . and then split / shred it to pieces, shortened shards of 10 second fragments oh BLOODY HELL buggering bollocks, why did you have to do this? The concept is fine, innovative, but not on this number, Stan, not on what is beyond doubt the best thing you've ever written! Of course, that's a silly statement - only you know what is the best thing you've ever written, but . . . all the same. If you release godspunk volume three, can you put the unabridged version on it so we can all enjoy and savour it? The lyrics are simply superb - brilliant - excellent. What more can I say? (10/10)
Howl in the Typewriter: Jesus, Buddha and Allah - As for this - it's a bloody racket! (1/10)
Pinkeye: The One - . . . er . . . well . . . (2/10)
Pinkeye: Outside - . . . (sigh) . . . frankly . . . maybe I'm more conservative than I'd like to admit but . . . (0/10)
Pinkeye: The Swan - . . . what's the matter with Capital Letters anyway? This is the best one yet . . . (7/10)
Pinkeye: Lucy Bird - . . . mutated folk meets Syd Barret lyrics in hell . . . (1/10)
Pinkeye: Field1 - . . . and talking of hell . . . (1/10)
Pinkeye: Field2 - . . . despite being mercifully short . . . (1/10)
the taurus board: King Of Denial - More lower case weirdness - no, this lot deserve to be reprised from volume one. I'm glad to see they made it here along with us, you and LDB. Repetitive, yes, but still there's that renegade non-commercial techno sound that would do well in he clubs. My problem is: it's too long. Of course, it's not designed for one man alone in a bedroom in a chair. It's a dance groove for a club but with a subversive tape insert in the middle. This lot fascinate me. Thinking man's techno! (7/10)
LDB: Last Days Of Rome - Gangsta rap in a midlands accent - I'm convinced even if I didn't know LDB I'd still think his stuff was superb. What anger, vitriol and invective + intelligence in a 5½ minute slice of bitter fulmination against everything I detest in UK post modernism. There's more aggression in this than all that 1980's anarcho punk combined. This kicks serious ass! My bloody hell, this stuff really is as hard as hell! (9/10)

LDB: Stadium R&B - Musically this is more advanced than a dozen Three Six Mafia clones. Why does this work so well? LDB has taken his experience of industrial music and pop groups, married that to American hip-hop and gangsta rap; result: ART, mate, pure art. No bullshit, no fuss, no mess just pure impact. Excellent singalong chorus, too! (9/10)
LDB: Warrior - This should be done by Manowar or Celtic Frost - but not LDB! A rare example of one of his tirades that doesn't quite make the grade. (3/10)
UNIT: Bright And Beautiful - Bizarre: mutant punk rock. This still sounds as if it was recorded in 1986. (6/10)
UNIT: Made In Hong Kong - Oh dear . . . I mean, it's all very enjoyable but I really don't have the right kind of voice for this kind of stuff and this music sounds so old fashioned now, especially in the context of this CD's contents. (5/10)
UNIT: Out To Lunch - Well, it's amusing but so 1980's! That guitar sounds horrible, too. (6/10)
UNIT: The Letter - At last: a track that sounds as if it should be on this compilation and also sounds as if it was recorded recently! Most disturbing - it brings tears of rage to my eyes even now. (10/10)
UNIT: Two Weeks In Malaysia - I'm glad you decided to include this after all. Actually we should have just sent you The Letter and this wonderful little pop song. (8/10 - rotten guitar sound again!)"
- Andy Martin (in a personal letter to pStan Batcow, May 2oo4)

PUMF 476

 

PUMF 455

godspunk volume one

(2003)

A compilation CD featuring seventeen tracks from seven bands / artistes: Howl in the Typewriter, LDB, Hebetation, Litterbug, the taurus board, Stream Angel and UNIT.

 

"Seventeen track compilation from Pumf featuring artists such as LDB, Howl in the Typewriter, Stream Angel, UNIT, and Litterbug. Now, Howl in the Typewriter took my breath away earlier this year, so I was eager to hear what else Pumf were prepared to put their name to. LDB, whilst inherently sounding uniquely home made, is, ultimately, honest. A few years ago, several poets began to put their words to music, be it simple beat box or cut ups, or whatever. LDB reminds me of this, where the words become meatier. They're not songs, as such, but poems with musical backing, if you know what I mean. the taurus board's Ripple Effect is simply brilliant, nuff said. Litterbug sound like early demos of The Cure! Not overly keen on UNIT, the reason, I think, is because they're just not experimental enough. In and amongst the likes of Stream Angel, Hebetation, LDB, Howl and taurus, they sound relatively 'normal'! A cracking introduction to Pumf, and to the individual acts on the label. Love to hear more taurus, though, Ripple Effect really stands out."
- Modern Dance, 2004

"A collection of tracks that all defy categorisation and are united by - if anything - an obsession with sounding as original as possible. To say there are 17 tracks spread over 71 generous minutes, there are just 7 artists involved with Howl in the Typewriter's tracks being launched by Jesus! and its crazy dance beat bludgeoning raving good vibes; imagine the Polyphonic Spree on sanity-bending drugs and you'll still be nowhere near . . . [Howl} also contributes Mirrorshades, which is a much briefer, synth-based affair of atmospherics. Most of the tracks are anchored by strong dance beats. LDB and Deathwish come forth as sinister, cooly dark R&B with a distinctly original twist . . . the taurus board are the only outfit to contribute just the one track to this compilation; entitled Ripple Effect, its hip and uppity beat is one of the album's highlights, as is Litterbug's wicked beat-&-guitar fusion on Delmario. Serving as a benchmark for largely unknown underground talent, if only money-hoarders The National Lottery would generously fund more and more small labels and help them release more and more compilations of this inspirational nature . . . woe to supporting so much sport, because music is far more important when it comes to helping to further humanitarian causes, and literally changing people's lives and attitudes. UNIT realise that 'the media sends us all to sleep' through God Of Nothing, following straight on from their God of Grumblers. Just like you should realise that some of the music here is genuinely some of the most original music you will have most likely heard in a very long time indeed. 5/5".
- Steve Rudd, Juxta Online, 2003

"Howl in the Typewriter: Jesus! (9/10) - The 5'40" extended disco remix inna big up The Man anthem . . . it's worth being a God Botherer jus so you can singalongatypewriter to this marvellous piece. I would give it 10/10 if it ended at about 5'00" when the instruments fade out leaving the voices - that was the ideal place to leave it.
Howl in the Typewriter: Mirrorshades (6/10) - The 0'42" edit . . . God nose. I'd give this 7 or 8 out of 10 if it was 2'00" but it's too damn short. A song or instrumental should be like a boy's shorts or girl's dress: brief enough to be interesting and long enough to cover the subject.
Howl in the Typewriter: The Body (8/10) - The Nocturnal Emmissions meets Tubeway Army in Throbbing Gristle's recording studio. This is one of the better works on the CD . . . reminds me of 'Donor', a track we did in 1990 although  you [Howl] use rhythms more effectively. Who said industrial noise can't be commercial? Well done, sir!

Howl in the Typewriter: Love Camp No 7  - (7/10)Well, I'm glad there are four works by HITT because this stuff is superb, really. It is also nice to have a gentle, melodic (but still challenging) contrast to LDB and UNIT. There's something almost Abba about the use of keyboards and that's high praise indeed. The words / voice-over part is not so interesting as Jesus! and The Body.
Hebetation: 10/10/02 (5/10) - If Iannis Xenakis had been a pop musician instead of an avant garde composer . . . Dome meets the Door and the Window . . . I'm glad people still do soundscapes like this but it's still not my kind of music. Note: they have good control of their instruments and effects, especially in a live context . . . this sort of stuff can so easily dissolve into chaos but this is cleverly structured. I wish I liked this . . . but I don't!
the taurus board: Ripple Effect (4/10) - Techno marries funk in the church of TOPY. If this was only 2 minutes long or if it changed key and / or rhythm, it would be pretty gear . . . as it stands, it goes on far too long without doing much else. Pity because it's cool and funky and has potential. LDB should do a mean rap over some of this!
Litterbug: Codeine (6/10) - It's a bit bloody morbid, ain't it, guv? Still, it shows you what can be done with conventional instruments in a non-conventional manner that is still interesting. Not mad on those high vocals but they do suit the words.
Litterbug: Delmario (10/10) - Fuck me sideways, this is brilliant! These people have put together that chunky Joy Division / New Order instrumental that we've tried to do in the past and never managed. Cunts! Seriously, on the strength of these two [songs], I'd like to hear more. It makes a change to hear a band who do instrumentals. (I wish we'd done one, now - I grow sick of the sound of my own reedy, tinny vocals).
Stream Angel: Day That Will (3/10) - . . . and this is only an excerpt? Christ, this is really irritating. Pity because I know this chap and he's always so generous, intelligent and perceptive about our work . . . but I can't cope with this at all. Sorry, Stream!
LDB: Death Wish (10/10) - Now the heavy stuff - and by hell, this is mean motherfucking murderation - I know who this is about but that's irrelevant. What matters is that this proves White Men Can Rap! This kicks arse and knocks So Solid Crew into the middle of last month. I can't fault this.
LDB: Never Go Back Again (9/10) - Yes, I know Puff Daddy can write gentle, powerful, perceptive lyrics but this shows how it really should be done. I've heard this before but I couldn't have paid attention the first time because I thought it was OK then but now - my God this is so nostalgic, sad and yet never morbid. Some of these words are so nice (in the best sense of that maligned word) and generous. Rap doesn't just have to be about violence and revenge.
LDB: Ode To Some People . . . (8/10) - Now we're back in more familiar territory. Note: LDB and UNIT independently choose to attack trendy commercial underground scne types / fanzines. Go with the flow, these words are so powerful that I can ignore the occasionally repetitive music. This is no nonsense, no pretence, no fuss pure honesty that cuts through all the bullshit.
LDB: Faction Paradox (10/10) - Up tempo sci-fi influenced fun complete with that most potent of mixes: anger combined with humour. It usually works and it certainly does here. Note: all these instruments are played, not sampled. This is a rollercoaster of revenge, a delightful frolic that completes the most enjoyable, entertaining and effective quartet of works on the CD.
UNIT: Incandescence (8/10) - Adapted from a Tony Hancock episode that ridicules avant garde art movements, this is an affectionate parody set to simple yet powerful music only slightly spoiled by the rather inept singing. The structure is excellent with the unaccompanied vocal central section framed by heavy rock outer segments. With a decent singer this would be 10/10 easily.
UNIT: God Of Grumblers (8/10) - This starts promising . . . but devolves into a laborious funk rap with the vocals too low in the mix. A bird's voice would sound better on this. The funk chorus is good but 5 minutes of lead guitar and bass guitar twittering becomes very tedious after a while. The drumming is actually very good - which is most unusual for our band! Unusual lyrics which accounts for the higher score.
UNIT: God Of Nothing (2/10) - Jesus Christ, this is bloody awful. The words aren't bad (if a little sloganeering) but it just goes on and on - nowhere. The bass playing is good but it has no real melody to play worth remembering. It deserves 2 for the words (some of them) but that's all.
UNIT: A Head Wound And A Fracture (8/10) - This is more like it: punk rap! It's just a little on the long side but otherwise this is white hot rage with articulate anger matched to occasionally amusing rhymes. The music is a little basic but it matches the subject matter. The revenge against racial abuse and homophobic bigotry does need this quietly simmering rage rather than bawling screams so I'm glad I resisted the temptation to shout the words. In retrospect I wish I hadn't resorted to swearing - it sounds immature. I'm not why it works when LDB does it but when I do it, I do sound a bit like a boy who's older brother has just broken his playstation2 . . .which would be a perfectly justifiable reason for breaking out into military language, of course."
- Andy Martin (in a personal letter to pStan Batcow, March 2oo3)

 

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