Friday, February 8, 2008

Fuck authority

"Raw Power was started in 1981 in Poviglio, Italy, by brothers Mauro and Giuseppe Codeluppi (the singer and guitarist). They released their first LP You Are The Victim in 1984, on Meccano Records, a tiny Italian indy label whose sketchy business practices resulted in almost no copies of the record ever surfacing. Unhappy with the flat production and about to undergo a line-up change, Raw Power didn't rerelease this now ultra-rare collector's item until 2002. The band gained more acclaim from earlier cassette releases on the American BCT label, like 1983's Brown Studio Demos and the recently reissued Last White Xmas tape. At this point Mauro shared vocal duties with a maniac named Silvio, who produced some of the most shredding, shreiking screams imaginable. Their anthem "Fuck Authority," with Silvio's caterwauling vox and drummer Helder's trademark cow-bell fills, was featured on Maximum Rock'n'roll's Welcome to 1984 compilation LP. The song was a high point in an amazing line-up of international hardcore powerhouses. By now Raw Power was established as a mighty force in the world of punk, and won the attention of another US label: Arizona's Toxic Shock. When the band set out on its first U.S. tour in 1984, they arranged to record a second LP with Zero Boy Paul Mahern in Indiana.

By this time Silvio's voice had been decimated by his insane vocal style. When he had to stay home for tour, his vocal parts were imitated by lead guitarist Davide, who did a pretty damn good job. The Screams from the Gutter LP was released in 1985, a time when US hardcore was beginning to lose its direction. Short-sighted Americans who only paid attention to their own country often cite this time as the "death" of hardcore. One listen to Screams from the Gutter should put that idea to rest. Many would classify Raw Power as "crossover" hardcore because they employ heavy riffing and wanky solos in many of the songs, but their ferocity defied any generic label. Whether or not they were named for the Stooges album, Raw Power had as much to do with the ultra-high-energy of the Detroit rock sound as they did with contemporary heavy metal. That equation would start falling towards the metal side as time went on. 1985's Wop Hour EP and 1986's After Your Brain LP, both on Toxic Shock, were more metallic rock records but were still obviously Raw Power."

Raw Power - Burning The Factory ('83 demo and live tracks); Wop Hour 7"; After Your Brain

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Born to built to grind

"The Stupids, from Ipswich, England, formed in 1984 and played some blazingly fast US-influenced (particularly Boston style à la Gang Green) hardcore punk/thrash in a time and place that was mostly filled with crusty metal punk, UK82, and anarcho punk. Along with fellow UK bands like A.O.A., Heresy (whom they toured with), and Ripcord (whom they also toured with), The Stupids took US hardcore to a new level, making it faster and more intense. But where other such bands had mainly poignant and political lyrics, the Stupids wrote silly, less serious lyrics about such things as an elephant man, love (jokingly of course), hating everyone, hating new wave, skateboarding, and more.

The band, whose "core" lineup featured Tommy Stupid on drums and vocals, Wolfie Retard on bass and vocals, and Marty Tuff on guitar, recorded and released a demo tape in 1984 that they called "Leave Your Ears Behind." The band was picked up by UK label Children of the Revolution, who put out the Violent Nun EP (consisting of tracks from the demo) and the Peruvian Vacation LP in 1985. While preparing for their next LP, the band lost Wolfie on bass and acquired Ed Shred (who would later move to guitar). Retard Picnic came out in 1986, whereby The Stupids were signed by Vinyl Solutions.

The next two years saw The Stupids play shows around Europe and tour the United States and Australia. Their lineup was less stable, though, but always included Tommy Stupid on drums and vocals. The Stupids released several records on Vinyl Solutions, culminating with 1987's Jesus Meets The Stupids LP. The band was big those days, appearing on the covers of NME and SOUNDS and recording two sessions for John Peel (compiled on a 12").

After the Stupids broke up, Tommy Stupid went on to drum in That's It, with the Stern brothers (of Youth Brigade) - a very rock affair. Ed Shred formed Sink and even later on Chocolate, who were more pop-punk. He now plays in K-Line (who alledgedly sound like Dag Nasty, Rites of Spring and a hint of indie). Nowadays Tommy Stupid (or Tom Withers as he is really called) is a famous drum'n'bass artist "Klute" and as far removed musically from the hardcore punk music as you can be. (But then again, in his music mentality he is still very "core". If you're open minded, check him out!)"

The Stupids - Violent Nun 7"; Peruvian Vacation LP

Jah bless

Here's a random mix of bands from across Europe. Accidental overdosage of Italian crap, but hey, its good, whatever.

Chaoz Z - Ohne Gnade

Contrazione - Cine Occhio 12"

Raw Power - You Are The Victim; Screams from the Gutter

Putrid Fever - Do You Remember

High Circle - s/t 7"

HIC Systeemi - Slut

Impact - Solo Odio

Negazione - ...Los Spirito Continua...

Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers - Into the Void

5° Braccio - Vanchiglia (demo)

Appendix - Ei Raha oo Mun Valuuttaa; Top of the Pops (Ei Raha... was later rereleased on Rock-O-Rama as 'Money Is Not My Currency')

Indigesti - Osservati Dall'inganno