Agony Shorthand

Thursday, May 22, 2003
TIME TO GET TO KNOW THE SLUGFUCKERS…..The SLUGFUCKERS were a brutally experimental 1980-81 Australian post-punk group whose complete works I’ve recently had the pleasure of hearing for the first time. Their first 45 called “Instant Classic” consists of two rhythmic tracks, “Deaf Disco / Deaf Dub”, & grinds a real heavy P.I.L. funk-influenced bass line into the mud until the singer shouts “Have you had enough? Have you had enough???" over a crazed background of yelps, yips and screams. At this point, yes, you have. Pretty good and most unique, but an acquired taste. The real meat is to be found in their amazing second single, the “Three Feet Behind Glass/Live At Budokan” 7”EP that made one rogue’s top 100 DIY singles of all time -- #5, no less. It’s great! Raw, underproduced mayhem with militaristic drumming, auctioneer’s vocals (like a less punk, more drugged version of the MIDDLE CLASS), and a real bleak, desperate feel. “Cacophony” skitters forward with an angry attack despite the presence of what sounds like a toy piano being played down the hall; you can here this one on the fine “Can’t Stop It” compilation of Aussie post-punk that came out last year. Even better is “Mechanical Boy”, a jarring & equally aggressive mood piece that immediately goes right to the head of my “top ugly Australian thug-punk of 1980” list. Fantastic, and a real discovery for those of us who wrongly keep assuming we’ve heard all the genius this era had to offer.

Once the band put together their follow-up “Transformational Salt” LP they’d tipped a little further off the deep end of experimentation than I’m usually willing to go – the songs are more about textures and sounds, & less about rock and roll per se. But my crossable line is drawn fairly conservatively close to rock and roll; yours may be a bit more bold. Either way, these guys were no doubt rattling some heads in Sydney during their time, and I hope the world gets to see this stuff collected legitimately in the near future. Of course our friends at NO NIGHT SWEATS have made some available for your downloading pleasure right now – good on ‘em!