Agony Shorthand

Thursday, October 14, 2004
VARIOUS ARTISTS : "BLOODSTAINS ACROSS BELGIUM, VOLUME 2" CD....."This is Belgium, and it fucking stinks!". Thus spaeketh THE PIGZ way back in 1978, back when complaining about your country was de riguer punk rock behavior for the new vanguard. But it didn't stink. Pound for pound, you'd have to rate Belgium highly in the second tier of punk rock countries, just below the top layer of the US, Australia, the UK and Sweden. They're knocking around with their pacifist pals the French and the Dutch, and opening a can of old school whoop-ass on the Canadians and the Germans. This CD is all the evidence you need -- it contains just about all of the first two "Bloodstains Across Belgium" LPs, which means 28 raw, snotty slices of Antwerp antisocialism and its Brussels equivalent. The "Volume 2" is a misnomer, since there was actually no Volume One CD, and the sleeve on this one happens to be the same as the Volume 2 LP. A confusing shortcut, but that's punk rock, punkers.

Now you may not get too stoked about rare early 45s from DE JEUGD VAN TEGENWOORDIG, but some folks sure do. Those people need to hear the incredible robotic fuzz monster 45 from the MAD VIRGINS, "I Am a Computer / Fuck & Suck", displayed in full digital glory, as well as the smoking "Hot Love" by the ONION DOLLS and RAXOLA's hopped-up "Kill Your Son", all really crucial to any self-respecting accumulator's accumulations. And if you can get through THE KIDS' "Fascist Cops" without singing along in harmony about stomping the pigs, hats off to ya! Not all of it works -- man, I never noticed the over-the-top homoeroticism of ELTON MOTELLO's horrible "Jet Boy, Jet Girl" back when "Dr. Demento" used to play it in the late 70s, but then I also thought the Village People were a bunch of really, really good friends when I was 10. (over-the-top heterosexuality would be no better -- the song just blows). But out of 28 tracks, I'd submit that at least 14 are worth owning. Not even Ichiro's going to put up those kind of numbers. Now, good luck finding this -- I haven't seen any CD versions of the "Bloodstains" series for a few years, but it looks like these people might be selling some.