Agony Shorthand

Friday, March 04, 2005
VARIOUS ARTISTS : "KILLED BY DEATH, VOLUME 1 - ENGLISH D.I.Y."......This one was a follow-on release after the mid-90s deluge of KILLED BY DEATH rare early punk LPs, sometime after the well had more or less run dry & when any lingering volumes might have had 2 or 3 hot tracks, tops. The lads behind this one decided to set the clock at "1" and start over again, and added a new "flavour" -- no, not antmusic, but punk-leaning English mega-obscurities. D.I.Y., you might say. A couple ringers on this one that I was familiar with, like the PETTICOATS' paean to suburban ennui, "Normal", with its super-trebly, ringing loud guitars and tippy-tap drumming, and a New Zealand Ubu-esque knockout from SHOES THIS HIGH called "The Nose One". New Zealand? All part of the Queen's commonwealth, right? But some of these weirder ones were way off everyone's radar, and it's nice to have them all in one angry and scratchy place. I like the raw, buzzing 1-2 military stomp of HORNSEY AT WAR, whose short eponymous track is something snotty and special, and another big chaotic mess from the PURITAN GUITARS called "100 Pounds in 15 Minutes" (that's pounds as in quid, not lbs.). There's a few middlers but it's mostly revelatory and a nice "net add" to the stacks. One pundit proclaimed that if "DIY arty-fartyness isn't your kind of thing you might want to skip this one..." and I suppose that's fair enough!