Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Another piece in the new issue of UGLY THINGS that got my mojo all hopped up was this Johan Kugleberg two-pager on "Primitive Shit Music". Kugelberg makes a well-argued case for creating a defined sub-genre of raw rock and roll called Primitive Shit Music, or PSM for short. As I understand it, PSM is the crudest, most willfully inept rock music of all time -- not necessarily "lo-fi" (though that helps), but in pure posession of a certain je ne sais quoi that renders its releases stark, beatifully raw and nakedly flailing and full of chaotic noise. He then lists 10 records, all 45s, that he feels are the high-water marks of the genre, but are far more likely records that he owns that he'd now like to rub in your face. I've never heard nine of the ten -- only the DISTORTED LEVELS have ever shown up in my collection, and the screaming Stoogified rawness of that record is a fine benchmark for the genre, lending the rest of his list some credibility:

1. DANGEROUS RHYTHM -- Stray Cat (Blues)
2. OPUS -- The Atrocity / Good Procedures
3. KESSLER JUGEND -- Scoot 'Zem/Vastri Hoyre
4. TAMPAX -- O'Dio
5. DIRTSHIT -- Exit
6. REAL TRAITORS -- It's a Waste
7. DEATH TRIP -- We're Gonna Die Tonight
9. PANTANO BOAS -- Jesus, John Lee Hooker and Me
10. THE DOOTZ -- A.C.N.E. I've Got ACNE

So since the guy achieved his aim -- anyone know where we can find mp3s of this stuff? DEATH TRIP I remember from Bad Vugum's heydey, but I never bought that 45 and nestled with my LIIMANARINA instead. But the rest? I wanna hear 'em. Kugelberg then goes on to list ten "Pre-Punk Potentates of Primitive", containing some of the true masterpieces of 20th Century Popular Culture:

1. ELECTRIC EELS -- Agitated (band is pictured above)
2. CREME SODA -- I'm Chewing Gum
3. THE SNAILS -- Love Theme From The Snails
5. CHURCH MICE -- Baby We're Not a Part of Society
6. CRAMPS -- I'm Cramped (bootleg)
7. MAD MIKE & THE MANIACS -- The Hunch
8. THE RATS -- The Rats Revenge
9. JERRY McCAIN -- I'm a Ding-Dong Daddy From Rock and Roll City
10. HASIL ADKINS -- She Said

Finally, he goes on to to list another 20-25 records that fit into the genre, ranging from killers like the SOLGER EP to the FUCKIN' FLYIN' A-HEADS single to the "Weird Noise" EP and the like. Nice work. One horrible, dreadful ommission that I would've put at #2 on the list above is an incredible 1966 single from THE MODDS called "Leave My House". This made it to numerous bootlegs before settling on Crypt's "Teenage Shutdown: I'm Gonna Stay" CD a few years ago. It is everything you'd ever want in a PSM record: what sounds like an acre of fur on the needle, raw and fuzz-laden guitar, drums in a closet two rooms removed from the studio (studio??), misanthropic lyrics, and snotty-assed vocals. I'd call it "60s punk" but it really doesn't fit because it's so out of time and bizarre -- why, some might call it Primitive Shit Music!