Saturday, July 10, 2010


(More Flemish Post-Punk / signposts towards a New Miserabilism):

Vita Noctis came from Liège and their track "These Lies" is really hitting a spot for me this evening.

Dark, minimal bedroom Casiobeats; vocals that somehow manage to sound disconnected and angry at the same time. She sounds like an actress who's been thrown out of drama school for spitting at her tutors: restless, bored, irritated. Is she really singing "I tried to be the dog"...?

Fuck Crystal Castles. Fuck yeah!

Fuzzed-up gtr n bass. Minimal CV-ish drum-machine. This is a great track, sounding better with each play. Sounds like a cassette demo for some pre-Ultravox! art-school combo fronted by Hazel O'Connor's younger chain-smoking sister. Gloomy as fuck.

I need to find out more about this band.

Stop Press:

Some info here on Fritz die Spinne's blog.

Ah, right, here we go:

In The Face Of Death (cassette, 1985)
Much Money Good Boy, No Money Goodbye (cassette,1985)
Death and Smoke (cassette, 1986, Mad Tapes )
Untitled (Vita Noctis) (12", 1986)

There may also be a demo tape type thing floating round somewhere too.


More Early-80's Flemish Post-Punk (or "Cold Wave", as it seems to get called, often to the irritation of bands from that period.). This time it's Siglo XX. From Genk in Flanders.

Perhaps a bit too Punky in places and not quite what I'm looking for - and it's a shame they felt the need to sing in English - but I do quite like the blatant Factoryisms on "Individuality", and "Death Row" is quite good fun too. Very JD, but not quite miserable or rigid-sounding enough to tick all the boxes.

I like this quote: "We are marginals, but to us marginality is change, change is movement, and movement is life. The established is halted, gray, dead".

From their MySpace:

"In 1980 Siglo XX independantly released their first 7'' single ‘The Naked and the Death’. Things really got rolling two years later with the maxi-single ‘The Art of War’, still a classic and for instance included on a ‘New Wave Club Class.X’ volume. Later they signed to Antler Records which released a few of their albums and maxi’s.

"Their sound resembled Factory bands like Joy Division and Section 25: cold new wave, with dark basses, moody synths and depressive vocals. Siglo XX sounded probably even rawer than their more famous examples, with sometimes punky guitars. In the mid 80’s a move to Play it Again Sam followed, where three albums came out. The last was ‘Under A Purple Sky’ in 1989."



Okay, starting to answer my own question from last night, ref: Flemish Post Punk.

Here's a good starting-point, maybe: De Brassers. Sounds like they're still on-and-off active.

There's a MySpace here.

From the band's own biog:

"Einde seventies: punk rules. En bereikt Belgie. The Clash en the Damned veroveren het podium te Jazz Bilzen, dalen neer tot op de begane grond, en doorbreken letterlijk en figuurlijk de hekkens tussen publiek en groep. De ivoren torens worden verlaten, rock is weer van en voor iedereen.

"Anger is an energy. Enkele trips naar gigs te Londen bevestigen: dat kunnen en willen wij ook. Op onze manier. De Brassers beginnen. Zonder kennis, zonder dogma's . Post Punk, New-Wave, Cold-Wave, de Doem-Scene."

"De Doem-Scene" - The Doom Scene?

Ahhhhh, here we go: another snippet of info cut n pasted:

"De Brassers: a Joy Division-like post-punk band out of Hamont, a little village in the north of Limburg. Started out at the end of the 70’s, inspired by early British punk bands like The Clash and The Damned. Short-lived but not forgotten.

Their self-released single ‘En Toen Was Er Niets Meer’ (1981) is considered a true Belgian cult classic. After sporadic reunion gigs throughout the years, De Brassers are a working unit again as of 1998. In 2005 they even released a 5-song EP with new material. A compilation album surfaced three years later. "


Snagged this for 50p in a charity-shop a couple days ago; 50 pages in and I'm totally soaked; remembering why Nik Cohn is one of the greatest writers ever. One of my favourites, any way.

I'd f'gotten just how fucking good he was. Haven't read anything by him since I was ill, so we're going back a good decade or so. Probably The Heart of The World. Yeah, almost certainly.

Anyway, barely tapped this and already he's strolling around the Rap World of early 2000's New Orleans like it's an episode of The Wire, followed by meditations on Soulja Slim's death, pimp pianist Jelly Roll, 1930's and 1900's N. O., being on tour with The Who in '72 and a, quite frankly, jaw-dropping section on the boxer Willie Pastrano, who he hung out with in the early 80s.

Cohn's not a music-journalist, he's a...I dunno quite what he is. There's a weird mix of Nick Kent and Damon Runyon and...something else. He understands the value of Myths - especially of self-created ones - but isn't afraid to chase them down, see where they lead, even if that means popping a few bubbles along the way. He meets some mythic figures that he's created inside his own head and finds out that they're something else altogether - something more clay-like...then embraces that fact, revises what that might mean on a personal level and adjusts his own position. (He's fearful and slightly disgusted by the fact that he's a White Male, but understands it's far more scarier being Black.) He questions stuff, but still holds onto the magic that lies at the heart of any great mythology, urban or otherwise, even though its shape sometimes changes along the way.

He's not afraid to be disappointed. Or to learn.

I don't care if a lot of this stuff is even made up - and that's a helluva thing to say - but the way he writes holds true to...something. It convinces me; it unrolls basic human truths. It resonates.

And that's the mark of a great writer.

It's basically about himself, of course - he's an ex-junkie who, by his own admission has one eye on the mark - but he's a dreamer. And a good one at that. As fascinated as he is by the Dark Stuff that haunts the Inner Heart of any mythyology worth creating or exploring, he also wants things to turn out alright for everyone else, but knows that they won't. (The fact that he's written the damn thing in the first place means they ain't.) So he turns both inwards and outwards simultaneously, trying to figure out why.

You get a sense that this book is the result of much porch-slouching, failed biographies, successful articles, mythic cutting n pasting, whisky-sipping, dream-walking, Hep-C jetlag and belly-aching. A restless soul in motion.

I'm sure the rest of it won't disappoint.