Punk is dead but music is free

WHERE are the old punks on Twitter? There are more 30-something DJs tweeting their brains out than you could shake a shitty stick at, but the generation of stay-up-forever party animals before them don’t seem to have caught the bug in quite the same way.

They’re all over Facebook, MySpace and most other online social media platforms you’d care to mention, from the well-meaning and informative but occasionally holier-than-thou Southern Records forum to the irreverent and endlessly diverting website born out of the legendary Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine. But very few have made it onto Twitter.

Of course, Boy George tweets. He was, and remains, as punk as fuck. Ditto Alternative Tentacles, clearly, and the Gang of Four too. Okay, and Justin Broadrick. And ACR. I also have my suspicions about the not-so-secret pasts of people like Graeme Park and Luke Solomon. But where is Viv Albertine? The Shend from the Cravats? Jimmy Pursey? Pauline Murray? Cal from Discharge? Mensi? Are you out there?

Apparently not. They’ve probably got better stuff to do. Which is a shame, because I think Cal from Discharge would be able to do wonderful things with 140 characters – although they’d probably all be capitals, exclamation marks and downward smiley-faces :(

@Cal_from_Discharge AIN’T NO FEEBLE BASTARD, AIN’T NO FUCKING SCAPEGOAT!!! Also, thinking about what to have for tea 1 day ago

One of the things I like most about Twitter is that DJs and producers often link to free downloads of new tracks and mixes – and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am nothing if not cheap.

I’ve been following the work of Philly DJ and producer King Britt since I first heard the stuff he did with Josh Wink as E-Culture and Just King and Wink for Strictly Rhythm in the early Nineties, and I’m happy to be able to tell you that he’s still producing great music today – and regularly dishes out free samples of it, flagged up on Twitter, via his FiveSixMedia label.

Recent top-quality giveaways include tracks by Ron Trent, Tori Amos, Wendy & Lisa and, best of the lot, a smouldering jam courtesy of Ursula Rucker and Dego from 4Hero.

There’s more. Lovers of the tender, soulful and a little bit sleazy round the edges should seek out Electric Love by Vikter Duplaix, while Strut Records recently gave away a fine four-track sampler with a simply amazing tune by Amp Fiddler and the ever-dependable Sly & Robbie, a bubbling, bass-heavy, Rhodes-driven tale of a bad day that just gets worse and worse. You really need to hear this, trust me.

There have also been a few mixed sequences that have come my way recently, most notably Todd Terje’s epic four-hour deep disco set from this year’s Big Chill, Flash Atkin’s ace retrospective mini-mix from the vaults of the brilliant Paper Recordings, and an ace Acid Soul mix, which takes in “balearic, Chicago, disco & deep house flavours” from Leftside Wobble.

So with all this free love going on, it would be rude not to pass on this downloadable delight that RQM sent me. A remix of RQM’s down and dirty new single, Barely Evil, by “Alpine dub masters Filewile”, this is glitchy and clicky, bleepy and nasty in all the right places and has been soundtracking my more frazzled morning-after commutes for the last few weeks.

Poor RQM is moving from Barcelona to Berlin any day now, and he’s “scared of what the Berlin  winter” will do to him. My heart fucking bleeds. Great tune though. More to come from RQM very soon.

One old punk who almost certainly doesn’t have a twitter account is Chris Taylor, who used to play bass for the Poison Girls. Taylor now plays bass for a band called the Bays, who never rehearse, never record and improvise every gig – the product is performance. They’re an absolute blast and I suggest you check them out at the earliest available opportunity.

The other week, I blagged a Flip video camera from work and interviewed Taylor after a typically exhuberant performance by the Bays at the newly-reopened Band on the Wall in Manchester. Apologies for the piss-poor, slightly drunk interview technique. What can I say? It’s hard work filming and talking at the same time.

Many thanks to Chris Taylor for taking the time to speak to me. Someone from the Preston & Leyland Citizen also did a proper interview on the night.

And to finish, this fine piece of droning, clanking dirge-rock, Dead Mantra by the Dead Skeletons, comes highly recommended by my old chum Dean Cavanagh, who proclaims it to be the song of the year. Who am I to argue? Either way, it’s just about the most punk rock thing I’ve heard since the last Flipper album.

At the time of writing, the Dead Skeletons do not appear to have a Twitter account.



Filed under expletive undeleted, hyperbole

17 responses to “Punk is dead but music is free

  1. Trunt

    Great interview Smith3000, maybe you should take it up full time. Camera work could do with some polishing up though Ha Ha. Keep up the good work, hope to bump into you soon, probably some far flung punk gig or festival. Excellent man. Trunt

  2. undeleted

    Do you think I might have a future as a cameraman? Glad you liked the interview with Chris, maybe I could do a series tracking down old anarcho-punks to see what they’re up to now. Apparently one of the singers with KUKL has done very well for herself ..

    Thanks for the comment Trunt.

  3. On tweeting…further to KYPP.
    On the other hand…

    Trafigura, a London-based oil trader connected with dumping toxic waste in Ivory Coast in 2006, was the most used word on micro-blogging site Twitter this morning. After the Guardian was banned from reporting the contents of a parliamentary question relating to the toxic dumping scandal yesterday evening, the topic was widely picked up and aired on Twitter. As the statistical page CrowdEye shows, tweeting increased slightly yesterday evening, and a steep rise of more than 5,500 tweets including the word “Trafigura” followed this morning.


  4. linda

    Please don’t make me join Twitter! Though you make it sound tempting. I have to agree with your friends assessment of Dead Mantra being the song of the year but then my head is still buried in sentiment so I wouldn’t have a current comparison. Does anybody from Flipper have a Twitter:) Are any of them alive?
    Your interview was marvelous btw. I envy that you can ask pointed questions. More please!

  5. undeleted

    I don’t think I could make you do anything, lady .. but if you want to hear new music and don’t want to pay for it, Twitter is as good a place as any.

    It’s great for music but I’m not sure whether picklers and bottlers tweet. It seems to be more about people who have something to sell / promote than sharing knowledge, but it definitely does the trick for me. There’s probably loads of etsy type stuff on it so you never know, maybe there’s permaculture stuff too. Dunno.

    (Incidentally, if you look on the Antisect post, click on Graham Burnett’s name – it links to his permaculture site. And he does stuff at Dial House! OMFGZ!!! Well, it impressed me ..)

    Most of Flipper are still alive, to the extent that they managed to record an album called Love earlier this year – with Kris Whatsisname out of Nirvana. A mate gave me a big file with it – it fucking rocks, I’m telling you.

    First album I’ve heard of their’s since Generic and it is excellent. I will try to figure out a way to get it to you without glueing up both of our inboxes forever.

    Glad you like the interview. Next one will be better, I hope. Jerry Dammers from the Specials with a bit of luck ..

    Great to hear from you, as always Linda.

  6. undeleted

    So AL, are you a convert?

  7. Nope. Waiting for what comes next – beyond Twitter. Shorter.Sharper.Faster. Morse code? dot dot dot -must dash.

  8. undeleted

    Some kind of mind-to-mind psychic semaphore maybe?

  9. Woooo… that is just what I was thinking. Even had this link ready …

    to Psi- Power by Hawkwind/Hawklords.

  10. undeleted

    Ha ha ha, brilliant! It’s clearly working already. Top tune too.

  11. paul townshend

    Should I be tweeting then? I’m on Facespace & Mytube but I haven’t even looked at Twitter. To the uninitiated it appears to be a constant stream of status updates a la Facebook but I guess it must be more than that. I’ll have a look at it soon.

  12. undeleted

    Well, it kind of is, I suppose. Should you be on it? Wouldn’t hurt I guess – and I’d have someone who knew what I was on about when I talked about Anti-Pasti or whatever (not that I would you understand).

    It’s really useful for people who have something to promote, but you get out what you put in. If you don’t relate to other people, they probably won’t relate to you.

    Still don’t get why more old punx don’t tweet really ..

  13. linda

    Thanks for the Graham Burnett link. I think I have it bookmarked. yes, if you can get that Flipper stuff to me, I would be most grateful! Somebody from twitter found an old post on my blog about digital cameras and I couldn’t figure out how. I’m behind the times (on purpose sometimes) but free music might be worth it all.

  14. undeleted

    Graham seems like a good bloke. I met another permaculture guy the other night at some do in town, who really surprised me by going on about how much acid had fried his brain in the Eighties. He was even impressed by my Chumbawamba anecdotes, which doesn’t happen very often. Maybe old punks don’t go online, maybe they just move into the garden?

    No reason why we can’t do both though. You seem to manage okay. I’m not sure how many other permaculture heads there are on Twitter but it’s getting busier every day. Sooner or later, I’d imagine, you’ll be able to find representatives of pretty much every interest group. And Twitter is very big on adding new features suggested / improvised by users – for example, the search function was only added in the last year or so, I think.

    It is brilliant for free music, no question about it. I’d recommend you give it a try at least.

  15. linda

    Yes, that might be a good thing to try. I just am trying to avoid more time zappers and Twitter seems that it has just enough to offer that it would command my attention all too well.
    I don’t know, when Crass went on Facebook, people grumbled but then they all joined so maybe it’s just a little resistance at first and then “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” sets in. I prefer the garden myself:)

  16. paul townshend

    Well I just got me on Twitter & I have absolutely no idea what’s going on there. Mind you I’ve only looked at the mobile phone view so far. I found you on there undeleted but that’s it, you’re just there, how do I interact? You’ll find me as Lazaru2000.

  17. undeleted

    Will I really find you as Lazaru2000? I couldn’t find hide nor hair of you. You need to follow @undeleted, I’ll follow you, then we see each other’s tweets and that will somehow make our lives better. Easy.

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