Friday, May 19, 2023

That Voice - the return's return!

Eve Libertine - a javelin of righteous rage hurled right through your torso !

Piercing at 3.13

Disemboweling at 3.48

That first bit of high-pure singing points to a past in folk rock 

It's the full-tilt denounce mode section that is That Voice-y. 

The diva of diatribe, the virago of vehemence

Crass and anarcho-punk discussed over the road.

Not sure if this is Eve - think it's someone else (Joy de Vivre?)

Female vocals only on this album Penis Envy - to suit its anti-patriarchy lyrics


  1. (This is partly thinking out loud).
    I think you once said that the major omissions from Rip It Up and Start Again were Oi! and anarcho-punk (tragically, you never wrote about Jimmy Pursey's foray into interpretative dance!). Penis Envy is definitely a post-punk album, and even The Feeding of the 5000 has requisite weird bits. But I suppose the biggest disqualifier is that Crass were essentially hippies with spiky barnets. The communal living, the anti-materialism (a clear rejection of filthy lucre), the militant pacifism (one slogan ran "FIGHT WAR NOT WARS"), the desire to expand the general consciousness (albeit not so much by psychotropic revelation but rather the dispelling of capitalism's false consciousness). Penny Rimbaud was born in 1943!
    There is that mainstream, but still bizarre, contemporary assumption that the hippy movement and the punk movement were basically saying the same thing, i.e., the vital component to good music is a perceived authenticity (though relevant, the acknowledged debts the baggy and Britpop bands had to hippies and punks is a separate issue). The biggest absurdity this solecism has produced is that godawful one-hit wonder I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair), a record as cynical and inauthentic as a fibreglass Stalin.

  2. Haha that Sandi Thom song is the worst! You prompted me to go and look up the lyrics, and I am still clenched with secondhand embarrassment.

    I do wonder whether this is just my old man reaction, though. As these youth cultures sink further into history, the differences between them that seemed so important at the time just melt into the air.

    Sgt Pepper is probably a pretty cringeworthy evocation of the Edwardian music hall, too.

  3. I don't mind that song - it's authentically reflective of the wistfulness of 21st Century youth feeling overshadowed by the Monuments of Rock History, feeling like they live in less distinguished and exciting times.

    1. Oh but I hate that sense of received wisdom. It's like an old person's idea of how a young person ought to feel. I would much rather the kids said they had never heard of vinyl and thought the first 100 Gecs album was the dawn of music.

  4. My original intent was to cover anarcho-punk and the Crass nexus but I ran out of time, energy, and space. Not sure how I would have fit it into the narrative. Never intended to cover Oi! except as a backdrop / ideological antithesis to postpunk. That said, subsequently I've grown a bit more interested in it - even enjoying things by Sham 69.

    The idea that hippies and punk are stage 1 and stage 2 of the same youth formation seems undeniable. And there are lots of examples of people who were hippies who then joined in the punk thing. Some of the members of the Ruts-to-be were staying in a hippie commune in Wales when they got word of punk and returned to Lewisham and formed the band. If I remember right, one or two of them had been in a very early 70s type band called Aslan!

    Poly Styrene had been a hippie-ish youngster prior to punk.

    Then you've got Rough Trade the record shop taking over a former headshop just off Portobello.

    Or Joly the Better Badges / fanzine supporter who had been the music editor of International Times.

    Once punk's initial "hate and war not love and peace" transvaluation thing faded a little, the resemblances and echoes really kicked in with postpunk. The alternative culture micro-capitalism. The idealism and paranoia. Even musically, there were hints and clues that right up until just before the Ramones and Pistols first records, a lot of people had been listening to Robert Wyatt or prog or folk-rock.

  5. As a hippie-ish anarchist and punk-skeptic by default, this and the blissblog Crass piece are interesting to read. I tend to think the 'real' punk divergence from hippiedom (and one not universally observed, as you note) is the McLaren/Legs McNeil school of nihilistic avarice and gleeful cruelty for its own sake - essentially, sneaking back some core values of mainstream culture into the broader counterculture (and/or cleverly expanding latent tendencies already present) under the pretense of doing the opposite.
    Germane to this particular conversation - my favorite anarcho-punk-related record is actually Jeffery Lewis' cover album 12 Crass Songs, which is the kind of thing that sounds like suffocating mid-00s Brooklyn ultra-irony - rendering the aforementioned songs as Weavers-ish sinaglong folk, with mid-60s Judy Collins/Phil Ochs touches like accordions, glockenspiels, and string sections - but is absolutely not. Once you peel those songs back to the bone, it turns out that's just what was underneath them - it's genuinely revelatory.

  6. Don't overegg the pudding, Simon. I fear such generalizations of the similarities between hippies and punk steamroll over significant differences. Examining Poly Styrene (who's surely too singular a figure to be taken as a case in point), we find she was pretty hippie before and after X-Ray Spex, but when in the band she was a very different entity. She emphasised the artificial, the synthetic, the gaudy, the plastic and the cheap. This was an urban/suburban aesthetic, in total contrast to the bucolic Arcadia of the hippy ideal.

    Also, punk was oft pessimistic and occasionally nihilistic. A pessimistic hippy seems a contradiction in terms (pessimistic hippy anthems? Barry Mcguire's Eve of Destruction? Zager and Evans' In the Year 2525? Do they count? What else?), and a nihilistic hippy even more so. Is there a punk equivalent to the atrocious Imagine? If the Kids Are United?

    And you ignore the parricidal ethos to punk. You could say that the punks failed to kill their forefathers, but at least they tried. It's a bit galling for the author of a book called Rip It Up and Start Again to say that such bands were continuing in the hippy tradition. (By the by, has any other popular music movement avowed such a fierce rejection of other genres as punk? Your contemporary music fan is now expected to find some merit in everything, lest they be damned as limited and inadequate in their tastes.)

    Of course some former hippies leapt onto punk. Such types are usually called bandwagon-jumpers. I adore the Ruts, but they do warrant such a label.

  7. If anything, I thought Simon was diplomatically understating the connection - once you start digging into the background of most punks born before about 1960, it's there beyond even a 'well, that was just the default style' doubt. One way you could conceptualize the first wave of punk is as a mass venting of frustration that the hippie dream had failed/been beaten back.
    Punks born after 1960 - the last of the boomers into Gen X - is complicate this, because that's where the animus is both genuine and deep-seated, but again there's an unstated conflict there between those who resented the hippies because they failed in their aims and those who were against those aims in total - progressivism and reaction existing uneasily side-by-side until it could be done no longer (the trajectory of an Ian MacKaye versus that of a Gavin McInnes, say)

  8. Was it possible to be a proto-punk teen circa 1973 without inheriting some aspects of hippiedom? (John Robb's punk history includes photos of Brian James, Joe Strummer, et al. with long hair and love beads around that time.) The time frame seems radically compressed from a present-day perspective.

  9. Partly because it is relevant to this discussion, and partly just because it's a great playlist, here's what John Lydon played in his guest appearance on the Tommy Vance show in July 1977:

    Lots of hippy-ish classics there, although often the bleaker and more cynical ones.

    Lydon was also a huge Hawkwind fan. Sid Vicious loved Bowie, and introduced Lydon to Can.

    1. Speaking of Hawkwind, and with reference to Simon's post about music being "ahead of its time", their single Urban Guerrilla is absolutely punk in both sound and lyrical content. And it was first released in 1973.

    2. Sample lyrics:

      So let's not talk of love and flowers
      And things that don't explode
      We've used up all of our magic powers
      Time to do it in the road

  10. I suspect that we're not being strict enough in our definition of hippy music. For instance, the Tim Buckley track on Johnny Rotten's list was a conscious step away from standard hippy aesthetics. Likewise, Neil Young's Revolution Blues runs, "I hear the Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars/ But I hate them worse than lepers and I'll kill them in their cars." Not very flower child, is it?

    At the moment, it's as if we're treating acts like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as archetypal hippy bands. That can't be right, can it?

    1. That is a good point. And see also the Hawkwind lyric I quoted above. To take another example, Pete Hammill, coming from none-more-Prog Van Der Graaf Generator, was not exactly proto-punk, but certainly prefigured Peter Gabriel’s New Wave move a few years later.

      Even in the 60s, there was clearly a vigorous counter-counter-culture aesthetic flourishing in some places. In the Todd Haynes Velvet Underground documentary, several of them talk about how much they hated the hippie movement. There is a lot of regional chauvinism about the contrast between the tough black leather East Coast and the mimsy paisley cheesecloth West Coast.

      In Joan Didion’s famous encounter with The Doors - a band whose reputation survived Punk, if not to the present day - she identifies them as something very different from the hippies. “The Doors seemed unconvinced that love was brotherhood and the Kama Sutra,” she writes.

      But on the other hand, something I often think about is the picture in Julian Cope’s Krautrocksampler, of a German Velvet Underground compilation with a Roger Dean cover such as you might find on Yes album. The implication is that we in the English-speaking world have been tricked by the rhetoric of Malcolm Mclaren and Legs McNeil into believing that these styles and modes of expression are incompatible and antithetical to each other. Other countries, less susceptible to the marketing gimmicks, are able to hear the music with fresher ears, and accept the subterranean resemblances and relationships. It’s an appealing idea.

  11. Anarcho-punk should really be renamed Quaker-punk.


LeCaine in the membrane