the harbinger sound sampler

Harking back to the days of those Crass and Cherry Red ethic of ‘pay no more than…..’ platters from the early 80’s, ‘the harbinger sound sampler’ is a mammoth two disc vinyl set featuring twenty tracks – some rare vault finds others showcasing unheard talents currently scowling disquietly beneath the surface of the underground, all for the princely sum of £3.99 – yes you read right, £3.99 – two slabs of wax, no fillers here just seething discontent from the street which judging by various online liner notes was dispatched as a ‘fuck RSD’ release. If i’m honest, this had us much recalling the sadly missed filthy little angels imprint in so far as its snot nosed scuzziness and breadth of becoming anti pop angst festering through the grooves, for featured here are a smattering of known talents – Sleaford Mods handsomely filling the swear box to brimming and doing a sterling and somewhat seedy take on John Cooper Clarke c. ‘beasley street’ albeit as though backed by a shit faced accompaniment of Happy Mondays and Flowered Up folk courtesy of ‘fat tax’. Elsewhere though the set opens to the incurably adorable skittish and pogo pop of the Toylettes – thing X-Ray Spex with turbo rockets up their hides followed impatiently by the sharply abrupt and discordantly obtuse contortion pop of Mark Wynn. And did we open this particular critique with mention of Crass, coincidentally Steve Ignorant’s slice of life appear with the Lupen Crook snarling sounding ‘your day will come’. I’ll be honest in saying we here are more than a little taken with consumer electronics’ ‘And At Any Rate, It’s Already Too Late’ not least because its just so insanely skewed and deranged in a whole hot melt banana way. Opening side 2 you’ll find Mark Durgan with the oddly sore thumbing ‘singsong generator’ which in truth is  anything but, freakish frequency manipulations of what sounds like bees in a bottle doing a Sunday afternoon at the promenade brass recital while John Paul rains insults aplenty on the minimalist moocher ‘sissy and ada’ – kind of Vichy Government in a headlock with Captain Polaroid. Up next Future Commuter stump up the rather dreamy electro waltz that is ‘Deliah not Deliah’ sounding into the bargain like something that fell on the cutting floor of one of those superb Bedroom Ambience sets put out many years ago by Enraptured. Those of you fancying your sounds grizzled in chill wave isolationism might do well to check out Circuit Breaker’s ‘Duplicate’ which to these ears have more than an air of the Passage about its wares. Wrapping up side 2 a darkly tense live treatment of ‘father’ by Sudden Infant, one i suspect for all you Pawlowski / Deus related groove. Both Phil Juan’s ‘blanking’ and plain jerk’s ‘of course they fucking do’ provide the opening segment of the collections the third side with a spot of noise niking gymnastics, the former a molten mass of subterranic minimalist glitch brutally punctuated by elephantine squeals with the latter providing of face frying demented diodes frazzling exercise in caustic circuitry, the type of which i’m minded to admit wouldn’t look too out of place sitting on a bearsuit imprint release. Finger jabbing and nagging art pop discordance appears to be the order of the day for Massicot’s ‘Kokteilis’ as the teeter loosely on a seesaw sitting somewhere between ..and the native hipsters and swell maps while Pisse really do sound as though they’ve fallen off an early 80’s Peel mix tape of German bands with unpronounceable names, think DAF in a studio face off with Front 242. That said one of the collections finest moments must surely be Karies’ ‘Es Lachte’ as it splinters from its early 80’s post punk austere, one minute sounding as though its missed the final edit of New Order’s ‘movement’ before emerging from the chill ablaze in the frenzied fracturing of panic attacking sky siren riffage. Finally to Side 4, the place were all the goodies lurk. Streets ahead in the voting here for the award for best moment of the compilation though goes hands down to the Urinals whose howling cowpunk gouged ‘the girl before’ freewheels to forge a kinship with classic era Violent Femmes and the Orsen Family. Mind you both Frustration’s ‘no drawback’ and the lowest form’s ‘5’ are no slouches in the affection stakes, the former a blizzard of high wiring scab lancing sci-fi-tronic dayglo punk-a -boogie a la the hendsersons meets beatnik filmstars while the latter provide a scalding no nonsense no prisoners taken hardcore headbutt that hints of several of their number being more than a tad familiar with the ways of the legendary Earache imprint and latter day imps Brew records. Chaos UK just pure unadulterated up close and personal straight in your face oi oi oi punk classicism    while rounding up matters the sonic terrorism of Treriksröset’s ‘blurred lines’ will if nothing else in terms of exacting an adoring emotional response, will at least syringe your earlobes and sandblast all outlining areas in the radius of your turntable, for Sissy Spacek purists one suspects.

Harbinger Sound

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