The Ruts- Grin And Bear It (1980)

During 1980-81 us schoolboys experienced a fair amount of grief.
Bongo mourned for Lennon, Psycho cried when Marley died, Curtis caught us all out. But I mourned most of all for Malcolm Owen, who died from a heroin overdose on July 14th 1980 at the age of 26.
These Southall boys, part of the People Unite collective, fused punk and reggae sounds and themes with streetwise political sensibilities.
A sort of working class version of The Clash…

Malcolm Owen -vocals
Paul Fox -guitar
John "Segs" Jennings -bass
Dave Ruffy -drums


The Damned- Another Great Record From The Damned (1981)

I was a schoolboy punk rocker...
This is an indespensible record from those heady days of hedgehog haircuts, handmedowns and halfmasters.
When I make a vinyl rip (and this is one) I really can't be arsed to fiddle about making a composite scan of the sleeve. Why no 12" square scanner beds? So I usually pinch an image off Discogs or Amazon or anywhere else.
The thing is I couldn't find a decent pic for this one.
Very low resolution:

I notice also that Dave is in a different pose ?
Too many line up changes during the years covered by this compilation to list here...

Grey Tart

When art is removed to a zone of safety, it may still remain very good art indeed, and also very popular art, but its effect on our existence will vanish... Edgar Wind
In his classic work Art & Anarchy, Wind goes on to tell us that there would be no artists in Plato's ideal republic, not because he didn’t respect them; on the contrary, Plato argued that the sacred fear inspired by great art could cause too much excitement and passion and ultimately undermine the entire social system.
I'm not going to mention Banksy here- later perhaps, but let's look at another favourite of mine (you might have guessed- after all, he painted my portrait!) Yoshitomo Nara.
Here is a painting by Nara that was on show at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York from 28th February 2009:

And here is a drawing that Nara made on the steps of Union Square Station, New York, on 27th February 2009.

I notice that one of his drawings has a projected price at auction (29.06.09) of £3-5,000 , whereas the charming piece above got him arrested for graffiti and 48 hrs in the cells.
So, what is art in the modern capitalist society? anything at all, as long as you can own it. Aesthetically the 'Cool Here' picture is just as pleasing as anything else that Nara has done, but no one can 'invest' a few thousand dollars in it, take it away and say 'it's mine', so it's not art at all, just graffiti...


少年ナイフ/Shonen Knife- Everybody Happy (1982)

A while back I wrote a piece about the positive aspects of file sharing (see 30th April).
Here’s an example-
Shonen Knife was formed in the December of 1981 in Osaka.
Minna Tanoshiku or Everybody Happy was their first release. It was released in Japan as cassette-format only in 1982. The first 50 copies were released by the band themselves, and the insert features the lip prints of the three members. An additional 20 copies, without the lip prints, were pressed by Zero Records before the band requested that no further copies were made.
The album was never reissued in any format and over the years it became legendary due to its rarity. mp3’s surfaced on a blog in 2007.
So, when this music is made available via blogs, who loses out?
Whilst the few originals and home copies were circulating at huge prices the band weren’t getting a yen. One could argue that having called a halt to the production of the record in ‘82 they effectively ended their commercial ambitions for the recording anyway.
It’s an important document for followers of Shonen Knife, of Japanese music in general and also a great fun record.
Now we can all enjoy it!

Naoko Yamano- vocals, guitar
Atsuko Yamano- drums, vocals
Michie Nakatan- vocals, bass

Colin Ward said...

Colin Ward said: An anarchist society, a society that organizes itself without authority , is always in existence... buried under the weight of the state and its bureaucracy, capitalism and its waste, privilege, religous differences, nationalism and its suicidal loyalties, religious differences and their superstitious seperatism.


Gruppo Sportivo- Ten Mistakes (1977)

Gruppo Sportivo are a Dutch ‘new wave’ band.
This is their first LP.

Hans Vandenburg - guitar,vocals
Peter Calicher -keyboards
Max Mollinger -drums, vocals
Eric Wehrmeyer - bass
Josee van Iersel- vocals
Meike Touw- vocals

As requested by The Pensarnman himself, Mr. J.R ‘Big Jim’ Baker


The Four Brothers- Makorokoto (1988)

John Peel once described The Four Brothers as the best live band in the world, and chose one of their songs a one of his eight Desert Island Discs (UK readers will know what I mean)- quite an accolade from a man who had heard more records than most.
The Four Brothers were from Zimbabwe (they formed in 1977 when it was still Rhodesia), and their clean melodic Jit style put them at the forefront of the World Music boom in the 1980’s.
This is the Cooking Vinyl ten track version, itself a reissue of an early 1980’s Zimbabwe release. The title Makorokoto was applied to expanded reissues of this LP and also to a best of collection.

Line up:
Marshall Munhumumwe - drums, lead vocals
Never Mutare – bass, vocals
Aleck Chipaika – rhythm guitar, vocals
Edward Matiyasi – lead guitar , vocals


Nico- Chelsea Girl (1967)

I still cannot listen to it, because everything I wanted for that record, they took it away. I asked for drums, they said no. I asked for more guitars, they said no. And I asked for simplicity, and they covered it in flutes!
They added strings and – I didn't like them, but I could live with them. But the flute! The first time I heard the album, I cried and it was all because of the flute.

Nico- 1981

Line Up:
Nico – vocals
Jackson Browne – acoustic guitar (tracks 1,2, 7,9, 10)
Lou Reed – electric guitar (tracks 3, 5, 6, 9)
John Cale – viola, organ, guitar (tracks 3,4,5)
Sterling Morrison – electric guitar (tracks 6,9)

Songwriting credits:
Nico (5)
Jackson Browne (tracks 1, 2, 8)
John Cale (tracks 3,4,5)
Lou Reed (tracks 3,5,6,9)
Stirling Morrison (track 6)
Tim Hardin (track 10)
Bob Dylan (track 7)


A collection of songs that have been covered by R.E.M.

Just for fun...
R.E.M have knocked out some great cover versions over the years, both live and on record. Here are the original versions of ten songs the boys from Athens have covered.

Aerosmith- Toys in the Attic (1975)
Suicide- Ghost Rider (1977)
The Velvet Underground and Nico- Femme Fatale (1967)
The Velvet Underground- Pale Blue Eyes (1969)
Syd Barrett- Dark Globe (1970)
U2-One* (1991)
Wire- Strange (1977)
The Troggs- Love is All Around (1967)
Pylon- Crazy (1981)
The Clique- I am Superman (1969)

* I know! U2 comes to Burning Aquarium- I never thought I’d see the day.


The Southern Death Cult - Fatman / The Girl/ Moya 12” (1982)

How common are Native American fixations in Bradford?
The SDC, earliest incarnation of Rock Monsters The Cult, were certainly pretty into the culture of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas. They had a heavy gothic sound (it was known at the time as Positive Punk- the sound and the image that evolved into Goth) and unsurprisingly supported acts such as Theatre of Hate and Bauhaus during their brief career (Oct 81- Feb 83).
This is a vinyl rip...

Buzz- guitar
Aky- drums
Barry- bass
Ian- vocals

A contemporary article from the NME here.


Keith & Tex- 2 singles (1967)

Still no heatwave, but I'm going to stick with the reggae theme for a day or two...
Keith & Tex were a Jamaican rocksteady duo who recorded for Dereck Harriott in the late 1960's (they were teens at the time).
These two songs have enjoyed longevity thanks to various versions:
Tonight formed the basis for Augustus Pablo's Bedroom Mazurka (Pablo and Fay) in its various forms, and was also covered by Shabba Ranks.
Stop That Train was the basis for Scotty's Draw Your Brakes (featured in the movie The Harder They Come ) and a version by Clint Eastwood & General Saint in the 1980's.
Keith later recorded for Lee Perry under his full name, Keith Rowe. I don't know what became of Texas Dixon...


Landauer said...

Landauer said: The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently.

The Harder They Come - Soundtrack (1972)

Ok, for all our UK readers, the heatwave begins today.
Here is the soundtrack from Perry Henzell’s 1972 Jamaican classic, which starred Jimmy Cliff as Ivan, the archetypal rude boy variant of the popular outlaw folk hero.

You Can Get It If You Really Want Jimmy Cliff
Draw Your Brakes Scotty
Rivers of Babylon The Melodians
Many Rivers to Cross Jimmy Cliff
Sweet and Dandy The Maytals
The Harder They Come Jimmy Cliff
Johnny Too Bad The Slickers
007 Shanty Town Desmond Dekker
Pressure Drop The Maytals
Sitting in Limbo Jimmy Cliff
You Can Get It If You Really Want Jimmy Cliff
The Harder They Come Jimmy Cliff


Easy- Magic Seed (1990)

Easy were from Jönköping in Sweden -also the hometown of The Cardigans
This album outsold Sonic Youth's debut on the same Blast First label.
I can think of no better example of the dreamy, melodic, guitar driven sound that dominated early nineties indie music.
Even If you don’t like the music this record is worth having for the sleeve.

Line up:
Johan Holmlund –vocals
Tommy Ericsson –guitar
Rikard Jormin –bass
Anders Petersson -keyboards, guitar,
Tommy Jonsson -drums


Datblygu 1985-1995

Datblygu- Welsh for development.
Here are some sleeve notes:
A word from Gruff Rhys, SFA, Esq…
'Beginning with the aching pop standard ‘Y Teimlad’ this collection gives us a glimpse of a band capable of anything. It seems to me that Datblygu are one of those bands whom standing upon their seedy pulpit hold up a mirror to the society they live in. A lazy comparison would be someone like Serge Ginsbourg. But that slimeball had 50 million heads to fill his mirror and bank account. David “The Last Communist in Europe (Too Skint To Go To Cuba)” R. Edwards on the other hand communicates here to half a million Welsh speakers fucked on Thatcherism. This ever poignant work comes as a sonic and moral warning to a complacent generation of white hicks on coke, looking for a welcome break on the third [motor] way to oblivion'.



Heroes of Socialist Labour...

My Grandfather was a coal miner- I can hardly begin to imagine how hard his working life must have been- he was the actual 'hewer' who hacked the coal from the seam, lying or crouching in a tiny space, twisting and contorting himself to shovel it back to where his mate could load the tram . Orwell described these working conditions in The Road To Wigan Pier...
Starting work underground at the age of 13 and having survived a disaster (which killed ten of his comrades) at the age of 18, he worked double shifts through the war, which was about the time when he found that 25 years at the coal face had wrecked his lungs. He brought up four children in a three up two down with no inside water, and when they were grown he adopted another. He died at the age of 63, which was considered a tidy old age for a collier.
My Grandfather's working life (1918-c 1945) coincided with times of real hardship, the 1921 lockout, the General Strike of 1926… in the 1920's malnutrition affected a total of one million men, women and children in mining communities, and in 1931 unemployment levels in these areas reached 40%.
In Britain miners were miners were placed eighty-first in the wages league table, often earning about half of what workers in other industries did, and the country’s most valuable raw material was wasted as a result of the mismanagement of the industry by representatives of private enterprise whose sole concern was profit, consequently they did not invest in organization, technology or the welfare of the workforce. At the outbreak of the war Britain’s coal industry was the least efficient in Europe.

I wonder if my Grandfather ever saw this copy of Time magazine?

I wonder if he knew that in the Soviet Union they made heroes of coal miners, awarded them medals, put them on postage stamps, made movies about them...
Towards the end of his mining days he would have seen the foundation of the NUM and the Nationalization of the coal industry
The days of the great industries and the great industrial unions are gone, and nobody in their right mind would be nostalgic about the lot of a coal miner in the period 1919-1945, but we shouldn't forget that this was an era of great achievement in terms of welfare, health and educational facilities being established by the working people for the working people. Through solidarity in industrial action they secured shorter working hours and minimum wages. Miners Institutes and Welfare Halls provided indispensible social and cultural facilities, funded by donations from wages of the workers. In the face of such hardship as only capitalism can create, these communities built their own brand of socialism under the noses of their masters.

The Tellers- No Work No Pay 7” (1974)

I’ve been after this for more than 20 years. Picked it up on E –Bay for a couple of dollars.
If you were in the Llanelli area in the mid eighties you might have been lucky enough to see a band called Dressed To Kill, fronted by ex Andy Pandemonium singer and living legend Roger Forsythe. My memory has suffered over the years but I seem to remember a singer called Brenda, Jimmy Jones (ex Albert’s England and reputedly once of The Pogues) on bass, and assorted others such as Matt Jones of The Hepburns joining for live performances.
They did a great version of this number.
I remember Jimmy teaching me the bassline to this in a drunken jam at Roger’s flat- that would have been in about '85- I remember thinking must look up the original …


The Wedding Present- Brassneck 12” (1990)

This is the original Brassneck:

Here is the 12” single by The Wedding Present, featuring an alternate recording of the song as well as a cover of the excellent Box Elder by Pavement.


The Stranglers- Peel Session 7th March 1977.

Veterans of the pub scene and tireless giggers, The Stranglers were pulled along in the undertow of punk, delighting (many) punters with their political incorrectness and appetite for disorder. Though unarguably powerful, their music was always complex and melodic.
1977 saw them produce two classic LPs and a succession of memorable singles. This is the first of their two Peel sessions, rather sedate and considered renditions of two tracks from each of the albums.

Hugh Cornwell- guitar, vocals
Jean- Jacques Burnel- bass, vocals
Jet Black- drums
Dave Greenfield- keyboards


Eighties nostalgia...

When people talk about the eighties they end up rattling on about Wham!, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Live Aid, Princess Di etc.
Funnily enough I remember it for Thatcher's ruthless war on the working classes, civil unrest , recession and mass unemployment.

Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her - Red Talk (2002)

We did some shows, and we didn’t have our band’s name yet. I asked one of my friends, and he chose Seagull Screaming..., this name from the album called The Big Express, from XTC, and everyone liked that name, ‘cause it’s too long...
SSKHKH were formed as a two-girl band in New York City in 1992.
In 1994 Aiha Higurashi returned to Tokyo where she enlisted bassist and vocalist Nao Koyama and drummer Takaharu Karashima.
Red Talk is a 2002 compilation release. Loads of information on this great group here.

Aiha Higurashi (Guitar & Vocals)
Nao Koyama (Bass & Vocals 1994-)
Takaharu Karashima "Takape" (Drums & Vocal 1992-1999)
Sachiko Ito (Bass 1992-1994 )


The Fall- Extricate (1990)

I think this is my favourite Fall LP.
The sacred cows of British Independent music,
The Fall, in the person of Mark Smith, made anti fashion a fashion, anti pop popular.
The miserable old fucker has been turning out this intelligent though often barely intelligible stuff for 32 years now- for which we should all be eternally grateful.
By the way- I once went to a funeral where the preacher sounded ah just ah like Mark Smith ah, which was strange.
Stephen Hanley- bass
Craig Scanlon- guitar
Marcia Schofield- keyboards, percussion
Mark E Smith- vocals
Simon Wolstencroft- drums
Martin Bramah- guitar, backing vocals


Stereolab- Refried Ectoplasm (Switched On Vol 2)- (1995)

It's time to welcome a new term to your modern music vocabulary: post rock. The expression (it's been knocking around for a few years in scenester circles, natch) is used to describe music that travels beyond the three-minute song boundaries of guitar rock and ventures into a virtual Alice in Wonderland world of experimental sounds. Post rockers aren't afraid of samples, 20-minute dub-jazz excursions, heavily ironic easy listening produced on vintage keyboards (hello Stereolab)...
Angela Lewis, The Independent (19-04-1996)

When I was doing the homework for this post (I don’t carry all this shit around in my head, only most of it…) I came across this great cartoon strip:

Fell in love with Stereolab’s sound after seeing them in a drunken haze on The Word (was I initially seduced by Lætitia Sadier’s gorgeous accent? probably).

There are some lovely numbers here; some race along against a frenzy of harsh keyboards, some bubble with hazy ambience whilst others meander melodically- like a dreampop take on Franciose Hardy.
(their records) sound more like arid experiments than music born of emotional need.
Barney Hoskyns- Mojo (1996)
With their borrowings from early, obscure Kraftwerk and hip obtuse sources, [Stereolab] sound like a band of rock critics rather than musicians.
Dave Simpson -The Guardian.
I think they were just a bit too clever and aloof for the journos- laddish rock music, faux mod 'britpop' and grunge being the order of the day.


Walker says: I just did a count of the number of downloads from Burning Aquarium during our first 3 months online and I was frankly astounded: allowing for the quirks of my CSE maths it's about 5,800.
Thanks for your ongoing support.
Don't hesitate to post a request or comment whatever your language.
Please remember to support the artists whenever possible.
I'm still loving it.


The Dead Kennedys- Kill The Poor 7" (1980)

I hope you're enjoying these 1970's & 1980's singles as much as i am...
Americans do do irony.
An alternate version of Kill The Poor and a spanking B-side (was it on In God We Trust Inc? I think so...)
Great take on Edvard Munch on the back of the sleeve.

This download is now available again!


Billy Childish -Thee Milkshakes (1984) -Thee Headcoats (1993)

What we have here are two live sets featuring the great Billy Childish.
Thee Milkshakes recorded in 1984 and Thee Headcoats from 1993.
The King of Garage Rock- Childish has produced over 100 LP’s with his various bands, in addition to writing 40 volumes of poetry and producing hundreds of paintings.
This is the sort of stuff that should make you dust down that old guitar…
The file contains sleeve notes, line ups etc.


Woody Guthrie- All You Fascists Bound To Lose (194?)

Bauhaus- Ziggy Stardust / Third Uncle 7” (1982)

Another dip into the cardboard box of singles. I'm loving handling these vinyls.
Bauhaus show us their roots with two ballsy covers.
Ziggy Stardust originally by David Bowie (1972)
Third Uncle originally by Brian Eno (1974)



I'm guessing that some of you will be members of the Facebook group Meltdown? I am, and I have followed their activities with some interest and approval since the April 1st Action.
Am I the only one who was suprised by the tone of Andrew Canning's recent invitation to the anti fascist demo on June 13th?
Talk about hysteria! And full of the language of prohibition and compulsion.
I know we all love a good demo and that fascism is 'a bad thing', but a call to defend the democracy that our forefathers fought for?
I thought this was an essentially anarchist movement, and yet here they are calling on us to defend democracy. The democracy that has been the instrument of or oppression for centuries? the democracy that now gives us fascists in positions of power due to the absence of any viable socialist alternative to the shit we have now?
Paradoxically anarchists should see the minor succeses of a minority group like the BNP as a step in the right direction- simply because it exposes the ludicrous flaws that exist in the present democratic system. The more things like this happen the less credulous democracy becomes.
We shouldn't be getting our knickers in a twist over a handful of fascists geting a free trip to Brussels, we should be striking at the roots, not nipping at the branches.
Democracy has had its day- it's time to kill it off completely.
It's time to get excited.

The Clash- Bankrobber / Mikey Dread- Rockers Galore UK Tour 7” (1980)

A lifetime serving one machine is ten times worse than prison…
The towering genius of The Clash- a paean to bank robbery and jailbreaks set against a spaghetti western dub reggae track.
Flip it over and you’ve got a toasting version by the late great Mikey Dread.


The Birthday Party- Drunk on the Pope’s Blood. Lydia Lunch - The Agony is the Ecstacy (1982) Split 12"

The Birthday Party side of this split 12” was subtitled 16 Minutes Of Sheer Hell. There was a frenzied wrath about The Birthday Party's live performances, and violence was never far beneath the surface.
The Lydia Lunch track is a plangent dirge set against a great soundscape of feedback and distorted guitars underpinned by a solid gothic drum beat.
Dark stuff indeed.
Line ups:
Birthday Party:
Phil Calvert- drums
Tracy Pew- bass
Mick Harvey- guitar
Rowland S Howard- guitar
Nick Cave- vocals

Lydia Lunch:
Christian Hoffman- drums
Steven Severin- guitar
Murray Mitchell- guitar
Lydia Lunch- vocals


Sir Alan hires his new Apprentice ...

According to the BBC website: Sir Alan said "gut instinct" had made him plump for London restaurant owner Siadatan over finalist Kate Walsh. Gut instinct= if it's a close thing pick the one with the biggest tits. Well done Sir Alan...