Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Two new volumes of the life-affirming MESSTHETICS series of late 70s/early 80s English DIY series arrived in the mail not long ago, and boy were we psyched beyond belief. In this day & age of cheap music and supremely easy gratification, the CDs that Hyped2Death keep putting out give one reason to spend money again, and are the antidote to the download. The liner notes are meticulous and bursting with rare photos, flyers and lost information; the sound quality is amazing considering the source material; and of course the material itself can be jarring, perplexing and exhilirating from track to track. I've discovered some all-time favorite songs via these collections - collections that do for this scene what "Back From The Grave" and "Killed By Death" did for theirs.

The new ones are called "MESSTHETICS GREATEST HISS" (a comp of tracks from UK bedroom cassette-only releases that I'm still trying to adjust my radar to) and MESSTHETICS #106, an all-Manchester edition, circa 1977-1982. I am really taken with the Manchester edition. It’s comprised of compatriots of THE FALL and JOY DIVISION, and most of the 45s have almost never been heard outside of Northern England back in the day. Most art-leaning punks during those years and in that town aligned themselves with “the Manchester Musicians’ Collective”, a pseudo-communal collection of like-minded souls who put on shows together, released each others’ records and sometimes swapped members. As I said, the liner notes tell you just about everything you’d ever want to know about the scene and the era. I picked two tracks that are my faves so far to “represent”, as it were, from lost bands ARMED FORCE and GODS GIFT. Take a listen, and order the full CD here.

Play ARMED FORCE - "Popstar"

Download GODS GIFT - "Discipline"
Download ARMED FORCE - "Popstar"


Anonymous said...

I've finally gotten around to putting most of these (including these two new volumes) into my iTunes and breaking each volume into two playlists. So much easier to digest and ultimately very rewarding.

J Neo Marvin said...

Discipline is one of the best Fall imitations ever. Mark E. Smith must have hated them. Thanks for the memories.

ONECHORD said...

in fact, there's an album titled "a manchester collection" with all bands from this collective. great sounds!
"you are the one" by grow-up is an instant classic!!!

Anonymous said...

Mark E Smith loved us mate.
Steve Murphy GG

J Neo Marvin said...

Glad to hear that Steve.

I only said that because I interviewed Mark in 1980 and when I tried to tell him about people I knew who were inspired by the Fall, and his response was "God, here's me, POOR", and proceeded to grouse that everyone's trying to rip off his ideas.

Just to make it absolutely clear, though, being compared to the Fall is the highest compliment in my book.

Anonymous said...

Top man and many thanks!
The Fall were, and are, fantastic innovators. MES is a legend. Our similarity to them has a great deal to do with coming from the same place (Salford / Prestwich) at the same time (late 70s)rather than any attempt to ever mimic them.
Take care,