Double LP version. Tapete Records present a reissue of Zensur & Zensur by Germany’s first ever punk band Male, originally released in 1979. Includes 11 live tracks recorded at Markthalle Hamburg, June, 29 1979. “The Dusseldorf punk scene was without compare in the years 1977 to 1979 and Male were there in the thick of it, etching their name into German musical history. I was magnetically drawn towards the punk phenomenon back in 1977 and through Bilk’s integral role in the movement, I was lucky enough to get right up close . . . Somehow, I heard about a gig in an assembly hall and that’s where I saw Male, a burning revelation, rising above all the tiresome Stones cover bands! Loud, dirty, new and different! Setting the German flag alight brought the gig to a spectacular conclusion. I offered my services as a roadie for the gigs that followed in and around Düsseldorf . . . Having broken through the inner-city walls, Male were invited to Berlin for the opening of SO36 where they shared the bill with local Berlin heroes PVC, Din A Testbild, Ffurs and Düsseldorf’s Mittagspause. The Male track ‘Polizei’ is included on a sampler commemorating the event. Next up, the ‘Into the Future’ festival in Hamburg saw them in triumphant mode alongside Mittagspause and Kleenex, earning them a headliner slot at the next In die Zukunft — live albums documented the respective performances. Back in Düsseldorf, a record import store gave Male permission to rehearse in their cellar as they geared up for the production of their LP. Earlier tracks and a few newer songs added up to a superb Male album, from the cut-up lyrics on ‘KH 3’ to the hypnotic intro of ‘Ein Tag Düsseldorf’ and the cult track ‘Zensur & Zensur’. Time was racing by and Male arguably reached their zenith as backup for The Clash on the London Calling tour. As the air raid siren rang out on ‘Ich hör schon die Sirenen’, Kosmo Vinyl (Clash roadie), Joe Strummer and Mick Jones stopped in their tracks to take a closer look at Male on stage. On this memorable night in the Phillipshalle, Male were far more than just a warm-up act . . . In the wake of the name change to Vorsprung, Jürgen Engler soon shifted his focus to Die Krupps, but Male remained close to his heart as new songs and the odd gig here and there demonstrated in the years that followed.” –Wolf Lauenroth (Dieter Zensur)
Bobby Conn on Recovery: “What’s the point of recovery if we were never really healthy to begin with? I started working on this record about four years ago, thinking of the American obsession with self-help, self-care, and self-empowerment as a cruel and cheap substitute for helping each other. It’s a concept that rewards those that have the money to help themselves, and blames those that don’t for not trying hard enough. Then there were some elections. Now there is a narrative of ‘recovering’ our stronger, bolder, racially pure, cultural and economic glory days. And then some of my friends started getting sick, or dying or committed suicide . . . I was really into 10cc, J Dilla, Liaisons Dangereuses, Jean-Claude Vannier, Anna Meredith, Slade, D’Angelo, etc. when writing this record, but I’m sure you can hear it for yourself. Musically, this is a collaboration with my partner Monica BouBou on violin and vocals and our super-band of drummer Josh Johannpeter, bassist Jim ‘Dallas’ Cooper, keyboardist and string player Billie Howard, guitarist Devin Davis, and longtime sound artist DJ LeDeuce. We recorded it over many months in a basement. There is a cameo by synth genius Felix Kubin on ‘Brother’. Mixed by the brilliant Tobias Levin and Hannes Plattmeier in Hamburg, Germany. Some notes on each tune: ‘Recovery’ — the never-ending journey and an addiction unto itself. ‘Disposable Future’ — amazing new technology gives us unlimited choice delivered through devices we cannot control; is this what we were dreaming of? ‘Good Old Days’ — nostalgia for the lies of old white men will kill us all. ‘No Grownups’ — from the perspective of a teenager trapped in a world where all the adults are self-deluded, irresponsible narcissists in terrible clothes. ‘Brother’ — it’s easy to ignore the suffering that surrounds us everyday. ‘On The Nose’ — grandpa’s racism now rebranded as edgy rebellion for the internet generation. ‘Bijou’ — an ode to a recently closed gay porn theatre in Chicago that was part of the struggle for sexual liberty. ‘Disaster’ — our masters imagine themselves as heroes when the mob storms the gates and burns the palace to the ground. ‘Young Man’s Game’ — you can’t play the same game forever. ‘Always Already’ — a misreading of Derrida, Marx and Foucault turned into a nihilist anthem. With apologies to Lionel Richie.”
Exploding Head Syndrome is a snapping into consciousness, a synaptic charge of analog dissonance saturated through a complex undercurrent of pulsing minimalism, profound in its simplicity. A static haze of electronic distortion drifts in and out of lucidity to a sure propulsion of stone age repetition and heady bass vibrations, the momentum held on a thread of acoustic tension. As warm organs drone around the oscillating bones of enchanted melodies, an electric hive of enclosing guitars encircle Lawrie’s trance induced visions, which hang suspended, fractured at the core, until completely enveloped by the gathering swarm. Welcome to the 11th studio album from The Telescopes, their third for Tapete. Consisting of eight new songs and incantations that form a series of sonic convulsions stretching the parameters of intuitive composition to the point of auditory illusion. Conceived in 1987, The Telescopes emerged as innovators in the field of melodic noise, becoming a crucial inspiration to a multitude of artists and listeners alike. The group has consisted of a revolving line-up centered around lead protagonist and founding instigator Stephen Lawrie. With the exception of “Until The End”, Exploding Head Syndrome was created entirely by Lawrie himself while immersed in solitude deep in West Yorkshire. As the title suggests, this is the sound of a triggered mind reaching into the depths of his own inner turmoil on a personal quest for basic clarity. Whereas previous albums for Tapete have set a parallel course between song-based structures and freeform impressionism, Exploding Head Syndrome employs almost traditional song writing techniques to achieve a melodic swirl of simplistic refrains capable of lulling the listener into vast sonic dimensions. In the 1700s, William Herschel defined a telescope as an instrument through which a person may view “beyond the realm of natural vision”. This is the mantra of The Telescopes. “Until The End” was co-written with Chris Plavidal (Stumptone) and is dedicated to the late Nevada Hill (Bludded Head). Exploding Head Syndrome is the name given by John M. S. Pearce in 1989 to a phenomena described by Robert Armstrong-Jones in 1920 as “snapping of the brain”. It is a condition in which a person experiences unreal noises. The front sleeve holds an image of a blank sheet blowing in a breeze. A natural light phenomena occurring at the time the photograph was taken gives the illusion of a face.
Slapp Happy’s debut unveiled a band that was not so much an avant-rock group as one that seemed primarily interested in toying with rock conventions, as if such subversion was more inherently worthwhile than playing it straight. That meant that at its least impressive, it didn’t qualify as either good avant-rock or good conventional rock, instead lumbering along with self-consciously jagged tunes. It sounds best when Dagmar Krause’s vocals come to the forefront, as on “Heading for Kyoto” and the downright poppy “Blue Flower,” a pretty folk-rockish number that lifts a hook from the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale.” “Who’s Gonna Help Me Now?” is strange roots-rock, and “Sort Of” a surfish instrumental that sounds like a postmodern “Telstar,” all contributing to the feeling that the band was more concerned with tongue-in-cheek eclecticism than moving toward a settled identity.