ton up for hiroshima yeah! plus exclusive midwich track!

June 8, 2013 at 7:10 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Hiroshima Yeah! Issue #100

THE SOUND OF HIROSHIMA YEAH! (CD-r compilation accompanying HY! #100)

the sound of hiroshima yeah

Ladies and gentlemen, the team at Radio Free Midwich would like to offer their congratulations to Mark Ritchie and Gary Simmons, the writers of Hiroshima Yeah! zine, on the occasion of its 100th issue.  Vigorous handshakes for regular contributors like the mysterious Mitch Hell and the affable Dan Susnara too.

Should you be unaware of this fine publication, each issue comprises a few A4 pages full of poetry, reviews, short stories and diaries, assembled in a properly punk cut-and-paste manner, photocopied, stapled in the top left hand corner and posted to an unknown number of subscribers.  Hard copy only, no internet presence.  It appears monthly and, even with Gary languishing in prison (I’m not telling that story here), the publication schedule has been unswerving.  A remarkable achievement.

Mark provides the poetry and short stories and writes about music and drinking from his position in the gutter looking up at the stars.  His beat is song writing and he writes about practitioners of the art with an infectious passion.  His slice-of-life accounts of call-centre work, cheap food and boozing his way around Glasgow before ending up at gigs are strangely hypnotic and I look forward to them each month.

Gary’s beat is noise, especially the harsher end of industrial noise and power electronics.  Don’t be fooled by his balls-out gonzo style, this guy’s knowledge of the history and minutiae of these genres is awe-inspiringly encyclopaedic.  His accounts of unlistenable racket interspersed with entertaining misanthropy, vignettes from his chaotic life, and references to science fiction films and novels make for invigorating reading.  That said, the reviews are on hold for the rest of the year as he enjoys some enforced accommodation at Her Majesty’s pleasure.  They have been replaced with a prison diary which is just as essential – it’s a window onto a world unlikely to be encountered first-hand by nice boys like me.

As a celebratory treat, to accompany the 100th issue Mark has put together a CD-r compilation featuring tracks by HY! readers, contributors and favourites.  I was very flattered to be asked to be part of this and can reveal that The Sound of Hiroshima Yeah! features ‘snags’ by midwich – five and a bit minutes of squelching drone throb created during a unique recording session by the duo of me and my friend Rob Retkowski.  I love it, it sounds like Dalek sex music, and it will be completely exclusive to this compilation.  Snap to it all you midwich completists!  Aside from my unparalleled genius, you will also get some terrific garage punk from Ceramic Hobs, grisly power electronics from Bagman, beautiful, melancholy songs from Paul Doucet and Mark’s own Shy Rights Movement, some bewitchingly odd, looped field recordings from Breadwinter (which I think is Dan Susnara), euro-robo-electro pop from Staline Plays Theremin and, as they used to say: much, much more!!  12 tracks in total (plus an unlisted 23 second coda I suspect might be sung by Gary) which reflect the eclectic tastes of Hiroshima Yeah! perfectly.

Long may it continue.

Contact Mark via to enquire about subscribing.

artifacts of the no-audience underground: rfm catches up, part two

July 28, 2011 at 7:46 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Jazzfinger – les enfants jazzfinger dans.. (Fuckin’ Amateurs)

What we have here is a fat DVD case with a colour cover containing 4 CD-rs (well, ideally – mine is missing disc 3 – fuckin’ amateurs, eh?), a one-page discography, a pamphlet/fanzine reprinting a Jazzfinger interview conducted by Neil Campbell yonks ago for Bananafish with added marginalia and a cool badge!  It is a terrific set – made me feel like I’d joined the Jazzfinger fan club and that this was the membership pack.  It is also as much an homage to the Toon as it is to the band and locates Jazzfinger firmly within the Newcastle scene.

Three of the discs contain raw recordings of Jazzfinger gigs spanning a number of years and disc four contains a career-retrospective collage created from mouthfuls of back-catalogue.  That’s all I’m saying though as, again, I’m not sure whether this is available to buy.  The insert in my box is labelled 90 of 90 so I apologise if I’ve got your juices flowing only for them to be staunched.  I know no-one likes to have their juices staunched.  Typical of Fuckin’ Amateurs it seems like they spent three years getting this together then just gave away the initial run at a Jazzfinger gig at Morden Tower in April.  Admirably perverse.  Anyway, my copy was a present from Scott of Bells Hill but I think your best bet would be to contact Martin of Fuckin’ Amateurs directly at:

An aside: the first gig, recorded in Burton-on-Trent in 2004, appears to have taken place at some kind of indie night (‘Schizophrenia’ by Sonic Youth is the track faded out as the band start playing).  As the set comes to a close a vocal contingent in the audience starts booing and mouthing off.  Indie rockers can be such boring little children, can’t they?  They think they are so hip and alternative, yet present them with something genuinely extraordinary and they start crying.  Their insistence on the ‘song’ makes them indistinguishable from the least-discerning fan of the crassest pop music.  In fact, the latter is far more honest and at least won’t get the hump if you’ve heard of their favourite band.  OK, that’s enough ranting – I’m in a funny mood today.

Shy Rights Movement – The Defeat Sublime

…and talking of bloody songs (don’t worry Mark, I jest) here is something unusual on my ‘to hear’ pile: an album full of ’em.  Mark Ritchie is better known to me as editor-in-chief at the Hiroshima Yeah! Glasgow office.  When not running a publishing empire, eating egg mayo rolls or listening to The Gourds, Mark is a singer-songwriter in a sort of Mark Eitzel mode and his band is called Shy Rights Movement.

Now, I find myself in the perverse position of being better qualified to talk about screaming racket than I am to talk about tunes but, for what it is worth, I dig this.  It starts a little sketchy but from the 90 second snarl of ‘Haloperidol Blues’ (“I take some pills and go to bed, am I asleep or am I dead?”) onwards there is a run of quality and the two songs bang in the middle of the album – ‘All Roads Lead to Here’ and ‘Holding On’ – are crackers.  This is sincere and heartfelt, without being at all mawkish, and has an occasionally nice turn of phrase.  There is a bitter accuracy to the best of it that I enjoyed very much.

Contact Mark via the HY! email address:

Ceramic Hobs – Live – 8/11/87, 21/11/09, 13/2/88, 15/10/09

Ceramic Hobs – Summer Hob Days 2 (Smith Research)

Two CD-rs of ‘second-stream’ Hobs material kindly provided by Dr. Adolf Steg of Spon comic/fanzine (more on which to come).  The ‘Summer Hob Days 2’ CD-r, released in 2010 in a now sold-out run of only 25 copies, is a kind of ‘Hobs Unplugged’ where our heroes gamely attempt to be warriors of the garage-psych underground using only rubber bands, cardboard boxes, a recorder, a stylophone and other acoustic detritus.  Occasionally very funny (“23 years ago, I saw Psychic TV, they were crap”), mostly perplexing.  This will appeal to those who are already fans (thus: me) and will be of no interest whatsoever to anyone else.  Explained on the Smith Research blog as follows: 

“Twenty-five years after the first recordings the original Phase One line-up reconvened to reinterpret them in an act of truly grandiose perversity.”

‘Live – 8/11/87, 21/11/09, 13/2/88, 15/10/09’ is more accessible, relatively speaking.  You should just be able to read Simon’s rationale for the release on the scan above.  He is right to foreground the Hob’s commitment to entertainment.  The ‘proper’ albums contain plenty of humour, of course, but it is there leavening the dark psychonautical exploration and the documenting of life on the borderlines.  However, when I’ve seen the Hobs live the emphasis is definitely on balls-out, punk-rock, fun.  On the evidence of these recordings the approach has remained pretty consistent over the years but I have to say I prefer the later accounts as a) they are better recorded and b) they contain tracks – ‘Irish Jew’, the butchering of Toto’s ‘Africa’, etc. – that made it onto the masterwork ‘Oz Oz Alice’.

I suspect a bit of harmless bootlegging here as only one of the CD-rs scanned above resembles the picture in its Discogs listing.  Still, there is no harm in contacting Simon via Smith Research or the Hobs livejournal page.

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