Disco Zombies: South London Stinks

Album Overview

Disco Zombies: South London Stinks  (Optic Nerve)

Double Vinyl LP 

Launched 29 January 2021


For collectors of uncommon and obscure unbiased label late-70’s Peel permitted ‘punk’ it is a teenage deal with.  ‘Leicesters finest ’77 punk band’ (disc one) and by 1980 South London Submit-Punk contenders (disc two) – a (put up) punk treasure trove of unheard gems. 

‘Each single punk band had not less than one good concept’ mentioned John Cooper Clarke famously.

And by the identical token, each band, irrespective of how obscure, had not less than one actually nice music.  Leicester scholar punk band, Disco Zombies had ‘Drums Over London’. A complete basic. Misunderstood by some who it was geared toward… however up there with the Ruts and Stiff Little Fingers when it comes to incendiary punk debut 45’s.

I keep in mind listening to it on John Peel and the refrain sticking quick in my head.  Like White Riot earlier than it,  there have been some who maybe wilfully misinterpreted the lyrical content material.  It was fairly apparent that it was satirising racists, however Rock Towards Racism requested Peel to ban it apparently, however he set them straight.

South London Stinks is a fantastically packaged 20 monitor assortment of all the bands work spanning songs written in 1977 to ones recorded in 1980.  Chronologically ordered you possibly can hear how the band progress from naive ‘power-pop’ punks to a forward-thinking, critical post-punk band. And so they have been under no circumstances a one-song band. There may be a lot right here that takes you again to the nice previous days of three TV channels, shit wallpaper and impending nuclear struggle.

They have been maybe, doomed to have a brief life-span as a band after they settled on the identify ‘Disco Zombies’. It was simply too disposable and cheesy for a band who went over to cowl critical matters. (There isn’t any means U2 would have grow to be U2 had they been referred to as Disco Zombies.)

The earliest songs had apparent targets as topics for teenage punks: Disco, Tv, domesticity … and if the deliberate launch of their High Of The Pops single hadn’t fallen-through they may have overwhelmed the Rezillos to launch a music of that identify.

Punk-a-Go-Go which incorporates the fantastic line ‘My untimely ejaculation went proper over their head’ and Coronary heart Beats Love are stunning jagged energy pop gems.  Tv Display Existence joins the ranks of basic punk songs about TV (Radiators From Area, Some Rooster, Cortinas… )

There was a earlier Disco Zombies reissue however this time on two discs they sound very good for archive recordings and in case you have comparable albums by contemporaries just like the Cigarettes (one other Optic Nerve reissue) the Wasps, The Now, The Customers – the so-called ‘second division’  – you’ll know simply how unbelievable these sort of albums are.  Though dated in some methods and ‘mannered’, they nonetheless have a spark and pleasure which is unbeatable and takes you proper again to your early teenage years – when listening to the phrase ‘fuck’ sung was the peak of riot (and also you simply hoped your mother and father couldn’t hear through the bed room wall). Should appear so quaint to children in the present day…

The bands second single, on their very own Eating Out label, was slower in model, a imprecise Chairs Lacking vibe with a Dr Boss drum machine changing the drummer:  Right here Come the Buts was backed by Mary Millington, their tribute to a widely known porn star of the time who took her personal life in 1979 (and briefly appeared within the Nice Rock’n’Roll Swindle).

‘The place Have You Been These days Tony Hateley’ was an XTC-ish upbeat music – which advised the story of the nomadic footballer. The check urgent gained many Peel minutes however by the point it was able to launch, the band had break up up. Says the press launch.

All the tracks on aspect 3 and 4 of this double album, by no means noticed the sunshine of day on the time, and arguably among the many better of the DZ’s materials, taking over topics just like the Chilly Battle paranoia and consumerisms grip.

The sound is extra storage New Wave (or early XTC / The Skids) than Gang of 4 though coping with comparable concepts.

Greenland sees tanks rolling over London and missiles flying above our heads. While Lenin’s Tomb highlights a fascination with Russia and LHO an curiosity in American political historical past (LHO = Lee Harvey Oswald)

The 12 months Of The Intercourse Olympics would have gotten a number of consideration had it been launched – the title comes from a 1968 BBC Play – (and I’m certain it crops up within the Manics music a long time later) – and it appears to foretell the existence of Viagra!

One of many catchiest songs (and there are two variations) is Paint It Crimson with its chopping opening line: Because the Arms Race escalates / We match double glazing / As we head for Armageddon / we are able to watch the racing…

Evening of the Massive Warmth has phenomenal bass-playing and drum-machine patterns which foreshadow the Sisters of Mercy. It’s a wonderful step ahead musically though (like Scars Horrorshow) it’s principally a film condensed into music type.

The closing music ‘Hit‘ is a vicious takedown of latest teams willingness to be moulded and packaged into New Pop formulation, while bitter that their very own lifespan was coming to an finish as a result of lack of funds maybe. ‘We’ve obtained a drum machine, a synthesizer too / the music’s dangerous however right here’s the packaging for you..  Hit!’

Disco Zombies coulda been contenders.  This assortment stands as testomony to yet one more nice ‘misplaced’ band from the much-discussed period.

There have been simply so-many, too-many bands round all vying for consideration that they couldn’t all succeed…(very like in the present day) nevertheless it wasn’t right down to lack of expertise, musicianship and concepts. I assume folks like Andy Ross and Dave Henderson simply weren’t reduce out for the music biz.

Even in the event you weren’t round on the time however are fascinated by 1977-1980 UK Punk and thereafter, I’d say that is nonetheless a necessary album to fill the hole in your assortment between the Cigarettes and The Flys (or the Determined Bicycles and Docs of Insanity in the event you’re a completist), and which you’ll get a number of enjoyment out of in addition to a historical past lesson.

BUY direct from Optic Nerve 

All phrases Ged Babey

Because of Optic Nerve/ Disco Zombies for unique entry to their movies.  (And sure pedants it’s the similar footage synced to completely different songs)

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