Sunday, 26 April 2009



Chunks was another New Alliance compilation, the third record put out by the label.  Featuring trademark Raymond Pettibon cover artwork and production by in-house producer Spot, the label was very much arm in arm with SST featuring a number of it acts in the line-up.  Released as an album but running at 45 rpm following on from Cracks In The Sidewalk it features twelve tracks by the great and the good, the eventual has-beens and never-weres.  It is most notable for being home to “Machine” by Black Flag which was a track that would eventually find its way home to SST on The First Four Years compilation.  Elsewhere of note are tracks by naturally the Minutemen, the Descendents, Saccharine Trust and the infamous Nig-Heist.

There is a large element of lifting the lid attached to this release.  It is fun to note that only two songs go past the two minute mark so the listener is not likely to get bored.  This is the first time I have heard of The Cheifs, Peer Group, Vox Pop, Slivers and Artless Entanglements and it is also quite possibly the last.  Lets investigate.

The record opens with “Global Probing” by the Descendents.  The early version of the band was somewhat more revved up than they eventually came to be known (which was the band Green Day lifted from heavily).  There is a rattle to their being and an uncomfortable chant come chorus time (“it’s all in vain, if you don’t stop, you’ll go insane”).  At this stage there was still much work to do.

Moving on the horribly spelled The Cheifs pleasingly deliver with the snotty “The Lonelys” which features a set of Germs/Darby like vocals coupled with a fizzy, loose drive not a million miles away from the sound of Ginn’s guitar.

San Pedro’s finest the Minutemen arrive and raise the bar with their offering “Clocks”.  On cue their track is nimble and compact, a forty one second punk funk instrumental work out.  The musicianship towers even if the song does not.

With that the aforementioned Black Flag work rant “Machine” screams on proceedings.  As per the band at the time it is more angst and declaration of defiance in the face of authority and the man.  “Machine” is a slow build, a rant that builds into a true swinging rage at an imagined manager.

The Stains present here I believe is the version that was fronted by Jesus Fixx.  Regardless their offering “Sick And Crazy” is a high octane punk plunder that revs and burns in ecstatic and effective fashion which races to the finish.

Peer Group represent something of a pleasant mystery existing as some kind of keen collision of Pere Ubu and the Minutemen right down to the vocals which sound very much like D. Boon.  Their song here “I Saw That Movie” is a bendy and angular.

The second side of the record opens with Vox Pop (featuring future members of The Germs and Angry Samoans) delivering a fizzy almost prototype Riot Grrrl blast with “You’re My Favourite”.  Its favouritism that comes with a catch.

Experimental oaf Ken promptly arrives on the scene with spacey noodling and near spoken word vocals in a Jim Carroll style.  “Purposeless Attitudes” swirls and disarms offering escapism through torture.

Picking up the pieces comes Slivers with an odd sloppy track entitled “Sport” that is driven by a stock saxophone piece accompanied by a stroppy Darby Crash-esqe vocalist delivering in nursery rhyme fashion in obtuse Fall fashion.  Beneath it all plays out a noise that can only be described as sounding like masturbating.  It’s messy.

The great Saccharine Trust gifts “A Christmas Cry” opening with the line “so this is Christmas” while being the antithesis of John Lennon.  This war will never be over.  The song exhibits the experimental, arty side of the band with its anti-rock jazz gesture and sound of things collapsing around them.  With its spoken word narrative here is another act that feels touched by Jim Carroll.  And then it all concludes with the declaration “give thanks because you have not yet felt the wrath of God”.

Stinking things up slightly, Artless Entanglements offer a joke country ditty in the form of “Dildos, Bondage And Toys”.  It’s silly and comes with the chorus of “lets get wet, make lots of noise”.  That might be a take.

It all ends with Mugger’s band The Nig-Heist.  This was a band described as “one of the most explicit and vile acts to exist”.  To be honest that is something of an overstatement/overestimation but the intention is there as nihilism rules with numerous gestures of “fuck the world, fuck you all”.  “The Nig-Heist” as a track is their calling card, their manner/method of introduction.  It’s a song about finding and apportioning blame.  It’s neither playful nor fun.

And with that twelve bands pass with twelve songs in absolutely no time.  If only more music was as short.

Thesaurus moment: apprehend.

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