one faint deluded smile

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Do The Total Drop

I only ever heard The Homosexuals because they were on an Recommended Records compilation 7" that also contained a previously unissued Faust track (that I just had to own). The Faust piece was pretty dull so, luckily, "Total Drop" turned out to be an instantaneous favourite. It combined a weird pop sensibility with some almost proggish tempo and mood changes, all wrapped up in a post-punky 2-3 minutes. Just fantastic. I added it to every compilation cassette I made for people and, years later, it was one of the first things I digitised even though the vinyl was crackly and abused. For some reason I didn't seek out anything else of theirs - including the LP released on ReR - and I have no real idea why. Maybe I was saving up to travel overseas at the time. Maybe I was entering my deep stretch of music hatred...

In any case, I've just received Astral Glamour - the 3cd compilation of, supposedly, all the recordings which lie within The Homosexuals banner. Confusingly, this includes releases under the names of George Harassment, Ici La Bas and Sir Alick but it doesn't include L. Voag or Nancy Sesay or any of the other offshoots centred around bass player Jim Welton whom I can only suppose is still pissed off with the whole thing. This wide ranging discography shows just about everything that they released... maybe.

Even though the cd booklet is extensive and erudite, the band history and internal politics is still an almost impenetrable jungle which I'll never fully understand. But it seems a shame, at least to me, that the person who helped conceive the wondrous Total Drop and one of the great post-punk singles in "C'est Fab" is given little space in the text - nothing is really explained about the non-Bruno bands.

And a lot of the things which have been excluded (for whatever reason) are substantially better than half of this compilation. I still love the early tracks like "Soft South Africans" and "Vociferous Slam" but some of the half completed or badly recorded things merge together into a D.I.Y. mess. In fact, I can skip most of disk 2 entirely. But the rest of it is excellent and still stands well above most of the like-minded bands of the time (my own little attempts included). For the faint of heart, the Homosexuals cd on ReR may be a less intense option.

Lastly, "Total Drop" itself is a definite precursor to song writing style of The Fiery Furnaces... if only FF kept them to 3 minutes long!


  • hello, dan selzer from acute records here.

    to be fair, part of the bruno-centric nature of the liner notes and the box itself may be the result of Jim's questionable behavior in regards to the band and the project, which Bruno claims was created as a writing vehicle for him. Most famously, in Johan's interview with Jim in Ugly Things magazine, apparently many half-truths were told, and no effort was made to draw attention to Bruno and Anton's contribution, by Jim, who left the band prior to some of their best recordings(in my opinion, stuff like the second two singles, Prestel, You're Not Moving, Nursery Chymes and In Search of the Perfect Baby.) L. Voag and Nancey Sesay and Amos and Sara and Tesco Bombers and Just Measures etc etc were all Jim projects released on the It's War Boys label seperate from the what Bruno (and Anton) were doing on Black Noise, though Bruno and Anton may have helped out in the beginning. On his website, Chuck Warner says "Also note that EVERYTHING on the It's War Boys label was an independent project by Jim/L.Voag"

    perhaps if we're lucky, Chuck will get to do an It's War Boys CD set, though that may have to be 10 cds!

    Some of this music, I thought, makes more sense seperate and not in the context of the rest of the catalog. You mention not being into much of disk 2, but when I first heard the George Harassment LP, I was blown away by the guitar instrumentals, which are all lo-fi and multi-tracked. Certainly they don't sound great next to Prestel.

    Anyway, Bruno's been in NY for a bit now, played 2 shows which went extremely well, and made some appearances on WFMU, on John Allen's show and last night with me on Mike Goodstein's show, They will all be archived soon. While John's interviews are a bit more mature and informative, our radio show last night was a bit more silly, and highly recommended.

    thanks, I'm gonna go back to listening to Can't Stop It! now.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:38 am  

  • dan, thanks for the update on the jim side of things. ofcourse, i knew something like this would be reason behind their ommission but it still lessens the impact of what is being touted as some sort of definitive document of the band. you're right about disk 2. i'm actually feeling less enamoured of disk 3 at the moment - which seems a little too artfully inclined compared to the earlier material.

    By Blogger Phil, at 12:00 pm  

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