Poor Soda's Coda
Amongst the bands I devoured with fan-boy intensity in my youth, none seemed so uncompromising as This Heat. (For comparison: Pere Ubu, Henry Cow and Faust were some of the others I'd include in that list - no slouches themselves in the "serious artist" stakes). I knew absolutely nothing about the band at the time except that their music was unlike anything else I'd ever heard. Ofcourse, there were echoes of previously loved tonalities and styles - a little bit of Krautrock and prog and post-punk - but the full noise they made is still, undeniably, something that no other band has replicated or ripped off. It's just too impossibly odd and singular to copy.
mp3: 24 Track Loop
Not so much a song as an experiment in arrangement, 24 specially devised and meticulously recorded tape loops + a mixing desk make this their most dub-inflected piece. The crowning joy on their 1st self titled album.
Their 2nd album, "Deceit" is more politically motivated and the polemic sometimes sticks in my craw, even if I do agree with it, but this track is a perfect anti-war song and highlights their off-centre harmonies to perfection.
This, on the other hand, is all frontal assault with propulsive drumming and frantic guitar and a stadium sing-along that U2 should have made.
mp3: Health and Efficiency
A 12" single and a 3" cd release. Their most memorable track in many ways with an indie prog rock feel to the 1st section slamming into the long, hard, funky repeating end portion where not much seems to happen but where all the sounds meld perfectly.
mp3: Horizontal Hold
Well after they'd split up, "Made Available - The Peel Sessions" was released and it contains fantastic live / semi-live versions of previously released and unreleased tracks. This was originally on their 1st album but this rendering is even better in many ways - more angular and brittle sounding than before.
mp3: The Fall Of Saigon
A vaguely east indian drone with woodblocks and drums and an ethereal vocal line and a monumental feeling of dread - "we ate soda, the embassy's cat". Their most effective and moving song.
Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen, Gareth Williams:
How 3 guys (including 1 avowed non-musician) could create such a glorious noise baffled me then and continues to do so.
A pretty complete discography can be found here.
These Records are the people who can re-release these fantastic albums but, currently, they're still out of print. Don't bother hectoring them as they've probably got enough worries as it is.
A terrific PSF article on them can be found here.