17.05.13

10 punks who went weird

Benjamin Power and Andrew Hung’s Bristol-born Fuck Buttons have just announced their third album in almost 10 years, the first since ‘Tarot Sport’ four years ago. Power and Hung have been doing their own thing in the interim, as Blanck Mass and Dawn Hunger respectively, including seeing some of their music, bizarrely, featured at the 2012 London Olympics.

Their solo digressions couldn’t be more different to Fuck Buttons, but then that band’s style has never exactly been easy to pinpoint either. From the rattling, spasmodic rhythms of Ribs Out in 2008’s ‘Street Horrrsing’ to the ambient 10-minute build-up of the self-fulfilling prophecy of Olympians in 2009’s ‘Tarot Sport’, they’ve lingered in a limbo of artistic impartiality, sometimes feeling alienated in the process: “We didn’t really fit in with the aesthetic of what a hardcore band should be, but I think it was hardcore punk,” Power said about Fuck Buttons when he was interviewed for Dummy earlier in the year.

While you mightn’t expect versatility from those notoriously restrictive, often elitist, musical circles, across punk and hardcore, drone and electronic noise, that’s not necessarily reflective of the artists within (or without) them. Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. Heatsick vs. Birds of Prey
    Between creating experimental noise with HELM’s Luke Younger in Birds of Delay and producing the sashaying house-inspired beats of HEATSICK, Steve Warwick was in a band with Younger in a heavy metal five-piece called Birds of Prey and cheekily dubbed “death and roll” by the band themselves. We couldn’t find any examples for you, but with a CDR titled ‘I’ve Got Heroin In My AIDS’, you can only imagine.
  2. I T A L vs. BLACK EYES
    Daniel Martin-McCormick started out in DC post-hardcore band Black Eyes, moved into a slightly more experimental vein with Mi Ami and is now known as the shamelessly grooving I T A L on 100% Silk, via Not Not Fun, naturally.

  3. BRAIN CHILDREN vs. AGENTS OF ABHORRENCE
    Before Lace Curtain, Mikey Young was known for his straight-up garage rock and hardcore roots in Australia. No one could have dreamed he’d put on some fishnets and start an electro project with Max Kohane of brain beating grindcore band Agents of Abhorrence, but I for one am glad they did.

  4. HELM vs. LOWEST FORM
    When London’s Luke Younger isn’t putting out his mind-altering experimental sounds as HELM or working with PAN label mate Steve Warwick, then he’s indulging the cocky macho in all of us as bassist for hardcore four piece Lowest Form.

  5. COLD CAVE vs. AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
    Poet and author Wes Eisold not only works regularly with power electronics artist Dominick Fernow, of Vatican Shadow and Prurient, but he also has his own poppier-by-the-minute darkwave project Cold Cave. If Henry Rollins is anything to go by, his hardcore days are a matter of course.

  6. JOSE GONZALEZ vs. BACK AGAINST THE WALL
    Not only the man responsible for making The Knife’s break-out track Heartbeats marketable, you could probably trace the pescetarian performer’s roots back to this early hardcore days as The Dead Kennedys and Misfits influenced Back Against the Wall, as well as Renascence and Only if You Call Me Jonathan.
  7. LILACS & CHAMPAGNE vs. GRAILS
    As a member of doomy stoner bands like Om and Grails, Emil Amos not only plays in folk outfit Holy Sons but he now boast what you could very loosely term a hip hop and tape collage project, Lilacs & Champagne, on Mexican Summer.

  8. BLOOD ORANGE vs. TEST ICICLES
    Dev Hynes made a beeline from the dance-punk, crossover thrash of Test Icicles to writing songs for Florence and the Machine, working with Solange Knowles and producing the quivering soft-rock rhythm of Blood Orange.

  9. BLACK DICE vs. LIGHTNING BOLT
    After leaving the audio intensity of Rhode Island’s Lightning Bolt in 1996, Hisham Bharoocha co-founded experimental electronic project Black Dice, where he stayed until they signed to DFA in 2004.

  10. MSTRKRFT vs. DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979
    The Canadian noise rock duo Death From Above 1979 broke hearts when they split, somewhat acrimoniously, after just one album, leaving a cult following in its wake. It’s unlikely bassist Jesse F. Keeler’s dance-punk outfit MSTRKRFT was any consolation.

ATP Recordings will release ‘Slow Focus’, the new Fuck Buttons LP, on the 22nd July 2013.