Song of the day – 78: Blurt
Man alive, this band were scary, and a riot to dance to, live.
Blurt. Blurt. Blurt. Blurt means Blurt means Blurt means Blurt means.
You can find more information here. Main man Ted Milton is still releasing fascinating stuff, last I listened (couple of years ago).
Oh, and here’s something I wrote about a Blurt reissue and a few other bands, for Plan B 12.
Age doesn’t increase knowledge. I eat home-baked pizza and listen to the same three records from the past, eternally stuck on repeat. Essential Logic. This Heat. Blurt. Essential Logic. This Heat. Blurt. I grew up believing a saxophone to be more revolutionary (sonically) than a phalanx of guitars, that within its capricious confines and slinky metallic curves it was possible to blow up a storm of revolution, jarring, grating and lithe. My hands hit the wrong keyboard. I have no control over fate. My contact with the outside world extended as far as games of Dungeons And Dragons wherein fearsome sax-wielding creatures called Uncle Ted popped up unexpectedly, spouting scary gibberish, dancing an obsessive/compulsive dance – always covering the same three slabs of concrete. Don’t put your nephew in the microwave. Don’t put your hand in the blender. There’s no way out of this spiral: when I walk along the street I can only hear a low motorik hum, a flexing of society’s muscles. I liked to dance, y’know.
Uncle Ted was based on the real-life anarchic puppeteer and twisted, demented, gurning, intense front-man of Blurt. See? The same three groups. Blurt, This Heat… oh, you get it. His minimal, devilish, dry humping, confrontational three-piece has been blowing shards of discontent and No Wave rhythmic splendour since 1980: as The Best Of Blurt Volume 2 – The Body That They Built To Fit The Car (Salamander) proves. Imagine being Ted Milton for 26 years! Jesus, fuck! Imagine being Everett True for 16. It really doesn’t work. None of the ‘hits’ are present. This is some of the most extreme, danceable music this side of the good Captain (Beefheart), this side of ESG, of the past three decades.
Here’s a cliché.
OK. Got over it yet? Let’s discuss my past. Dancing. Not fucking. Not snogging. Scared of most anything concerned with adult life. (What’s changed?) My impressionable self looking for leads, for causes, for mentors. Let’s switch cities; Birmingham, late 1978. Ferment and provocation; the jagged yet irresistible white funk of James Chance, Gang Of Four, the DiY ethos of Mekons, the politics of the three-day week, rats crawling through garbage in city centres, the innate sexism of rock’n’roll. Along come The Au Pairs, righteous and filled with a desire to help change society at whatever level they encounter it. Fifteen years before the equally inspirational Bikini Kill created a furore within the male-centric music press by pointing out the gender imbalance at gigs, The Au Pairs were actively confronting it – at a time when violence and boneheaded skins were endemic. The fact their music – a heady rush of blood to the head, a searing, forceful dissemination of gender politics, a brittle, angular, guitar-based rock music led by the intimidating figure of Lesley Woods – was so incredible, easily the equal to more feted post-punk groups like Delta 5 and (yes) Essential Logic was some fucking bonus.
There’s a kick-ass double CD compilation out, covering both albums and various singles, absolutely all you need to know – from the caustic ‘We’re So Cool’ to the bluesy, full-throttle live cover of ‘Piece Of My Heart’ to the deadpan cool first single ‘You’ – called Stepping Out Of Line (Sanctuary). It’s not This Heat. Little is.
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