Archive for the ‘Post-Punk’ Category

Frankie Teardrop

Howl

Suicide – Frankie Teardrop

So for this All Saints’ Eve a disturbing image to accompany possibly the most disturbing band ever singing what is to me the single most creepy, freaky, scary and down right fucked up piece of music ever recorded.

Suicide’s Frankie Teardrop concerns the exploits of a family slaying factory worker and his subsequent descent to Hell. To me Frankie represents the absolute antithesis of the blue denim rock of Bruce Springsteen or worse Bon Jovi… Even though ostensibly they frequently deal with the same themes.

The image is of a statue the Sistine Chapel and didn’t need too much Photoshopping to make the odd, desperate looking chap you see above… Typically I snapped the pic without much consideration of my stony subject so can’t tell you much about him – except he doesn’t look any happier than poor old Frankie Teardrop and the hammer he’s bashing himself with made me think of Suicide’s relentless industrial rhythyms.

Even though it is knocking on for being 35 years old, Frankie still just as raw, demented and horrifying as the day it was recorded.

Turn this all the way up and I defy you not to jump out of your skin when Alan Vega screams for the first time… And every other time too.

The double disc re-issues version of Suicide’s eponymous debut has some more listenable tracks, for instance ‘hit single’ Cheree and Ghost Rider, as covered by REM. You can buy it from Amazon here or download it from Suicide - Suicide

Anthrax

Anthrax

Gang of Four – Anthrax

The first thing you’ll notice about the above image if you’ve heard Anthrax by before, or after you listen to it if you haven’t, is that I have very conspicuously got the wrong insect (are scorpions even insects?) in the picture – there’s a reason for that.

The underlying motif of the song is stasis and the trap that is apparently Gang Of Four’s conception of modern love – with the recurring lyric being ‘feeling like a beetle on its back’. The miserablist nature of that aside, it is a creeping, shifty-sounding song that is one of the best produced by the unarguably brilliant Gang of Four.

I chose the slightly creepy, itchy looking image because the song’s multiple overdubbed vocals seem to fit it well, not to mention the stark nature of Gang Of Four’s music working well with the two tone (not like that!) image. Anthrax kicks off with over a minute’s feedback and then a twin pronged vocal from Andy Gill and Jon King that at times echo one another before diverging again down different paths…

The image isn’t a Photoshop job, alarmingly it was captured looking almost exactly like this (a little post-production brightening and contrast changing has gone on) in London Zoo thanks to the odd lighting of the reptile house.

If you enjoy the music of Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, or Bloc Party and are not aware of the debts they owe to bands like Gang of Four (and for that matter Magazine and Wire amongst others) then you should check out the brilliant retrospective Return the Gift – although the album Entertainment, which featured Anthrax, is also excellent and features lots of the same tracks.

You can buy Return The Gift from Amazon: here<\a> and Entertainment here<\a>

And you can download them here from
Gang Of Four

Isolation

IsolationJoy Division – Isolation (Live at the Lyceum Ballroom)

This combination of image and music was what inspired me to create shotwithsound.

The way the photo almost subliminally makes me think of the song was what encouraged me to begin blogging about images that fit music. The first time I saw the shot – which almost coincidentally came together – on the preview screen of my camera, in an almost synaesthetic way, I started to hum the synth line from Isolation.

I rarely take photos in black and white (I prefer to give myself the option of converting the file at a later date) but with this image, I was checking to see how the rock formation looked, as the man who appears in the image walked by and I captured him, in black and white.

Joy Division are usually thought of as being a particularly industrial band, in sound, image, and soul if you will, but I think this image shows that their music, at its most powerful, can describe the loneliness of man in nature just as effectively as describing him living in a Ballardian dystopia. This version of Isolation was recorded live at the Lyceum Ballroom in London in 1980,  only three months before Ian Curtis’ suicide, and just before the sessions for Closer, the posthumously released album on which it featured. It brings the synth to the front, and I think the vocal sounds more haunted and desperate that the fairly clean one recorded for Closer, so in some ways darker, but also lighter: “but if you could just see the beauty” indeed.

Get it from Amazon (the Heart and Soul boxset live at the Lyceum version):

Image of Heart & Soul (2008 UK re-issue)

Download it on iTunes (the released version from Closer):

Joy Division - Closer (Collector's Edition) - Isolation

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shotwithsound

shotwithsound is a blog about the music I love, with occasional forays into my photography, and other things that catch my eye.

You can see more of my photography on my website www.nicstevenson.com.