posted December 13th, 2011

Damn, yo! It's barely a week since we recalled the ghost of GROOVY to the good ol' LP format for which it was conceived. When we say Groovy, we're outside the commonly understood vernacular, perhaps; ours and soon to be yours is three slices of avant-garde heaven released back in 1980 by Pete "Buzzcock" Shelley, Francis Cookson and like-minded others plus one previously unreleased album for good measure. Talk about under-the-radar early 80s electronic/experimentric shit!. Yeah. This shit was rare! But more importantly, this shit is good!

The three dusty jewels we're hawking from the original life-span of Groovy include: Free Agents £3.33 - a bubbling broth of free-form skree and expansive Kraut-punk. The production is spacious yet low-fi with odd details glistening in the darkness - kitchen-sink to the max! £3.33 was custom-made for those who dug (and dig) on PiL, Chrome and This Heat, to name but a few. Then there's Sky Yen, from Groovy-honcho Pete Shelley, consists of two side-long (and balls-deep) oscillator freak-outs recorded back in '74 and brought to the table now that the time was finally righteous. This is the sort of thing that every other contemporary "Noise Musician" is draining Brooklyn's countless trust-fund cesspool venues with on a nightly basis - except it's an enjoyably stressful excursion, raising and lowering the temperature at will with speakers-ripping swoops and sweeps. Tasty, saith our scarred ear-drums. The last grasp of Groovy's discography-proper was the mysterious Hangahar LP, from Sally Smmit and Her Musicians. Surreal, frightening, beautiful and sublime: this record is as prescient as Sky Yen. Isn't it wild to hear how today's fresh new ideas were already perfected 30 years ago? That's one of the many double-edges of the ol' Reissue Sword, bitch. But seriously, the hissing synths, alien-opera vocals and falling-down-the-stairs-percussion on display here prove once again how badly we all need to pay attention to what once was (and what shall remain) Groovy.

The cherry on top of this herd (and arguably the best of the whole batch) is the all-together-now-late-night-communal improv jams now known as Strange Men in Sheds with Spanners. Cherished privately by the Groovy camp for decades (but previously unreleased) - Strange Men is a wild ride: a perfectly sequenced masterpiece of lo-fi drum-machine & synth-sublime rock. Anyone digging through the racks for Klaus Wiese, Bruno Spoerri, John Bender or library-soundtracks: wake up and CHECK THIS ONE (AND THE FIRST THREE) OUT on LP in 2011! Come January 2012, y'all can grab it in a collected box set (complete with in-depth Pete Shelley interview retracing selected steps of the era), on Compact Disc - the format of the future (they said shortly after these records were originally released)! No complete set for the LPs, son, sorry! You'll have to grab 'em like you grab your victims - one at a time. Unless there's something you haven't been telling us? That's not Groovy, baby...

Artists in this story: Pete Shelley, Sally Smmit and her Musicians, Strange Men in Sheds With Spanners, Free Agents