Thursday, September 14, 2006

Life's a Scream

The lovely Kelis, bless her, has recently been claiming that she was the "first girl to scream on a track." We'll let her off, partly because of her rainbow wig, and partly because, being so young, she clearly thinks musical history began in 1997. But someone really should point her in the direction of The Slits. Or Crass's Eve Libertine, whose righteous anger made Kelis sound like someone upset over stubbing their toe. Or, for that matter, Janine Rainforth of Maximum Joy.

Formed from the ashes of The Pop Group, Maximum Joy caught that moment (circa 1980) when white post-punk was starting to look across the Atlantic for inspiration, and to incorporate funk, reggae and jazz into its sonic vocabulary. Indeed, they were so successful in this regard that they attracted the attention of Ed Bahlman's 99 Records, home of Liquid Liquid, ESG and the Bush Tetras. Always slightly overlooked whenever the story of Bristol is being told, they were as much a link between the Pop Group and Massive Attack as Pigbag and Rip Rig and Panic, but are only now being given their rightful place in history, thanks to a recent round-up of their output on Crippled Dick Hot Wax (those wacky Germans!). Stretch, their first single, available below, formed a sort of template for their output over the next three years, though they'd later incorporate more dub elements and a jazzier sound. Ignore the truly mediocre attempts at rapping on the track (again, we can let them off; it was 1981). Instead enjoy the sound of Thatcher's Britain meeting the streets of NYC, and of a posh bird going mental at the discotheque. Eat your heart out, Kelis.

Download Stretch (Disco Rap Mix) (deleted Feb 2007--sorry!)

Visit The Dug Out

Buy Maximum Joy


jon manyjars said...

I only discovered yesterday that the members of Maximum Joy include most or all of the Glaxo Babies, whose song "Maximum Sexual Joy" was one of my mixtape favorites. The pharmaceutical firm Glaxo made them change their name. You probably knew that!

jon manyjars said...

Linder Sterling (of the band Ludus) did some pretty nerve-rattling screaming back in the 80's too. I just got the excellent Ludus comp on LTM.

irkthepurists said...

I'm not as familiar with Linder's musical oeuvre as I should be, Jon, so I should grab a few of those compilations too. I do notice though that she's just had an exhibition in Paris. See
She's also in The Wire magazine this month, discussing the cover of John Greaves and Peter Blegvad's Kew Rhone from 1977.