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Dirty HC Punk explosion - Bristol scene Rise up + Disorder 9 free CDs

ab010From The Cortinas to Lunatic Fringe and Disorder, Bristol had a huge Punk scene that has influenced, affected and stimulated a vast range of artists that operate in the city. Many of these artists produce music that wouldn’t necessarily suggest a Punk heritage but scratch beneath the surface of a lot of the major players in the Bristol milieu and you will find a fondness for the times of `spikey barnets’, limited musical ability, a `F*** You’ attitude and disrespect for the music industry and its poseur hierarchy.

The Bristol Punk rock scene was a very important part of the musical architecture of the city. One band; Vice Squad had contributed a song called Nothing to the Avon Calling compilation. The track became a favourite of John Peel, got plenty of airplay on his show and threw the national music presses musical gaze at the band. They were one of the more visually and musically striking bands within Bristol’s growing punk scene and their first single Last Rockers started a train of events that was to lead to a major record deal and a career that, for the bands’ frontwoman; Beki Bondage, continues today.

Vice Squad were one of many excellent Bristol punk acts which included in the late seventies The Cortinas and The Numbers, and then as the 1970s became the 1980s Disorder, Lunatic Fringe, Chaos UK, Court Martial, The Undead, Chaotic Dischord and a band that didn’t originate from Bristol but whose main members lived in the city The Amebix.  

Bristol became very influential in the British and European anarcho-punk scene between 1980 and 1985. Many bands from Europe came over and played at places like the `Demolition Diner’ (a squat venue and café that was sited on the corner of Ashley Road and the beginning of Cheltenham Road), `Trinity’, `The Dockland Settlement’, `The Stonehouse’ and the `Tropic Club’, whilst Bristol acts such as Disorder and Chaos UK became popular attractions all over Europe, America and especially Japan. Bands such as Crass, Flux of Pink Indians, The Subhumans and Conflict and later on many US hardcore bands like MDC, Bad Brains, Black Flag, No Means No etc all came to Bristol, forging links with the city and individuals within it and were part of a growing underground scene.

The scene had its own lifestyle politics which included squatting and the formation of many squatters rights groups, vegan and vegetarianism (the growth of cafes and organic food suppliers such as Harvest Natural Foods in Bath, the Better Food Co, Essential Foods and Nova Wholefoods in Bristol), Anarchist politics (Class War and at some points Direct Action had a strong base in Bristol) and even housing co-operatives (One called the `Diggers’ which got grants to buy and rent out property, set up in Montpelier and St Paul’s).

This whole scene was very much in evidence, especially around the Montpelier, St Paul’s, St Werburghs and Easton Areas. Animal rights also began to flourish and groups such as the Animal Liberation Front and the Hunt Saboteurs found many a recruit in Bristol. D and Angelo Brushini from Massive Attack, Dave McDonald from Portishead, Rob Smith and Ray Mighty from Smith and Mighty and Tricky were all fairly active participants in the punk scene and consumed much of its ethos and musical sensibilities.

Bristol: Rise Up

For a large part of the 1990s Bristol became central to the musical universe, as the sounds of the West Country’s capital reverberated around the planet. Drum&bass and trip hop, Massive Attack, Roni Size, Tricky and Portishead. Yes sir, this was the place, the epicentre, it was all happening. Where were you?

Fast forward to 2008 and perhaps wider public opinion is that Bristol’s musical heyday has long since passed. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘wave speech’; for a time in the last decade of the 20th Century the musical population of Bristol was riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. Now years later you can climb a steep hill in the city and look West and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Not if Mary Anne Hobbs has anything to do with it. Dismissing this train of thought, Hobbs is at the forefront of a new wave of thinking, reshaping popular opinion about the Bristol scene.

This revisionist school argues that the city is remerging as the capital of a new sound. That Bristol is in a continual state of evolution not devolution. The city is moving again. In fact it never really stopped. Only this time it sways to the sound of new drum machine beats. They call it dubstep.

Bristol: A History

The Cortinas were the first. They played the Roxy Club, released two singles on Mark Perry and Miles Copeland’s Step Forward label, graced the front cover of Sniffin’ Glue and recorded a Peel Session. Guitarist Nick Sheppard remembers the night it all slotted into place: “I think a real turning point for us was seeing the Ramones at the Roundhouse on July 4 1976 – we definitely started to write our own songs after that gig. We had been playing and doing gigs for about a year by then – all covers apart from one song, Tokyo Joe as I remember. After that gig we started writing stuff like Television Families. I think we saw people like us in the audience at that gig, and it must have given us confidence.”

Taking their cue, bands like Social Security (the first band on Heartbeat Records), The Pigs (whose Youthanasia single was released by Miles Copeland’s New Bristol Records), The Primates, The Media, The Posers and The Verdict gave Bristol one of the strongest provincial early punk scenes, mainly centred around the Clifton area of Bristol and Barton Hill Youth Club.

Members of Disorder and The Amebix in a Bristol squat. Rob "The Baron" of The Amebix gives some insight on how to get your hair to stand up, and Boob from Disorder tells a harrowing tale of how he was nabbed by police for stealing shit including tape decks and jelly. Great footage!

Barton Hill also gave us The X-Certs, who by 1978 could already pull audiences of 500 into Trinity Church, without the aid of a safety net or record contract. Though we didn’t realise it at the time, they effectively bridged the gap between the late 70s Bristol scene and what our American cousins like to term the UK82 bands.

Vice Squad and Heartbeat Records boss Simon Edwards formed Riot City Records toward the end of 1980, releasing the band’s first single Last Rockers in January 1981. It sold well and after a second Vice Squad single the label recruited other Bristol bands like Portishead lunatics Chaos UK, Court Martial and The Undead, while Disorder recorded for their own label, all achieving impressive sales. The less said about Chaotic Dischord, the better.

The origins of the ‘Bristol Sound’, as philosophy, lie with the angst ridden Bristol punk and post-punk acts of the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Bands such as The Pop Group, formed in 1978, had a strong DIY ethos and sense of musical independence that still resonates around the city today.

The Pop Group, whose sound spanned punk, funk, jazz and dub were produced by reggae veteran Dennis Bovell, a union which set the tone for Bristol as a city that welcomed musicians of all genres to interact, share, learn and work with one another.

Moving into the mid ‘80s, Bristol sound systems like The Wild Bunch developed the concept of pan-genre amalgamation further, creating their own musical agenda, blasting out snippets of punk, soul, hip hop and reggae as well as ambient electronic soundscapes creating a slow, rhythmic atmosphere.

This would eventually develop into trip hop and see Bristol artists such as Tricky, Portishead and Massive Attack (formed by three members of The Wild Bunch, Robert Del Naja aka 3D, Grant Marshall aka Daddy G and Andrew Vowles aka Mushroom in 1987) achieve massive worldwide recognition in the mid to late 1990s, the success of which continues through to the present day.

Leaving the ‘80s and entering the early ‘90s, Bristol now played host to the emerging genres of jungle and drum&bass evolving from the ashes of early rave culture. At the forefront of this pioneering new form of dance music was Bristol’s own Full Cycle Records led by Roni Size, DJ Suv, DJ Krust and DJ Die. This quartet also formed half of the 1997 Mercury Music Prize winning crew Reprazent, lifting the coveted trophy for album ‘New Forms’.

But why Bristol? What made the city so special? Of vast importance is the large West Indian population which bestowed reggae and dub upon the wider Bristol population, sharing a love of bass and sound system culture, represented so wonderfully at the annual celebration that is St Paul’s Carnival.

Similar to Manchester or Berlin, Bristol also has a large student population who constantly consume, digest and interpret the music of the city in an open minded, positive way. Further, the city is small enough geographically to seem almost intimate, with various types of music sharing audiences, venues and record shops creating dialog, interaction and collaboration.

It is not just the music that has benefitted from the independent, DIY ethos that seems to grip Bristol. This is after all the city that spawned Banksy, the graffiti artist turned darling of the contemporary art world. Indeed 3D of Massive Attack is himself an established graffiti artist and, like Barcelona, a walk around Bristol reveals a city that is almost a living canvas on which public displays of expression, be it in art or music, are not only the norm but actively encouraged.

Bristol: Perceived Decline

Yet as the 1990s drew to a close, at least in the eyes of the wider world, Bristol seemed to reach a creative peak and was unable to match its previous musical output. Popularity had come at a price. From the late ‘90s onwards the success and subsequent commercialisation of drum&bass and trip hop created a vacuum in Bristol.

While still popular, the genres became in some eyes diluted, disillusioning certain emerging artists who felt they couldn’t question or reinvent the genres at this key stage of rapid expansion. Without this, to an extent, trip hop and drum&bass began to cannibalise their own influences from within.

Still, both genres continue to have vibrant followings around the world and both continue to surprise with the complexity and innovation of new releases. Regardless this is not the time for what would be a huge and possibly volatile discussion.

What is important is that Bristol was innovating again. Younger producers and DJs, both in Bristol and around the world began to move away from the classic interpretations of both drum&bass and trip hop and search for new, more relevant sounds.

Entering the ‘00s, many heads turned towards London and the deep dark, bass driven sounds emerging from the ruins of UK garage. This new sound, known simply as dubstep, had real resonance with the Bristol ethos of fusing together an amalgamation of influences and adding a large dose of heavy bass.


Disorder albums download

This punk band from Bristol, England, blended breakneck thrash with tales of gargantuan cider consumption. The first incarnation dated from 1980, comprising Mick (bass), Steve (guitar), Virus (drums) and Dean (vocals). They produced a demo tape that was sent to Riot City Records, but after being turned down they formed their own Disorder Records instead. After the release of "Complete Disorder", Mick left and was replaced by Steve Robinson. The Distortion Till Deafness EP was subsequently released, before bizarre developments followed. Robinson split from girlfriend Beki Bondage (of Vice Squad, the band who had vetoed Disorder joining Riot City) and took up glue-sniffing as a hobby. Then the CID caught up with Virus concerning the ownership of his new drumkit. Dean left too, going on to salubrious employment as a toilet cleaner in Taunton. He was replaced by Taff (ex-X-Certs Review), who took up bass, and the group persuaded Boobs, their roadie, to take over vocals. Luckily he had almost completed his then-current prison sentence for defrauding his electricity company.

After the recording of "Perdition", the band set about a short touring stint with the Varukers, but their first foreign tour was sabotaged by a typical series of farcical miscalculations concerning European geography and train timetables. Virus felt enough was enough and was replaced by Glenn (ex-Dead Popstars), while the band moved into a shared squat with friends Amebix. Later releases were somewhat more restrained, daring to flirt with melody on occasion. Disorder disbanded and re-formed on several occasions during the 90s and 00s, hanging around long enough to record a number of studio albums and board their trusty van to go out on tour.


Under the Scalpel Blade (Disorder, 1984)

Combining the 'Under The Scalpel Blade' LP with the 'One Day Son......' EP, this release contains a further 20 Disorder tracks that established the band at the top of the Third Wave Of Punk movement.

Sliced Punx on Meathooks
(Anagram, 1997)

At last, a brand new 21-track album from this protest punk band. 'Sliced Punx...' continues their tradition of in your face music. This CD contains bonus tracks recorded live so you can now sample their explosive energy in the comfort of your own room. Disorder are now based in Norway and are still in great demand on the international gig circuit.

Mental Disorder EP (Disorder, 1983)

Kamikaze (Anagram, 2005)

"Kamikaze" is Disorder at their senile best and show why they are held in such high esteem around the world. Hard, fast and totally in yer face, this is a ballads free zone! Still protesting against injustice, angry enough to stand up and be counted they remain a great live experience.

We're Still Here (Anagram, 1997)

Complete Disorder
EP (Disorder, 1981)

Distortion to Deafness EP (Disorder, 1981)

Perdition 12" (Disorder, 1983)

The Rest Home For Senile Old Punks Presents... (Bastards, 1991)

This album has never been previously released, and includes 25 tracks that are pure Disorder at their senile best. This album brings the tally of Disorder albums on the Punk Collectors series to 4.







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