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(Originally posted on my Agony Shorthand blog, January 2005. The best of this stuff has just been reissued on LP in 2015 – more here)

Before I read through the liners on this collection, but after I’d dug in deep to disc #1, the 1977-79 collection “25 A-Sides”, I had STEVE TREATMENT nailed as a massive Marc Bolan fan. Rollicking, strut-heavy glam chops abound on Treatment’s early 45s, but instead of being a full-on electric warrior tribute act, his act was seared with the raw knowledge of 1977 punk rock.

Turns out that he and his punker pals were indeed huge Marc Bolan/T.Rex worshippers, and spent the better part of the glam era hanging out closely with the man himself. When punk arrived on England’s shores, Steve Treatment and his Bolan buddies Nikki Sudden & Epic Soundtracks gently convinced Marc into bringing THE DAMNED along on tour, which may have been the one gesture that kept Bolan’s credibility alive with the sneering punk crowd a few months beyond its natural shelf life. Punk also meant that Treatment and his friends were now free to throw their own musical ideas onto wax; thus were born the legend-producing SWELL MAPS, and the dustbin-of-history- relegated STEVE TREATMENT.

For a few months, these acts actually were one and the same. On Steve Treatment’s debut EP “5 A-Sides”, the entire band that we now know as the Swell Maps were the key players. This record is incredible, and hearing the four tracks beyond “Danger Zone” (which was on an early “Messthetics” compilation) is one of the early musical highlights of 2005 for me. I’ll put them all up on a par with the Swell Maps’ “Dresden Style”, “Real Shocks” and “Read About Seymour” – all are just as spastic and aggro, and like the Maps, none of them fit into the “punk” bucket as popularly defined. Treatment then played a bit part on some of their early records. Seems like the Swell Maps, in getting a decent record deal and some radio airtime for their 45s, were able to propel their subsequent legend forward a bit, but I can’t figure out why the excellent Steve Treatment EP didn’t give him the same kind of push.

Yet Steve Treatment had a fine rock career well beyond this initial blast of sound. “25 A-Sides” collects his next couple singles as well, in addition to unreleased material recorded at the very end of the 1970s. Most tracks are in the same vein as the first single – very raw, very homemade-sounding, very British experimental glam rock. Treatment had no quarrel with overlaying a truckload of effects, echoes and delay on just about everything he did, so it all sounds as if it was recorded in a huge empty warehouse on unmistakably cheap equipment.

The first CD breaks down about halfway through and starts to recycle some of the earlier tracks, but if you’re a Steve Treatment completist then you’ll be a happy guy. The second disc, “Your Friends Are In The News”, collects multiple recordings of his from the latter two decades, still well aligned with the DIY spirit and virtually as raw and unkempt. Like “new wave” never happened! Just not as exciting. But your life is short, right? And you’ve got a lot of music you need to listen to, am I correct? You therefore won’t need to spend much time with this one, but I wouldn’t miss out on this package overall if it means you’re never going to hear those first couple Steve Treatment singles.

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This 45 from a late 70s New York group called the HAND GRENADES has been fooling “punters” for years who mistook it for a British DIY record from the same era, myself included. When I found out these dudes were from “the Apple” I was incredulous. I guess I still am.

But here you go – a really great, lost-to-time stark and strange inepto-garage record from a band who have very pleasing elements of the Swell MapsWire and Steve Treatment. Enjoy!

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Got a new mixtape/radio show/podcast that I’ve made just for you, and it’s called DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO PODCAST, EDITION #12. I recorded it direct-to-laptop and completed it within the past five minutes, and it’s got some real musical whoppers on it that I carefully curated for ya. You’ll hear new stuff from Raw PrawnWhite Fence,The Mentalettes and Veronica Falls, as well as a plethora of aggressive pop, nervous punk, wiry garage and far-out psych from the last five decades. I say this every time, but this twelfth one is absolutely, positively the best collection of music I’ve ever put together – including mixtapes made for girls.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #12
Stream Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #12

Track listing:

STEVE TREATMENT – The Hippy Posed Engrosement
RAW PRAWN – None Left
DEAR NORA – Make You Smile
REVERSIBLE CORDS – Highway Tomorrow
THE 2x4s – Iron Line
BLAST OFF COUNTRY STYLE – Giggles & Gloom
THE SHITBIRDS – Schiessbird
WHITE FENCE – Trouble is Trouble Never Seen
THE STEREO SHOESTRING – On The Road South
BUBBLEGUM LEMONADE – Unsafe At Any Speed
SALVATION ARMY – Mind Gardens
100 FLOWERS – Motorboat To Hell
VERONICA FALLS – Timeless Melody
MICRAGIRLS – Electric Chair Twist
SOCK PUPPETS – Summer Jacket
BATHROOM RENOVATIONS – Apathetic Hell
TYRANNA – Shock Face
THE WHITEFRONTS – World’s Fair
WARUM JOE – Tchang
SLUGFUCKERS – Rhizome
D.R.I. – Busted
SICK THINGS – Police
THE GERMS – The Slave
NUMBERS – Information
THE MENTALETTES – Fine Fine Fine

Download our past shows – each about an hour:
Download Show #11 
Download Show #10 
Download Show #9
Download Show #8
Download Show #7
Download Show #6
Download Show #5 
Download Show #4
Download Show #3
Download Show #2

Download Show #1 

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It’s not easy curating a definitive selection of the best sub-underground, late 70s UK 45s and comp tracks from the heyday of do-it-yourself record making, but I’ve put together a start. I’ve culled my newest 8Tracks mix, “SUB-UNDERGROUND UK DIY” from multiple sources: the “Instant Pop Classics” comps, various internet downloads, “Messthetics” and my own collection. Just like the compilation I posted yesterday of female-fronted riot grrl/garage punk, it’s available right now to listen to on computers, smartphones and tablets. 

Outside of the fairly-well-known (such as it is) DIY pioneers like The Desperate Bicycles and Animals & Men, most acts on here are ultra-obscure and maybe only lasted for one 45 or a couple of compilation tracks, sometimes only on cassette. 23 tracks in all. Most given to that tinny, experimental, slipshod and faraway sound that characterizes the best of the best of this posthumously-defined genre.

Come listen to "SUB-UNDERGROUND UK DIY" here.

Tracks:

  1. DESPERATE BICYCLES – Smokescreen
  2. ANIMALS & MEN – Don’t Misbehave In The New Age
  3. MIDNIGHT CIRCUS – The Hedonist Jive
  4. I JOG & THE TRACKSUITS – Redbox
  5. DEVIL DYKES – Fruitless
  6. BEYOND THE IMPLODE – Lassitude
  7. STEVE TREATMENT – Danger Zone
  8. METROPAK – OK Let’s Go
  9. SCISSOR FITS – I Don’t Want To Work For British Airways
  10. BONA DISH – Mutation
  11. DESPERATE BICYCLES – The Medium Was Tedium
  12. ANOREXIA – I’m a Square
  13. DANNY & THE DRESSMAKERS – Don’t Make Another Bass Guitar Mr. Rickenbacker
  14. THE PETTICOATS – Normal
  15. REFLECTIONS – 4 Countries
  16. SCRITTI POLITTI – Is & Ought The Western World
  17. SUBVERSE – Chance Romance
  18. TRONICS – Shark Fucks
  19. BEARZ – She’s My Girl
  20. ANOREXIA – Pets
  21. BASE – One Way Girl
  22. GERRY & THE HOLOGRAMS – Gerry & The Holograms
  23. WAVIS O’SHAVE – Mauve Shoes Are Awful