People who complain about East London are usually boring people who have missed the point. They get confused by the bus routes at Liverpool Street and people having fun in ways they don’t understand, and don’t see that it’s still the place where most worthwhile creative and interesting people in London are based.

I always think if you start hating on young people trying to push things forward then your youth is basically over. There’s a group of bands/pals based mainly in East London and a bit in Brighton that are doing some pretty great stuff right now. They’ve taken the thing that punk and hardcore says is does (but hasn’t done since about 1983) - they’re playing music and not necessarily worrying too much about the fidelity. They’re not waiting to be signed or have their records put out by someone else, they’re just making music freely, performing it and releasing it as and when they want.

That kind of thing is nothing new, I know, but it usually happens with wilfully un-listenably, un-fun music for serious people with boring political agendas.  This is different because these bands are making fun music with humour and quite a lot of melody.  That’s what makes it so fucking great to listen to, or go and see.

Interestingly, a lot of the guys in these bands are people I recognize from hardcore shows years ago who must have gotten bored of the po-faced rigidness and everything being run by five labels in America and decided to relax a little and sing songs (sometimes in harmony) about beer and girls.

I went round and interviewed a bunch of these bands, there’s a few I missed out thanks to them being away or me not being able to turn up on time to talk to them, and honorable mentions have to go to Pens, Cheatahs and Cold Pumas, who I interviewed but didn’t photograph. Soz guys, but there’s such a thing as continuity and your Myspace photos aren’t going to cut it next to my photographic masterworks (I actually am really sorry). There’s lots of bands I missed out altogether, but check the featured bands Myspace top friends and you’ll work it all out.

BTW, FYI, I am not a music journalist because I am really bad at following new music and similes and metaphors make me barf, so I’ve put up mp3s instead of describing the music.

Graffiti Island

Conan, Pete and Cherise of Graffiti Island are on tour in America at the moment.  I like them loads because they sound something you could find on those compilations of things the Cramps listened to that was made by a superfan (you can find them here).

‘All our songs seem to be a soundtrack to a movie scene. Its like we’ll write a song and end up in discussion about how it reminds us of some hard ass breaking out of jail and stomping down the street in a leather biker jacket and jumping on his Harley. I think we’d be pretty good at doing the soundtrack to a film’,  says Conan, who plays bass and also runs a label called Italian Beach Babes and is in the process of releasing a GG Allin covers cassette. ‘It’ll be full of awesome bands from London covering the most offensive songs they can manage. Male Bonding, Pens, Fair Ohs, Trencher and others on it.’

When Graffiti Island released a 7 inch they had a party in Dalston where they had a Mariachi band cover their songs. It was a great night.


Headhunters by Graffiti Island

Fair Ohs

Fair Oh’s are mostly ex hardcore kids who decided, as their bassist Matt Flag told me, ‘that 60s garage punk was as just as much fun as 80’s hardcore’. Then, after an undetermined period of time, they ‘mutually realised (their) childhoods were all sound tracked by Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’, and acted on it’.

They pretty much sound like the above combination of decisions - lo fi I guess, but not on purpose. Matt had this to say on the subject: ‘If we could afford to spend days in the studio I’m sure we might try and do more than one take for each song, but right now that’s the tools we got. Our song for the GG Allin 7″ was done on a dictaphone in 1 take at our practice room because we didn’t have access to anything else in the time needed.  I think Male Bonding did the same! But for bands to purposefully spend lots of money on sounding shit, then that’s just funny and/or stupid’.

‘No matter what we do it’ll always be through the filter of having grown up as hardcore kids’, Eddy - who plays guitar - reckons. ‘Even though we’re playing this heavily African influenced dance-y punk music, it’ll never be straight up Benga or Afrofunk or whatever because of how we grew up musically. Basically, we couldnt stop being punk motherfuckers if we tried’.

Matt Flag (so called because of his love of Black Flag btw, doye) also runs a tape label called Suplex Cassettes, and their band blog has funny facebook chat transcriptions on it.

04 Hospitals 1

Hospitals by Fair Ohs