May 14, 2012

Killing Joke - The Peel Sessions 1979-1981 (2008)

John Peel - 17/10/79:

1. Pssyche 4:58
2. Wardance 3:46
3. Nuclear Boy 3:07
4. Malicious Boogie 2:04

John Peel - 5/3/80:

5. Change 4:24
6. Tomorrow's World 4:56
7. Complication 3:25

John Peel - 27/4/81:

8. The Fall of Because 4:18
9. Tension 3:35
10. Butcher 4:38

John Peel - 16/12/81:

11. The Hum 4:16
12. Empire Song 4:46
13. We Have Joy 2:53
14. Chop Chop 4:46

Bonus Richard Skinner Session - 29/5/81:

15. Tension 3:25
16. Unspeakable 2:53
17. Exit 4:39

I ignorantly only really appreciate the post-punk of Public Image and Killing Joke, as girlie dudes claim in their perhaps too close-minded doctrine of anti-industrial-post-punk, industrials believe their own Freudian and Nietzschean hangups to be that of the collective consciousness the industrial seeks to highlight and perhaps embrace or subvert, the girlie dude a) believes in the virtues of romantic love and not domination, and b) has a job and/or life as they then move onto post-punk with the much less enlightened post-punk is the music of intellectuals and record collectors. Girlie dudes will listen to punk rock and Devo and Black Flag but will not debate the sonic merits of your Swans record or the historical importance of your This Heat download. Girlie dudes have work in the morning.

I wish I could explain the magic of Killing Joke and why I like them and not everything else like them ('cept PiL), whether it's that thing about hangups (Jaz was happily married last time I checked and has been declared a spiritual leader rather than a Nietzschean or a Freudian or a nihilist), the way they obviously like disco and new wave, the way you can link them to Big Black if you feel like it, the way Jaz went on to use his voice as an instrument on later releases, or the way that in spite of all that they also sounded like a metal band (with disco, with new wave, with chainsaw guitars), that's all me, so I'll just quote Mark Prindle below to sell the record rather than the band:

If you already own the first three albums, I suppose you could live without this. But why should you? Don't you want your own versions of "Nuclear Boy," "Malicious Boogie" and paranoid classic "Psycche"? Wouldn't you like to hear a studio version of "Wardance" without that monster-robot effect on the vocals? Or "The Fall Of Because" with an awesome delay/echo on the chorus vocal? Or an early version of "Complications" before Geordie added the second guitar chord and Jaz stopped singing each chorus's second "Complication" in an off-key northward direction? You want all these things and more. And some day you'll have them, thanks to your AIDS Gun.
The disc features four Peel Sessions and one Richard Skinner (!?!!??!?!!) session, encompassing 4 Killing Joke, 5 what's THIS for...!, 4 Revelations and 3 non-LP tracks. Here are the reasons that it gets my coveted 10 out of 10 grade:

1. By compiling such tremendous compositions as "Wardance," "Unspeakable" and "The Hum" onto a single disc, the album serves as a perfect entry point for anybody interested in hearing the band.

2. Because these are all alternate studio versions, the new fan can then still enjoy purchasing the first three albums - not just for the tracks not represented here, but for the sometimes radically different versions of the tracks that are here!

3. Being Peel Sessions, the production and mixing are uniformly excellent. Fuzzy keyboards, trebly guitars, tribal drums, dubby bass, shouty Jaz - it's all right in your ear!

4. "Malicious Boogie" and "Change" aren't the best songs in the world, and there's probably no reason to have included two versions of "Tension," but skip those and you've still got FOURTEEN astonishing Killing Joke creations of the first degree. Plus, the second "Tension" is a Skinner session and he totally mics the guitar and drums differently!

5. Like The Fall, Killing Joke has never released an album without a single 'duff track.' This one doesn't qualify either, but (a) it's long as hell, and (b) it features stellar tracks from not one but three studio albums, allowing new listeners to hear how dramatically the first line-up's sound progressed during its brief existence.

But enough about Killing Joke's Peel Sessions. Let's make up some jokes!

Why did the chicken cross the road?
I was eating at KFC and it tasted so shitty, I threw it out the window!

How many Polacks does it take to screw in a light bulb?
If it's a gigantic light bulb with a bed inside, and if by "screw," you mean "have sex," then two!

What's black and white and red all over?
A newspaper! (on which I spilled some ketchup!)

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Banana who?
Baaaa, Nana! I'm a sheep and you're my grandmother!

Okay, I'm off to see My Bloody Valentine 3D. DON'T RUIN THE ENDING FOR ME!!!!



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