1-2 Weeks

DC 458LP DC 458LP

"A little bit of history is a dangerous thing. How then would a present-day acolyte of punk rock's strict regimen explain how Pete Shelley launched an avant-garde DIY label while riding high on the British charts and touring internationally back in 1979 and '80? Today, Buzzcocks' sound is recognized as a template for the punk-pop sound, but the atmosphere in which they and their contemporaries gestated was markedly different than today's pop-punkers might expect: a cultural free-zone where anything went, not just the fast and loud. Early-wave British punks were looking for something different: outsider prog sounds, electronic 'music,' primal screaming, free-jazz--anything, as long as it was interesting and set apart from the blandness of mainstream product. Loving the art of records and their wayward appeal, it was only natural for Shelley and Francis Cookson to conceive Groovy Records as a way to make some truly freaky (and decidedly un-punk rock) records, and do as much of the work of making the records themselves as they could. Free Agents was the first of the lot, with an album named after its price, £3.33. Cookson took live performance tapes from a Tiller Boys show (a conceptual band featuring himself, Eric Random, and, when available, Shelley) and added some additional recordings using tape loops, feedback and anything else he could get on there. It ranged around from post-'Revolution 9' collage to wack beats that one might associate with the emergent krautrock to stark industrial moments, flowing into each other with an organic, freely improvised quality. Packaged in 12" sleeves with photocopies of Cookson scribbles pasted on the front and back, Free Agents was DIY all the way."