utorak, 26. srpnja 2011.

Carter USM - Live in Zagreb 20.05.1994., Pt. 2

A picture from the 2007 Brixton Academy gig, which you'll hear about later.
Carter USM, one of my favourite bands, had a brush with popularity which to me seems completely unexpected - sure, their combination of distorted guitars and pop-friendly sequencers does sound like something that could warrant a novelty hit or two, but I could never help but listen to the lyrics, which talked about systematic abuse in old people's homes, rape, war mutilation or slimy landlords - and some of those were the actual hits! Theirs was a subject matter much more common in grindcore than the charts; but I guess those people who only bought the hit singles were the ones who didn't listen to lyrics anyway. Jim Bob's poetry, and I do call it poetry, is the best stuff I have ever heard from a band, punk or otherwise (and I do also call them "punk"!), aside from maybe Joe Strummer's most inspired moments. I believe this is why they still have a rather large cult following, even thirteen years after the demise of the band, and their sporadic reunion concerts are always sold out long in advance (the one I saw, at Brixton Academy in 2007, was sold out six months before the actual gig - I wonder whether, say, Ned's Atomic Dustbin could pull that off). Their depictions of the life of the underdog are so vivid and real that their slowly declining career arc seems weirdly appropriate - they were just two (later three, even later six) guys who were thrust into a world they had no connection with and no love for, and it's no wonder they were quickly ejected from it arse over tit. That's what gives their lyrics such poignancy, and I admit to have found myself misty eyed more than once while sitting by my cassette player and belting out lyrics such as "And in round two, we'll fight like Ali; and by the end of the second round, we'll be singing you and whose army are gonna stop us now?" - coming right after that most humble of rallying calls, "We'll paint the town a lighter shade of grey and brown". WOW. Sadly there was no second round for them, and after being dropped from label after label - due to reasons as simple and logical as nobody buying their records after the "Pet Shop Pistols" fad ended - the band quietly stopped, with the two songwriters, Fruitbat and Jim Bob, continuing to operate way under the radar with new projects, some of which would be quite worthy of your time, if you had time for Carter in the first place. Anyway, to cut this tirade short, they had a couple of concerts in Croatia way back when; a part of the second one, from 1994, was released as a bonus disc to the "Worry Bomb" album (their finest - and the one where they lost their schtick, and their popularity, by taking a live drummer on board) and it's rather easy to obtain, either second hand or on file sharing services; however four more songs from the show were released as a CD single, "The Young Offender's Mum Part Two", and are much more elusive. Here they are then, and if I ever lay my hands on the "Flicking the V's" video tape which features the whole show, you'll be the first to know.

Maggie Thatcher on the cover and the couplet "Would you like to teach the world to sing? You're gonna get your head kicked in." I told you they were a punk band!
Track listing:

1. The Young Offender's Mum (3:52)
2. Rubbish (3:17)
3. Suicide Isn't Painless (1:39)
4. Falling on a Bruise (7:07)


You can read all of Carter's lyrics here, so please do. Every song is an embarrassment of riches, from "Rubbish"'s inverted rock'n'roll cliché "When I drive that heap down the road you can hear that cheap car stereo, volume knob turned down low and rubbish on the radio", to "The Music That Nobody Likes"'s overbearing desperation that should make anyone pause and think, sequencers or no sequencers:

Out of the mouths of babes bearing arms
Come the terrified sounds of a baby's alarm
At the kidnap and rape of his family and friends
Who've been taken away to be ethnically cleansed
And the banners and badges and your anarchist friends
Say "Apocalypse Now man!"
And "Never Again!"
And I know the following smut
Should be censored, OK
But this shit is fucked, as they say in the U.S.A
And they say it in Mexico, London and Jericho,
Berlin and Birmingham, Belfast and Tokyo,
Amsterdam, Vietnam, Iran, Afghanistan,
Disneyland, Narnia, former Yugoslavia
Yes siree boy, there's nothing worth living for
But it really ain't worth dying for
So just say three hail Jesus and Mary Chains,
and say goodnight Jim Bob.

2 komentara:

  1. opa karter ju es em...nekad bili popularni danas zaboravljeni..ja voliti kartera jako

  2. It's always a pleasure to read of someone else loving this band. Absolutely one of my favourite bands, and always will be.
    I must thank you for uploading these tracks. Other than buying a used copy of the CD it isn't easy to find them.
    I actually have a copy of the VHS that you mention, although I've not watched it in a long time. Let me know if you're interested.