Sunday, November 7, 2010


You're looking at the very first UK independent punk release, the Buzzcocks' 1976 Spiral Scratch EP. As such, it was a sort of template, and it was about as no frills as it gets. Recorded, pressed, and sold by the band, meant it was also one of the first to need distribution. That's when it became apparent that there were other factors of DIY music that might not have been taken into consideration. (We've got a record. Now what?) Once that was set up, exporting punk records was the next step, and before the Sex Pistols had even found a place in the U.S. record store bins, the Buzzcock's Spiral Scratch showed up.

The four song EP was recorded in three hours, and took two hours to mix. Only 1,000 were originally pressed, yet as Simon Reynolds, in his book Rip It Up and Start Again, wrote "People were buying Spiral Scratch...for the sheer fact of its existence, its existence as a cultural landmark and portent of revolution." My brother bought it, without hearing it, for that very reason. Because, there in the bins of Tower Records, was a homemade 45 from the other side of the world. (No stranger to private pressings found in thrift stores, he knew that earnestness went a long way in negating technical shortcomings.) It became our first real taste of UK punk, and a marked rawness that contrasted with the Ramones major label package.

The Buzzcocks reunite with Devoto, 1978, only two years after his exit. Devoto points out "This is not nostalgia." The Buzzcocks went on without him, touring as late as 2010.

The Buzzcocks would, like the Ramones, evolve quickly. With Howard DeVoto leaving the band after Spiral Scratch (and on to form Magazine), the Buzzcocks got a little more polished and signed to a major, and are still clunking around today. But that record has never lost it's significance. Enough so, that it has its own Wikipedia entry.

From Spiral Scratch:
Buzzcocks - Breakdown mp3 at 7 Inch Punk
Buzzcocks - Boredom mp3 at 7 Inch Punk
Buzzcocks - You Tear Me Up mp3 at Undomondo
Buzzcocks - Promises mp3 at Pogo a Go-Go
Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love mp3 (somewhat tinny) at Ryan's Smashing Life
Buzzcocks - Oh Shit mp3 at Cyberinsekt
Buzzcocks - Why Can't I Touch it mp3 at The Punk Guy
Buzzcocks - Hollow Inside mp3 at Clumsy and Shy
Magazine - Shot By Both Sides mp3 at Popdose
Buzzcocks - Live footage ('76, music dubbed) at YouTube
Buzzcocks w/ Howard DeVoto - I Can't Control Myself (Live '78, Manchester, UK) video at YouTube
Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen in Love (Live '78, Manchester, UK) video at YouTube
Buzzcocks - I Don't Mind video ('77) video at YouTube
Magazine - Shot By Both Sides ('78) video at YouTube
The Troggs - I Can't Control Myself video at YouTube
Spiral Scratch page at Wikipedia
The Buzzcocks' official site
What the hell, some covers:
Wilco - Ever Fallen in Love (live) mp3 at Cover Me
Noisetttes - Ever Fallen In Love mp3 at Lost In your Inbox
Uke Punk - Breakdown video at YouTube
Never Mind the Buzzcocks, UK game show video at YouTube

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