Armagideon Time

Fall 1991 marked the beginning of new semester, this site a new major (English instead of physics), information pills and a new friendship with an odd individual by the name of Leech.

Leech was a loud punk rocker with a long blond Mohawk and penchant for velour shirts and cuffed jeans. He’d dropped out of UMB the previous semester, hospital but continued to haunt the halls of the school as he was unemployed and lived in the apartment complex next to the campus.

I met him through a mutual acquaintance whom we both had grown to hate, our shared dislike of the guy forming the basis of what would become a close friendship over the course of my sophomore year. Where I was a suburban tourist, Leech was a born and raised a city kid. He knew every little hole-in-the-wall and person of interest between Brighton and the Bay.

Though we really didn’t become inseparable until later in the semester (for reasons I’ll get to in a future post), we did hang out on a semi-regular basis where I’d tag along while he ran some errand for his (incredibly strange) mom.

It was during the course of one of those errands that we swung by Disc Diggers in Somerville’s Davis Square, back in its grimy, pre-gentrified days. I’d been there before, but hadn’t been impressed with its vinyl selection. Present-day Andrew probably would have found plenty of interesting stuff in the bin, but Punk Teen Andrew had to content himself with cassette copies of Substance and Carter USM’s first album.

It wasn’t a particularly upscale place but did have a serious audiophile vibe to it, which made that day’s find…

…a three buck copy of the Punk and Disorderly: Further Charges compilation a truly unexpected discovery.

My purchase of the Punk and Disorderly (on tape) was a seminal moment in my evolution as a punk rocker, as it was my introduction to the crunchy, apocalyptic world of early 1980s Britpunk and — by thread-chasing extension — Oi, anarchopunk, and gothic rock.

If Punk and Disorderly captured the scene and its affiliated sounds at their peak, its follow-up captured them during the moment of their dissolution. Despite “UK82″ becoming shorthand for early 80s Britpunk, the movement was already in fractalized decline when that year rolled around. Most of the important players had either faded, mutated, or were anxious to put some distance between the their subgenre of choice and the lumpenpunk whole.

As a result, Further Charges has a far more diverse collection of tracks than its predecessor, which works as much to its disadvantage as to its benefit. Goth-punk dabblings flow into proto-grind, mass market anarcho, metal crossover, and tired remnants of Last Year’s Three Chord Model. Oh, and CH3′s “I’ve Got a Gun” taking the Dead Kennedys’ place as the token American representative.

Punk and Disorderly prophesied Armageddon. Further Charges delivered it, but in the form of entropic decline instead of nuclear detonation.

Recommended listening:

The tragedy of the 80s Britpunk implosion is that swept away both the wheat and the chaff, snuffing acts whose full potential never found a chance to be realized.

Fun Fact: I’m pretty sure the last thing I bought at Disc Diggers before it closed up shop was a “promo only” CD copy of Republica’s first album. (It was a gift for Maura.)

Related posts:

  1. Every Record Tells a Story #51: The Falco post
  2. Every Record Tells a Story #38: I remembered everything
  3. Every Record Tells a Story #22: And still you dream

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