Classic albums: ‘L’âge de glace’ by Paris Violence

Paris Violence has never exactly played standard-issue Oi, but 20 years ago, Flav took things to the next level when releasing L’âge de glace – an album informed by his earlier ‘Chaos en France on a rainy Monday’ sound, but also by the eminently continental ‘cold wave’ genre and NWOBEM (New Wave of British ‘Eavy Metal). The result was arguably one of the coldest and strangest albums linked to the Oi genre, fully living up to its title: ice age.

L’âge de glace has just been rereleased by Common People Records. Matt Crombieboy sat Flav down for a song-by-song account. For an older interview we did with Flav, click HERE. Or else, just read on.

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Made in England: John King talks to Lee Wilson of Infa-Riot

When forming in 1980 in Wood Green, north London, Infa-Riot instantly became the borough’s greatest Oi band by default. Appearing on compilations such as the notorious Strength Thru Oi!, their 1980s career culminated in two albums, Still Out of Order and the somewhat ignored (though probably worth reevaluating) post punk follow-up Sound & Fury. In their prime, Infa-Riot were known as a band that didn’t shy away from playing Rock Against Racism gigs. On one occasion, this stance apparently earned them beatings from Skrewdriver and their enrourage in their dressing room.

Following a hiatus of no less than 26 years, Infa-Riot reemerged in the last decade to record Old and Angry and perform slots at events such as the annual ‘Boot Boys Christmas Knees Up’ at the 100 Club. Here’s Infa-Riot lead vocalist Lee Wilson interviewed by Football Factory author John King, who hardly needs an introduction. Topics discussed included being British, the superior mentality of the British, and how everyone still looks up to the British. Ahem. Continue reading

Where Are They Now: London’s Lost Music Venues

God knows how many London music venues have shut down in the past decade. Just off the top of my head, there’s the Astoria, 12 Bar, the new 12 Bar, Buffalo Bar, T Chances, Intrepid Fox, Big Red, Archway Tavern, Metro, Hackney Trash Bar, Silver Bullet, Gossips, and probably many more I can’t remember. While it’s normal that city landscapes change, these places haven’t been replaced by new venues. The music side of London just seems to wither, leaving behind a cultural wasteland populated by yuppies.

Paul Talling probably smelled the coffee a bit earlier than others, for he began taking picures of venues that would soon vanish as early as 2003. His book London’s Lost Music Venues is out today on Damaged Goods Books. Andrew Stevens talked to him – and of course, he was especially curious about the croptop aspects of London’s lost venue history. Continue reading

The Oi! wave that could have been

The sun is setting and the day is late, as they walk over this wasteland of hate. Their music is grimy and raw, just like their natural habitat. But sometimes, they feel the lure of a rather different sound – one that is cool and rational, if somewhat bleak; maybe a bit like the layout of their housing estate. Our guest writer Andrea Napoli, who runs the coldwave label Avant! Records, investigates the missing links between skinhead and post-punk.

When I was 16 or 17, I went through a skinhead phase back in my hometown of Como, a small Northern city in Italy mostly famous for its beautiful lake. However, if you’re into Oi – and I assume you are if you’re reading this – you may also know Como for local bands such as Asociale and Erode.

BLITZ_NEW+AGE-658598cI don’t remember how exactly I got into it, all I know is that I loved all the proper bands and the outfit was there too: cropped hair, Fred Perry polos, Gazelle trainers, oxblood Harrington jacket.

It only lasted one year, this whole full-package thing. I’ve always been kind of reluctant to buy into a full-on look or uniform, mostly because I felt like it didn’t allow for other sides of my personality to come out. How can one be a skinhead and listen to, say, the Gun Club or Pussy Galore, I wondered? Or Joy Division? Continue reading

Roman skingirl: an interview with Lorena Plescia of Fun

How many skingirl vocalists can you think of? There were certainly not very many in the 1980s. But in Italy, Lorena Plescia was singing for the original Roman Oi band FUN as early as in 1982. Our new correspondent Francesca Chiari spoke to her about the early Roman skinhead scene.

This is the first of several articles dedicated to women who have left a mark on the skinhead scene of Italy.

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Hammering the point home: American Oi without the cliches

Ever wonder what happened to MC Hammer, the famous hip-hop artist ranked #15 ‘Best Rapper Ever’ by Vibe? Well, after a spell as a preacher in a Christian ministry programme, he suffered a serious spiritual crisis. In the end, he thought ‘fuck that’ and went on a crazy drinking binge. It was in an Irish pub in Boston, Massachusetts, that he met a bar-room folk combo named The Nails (actually called The Snails at the time, but the lads were too drunk to pronounce that). They discovered a shared love of Guinness and traditional British Oi music. Many pints later, Hammer and the Nails were formed, and the rest is history…

We sent Girth to interview Matt, drummer and backing vocalist for Hammer and the Nails. Continue reading

Crophead record roundup #6

Reconquesta: Valors Perduts LP

The eagle has landed. About time too, we’ve been waiting for months on end. Ladies and gentlemen, the second Reconquesta album is here.

“Judges of Oi always bore me”, sneers frontman Romani in ‘Real, dirty and raw’, the album’s sole English-language song. Yet here I am clothed in my righteous robe, a judge of Oi passing verdict. To be honest, ‘Real Dirty and Raw’ had to grow on me when an early version went up on YouTube last June. I get the lyrical sentiment: the band doesn’t like inoffensive pop Oi. But I wasn’t sure the alternative had to sound like early 90s Böhse Onkelz covering ‘High Voltage’ by AC/DC. To my taste, this felt too much like muscle-flexing and not enough like punching.

Reconquesta had the balance between punk, rock ‘n’ roll and romanticism just right on their split EP with Codi de Silenci a few months earlier, and I was hoping the album would not collapse under metal overkill. It’s not that I hate metal, it’s just that nine times out of ten, it pans out very badly when punk or Oi bands try playing it. Continue reading

Making Oi! great again – Scotty Violence interviewed

Broken Heroes are one of the original 90s Jersey Oi bands, dating back to 1993. Their sound is raw, old skool, and their lyrics don’t compromise. They’ve gone through a few personnel changes, but their most recent is an all-star American Oi line-up featuring ex Armed Suspects singer Scotty Violence. In a world where some Oi bands are so watered down their piss is almost transparent, bands like Broken Heroes are perhaps more relevant than ever. Girth asked Scotty a few questions over email, and he was more than happy to oblige. What a pleasant chap!

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Couldn’t give a fuck, where’s me beer? An Interview with Steve Smith of Red Alert

redalertThe punk rock firmament glowed brighter on Wearside than most other English conurbations during the 1980s, with Red Alert, Red London and the Toy Dolls all sharing beers, band members and basslines on Oi compilations during its heyday. Sharpened by the experience of growing up amid the closure (or “managed decline”) of its shipyards during the Thatcher era, Red Alert saw themselves as Sunderland’s answer to the deserted Docklands’ Cockney Rejects and released a steady stream of EPs on No Future Records, calling it quits after their standout 1983 album We’ve Got The Power. By 1989 the band had reunited, though line-up changes inevitably followed over the years (bringing in the likes of Lainey from Sunderland punks Leatherface), as did a split LP with The Templars following a New York tour.
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Freedom or a nice image? Codi de Silenci interviewed

cds_logoIt hardly escaped attentive readers that I consider the Catalan skinhead scene one of the most vital right now. Even casual visitors wouldn’t get the impression that it is just a historical re-enactment society: although all styles from the 60s, 70s and 80s through to today’s variations are present, tradition is merged with purpose and meaning firmly located in the now. Catalan nationalism has been a major international news item since last year, and although some Catalan skins I spoke to are more critical of it than others, it’s fair to say that largely, they are among its most passionate supporters.

Like Reconquesta, Rebelion and older groups such as Pilseners, Codi de Silenci are an Oi band that wear their Catalan patriotism on their sleeves. Rather than just being a lyrical feat, I would say this sentiment informs the way their music sounds and feels. And just as Codi de Silenci aren’t the kind of band that constantly rewrites the same songs about boots, booze and bovver, as interview partners they aren’t mediocrities with fuck all to say. Although bassist and prime lyricist Lluís Lacruz stresses that Codi de Silenci are an Oi band rather a political one, he’s offering real opinions and arguments that you’re free to embrace or knock down. Continue reading