LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…today it’s an incendiary new band called Adulkt Life that features some bona fide VS favs in its number – Huggy Bear’s Chris Rowley in an unexpected and exciting return to the DIY punk fray, and the much underrated but drivingly brilliant Male Bonding members John Arthur Webb and Kevin Hendrick rounded out by funky drumer Sonny Barrett. It’s fair to say that Velvet Sheep wouldn’t have existed in its original 90s grunge sniffin’ glue form if it wasn’t for Huggy Bear, Cornershop and Wiiija Records – it felt like a punk movement and manifesto for my time (born Gen X i was way too young to have experienced the original scene) and the surrounding zine culture and grrrl / boy revolutionaries “happening without your permission” activism was invigorating. Rowley and his sometimes brittle often abrasive sing-poetry stood out on the 7″ “Kiss Curl For The Kids Lib Guerillas” I trekked from the burbs Rough Trade Neal’s Yard to get, so I was both chuffed and intrigued to see Chris back on record.
It’s been a hard to credit 25 years since Huggy Bear slayed (I was lucky enough to be at the sweaty packed last gig at the Laurel Tree), and it’s taken that time for Rowley to get back in the ring and be in a band/gang again. While buying records at a Rough Trade shop (ha snap!) John Arthur Webb approached him and asked if he wanted to play together a spark was sparked, and the fire’s still burning, flames fanned by drummer Barrett who was also to be found in RT (working at another shop).
With Hendrick, Webb’s best mate and Male Bonding band mate added, the line up to Adulkt Life came to be. Extraneous and unpronounceable k aside, the music is as it should be. Indignantly furious, fragmented garage riffs, free jazz sparks, and righteously rumbling drumming, political and more worldly-wise than ever – Rowley is now a 55-year old father and longtime employee of a children’s charity – he’s seen a lot, knows too much, and wants to make a difference. Adulkt Life feels as vital now as Huggy Bear did back then, and as empathetically astute as Male Bonding were a decade or so back, and yet is so clearly more than the sum of its parts, taking in the whole burning world’s royally trashed chaos as further inspiration and angry motivation.
In short, chuffed to have them here, undoubtedly a band I would have been writing about as a spotty oik as now a middle-aged adult/adulkt. Before we find out what tunes make this time bomb insistently tick, here’s the killer tune “JNR Showtime” from the debut album “Book Of Curses” (out now on What’s Your Rupture? Records)…
1. Deniece Williams – Free
This is a song i can love and do for the rest of time, and will..Can’t recall where i first heard it actually i get it mixed up with! “Silly Games” and “Uptown Top Ranking” as a sweet radio song that makes me warm n looked after.. I remember being embarrassed -almost- by its full on strong potent girl-ness as a mixed up kid though and it was Michael from the Pale Fountains who reignited my love for it when we used to play rounders in Hyde Park together, it’s just a sweet balm but that’s plenty !!..xx
2. Jerry’s Kids – Spymaster
Ah! It’s a cover version of a La Peste song, which maybe i only have heard once but this version is so thrilling every time needle drops I get excited and reminds me of why I love me some good old rockingness from time to time !
It aint big and it’s certainly not clever but it packs a wallop and kicks sand in bully faces forever cx
I had a 7inch of it that got lost moving houses but found it on their eponymous(?) album which to be fair is only ok after this but still..
3. Wipers – Mystery
I sent off for the wipers 3 disc cd box thing and a T-shirt from the Zeno records website in the early days of the internet. The mood of those songs and the angst and melody is the ultimate combination of emotions for me. Telepathic Love is another one in the same vein as Mystery. It’s almost Beatles-esque in melody but with a more realistic outtake lyrically on what life is actually like for most people. Shitty not pretty.
4. Prefab Sprout – When Love Breaks Down
If I could only hear one song for the rest of my life then it would be this one. The 80s gets a bad reputation for music but I actually think it’s one of the best eras. The level of song writing was insane. Even in a Phil Collins song. Toto. Womack and Womack. Talk Talk. Scritti Politti. I could go on but I won’t.
Public Image Limited – Public Image
Driving deep bass line. Unflinching kick and snare. Shard-glass guitar. Shout-sung ‘don’t put me in a box’ lyrics. Good trousers all round. A hello. A goodbye. Sinister. Joyous. Absolutely everything I could want from a song.
6. Thomas East “Slippin’ Around”
Alchemist sampled this in a recent Earl Sweatshirt track and it got me listening to the original again. I’m minorly obsessed with the fast skippy drumming in the last few seconds as it fades out, definitely the sort of pattern that influences some of my drumming in Adulkt Life – or more accurately I will attempt to play something like it, trip over myself and end up with my own mangled take on it. The two minutes and fifty four seconds leading up to the fade out are also great!
The Lucky 7th:
Adulkt Life – New Curfew
THANKS TO ADULKT LIFE AND TO KATE PRICE AT STEREO SANCTITY
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