Wednesday, 25 March 2009

What's in a Name

As the eighties segued effortlessly into the nineties one of my favourite noises emanating from that time came from a disparate four piece known as Silverfish.

With regular performances at various venues around North London - rarely venturing too far from their heartland Camden Town - for a while they were the hottest act on the underground metal circuit.

I often caught them at the Boston Arms in Tufnell Park during the pub's weekly 'alternative' club nights; the name of which escapes me at the moment.

Silverfish were a motley crew: Scottish girl-fronted with a mixed race guitarist who would bounce off the walls while creating layers of ear-buckling fuzz, accompanied by a bombastic rhythm section that would literally shake your very soul and hollow out your insides.

The T.F.A. e.p. was released in 1990 and captured what had always been a favourite refrain with the audience: 'You're a Total Fucking Asshole'.
And there's little more cathartic than standing in a smoky venue, eardrums bending inwards towards the brain, screaming 'You're a Total Fucking Asshole' until your cords are totally shredded...
Boy, it sure helped in getting through the week!

'Total Fucking Asshole' is an anthem and a battlecry.
It doesn't matter what your cause; they'll always be someone who stands in opposition, and this song is appropriately targeted at that 'someone'.
The energy in the music perfectly matches the attitude and the anger.
The fact that it sounds as if it was recorded in a cavern of some sort adds a kind of gothic flavour to the sound; this only assists with the song's total lacking in irony.

'Die' sounds like it could have come fresh out of J.G.Thirlwell's stable.

'Driller' returns to the more sludgy sound Silverfish did so well live; guitar switching from straight to extreme distortion adding waves of intensity to the massive wall of sound the three musicians were able to create so readily and effectively.

In 91 The Fuckin' Drivin' Or What...e.p. (yes you really can tell what you're gonna get... ) gives us the wonderful 'Big Bad Baby Pig Squeal', and the loaded lines: 'Are you afraid of me?/Hips, Tits, Lips, Power' creating a feminist shout worthy of any clued-up sister; it really helps by sounding like something Albini would have conjured up if he had been of the opposing gender.

Big Black is a suitable comparitor.
John Peel said about Silverfish: 'If they'd been from New York, we'd be mad for them of course.'
Another comparitor inspired by that quote is Sonic Youth, who I know are more 'experimental' and are a great band; but personally, I think Silverfish were better.

Grab these masterpieces of the noise genre here; crank it up and piss the neighbours right off. Yeah!

Silverfish - T.F.A. e.p. (1990)

Total Fucking Asshole

Silverfish - Fuckin' Drivin' Or What e.p. (1991)

Big Bad Baby Pig Squeal
Puppy Truck
Texas Tea

Get 'em both here


Mona said...

Brilliant blog, not quite sure how I have missed it til now.

Anonymous said...

thanks. been looking for TFA all over!!!