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- Retweeted by Sleaford Mods
8/10 Brian Staff review, 15 May 2014
It’s been an entertaining few months for British underground music as these Notts rabble-rousers have now all but conquered the greasy pole that is today’s indie circuit after years of rattling around the Midlands playing, by their own admission, to a couple of disinterested dogs and maybe a corpse propped up at a (particularly squalid) bar. The fact we all fell in love with them after ‘Austerity Dogs’ was unleashed upon a bored and disaffected public is a heartening story indeed. What we didn’t initially realise is that Jason Williamson and various cohorts had been toiling away on these kinda grotty, hilarious grumble-core anthems since 2006.
Now they’ve attained glowing press virtually everywhere, even well beyond these shores, without compromising their increasingly furious, earthy mettle one iota so it is indeed time to check this hugely curious set covering their “early years”...all the best (or worst) tracks from their hyper-obscure small-run cdrs which, which along with the cracking stream of 7” singles that have crept out over the last year or so kinda ties-up the Sleafords story up to the present where we have ‘Divide & Exit’ about to see them up-the-ante and slay name festivals all over the shop.
If you’ve read this far you’ll no doubt be familiar with their amazingly spartan yet effective formula. Relentless repeato-loops and scabrous, scatalogical street prose so cynical, barbed and grim you cannot help but spit yr coffee all over your laptop/dog/child/granny. That’s it. Except there’s a difference here. Stylistically these early tunes are more eclectic in their scope, samples robbed wholesale “without mercy - bastards are loaded anyway” from 60’s psych pop, chicken-necked funk, suspiciously familiar punk records and even R&B (opener ‘R&B Paul’ is actually fucking brilliant and very Fall-esque even whilst lyrically having a dig at Fall fans!) which I for one am reasonably surprised at. His current beatsmith Andy Fearn seemingly only appears on the last track which is from the same sessions that begat ‘AD’ - a CD named, charmingly, ‘Wank’ Other chaps have had the job before see. Stand forward Simon Claridge, Nail Tolliday, Simon Parfrement….and the enigmatic RJ Chisholm who offers his bass services on closer ‘Police! Stop!’
By Jason’s own admission these aren’t remotely his favourite tracks but he realises that to understand his band, you need to hear their roots. I mean, there’s a version of their beloved ‘Jobseeker’ on here that is completely based around a cheesy loop of (I think) The Yardbirds. It still works and is, in it’s own way, fascinating. The lyrical thread throughout this collection is mainly unremittingly bleak and particularly offensive - proper odious gutter-spunk tirades laced with drug, violence and seedy sex references - but if you are open-minded enough to handle their more recent, relatively “refined” works (which are hardly Blue Peter approved) then you’ll be cheerfully grimacing in between your endless guilty chuckles. There’s plenty of celeb-baiting action dotted about these four sides which we all know is their winning ace up their snot-stiffened sleeve.
Overall an eyebrow-peeling and viciously entertaining trawl through the seamy, murky origins of Britain’s bad-boys of nihilist DIY dirt-pop. Don’t for God’s sake play it to your Ma, she’ll have kittens (dead ones).
8/10 Nathon Staff review, 08 May 2014
We might get round to reviewing this properly at some point, but if you're looking for a decent comp of some of the Mods' earlier stuff then look no further. Nice sleeve btw, boys. Classy.
10/10 Aaron Customer review, 12th August 2014
Even though I think the same as I do when I was 25, and when I get up in the morning and look in the mirror I don't think I look my age, the reality is I am 45 years old. When I go to work and sit on the tram, I see the pretty young hipster girls with their i-pods and their HateRock t-shirts, I see them at the Jandek gigs, I see them with their bearded boyfriends playing in garage punk bands aligned to Billy Childish, or smoking weed and boogying to Shabazz Palaces or grooving to some new Pachanga Boys 12" at some rock festival in Estonia. Alas I am 45. My 'hipster' lot is shit. I have to get with the program and subscribe to 'Ugly Things' magazine or Mojo, get excited about some Neil Young boxset or the fact that Nick Cave is still touring or somebullshit. Big shit he fucks all the young hipster chicks anyway.
Then comes the Sleaford fucken Mods. You drop the needle on this records and fucken 'R&B Paul' loops some 60s mod riff ad infintum, with some Pommy cunt yelling out expletives, telling you to FUCK SOCIETY. The shit rocks, and you can dance to it - 'rock' and 'roll'. You can take drugs to it and tell the DOMINANT PARADIGM TO GO FUCK ITSELF EVEN IF YOU ARE 45 YEARS OLD!!
James Williamson drinking and yelling in the Queens Finest English. Andrew Fearn playing pocket pool and smoking hash oil via a fucken vaporizer wearing a Beastie Boys (remember them?) t-shirt. Why copy some dropkicks from New York like every other fuckwit? Everyone knows New York is the the fucking problem, anyway!
Not many bands do that these days, all too bust getting the Bandcamp, Facebook, shit together making sure everything sounds perfect, ready to download onto the fucken ipod with the headphones on, in market driven Internet-isolation so you couldn't be arsed TRYING TO DESTROY RUPERT MURDOCHS EMPIRE, UKIP, LORD MONKTON, TONY ABBOTT (INSERT GLOBAL RIGHT WING CORPORATE DEATH CUNT HERE).
That is all that matters when you purchase this vinyl. That is why it is great. And out-of-print.
10/10 Mark Tucker Customer review, 24th July 2014
An essential, glorious and thrilling round up of previously solo created tracks when no-one (relatively speaking) was listening to Jason Williamson's poetic social commentary and humourous invective. Hurt, angry and proud, the lone Sleaford Mod vents his spleen in a soundscape of stripped down punk, funk and groove looped touchstones. From the angry disgust at the insipid blandness of overhyped pop culture contrived as cutting edge; "you've settled for Plan B and Ray Winstone's fucking daughter!?" evident in 'The Last 3 Digits Paul's Myth' (set paradoxically to Zulema's 'If This World Were Mine') to the profane bewilderment of petty interpersonal politics and the ever ready violence ever present on the factory floor in 'Rollatruc'; "This is what it's like on the shop floor when you don't believe in nothing and you've got fuck all!" delivered across a hypnotic Glen Matlock looped bassline from an early Pistol's demo, 'Retweeted' is testament to why England's ears, across all divisions of age and musical tribes, have suddenly pricked up. You must, HAVE, to listen to this.
9/10 marymary Customer review, 6th July 2014
objective rating - 8/10 personal rating - 10/10. i've always fancied the idea of taking a hammer to the obese SUV waiting at the lights. this record is a literary and musical hammer. the spirit of bukowski crackles and barks throughout the lyrics, the precision of which leaves me agog. the anger, spit and dissatisfaction that i feel when i look about at the lost culture of britain is expressed here by a man whose sincerity i cannot question. i don't think this is an antidote for the shite culture continually pedalled in the uk, but it is a legitimate consequence of it all. the comparisons are all pointless. it is what it is and what it is, is original hard fought success in pursuing flayed open truth and honesty. just like bukowski. no one i know is interested in this band and when i think about that, it's because their lives are too settled and as a 41 year old myself, with burning still in my guts and venom spitting at the idiots, I can go about my attempts to redress the balance whist listening to them barf their disdain in words and music. looking forward to throwing Chaos down in SoHo, Trixie and Chop Chop Chop into my DJ sets.
10/10 Malcolm Clam Customer review, 3rd June 2014
Heard Sleaford Mods by accident due to twitter recommendations by Anton Newcombe. I'm a BJM fan so assumed SM would be a droney/60's psych type guitar band.
How wrong I was, I searched YouTube and found Fizzy performed live outside Rough Trade in London.
That got me hooked.
I bought Austerity Dogs and played it to death. I then saw the ad for Retweeted. I bought it and read Jason's blurb which included the line about him not being particularly proud of a lot of the stuff on the album.
I gave it a whirl and now consider it essential listening to get the history of Divide and Exit. There are a load of sampled loops from the Who to the Pistols and loads more inbetween. As one reviewer stated earlier, there is some colourful language but, being a very immature 49 year old, I love it.
8/10 Bornin69 Customer review, 3rd June 2014
This double album compilation of early recordings by Sleaford Mods is undersold by head-Mod Jason Williamson in the sleevenotes. For the rest of us it's a riotously fun and relentlessly scabrous hour and a half of joy. If you've heard the more recent albums Austerity Dogs and Divide and Exit you'll know roughly what to expect - wit, aggression, recreational swearing and sometimes painfully honest tales from the frontline of modern Britain delivered by Williamson in a style part ME Smith, part John Cooper Clarke but mostly just him. These early recordings, however, see Williamson working with a variety of different musical partners. The musical palette is quite a bit wider than on the recent albums - taking in soul, funk, live baselines and loads of shameless samples. It doesn't always work, but there is a lot more fun to be had here than Williamson himself thinks. Anyone who's enjoyed the recent albums should definitely seek this out.
9/10 Eldee Customer review, 17th May 2014
Much of the music press would have you believe that Austerity Dogs came out of a vacuum fully formed, but this belittles the 6 years that Jason spent in developing his sound, over MySpace, and later Soundcloud and Facebook. Pre-Andrew Fearn, the production was mostly Simon Parfrement (Simon Claridge, Parf) with Neil Tolliday (Nail, Bent) on a few tracks too. It's worth noting that both of these guys are still involved with Sleaford Mods with Parf being responsible for the majority of official photographic and video output (Tied Up In Nottz), while Nail is responsible for the grubby bassline on Divide and Exit's Air Conditioning. Jason certainly has been in some dark places and underscores on the album sleeve that he's not especially proud of his back catalogue, and it's true that he does say stuff that can make the listener very uncomfortable, moreso than on his recent material, and that's saying something. Taking it album by album, the eponymous first album is probably the weakest one and mercifully, Jason's attempts at soul singing on this and the Mekon have been left out, leaving the four best remaining tracks, the DJ harrassing "Graham" being my favourite. The Mekon probably my favourite early album, and contains some glorious punk riffs ripped to pieces by Parf. The titular Mekon which borrows heavily from The Sex Pistols' Pretty Vacant, but in Jason's hands it becomes a tale of despair for a 30 something music wannabe working in a chicken factory. Jason's signature toilet humour is in full effect on Armitage Shanks, though it does tend to conjure up images of Rik Mayall in the Young Ones at times, although the closing moments are pure exhilarating punk. Other highlights include Chop Chop Chop, Chaos Down in Soho, and Paul Smith baiting The last 3 Digits, which is a fantastic rant bemoaning the state of Nottingham's club scene. If you're a SM fan you need this album.
7/10 ML Customer review, 16th May 2014
"Grotty" is right, Brian. There are songs on this album that would make Chubby Brown blush. Hell, there are things on here that should probably make Jason Williamson blush. Not sure whether this is quite as much about wanting people to see the murky beginnings as shamelessly cashing in. And why not? But next time someone regales me with tales of Williamson's lyrical genius I'll ask them if they've heard any of this stuff. File under 'Not for the faint hearted'. 'Trixie' is particularly vile.
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