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The Ex - Singles. Period. The Vinyl Years 1980-1990 (Cover Artwork)

The Ex

The Ex: Singles. Period. The Vinyl Years 1980-1990Singles. Period. The Vinyl Years 1980-1990 (2005)
Touch and Go Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Perhaps one of the most unfortunate things about the recent focus of the music industry on "American" punk and hardcore acts is that it forces much of the genre and fans to adopt a distinctly American perspective. A browse through your local record store's punk and hardcore section will reveal a mul.
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Perhaps one of the most unfortunate things about the recent focus of the music industry on "American" punk and hardcore acts is that it forces much of the genre and fans to adopt a distinctly American perspective. A browse through your local record store's punk and hardcore section will reveal a multitude of American, white, middle-class-male opinions and a distinct lack of viewpoints from women, Europe or the developing world. Certainly, it isn't fair to expect the aforementioned white, middle-class musicians to write about poverty with any sort of authority particularly when the bulk of their exposure to that world is through secondary sources.

Even the bands who break from this mold are somewhat confined by their limited perspective; until you visit Ethiopia, your only understanding of the abject misery of people in poverty is based on maudlin Sally Struthers commercials and UNICEF boxes at Halloween.

This single fact is part of what makes the music of Dutch punk stalwarts the Ex so important; not only does the band seamlessly synthesize the music of indigenous cultures into their music; the band also regularly visits Africa and other developing nations to speak directly to the people they aim to speak for.

The band formed in the late `70s, energized by the burgeoning punk rock movement as well as looking for a way to express their own frustrations with the staggering social injustice of `70s Amsterdam. According to the band, the police in particular were brutal to disaffected youth, many of which were seething in a sea of unemployment and unaffordable high rent. The band incorporated the same collective mentality as Crass, seeing their anarcho-socialist views and their music as indelibly connected.

Though the band has regularly released material, most recently through Touch and Go, much of the band's material was originally issued on limited cassette or vinyl and was seemingly lost to the general public. This long-awaited singles package finally unearths some of those precious singles to hopefully immortalize them as the crucial works that they are.

Organized chronologically, the album begins in much of the same spirit as their American and British peers: Simple three-chord punk rock with that steady 1-2 drumbeat, but by the end of the album much of the future sound of the band is clear; elements of early industrial music like Einstürzende Neubauten begin to show up, as well as moments of jazz and folk, elements which defined later albums like the particularly wonderful Starters/Alternators and Turn, which took the same sort of progressive left turns as the band with which they are most often compared: Fugazi.

Though the sound had not taken shape in that early era, much of the band's political views were seared into the lyrics even then; album opener "Human Car" lashes out against commodification, "Weapons for El Salvador" takes the Ronald Reagan administration to task for the brutal results of his attempts to use the nation as a wedge between the Sandinistas and the Cubans.

Politically and musically incendiary, the Ex is a challenging and difficult band, even today. Singles. Period. is not music designed for background listening; the steep progression over the album, unconventional sounds and brutally honest lyrics demand attention and deserve yours.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

this band is simply amazing. hopefully this review will get some people to check them out that wouldn't have otherwise.

my only complaint about this is, like all singles collections, its a little all over the place. but its cool to hear them evolve as a band.

Anonymous (October 27, 2005)

"Perhaps one of the most unfortunate things about the recent focus of the music industry on “American” punk and hardcore acts is that it forces much of the genre and fans to adopt a distinctly American perspective."

Aubin, I disagree. While there is a bunch of mediocre US punk bands who get way too much press, there has been an explosion of international punk in the last 5 years; actually way before that. People just gotta get their heads out of the frigging chain stores and into some mailorder distros to find the good stuff. I'm not just talking about hardcore, either - ska, emo, pop-punk, rock n roll...there are international bands playing every style.

I urge people to check out these distros:
www.soundideadistribution.com
www.ebullition.com
www. hardcoreholocaust.com
www.sound-pollution.com
www.havocrex.com

www.sixweeksrecords.com
These people trade records with other labels all over the world and have stuff that even mom n' pop stores or interpunk won't know about.

-Ken

(P.S. I have been a customer of all of these distros and they are all honest and reliable - especially Sound Idea)

Anonymous (October 26, 2005)

This band fucking rocks...no doubt about it. Also, it looks like Pete Doherty has been arrested again...too bad since the new Babyshambles album that Mick Jones recorded is damn good...

Anonymous (October 26, 2005)

"Am I the only one who notices a distinct similarity between the album cover on the bottom row, second from the left and Strike Anywhere's "logo"? Is there some reason for this or did they rip them off?"

It's called the anti-facist circle. Inquisition used it alot too, or at least it's all over the liner notes of the rerelease. Maybe they just added it on the rerelease, but it's there. Strike Anywhere use it really heavily though, pretty much as their own personal logo.

Crookedsuperhero (October 26, 2005)

"I too own the elusive "Punknews.org" shirt....

Funny story, at the 2nd Lifetime reunion show, Kirby was wearing his. I thought for sure someone was gonna kick his ass, but it didn't happen.

OK, that wasn't too funny."

It was barely a story.

McGarnicle (October 26, 2005)

Am I the only one who notices a distinct similarity between the album cover on the bottom row, second from the left and Strike Anywhere's "logo"? Is there some reason for this or did they rip them off?

sickboi (October 26, 2005)

I too own the elusive "Punknews.org" shirt....

Funny story, at the 2nd Lifetime reunion show, Kirby was wearing his. I thought for sure someone was gonna kick his ass, but it didn't happen.

OK, that wasn't too funny.

Anonymous (October 26, 2005)

"That is probably the best review I've read in quite some time, great work Aubin!!
(score is for the review itself)"

Good one.

localh (October 26, 2005)

the joke posts were better than the crap fest we got this time around

Anonymous (October 26, 2005)

Great band and a great review to match.

Anonymous (October 25, 2005)

"Perhaps one of the most unfortunate things about the recent focus of the music industry on “American” punk and hardcore acts is that it forces much of the genre and fans to adopt a distinctly American perspective. A browse through your local record store's punk and hardcore section will reveal a multitude of American, white, middle-class-male opinions and a distinct lack of viewpoints from women, Europe or the developing world."

Finally. Great point.

Jesse (October 25, 2005)

I've got a Punknews.org t-shirt. It's true.

bogey4 (October 25, 2005)

That is probably the best review I've read in quite some time, great work Aubin!!
(score is for the review itself)

Anonymous (October 25, 2005)

"Hey Aubin,
I think its about time we got some punknews.org T-shirts."

We don't want this site to go Tate.

Anonymous (October 25, 2005)

This is the best punk band of all time. Through their music, ethics, workmanship, and lifestyle. They live the ideals and constantly push the bounderies of what punk can, and should, be. Their last album, "Turn," was phenomenal. Everyone needs to own it.

"No chance to stop this money vulture
From turning bullshit into culture."

GlassPipeMurder (October 25, 2005)

I really like The Ex, and think this is a great culmination of their career into one disc. Some of the songs are a bit long and drawn out, but they're all scathing and sarcastic.

Anonymous (October 25, 2005)

Seeing this review makes me feel so much better about this site

gladimnotemo (October 25, 2005)

Yes, the Ex rule. I only have "Dizzy Spells," which I got for 4 dollars or so, but it is top-notch. Some of the best lyrics ever.

steveman (October 25, 2005)

Superdude is probably my main motivation for actually reading reviews these days. Score is for him.

sickboi (October 25, 2005)

That may be one of the best Superdude comments yet....

superdude (October 25, 2005)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I'd make it better:

1. Duh, obviosly you're singles, you are all EXs.

2. Releasing anything on a format other than cassette is selling out.

3. Selloutz.

4. Up the punx.

aubin (October 25, 2005)

How would one go about ordering some albums from Touch & Go? You know, seeing as their site has no e-store!

The label has a list of stores they service here on their website. They also have a toll-free number for sales: 1-800-3-TOUCHU

Crookedsuperhero (October 25, 2005)

"How would one go about ordering some albums from Touch & Go? You know, seeing as their site has no e-store!

-Chinatown"

Try posting that everywhere until they make one.

anarchaeologist (October 25, 2005)

Hey Aubin,
I think its about time we got some punknews.org T-shirts.

crossfiyaaa (October 25, 2005)

The Ex was one of the best shows I've ever been to.

TheOneTrueBill (October 25, 2005)

Try going to their offices and growling at them. Then i'm sure they'll open one.

lushj (October 25, 2005)

A band to dig into. Some searing music (and some not-so-searing-but-politically-hard-hitting stuff too). AT has their 3"cd/book about the Spanish Civil War we co-released with AK Press. One of the neatest music/book packages around. Too obscure/not politically/musically accessible enough for the audience it deserves. Smart band, smart music.

TheOneTrueBill (October 25, 2005)

The only stuff I have from them is "History is What's Happening" and I like it quit a bit. If I see this I'll definitly check it out.

Anonymous (October 25, 2005)

How would one go about ordering some albums from Touch & Go? You know, seeing as their site has no e-store!

-Chinatown

colin (October 25, 2005)

great fucking review. first two paragraphs are extraordinary.

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