(Artwork by the fantastic Alex Cherry.)
The biggest advantage for this XXJFGer of sharing a flat with a former member of seminal Brighton noise-pop terrorists Lolita Storm is the sudden access to a vault of time-misremembered Digital Hardcore 12 inches. I mean, apart from all the getting to watch I’m A Celebrity and X-Factor together and drinking tea and all that shit.
DHR were a weird proposition in the late Nineties. They had an unparalleled run of speaker-detonating, brilliantly petulant gabba-pop records in a short incendiary burst. Where other recent proponents of Marxism, anarchism, or radical political alternatives in music had attempted a Trojan Horse-type thing of assuming ultra-conservative pop guises to administer a bitter pill (Manics, even McCarthy, really), Alec Empire, his band Atari Teenage Riot, and his label, DHR, just sounded like they were blowing shit up. ALL THE TIME. Digital Hardcore sounded like information-age WAR. This was ace. But it could be depressingly humourless. We don’t want to be all xeno-essentialist about this, but the crap jokes some English people make about German people not understanding irony seemed weirdly appropriate to DHRs own already-quaint revolution rhetoric.
There were some exceptions – Lolita Storm were thrillingly nasty playground pop; Shampoo made into the sounds of hard drives having a nervous breakdown. ATR, when we saw them last year at the Old Blue Last, were against every conceivable odd, still INCREDIBLE. Way better than the Sex Pistols could ever have been. Just a big ball of noise stamping on a human face forever.
Patric Catani and Gina D’Orio somehow managed to straddle the two extremes (the two extremes being ‘silly’ and ‘HOLY SHIT’), and released five albums between 1995 and 1999 on DHR as EC8OR. Their music was made on a battered Amiga 500, with one microphone for the vocals. It was WAY better than playing computer games.
Mean is from their modestly-titled 1998 album World Beaters. It is not familiar with the concept of ‘apologetic’.