January 6, 2012
Various Artists - 'East Of Underground - Hell Below'
There's an element of saccharine compliance
7 / 10 Out of a US military base in late ’60s emerged [b]The Monks[/b] – five GIs clanging out proto-punk that said, in so many words, that cunts rule the world. The bands here aren’t quite so radical but their story is just as wonderful. In the early ’70s, West Germany-based SOAP, [b]East Of Underground[/b], [b]The Black Seeds[/b] and [b]The Sound Trek[/b] all won the US army’s Annual Original Magnificent Special Services Entertainment Showband Contest, earning tours, the chance to record the albums compiled here and avoiding bloody duty in Vietnam. [b]East Of Underground[/b]’s growling, Sly Stone-like ghetto-funk and [b]The Black Seeds[/b]’ angry soul have the same wild-eyed counter-culture spirit that saw a ‘psychedelic solider show’ tour the barracks – but, as with SOAP’s winsome folk-pop, there is an element of saccharine compliance too. You don’t want to wig out in front of a judging panel when your life quite literally depends on it, do you?
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