Thursday, 10 April 2008

New Town New Rhotics

Singing in your own accent is good. As someone with the dubious fortune to have been born and raised in Romford (in Essex, but part of the Greater London conurbation) and having moved to Birmingham seventeen years ago, I am personally blessed with a delightful blend of two of the accents generally considered to be the most unpleasant for the listener - the aural equivalent of a mixture of butterscotch and banana Angel Delight, if you like - not too bad on their own, but a big no-no when combined.
Accents are wonderful things, and I love to hear people sing in proper Estuary English, rather than the Kate Nash/Lily Allen/Damon All-Bran bastardisation which has become known as 'Mockney', and this leads me to today's selection.
Scum Of Toytown came from Stevenage one of the 'New Towns' thrown up in the sixties to house those known - like myself - as London Overspill . Unfortunately, the town planners took as their inspiration the Stalinist concrete model (see, for example Grozny).

I first became aware of Scum Of Toytown in 1993 via the Biting Back CD,(Words Of Warning CD35) which was compiled by Martin Kollusion, the DJ/Promoter/All Round Good Egg at The Square in Harlow (Essex's own version of Grozny) from live recordings from that venue. Scum Of Toytown's Sink Or Swim just stood out a mile from the rest of the tracks.

That year, Words Of Warning had also released their Destruction Of Both Houses Of Parliament By Fire(WOW31) 7" which contains studio versions of Sink Or Swim, Jackboot Crusade and Different Drum - three tracks which were to feature on their 1994 Strike CD (WOWCD41) in re-recorded and more developed and, probably - although I'm a bit undecided here, superior versions.

The great thing about the earlier version of Different Drum is singer, Lea's full-on Stevenage accent, something that is, sadly, mostly lost in the album version.

I've upped the all three tracks from the single, plus the live version of Sink Or Swim. However, I should point out that the rather poor quality on the 7" tracks is due to it having been pressed on vinyl made from some substance akin to melted down Angel Delight packets, and not my needle!








27 comments:

John Spithead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
spewbuntu said...

I also came across them on the Biting Back compliation and was blown away with them, very soon after picked up Strike which must be one of the most played records I own at this stage. They seem to have a sound that just appeals to everyone, even people who aren't into ska / punk type stuff or even people who don't really listen to bands, their ears always prick up when Scum of Toytown are played.

I used to be in contact with one of the members years ago but lost touch with them, would really love to find out what any of them did after, any other bands they were involved in etc. as I'm sure there would have been some interesting projects. I think I mentioned that to you on Last FM a while ago John but if anyone knows anything about other bands they were involved in I'd love to know.

For anyone who is interested, you can still pick up copies of Scum of Toytown stuff from Words of Warning and they're selling them cheap as chips.

John Spithead said...

Hi Spewey, nice to hear from you. They were a band ahead of their time, really, I suppose. A lot of Strike still sounds very fresh and the politics remain very relevant. And they were nice people, too.

They deserve to be better known than they are.

irishdave said...

Just be patient if ordering from WOW - he's fairly slow.
I believe some of SOTT went on to form Cuckooland and to the best of my knowledge only released 1 7" on Damaged Goods.

spewbuntu said...

Aye, definitely agree with you on all points there John. It's amazing how little info there is about Scum of Toytown on t'interweb compared to some other bands around at the same time. Although I guess a lot of other bands that I would consider to be in the same vein, RDF, Tofu Love Frogs, AOS3 have all reformed so you never know maybe SOTT will do the same.

Cheers for the info Irishdave, the only thing I know of Cuckooland was the track they had on the 'Mind Pollution 2' compliation, I'll have a scout around for that 7".

Jeronyme said...

Here's the link for Terminus:
http://rapidshare.com/files/106851760/Terminus.zip.html

Hope the sound is OK....

John Spithead said...

There appears to be a bit of a problem with 4shared, so I'll put the tracks up elsewhere - bear with me.

John Spithead said...

Oh, and thanks for the Terminus tunes, Jeronyme - very much appreciated and being enjoyed as I write.

John Spithead said...

Try this:

http://www.4shared.com/file/44055694/ce3d43c/scum.html

John Spithead said...

Actually, don't 'cos that's not working either - back to the old drawing board.

John Spithead said...

Ok then, try this - let me know if there are problems:

http://rapidshare.com/files/107414500/scum.rar.html

Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf said...

Got loads of Scum Of Toytown stuff on my blog, some unreleased stuff/remixed, if yer interested John, way ahead of their time indeed they were, i'm still in contact with 'em all ocassionally, top people. I'll have to get round to putting up their first tape and a live one I came across the other day.

John Spithead said...

That's good news indeed. Coincidentally, I was just enjoying your blog this morning. I've been corresponding with a massive SOT fan in Croatia who wants to do a cover of Different Drum with her band, Aggressive Snail Attack, but is unable to work out the drummer's lyrics (in the Strike version). Don't s'pose you'd ask him if you get the chance?

Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf said...

Alright John, I'll make contact with the scum bags and get lyrics for ya, their popularity, especially in Europe hasn't waigned, always thought they should have had 'the success' and not Back To The Planet, mind you I'm a bit biased, having known 'em all for years, hey I remember Jon in Chron Gen, and jamming with Toad and Craig when the band was just a name,drinking down the pub with Nick and Lea, they gave 100% as a band and it's great to see the interest is still there. I'm sure I've got a Spithead tape floating around somewhere, perhapes I'll give it an airing on the blog, Bender, now they were another good band.

John Spithead said...

Thanks for that, mate. I'd have hated to see them go the way of BTTP - they went from being so fucking brilliant to so fucking embarrassing in such a short space of time (remember the Ghost Town aberration? I cringe just thinking about it). As for Bender, we played with them periodically, and then they just vanished, but I did notice that Alex was due to be trumpeting on Citizen Fish's last album.

spewbuntu said...

That's legend stuff there Nuzz prowlin' wolf, downloading that SOT stuff now, look forward to listening through to it, cheers. I'll have to have a proper look through your site, a bit too much stuff for me to take in in the one go, looks like there's plenty of reading to be done there.

BOZ said...

Wasn't guitarist Jon Thurlow originally in Chron Gen before SOTT all those years ago.... There's very little reference to this but a little birdie ( Townsend from Striknien DC ) told me this years ago when they played with SOTT. A great band.. the 7" was a bit muddy but the album's still great, and not too dated ( as political stuff often is )....
Blog's coming along nicely John... I'll have to litter it with all manner of nerdy observation!!!

John Spithead said...

Yes, indeed, Jon was previously in Chron Gen. I think I asked hm this once and saw him glaze over in that "Not the Chron Gen question again" kind of way. Boz, mate, contributions always welcome - always wordy, never nerdy!

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aliK_drozdoff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
668 said...

Can't find a working link.
Any chance for a re-up?

aliK_drozdoff said...

scum-of-toytown-uk.html

668 said...

Thanx, aliK drozdoff.
But that's the album. I'm still looking for the 7''.

Dan Gomm said...

For those interested Scum of Toytown are playing together again! You can see them at the Rhythms of the World festival in Hitchin Herts on the 9th July 2011. They're headlining the Chris Ripple stage and they have some new tracks!!!