Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Wave for the New Week #143

When you think of the early days of Punk Rock, Belgium is probably not the first place you see on the map in your mind's eye.  But there was indeed a rumbling there back in 1976 in the form of a trio who called themselves The Kids.  Ludo Mariman played guitar and sang; the De Haes brothers, Danny and Eddy, played bass and drums respectively.  None of them were particularly proficient, but they had passion and energy and attitude, and wasn't that what Punk Rock was all about?

The Kids took their cues from media reports and magazine articles about The Ramones and The Sex Pistols.  They wore leather jackets and safety pins and played loud and hard and fast.  They spat at their audience and rejoiced when the audience spat back at them.  They wrote songs with titles like "Fascist Cops," "Johnny's On The Dole," "I Don't Care" and "Bloody Belgium."  They could easily have been written off as a paint-by-numbers wanna-be Punk band, except for the fact that they were so damn engaging and their music, while probably veering closer to tough bar-band swagger than Punk Rock in the traditional sense, was catchy as hell.

Their records are difficult to find but worth the search.  In 1978 they released both their debut, The Kids, and its follow-up, Naughty Kids. Both are very much of their time, with the first being a bit stronger of an album and actually seeing a brief reissue a few years back.  By the time of the third album in 1980, The Kids had expanded their lineup by adding another guitarist, Luc van de Poel, and had refined their sound to a less abrasive, more power-pop noise, in keeping with the musical trends of the time.

That third album, Living In The 20th Century, is an absolute masterpiece, and ranks high on my personal list of criminally overlooked Punk and New Wave albums.  Within its hook-filled grooves of tight, melodic Punk, you will find no filler, and when the needle hits the amazingly irresistible "Do You Wanna Know?," you'll wonder why all music can't be this damn good.

After those first three records, The Kids soldiered on for another five years, releasing a few more albums but never quite duplicating the sound of 20th Century.  In 1985 they called it quits, but their records found new audiences through bootlegged copies and occasional collector reissues.  Ten years later Mariman got the group back together for some reunion gigs, and they have been playing together ever since.  In 2004, they played their first ever show in the USA in Brooklyn, NY, in front of a sell-out crowd.  The Kids Anthology, a very difficult to track down and fairly pricey seven-disc (!) boxed set, was issued in 2007 containing just about everything they ever recorded, but is now out of print.

For this week's NW4NW, here are The Kids with a live (and, unfortunately, very poor audio mix)  performance of "Do You Wanna Know?" followed by an audio-only clip of the early "Fascist Cops."  Enjoy!

Enhanced by Zemanta