This DJ Night Goes to 11! We Fought the Big One celebrates 11 years with 11 songs

For the last 11 years, first Fridays at the Marx Cafe in Washington, DC have been synonymous with the kind of classic post-punk sounds and left-of-center pop famously championed by the late (and truly great) BBC DJ John Peel. That’s when DJs Rick Taylor and Brandon Grover host We Fought the Big One, one of the District’s longest-running DJ nights, and one deliberately inspired by the maverick spirit of John Peel.

We Fought the Big One officially turns 11 this Friday, and we’ve asked Rick and Brandon to curate an 11-track mix via the glories of YouTube and Vimeo. Take it away guys.

The Saints – “Know Your Product” (1978) Quite possibly my all-time favorite punk song. And yes, it has a Stax Records-inspired horn section. That’s what makes it so punk. The Saints—who were from Australia by the way—made no bones about the fact they were just as influenced by Sam and Dave as they were the Sex Pistols. The fact that so many punk fans didn’t get this only makes the band that much more punk. A true classic in every sense. (RICK)

Modern Lovers – “She Cracked” (1972) It’s bewildering to me that this perfectly formed punk-scorcher was recorded in 1972! I did a double-take when I first heard it. Thanks to Kim Fowley, this version is much rougher around the edges than what appeared on the band’s lone LP. Apparently, Jonathan Richman had seen The Stooges right before he recorded this. The home-made video for this track is pretty awesome too. (RICK)

The Monks – “Oh, How You Do Now” (1966) The Monks were a group of American GIs stationed in Germany during the mid to late 60s that made extraordinary music. Not surprisingly, their raw, unconventional sounds didn’t translate into commercial success. Though the band didn’t sell many records, they went on to be one of the most influential ’60s bands on the punk movement—just ask Mark E. Smith! Classic stuff. (RICK)

Shock Headed Peters – “I Blood Brother Be” (1984) The swing beat makes it fun. The rest makes it uncompromising. I still hold a candle for the mid ’80s. Not for the overproduced pop music, but for stuff like this. (BRANDON)

Shrug – “Egg and Chips” (1989) A song that has yet to be played at We Fought the Big One but I promise it will be soon. Seven people including three percussionists that made songs that were at turns appalling and appealing—here FALLing head-first through a shambolic mess of a garage-rock pop-tune before concluding with the refrain “APPLESAUCE….APPLESAUCE!!!!!!” Which I expect everyone will remember. (BRANDON)

Silver Apples – “Seagreen Serenade” (1968) As forward-thinking as any record I own. Silver Apples were on a completely different planet. This, my friends, is a singular example of interplanetary genius… (RICK)

Ann Steel – “My Time” (1979) Supposedly, Roberto Cacciapaglia—the composer of this striking tune—created the sounds you’re hearing by sampling vacuum cleaners and dental tools. This was Cacciapaglia’s first foray into pop as far as I know (he was and remains a highly regarded experimental composer) and he tapped model Ann Steel to handle singing duties. I love her robotic sing-speak approach. Fits perfectly with Cacciapaglia’s icy sounds. To quote a line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, “He chose wisely.” (RICK)

LoneLady – Bunkerpop” (2015) We Fought the Big One isn’t exactly known for being an organization with its finger on the “now” button. However, I can assure you that in between our digging the crates for obscure gems from the new wave era, we have always tried to champion new bands we find to be simpatico (and have occasionally hosted a concert or two I might mention!) Anyway, I am giving this one by LoneLady (aka one Julie Ann Campbell from Manchester) album of the year even though it was just released today (3/24/2015.) She uses familiar sounds to unfamiliar ends without sounding too clever or overbearing. Instead her music is refreshing and very enjoyable, if a little darkly so. (BRANDON)

Dorothy – “Softness” (1980) This is a track I got turned onto recently through my friend Michael Train. Pretty obscure. At one point, the seven-inch this track is from was selling for over $100 on Discogs. Why so much? It was on Industrial Records. Dorothy used to play drums in Rema Rema under the name Max. She recorded this with Genesis P-Orridge and Alex Fergusson who were shortly to form Psychic TV with Peter Christopherson. Killer track! (RICK)

Vice Versa – “New Girls Neutrons” (1979) ABC before the name change and the worldwide new wave fame. They apparently sold this single out of their van outside of gigs. A true early synth classic whose only drawback is its short length. (BRANDON)

Zowiso – S.H.H.” (Live 2006. Originally recorded 1985.) Usually when you start bandying around the names of obscure short-lived Dutch anarcho punk bands that aren’t named The Ex and who only have a few releases to their names of which none has ever had a re-release, you are pretty much asking to be labelled something in the vicinity of snobby.

However I am throwing myself at the mercy of the court here and submit that my only intention is to use the bully pulpit in hopes that someone else grabs on to this band and runs with them. Especially their last LP, The Lust, which boasts a nearly perfect balance of rage and restraint. Even the sequencing and timing between songs is perfect. One side is pressed on 33, and the other on 45 just to make sure the songs run just so to complete this anarcho-feng shui. This live track is from a one and only one-off show to celebrate being broken up 20 years. Here is their still active site if you are interested: Home – Zowiso 1980-1986 The Official Database. (BRANDON)

11-Year-Anniversary Party!
at Marx Cafe
3203 Mt. Pleasant Street, NW
Washington DC 20010
10pm – 3am
Facebook event page!

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