Friday, 4 September 2015

Fuck SS - demo CS

Skinner: Only one question remains, gentlemen...what do we call ourselves?
Nigel: How about, "Handsome Homer Simpson Plus Three?"
Barney: I like it!
Apu: Wait, I do not.
Skinner: Er, um, we need a name that's witty at first, but that seems less funny each time you hear it.
Apu: How about, "The Be Sharps?" "Fuck SS?"
(Everyone laughs loud at first, then less, then the laughter tapers off)
Skinner: Perfect!
- Homer's Barbershop Quartet

From edge-pushing flirtation with fascist iconography a la Sid's notorious swastika shirt, to worn in and worn out nastypunk signifier, the SS appellation has proved almost as an enduring part of punk monikers as the Dis-prefix. From Japanese hardcore originators the SS and nearmythic neverwas potentiapunx London SS through Italian teenage lo-fi KBD idiots Hitler SS and Swedish rawpunk legends Crude SS (who maybe did more to popularise it than anyone else) all the way up to the present day and the likes of this band right here. Deployed for ironic juxtaposition (Black SS, Reagan SS, Sunshine SS, Lysol SS, Honnor SS, Stress SS, Stakanov SS, Blank SS, Harper SS, Stepdad SS) or just some shockrock collision of repulsive grotesqueries (White SS, Reagan SS, Attack SS, Heroin SS, Genocide SS) or even painting anything into a fearsome regiment of death (Tampere SS, Kajun SS, Ctakahoø SS, Netjajev SS, Veuve SS, Tempe SS). Commonly cited as Society System, but with those everpresent acrid Schutzstaffel overtones, it's a reminder of punk's eternal inability to sweep clean its vulgar obnoxious corners, guaranteed to get you some off looks, some sly chuckles, some knowing nods, guaranteed to lock you out of any fucking chance of being anything other than a way shitty basement punk band, just the way you'd probably want it.

So here's a list of free topical SS-based bandnames for anyone on the lookout, some of which may or may not get you sued:
Aspiration SS
Austerity SS
Neoliberal SS
Mortgages SS
Osborne SS
Corbyn SS
Obama SS
Skip Bayle SS
Newscorp SS
Trump SS
Walmart SS
Wholefoods SS
Fuckboy SS
Upworthy SS
Tumblr SS
Smartphone SS
Di SS (or maybe Dis SS)
Drake SS
Beyhive SS
Meme SS
Actually SS
T-shirt SS
Prince SS

It's also an interesting insight into the subtle details of associations. Flip that SS to the front of the word (SS Decontrol, SS Kaliert) and it brings to mind a big fucking boat more than a bunch of murderous scum. Or go the other way and drop a stray space somewhere onto carefree innocent band names and the meaning immediately slides into the dark, Crass become Cra SS, Piss become Pi SS, The New Dress become The New Dre SS. La Urss, Rock Goddess, Gess, Juntess, Gay Kiss, Kiss, The Mighty Mighty Bo SS Tones all end up grubbier and shittier and in the same realm as bands like the The Mau Maus, Joy Division, Adolf Hitler Klan, Sieg Heil, Nazi Dust, Marilyn Manson, Boston Strangler, Viet Cong, Pol Pot, Khmer Rouge, Jack & the Rippers, Doctor & the Crippens, Slaves, Massacre 68 and others who have or have not caught varying degrees of shit over their decision to emblazon something as ultimately trite and trivial as a rock and roll band with the moniker associated with the very worst moments and decisions and trends in human history.

SS's staying power probably springs from a particular balance of comic dulling and resonant notoriety, fed and sculpted by the constant pop culture presence of the Nazis, Hitler long more meme than man, running for election in a sleepy Somerset town in Monty Python, smashing through windows in Danger 5, his soldiers the go-to evil monsters for any guilt-free blast-em-all war movie along the lines of Where Eagles Dare, even profound attempts to get to grips with the horrible humanity present somewhere within like Downfall get flattened into safe silliness by endless youtube variations, all these things (and thousands more) putting us at some psychological remove from the disgusting truth of them and their acts. And the notoriety/familiarity coming into play cos there's no point tagging your band LRM and then spending loads of time explaining what the Lord's Resistance Movement is, you want that immediate jolt of shockvalue recognition.

"How many years was it between Charlie Manson being the terror of California and Charlie Manson being an image on joke t-shirts? I have a shirt somewhere with a pic of his face and, underneath it, the words CHARLIE DON'T SURF. Hitler's a cartoon figure now. Eminem dressed up as bin Laden within a couple of years of 9/11. It's interesting to me how we defang our nightmares -- by mocking them, but also by wearing their skins." - Warren Ellis

So here we have a contender for possibly the most spitefully moronic name yet (still waiting on a Cunt SS but I'm sure punk will make that leap some day). This demo comes emblazoned with a crossed out totenkopf, raising yet another interesting linguistic wrinkle, the difference in visions conjured by the name Fuck SS (sex party swinger death squad) and Fuck The SS (righteous antifa headkickers). It's all wretched out screams echoed into incomprehensibility and submerged deep in the filth and squawl of furious poundings and crushing raw guitar rage, from Trend On, bass thrum into crash and chaotic clinking, to the weirdo 1-2 stomp/warble of Social Real Estate, shadows of a sneer somehow present in the bonefeel of the blasted-out screams, descending into utter shitstorm panic. Slow Club's roll feeding into a superspeed thrash that rattles with grindcore relentlessness. Father's Day born out that noise, getting into jump-up punk beat, running itself over with weird scribbleshatters, exploding, fading. It's a compelling mix of modern punk's smoothest touchstones, d-beat fills, käng reminiscences, pogo guts, vocals like the excavated field-recordings of a rebellious tortured ghost, carrying a certain playful snot through hellish howls, like a tape-decayed longlost Comes demo filtered and churned up with Fader War noise.

Bloody dumb name though.

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