The Homosexuals
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The Homosexuals

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
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"The Homosexuals at WFMU/SXSW/Spiro's March 14th"

Here's another set from last week's SXSW showcase, this one from London's elusive post-punk legends The Homosexuals. A lot of the mystery that once surrounded the group has been cleared up in the past few years. Their previously rare and unreleased late 70s/early 80s recordings are now available in digital form. And frontman Bruno Wizard, who was once bent on destroying some of that material, is now looking to release more of them. He's also revived the Homosexuals live set.

Bruno took the stage in Austin backed by fans Dave Siegel and Travis Harrison of Unsacred Hearts along with Apache Beat members Mike Dos Santos and Philip Aceto. Bruno had much wisdom to impart to his young disciples as the group launched into a set of classic, action-packed Homosexuals songs. For Bruno's unedited stage banter, snag the complete set. - WFMU's Beware of the Blog


"SXSW: The Homosexuals Provide the Festival Highlight"

SXSW: The Homosexuals Provide the Festival Highlight
AUSTIN - I just had the closest thing to a religious experience since my bar mitzvah.

The Homosexuals played the most dynamic, explosive set I've seen in a couple years. For the half hour immediately following their set at Spiro's all I could think to myself was, "Holy (expletive), I cannot believe I just saw that!"

Before you think this is some kind of joke, it's not. The Homosexuals are a real band, albeit one without a very Google-friendly name. But that wasn't really a concern when the trio formed in the U.K. in the 1970s. Over the course of a couple years the band released a handful of spiky, DIY, post-punk singles that were eventually collected onto something called "The Homosexuals Record." That record is one of the greatest records ever. No doubt, no debate, 100% great.

Free-form radio station WFMU, which sponsored this showcase, put it best when describing the band on its consistently awesome blog: "Crammed with more ideas in a song than most bands deliver in a discography, the Homosexuals were the collision point of urgent punk attack, sideways pop hooks, dub dementia and literally anything else that might exist in a British kitchen at the time."

The songs zigged and zagged, abruptly shifted tempos and employed "random snippets of sound" while always maintaining a pop base. The band imploded without making any real impact except on a handful of record collectors and the album (and its eventual re-release on CD) became one of those rare lost classics that was more classic than lost.

Principal songwriter Bruno Wizard has been back on the radar recently, playing a handful of one-off shows in New York and dabbling in electronic-based new music. My expectations were low going in, but there was absolutely no chance I was going to miss the Homosexuals.

Bruno was backed by a four-piece band from New York, Apache Beat, and older frontmen looking to recreate glories should use his approach. Find some young superfans who can probably play the songs better than the original members ever could and let their youthful energy be a driving force. It didn't take long to realize this was going to work out beautifully. They launched into "Hearts in Exile," a slow-building, dubbed-out gem from "The Homosexuals Record," and it sounded perfect. The band was locked in, the 57-year-old Wizard had the energy and voice of a man half his age and, simply put, it just killed.

Wizard, wearing a Batboy tank-top and looking like a skinnier, gaunter version of Jeremy Irons, babbled semi-coherently between songs but was all business when performing. He sashayed across the stage, throwing his arms out for emphasis during certain lines. As for the set list, it was "hit" after "hit" - "Soft South Africans," then "Neutron Lover," then "Walk Before Imitate," then "False Sentiments." These titles probably mean nothing to you but they are all 5-stars in my iTunes, songs I never dreamed of hearing played live, let alone with all the vitality of the original recordings.

Not enough can be said of the job Apache Beat did. The band hit every cue, not missing a single note. They let Bruno (deservedly) have the spotlight but still made it feel like we were watching a band, not just a dude and some hired hands.

I rarely bop around at shows - after all, I am white - and I especially avoid it when I'm ostensibly working. But there was no containing myself on this night. Jumping, fist-pumping, singing along, "Woo!"-ing. I broke out the entire arsenal for this occasion.

When the band wrapped up its half-hour set with a jarring version of "You're Not Moving the Way You're Supposed To," I just stood there in awe. I went up to some random person who I noticed was also jumping around for most of the set and said, "Oh my god!" I just needed to share this moment with someone who was feeling the same thing. We exchanged a few gleeful "Oh my gods!" and "Did we really just see thats?!" before going our separate ways.

I stayed at the venue for another four hours, partly because WFMU put together a killer lineup (including underground heroes Half Japanese) but also because I just felt the need to stay in the space where I'djust witnessed that performance. It was that great.

By David Malitz - The Washington Post


"The Homosexuals The Homosexuals' CD [ReR; 1984/2004]"

Here today, gone tomorrow: Perusing Johan Kugelberg's list of 100 "best" DIY punk singles from the Ugly Things zine is a lesson in the fleeting bursts of creativity and desperation every collector of rare shit must wade through. I've never really been bitten by the collector bug personally, but have known enough people who have that it's become pretty easy for me to spot what they're looking for. Generally, bands that didn't last very long and put out records very few people heard (preferably self-pressed, and certainly vinyl- or cassette-only) find their way into collector hands almost as quickly as they disappeared. Sometimes, these folks uncover real hidden gems. For every few dozen of deservedly forgotten garage punk artistes, there's a band that could have been contenders in the world of the living had their luck been better. British trio The Homosexuals fit this bill, and I've a feeling that anyone into those hallowed days of apathy, art and the anti-social in the UK during the late 70s will be happy to know they existed.

The Homosexuals were a strange prospect. Seemingly, their music should fit into a similar spot as that of angry young men like Wire and Magazine who carried their penchants for art-school angst in the midst of proto-thug posturing, like badges of authentic alienation. And of course, in many ways, these bands were alienated-- at least from what had been passing for British rock prior to 1976. However, L'Voag (aka Jim, Amos, and now, Xentos), Anton (aka George Harassment) and Bruno were also part of a different scene, where more "progressive" notions of artistic protest were at stake: This Heat, Family Fodder and Chris Cutler's bands Henry Cow and the Art Bears were some of the names going at it in these circles.

So what and who were they? And where have they been for the last 25 years? The band actually formed in 1977, shortly after L'Voag noticed Bruno in protest at a National Front gathering/riot, while Anton answered an ad. After choosing a calculatedly provocative name, the three set about playing and recording a little on their own, and the following year, engineer Chris Gray (brother of producer Nigel Gray) brought them to Surrey Sound to record all of the music that ended up on the original Homosexuals' Record, and indeed, everything on this CD reissue. Their first release was the "Hearts in Exile"/"Soft South Africans" single, which was given extra collector life by its placement on Kugelberg's list (as was their seven-inch, "You're Not Moving the Way You're Supposed To", not contained on this album). The band released a couple of EPs from these sessions on Black Noise Records, as well as working on myriad solo projects before splitting in the early 80s.

The Homosexuals' split was no mere parting of ways, but a complete severing of ties. Bruno actually gave the tapes that became The Homosexuals' Record (reportedly from a cassette dub of masters he'd destroyed) to Cutler's ReR in 1984 without consulting the rest of the band. Before anyone could do anything about it, the record had been released and already gone out of print. Just like that, you get a lurid backstory, a flash of music, and fuzzy details over who did what to whom. Result: punk legend and collector fantasy. Today, L'Voag is the most musically active, having most recently released music as Xentos with Die Computer Trip Die-- though as with all things Homosexuals, specific details on the musicians are sketchy.

The music on The Homosexuals' CD is a sprawling bag of angular power-pop, quasi-dub, garage-punk and other stuff I'd liken to Faust or some such lunatic mob if I had to. In fact, I have a Homosexuals cover of Faust's "It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl" on CDR, which I still can't fit into this whole story. Suffice to say, were it not for the rudimentary production values, I'd say these guys would have given any of the big post-punk bands a run for their money in terms of both songwriting (the impact of these songs is almost impossible to deny) and sheer diversity.

This reissue doesn't collect everything The Homosexuals did, but it does emphasize what a great, fun, strange band they were. "Hearts in Exile" is the perfect punk love song, with a slow-building intro of slashed guitar and L'Voag's cryptic description of "bloodshot eyes/ Appetizing, isolation.../ The messages of radio," his voice coming and going and bathed in reverb; it's all very hard to pin down, as if the song might suddenly fade out into nothing at any moment. And then comes the hook, featuring a four-note, pleading guitar riff that conveys heartbreak masked by aggression perfectly. Even better is the punchy, ambitious "Astral Glamour" (also the name of a pending three-disc set planned by Chuck Warner's Hyped to Death label later this year), a shiny piece of power-pop that would sound as good coming from early XTC as it would have on The Who's Sell Out. Nonsensical lyrics ("Astral glamour semen in the region") barely hide the infect - Pitchfork Media


Discography

http://www.hyped2death.com/Homosexuals.html

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Bio

The Homosexuals formed out of the ashes of The Rejects in London in 1976. The Homosexuals railed against The Establishment controlling not only the media, but also the means of production and distribution as well. At that time any artists not willing to sell their souls to The Establishment were consigned to a lifetime of playing to two men and a dog in Belgium, with only the dog clapping (and not in a Buddhist sense either). In 1977 The Homosexuals gave birth almost single-handedly to the D.I.Y./post-punk/art-punk squat aesthetic movement in London. The Homosexuals are still active, in the form of their creator and main thinker Bruno Wizard. Working with a new generation of radical artists, Wizard is connecting like-minded conscious souls who never did and never will give up.