Gay Rabbi

Genre: irreverent homophobic offensipop

Era: 2000s - present

Country of origin: UK

In November 2001, with My Vegan Holiday riding high after a year of touring and the release of their album The Mung Bean Sessions, lead singer Nathan Fretch decided that he needed a change. He promptly parked a caravan behind a derelict Little Chef on a dual carriageway just outside Nantwich with a Bontempi organ, a crate of Tennent’s Super and a dozen copies of Vegetarian Wives and, just six weeks later, Fretch’s alter-ego Gay Rabbi was born.

Gay Rabbi is a piquant, simmering bouillabaisse of pop. With two albums under his hempen belt – the 2002 debut Hot Fudge Mystery and 2007’s Chutney Farm, both hotly condemned by the relevant authorities – Fretch has boldly taken the crumpled melodies and effervescent, rogery guitars that we have come to expect from My Vegan Holiday and paired them with an alarmingly hyperactive brass section to provide a delightful harmonic soufflé over which he drapes his zeitgeist-defying brand of insouciant anti-semitic homophobia.

Whilst it is true that Gay Rabbi has barely troubled the UK charts – the best selling of his singles, Homo Bar Mitzvah, peaked at a flaccid #126 – this lack of domestic pop success has been no bar to notoriety: Uli Falmstein of Jew Pop Weekly described Gay Rabbi as "an abomination to both God and my ears", and Kerrity Gradge of Music Casserole said of it that "even Hitler would not have done this". Indeed, only Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, writing in the Sharia Music Express, has spoken positively of Fretch’s side project, provocatively naming Chutney Farm as his "album of the year".

Fretch is unrepentant, however, and says that he intends to continue to use Gay Rabbi as a way of unwinding from the pressures of leading My Vegan Holiday in their joylessly sincere musical crusade to convince people to eat less meat. "Of course the vegan issue is of utmost importance to me," he says, "I just like to make jokes about Jews and queers now and then."

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Rasta Obliterator

Genre: criminal reggae

Era: 1970s

Country of origin: Jamaica

In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. The man who actually committed the crime, however, was far more fortunate, using the confusion that surrounded the wrongful arrest and subsequent escape to flee to his native Jamaica, where he used the proceeds from the robbery to build a recording studio and set up the group Rasta Obliterator.

Levi Ratchet initially started Rasta Obliterator as a front for his various criminal activities – what he referred to as "arm robry", "peddlin ganja" and the delightfully vague "a lickle runnin an shootin" – but as time went on he realised that making music was safer and more lucrative than crime, and so he floated his crime empire on the Jamaican stock market (RudeBoyCrimeCorp: RBC) and turned his full attention to Rasta Obliterator.

Of course, it should be noted that Rasta Obliterator was not the only group to emerge from the reggae crime subculture – Prince Ruffian & The Homiciders, Papa Shank and Natty Paedo all contributed to both Jamaica’s music charts and its crime rate – but it was one of the most successful. Albums such as Jah Machine Gun and Wanted, Dread Or Alive dominated the Jamaican charts in the mid-70s, and even reached charts as far away as Europe (though Polish-Jamaican artist Barrington Kraszewski had already laid the groundwork in the Eastern Bloc with his 1974 album Stasi Hotsteppin’).

Ultimately, Levi Ratchet was unable to escape the legacy of his chequered past, and in 1978 he was murdered by a hitman who put cyanide in his cannabis – a process known in Jamaica as a Kingston Cough – an event immortalised by The Kneecappers in their 1979 hit Bad Ganja Mek You Sick. Then, to add insult to injury/death, in a grim twist of irony the board of RudeBoyCrimeCorp plc merged the company with Global Pharmabiotics, changed its name to CrimePharm, then TechnoBioCom, then ZeneBioLogica, and became a major manufacturer of medicinal cannabis substitutes.

On Levi Ratchet’s grave the following words appear: "Life is reggae, reggae is life. Steal any flowers an rude boy come mess you up an ting". They seem somehow appropriate.

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Prussian Perverts

Genre: sexdance, europerve

Era: 1990s

Country of Origin: Germany

Prussian Perverts began life in Dresden in 1990 as Mickey Sex Mouse, one of the more prominent of the countless bands that formed in the wave of liberative euphoria that washed across the country after David Hasselhoff took a break from filming Baywatch to tear down the Berlin Wall and kill Communism. Despite a residence in Dresden’s Ministry of Sound (the former Stasi phone-tapping bureau) they saw little initial success until 1991, when the threat of legal action from the Disney Corporation forced them to change their name.

The name change proved to be a blessing: one month after the letter from Disney’s lawyers, Gerhard Bunt of Fourth Reich Rekords received a demo tape from the newly minted Prussian Perverts and he signed the band immediately.

They didn’t look back. No mulleted East German clubber jemmied off his glands on disco marmalade in Dresden’s sadly now defunct Blitzkrieg Klub can have failed to miss Prussian Perverts and their aural-erotic disco monuments. With the sonically enormous club assault U Make Me Perve and the needlessly offensive Sexdance Hitler, in which the Nazi leader’s Nuremberg speech is sampled over a grindingly urgent soundcrunch of rhythmic sexual noises and highly charged electrobliss, the band provided the soundtrack for an entire liberated generation (though it should be noted that the generation in question is now suffering from ear damage, memory loss and severe paranoid episodes).

The success was not to last, however. Despite strong opposition from weird, sex-starved loners, the late 90s saw the introduction of draconian public decency laws in Germany, and in 1997 Prussian Perverts were banned from performing in public after a concert that
Der Däly Mäl described as “grossly, mesmerisingly indecent”. They were dropped by Fourth Reich Rekords soon after.

Ten years on they enjoy a weekly residency at Amsterdam’s Den Kokkenkluub brothel, where they provide a lumpy, filth-sodden soundtrack for countless acts of unspeakable depravity. Deep down, this is probably all they ever wanted.

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Genre: Guitar terror

Era: 2007

Country of Origin: unknown

Initially bursting forth from the internet in April of 2007, the corrosive guitar mess of Tosser was seemingly discovered by disaffected youth trawling underground alternatives to mySpace.

Such sites as and prided themselves on their ability to not only discover, but to shape elements at the very bleeding, hacked edge of so-called youth culture.

With the benefit of my media hindsight, it was inevitable of course, that Tosser’s guitar terrorism would appear from this amateur source. Their agenda ostensibly derived from upsetting established rock mores with singles constructed Tonka-like from heaving chunks of riffery and drum battalions.

This desire to shock and dismay, battering senile audiences with weapons-grade mp3-only releases such as Face in Smithereens and Gunt Missile drew comparisons with certain other populist entertainers. Mostly by dint of the group’s female singer and her refusal to appear in any circumstances without her signature black-bag-masked face.

The most startling ramification of their self-declared first and last live performance in the Summer of that year, was the free-issuing to every audience member attending the gig in a long-disused gas storage chamber in Volgograd, of a bar-coded commemorative T shirt.

The irony being that the bar code had been fiendishly designed to function internationally, and resulted in fans being arrested across Europe when leaving shops – on a charge of shoplifting themselves.

Within two months of their appearance, nu-media speculation as to the identity of the voluptuous but faceless vocalist was vindicated when Tosser was revealed to be a vanity project for Harmonie Carpenter, well-known media-whore it-daughter of shock-headed film auteur Gaspar Carpenter.

Harmonie was widely known prior to the revelation of her involvement with the band – having been photographed on several occasions by paparazzi, brazenly inviting upskirt photographs of her evil areas to increase her friend count on FaceBook. Said photographs appeared on a range of websites, and subsequently on Carpenter’s own personally-issued Christmas cards of 2007.

Shortly afterwards Harmonie married her yoga coach in a beach-held civil service at a secret location in the North of England. Photographs of the whole sorry affair reveal her face to be black-bagged yet again, with her sad undergarments exposed in every single shot.

Soon the band split. The other members’ identities never became public.

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"Twinkling" Mary Kelly

Genre: ghastly folk

Era: 2003

Country of Origin: UK

A gauche and guileless 16 year old when she plopped into the consciousness of a public desperate to be entertained by a musical act virtually identical to Charlotte Church, but without the singing, Mary Kelly was instantly clasped to the breast of The Brighton Demographic.

With her naïve ways and trademark moon-faced Cornishness, she found sudden and undeservedly huge success the moment her hideous pre-release debut single was play-listed for incessant rotation on both BBC Radio and UK MTv channels.

This was a first for both outlets, as Mary Kelly’s chosen oeuvre was the flinchingly narrow folk harp pop – named imaginatively due to its reliance on folk harp instrumentalism and electro-breakbeats.

This single, Magical Steeples, achieved commercial but little critical success, entering the UK top forty at number forty, and remaining concretely in situ for a total of 7 whole days – weathering gales of tabloid scrutiny and the fawning adoration of biscuit-addled pensioners and homosexual clubbers.

In fact it is almost solely due to the power of both pink and blue-rinsed pounds that Magical Steeples achieved the tedious success that it did, and why Kelly’s publishers, Dad’s Farm Music, considered the release of a follow up album to capitalise on the public’s seeming ability to buy just about anything.

Proposed further recordings were sadly scuppered however, when Kelly became hopelessly smitten with Gargill Haversam, a surly boy of fifteen local to her small village. She assumed his circle of interest, and those song manuscripts published of the never-to-be-recorded album indicate a proposed change of direction, to incorporate vocals and a conceptual lyrical theme dedicated to Warhammer 40K.

In the last of her promotional photographs, published before her retirement from music with a stated interest to “drink more cider lol”, Kelly appears in striped tights and a motorcycle-style leatherette jacket, looking off-camera towards where, reportedly, Haversam was making “fanny-licking faces”.

Subsequently, Kelly has failed to trouble the media. Her “twinkling” seemingly dulled for good.

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Genre: death folk

Era: 1970s-1980s

Country of Origin: UK

1972 was the year that saw the rise of the genre known as “death folk”, and no band typified its farmyard nihilism quite like Barnslaughter. Indeed, their 1971 debut album Ploughman Of Death is considered by some to have given rise to the entire genre, and punishing songs like Satanic Harvest and Barley Suicide defined the movement, reflecting the emotions of literally dozens of disillusioned Wiltshire teenagers for whom The Archers no longer held any meaning.

Barnslaughter dominated the 1970s, releasing four albums over a hectic eight year period – Tractor Eviscerator, Blood Dairy, Disembowelled By Pitchfork and the politically charged Cannibal Common Agricultural Policy Killer – but in 1979 banjo player and songwriter Syd Piggot died of an overdose of hayfever remedy, becoming yet another depressing statistic of an increasingly self-destructive folk scene that had already claimed the lives of The Gloucester Old Spots, Neil Haystack and two members of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Tim, and the group decided to embark in a new direction.

That direction was white supremacy. From the alarming retail-oriented race hate of 1982’s Hell By Date to the frighteningly delusional 1986 concept album Satan’s Grocer, in the 1980s Barnslaughter turned their considerable musical talents almost exclusively towards persuading people not to shop at Handeep Patel’s grocery shop in the band’s home village of Monkflint Giddle.

The change of direction proved to be catastrophic; Barnslaughter’s new-found white supremacist leanings drove away their fans, and eventually, after 1988’s Aryan Shopping failed to chart, the band split and went their separate ways. Today only singer Phil Rurral remains active in the music industry, running the staggeringly unpopular pressure group Musicians Against Blacks And Queers from a maisonette in Trowbridge.

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Genre: cybernoise

Era: 1990s – present

Country of Origin: UK

Supposedly named after the imaginary sound made by hardened pieces of vomit falling onto a metal drum, Johnny Bistle and Mike Dreff’s Blang! are one of the more divisive groups to have come out of the Isle of Wight in recent years. The duo met in 1990 at a mutual friend’s wedding (the friend is now divorced), and set themselves up as an “antidote to harmony” after discovering that they shared a mistrust of chords, in particular G Major.

The pair are no strangers to controversy. Their 1993 debut album, Click:Blang!, was banned in Warwick for violating mediaeval decency bylaws, and the release of 1996’s Eyeball Picnic was picketed by the RNIB for being recorded at frequencies designed only to be heard by the eyes; indeed, it was only with the 2001 release of Tinnitus Bullets, a violently bleak noisescape consisting largely of distorted recordings of an angry wasp trapped in a photocopier making copies of a piece of A4 paper with a skull drawn on it, that Blang! dented mainstream consciousness. The album enjoyed a brief stint in the charts, peaking at #12, and the single Ear Shrapnel was used in a television advertisement for Müllerice.

Blang!’s discordant noiseflashes have been described as “baffling, stomach-churning horribleness” (Jjared Fwytt, Music Or Die), “like being raped” (Sooxy Gange, Hot Pop!) and “just shit” (Pope John Paul II, Catholicism Today), and it appears that, for now at least, this will be their legacy: in 2005 Bistle was arrested in Oslo for what Norwegian newspapers described as a “decibel-related atrocity” and he is currently serving a six year prison sentence on a fjord-based prison ship.

Sadly, the band’s future remains uncertain.

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