I FEAR NO ONE by THE TRANSMITTERS
Including full four-track PEEL SESSION
EXCLUSIVE TO CD BABY TILL MARCH!
Peel recognised it. So did Fluff. In 1979 The Transmitters were several decades and decibels ahead of even the most hardened post punk rocker. Now we’ve had our urban ears syringed by the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Killers, we can all slip as comfortably into The Transmitters new compilation album, “I fear no one”, as if it was a comfy old pair of slippers. Only a lot louder.
“Ah transmit me baby” moaned an ecstatic John Peel in 1979 as the final bar crashed to a close on the first of the two full-throttle Peel Sessions the band were invited to record. The entire four-track session is featured on their new CD along with other belligerent memorables such as “Dead Siamese Sister” which Melody Maker’s Chris Roberts described at the time as “one of their frenetic mutant paranoid stream-of-consciousness bohemian jazz-noise anthems which like very much to grab you by the retinae and throw you across the doghouse walls”. Of “Ache”, also featured on the new CD, he said it was “their finest murky mope, which sorely tempts me to write out its lyrics in full.”
The compilation is anything but a souvenir of the seventies. This should come as no surprise since the band’s explosive live performances put the fear of god into the listening public. Whiplash from the impact of the first chord is just one of the complaints guitarist Sam Dodson recalls when he leafs through his overflowing scrapbook of reviews, press releases and flyers.
The Transmitters spent the late seventies and entire eighties reducing audiences to meltdown, performing as headline act, or supporting bands such as The Police, The Fall, Scritti Politti, The Human League, Alternative TV and The Slits. In the words of Paul Morley of the NME, following a gig at the Greenwich Theatre
“The Transmitters are the cheekiest group I’ve seen since the Mekons, the wackiest group I’ve seen since Public Image (and almost as sinister). They were, of course, great.”
I FEAR NO ONE by THE TRANSMITTERS will be released on March 5th and will be available from Elsewhen / Voiceprint
MOJO April 2007
FILTER REISSUES EXTRA
I Fear No One Elsewhen
Raw but intriguing collection by Ealing outfit whose arty and scratchy post punk (The Fall/PiL) stylings from 1977 to the '80's remained resolutely perverse, ahead and undersung from start to finish. Jim Irvin
cream of the crop (fanzine webzine) 2007
Finally out after numerous set backs, comes the best of album from one of London's historic, fuck let's be honest UK's Iconic messiah new wave punks.
Punk was seemingly starting to die, THE SEX PISTOLS had died, and only the real vision was coming from the likes of John Lydon and P.I.L., plus the inventiveness of many others who were going to evolve and take the scene plus the attitude on further. Like many of the new breed of don't care souls were THE TRANSMITTERS. They were rubbing head, shoulders and even don't give a fuck smiles with the likes of THE SLITS, THE FALL, HUMAN LEAGUE, BLURT, THE POLICE, plus plying their scare trade sound tactics at many a riotous gig. The music press and onlookers were pencilling down their particulars, because, what they were doing, shook heads, shook minds, shook the shock.
Radio including John Peel took a liking to their potent imaginative approach and got them into the studio for a session in 1979, plus following up with a second and final session.
So the best of is out, and out on Elsewhen Records, the label that Sam Dodson, member of the band actually set up. It's a compelling piece of music history and a worthy long tale of 22 selected tracks. What brings this home is the John Peel sessions being given the go ahead to be featured. Like many a Peel session, where the bbc always seemed to catch the rawness, and the essence of what a band was doing in their prime. Peel knew the power, wave length and the appeal that THE TRANSMITTERS were on, this compilation will break new and fresh ears, even break new minds.
You get a blistering and totally on fire with intensity version of "Blankety Blank", which comes from the Peel session, on here, it's got the bleeps and fuzz guitar breaking every few seconds. The intensity just shatters ya. But must here from the same session is "I Fear No-One But My Friends", again coming from the same session, Like a dirty Depeche Mode that's had petrol poured on and lit. It burns with a new wave buzz, not many other bands at the time had the balls to create this don't give a fuck sound.
"We supported the Slits in Acton early 1978 and all the pistols were there and the Clash Sid Vicious was carried in and laid down ceremoniously at the back at the end of the gig he was dutifully carried out and thrown into the back of a black cab So he WAS there - but he wasn't so to speak"
The innovation of sound they created, if you want to try to describe it could be like a cross with XTC for the sheer different tangent creation, and sheer fright of Gang Of Four, but let's face it was just sheer indifference to others that made them stand out. "Ugly Man", like a funk punk fusion bomb blasting out, spitting out the vile dust on tongue taste of Ugly ugly mannnnn.
"Dead Siamese Sister" gives a glimpse of the similarity and connection they have been talked about over the years with THE FALL, who were also one time Record Label sharing mates. It sucks into deep south sounding guitar, played in echo hall practise rooms, it's ever swirling and whirling into transmit frenzy. All in all 22 tracks spanning career from one of the outstanding real hopes that were the new wave scene of the 80's many have tried to follow suit since, but hey they just can't make the cut.
DJ Mag 2007
The Transmitters - I Fear No-One
Punx not dead.
Long-lost artful punk band featuring Sam Dodson from Loop Guru. The band began like Magazine, got more experimental as it went along (especially 'Blankety Blank' in a rediscovered Peel Session), with strains of punk-funk and psyche in their latterday stuff. A fascinating historical artifact. Kim O'Connor
Mint Track: 'Blankety Blank'
3 1/2 Stars
RECORD COLLECTOR 2007
I Fear No-One
Jagged white noise, latterly referred to as 'post-punk'
Despite their dull name, the Transmitters promised much when they bent a number of influential ears on their journey through the eternaly fascinating late 70's, it was a promise that fizzled to an inglorious halt, however, although their infectious racket makes a welcome return on this curiously captivating compilation.
Whereas many similar outfits have faded with time, The Transmitters managed to secure an individuality that has led them to a cultish longevity. Perhaps it's the bands frenetic attack that has so endured. Far from bland thrash, they managed to weave an almost jazz-tinged experimentalism into short, sweet songs, Two steps ahead of the equally beguiling Fire Engines, perhaps one behind The Pop Group, they clearly understood the possibility of an expansive approach in a manner that seems positively courageous by today's tempered standards.
A raw brittle collection of songs, four of which are pulled from Peel sessions and as can often be the case, these can be viewed as their finer moments. As if Grotesque-era Fall had been frozen in ice. Mick Middles
Plan B magazine 2007
The Transmitters were scary even for their times (1978-79): their music was full of dark mutterings and moping, jazz-inflected rhythms that had few peers, perhaps This Heat and Gl*xo Babies and some of Manchesters's more morbid leanings. Fractured, taut, rebellious, paranoid. but with too dissolute an image to connect with the trend-conscious London crowds, 'I Fear No-One...' (Elsewhen/Voiceprint) collects together the early singles, outtakes and Peel Session and sounds even more disturbing through the distorted vacuum of time - great, but hold on for the next volume ('81-'82) when The Transmitters were incredible, the live equivalent to the Birthday Party and Blurt. http://www.myspace.com/transmittersz EVERETT TRUE.
VANITY PROJECT 2007 (Webzine fanzine)
REVIEW OF CD "I Fear No-One..."
A not before time compilation of Transmitters tracks who were operating in the late seventies/early eighties and features members who went on to perform with the likes of Loop Guru and Transglobal Underground amongst others. Scratchy post-punk that saw them perform with the likes of The Fall, The Slits, Alternative TV and The Human League back in the day before the likes of Franz Ferdinand had been born and stolen the stop start riffs as their own. Wonderfully forward looking jerky punk funk bordering on the arty experimental side that links them with the likes of early PIL and Gang Of Four; the range of material on here is fantastic from the minimal funk of John Peel session track Dirty Harry Theme Ngungu to the frenetic energy of
Blankety Blank and the odd track such as Ache that hints of future musical experiments in later bands. A timely reminder of how exciting Transmitters were and still are considering the current musical climate. Hop over to the MySpace page for other delights from their back catalogue.
www.myspace.com/transmittersz. GREBO. 2007.
Review by PAUL MORLEY. NME 1979
THE TRANSMITTERS: Still Hunting For The Ugly Man, (Step Forward). Ealings Transmitters are an insular sort of a group. As is typical of those who for whatever reason, develop out of sight and mind of media scrutiny, they have developed a powerfully idiosyncratic sound. The group uses the same line-up as their labelmates The Fall, and it's not irrelevant to point out certain similarities.
Both groups are cynics and critics. Both groups are fronted by hurried, mocking inciters. Both groups deal with instabilities, abnormalities, ambitious truths....and make demented shell-shocked music.
This 12" four-track is an obsessive, frustrated record. Consistently effective and annoying, it rummages restlessly out on lunatic fringes. It's difficult, discomforting and oppressively manic, but worth exploring. PAUL MORLEY.
Review by LENNY KAYE
Melody Maker September 30th, 1978, Space Oddities
THE TRANSMITTERS "Nowhere Train" (Ebony EYE 12)
And The Transmitters, in an eerie, dronal tune, call up the ghosts of serpent power, an neat bit of seance, just following tracks . . .LENNY KAYE
Review by CHRIS ROBERTS
Subterania, London 1988
"LIKE a dead Siamese sister I carry your weight around." Well it beats "I should be so lucky, lucky lucky lucky".The first is the opening line of the Transmitters' song "Dead Siamese Sister", one of their frenetic mutant paranoid stream-of-consciousness bohemian jazz-noise anthems which like very much to grab you by the retinae and throw you across the doghouse walls. It's a truly great globule of self-expression and nearly as bitterly poignant as "Ache", their finest murky mope, which sorely temp me to write out it's entire lyrics in full. However.
Tim Whelan is the most restless man alive and demonstrates this by dancing like a young Jackson. pacing like Mark E Smith, and huling himself at the floor like any-age Iggy. He spits forth his topical angst ("there's a hole in the world") while his lanky henchemen beat manifold drums, extract Haitian war chants from keyboard thingies, and scratch shrill guitars like jaguars assualting sandpaper. They tangle with the Velvets' "Ferryboat Bill" quite swimmingly and, all things assimilated, are a cathartic anglepoise on the heart of darkness. Highly wrecked and mended. CHRIS ROBERTS. MELODY MAKER
Review by CHRIS WESTWOOD
The Transmitters were, as is their forte, unpredictable, uncalculatedly comic, inspirng and brilliant. A serious set? That may have been the intent, but one look at John, the vocalist, and a crowd can crack up. He stumbles around, fag in mitt, flanked by a drunken bass player, Simon Wells, a drunken guitarist, Sam Dodson, a workmanlike drummer Jim Chase, and the strangely sombre on-stage persona of keyboardist, Amanda De Grey.
The sound is open, free, off-the-cuff, bound together through all the stumbling, fumbling chaos that their approach entails. 'The One That Won The War', par example, a personal favourite, damn near falls apart at the seams, with clattering whining guitarthrashes mating with probably the most essential bass phrase this side of any other Transmitters number you care to name....
The fact that I believe in the Transmitters, their attitude, their music, their entire outlook, and - to some extents - their musical tastes, might just hinder my objectivity when writing about them. But see them. Don't let a good thing play itself out without deserving attention.
CHRIS WESTWOOD. Record Mirror Review
Review by PAUL MORLEY - NME
Ealing's The Transmitters are the cheekiest group I've seen since the Mekons; the wackiest I've seen since Public Image (and almost as sinister). They were, of course, great. Naturally, their music is of Velvets' ancestry; deceptively nonchalant, barely controlled, repetitive, erratic and intoxicating, presented with an odd, wry condescension.
Their inscrutable lead singer has the comedy timing of a Dave Allen, the detachment of a Devoto, the amused poise of a Mark Smith, the cool of a Sinatra. The music is feverish and jumpy. NME 1979.
PRIME ACCOLADE OF THE WEEK
TRANSMITTERS: 'Still Hunting For The Ugly Man' (Step Forward)
The war dubs on, but in September 1979 the door suddenly close and all the lights go out and 'Still Hunting For The Ugly Man' raises its ugly curious head and shouts "I am GTREAT! I am IMPORTANT!!" And ...
What we've got in this is neither artificial splendour nor calculated brilliance; what we've got here is the year's (thus far) most tantalising and essential 45 rpm Ee Pee, something Pro, not Retro, ggressive, something as natural as breathing.
It's four tracks, 13 minutes of dexterity and brittle adrenalin, of arrogance and perception, of twisted reality and essential mystery Thrashing between fractured jazz and re-processed rock, The Transmitters are one of those little acknowledged bands who care and persevere and consequently create some of the most stunning late seventies music available, a band who've transformed un-discipline into a discipline.
Each of the pieces here - 'Ugly Man', 'The One That Won The War', 'Free Trade', 'Curious' - falls into it's own far-reaching mood mode, attacks, bubbles and scours: each is deceptively melodic, lyrically magnetic, instrumentally taut and rebellious, When the drugs all fade, this record pulls you back and demands your attention and nags like fury. Records like this make a lot of things worthwhile.
So mines a pint of ordinary, I fear no one but my friends, either ...
Reviewed by CHRIS WESTWOOD
The Transmitters Presumed Dead
Shepard¹s Bush, Trafalgar London
The Ramshackle remnants of The Transmitters and Missing Presumed Dead have assembled in the name of fun, chaos and roo-beat enterprise.
The end - and beautifully unrehearsed - result is a temporary six piece, sax and flute and guitars and drums, that quite honestly asks questions of all our established and revered leaders. Why is everyone else so sober?
We're working on a smale scale here; in a Shepard's Bush pub with people being sill, playing sloppily but with undeniable width, stamina, ingenuity.
Mikel (Presumed Dead) sings and dances, spins tinny guitar in the path of writing saxaphone (Dave, Presumed Dead) and more jarring, clashing guitar (Sam, presumed drunk) while the conglomorate stagger from number to number: "Q-Tips" and "Catholics", "Kill the Postman" and "Change Gear".
There¹s even a ska-like destruction of "Sugar Sugar", where everything is so bad but brilliant - guitars out of tune, vocals all over the shop - but the actual point of TPD lies not in their affected clumsiness but in to transform clever and demanding music into a touching, entertaining sort of hobby.
Reviewed by CHRIS WESTWOOD 1980