Sunday April 23, 2017
Steve Auto appraises And None Of Them Knew They Were Robots and offshoot band Send More Paramedics.
Back in the day, the sunny climes of Stockton and Middlesbrough were a hotbed for alternative music – much of it down to Glen and Biggs of the Open Season music collective.
Fuck knows how they managed it, but bands came from far and wide to grace the local stages and perhaps one of the most memorable ones (in this writer's eyes) was And None Of Them Knew They Were Robots (ANOTKTWR).
HARD TO PIGEONHOLE
Memories are extremely blurred but the first time I watched these Leeds boys pick up their guitars was in some ramshackle pub supporting another band whose name escapes me.
They blew them away.
A mixture of post-punk and indie rock would be the best way to describe their brand of noise but putting a finger on their sound is not an easy task – have a listen for yourself and make your own mind up.
Their first self-titled EP released on Pigdog Records in 2001 was full of progressive tunes, complex guitars dipping in and out and desperate vocals screaming to escape.
With songs like Instrument and Idle Vessels, it's still a recording I enjoy spinning to this day.
But fast-forward a few months to their next gig in the grim north and I was amazed at just how far they'd come.
The new tunes (from the Liebestod EP) threw up a completely different beast – think Minor Threat/Discharge with a healthy dose of anarcho punk stirred in for good measure and you get the idea.
Songs like Beautiful Lives and Pinned Down and Under Fire weren't quite what I was expecting.
But while the DIY scene is often criticised for taking itself too seriously, these boys also knew how to have a laugh.
SEND MORE PARAMEDICS
When they weren't performing as ANOTKTWR, their side-project Send More Paramedics (SMP; their name taken from a scene in the excellent 1985 film The Return of the Living Dead) actually went on to gain a fair bit of recognition and saw the lads play with a grin on their faces and two middle fingers firmly held high.
Dressed up in a mixture of Mexican wrestling masks and full-on zombie gear, SMP banged out tunes such as I Am Every Dead Thing and Zombiecrew – a mixture of what can only be described as horror-thrash/hardcore.
SMP eventually split up in 2007, but not before having played right around the UK and at a number of major festivals, such as Reading/Leeds and the Download Festival.
They even managed to land themselves a touring support slot with the Offspring – not a band I particularly care for but nobody can fault their credentials.
But full circle and back to ANOTKTWR.
I only had the pleasure of seeing them on stage twice and it's two experiences I won't forget.
Their music's around online, so do yourself a favour and dig in.
Chief hack's note: And to save you some hassle, here's a few of Steve's top tips, embedded here on the tune-tastic Rake & Herald from the respective YouTube channels of Kyle Mindemann, twinnedwitherlangen, Jeff hansbrough jr and dexexe21, which you can check out here, here, here and here.
See also The legendary Leatherface, posted 25/6/15.
Steve Auto is the editor of Poz-based punk and alternative music fanzine Point Blank Poznan, a publication we've very kindly been allowed to lift a fair few stories from, such as this one here for example. Cheers, Steg! There's a load of onion rings out the back if you want them.
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