For a musical scene to flourish, it needs a central meeting point for like minded people to gather and exchange ideas. Whether it’s Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s Sex Shop on the King’s Road for the fledgling Sex Pistols, or Black Flag’s ‘The Church’, the Hermosa Beach hub for the West Coast’s early punk rock scene, every musical movement or local scene worth its salt has a focus point.
For Tunbridge Wells punk band Animal Shithouse, it’s The Forum; an independent music venue that opened in 1993, the building having previously been a public toilet. This small venue in the leafy location of Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent has supported and given birth to a host of inspiring bands and artists and is a real community centre, with a studio and support for local bands. Animal Shithouse are one such band, yet they are unlike any other.
The quartet all met at The Forum, recorded their music there, learnt their craft on that stage, and now they are ready to share their jagged hardcore post-punk ferocity with the world.
Picking up support from Lockjaw Records, Animal Shithouse are set to release a new EP through the label titled ‘Who Taught You To Hate?’, available December 1st.
Musically, the EP exhibits a band that are fearless in their approach, first finding teenage identity in Nirvana and Rage Against The Machine etc, before seeking inspiration in the likes of Soft Play and Ladybird from their hometown, soaking up and digesting an endless array of electronic and guitar wrenching noise long the way. There are no limits here.
Lyrically, Animal Shithouse are equally unafraid, fuelling their songs with irony, humour, anger, and joy, incorporating a poetic twist to the songs. Frontman BM Martin’s unique observations bring a captivating depth to the band’s sound, inspiring the listener to dig beneath the surface noise, intrigued to find out what makes Animal Shithouse tick.
The six new tracks on ‘Who Taught You To Hate?’ are bound together lyrically in that they all deal with various aspects of violence, internal or external, and the many ways it can manifest itself.
Opening track ‘Downing A Red Stripe And Punching An Old Lady Called Penny’ was the first song to be written for the EP and, says BM Martin, “aims to lure the listener into a world of maximalist and darkly comedic violent urges. The speaker suggests violence as an answer to boredom, both an inescapable conclusion realised from the cynical world that surrounds the youth of today and an ironic jab at punk’s glorification of violence.
“Red Stripe is an invitation to unadulterated, violent angst,” he continues. “A story of finding a scapegoat for anger and tackling one’s own incapability to cope in an ever shrinking and frustratingly changing world. As light-hearted and darkly comedic as Shithouse’s more traditional explorations with punk, paired with a genuinely wrenching mean-spiritedness.”
The track is loaded with musical bravado, hard and aggressive and sneering, smashing through breakdowns before screeching on the brakes for a bewildering ‘old crooner’ style jazz section.
This leads into ‘Snowing in March’, a dark ambient inspired spoken word skit that acts as a prologue, not only to previous single ‘CK’, but to the EP’s deeper exploration of where violence can come from and how it can be perpetuated. ‘CK’ is a story of self-actualisation whilst constantly regressing and battling against one’s own urges, it merges all that defined early Animal Shithouse tracks – grit, intensity and black humour now framed through a progression into darker electronic arrangements and enraged emotional turmoil.
Next up is ‘MOREMOREMORE!!!’, a musical smash and grab that rushes by in less than a minute (“as the name may suggest, this track is all about constant desire for excess and an urgent petulance for its arrival. More sex, more drugs, more, more, more…its presence is intentionally fleeting like a forgotten binge where the answer to the hangover is to get back up by any means necessary.”)
‘2:53’, the second skit poem on the EP, is a ‘geezer-fied’ John Cooper Clarke dance track. “Taking a chokehold on poetic licence, the speaker is framed as a hunter, the epitomisation of every contrivance and absurdity of ‘alpha-male culture’ every type of man that no one wants to meet,” explains Martin. “Arguably the most lyrically violent track in the EP, 2:53 really aims to set up some grotesque world building before last track ‘Enemy’ delivers the final blow.
In ‘Enemy’, the EP finishes with the most sonically grand track of the project. ‘Enemy’ both in sonics and lyricism, attempts to tackle the wide and relevant issue of male sexual violence, aggression, and the responsibility all men in every facet of society have to hold each other accountable. Featuring the first instances of faster paced rapped lyrics, ‘Enemy’ fits many ideas into its four minute running time, from male ego to intergenerational trauma and the societal structures that have built and perpetuate patriarchal thinking – whilst most of the EP focuses on the violence we commit unto ourselves, ‘Enemy’ turns a mirror to the listener and asks them how they can readjust their worldview to be a less hateful and a safer person to those around them.
‘Who Taught You To Hate?’ is released December 1st by Lockjaw Records.
Animal Shithouse play the New Cross Inn on December 6th.
‘Who Taught You To Hate?’ Track-listing:
1. Downing A Red Stripe And Punching An Old Lady Called Penny
2. Snowing In March
7. I Just Punched Piers Morgan (CD ONLY)
8. This Town Is A Graveyard (CD ONLY)
9. I Lost My Mandy (In The Sainsbury’s Car Park) (CD ONLY)
10. Suitcase (CD ONLY)
11. Words are Just That (CD ONLY)
12. Animal Shithouse (CD ONLY)
Pre-order the EP HERE:
Animal Shithouse are: