Punk pioneers Crass continue their vinyl reissue series, re-pressing their limited releases by adjacent artists through Crass Records, in association with One Little Independent. Following records from the likes of Captain Sensible, Honey Bane and more, new EPs from Lack of Knowledge and Sleeping Dogs are due out on December 9th.
The series, including over twenty bands and solo artists recorded at the legendary Southern Studios and produced by Penny Rimbaud, continues with two more historic pieces from the Crass Records catalogue; The ‘Grey’ EP by North London post-punks Lack of Knowledge, and ‘Beware’ by US anarchists Sleeping Dogs.
Lack of Knowledge formed in 1978 and explored the intersection of punk and new wave, with brooding synth and an angular, melancholy edge. Their greyscale, gothic delivery recalls the likes of The Damned and Joy Division, but they found a home in the capital’s thriving anarcho-punk scene, seemingly more in-keeping with their work ethic. They consistently and defiantly subverted expectations, taking what a band seeking commercial success would do, and at each turn doing the opposite. Unpretentious, and embodying the very essence of DIY value, they have since become something of a cult hit, with their original 1984 Crass Records release now a bona fide collector’s item.
First released on 7” vinyl, limiting the sound, the new series has been remastered for 12” by Alex Gordon at Abbey Road Studios, allowing them to be heard as never before. This, plus enlarged replicas of the original covers, brings new gusto to their already radical sound.
Penny Rimbaud notes that “Our (Crass’) interest was never in personalities, profits or power, and neither did we have time for reformist liberals. Our position was solidly revolutionary; we took no prisoners. Talking the talk was never enough for us, no, we demanded that we also walk the walk. Ours wasn’t a show, it was a battle, not a living, but a lifestyle, a lifestyle with a difference – rather than looking only to ourselves, we sought to share our gains. I feel that this willingness added great strength to the form of anarchism that we practiced both on stage and out on the street.”
In giving a platform to an impressive array of other bands, Crass Records broadened the front of what popularly became known as anarcho-punk. Not, it must be said, a moniker that Crass themselves much favoured. In this respect, Crass’ classic line, “There is no authority but yourself”, makes its point. Crass sought to empower others, and the output of Crass Records does much to confirm this, while ‘2 By 2 And Back Again’ seems to nail it – “get out of your own way, we’re all in this together”.