EX099D: The Ex: Singles. Period.

EX099D: The Ex: Singles. Period.
Label: Ex Records
Catalog Number: EX099D
Availability: In Stock
Price: €12.50

1. Human car
2. Rock'n'roll-stoel
3. Cells
4. Apathy disease
5. Stupid Americans
6. Money
7. Curtains
8. Weapons for El Salvador
9. Dust
10. New wars II
11. Constitutional state
12. Gonna rob the spermbank
13. When nothing else is helpful anymore
14. Memberhips
15. Trash
16. Crap-rap
17. Long live the aged
18. Enough is enough
19. Rara rap
20. Contempt
21. Stonestampers song
22. Lied der steinklopfer
23. Keep on hoppin'

Terrie - guitar (1-21, 23), acoustic guitar (22)
G.W. Sok - voice (1-21, 23), backing-vocals (22)
Katherina - drums (19-21, 23), vocals (22)
Andy - guitar (23)
Luc - bass (16-21, 23), double-bass (22)
Nicolette - guitar (19)
Yoke - bass (16-18)
Sabien - drums  (12-18)
Bas - bass (8-15)
Wim - drums (8-11)
Ome Geurt - drums (1-7)
René - bass (1-7)

guests: Gert-Jan Blom (4, organ)
           Jon Langford (12-13, drums)
           Ferry Heyne (13, guitar)
           Coby Laan (12, tiny grand piano)
           Dolf Planteydt (16 heavy mental guitar)
           ? of Awara (18 violin)
           Jeroen (19 samples)
           Dog Faced Hermans (23, i.e. Marion, Andy, Wilf, Colin, Martin:
           trumpets, acoustic guitar, rattle, woodblock, mandolin, backing-vocals)

(1-4) originally released in June 1980
recorded at Joke's Koeienverhuurbedrijf, Schellingwoude, Holland
produced by Dolf Planteydt

(5-7) originally released in June 1980
recorded at Raketbasis, Rotterdam, Holland
produced by Wim ter Weele

(8-10) originally released in March 1981
recorded at Joke's Koeienverhuurbedrijf, Schellingwoude, Holland
produced by Dolf Planteydt

(11) originally released in August 1981
recorded at Joke's Koeienverhuurbedrijf, Schellingwoude, Holland
produced by Dolf Planteijdt

(12-15) originally released in May 1983
recorded at Joke's Koeienverhuurbedrijf, Schellingwoude, Holland
produced by Dolf Planteydt & Jon Langford

(16-17) produced by Jon Langford & Dolf Planteydt
recorded at KG Music Studios, Bridlington, England
recording: 11/13-9-1983 / release: 11-1983

(18) originally released in August 1984
recorded at Joke's Koeienverhuurbedrijf, Schellingwoude, Holland
produced by Dolf Planteydt

(19-20) originally released in June 1988
recorded at Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam, Holland (19); practice-room ADM, Amsterdam, Holland (20)
produced by Jeroen Visser

originally released in January 1990
recorded at KGM Studio, Wakefield, England (21); ADM's Koeienverhuurbedrijf, Amsterdam, Holland (22)
produced by Jon Langford (21), Beat Cornaz (22)

(23) originally released in December 1990
recorded at ADM's Koeienverhuurbedrijf, Amsterdam, Holland
produced by Dolf Planteydt
The notion that a band could be truly radical, that their music and methods could be their dissent-in-motion, is the notion that sold most of us on punk rock in the first place. It's an idea that, 4 or 11 or 24 years later, is understood as wishful thinking, even on our least cynical days. So the thought that there might be a band, a great band, who practice what they preach (rather than yell righteous slogans congratulating the converted), and have grown increasingly progressive and inspired over 27 years, well, we might as well be talking about the time Prince rode into your backyard, naked, on the back of Pegasus, to get back his copy of The Road Less Traveled.
Compiling their first decade of singles--A and B sides--previously available only in Holland or the U.K. with the release of Singles. Period. The Vinyl Years 1980-1990, Dutch punk stalwarts the Ex remind us of what's possible, remind us that, save for their American counterparts Fugazi, all other bands are weak-willed sellouts, hopelessly adrift in capitalist bilge water. While the Ex may have blasted into the world with standard-issue early-punk fare such as the anti-commodification rant "Human Car" and early tracks such as "Gonna Rob the Spermbank," which could have been a proto death-disco classic, hew to the Gang of Four model. But by 1981's "Weapons for El Salvador," we see the shape of their punk to come: lumbering, dueling basses; primal, tom-heavy drumming; staccato guitar spikes; and singer G.W. Sok, ever the wisecracking pamphleteer, shouting above the elastic din. And as the collection progresses--see, for one, "Enough Is Enough," their collaboration with Kurdish-exile band Awara--the band can only be said to sound like the Ex, an incendiary device, packed with hope, exploding in a beautiful frenzy.

-Jessica Hopper


The Ex are one of those rare bands that, despite being around for 25 years, have neither gone soft nor stagnated. The 23 tracks on this album all date from their first decade of existence (1980-1990), and if you compare it with recent milestones like Starter Alternator and Turn, you’ll see that while many of the Ex’s virtues are long standing, much has changed.

The Ex grew out of Amsterdam’s once-fertile squatters’ subculture, and have always been politically conscious; Singles. Period. includes screeds that oppose American cultural hegemony, Dutch apathy, and eugenics. Their most recent album Turn likewise includes protests against globalization, consumerism, and cultural erosion, but its lyrics are quite nuanced and in touch with the grey areas of the issues when compared with the black and white prescription of 1981’s “Weapons For El Salvador”:

“Guerilla-war is not the problem, it’s the bloody solution.
Pacifism is bullshit-talk, destroy the way the fascists walk.
Guerilla-war is not for fun.
The only way to get things done.”

That’s an extreme example, but if you have trouble with bluntly expressed hard-left politics, you might have problems with this record.

The Ex’s recent efforts deliver a foundation-powdering punch, but their sound is also finely detailed. Newer fans might be surprised by the restraint of these nascent performances; the Ex were just kids playing with cheap equipment when they started out, but they had subtlety down from the start. The guitar sounds brittle as flint, the drumming is a primitive bash, and singer G.W. Sok’s voice steps effortlessly in front of the instruments.

But by the time they recorded Weapons For El Salvador, they’d already found their sound; the guitars are more corrosive, the drumming implacable, the bass not so much a pulse as a massive foundational slab of sound, and Sok is shouting to make his sentiments heard. The Ex recorded quite a few songs that sounded just like that during the ’80s, and some of their LPs could be pretty monochrome; since it reduces a decade’s evolution to 60 minutes of music, Singles. Period. is actually more varied than many of those albums. It includes excursions into PiL-like smog-dub (“When Nothing Else”), industrial dance beats (“Rara rap”), and Brechtian theater music (“Lied der Steinklopfer”). The latter was recorded with members of the Dog Faced Hermans (whose guitarist, Andy, the Ex would soon recruit) and features some convincingly skittery improv interludes, a practice the band would explore quite profitably in years to come.

People who already know the Ex’s history may have already done the math and noted that this collection is not complete. The Ex’s last six singles, which were recorded as a series and released over about a year in 1991, do not appear here; the liner notes promise a future reissue. People who don’t know that history, or who simply weren’t around in the ’80s to score these singles, should appreciate this chance to hear a singular ensemble growing into greatness.

--Bill Meyer, Dusted