John Wood Top Ten – Reckless Records London

John Wood Top Ten

John runs the fantastic Kent Band Archive remembering both long forgotten and kindly remembered bands and projects from Punk to Metal to Noise. I highly recommend it if you have any interest in that sort of thing:

He has also played in countless bands as well as making some killer solo material under various guises.

Top 10 Kent alt/punk/metal

This is my list of what I consider to be the greatest bands to emerge from Kent's vibrant alt/punk and metal scenes of the 80s and 90s. Slightly unfairly, the top 3 are all basically different incarnations of the same band, but hey, it's my list.

1. Crow This Whitstable band has been my favourite band and main musical influence since I discovered them in 1993. A dynamic fusion of hardcore thrash, hypnotic psychedelic space rock, funk, dub and ambient, they opened my eyes to the possibilities of not limiting yourself to one genre. This coupled with their awesome stageshows featuring jugglers and firebreathers absolutely blew my 17 year old mind.

2. Door Marked Summer Before Crow there was Door Marked Summer. I missed them by a few years, but their "Psychic Surfing" cassette is a monster. Chaotic psychedelic post-punk/noise-rock with a powerful two-drummer assault that is still spoken of in reverential tones to this day.

3. Nine After Crow, some of the members regrouped in Nine. Nine was a fiercer unit all round, much more focused and uncompromising (I've often compared them to Fugazi and Killing Joke), but still with occasional epic moments that remain some of my greatest live experiences. At the time, they only bequeathed a 3 song demo which merely hinted at the full extent of the bands sound. However, a recently unearthed live recording provides a clearer picture of their full ferocity.

4. Innards The 1st local band I ever saw back in 1992, and a fantastic introduction to the magic of the local music scene. Innards were an Ashford-based band churning out solid doomy death metal in the Autopsy tradition.

5. Atavistic Another Whitstable band. It seems to me that Whitstable produced more than its fair share of great punk bands. Atavistic were a fiercly socio-political thrash/crust/grind trio, active from the mid 80s to about 1990. After a demo and a brace of EPs they released their only album "Vanishing Point" on Deaf Records (a subsidiary of Peaceville). Their material is long overdue a reissue.

6. Playground Another band that existed before my time. Splintered's Richo Johnson has been a recent contributor to this blog; Herne Bay's ferocious post-punk/noise-rock outfit Playground was his first band (in fact the band that "splintered" to form his later band). Where Splintered was to become more experimental and cerebral, Playground was joyously primitive and physical. After the splintering, guitarist Andy P carried on the Playground name as a more industrial duo with future Jesus Fix frontman Pat Murphy.

7. Mind Octopus A great psych/funk band from Ashford who were kings of the Ashford scene for most of the 90s, and great fellas to boot. Among their lineup was Ben Surman, son of jazz sax legend John Surman. Sadly, they only recorded a 3 song demo, plus an album that was never officially released.

8. The Hofmann Sound I often say The Hofmann Sound were the best band to emerge from Folkestone, and I mean it. All of the members played in various local punk and psych bands before and since, but none quite achieved the same levels of sonic perfection as this one. Noisy psych-tinged post-punk with an obscenely tight rhythm section and a guitar sound like shards of glass being ground into your ears. Lovely.

9. Nancy's Place An elusive shadowy act originally hailing from New Romney in 1985, centred around the core duo of Andy H and LD McBride. Their sprawling canon of ultra limited releases combined with their rare but momunental live performances has enshrined them in local legend. You can throw all manner of genre names at them, from experimental, goth, punk, noise and industrial, but nothing ever quite sticks.

10. Jesus Fix I've just finished an 11 year stint as guitarist for this band, but I was a fan long before I joined. Intense driving metallic goth/punk that frequently draws comparisons to Killing Joke and Motörhead. The first demo EP is still their best material in my opinion.