Satan’s Rats formed in Evesham, Worcestershire in January 1977, with an average age of just seventeen. Songs like the anthemic ‘Year Of The Rats’ about the demise of the old fart groups, their appearance at the Birmingham Punk Festival and support to the Sex Pistols at the Roxy soon saw the band build a large following and inevitably drew them to the attention of record labels. Their first demo (included on this CD) earned them a deal with DJM Records. Hardly a punk label, it was home to Elton John and Johnny Guitar Watson and also the enigmatic Rikki Sylvan (from Rikki & The Last Days Of Earth) who would produce their first two singles. The first single ‘In My Love For You’ was released in 1977. Bob Geldof reviewed in the NME and slagged it off. The second single ‘Year Of The Rats’ released early in 1978 fared no better, sinking without a trace despite being regarded as something of a classic these days. For their third single ’You Make Me Sick’ they had Vic Maile (Dr Feelgood/Fruit Eating Bears) as producer. He managed to capture the anger of the band perfectly and this single, released in 1978 was undoubtedly their finest moment. Julie Burchill reviewed it in the NME, she hated it. Later that year Paul Rencher quit, the band recruited vocalist Wendy Wu, changed their name to The Photos, signed to Epic and had a hit album. All three Satan’s Rats singles are highly prized collectors’ items and have been heavily bootlegged on punk compilations, one series even naming itself ‘Year Of The Rats’.
** Twenty tracks including their three classic singles, 13 unreleased tracks and one demo version from one of Britain’s most under-rated punk bands. Sleeve notes by Steve Eagles.
Tom Robinson began gigging in London in 1976. By the end of the year, he had decided to put together a permanent band. Robinson's old friend, guitarist Danny Kustow, was the first in the permanent lineup. They ran small ads in the music papers looking for a bass player and drummer. Robinson found drummer Brian "Dolphin" Taylor. The search for a bass player continued, until Mark Ambler auditioned. Some days later, Ambler mentioned he also played keyboards; he had spent many years studying piano with veteran jazz musician, Stan Tracey. After listening to Ambler playing his Hammond organ Robinson realised he would have to be the bass player himself. The band hit the club scene right in the middle of London's punk explosion. Their live shows got favourable reviews, and soon A&R men were attending many of their gigs. EMI Records signed TRB. Robinson later described this period, saying "Within nine months we'd made the transition from signing on at Medina Road dole office to Top Of The Pops, Radio One, EMI Records and the giddy heights of the front cover of the New Musical Express". TRB made leaflets and fliers about their political views and sent them to everyone who attended their gigs, they gave away badges and made up T shirts emblazoned with the band's logo and they appeared regularly at Rock Against Racism concerts. "2-4-6-8 Motorway" was their first single, released in late 1977. It got into the top five of the UK singles charts, staying there for over a month. It was followed almost immediately by their next record, a four song EP called Rising Free which was recorded live at London's Lyceum Theatre in November 1977. It contained the songs "Glad to Be Gay", "Right On Sister", "Don't Take No for an Answer", and "Martin". The EP reached #18 in the UK singles charts. In early 1978, TRB recorded their debut album, Power in the Darkness. The UK version of the LP contained all new songs, but in the US (on the Harvest label), the "2-4-6-8 Motorway" single and Rising Free record were combined for a six-track bonus EP that made the album almost a double. Power in the Darkness reached number 4 in the UK album charts and won the band a gold record, and TRB were voted "Best New Band" and "Best London Band" for the year 1977 by listeners at the Capital Radio Music Awards. Mark Ambler left the band after recording the album. Session pianist Nick Plytas was drafted in as a temporary replacement, and played with TRB at a major Anti Nazi League rally in London's Victoria Park early that year. Ian Parker joined as a permanent replacement for Ambler. TRB then went to Rockfield Studios in Wales to record their next album, TRB Two. Chris Thomas who had produced their first album, was also at the control deck for their second album, to start off with. Dolphin Taylor suggested Todd Rundgren should replace Thomas. After not being able to decide which tracks should appear on the LP, the band eventually agreed to let Rundgren choose. However, he picked two of the songs Dolphin particularly disliked, and Taylor decided that he would leave rather than play on the tracks. A day later he had calmed down somewhat and offered to return, but Robinson refused, and Preston Heyman was recruited as an emergency stand-in. His picture was included on the album cover, but there was never any intention for him to join the band permanently. Taylor's eventual replacement was Charlie Morgan who had played for Kate Bush, and went on to drum for Elton John for a further fifteen years. To support the album's release, the band went on tour, but by this point the TRB's infighting had taken its toll. When Kustow decided to quit in 1979 that was the end of TRB. In 1989, Robinson, Kustow and Ambler put together a reunion tour and played sold out shows at the Marquee in London and went on for the best part of a year before splitting one final time.
The Units are a defunct, early Electronic music/punk rock/New Wave/Synthpunk band founded in San Francisco in 1978 and active until 1984. One of America's first electronic new wave bands, they are widely cited (along with The Screamers from L.A.) as pioneers of a genre now known as "synthpunk." Primary members were Scott Ryser and Rachel Webber, but other members included (in no particular order) Brad Saunders, Randy Dunagan, Tim Ennis, Jay Darrah, Lori Lorenzo, Ron Lantz, Amy Weiss, Richard Driscoll, Lx Rudis, Seth Miller, Jon Parker, David Allen Jr., Jabari Allen, Marc Henry, Jim Reynolds, D.C. Carter and projectionist Rick Prelinger. The Units were notable for their use of synthesizers in place of guitars, and multimedia performances featuring multiple projections of satirical, instructional films critical of conformity and consumerism. The “Unit Training Film #1”, produced by Scott Ryser and Rachel Webber, compiled from films the band projected during performances, was shown sans band in movie theaters around the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Roxie Cinema, Cinematheque, Intersection Theater and the Mill Valley Film Festival . The alternative press publisher V. Vale called the Units “the first San Francisco band to perform using no guitars”, and the Los Angeles music critic Kickboy Face of Slash (fanzine) wrote of a Units performance, “That night, watching the Units pound their machines into submission, I knew that another cliched concept of mine was biting the dust once and for all. I also knew that there probably was a future to rock n roll after all, and that future did not necessarily include anything resembling guitars.” The Units were one of the most popular bands of the San Francisco punk and performance art scene during the late 1970s and early 1980s, headlining at the Mabuhay Gardens (aka The Fab Mab), The Savoy Tivoli, The Berkeley Square, The Deaf Club, Geary Theater and other punk clubs. The Units also opened for such bands as Soft Cell, Gary Numan, Ultravox, XTC, Bow Wow Wow, Psychedelic Furs, the Police, Iggy Pop, Dead Kennedys, Sparks and toured the United States with Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. Notable Performance art appearances included “Punk Under Glass”, where the Units performed in the windows of the JC Penney building in downtown San Francisco, as part of a two day art installation, and the “Labat / Chapman Fight at Kezar Pavilion”, a performance art boxing match between two artists where the Units played the national anthem. Since L.A.’s The Screamers never released a record, the Units' DIY, self stamped, 7” ep entitled “Units” released in 1979, may be the first example of a “synthpunk” record. It was followed by another self released 2 song 7” record in early 1980, Warm Moving Bodies/iNight. The Units critically acclaimed first album, Digital Stimulation, released in 1980, was the first album released by Howie Klein’s fledgling 415 Records, which is considered to be the first North American record label devoted to new wave music. In 1982 the Units released a single on UpRoar Records entitled The Right Man, produced by Michael Cotten, the synthesizer player of The Tubes. The song went to #18 on Billboards Dance Charts and stayed on the charts for 13 weeks. The Uproar label was the creation of Rachel Webber’s brother, Joel Webber. Joel Webber, radio promo man extraordinaire and the Units manager at the time, was also one of the founders of the New Music Seminar, New York's major new music fiesta of the '80s and early '90s. Subsequent productions by UpRoar included spoken word recordings by performance artists including Karen Finley, Eric Bogosian, and Ann Magnuson. Upon Joel’s death in 1988 Rachel Webber took over as head of the label. After the success of The Right Man, the Units signed with Epic/CBS Records and produced a music video for "A Girl Like You" that went into medium rotation on early MTV. They released an EP titled New Way to Move on Epic Records, but typical of a hard-luck recording career, the Units' second and third albums — both produced by Bill Nelson for Epic/CBS, were never released. In 1984, after recording the sound and music for the artist Tony Oursler’s film “EVOL”, Scott Ryser and Rachel Webber moved to New York, putting an effective end to the Units. In 2005 Ryser signed a licensing contract with EMI. Once again, the recordings were not released. In the fall of 2007, the record label Community Library out of Portland, Oregon, is slated to release a 21 song compilation by the Units. TRIVIA Jandek is an outsider musician presumably from Houston, Texas, who has self-released 47 albums without ever granting a real interview. His first album, Ready for the House, was first accredited to a band called "The Units". Jandek stopped using the Units name and started using his own after being contacted by Scott Ryser of the S.F. Units. Mr. Ryser holds a U.S. Trademark on the name “Units”.
According to Punk Rock Picture Sleeves, "From Lemington Spa. This is the School Meals 45 with the name of the band changed to Defandents. They put stickers on the labels and a small one on the front of the sleeve. PS is a one sided 7x7."