Transmitters – Heartbeat Records – 1981

Lovers Not Corpes / Equation / The Purges / Paul Is Dead / Venus Dread

Bite The Bullet / The Beat Goes On / Money And Suss / Time And Motion / Background Noises / Dachau

Quirky LP by The Transmitters, with all the text below lifted from the bands myspace site.

Despite their dull name, the Transmitters promised much when they bent a number of influential ears on their journey through the eternaly fascinating late 70’s, it was a promise that fizzled to an inglorious halt, however, although their infectious racket makes a welcome return on this curiously captivating compilation.
Whereas many similar outfits have faded with time, The Transmitters managed to secure an individuality that has led them to a cultish longevity. Perhaps it’s the bands frenetic attack that has so endured. Far from bland thrash, they managed to weave an almost jazz-tinged experimentalism into short, sweet songs, Two steps ahead of the equally beguiling Fire Engines, perhaps one behind The Pop Group, they clearly understood the possibility of an expansive approach in a manner that seems positively courageous by today’s tempered standards.

I Fear No One CD (Elsewhen / Voiceprint) reviews by:

Everett True in Plan B

The Transmitters were scary even for their times (1978-79): their music was full of dark mutterings and moping, jazz-inflected rhythms that had few peers, perhaps This Heat and Glaxo Babies and some of Manchesters’s more morbid leanings. Fractured, taut, rebellious, paranoid. but with too dissolute an image to connect with the trend-conscious London crowds, ‘I Fear No-One…’ CD (Elsewhen/Voiceprint) collects together the early singles, outtakes and Peel Session and sounds even more disturbing through the distorted vacuum of time – great, but hold on for the next volume (’81-’82) when The Transmitters were incredible, the live equivalent to the Birthday Party and Blurt.

Cream Of The Crop fanzine website 2007

Raw but intriguing collection by Ealing outfit whose arty and scratchy post punk (The Fall/PiL) stylings from 1977 to the ’80’s remained resolutely perverse, ahead and undersung from start to finish.

Finally out after numerous set backs, comes the best of album from one of London’s historic, fuck let’s be honest UK’s Iconic messiah new wave punks.

Punk was seemingly starting to die, THE SEX PISTOLS had died, and only the real vision was coming from the likes of John Lydon and P.I.L., plus the inventiveness of many others who were going to evolve and take the scene plus the attitude on further. Like many of the new breed of don’t care souls were THE TRANSMITTERS. They were rubbing head, shoulders and even don’t give a fuck smiles with the likes of THE SLITS, THE FALL, HUMAN LEAGUE, BLURT, THE POLICE, plus plying their scare trade sound tactics at many a riotous gig. The music press and onlookers were pencilling down their particulars, because, what they were doing, shook heads, shook minds, shook the shock.
Radio including John Peel took a liking to their potent imaginative approach and got them into the studio for a session in 1979, plus following up with a second and final session.

So the best of is out, and out on Elsewhen Records, the label that Sam Dodson, member of the band actually set up. It’s a compelling piece of music history and a worthy long tale of 22 selected tracks. What brings this home is the John Peel sessions being given the go ahead to be featured. Like many a Peel session, where the bbc always seemed to catch the rawness, and the essence of what a band was doing in their prime. Peel knew the power, wave length and the appeal that THE TRANSMITTERS were on, this compilation will break new and fresh ears, even break new minds.
You get a blistering and totally on fire with intensity version of “Blankety Blank”, which comes from the Peel session, on here, it’s got the bleeps and fuzz guitar breaking every few seconds. The intensity just shatters ya. But must here from the same session is “I Fear No-One But My Friends”, again coming from the same session, Like a dirty Depeche Mode that’s had petrol poured on and lit. It burns with a new wave buzz, not many other bands at the time had the balls to create this don’t give a fuck sound.

“We supported the Slits in Acton early 1978 and all the Sex Pistols were there and the Clash, Sid Vicious was carried in and laid down ceremoniously at the back at the end of the gig he was dutifully carried out and thrown into the back of a black cab So he WAS there – but he wasn’t so to speak”

The innovation of sound they created, if you want to try to describe it could be like a cross with XTC for the sheer different tangent creation, and sheer fright of Gang Of Four, but let’s face it was just sheer indifference to others that made them stand out. “Ugly Man”, like a funk punk fusion bomb blasting out, spitting out the vile dust on tongue taste of ugly ugly mannnnn.
“Dead Siamese Sister” gives a glimpse of the similarity and connection they have been talked about over the years with THE FALL, who were also one time Record Label sharing mates. It sucks into deep south sounding guitar, played in echo hall practise rooms, it’s ever swirling and whirling into transmit frenzy. All in all 22 tracks spanning career from one of the outstanding real hopes that were the new wave scene of the 80’s many have tried to follow suit since, but hey they just can’t make the cut.

  1. Nic
    November 3, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Very weird…we were listening to the Transmitters on Friday night! ‘Still Hunting for the Ugly man’ got a quick whizz round the turntable…

    Great post, Pengy: top notch stuff…
    Exciting guitars, snarling voices, pummelling drums, off-kilter flows…
    The LP came out on the Heartbeat label from Bristol (who released the ‘4 Alternatives’ EP and various Glaxo Babies releases): the label was run by a couple of people, one of whom, was later responsible for Riot City records which allowed all those leather-jacketed provincial oiks to make records in the ‘UK 82’ boom…

    Members of the band went on to be in Transglobal Underground and Loop Guru (for all the Hippies out there), along with the odd stint in Door and the Window, Missing Presumed Dead, Good Missionaries and Headbutt…

    I remember cutting that advert for the Final Solution concerts out of an edition of NME at the time, partly wishing I could be grown up enough to go to the concerts (I was 11, so no luck there) and partly loving the graphic design…

  2. alistairliv
    November 3, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I was old enough – 20 – to go to the gigs’ First ones organised by Final Solution (Colin Faver). Of all the groups, including Joy Division, Throbbing Gristle was the group which blew me away. All the others, however good, were still on or from planet rock. But Throbbing Gristle? They had beamed down from another universe.

    They came on to YMCA by the Village People (venue under neath YMCA) which was slowed down as Gen did his disco poses until the r..e…c….o…..r…..d s—-t—o—pp—e—d. Then they just made this “noise” which went on and on and on and on…. until it ended and I went home feeling stunned. 29 years on, I still am.

  3. devotionalhooligan
    November 3, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    first time hearing for me… wow…this is excellent… the weird out of sync four beats of percussion that keeps popping up at really odd times is disconcerting… the nearest band we had in newcastle was probably crawling chaos or the totally minimal/experimental :zoviet france:

  4. Nic
    November 4, 2008 at 9:41 am

    TG must have been a shock to the system at the time, operating inside and outside of the conventional ‘gig circuit’…
    I started listening to them in 1980 (with a copy of ‘Second Annual Report’) but I didn’t get that sense of shock, probably because I was too young to have the silt of years of music conditioning and just heard the record as another piece in a sound continuum (albeit with a morbid angle which was very seductive)…It was only later that their impact in terms of the music culture around them became more obvious to me…

    Nice selections on your blog, devotional: Sun Ra, Mount Vernon Arts Lab, Bud Alzir, Cosmonauts Hail Satan, and the mighty ‘Torch of the Mystics’ – top notch!)

  5. Graham Burnett
    Graham Burnett
    November 4, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Much as I enjoy downloading all the wonderful music on this site, I’m just not sure what I’m going to do with a the ‘2 nanopods’ I get selected to win everytime I click the download button – my house is full of them now…

  6. devotionalhooligan
    November 6, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Cheers Nic… I was inspired by KYPP & other blogs to upload some OPP stuff, torch of the mystics is still my fav SCG album, the recent singles comp is worth a listen too… x

  7. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    November 6, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Nic > I started listening to them in 1980 (with a copy of ‘Second Annual Report’)

    I got D.O.A. LP first which is not important, what is important is that TG have a ’32nd Annual Report’ release coming out soon! Cor blimey what a racket!

  8. star23
    November 6, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    wow what a line-up for august and £6 to see all that lot, im quietly seething, i wish my parents hadn’t waited until the summer of love to conceive me 🙂
    (i think the ‘other band to be added’ was Echo and the Bunnymen)

  9. alistairliv
    November 6, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    It was Echo and the Bunnymen. I remember them being very young and very nervous. They had problems getting set up and members of the audience (not me!) had to give advice on how to stop Ian McCulloch getting a buzzing noise on his mike.

  10. davess
    February 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I think I heard of the transmitters back then, but don’t think I ever heard them. I like this a lot. Reminds me of the ‘No Wave’, but who cares, just cool in itself. Can anyone answer the question though of where the song ‘the beat goes on’ comes from. I know it as a Screamers song (LA ‘synthpunk’ band, who were very influential, but never made any records, although they left lots of live videos of themselves, and a few studio ones, plus live recordings and some demos). I assume both the Screamers and the Transmitters covered it and it’s from somewhere else, maybe I seem ignorant to not know. I only know that the Screamers were playing it already in 1977 (rawer, faster, punkier version than the Transmitters), seeing as there are 2 recordings of them playing it at the Whiskey in LA in the first week of 1978, and that this Transmitters album is from 1981. Anyone have any ideas?

    Thanks for the download, and for all the other stuff on this site. I’ve been strangely reacquiring from you ‘UK82’ singles I bought back then, and then later sent to New York for a friend to sell (soon bored of that stuff and moved on to more US underground stuff on the whole), many of which I forgot existed, but now I see them here and remember holding them in my hands and listening to them on my sister’s ‘music centre’. Thanks again.

  11. davess
    February 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I just found the answer to my own question. It was a Sonny & Cher song. That one passed me by. Too young in 1967 I guess. Though it was covered by other people (see here: ) and seemingly a version was even on Britney Spears’ first album (who will admit to hearing it there first?).

  12. Nic
    February 10, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    ‘The Beat Goes On’ was written by Sonny Bono, davess, as a song for Sonny and Cher…
    The phrase is the inscription on his tombstone…

    Buddy Rich recorded a nice version that seems to get played a lot at ‘Mod’ themed evenings…
    Britney Spears’ version doesn’t…

    (The Normil Hawaiians put out a single called ‘The Beat Goes On’ on Dining Out records in 1980, but I haven’t heard it for a while so I’m uncertain if it was another cover)

  13. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 10, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Sorry fellas, davess message was caught up in spam, so after moderating it after I returned from the daily graft it turned up on the thread before Nics answer.

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