Music Releases

The Active Distribution Discography.

Please note we have ceased to sell or re-release these titles, for an explanation see the text at bottom of this list.

The best bet for buying them is from Ruination.

 

Active 1, Dirt, Black and White,  2CD

A 57 track double CD discography of the legendary early UK anarcho punk band. This was a co-release between the band (Gary), Skuld Releases and Active.

No longer available.  More info at Discogs.

 Active-2

Active 2, Zounds, This Land, MCD

Steve Lake of Zounds asked me how he could help with the Mclibel Campaign. The result was two of the best benefit gigs I ever organised, at Chats Palace that raised about £600 for the campaign and then the release of the this benefit record and subsequently the reformation of the band!

No longer available. More info at Discogs.

 christ-the-bootleg

Active 3, Crass, Christ The Bootleg, CD

Recorded live on 5/2/84 during Crass’ last tour. This CD was a UK reissue – with permission from the band – of the Allied recordings CD that was itself a reissue of a Vinyl-only LP released in 1989. It was also a benefit for the McLibel campaign in order to help them to continue the fight against McDonalds.

No longer available. More info at Discogs.

 Tromatism-LP

Active 4, Tromatism, Une Saison En Enfer, LP

Great LP from the descendants of the mighty Berurier Noir, Tromatism similarly put on a “show” rather than just a concert. The band did not want to do this on a CD format.

LP No longer available. More info at Discogs.

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Active 4.5, Submission Hold, Progress, CD

A discography CD from the Canadian experimental H/C crew of their earlier 7″ releases. Came with a sticker and 32 page booklet with lyrics in English, French, & German.

No longer available. More info at Discogs.

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Active 5, Harum Scarum, Suppose We Try, CD

The second full length release from this Portland USA based group of women. They lost their raucus crusty vocalist and the band became a far more enjoyable three piece playing powerful anarcho punk with a strong feminine twist. A split release with the band´s Hex records.

More info at Discogs.

 

Active 6, The Restarts, Slumworld, CD

Released on May 1st, 2002, The Restarts first full length CD/ LP (16 songs), contains digitally remastered versions of Legacy of Bigotry and Your World eps. Also included are the popular cover versions of ABBA’s Does Your Mother Know and Harry Mclintock’s Big Rock Candy Mountain.

No longer available.     More info at Discogs.

System-Er

Active 7, The Restarts, System Error, CD

A little more H/C punk than Slumworld, but it’s smart punk rock you can’t ignore! .

More info at Discogs.

Profits

Active 8, The Profits, Discography CD

Another great political H/c punk band, this time from the US with a female singer/guitarist/organiser.

No Longer availableMore info at Discogs.

 

 Active 8.5,  Zegota, Reclaim Cd

Their third LP, Reclaim!, whose sound marked a step away from hardcore punk towards post-hardcore! Released in 2004 by Crimethinc and the band with financial aid from Active,

we forgot (again) to assign a catalogue number!

 Active 9, The Restarts, “Actively Seeking Work” Discography, CD

The early Restarts 7″s collected on to one disc and packaged in “our” unique card box cover format.

More info at Discogs.

 Active 10, Active Minds, It is Perfectly Obvious that this System Doesn’t Work, CD

The first CD from the infamous UK H/C punk duo. These two long hairs have been releasing and distributing records since the 1986!!! That makes them even older than us!! Anyway after leading the fight against digital compact discs in favour of their cherished vinyl we persuaded them that CD’s are ok after all! So here are 13 new tracks inc one magnus opus. The booklet includes all the lyrics and some class artwork pixelation.

More info at Discogs.

Active 11, Zounds, The Curse of Zounds Discography, CD

Mastered for the first time! “Political punk ’80s reissue. ZOUNDS were a giant influence in mid ’80s political punk right up there with CRASS, SUBHUMANS, Poison Girls, etc. Musically they were more tuneful around the edges than say CRASS but they were still punk and had the same political, anarchist message. This includes their LP,  their singles and the booklet has all their lyrics.

More info at Discogs

Active 12, S.O.R.B. Germ Attack, CD

A co-release between the band SORB and Active! Sorb played old style punk rock with gruff political vocals. They operated for about 17 years and then promptly split up as soon as we’d released this with them!! Short but not sweet.

 More info at Discogs.

Active 13, Refuse All, Have a  Happy Holiday in Guantanamo Bay, CD

The first CD from this off shoot of Riot Clone and SORB, True old style UK Anarcho punk.

 More infoat Discogs.

Active 14a, Filthgevitter, split CD

A split CD of Filthpact and Atomgevitter, co released by a bunch of fools including us!  Krogh said “Filthpact are still doing their ENT and Doom styled hardcore albeit not being as dark as those bands but more on the sharp side of things when it comes to the sound. Some grinding parts and some thrashier elements added to the formula makes this pretty fucking raging While Filthpact add some thrash, that’s what Atomgevitter is all about – raging thrash! I was not very convinced by their material on their earlier split, but this time around I don’t need a lot of convincing as the material speaks for itself. Rapid drumming, manic shouting, sharp and intense guitars, and while the bass didn’t really make an appearance before it sure does its job now.”

Active 14b, Contempt, Who Needs Diplomacy?  CD

Full length Cd from this bunch of Brum anarcho street punx, think of GBH with brains!

No Longer available  More info at Discogs.

 

 Active 15, Cross Stitched Eyes, II.  CD

This is what CSE said of themselves; “ formed end of summer 2005; the year of no lord; in a cold and wet pale white room with red plastic laminated floor, that looked more like a psychiatry than a practise room.  Hence the putrid morbit aura of this surrounding, the idea was set to bring together the elements of old 80’ties Death Rock and Anarcho Punk heavy inspired by such old Bands as RUDIMENTARY PENI, AMEBIX to cross with KILLING JOKE and JOY DIVISION.  We consist of people from far away countries of all directions with Members related to ZYGOTE, UK SUBS, ENEMIES, ANGER OF BACTERIA, SUBHUMANS etc. “ We say that this rocks, think Peni with crusty overtones and Killing Joke production! It came in another of our unique card covers with a poster.

No Longer Available More info at Discogs.

Active 16, Virus, Unacceptable Noise Levels, CD

This could be considered a Discography Cd of all that Virus never properly recorded back between 1983 and ’86 plus some new stuff! So how about that for spanning the ages of anarcho-punk rock!? Often described as a mix between the Subhumans, Amebix, and Flux of Pink Indians Virus have that raw angry sound , not afraid to be slow like the Mob they will sit perfectly on your shelf alongside Alternative and Omega Tribe. Virus have returned though, thankfully not lured by the plastic punk festivities of HITS or the so called Rebellion but just a mid life desire to shout something out loud against what is still fucked up and wrong with this world….. good luck to them. Put a friendly Virus in your machine……

Available from the band  More info at Discogs.

Active 17, Left for Dead, Humanity, CD

Still one of the best releases we ever did. This fuses the sounds of Motorhead and Poison Idea with the politics of The Dead Kennedys and The Restarts. Artwork on this release was by Kieran of The Restarts.


Active 18, Refuse All, What Lurks Below  CD

Cd from the old school UK anarcho punks.

Active 19, Active Slaughter, 4T2UDE, CD

The only full length release from these animal rights activist – anarcho punx. Described as “more Conflict than Conflict” this is raw angry political punk.

More info at Discogs.

Active 20, Liberty,  Just Talking Reality. CD

The first full length release from these old UK anarcho punx for 20 years!

More info at Discogs.

Active 21, Condition Dead, Famous for Fuck All, CD

This uncompromising band includes Alex of SORB, Refuse ALL, and others.

Active 22, Moral Dilemma,  The Right to Remain Silent, CD

A repress (with improved booklet) of this great first release from Moral Dilemma

Active 23, Kismet HC, Songs of Strife, CD

UK political hard core with dual male/female vocals.


Active 24,  Left for Dead, Mass Media Distortion,  CD

Mass Media Distortion, another blistering release from the South Coast punx but with guest vocals on four tracks from Magali of La Fraction. This digipack is also memorable for great artwork painted – yes painted! – by Ed of Last Hours

Active 25, Culture Shock, Everything, Box Set CD

A three CD box set and 60 page booklet bespoke CD discography package of the UK anarcho dub ska crew that came between The Subhumans and Citizen Fish and reformed for a tour in 2013!

Active 26, Citizen Fish, Dancing on Spikes, MCD

6 track CD from the ska punk legends released by us and them!

Active 27, Virus, Virulence, CD

‘Virulence’ is a 17 track CD that features new material, some of which is of a more personal level but Virus still remember their roots and sing about the political system, nuclear issues, religion, animal rights, the royal family and punk sellouts.

Active 28, Active Minds, Turn Back the Tide of Bigotry, CD

16 Track CD comes with an A5 zine style lyric booklet (printed by Active) inside a dedicated envelope cover with a sticker!

Active 29, Proletariat Punch, Signs of Civilisation, CD

25 tracks that range from US political hardcore like Nausea to UK dup punk a la Culture Shock. Several tracks could be taken direct form seminal anarcho punk Lp’s such a No Love Lost by Omega Tribe, or Pictures of Starving Children by Chumbawamba or indeed Crucifucks (without the demented voice), MDC or Feederz. This took us along time to put together but its well worth the wait.

Probably the best thing we’ve done in a long time!

Active 30, Autonomads, One Day all this will be gone CD

As yet unreleased second full length LP from the Manchester based anarcho squatter dub punx!

Active 31 Autonomads, No Mans Land, CD

Reissue of this wonderful radical dub punk release from Manchester.

(Again we forgot to assign a catalogue number at the time!)

Active 32 , Global Parasite / Dead Subverts,

Vs. The Predatory Pathocracy, split CD,

More wonderful fast political punk from Global Parasite and Dead Subverts, there is hope!

(Again we forgot to assign a catalogue number at the time!)

Active 33 , Inner Terrestrials, I.T., CD,

Joint repress of the best of the Terrestrials releases. Political dub punk from South London.

(Again we forgot to assign a catalogue number at the time!)

Active 34, Spanner, Crisis, CD

13 new tracks from this ultra political ska crew based in Bristol. Lots of samples and angry guitar riffs mixed with danceable tunes and revolutionary lyrics. Good stuff. A split release with Maloka, Mass Production and Pumpkin Records.

(Again we forgot to assign a catalogue number at the time!)


Why-the-Caged-Bird

Active 35, Left For Dead, Why the Caged Bird Sings, CD

Left for Dead return with Why the Caged Bird Sings an 11 track CD released by us and them. This one features the wonderful vocals of Magali from La Fraction and also Jenny from Inner Conflict and the bass and backing vocals of Kieran from The Restarts. You know its gonna be good, and it is! As some bright spark said “sounds like a punk Motorhead”, what more could one ask for? Motorhead with good politics! Our final release.

Active has “giving up” on music!

So lets put this “giving up” in context. As anyone that know’s me or who’s read anything I’ve ever said about punk in the past will know it “changed my life”. How about that for a cliche? In truth punk didn’t so much as change it, I grew up with punk and so it nudged me and influenced me, who knows what I might have become without it! The music of The Ruts, The Damned and The Dead Kennedys rocked my world and brought me great joy, but the words sung and typed on the records of anarcho-punk bands opened my mind to ideas I was barely aware of or could only imagine. Thirty years on and I still love punk music, I still go and ‘dance’ at gigs on occasion (one of the highlights of my entire life was seeing Slime play two nights in a row in Berlin only a few years ago) but the sad truth is the anarcho punk scene now disheartens me more than it inspires.

There is an old adage that meeting your heroes is never a good idea. I have found that often to be true but I refused to treat the folks from bands I was inspired by as “heroes’ “ and never considered myself a “fan”. Those terms were not just “naf” but represented a culture of celebrity and deference that is surely at odds with anarchist ethics. If punk was about breaking down the roles of pop stars and punters by “doing it yourself” then anarchist punk took the idea to a further level of equality… in theory .
I started distributing anarchist literature because it meant so much to me and the bands like CRASS and Zounds that inspired me urged one to read texts that were not so easily found. I also realised that whilst these bands were important “now” they may not be in twenty years whereas the writings of Kropotkin and the story of Emiliano Zapata would still be inspirational in another hundred years or more. Active has been at the forefront of anarchist distribution and identified with anarcho punk for 25 years or more. I have often related how inspirational the anarcho bands of the 80’s were. Inspirational because unlike say the New Model Army’s or John Lennon’s of pseudo revolutionary music they actually lived the life. They weren’t “in it” for the money….they released records as cheap as they could……they weren’t “in it” to become famous…….they shunned the mainstream media…..they put in practice what they preached……you’d see them at as many demos or actions as you would at gigs. The Clash sang about being Bored of the USA and then signed straight to CBS and did their final tour over there! The two strands of punk rock became quite distinct, There were those in it for fame and fortune – and by that I mean those who just hoped to “have a laugh”, to get more cash than the dole offered and “pull”- and then there were the bands who were there to protest and provide an entertaining outlet for the anger and boredom of the age as well as promoting an alternative.
I have found few things in life more exciting and stimulating to my own sense of anger and frustration than the rage, rhyme and rhythm of such classic tracks as Conflict’s To a nation of Animal Lovers, the Subhuman’s Great British Public or Crass’s So What. Simple, rough, passionate and sounding sincere. The most real and relevant that any of these three songs sounded to me was when the Subhuman’s successors Culture Shock were playing at the make shift Stonehenge festival encampment to a minuscule audience pursued by coppers and without much in the way of a PA. But, my belief in the conviction of Conflict began to wane as soon as I experienced their exaggerated self importance as an dis- organisation and as a band always looking to play the biggest venues with big hair do’s! So what? Became rhetorical and meaningless to me when I saw Crass logo spotlights follow the lead guitar poses of Steve Ignorants puppet show reunion.
The Poison Girls were especially important to me for getting me to question personal issues around sexuality, being normal, being aggressive, competitive, questioning myself. It was a joy to meet up with them in the late ’80’s and find them to be as welcoming and relaxed as you could wish for. Many years later when I discovered that Cooking Vinyl were about to do a second pressing of the Poison Girls box set without the lyric booklet – that was in the first edition, I printed my own version to go in the several hundred copies that Active distributed. The words, the message, to me were paramount. Many punks recall early years listening to John Peel late at night after they’d been told to go to bed. Anarcho punx have an extra memory, that of the first time they played a CRASS LP, opened up the huge poster cover and read the lyrics and diatribe that went on forever (and left you feeling both enraged and bemused but essentially that here was an idea that “spoke to you” that gave us a name and eloquently expressed ideas with four letter words that we struggled to elucidate but felt passionately – or was this only for me?
Active grew from being a record distro with a few books to being a book distro with loads of CD’s. With t-shirts, posters, cards, stickers, zones, badges, videos and DVDs along the way. We disspent with vinyl a decade ago when it became impossible for us to move in our flat for lack of space. We found CD’s a lot easier to handle and besides there were plenty of so-called DIY record distros about but hardly anyone else left doing literature. I now find that Active has once again grown to the point that our council flat and the few other places we store stock can no longer cope. We need to expand our premises (!) or reduce our stock. Expanding means paying rent somewhere and that means making money from Active to give to some landlord and we lose our absolute not for profit status, which I treasure. So I looked at what we do and what is important to me and I realised that the music has become less and less relevant. This is mirrored in the decline of the genuine DIY anarcho punk scene. There are exceptions and there are many new bands who I would and will be happy to support, but the anarcho punk scene that I grew up with is defined by the ethics and practice associated with the bands of the early 1980’s and there are precious few of those bands in existence today that have not sold out on the things that gave them integrity and stood them apart from the rest of punk or indeed pop music. I have been privileged to know and be friends with many folk from some of these bands and so I’m not going to go through each and every band or individual but I am going to speak of what I know first hand direct from the bands mouths or what I have experienced.
There are bands reforming all the time and as yet hardly any of them have done so for the same reasons they got together in the first place. This may seem reasonable given the decades that have past in between. The problem is that much of the relevance of these bands was the politics of the times and their position as protestors, immediacy of the fear of nuclear war being the best example. So when these midlife crises sufferers attempt to relive their youth and engage in the ego massaging that performing on stage inevitably brings, the only spirit in the music is often now alcohol rather than anarchy. The goals are now sell more tickets, let’s use ticket agents! Shift more merchandise, who’s the cheapest promo company? And get free holidays in hotels in far off lands aka touring the USA! This is taken to it’s zenith by bands that play in huge commercial venues like the Shepherds Bush Empire. The spirit of anarcho punk span in its grave as they strutted across the stage with spotlights and cock rock posturing. Almost every band that has reformed and those who never went away have played at the oh so cynically named Rebellion festivals. These festivals are a tribute to nothing more than the money making opportunism of the promoters and the willingness of the bands to go along with compromising all thoughts of DIY integrity to the excuse of “big is beautiful”! Rebellion, is a meat filled, nazi friendly, local government friendly, capitalist free for all that exploits the little bands and the punters alike and offers nothing that could be genuinely considered as rebellion. All credit goes to the very few bands that have resisted the lure of this farce and the others like it. The sad thing is that Rebellion and other such sham events would have no pull if the anarcho punk scene was still active enough to create its own festivals. We used to have the free-festival scene, not just the Stonehenge festival but many smaller often totally illegal and unregulated festivals self organised by bands, travellers and activists. Are these “impossible” to do under todays conditions or have we just lost the imagination to try? Equally the squatting scene has failed to provide venues for festivals, or have bands failed to support it by selling out to commercial “safe” spaces. I remember a conversation I had with a well known anarcho band from the late 80’s about the venue’s they were playing. The gig we were at was a nightclub in Newport and I questioned why? They explained that whilst they preferred to play the benefit gigs in alternative spaces, squats etc they could not afford to never get paid anything. I resolved from then on to always pay bands what they needed at the benefit gigs I helped organise over the next 20 years. (Didn’t mean I wouldn’t haggle with them though, just in case!)
Then there have been bands playing charity benefits for spurious causes like cancer charities that sponsor animal research and others for “mens rights”. There are bands reforming to play birthday gigs – pretty harmless – that then go on to play stag night events for junkie celebrities getting married to anorexia promoting, fur wearing, fashion models! Then there are the reissuing of records that were perfect reflections of the time with a rough and raw anger searing out of the sound and artwork remastered and repackaged as arty and “as it should have sounded” , I don’t think so. I am only aware of one of the old anarcho bands that has reformed that bothers to communicate with the audience directly with flyers. Remember those? I thought it was so great, when I saw CRASS in 1984 they were walking around giving out handouts and talking to us, It showed they cared that we didn’t go away from the gig with nothing but the joy of entertainment, they were very aware of the dynamic that a gig can impose, that of performers, leaders and punters, passive acceptors who dance to the tunes without any cognisance of the message. Many other bands gave out flyers or offered zines for sale too. Nowadays our anarcho punk heroes (sic) are more likely to be writing their signatures on fans t-shirts, record covers or arty portraits than anything of relevance.
This dilution of the DIY ethos is sadly not just in the realm of records and gigs. The books that have come out of late championing the wonders of anarcho punk have been equally flawed in my humble opinion. Some have been printed digitally with Amazon,s online publishing service. Amazon surely now represent what EMI did in the 80’s as the epitome of life destroying multi national capitalism. Another much regarded book that claimed to be “the truth of revolution” an in depth look at the important players of the Anarcho punk scene gave voice to the notoriously unpopular boss of the record label that once championed anarchist punk but has for many years done its best to do nothing than squeeze what profits it can for itself and its favoured stars and screwed the little bands and the websites that they did not control. Congratulations to Anthrax for standing up to them and re-releasing all their stuff themselves. This book also championed the soft porn fashionista entrepreneurs of Vice as having “taken the idea of anarchy to a new level” !! a new depth perhaps. The publishers then proceeded to sell photographic prints of the “stars” featured in the book for a mere £20 a pic, deconstructing the spectacle of society in some fancy art nouveau detournement that’s beyond me I’m sure. Or maybe just too much “wank” and the final reason why I said no to distributing this book.
I have listened to all sorts of music since I got into punk back in the late 1970’s. Since I got computerised my iTunes has played as much anarcho punk as anything else, it has helped keep my anger focused, it has fuelled my fury as my own fire dampened with the onset of middle age. But now I find myself regularly unclicking the tracks of anarcho bands that once meant so much to me. Now these bands have relegated themselves to being no better than cover bands of their former selves (“they sounded really good” but they said less between songs than even The Ramones used to) I prefer to listen to bands that did do not represent capitulation to capitalism. I might as well just enjoy The Clash at least we always knew they didn’t mean it when they sang of revolution and they always had better tunes.
So we have one more confirmed music release to do and maybe another if the band ever get it together and that’s it for Active as a music label. As far as distribution is concerned we have a lot of stock to sell off, look out for some serious bargains and mail order customers have started to get surprise freebies! But we are not restocking or taking in any new titles. We have “discovered” a few discs that we have forgotten or failed to add to the website so they appear as ‘new’. We will continue to do books and zines about the anarcho punk scene but we will also cease to do badges of bands and a scene that we no longer feel an affinity with. There are many factors I haven’t mentioned, many terms, contradictions and vague lines in the sand I could discuss. I am well aware of the imperfection of all ideology, of all human endeavour, I just wish to lessen the stain of betrayal. There are also many bands and anarchist punks that I still respect. But for simplicity’s sake the best way I can some up this decision is this: I no longer feel that the anarcho punk flag is one I want to fly.

Sincerely
Jon active