SSR Picks: Usman - February 3 2022

Whenever I match up bands for HC Knockouts, I pick em from the same country, and I do my best to pick bands that were active at the same time or at least within a few years. I felt bad when A.O.A. and ANTI-SYSTEM faced-off some time ago cos A.O.A. was Scottish while ANTI-SYSTEM was English. I guess they were both a part of the United Kingdom? But still, I’m sure the countries and especially the cultures differ a lot. This is the case again with this week’s Knockout between OI POLLOI (Scotland) and CHUMBAWAMBA (England). I’m sure a lot of people don’t know why I think this Knockout is particularly great, but a devoted OI POLLOI fan would likely understand. I heard OI POLLOI in my late teens. When I heard ‘em initially, I had no idea they were a band that began in the ‘80s. Their sound changed a lot over the decades. They’ve had dozens and dozens of members, with the vocalist being the only constant member. They started out with an anarcho sound, moved into hardcore, toughened up a bit in way too after that, and somewhere in there they incorporated much, much more of an Oi! sound. If I remember right, they intentionally leaned hard into this style to pull over all the fence walking skinheads in their area and at the gigs. I don’t listen to OI POLLOI much anymore, but when I first heard em when I picked up their “Total Resistance To The Fucking System” compilation 12". The photo above is from a page in the booklet that came with the record. This comp featured two EPs and some extra tracks. One of those EPs is Carson? which originally came out in 2003. I still like this EP a lot actually so I wanted to link it. Alright, those extra tracks… if I remember right they are all cover songs. At the time I don’t think I knew THE SPECIALS, so I’m not sure if I understood ‘Concrete Jungle’ was a cover, a really cheesy cover... But they also cover RUDIMENTARY PENI’s ‘Rotten To The Core’ but under a new name, ‘Shhh…It.’ At this age I loved “Death Church” through and through so I lost my mind at this haha. I definitely did not know CHUMBAWAMBA was initially an anarcho-punk band. I probably never even heard their name aside from that hit single from the ‘90s. I’ve listened to a lot more of their releases since and I don’t really like their shit very much, but there was a rip of a tape I heard that I obsessed over for a long time. I’m not sure anything about it but I found this link on YouTube of the same songs. Anyway, I guess I haven’t explained any of the beef OI POLLOI has with CHUMBAWAMBA, so I’ll just leave you with the rest of that page from the booklet cos I don’t wanna write anymore about this pretty much meaningless Staff Pick. I hope every one is doing well, take care. - Usman

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