Can't Cheat Karma / Subvert / War: 12" Vinyl
Release date: 29 September, 2023
Punk pioneers Crass continue their vinyl reissue series, re-pressing their limited releases by adjacent artists through Crass Records, in association with One Little Independent. The series, including over twenty bands and solo artists recorded at the legendary Southern Studios and produced by Penny Rimbaud, continues with two more historic pieces from the Crass Records catalogue; ‘Farce’ by Rudimentary Peni and ‘Can’t Cheat Karma’ by Zounds.
Zounds are an English post-punk band from Reading, Berkshire, formed in 1977. Originally they were part of the cassette culture movement, releasing material on the Fuck Off Records label, and were also involved in the squatting and free festival scene. The name of the band is derived from the old English "zounds", a contraction of "God's wounds", referring to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, formerly used as a mildly blasphemous oath. The band met up with fellow anarchists Crass when, legend has it, their van broke down on the road. They made their way to nearby Dial House, where Crass were based, who helped them with repairs. The two bands became friends, and although musically very divergent, they shared many common political views. Zounds shortly afterwards released their first EP, ‘Can't Cheat Karma’, on the Crass Records label in 1980. The EP featured possibly their most well-known track ‘Subvert’, a call to arms against the grind of daily life. The release of this EP and association with Crass led to an increase in the band's profile in the embryonic anarcho-punk scene, touring with both Crass and Poison Girls. They split in 1982 but reformed in 2007, and remain active today.
Penny continues; “Zounds could have made a fine pop group, but they were far too socially sassy to fall for that one. No, their committment to radical political change, so abundantly clear in their lyrics, set them apart from the commercialism that had so blighted the likes of The Clash and other punkish pretenders. Having been drawn from the ranks of hippy bands like Here and Now, Zounds encouraged dissent and personal change, and, at their own cost, to pursue and promote them as ideologies. Can't cheat karma? No, nor ever beat it. Zounds were hip to this fine point. Want a better life? Then make it for yourself. Ain't no one gonna help you out on that one. Find your own way, it's the only way there is”.
First released on 7” vinyl, limiting the sound, the new series has been remastered for 12” by Alex Gordon at Abbey Road Studios, allowing them to be heard as never before. This, plus enlarged replicas of the original covers, brings new gusto to their already radical sound.
- Crass Records
- Vinyl 12" Single