Various Artists – Those Shocking Shaking Days

January 01, 1970

(Now-Again/Stone’s Throw)


Crate diggers have been
jazzed by the latterday proliferation of excavated ‘60s/’70s African and South
American rock, funk and soul, but there remain untapped wellsprings of
musicality all across the globe. Southeast Asia
is one of them, and thanks to the efforts of contemporary acts such as Dengue
Fever (who compiled pre-Khmer Rouge-era rock last year as Electric Cambodia), interest in the region appears to be on the


Enter the astute archivists
of Now-Again, a wing of the Stones Throw label, with this 20-song comp of
unbridled fuzz, funk and freneticism aiming to tell “the untold story” of the
‘70s Indonesian underground scene that somehow managed to flourish under the
dictatorial-styled, military-backed regime – tellingly called the New Order –
of “President” Suharto. That probably wasn’t a fluke, either, for history has
often shown us how youth culture blossoms creatively during periods of societal
repression and change; think American psychedelia in the late ‘60s, or the
British punk scene under Thatcher and the U.S. hardcore scene under Reagan.


Those Shocking Shaking Days is a winner from the get-go. First of all, there’s a
mouth-watering 60-page booklet crammed with photos, repros of vinyl and
obsessively detailed liners (courtesy native ex-pat Chandra Drews and hip-hop
producer Jason Connoy; Now-Again mainman Egon’s attention-to-detail production
hand is clearly felt here as well). With a couple hundred words devoted to each
band, not to mention a pair of lengthy introductory essays to place everything
in its proper context, the booklet literally serves as a music history
class-worthy treatise, required reading for any serious ‘head or archivist.


Musically, Those Shocking Shaking Days serves up everything
from the hypnotic, horn-laden neo-Afrobeat of the Black Brothers and the thick,
extemporaneous, JBs-styled funk of Aka, to the unhinged lo-fi garage of The
Brims and the hard-edged psychedelia (think Deep Purple) of Freedom of
Rhapsodia. And the group Panbers, four brothers (full band name: Pandjaitan
Bersaudara, hence the easier-to-pronounce moniker) from Palembang, South
Sumatra, serves up the rocking yet insistently tuneful “Haai,” sung in their
native tongue, helping illustrate why the brothers became huge stars at home
and even found themselves as opening act for the Bee Gees (!) when the Gibbs
came to Jakarta in ’74. (No less a collector than Henry Rollins recently
enthused, in a KCRW-FM broadcast, over Panbers and the TSSD collection in general.)


If all this sounds like a
recipe for eclecticism, welcome to the feast. Roll over Beethoven, and tell
Suharto the news.


DOWNLOAD: “Shake Me” (Aka), “Haai” (Panbers), “Saman Doye” (Black Brothers) FRED MILLS

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