Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Afropunk album 'Disgraceland' by Steve Drewett is Out Now!

It is of greatest pleasure to announce that an album of Afropunk by myself, Steve Drewett & The Indestructible Beat has now out. Originally available briefly as a download, it has now been given a proper release by Cruel Binary. I am immensely proud of this album and am so pleased it is now out in the world. It is available at steve-drewett.com.

Steve Drewett &The Indestructible Beat
Focus date: Monday 20th March
Label: Cruel Binary - Cruel 0003
Distributed by Boss Tunage
Front cover of Disgraceland by Steve Drewett & The Indestructible Beat

Steve Drewett: Guitar/lead vocals Mac: Bass guitar/trombone/backing vocals Sarah Ross: Vocals Neil Tye: Percussion Ian Bristow: Percussion Greg Caburn: Sax/backing vocals Adam Amore: Sax/backing vocals Isaac Prevost: Drums Tony Bennett: Drums
Notes: Recorded: The Square studio, Harlow, Essex, England.
1990 - 1993
Engineer: Nick Robbins, Richard Holgarth and hris Fallon (On separate sessions).



Originally released in 1993 in cassette format, and briefly on Brooklyn based download site ‘Anthology’ in 2000, it has since been much sought after, originally titled ‘The Broad Church of the Indestructible Beat’ it is now named after one of it’s tracks ‘Disgraceland’, this title reflects more fully on the state of the nation as it is now, so once again this album is available enhanced and remastered on CD and available for streaming and download from all major vendors.
The Indestructible Beat (taking its name from the album ‘The Indestructible Beat of Soweto”
on Earthworks International 1985) and along with it, the musical genre ‘Afro-punk’, was created by Steve Drewett in 1990 (long before the James Spooner film ‘Afro Punk’ in 2003,
  that inspired the Brooklyn Festival of the same name starting in 2005.) He had just called it a day with his punk band the ‘Newtown Neurotics’ (1988, Reformed in 2005), a combo he had spent the Eighties fronting, producing eight classic singles and four classic albums. Trying to decide where to go from there, Steve avoided the formation of a Newtown Neurotics 2.0 by sticking to the original spirit of punk which demanded constant creativity, of pushing barriers, of challenging pre-conceptions. He wanted the next band he formed to be different, very different, but still within the framework of punks’ ‘concise excitement’.
Steve remembers the formation of the idea very clearly.

“ I was listening to a lot of African stuff at the time. It seemed to me that African music was
being perceived by many to be a highly sophisticated music played by master musicians,
due mainly to the
popularity of Paul Simon's ‘Graceland’ album and leading African stars
like Youssou N'Dour. The stuff I was listening to was from ordinary folk with lesser dexterity,
bashing out inspirational music with cheap shit guitars and drums.
They were not aspiring to one day appear on MTV, but were expressing their culture
and lives through the joy of music. It was basic, it was raw but it really moved me.
It made me think that it had many similarities with punk, and inspired by the Pogues
fusion of traditional Irish folk and rock, I decided to attempt a similar fusion, coining it
-Punk’ as I worked on it.
Rock'n'roll had long repeated itself, trying to find slightly different variations on the
Blues/Rhythm and Blues influence but there was a whole range
of fantastic African
rhythms that hadn't really found their way into the rock melting pot.
It seemed to me that Punk and African music had a common bond in the same way
as Punk and Jamaican rhythms had in the late Eighties.

So I formed the Indestructible Beat to try to create a type of punk that was danceable,
opinionated, raw, held together with a memorable song structure, but was at the same time,
looser than a three minute pop song and layered underneath with fresh,
hypnotic African

Disgraceland was the result, 13 tracks of early Afro-Punk that demanded to be heard
and now for the first time they can! Their first proper release will be on Monday March 20th.

“Glad I came across you!! Your music is gorgeous, power, passion,
unforgettable dreamy melodies with a unique quality. . . lovely!!”
(‘Urgent Fury’ Facebook comment that sums up the album very well)

"His (Steve Drewett & The Indestructible Beat) is a jagged music, the rawness of
prime new wave forged with the lilting rhythms of African dance,
two seemingly impossible partners, a match made somewhere other than heaven,
the results can only startle". (FRoots issue 21)

Scum Class Tourists (The Indestructible Beat Manifesto)
They say that travel broadens the mind but you need a little money first, I just listen to a tape of some township jive and I feel I’ve travelled the earth 

'If feels so right, sending, shivers up and down my spine, It’s alive, with the hopes and the dreams of countless lives.
It’s all mine, every time I press play but the trouble is,
I’m just a, scum class tourist cos’ I never leave this town.'

Give me cheap guitars and songs from the heart out of a cut price studio, Whether from Camden Town or Johannesburg, the truth still needs to be told.


And we gotta stop these fascists with their cultural purity I don’t know about you, but Morris dancing’s not for me,
No, no, no it’s not for me. That’s why I play… (plays African guitar motif)

The tenderest forms of communication does not need the power of speech.
So while nations sing unto their neighbours,
They’ll always be the chance of peace.


Drewett Cote Basque Music Publishing Limited 2017
Track listing:

1.     Thinking About You

2.     Best Of Both Worlds

3.     Little Miss Indecision

4.     Capitol Radio

5.     Something Kinda Critical

6.     Disgraceland

7.     No No No

8.     I Can Rise

9.     Take My Advice

10.   Real Pornography

11.   Scum Class Tourist

12.   When The Oil Runs Out

13.   Somethings Going On

Monday, 13 February 2017

Squaring the Circle as housing developers 'Circle' the Square

It is always a strange feeling when you see your own town featured on television, especially when in the last 12 months, the reasons for that national attention, has not been in the least bit edifying.

On Friday, I witnessed a feature on Sky news about the growing concern about the amount of small venues being lost across the county, and there on my screen, was the nationally acclaimed Harlow Square being featured predominately, as they interviewed one of the Square One partnership about the size and implication of the loss of this facility to Harlow and beyond. This publicity, about its imminent closure, was on the back of it also being discussed on BBC 6 Music, BBC Essex and Music Week  and expressions of the importance of the club by members of some of the now famous bands (Like Blur, Coldplay etc.) who played there in their early days, dismayed at its loss.

It then occurred to me that the last time I remember Harlow being on the national news, was when a Polish man was attacked and killed by a gang of feral youth. It made me wonder how people outside our town must see us, as it seems everything that is reported about Harlow is negative.
Both of these storied ended up on the front page of the Star with a rosette displayed about them asking us to rejoice at Harlow Town being 70 this year! How wonderful!

My 14 year old daughter loves the Square; she recently took up playing the guitar, and with the ‘Livewire’ initiative, working with young people within the venue, got to play in a band for the first time. She is also interested in the workings of Local Government and how they can make a positive difference in the town. She was particularly pleased one night, when she witnessed every political party in the Council Chamber, vote a pledge to help save the venue, but this rare solidarity of stated intent,  later came to nothing when the Secretary of State overturned the council’s decision to block the land it stands on ,from being swallowed up by developers. This Whitehall official, thought Circle housing was helping to relocate The Square and therefore this community resource would not be lost. This was incorrect, they no longer were, they had previously offered financial help for the venue to relocate, but then withdrew it.  However, they were happy to let the Secretary of State believe that their offer still stood, because they then got what they wanted. The council decided not to appeal his decision. It is true that Harlow Council had been trying to help with finding alternative premises for the venue, but without the financial assistance needed to relocate and repurpose an existing building, nothing can come of it. Not a great day for Local decision making, not a great example to my daughter.

Young people are being consistently frozen out of the very society they are expected to contribute to, and as I was enjoying a drink in Weatherspoon’s before performing at the venues final gig, I witnessed ten to twenty teenage youths on foot and bikes, chasing somebody. They briefly invaded the pub and then started fighting outside; this is all they had to occupy their time apparently.

What is this town coming to, to lose an asset like the Square? It’s all well and good gaining a new cinema but that only helps consumers, where is the home for creators such as my daughter , or other young musicians living in a town, originally created with the pride of supporting the Arts and music, as a corner stone of its community? Or the band The Orphans who opened Saturday’s final show, 14 years of age and playing only their second ever gig, never to be able to return to improve their craft. What about my daughter who, when challenging the Councillors lack of success, by simply saying  “Where the hell am I going to go to be able continue to develop my musical career now”, threw Councillor John Clempner into an embarrassed mumble of seemingly empty promises and misinformed bluster. 

Yet the question is still valid, and still needs to be addressed.

Steve Drewett - Newtown Neurotics