Primitives: Really Stupid EP

Format: 12″ EP
Label: Lazy/Rough Trade
Country: UK
Year: 1986
Price paid: $3
Place Purchased: Jack Wolak’s Rare Necessities

The non-stop party that was New Wave with its catchy beats and plastic sounds, collapsed suddenly in 1985. All at once everything seemed fake and trite, the general public woke up as from some hairspray induced haze. Woke up hungry for good, honest, average Joe-with-a-guitar type music.

Fair enough. But this left the ‘spirit’ of new wave (lower case) in a limbo state. What were those still interested in synthesizers and the conceptual supposed to do in a world suddenly enamored with hip-hop and unplugged Indie? The Brits had an answer…

If I had to pick one time and one place as my favorite from music history it would have to be 1986-1989 in the UK. It was truly a golden age of Britpop. Melody Maker deemed 1988 and 1989 as ‘The Summers of Love’ due to the heavy influence of 60’s psychedelia. Wild colours and loopy pop chords lived on. This ‘second wave’ burned bright but briefly; by the dawning of the new decade the summers had faded into the Autumns of Grunge.

The Primitives, for me anyway, are one of the brightest stars of those heady days. Fuzzy, jangly, and sweet, with a sharp bitter cool metallic interior. I saw them live in ’89 and I was blown away by their detached, fizzing wall of sound. It physically filled the room… even though the lead singer (Tracey Tracey) was too shy to even look up from the floor.

The album art is fantastic, as was most of the design of music ephemera during the last mainstream days of vinyl. Record companies went all out to catch the attention of the music-buying public, trying every trick in the book to grab one last dollar from the pro-CD mainstream before it was too late. The result was a wild, flowering gasp of creativity. A riot of text and jittery/jumbled imagery. I think that comes across with this example- the art is both calm and aggressive at the same time. So abstract in tone that you’d practically need to be part of ‘the club’ to decipher it’s hidden messages; don’t buy this unless you know what you’re doing. To buy this vinyl wasn’t a casual purchase, you had to mean it man! You were buying art, buying a twelve-by-twelve inch experience.

There was a time when twelve inches from this period were as hot as shit. A (very nice) friend of mine picked up a few early Primitives singles for me (including this one) when he went to the UK back in ’88. He paid close to 30 pounds (or roughly $45) EACH for them at that time. Thankfully they were a gift! Values have dropped, as they always do with hot commodities, but if you’re collecting to invest then my money would be on 7 and 12 inch singles from this period. They’re currently undervalued, produced in relatively low numbers, and early examples are becoming increasingly scarce.

A picture of Morrissey wearing a Primitives t-shirt for your pleasure
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One thought on “Primitives: Really Stupid EP

  1. Pingback: Neneh Cherry: Buffalo Stance | New Wave and Beyond

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