The Five – Act of Contrition

The Five – Act of Contrition (Public Records) 1981. A quick one this afternoon. This is The Five, a Pittsburgh band that was featured on Bloodstains Across The Midwest. Is Pittsburgh in the Midwest?

Anyway, this was sent to me by Otto. I was only familiar with the Bloodstains cut Death Chord, but the standout here is the 6+ minute A Side, How Many Times. This is one seriously acid-damaged piece of swamp-punk. Kinda like No Trend meets The Scientists or something. Jesus, I get a contact high just hearing it. It was released in 1981 and contains fittingly enough, a completely damaged Juice Newton cover as well on the B Side.

The Five ended up moving to Boston where they languished in obscurity for a number of years. They released a full length LP which is still available here. It is good but singer Reid Paley’s vocals start to grate after a while.

This entry was posted in Art-Punk, Boston, Midwest, Pittsburgh, Punk Rock, post-punk. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Five – Act of Contrition

  1. matthew says:

    Reid Paley who went off to have a career as a singer-songwriter and put out some records on Sub Pop in the ’90s. Also, “Angel of the Morning” was covered by The Pretenders in the mid ’90s.

  2. Otto says:

    Tony, pls post the first 7″… I agree it is better than this one. I lost my copy somewhere, somehow in my travels. Napalm Beach is a killer.

  3. JOE says:

    Yeah Tony…hook us up!

    Matt/Mr Poopy – regardless of what you guys say, Angel of the Morning will always be a Juice Newton tune to me!

    //Joe “Playing With the Queen of Hearts” Stumble

  4. Now that I’ve listened to this whole EP I have to say that I personally don’t dig it much except for good ol “Death Chord”. Oh well. Maybe I need to give it a few more listens. I’ll try to post Napalm Beach to my blog within the next few days.

  5. eyenoise says:

    The Five are one of my favorite bands of all time. I saw them play many times in the early 80s in Pittsburgh. The “Excite Me”/”Napalm Beach” 7″ is a classic. The album came out too late after the band had broken up, but at least it documented their existence. There are also 2 great tracks on a compilation of Boaston bands call Suffer This.

    Reid Paley released one 7″ on Sub Pop in 1995, “Time For You”/”Best Of All”. And he has released 3 full length CDs in the years since. He is probably best known as a collaborator of Frank Black. His web site is here:

    The main musical activity of The Five’s guitar player, Tom Moran, has been The Delibrate Strangers for many years:

  6. sjanderson says:

    Got linked over here from Thanks for putting this up. I was born and still live in Pittsburgh, and as a younger dude (25), it’s good to hear these EP tracks since no one in this city has them. LP isn’t one I ever put on (maybe once?), but still, always happy to hear old Pittsburgh punk tracks. We do claim to have the rarest punk EP ever (Fingers – Isolation), after all! Great site, keep it up!

    Also, that Angel in the Morning song does indeed ruin this.

  7. Joe says:

    C’mon Steve….Don’t let Mr Poopy sway ya. Its not RUINED by Angel of the Morning! Just seriously undermined…..

    I got some other Pittsburgh rarities on the horizon so stay tuned. Oh- and check out the Real Enemy stuff I posted.

  8. mrpoopy says:

    More like double-damage ‘cuz Angel of the Morning was an old 60′s tune that Juice Newton managed to butcher in the 80′s. Pretty sure Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts did it first. That lame cover ruins this thing.

  9. Joe Stumble says:

    Not if you only play the A side!

  10. Erich says:

    I like “Deatch Chord” the best. Nice trippy little 7″ I ‘ad ‘ever ‘eard ‘f ‘efore.

  11. Tony says:

    Cool EP, thanks for posting- I’ve been wanting to hear this whole EP since first hearing “Death Chord” on the Bloodstains Across The Midwest comp 12(!) years ago. But the Five’s best song was “Napalm Beach” on their other 7″ from ’81– killer art crunch! (with references to the famous “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…” scene from Apocalypse Now). I will post the track to my blog when I get a chance. I bought that Five LP years ago and haven’t listened to it in years either, I should break it out again and see how it sounds after all these years. Copies of the LP turn up quite often but both of their 7″s are real pissers to find.

  12. james says:

    Saw them many times in Boston and they were always great. Sadly, it was a case of the right thing at the wrong time. That Green Street flyer brings back so many memories. I haven’t seen it for years.

  13. JC says:

    The cover of “Angel of the Morning” was recorded for the soundtrack of a local film.

    It’s on the ep because its inclusion was demanded by the small record label as a condition of releasing anything at all.

    It was released well before the mediocre Juice Newton version.

    And now, one question:

    Don’t you record collector geeks ever feel pathetic? You pretend you have actual information about people that have actually done things. You actually think you’re somehow arbiters of taste. Hilarious.

  14. Joe says:

    @JC…. and yet you are writing in sharing obscure facts about this release? The only reason I even approved this comment is because of the utter and absolute hypocrisy of it.

    It seems like The Five attract a higher level of douchebags than any other band on this site. You are like the third idiot to angrily comment on this band. Unless you are the same guy. In which case, you are even more stupid than you appear, which is truly hard to imagine.

  15. JC says:

    There’s nothing hypocritical about correcting publicly disseminated information with the actual facts.

    Come to think of it, pretending to be an authority when one’s information is woefully incomplete is considerably closer.

    And of course, calling people douchebags and idiots certainly puts you on a higher plane than the rest of us.

    Well done.

  16. Joe says:

    Rest of us? You and all the people you started off this whole shebang calling “pathetic record collector geeks”? You speaking for the masses, JC? Are you a populist?

    Why don’t you get off your high horse JC and just play in the sandbox with the “rest of us”. It’s OK. You know you really want to or you wouldn’t continue to write into this blog. Whatever mean record collector scarred you for life and made you the hypocritical, self-loathing loser you are today is long ago in the past. You can just let it all go JC and start anew….

    Think of the possibilities JC. You could write into a blog like this with your valuable information (and it is valuable JC, really) and yet at the same time, you could refrain from insulting the “pathetic” “record collector geeks” who make up the readership and authorship of said blog.

    I certainly never had an issue with you offering correct information but instead I had an issue with you insulting everyone while doing it. You just don’t need to do that, JC. If you go through the pages of this blog (which I know you have, you pathetic little troll) you will see a lot of people correcting my errors. It’s OK. This is a forum not a magazine. I update any errors as I find out about them and view this whole thing as a collaborative effort. You can be a part of that effort, and you don’t even have to be a cunt while doing it!

    When you mention that I try to “present myself as an expert” and “disseminate information” you convey a basic lack of understanding of the very medium that you are participating in. Coming to grips with this is going to be a big challenge for you JC, because it means coming to an understanding of post-19th Century communication models. But you can do it, JC!

    Actually you probably can’t. Anyone who starts off a conversation hurling insults and then cries like a little punk-ass bitch when he is insulted back, really is too much of a douchebag, JC.

    So a hearty “well done” to you as well, buddy!

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