Metal Urbain – Hysterie Connective

Metal Urbain – Hysterie Connective | Pop Poubelle (Radarscope Angleterre) 1978. One of the greatest releases of the last few years has gotta be Anarchy in Paris, released in 2004 on Seltzer’s Acute Records label. I mean, is there a better fucking label reissuing stuff today? The Lines? The Theoretical Girls? The Prefects? Metal Urbain? Are you for real??? So for those not fully in the know, Metal Urbain were touted as France’s answer to the Sex Pistols. However in a typical French twist, they sound very little like the Sex Pistols. I personally have always liked the comparison. I imagine a 13 year old kid, in love with Sid Vicious and punk rockyness (like myself at 13) getting hepped to Metal Urbain by a blog (like this) because they were the “Parisian Pistols”. Said kid goes out and buys one of these 45s or maybe even Anarchy in Paris and blammo….the doors of perception are blown clear open. That’s really what it is all about ain’t it?

See Metal Urbain had no drummer. That’s a big difference from the Pistols. Their drummer was a rhythm machine. They also loved to break out the vintage analogue synths. They released three 45s in the late 1970s that pretty much set the template for synth punk. The first two 45s are just a full-on blast of noise and energy. The video for Panik is possibly the most PUNK ROCK thing ever created. Now contrast that song to this 45 from 1978. By Hysterie Connective Metal Urbain had harnessed their sound and brought in some elements of 1960′s garage rock. If you have ever heard Nag Nag by Cabaret Voltaire, you are heading in the right direction. Check it out.

This entry was posted in Art-Punk, France, New Wave, Punk Rock, Synth, Video, post-punk. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Metal Urbain – Hysterie Connective

  1. Texas-Bell End says:

    I love Metal Urbain, that video has long been my favorite video on youtube, I love how the bassist forgets to raise his fist along with the rest of the group. I completely agree with you on your critique of the comparasion of them and the sex pistols. For example “Lady Coca Cola” on their 7″ w/Panik, is something the pistols never could have dreamed of recording, it has an industrial feel that is closer to throbbing gristle of that time, plus, they were using synths when punk was still obsessed with establishing “authenticity” by calling back to chuck berry riffs, and “stripping rock n’ roll to it’s basics” I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen that song on the BIPPP comp, but since that comp is put together chronologically I’m not sure they’d want to open with Lady Coca Cola

  2. edu says:

    indeed, punker than the sex pistols, weren’t they? ;) but wow, totally agree with you. let’s hope some 13 year old kid listen to metal urbain and let their noise blows up his mind! it’s fun the thing you say about nag nag! remember first order i ever did to a british records distro was between the roxy london wc2 2lp and the cabaret voltaire single. but finally, i chose the roxy comp -hey, a true classic-…. but always wonder what would happen if i had got the nag nag single? :D by the way, the other day i visited units myspace and they have a very interesting reading about synthpunk and the whole attitute towards it, called “fuck the guitars”.
    keep doing so lovely blog!

  3. Joe says:

    TBE — I dont think there is a bass player. Another radical element of the band, at least at this stage, was their 2 guitar zero bass lineup. Metal Urbain just symbolizes DIY. No drummer? Fuck it…get a machine. No bass? Fuck it…just play a guitar.

    edu — I got into Nag Nag Nag after a 2 year Chrome binge. I always saw Chrome as a “gateway drug” because their rock influences lure you in and introduce you to bands that you would never have hears otherwise (Cab Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Metal Urbain).

  4. edu says:

    once again, 100% agree with you joe, and with texas-bell end as well. metal urbaIn = DIY!!
    and it’s also about time to break down the guitar-bass-drums band cliché! one of the reasons synthpunk and industrial music are so great -in my opinion-, is that they went far beyond punk; and to be honest, in a lot of ways, they were “punkier” than punk itself. it would be a very intersting subject to discuss, but in very general terms it seems like punk went backwards –to the 3 chord rocknroll stuff– while synth/industrial went forward –no use of classic instruments, creating “industrial music for industrial people” and being really innovative. so punk wanted to destroy rocknroll, but i think industrial was the one who really did it. but wow, it also would be very interesting to see the connections between punk and industrial music in the early days, and see how close they were both –prostitution show at ica, i.e. ok, enough :)

  5. ib says:

    Great stuff, Joe.

    I’m still patiently waiting for the new post on Giovanni Dadomo and the Shits you promised; or did I misread you on that one ?

  6. Texas-Bell End says:

    Edu-Noise/Music: A History by Paul Hegarty, is a great book that talks about just what you’ve been talking about. Also I’m so DIY, I can’t tell the difference between a guitar and a bass, actually that makes me imprecise and inaccurate, but I now have even more respect for Metal Urbain.

  7. Joe says:

    well edu, my 2 cents on the whole industrial versus punk thing is that punk was a return to basics. I think the Sex Pistols talked a lot about “destroying” rocknroll but in general it was viewed as a return to something that had been lost. It was sorta like wiping the chalkboard clean. Rock-n-roll had gone in a baaad direction by 74-75. The hippie/boomer generation had taken it about as far away from what it originally was as humanly possible. Punk rock erased all of that. It wasn’t supposed to be experimental. What it did though, was it enabled experimental musicians to throw away all of the rules. Everyone got to start from a clean slate. So I think punk was a very necessary step.

    TBE — I gotta check this book out.

    ib — I haven’t forgotten man. It’s on the queue!

  8. edu says:

    thanks texas-bell end for the book you talk about! no idea it existed, so great to know that.
    and always great to read your lines as well, joe. so inspiring, as always!

  9. OTTO says:

    With ya on the punk vs industrial, electro, whatever thing. Punk Rock = basic rock & roll, with a direct line back to early rock-a-billy and R&B stompers. Punk ethos (DIY, mess with the norm), look and sound clearly had huge influence across multiple genres, and launched a few new ones.

    Anyway, completely reversing field on earlier comments re: French punk…. these mecs fuckin’ rocked! A guy who worked in the mailroom in our French offices was part of the early French scene and still wore his creepers and vintage suits to work along with his Johnny Thunders hair-do… he made me a tape of early stuff including Metal Urbain and I dug it fully.

  10. Texas-Bell End says:

    Maybe it’s a little late but here is a link to where you can buy the book,
    http://www.amazon.com/Noise-Music-History-Paul-Hegarty/dp/0826417272/ref=ed_oe_p

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