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TOXIC REASONS- Kill by Remote Control LP (Sixth International Records, USA, 1984)

cover pix currently down I guess everybody is familar with TOXIC REASONS early work – for those of you who ain’t, go over to Something I learned today and check the band’s first 2 7″s, then go to Dressed for the H-Bomb for the third one, which was actually a euro tour promo thing.

Never would I compare “Independence” to “Kill by Remote Control”, in order to identify the “better” of them. This seems inappropriate when you contextualize albums of importance and when you’re trying to individualize them to able to understand them. These are two different albums, representing two different eras. They’re divided by the subculture’s climax and downfall; the freshness and undogmatic main forces had faded away, being slowly replaced by orthodox political ideas, while the naive formula of “revolution” had turned out to be a chimere. This you can hear on vinyl, actually, that sometimes functions like a magnifying glass that was being held on not only a certain region, but on a discourse (in the sense of M. Foucault): Whereas “Independence” was raw and an incredibly forceful piledriver, “Kill by Remote control” is much more an ambitioned release and although it talks more about “revolution” than “riot squads”, the subject has at the same time slipped away. Another main difference is the omnipresence of the nuclear war theme that had taken over large parts of the western society in the mid 80s. The constant gospel of how the leaders of the world would only wait until they could hit the buttons to destroy the world – it paralyzed and put the activists in a catatonic state and one of overwhelming paranoia. And it made them sing the nuclear blues.
I remember this very well and it might be that the fear of a climate change will become the same catalyst in the near future (pretty ironic turn, to use the metaphor of a catalyst here, huh). I can’t foresee the future (I’m professionally looking back in time), but it seems like the cold war, the arms race more than the fear of a nuclear war actually prevented a third world war. So here we have another ironic turn of history: “activists” don’t change the world, they only accompany change. This is how I look at music these days: It’s a mere soundtrack and it always was. The blues often is the gospel.

Yes, I miss the original singer’s gruff yet melodic voice on the 2nd LP, but a song like “Break the Bank” runs shivers down my spine, when I understand its narrative in a literal sense. And there so much great guitar work, not in wanking terms, on “Kill by Remote Control”!
I think, this LP has a “canadian sound”, kinda D.O.A.-ish but not that cockrocky and it has even am equivalent: SUBHUMANS’ “No Wishes, no Prayers” LP (SST Records, 1983). Both records seem to breathe the same air. Both are exceptional albums – yet they both remain not re-released so far, as much as I know (except for a well done german counterfeit of the Subhumans LP). But would the kids of today really appreciate these lps? I doubt it.

Depticted is, by the way, the first and original press of the LP, which is scarcer. It doesn’t have the extra tunes from the reissue on Alternative Tentacles (tracks from the third 7″).

Stuck in a Rut.mp3
Destroyer.mp3
Juniors Friends.mp3
Revolution?.mp3
Powercrazed.mp3
No Pity.mp3
Limited Nuclear War.mp3
Looking at the World.mp3
Break the Bank.mp3
Harvest.mp3

40 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Great LP but the original had the b&w sleeve.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 04:41 | Permalink
  2. Erich

    Yes, it’s great – and no, that was the re-issue, released shortly after the initial press had gone and the label collapsed.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 05:18 | Permalink
  3. Kill ugly pop

    Congratulations for another great post! Through this blog, you bring back to light long forgotten records that need to be heard again.
    And you’ve finally quit the bad habit of not posting the whole release!!!!
    I agree with you it’s kinda hard to choose the better out of their 2 first LP.
    I must admit I also like alot their 3rd one (“within these walls”) nowadays. It has a desperate edge and reminds me of the brilliant second LP by PROLETARIAT.
    Back in the days this kind of “hardcore” was too soft for my ears, so I’ve never grab the SUBHUMANS LP you’re talking about when it was still available. Now with age my taste has softened a lot, so I should try to listen to it.
    It might make a perfect future post, no?
    Keep up the good work Erich!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 06:46 | Permalink
  4. Anonymous

    intelectuals should listen to jazz and leave the punks alone with their mumbojambo.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 07:14 | Permalink
  5. mush_room

    GREAT post! Amazing album, you’re right. I used o think this was kinda bad, but hearing it again I can see I was WRONG. Great write-up too. I’ve never read so much good stuff about bad music, haha.

    Keep up the work!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 07:57 | Permalink
  6. Eric

    Both Independence and Kill By Remote are great albeit different LP’s. You hit the nail on the head, first LP sounds British, second sounds Canadian. A pity the later releases went down the crapper

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 10:27 | Permalink
  7. haizman_brain

    One of my all time favorites.

    I love the progression they made from Independence. When this came out I was expecting songs like Killer and Riot Squad, and it took a few spins before I got into it.

    What’s great is that the musical progression and diversity found on this album didn’t hinder the song quality like some bands who tried to branch out (i.e. 7 Seconds New Wind).

    The hardcore songs ripped hard (Powecrazed, Destroyer, No Pity, Junior’s Friends) – the Punk songs were powerful (Break the Bank, Revolution, Limited Nuclear War) – and the “alternative” tracks like “Harvest” and “Looking at the World” grew on me quickly. The sharing of vocal duties also positively added to the diversity of the record.

    The fantastic bass playing of Tufty Clough gets overlooked sometimes in the Punk lexicon. Although he’s not as prominently mixed on this album as the Zero Boys recordings he played on, he rips it up on this one.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 14:23 | Permalink
  8. Peter - KBDRecords

    Always been my favorite LP by Toxic Reasons. Can I use the words “killer” and “destroys”? Ok I did. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 14:50 | Permalink
  9. no labels

    “Bullets For You” from 1986 has a fantastic A-side too, in the vein of that 2nd LP (B-side is really weaker).

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 16:17 | Permalink
  10. Anonymous

    “Bullets For You” is easily as good as this one in my opinion, but sentiment might be clouding my judgement. “Within These Walls” was ugly, though. Maybe one or two halfway decent songs on that one and time still doesn’t make it sound much better. One of the orginal members is calling himself Toxic Reasons and still plays out. Anyone seen ’em?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Jan-07 at 16:52 | Permalink
  11. Bernard

    anybody knows of bands of today with lyrical topics such as climatic change, global warming etc? that’s be a nice thing to look at and see if the man got a point here.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Jan-07 at 01:15 | Permalink
  12. Erich

    Good idea, Bernard!

    Question: Who knows which label indicates the first press of “Independence”, gold or yellow?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Jan-07 at 02:16 | Permalink
  13. Kill ugly pop

    My copy of the “Independence” LP has gold labels and I’ve been told it’s a second pressing.

    Also a date on the label says “1983” and the 3 really looks like a 2 that has been turned into a 3.

    My guess is the version with yellow label is the first pressing.
    If I can remember properly, the label address on the back sleeve is also different on the first pressing.

    Anyone else has any different informations?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Jan-07 at 15:47 | Permalink
  14. Poly Styrene

    Yihupa!
    http://www.x-rayspex.com/

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Jan-07 at 23:32 | Permalink
  15. Erich

    Looks like somebody wants me to do an X-Ray Spex post, haha.

    thanks much kill ugly pop. You’re right – the yellow label says 82 and the first press has no adress on the back. didn’t realize the difference before.
    Now I know which one goes up on eBay. Too bad it’s in much better condition.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Jan-07 at 05:24 | Permalink
  16. Anonymous

    Toxic Reasons were on one of the TARGET video compilations back in the 80’s. if you look hard enough you can find it. the videos are probably on youtube.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Jan-07 at 15:58 | Permalink
  17. Anonymous

    BEST blg around! Thanks so much for all your work!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Jan-07 at 16:39 | Permalink
  18. Peter Davis

    Tremendous post with a lot of insightful, thoughtful commentary. The Canadian feel of this, the band’s second full-length isn’t at all far from the mark either. Drummer, Jimmy Joe Pearson was indeed from Vancouver, B.C. and something of a Chuck Biscuits understudy. I personally had the distinct honor and priveledge of touring as the band’s roadie, the summer prior to the release of this album and finally getting to hear it again after all these years is a real blast and surprisingly enough, I’m relieved to find that it sounds every bit as good now as it did way back when. Live these songs were tremendous. I can tell you more later if you’re interested but one of the high points of the tour that summer was supporting the Bad Brains on back-to-back nights at CBGBS (some of which comprises that recent DVD release). Experiences like that hard not to cherish.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Jan-07 at 01:39 | Permalink
  19. Christoph

    Loads of Thanks for this one… and the whole cool Blog.
    haven`t heard it yet, but I remember “Destroyer” as a Tune that sticks.
    Any Chance to post the mentioned SUBHUMANS Record? Or the heavy rotated UXA? Would be big Fun!!
    Greetings from Germany
    C.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Jan-07 at 14:12 | Permalink
  20. Erich

    thanks peter, for your comment. i sure would like to hear more! any idea why this hasn’t been re-released yet?

    christoph – die stimmen, die u.x.a. wollen, mehren sich. da bleibt mir wohl kaum was übrig ……

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Jan-07 at 01:34 | Permalink
  21. pete craven

    one of my favourite North American bands, and a this is one awesome posting… thanks!! first saw Toxic’s in ’84 at Richmond Pub in Brighton, double header with Youth Brigade… killer night as you can imagine!! If my memory serves me right when they came back in ’86 they laid down a Peel Session inc. Break The Bank which became a standout track for me, lyrics are brilliant. They are pencilled in for some UK dates in April…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 28-Jan-07 at 15:40 | Permalink
  22. john y?

    I was at the Brighton gig in 84,and it was super cool,cept for the fact no one seemed into it ‘cept for some of Disorder,mind you Brighton crowds always sucked,to afraid to pogo.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 06-Feb-07 at 05:15 | Permalink
  23. Anonymous

    The Krays, a punk band from New York City covered the song “No Pity” on their 3rd LP “A Time For Action”, 2002. So Toxic Reasons still lives in the hearts anbd minds of the newer generation.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 05-Mar-07 at 20:47 | Permalink
  24. Federico

    First, the Toxic Reasons LP is excellent as all the early stuff, still trying to get a vinyl copy for myself so thanks a lot for the post. I don’t have paypal but as soon as I get it I’ll make my own humble monetary contribution to keep your great site going. Just wanted to comment on your thoughtful reflections about the mood and world politics at the time. You write “but it seems like the cold war, the arms race more than the fear of a nuclear war actually prevented a third world war”. While I understand your point and to a certain extent I agree, I just thought that it is important to note that there are those who believe that the “Cold War” should be seen as as the “Third World War”. The Balance of Power/ Balance of Terror (Yeah, the Really Red song comes to mind!) may have prevented a nuclear apocalypse and while no wars took place in Europe, in Asia, Africa and (Latin) America wars and conflicts killed millions, and in many (I would say most) cases were directly related and manipulated by the Superpowers.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 28-Aug-07 at 23:26 | Permalink
  25. Admin

    That was of course a very pointed remark of mine. Of course the “cold war” was not intended as a peace keeping project of any sort. The brutal wars of that era were very different one from another, but I wouldn’t speak in terms of “manipulation” and such.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 29-Aug-07 at 00:05 | Permalink
  26. Federico

    I did not mean “manipulation” in the sense of a great conspiracy theory as favored by dogmatic thinkers of all ideological shades. I meant in the sense of the support (financial/ military) from the Superpowers to certain factions, groups or governments in order to serve their geopolitical interests, which often were contradictory due to disagreements from within. Also, of course, in many instances, leaders of “Third World” countries” used the Cold War and the Superpower competition for blackmailing and as an excuse for serving their own interests, which in fact was another type of manipulation.

    Many wars and armed conflicts at the time were indeed different but in many cases, there was a similar logic behind them.
    Thanks a lot for the space!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 29-Aug-07 at 01:14 | Permalink
  27. Mark

    Wow. I’d forgotten how much I loved this record when it came out.

    Some friends from Indianapolis brought it brought it home from a visit that year and I was hooked.

    Thanks for posting this and saving me from having to remove the giant pile of comic books that live on my turntable.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-Oct-07 at 20:49 | Permalink
  28. f.dawson

    classic punk rock…in my opinion best album by far.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Feb-08 at 05:24 | Permalink
  29. Love Toxic Reasons.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Feb-08 at 15:17 | Permalink
  30. caroline

    I’m singing in a band and we want to replay “Break the Bank” (from toxic reasons) but i can’t find the lyrics.
    Is anybody can send me the lyrics?
    As i’m french i must read it to undersand and sing it.
    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Posted on 03-Apr-08 at 09:27 | Permalink
  31. caroline

    My mail adress is: carolineduverne@neuf.fr

    [Reply]

    Posted on 03-Apr-08 at 09:28 | Permalink
  32. Fernando

    I love this record too. The UK sleeve was unbeatably horrendous, hahaha
    For Caroline:

    “Break the bank”
    Your loved ones tell you to get a job
    Piss off, I’m not a lazy sod
    I’d rather not pay into Ronnie’s bank
    I’d rather make a withdrawal with a food stamp

    I’ve lost my pride in my country
    because of its wrath its tyranny
    Big business rules my way
    the little doesn’t get his say

    A life of crime to pay my bills
    Rent so high cut out the frills
    Pressure builds and I’m getting old
    Society’s ready with a plastic mold

    Don’t fit me in with your middle class
    Tax my wages kill my ass
    Make me pay for your Star Wars plan
    Break the bank to your Knees Uncle Sam
    To your knees Uncle Sam

    [Reply]

    Posted on 04-Apr-08 at 03:47 | Permalink
  33. caroline

    thanks a lot!

    Maybe i can send you the piece when it will be recorded?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 06-Apr-08 at 04:51 | Permalink
  34. Admin

    caroline – if you want, send me a link where people can download the toxic reasons cover of yours. I will include it in the post.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 06-Apr-08 at 05:58 | Permalink
  35. caroline

    there’s no link yet! ( don’t want a myspace..)
    we’re going to record on june.
    i’ll give you news!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Apr-08 at 08:50 | Permalink
  36. billy ryan

    this was my very first hardcore show! I fell in love! I been a fukall hardcore! socialist, anti-american,ever since! thank the flying spaghetti monster! and Green Bay Hardcore! Reverand norb,& Tommy Edler! Also I been lookin 4 this record 4 20 years! good an ya son!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 30-Aug-08 at 07:17 | Permalink
  37. A kid

    But would the kids of today really appreciate these lps? I doubt it.

    hah. im 17 i love this album as well as independence. if you see me you may even catch me wearing my toxic reasons t shirt i got down at the record store 🙂 with the american/english/canadian flag. I get the same question usually, “Why do you hate those countries?”. And I always have to explain that the people in the band were from those countries.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 02-Dec-08 at 18:01 | Permalink
  38. Loved your review. I think i might have more of a soft spot for Kill over Independence just for the fact that TR had just finished recording it when we met and toured together briefly. These guys were true blue punks that would play anywhere anytime for anything. We played a show in a small basement in Columbia Missouri. Probably the worst place these guys played and they gutted it out for the kids that showed up. I loved those sweet days.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Mar-09 at 06:19 | Permalink
  39. Thanks much for the words, Lawrence. In which band have you been playing together with TR?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Mar-09 at 09:27 | Permalink
  40. Krautfresser

    Hello Folks,

    maybe you can help me…i really Need the lyrics of the great Toxic Reasons Song “Party’s over “.

    Grreetings from old fucking Germany,

    Sven

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Aug-15 at 00:44 | Permalink

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Toxic Reasons 7inch coupled with God Bless America. LP wise they never out did the master piece Kill By Remote Control posted by Eric. Their debut Independence is good but dosen’t hold up in the long run. Both […]

  2. […] the band magically transformed the music into the epic and melancholic Hardcore-swansong on the “Kill by Remote Control” LP, one of the most important albums of the entire […]

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