Heavy Leather Sex was the original pseudonym used by Terminal Gods for their self released material (the name is lifted from a quote from the movie “Cruising” by the way). It was – and remains – collectively owned by the band members and, as each has expanded and developed their own creative pursuits, it has become a broad church. As well as Terminal Gods, the Heavy Leather family incorporates Josh Cooper’s Garage Rock record label, Roadkill Records, and A New Dusk – the synthwave club night and online collective masterminded by TG singer, Robert Cowlin. It also includes this; the Heavy Leather Sex blog.
I fucking loved that film
This blog doesn’t really aim to cover every aspect of the organisation. Roadkill, A New Dusk and Terminal Gods all represent themselves nicely. This blog covers the niche, the overlooked, the anachronistic and our idiosyncratic tastes. That mostly means long articles about goth demo tapes from 1991, even longer rambles about the tenuous connections between socio-politics and toilet-circuit post-punk and *infinitely* long diatribes about the best placement of speakers to get the perfect listening experience from albums by The Sisters Of Mercy.
So what’s this got to do with Ich Binn Fin? Wasn’t this supposed to be an EP review?
Finn, of Ich Bin Finn, is an authoritative figure in Heavy Leather circles. Apart from being the Editor-In-Chief of the RAW MEAT webzine, she is also one of the garage rock DJs that has helped carve out the identity Roadkill Records. Finn is often aloof: either visibly so behind the record decks or invisibly behind the webpages of Raw Meat. It was with great pleasure that I got to enjoy a bit of her company on a mutual night off, watching Saint Agnes and The Deadcuts at show hosted the Some Weird Sin clubnight. We took the opportunity to sink a drink and then sink another and get down to some serious criticism, gossip and occasional slander of bands, magazines and the state of the music industry. It was in that spirit I drunkenly committed to step out of my 90s goth comfort zone and review Ich Binn Finn’s Filthy Glory EP.
Heavy Leather Sex and Ich Binn Finn find common ground and shared positive outlook. Photo by Rupert Hitchcox.
The ultra modern, Vice Magazine style front cover belies much of the sensitivity and nostalgia contained within. Just to look at it you might expect to be served up a slice multi genre we-all-play-synth sonic nonsense. Thankfully, it instantly sounds better than it looks. It successfully navigates a path between the tired tropes of classic rock and roll and the almost equally worn out format of quirky art school pop, without sounding tired or irrelevant itself.
I was fully prepared to hate this record without even listening to it.
The clear, dry, spoken word introduction instantly invokes Patti Smith, before the band crash into a mid-80s American college rock style guitar frenzy. Like a bunch of wannabe beatnik students have got into the Dead Kennedys and the Violent Femmes – they’ve got some stuff they wanna say, they’ve got a few chords and they’re off. But before you decide you’ve heard this before and start tuning out, they introduce some deeply classic sounding licks into the mix. A few rockabilly guitar fills here, a strangely country rock tone to the chorus there and – WHAM! – they hit you with a full blown chunk of Twelve Bar Blues. What the hell is this? Just as you’ve settled down into this new vibe, they round off with some shouty art/punk rock reminiscent of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or even Amanda Palmer.
I love to hear an artist pick a limited set of tools and use them to their full expressive range. The way this EP walks the line between artpunk and vintage American rock reminds me of the way Motörhead who, despite being louder, faster and meaner than most heavy metal bands, managed to remain first and foremost a blues band. Over the course of four songs Ich Binn Finn pull off a similar trick. They chart a musical course and steer it well. As it rocks back and forth between raucous and classic, Filthy Glory emerges as both an impressive and enjoyable EP.
While Heavy Leather Sex positions itself between the blunt force trauma of rock and roll and highly strung sensibilities of New Wave, Finn seems to be performing a similar balancing act between whatever creative forces have shaped her. We look forward to hearing how it continues to play out.