Reviews

V/A We Are the Flowers in the Red Zone LP

This is an absolute treasure! By 1988, Polish zine/label QQRYQ had created strong bonds with like-minded punks around the Eastern Bloc and compiled a tape with bands from GDR, Hungary and Poland. Stories of dedicated punks in this repressive state and time are always humbling and inspiring, and there are a few great ones in this package. Two booklets are included, one is a reproduction of the first (?) punk zine from the GDR, which had to be printed in Warsaw and then smuggled across the East German border either in a stinky beer-soaked backpack, or sewed into a giant teddy bear—there are two partially conflicting accounts. Either way, the Stasi inserted a spy into the punk community and managed to seize the zines before distribution! Needless to say, it’s ten beautiful typewritten and collaged pages covering DDR and Polish punk. The other booklet is focused more on the original tape of this release, with original layout reprinted nice and big and with added photos and retrospectives on the relevant scenes and projects. And of course there’s the music! The two opening tracks from ANDREA’S AUSLAF (GDR) are noisy, but awesome, but had me wondering if this would be another LP’s worth of hardly listenable live boombox recordings. Not the case! Quality varies but overall is enjoyable lo-fi, raw and passionate punk and hardcore from TRYBUNA BRUDU, DIE TROTTEL, KEIN TALENT + NAMENLOS, DEZERTER, BIZTONSÁGI TANÁCS, WARTBURGS FÜR WALTER, and closing with possibly the most ripping track by Poland’s A.P.S.F. If you are the least bit interested in punk behind the Iron Curtain, or even cool old punk ephemera of any kind, this LP is an absolute must.