Crate Skimmers #11 No Trend – Too Many Humans

Owned since: 2019

Genre: Dystopia wry energy noise-rock

Where I bought it: Some favorite punk distro

Year: 2019

Label/pressing: It’s a bootleg, baby!

When I look at my collection and this series, I sometimes wonder how I’m going to cover some of the bands in there. Beside like 3 records of punk nihilism that will skipped for many reasons, there are a lot of stupid edgy band names. This happens when you spent a lot of time in noise rock circles or hardcore adjacent stuff, bands never grow big so they stick with stupid names that make me cringe any time I type or say them aloud. Highlights from my collection include a band being the c-word with z behind it (3 records which I all love), another band which such a stupid name decked into punk edginess I’m going to skip them completely and Ewa Braun (some excellent Polish noise rock which well spots the name of someone’s mistress). No Trend’s name sounds pretty tame compared to those but of course there is the cover of Too Many Humans which in classic 80’s fashion is a bad xerox of an aerial picture of some suburbs. Classic hardcore punk edginess, even No Trend trends (hah) quite different waters. Their odd mix of slow burn noise rock started a bit hardcore focused but that is mostly out here. It churns and burns, floats like a cloud of doom. No more hope and just absolute hatred for the human kind. Fun is far from here. As the title track goes

‘too many fucking humans

You breed like rats

And your’re no fucking better’

Sneered by Jeff Mentges in a hoarse voice that sounds like a key scraping concrete with the band slowly following behind it. No Trend always called themselves a bit anti-punk. Their music does have the bite but it’s slow, bumpy and pretty far removed from the quick 3 chord songs. Distorted guitars, beeping instruments and a very in front bass are what mostly makes up the sound here. It all recalls Flipper a fair bit except No Trend’s lyrics go for an even deeper edge than Flipper’s punky nihilism. Reality Breakdown covers a marriage and life breaking down, Mindless Little Insects lyrics just exists because of the title and I bet you know what Kiss Ass to Your Peer Group is about. Just absolute bottom of the well positivity here all around and it sounds like it was recorded on a heavily degraded cassette deck even which fits the music so well. There is no hope, only the washouts of the punk movement in 1984 and No Trend isn’t here to have fun. It’s the band I image when Sex Bob-omb in Scott Pilgrim goes “We’re here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff!”.

There’s honestly not a lot more there for me to say because No Trend are a classic love it or hate it band. They go so hard into that nihilistic noise rock that there is not really a way to enjoy them a little. I love their extremely chaotic muddy sound, but it’s also something I really need to be in the mood for to really get into too. Even more than this record, the follow up has a lot clearer production and clear funk influences. It sounds like a Certain Ratio in spots which is pretty cool and just a lot more like a ‘normal’ post-punk band. Only Jeff Mentges of the lineup from this record is on there. After that, one ill received record on Touch & Go and an unreleased weird funk record that got released in the early 00’s that Touch refused to release. The master tapes of Too Many Humans were long believed to be destroyed which led to some bootlegs over the years which is how I came to own it. In 2019 the tapes seemingly got found and Drag City started re-mastering the record which led to a very nice box.

Let’s talk about physical bootlegs. They’re a dying breed, to be honest. In the punk scene you sometimes still encounter them through bands destroying masters or the label withholding tapes but honestly these days nearly everything gets an official re-release. Even looking at my collection last year saw the brilliant The Comes record get released officially, after around the same period as this record on vinyl. It’s just from a collector’s viewpoint I think bootlegs lost a lot of their charm. Nearly everything, even if it’s long been deleted by the artist, is available on the Internet now if you know how to look. I think in my collection I own around 5 bootlegs and 2 of these were bought in a legit store, the other hail from distro’s. The No Trend bootleg is really good, sounds like the vinyl rips I’ve been listening to for years and most likely caused it to finally get officially re-issued. I just got lucky with getting my hands on this and it is nice to own such a piece of nihilism on vinyl at least. But it’s also been on Spotify since last year, which makes it pretty bizarre that only 3 years back this was a record so beloved it got a quality bootleg vinyl pressing.

After being officially out of print for nearly 37 years, Drag City last year reissued this record with the also great Teen Love 7 & 12 inch in a box. If you want to grab it this is the way to go, even more since the bootleg I own is going for the same price as that whole box these days. Also the (surviving) band members get money which is nice.