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Zounds were an anarchist post-punk band with an altogether gloomier and more polished sound than the abrasive crash'n'bash of their mentors in Crass. Formed in 1977, Zounds was the brainchild of bassist/vocalist Steve Lake, a native of Reading who'd moved to Oxford and lived in a squatters community. The initial lineup included Lake, guitarist Steve Burch, and drummer Jimmy Lacey, and early on was influenced by psychedelia and Krautrock just as much as punk. Second guitarist Nick Godwin soon joined up, and Burch left before any material had been recorded, to be replaced by Lawrence Wood. The quartet spent most of their time touring the free festival circuit until meeting Crass, whose anarchist politics had a major impact on Lake. The group cut a demo and sent it to Crass, in the midst of personnel turnover: Godwin left, and Lacey was shown the door in favor of Joseph Porter. Crass signed Zounds to its own Crass label, and in 1980 issued the band's three-song debut single, "Can't Crash Karma"/"War"/"Subvert." Crass' Penny Rimbaud, who produced the single, had Zounds use a session drummer on the single, as Porter wasn't quite up to speed technically yet. Another single, "Demystification," appeared on Crass's former label, Rough Trade, in 1981. Rough Trade also issued the band's first (and only) album, The Curse of Zounds, in 1982; its claustrophobic paranoia won generally good reviews, but the record slipped under the radar of most listeners outside the anarchist punk community. Two non-LP singles, the Mikey Dread-produced "Dancing" and "More Trouble Coming Every Day," appeared later in the year, amid more personnel shifts. Keyboardist Brian Pugsley briefly became an official member, and Mob drummer Tim Hutton came on as the bassist, with Lake switching to guitar alongside Wood. Exhaustion was setting in, however, and after one more perfunctory EP — 1983's La Vache Qui Rit — Zounds called it quits. Lake and Wood briefly reteamed with Godwin in the World Service, but soon broke up. In 1997, Broken Rekids reissued Curse of the Zounds on CD, with their previous singles added as bonus tracks. Lake re-formed Zounds in 1998 with a lineup of bassist Protag (ex-Blyth Power) and drummer Stick (Extreme Noise Terror), and cut a benefit single, "This Land," in support of Dave Morris, the man sued by the McDonald's corporation for libel.

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