The early zeroes were an exciting time for those of us who found themselves in the leftfield and outsider area of punk and experimental rock. With labels like 31G from San Diego (eg. Swing Kids, Camera Obscura, Holy Molar and Blood Brothers) and Dutch label Coalition Records (JR Ewing, Oil, Das Oath and Pretty Girls Make Graves to name a few). Arguably the most pivotal label at the time was California’s Gold Standard Laboratories.
GSL brought us fantastic and fascinating releases by and kick-started the careers of The Locust, The Faint, The Mars Volta (guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López co-owned the label for a while), Chromatics and Jaga Jazzist among many many many others. Among those others was a band that puzzled us with their band name when GSL unleashed their eponymous debut album in 2001. Did we really have to call them ‘Exclamation Mark Exclamation Mark Exclamation Mark’ (or ‘Uitroepteken Uitroepteken Uitroepteken’ like some of us who resorted to Dutch did)?!
In this pre-Wikipedia, pre-Google and pre-social media, the internet wasn’t as resourceful as it is now, so the mystery remained for a while. Until someone found that the band themselves pronounce !!! as Chk Chk Chk. !!! spearheaded the movement of danceable punk bands that brought a contemporary take on the no wave and post-punk sounds of the late seventies and early eighties, years before Franz Ferdinand would take it to the masses.
16 years later their 2001 debut album still stands as a catchy, danceable and colourful monument to going against the grain (“There’s No Fucking Rules, Dude”). For their 2004 follow up album !!! moved labels to Warp Records, the revolutionary home to legends such as Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher and Boards Of Canada. Through Warp !!! have now released 6 great distinctive albums, always catchy, always danceable and always fun. With their new album “Shake The Shudder” under their belt, which might be their most disco album so far, !!! will perform in Rotterdam at REC. Festival on November 3rd. We are surely not letting this pass, are you?