June '83 was the month of their first concert in Angers, their native town. They soon issued some
demos which were found original by the underground press.

Their first single was delayed to early '85 since they met difficulties with the pressing :
it was out with two tracks instead of four, on a growing French punk label called Gougnaf mouvement.
This 7" was chronicled in MRR as "catchy and powerful". The next step in their life was the
first album issued by Closer (the most original independent label at the time in France) in '86 :  
'Radical Hystery'. The Les Thugs style is still a bit raw but the drumming as if a train was to come 
combined with the emergency of the guitar are in place. It wasn't distributed elsewhere apart 
from Greece.

'Electric troubles' ('87) is sometimes found as a less interesting album : perhaps a sort of
transition between the previous and the next album. It does contain gems as 'Chess and crimes'.
Eric's Arabian style soli and Christophe's backing vocals are now a characteristic of their sound. 
They toured in England and even made a John Peel session : not because they were trendy there as 
those a year famous band which disappear as fast but it was a real choice for JP. They released 
some tracks on various compilations.

In '88 a maxi called 'Dirty white race' was out with the self-titled hymn : "tell me how can you be
so proud, proud of your dirty white race ? / ... you killed the Indians, the Jews ... /
Destroyed and plundered round the world / With niggers blood on your white hands"
This is one of their most intense song (and an intense part in their concerts too) and was also
released on an anti-fascist compilation. Their political care which is always obvious inspired them here. 
Sub Pop made an album compilation with 'Electric troubles' + 'Dirty white race'.

The album which revealed Les Thugs to a wider audience is without any doubt 'Still Hungry/Still Angry'.
Released on Bondage (France), Vinyl Solution (Europe), Sub Pop (USA), the album is more polished
than their previous work. With the wall of guitars and drums, the listener has no space left as
if the engine is on overspeed all time long. Their French label Bondage gave them enough time and
money so that they had better conditions to work on the album. Les Thugs toured in the USA
and in the whole Europe.

'IABF' was then a confirmation : with a style somewhat different, less speed but as intense.
They quoted Sonic Youth as an influence which is perhaps true in Eric's style modification.
'IABF' was released by Alternative Tentacles in the USA : they took part in the DK's tribute
compilation with "Moon over Marin" which they played also at the end of their concerts.
The Les Thugs covers aren't numerous : 'These boots are made for walking' (in their earliest 
time they covered the N. Sinatra hit), 'Steppin' stone' and 'Brand New Cadillac' a bit later, 
'Something's Gonna Wrong Again' by the Buzzcocks, and recently 'Fier de ne rien faire' (by a
French punk band called Olivensteins and their first track in French).

After two year time, 'As happy as possible' was recorded : the album is in the IABF vein,
sometimes compared (wrongly) with My Bloody Valentine, it shows the maturity of the band.
As powerful as ever, the tempo is cooler on most of the songs even if 'Flags' shows that
their revolt is still here (the International song closes the track). They stopped after
nearly a whole year touring with some dates as an opening act for the Breeders.

'Strike', is poppier as ever before, but the Les Thugs sound is still here. As always, 
an instrumental song starts the album. This time it's not about Massai tribes but about 
girls. For once, the key song 'On Strike' has a low tempo. But songs like 'Poison Head' 
show that they're still angry no matter if more than ten years have passed by.

'Nineteen Something' is their latest appearance on CD. Even in a more pop vein than
'Strike', the songs are quite longer as if the band was thinking, while they are
playing. Between the clouds are some gems like 'Il Gruppeto' and 'Never work anymore'.

Back to the discography file 

By Stéphane Dufour