Sunday, February 6, 2011

Petra Janů & Pro-Rock "Exploduj!" LP - Czechoslovakia 1979

This LP was purchased yesterday at a record show in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia, and has leapfrogged several other records I had in mind to be today's post ... because you need to hear this now!  It's rare when an album meets up to the expectations of cover art and photos this far out there.  Back cover photo posted below.

This is a pretty wild, often punk-intensity, hard-rocking psych-prog release with the odd orchestral and/or synth passage.  I could see it appealing to fans of several genres.  It was a release on the state Supraphon label, which seems to still be in operation in some form.  Lyrics are in Czech; there appears to be a futuristic/space thing going on here but this isn't a language I understand.  Since the '60s and up through the Velvet Revolution, Prague has had a reputation for harboring an avant garde arts scene which has crossed over into popular music and included socially relevant bands such as Plastic People of the Universe.  That makes the presence of this sort of release less surprising coming from that corner of the world.

Ms. Janů, who might have been born Jana Petrů if I'm reading this Czech social networking site's info correctly (it looks like you might be able to contact her directly!) has been active in the Czech music scene since the mid-'70s.  She has a discography here - this appears to be the second album and I'd love to hear the first.  She's been performing the title track from the first album as recently as last year - and in the US!

Note that I'm categorizing records based in the country that existed at the time of their release.  Note also that my track listings are missing some of the diacritical marks over certain letters required by the Czech language.  I figure you either knew what was meant if you can read it or you wouldn't understand it anyway, so I'd save myself a bit of effort.

There's a whole lot going on with this album and in some ways I feel in hearing this as I did upon hearing Os Mutantes (which this does not sound like) for the first time... a bit pleasantly disoriented, amazed that this exists, that it could be this good and this unknown here mostly because of language, cultural (i.e. the refusal of most English speakers to listen to music in other languages), political and probably economic barriers.  Similarly I think the variety of influences is going to make this interesting listening for years to come.

Czech it out.


  1. On track three she sounds like she is saying "same old shit" or "shame on shnaa" So punk.

  2. Thanks for posting the comments - I think this is the coolest release I've stumbled upon in a long time.

  3. She is not saying "same od shit" but "se mnou už ne" - no more with me.

  4. Thanks for the translation - if any Czech speakers would be kind enough to translate even the song titles I would appreciate that & I think other readers would too.

  5. 1. Explode!
    2. Petrol Queen
    3. The Demons From Dejvice and Doctor Q (Dejvice is a quarter of Prague)
    4. If Only...
    5. I´m not groggy yet!
    6. The Story Gabriela
    7. The Song
    8. Va Banque
    9. The Concert Is Ending

  6. Thank you very much for the translation!

  7. I've hard that this LP is so good that's why I want to get it, besides I love the retro music, I have a collection of those LP but I want that one.