I’ve been through with you in the 80′s now in about six parts, four parts were about new wave and two parts were about minimal wave. Now, because of popular demand (not really), I’ve decided to unleash the post-punk monster. It will feature six different parts, whereas each one of them will concentrate on important years. I will walk you through a decade of important music, I could almost call it the golden years of post-punk. The parts will go on like this: Part I, 1980-1981. Part II, 1982. Part III, 1983-1984. Part IV, 1985. Part V, 1986-1987. And finally: Part VI, 1988-1989. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this madness, featuring (mostly) obscure or unknown bands in this sphere. New for this recommendation will be that I have different commentaries under each video, some of them are humorous and others are not. It will cover the basic aspect of each video or text. Enjoy this one.
You’re now entering Part V of the recommendation.
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- Was it that bloke de Gaulle? - No! I think it was de Goal!
9. Charles De Goal – lo-fi and post-punk accompanied by new-wave. Taking the name from a historical figure, changing it from Gaulle to Goal. Working it out as a quartet, consisting of the following members: Etienne Lebourg, Jean-Philippe Brouant, Patrick Blain (also in Danse Macabre and C.O.M.A.) and Thierry Leray (alias AE, also in the groups End Of Data and Raendom). If you haven’t figured it out by now, they’re from France. Also a good place when it comes to post-punk. I chose their fourth album Double Face (1986, New Rose Records) and I picked the song Plus Haut. Even though I don’t understand a bit of what he’s singing, I understand that the lo-fi sound of it works perfectly with all the instruments and his voice. A haunting piece of french post-punk, from the connoisseurs themselves.
Never anything to do in this town? Lived here my whole life!
8. Big Black – spaced-out, messy noise but a good blend of honest indie rock and gutted post-punk. Apparently these guys were more famous than I thought they ever were, and they also caused a lot of controversy throughout their active years. Headed by the aspiring (now legendary) producer and critic Steve Albini, together with a bunch of other lads by the name of Dave Riley, Jeff Pezzati (ex-Big Black) and Santiago Durango. Everyone of them have played in different great bands and Steve have had many different aliases which he’s released or produced records under. I chose their second album (some years before they went noise) Atomizer (1986, Homestead Records). You can hear the noise-influences in that album, but it’s got a stronger post-punk and indie-orientation than in the later albums. I picked the song Kerosene, much because of the messy environment but the noticeable post-punk influences. Also the fact that it sounds a little bit unorthodox even coming from that sphere, which is nice for a change. Check this album out.
Take a look at the big men, they sit on top of the heap, to get what you want - you've gotta kiss their feet!
7. The Pleasure Cell – a new-wave oriented gem from the post-punk domain. It could’ve been one of those Irish bands that actually made it anywhere, but unfortunately it’s one of those again. They came, they saw and they left, also managing to release one great record before disappearing. I don’t know much about these lads, but I know that they’re good at what they do. At least for this single. I chose their single New Age (1986, Self-Released) and the song with the same name: New Age. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that it’s self-released. I like this song because it fits into the modern world we’re in, this is a kind of safe-haven where the singer shouts out his grief over how you need to kiss the feet (and ass) of the corporate pigs. Also, the more new-wave edge to it compliments the singer and his back-up singers. The percussion and riffing is interesting, as it changes throughout and builds up a hope for something greater and better, it leaves you in detox-mode. Everything bad just comes off you.
...what will I find there? What will I find there? - Your eyes have gone blind!
6. Crime & The City Solution – unique and satisfying elements of alternative rock with post-punk. They might not have been widely recognized, but they were actually (and are) a part of the legendary Mute Records (Depeche Mode, Fad Gadget, hello?) that released many good records throughout the 80s. It’s also one of those that you’ll have to go and learn for yourselves, since it was an important feature in modern music history. Or at least I think so. Probably one of the more criminally underrated bands that emerged from the UK-scene. I picked their second record Room Of Lights (1986, Mute), and the song Hey Sinkiller. I really like the intro of the song and how they’ve managed to keep it rolling but not satisfying you directly, trying to keep the sound under control as the singer enters the picture and lifts it up with the threads he’s holding. Also, the “running” baseline and drumming is a nice pleasure to be listening to, trying to re-imagine some of those older years when you’re hit by an almost shoegazy/psychedelic riff. Pow! Right in the kisser.
For sanity's sake, yeah!
5. Killing Joke – legendary post-punk band from the US. Sorry, but I really had to nail this one. It’s probably one of my favorite records that Killing Joke ever made. This name is self-explanatory, so if you don’t know them, you must check them out. The album I chose this time is Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (1987, EG). The song I chose from that record is Sanity. A not too complex song that still makes the simplicity unheard of, sounding great in my ears and probably yours too. As if some divine creature put me in a stall, put on the record and let me listen to this specific song. Somewhat of a “strike from the above“, in a more passive manner. When I listen to this song I once again believe in spirituality and that it makes for a great sound scape. When Jaz Colemans voice echoed through my living room, I believe that my house became holy earlier today. I also became religious and my religion became post-punk.
Stand up... stand out... STAND UP! STAND OUT!
BONUS NR. 1: Bogshed - ironic, funny but menacingly post-punk. Since I only contributed with two gems from 1987, I’ll give you two bonuses and the first one is Bogshed. A four-piece from the UK, consisting of Mark McQuaid, Mike Bryson, Phil Hartley and Tristan King (R.I.P). They were active during the years of 1985-1987 but managed to release a couple of very good records. Also, this is one of those bands that arose during the same era that bigger bands got more attention than what they got. Their unique sound stems from their often humorous pieces, at least from the record I’ve chosen. I chose their single Excellent Girl! (1987, Shellfish Records) and the song with the same name had a bigger impact on me, so I chose it: Excellent Girl. I really like their weird riff and how they blend the humor with the singer and the quirky background, from a indie-rock sounding sound scape to a more sinister post-punk one. The chorus is absolutely wonderful and the singer almost sounds like John Lydon (when he was in PiL). Please, do check this one out.
- Second Feed? - I thought we'd be at the third by now?
BONUS NR. 2: Heads On Sticks – somewhat industrially but post-punky enough. I’ll have to say it again, it’s one of those bands that leave it at that. Releasing a promising record and then they’re gone in the blink of an eye. But here’s a good blend of industrial and post-punk all-in-one. So head on to my hotel where there’s a post-punk menu, where all great obscure bands are included. Anyway, they released this album in 1987 and since this is a bonus you couldn’t wait for I’ll reveal the album. The album chosen was: Second Feed (1987, Dead Man’s Curve). The song I’ve chosen is Shadows. It embodies the industrial sound that they’ve created throughout, everything that’s missing in that formula by now (to make it into pure industrial) would be the sampling from a war-movie or the likes of it. Incorporating this element also could mean a trouble in the sound scape, but there’s no noticeable “glitch” in the mold. Post-punk fits excellently into the mold of an industrial-based sound scape. If only more of those bands of today could use that formula, it would be a guaranteed success. At least in the underground.
Part VI will be published on Friday or Saturday.