Post Punk School

As promised, I’m going to embark upon another ridiculous challenge, this time to listen to 50 albums in ten different genres. I’m starting off with post-punk, seeing as it’s such a pivotal moment in the development of alternative music, and it’s an area of music I know very little about. What is post-punk, you ask? Well, I’m not entirely sure myself. To the Wikipedia-machine!

Post-punk is a diverse type of rock music that emerged in the wake of the punk movement of the 1970s. Drawing inspiration from elements of punk rock while departing from its musical conventions and wider cultural affiliations, post-punk music was marked by varied, experimentalist sensibilities and its "conceptual assault" on rock tradition. Artists embraced electronic music, black dance styles and the avant-garde, as well as novel recording technology and production techniques. The movement also saw the frequent intersection of music with art and politics, as artists liberally drew inspiration from sources such as critical theory, cinema, performance art and modernist literature. Accompanying these musical developments were communities that produced visual art, multimedia performances, independent record labels and fanzines in conjunction with the music.

Well, that sounds right up my alley. I am a big fan of both post-rock and post-metal (yes, both are just as pretentious as that might sound) so it’s about time I checked out that first ‘post’ genre, without which it’s fair to argue the alternative music scenes we have today across all genres might not have come to pass.

There is one drawback, however. This is a scene that existed mostly in the early 1980’s, which regular visitors will attest is home to my biggest bugbear – 80’s production. So we shall see how I get on with that. I might just schedule an extra doom record every now and again so that I can take a break from the tinny drum sounds.

The list: I used the very scientific technique of googling the phrase ‘most important post punk albums’ and finding three separate lists which each, naturally, claimed to be a definitive list of the most important albums in the genre. I then applied an equally rigorous process of looking up albums on Spotify, limiting myself to only one album per artist, and doing everything I could to avoid having to listen to Public Image Ltd’s Metal Box album, because I remembered it being awful.

Here’s the list, in no particular order, aside from it being the order I’m going to listen to the albums in.

  1. Magazine – Real Life
  2. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
  3. Gang of Four – Entertainment
  4. Echo and the Bunnymen – Crocodiles
  5. The Pop Group – For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?
  6. Japan – Tin Drum
  7. The Go-Betweens – Tallulah
  8. Wire – 154
  9. New Order – Power, Corruption, & Lies
  10. The Psychedelic Furs – S/T
  11. The Cure – The Head on the Door
  12. Talking Heads – Fear of Music
  13. The Teardrop Explodes – Wilder
  14. The Residents – Duck Stab
  15. The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace
  16. Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
  17. Bauhaus – The Sky’s Gone Out
  18. Swell Maps – Jane From Occupied Europe
  19. Killing Joke – What’s THIS For…!
  20. The Slits – Cut
  21. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Scream
  22. Simple Minds – Real to Real Cacophony
  23. Bush Tetras – Boom in the Night
  24. Pylon – Gyrate
  25. Cabaret Voltaire – Red Mecca
  26. The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms
  27. Cocteau Twins – Treasure
  28. Throwing Muses – S/T
  29. Pere Ubu – The Modern Dance
  30. Romeo Void – It’s a Condition
  31. Public Image, Ltd – The Flowers of Romance
  32. ESG – Come Away With ESG
  33. The Comsat Angels – Waiting for a Miracle
  34. Television Personalities - ...And Don’t the Kids Just Love It
  35. The Raincoats – S/T
  36. Orange Juice – Rip It Up
  37. The Chameleons – Script of the Bridge
  38. The Durutti Column – LC
  39. Josef K – The Only Fun in Town
  40. Girls at Our Best! - Pleasure
  41. Mission of Burma – Signals, Calls and Marches
  42. Rip Rig & Panic – God
  43. Au Pairs – Playing with a Different Sex
  44. The Birthday Party – Junkyard
  45. 23 Skidoo – Seven Songs
  46. Iggy Pop – The Idiot
  47. The Sound – Jeopardy
  48. James Chance & The Contortions – Buy
  49. KUKL – The Eye
  50. Flipper – Generic

I like it. It’s got a good mix of bands I’ve heard of, a few bands I know I like, a few bands I’ve always wanted to hear, and a fair range of stuff that I’ve never heard of before. So, I’ll be working my way through the list for the next few weeks, and I shall report back my findings, which hopefully won’t involve me having a nervous breakdown seven albums in because of the tinny 80’s production on every album.

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