barty's guide to the post-punks

thirdform

Well-known member
Used to know a West Ham boy who was a soft Tommy Robinson fan who was a big Specials and Madness fan. So on that count alone they failed.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
weird bloke. was big unionist but dated a Scottish catholic bird, which is great and all, but as those who know I'm not against drinking with people from opposing political persuasions. I was just annoyed they left the beer table and went out for a quick sexy time discussion before they announced they were an item. A waste of perfectly good pub time.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
I don’t have much of an opinion on post-punk, but if I do have to generate a hot take for Ramadan, I’d say…

The current reading of post-punk is all a bit greyscale, dreary and po-faced. The narrative around the music foregrounds stuff that sounds like a German expressionist reimagining of black source material (funk, dub, disco, etc.). It’s taking the musical mechanics of these genres but applying almost the complete inverse aesthetic values to them. Disco is life affirming, whereas ‘Death Disco’ is like the film negative of that emotional space.

But there is a whole other post-punk; a faithful embrace of black music rather than an art school subversion of it. Ian Dury captures ego and libido of funk. Madness embrace Jamaica’s directness.

All of which I suppose it just an expanded version of Luke’s realisation that The Police are the best post-punk band.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
I would characterise Ian Dury / Madness / The Police as New Wave rather than postpunk - a blurry distinction admittedly - but New Wave is exactly as Barty characterizes it, an affirmation of ordinary life and everyday people (so an indirect line to Sly Stone and black music). And it's much more rooted in traditional musical ability. The Blockheads could really really play. The Police were proggers before they jumped on the New Wave bandwagon. Costello and the Attractions, shit hot musicians.

Whereas postpunk is a negation of ordinary life or an attempt to zoom in on the voids it papers over. "Death Disco" is transparently non-life-affirming, a subversion of disco because it's about watching your mother die, about bodies decaying -- all the grace and exuberance of the human body celebrated in dance music, withering away into nothingness. And musically with postpunk you have the more radical angularity etc through the fact that many of them were novice players and often came up with their wrong ways of playing (Peter Hook learned to play bass completely incorrectly, leading to his unique bass as baritone-guitar style)

All that's why New Wave is the "soft option" c.f. postpunk. (I personally love both just about equally).

Then again, talking about "greyscale"... Madness actually did a song called "Grey Day" about the commuter grind and the shitness of England, lines like "wish I could sink without trace" in their own way as despairing and bleak as anything in Joy Division. Most of The Police's best songs are about loneliness (cf Joy Div "Isolation"). Ian Dury's "Dance of the Screamers" is a harrowing glimpse of desperate losers in the disco who haven't a hope of finding a partner.

Perhaps New Wave is just another approach - a more approachable approach - to the same sort of subject matter. Less avant, more relatable to the pop ear. Better suited to getting the ideas across to ordinary everyday people. Radio friendly.
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
I would characterise Ian Dury / Madness / The Police as New Wave rather than postpunk - a blurry distinction admittedly - but New Wave is exactly as Barty characterizes it, an affirmation of ordinary life and everyday people (so an indirect line to Sly Stone and black music). And it's much more rooted in traditional musical ability. The Blockheads could really really play. The Police were proggers before they jumped on the New Wave bandwagon. Costello and the Attractions, shit hot musicians.

Whereas postpunk is a negation of ordinary life or an attempt to zoom in on the voids it papers over. "Death Disco" is transparently non-life-affirming, a subversion of disco because it's about watching your mother die, about bodies decaying -- all the grace and exuberance of the human body celebrated in dance music, withering away into nothingness. And musically with postpunk you have the more radical angularity etc through the fact that many of them were novice players and often came up with their wrong ways of playing (Peter Hook learned to play bass completely incorrectly, leading to his unique bass as baritone-guitar style)

All that's why New Wave is the "soft option" c.f. postpunk. (I personally love both just about equally).

Then again, talking about "greyscale"... Madness actually did a song called "Grey Day" about the commuter grind and the shitness of England, lines like "wish I could sink without trace" in their own way as despairing and bleak as anything in Joy Division. Most of The Police's best songs are about loneliness (cf Joy Div "Isolation"). Ian Dury's "Dance of the Screamers" is a harrowing glimpse of desperate losers in the disco who haven't a hope of finding a partner.

Perhaps New Wave is just another approach - a more approachable approach - to the same sort of subject matter. Less avant, more relatable to the pop ear. Better suited to getting the ideas across to ordinary everyday people. Radio friendly.
how does the ultra dancey post punk from new york fit in here?
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
how does the ultra dancey post punk from new york fit in here?

Contortions are probably the closest parallel to PiL - utterly grim nihilistic lyrics and a combo of people who could really really play (James Chance himself, the drummer) and complete novices (Pat Place, Adele Bertei) inventing their own techniques. (PiL had Levene the Yes fan versus Wobble self-taught bassist).

Other ZE stuff is shit-hot musicians who don't have any connection as such to punk - August Darnell (disco auteur), Material (proggers), Was (Not Was) (Detroit black music fans and hippie era White Panther fellow-travelers). So in that sense more like the Blockheads, who started out as hippie fusion-prog band Loving Awareness.

Liquid Liquid might be the most archetypal postpunk NYC group - started out more punk and noisy (Liquid Idiot) and then learn to groove.

ESG come completely out of another sonic narrative and social-racial world - , but through happenstance sound remarkably exactly like a group that should be on Factory (as indeed they were for at least one single), just through their own minimalist compulsions.
 

version

Well-known member
Contortions are probably the closest parallel to PiL - utterly grim nihilistic lyrics and a combo of people who could really really play (James Chance himself, the drummer) and complete novices (Pat Place, Adele Bertei) inventing their own techniques. (PiL had Levene the Yes fan versus Wobble self-taught bassist).
The James Brown cover's unbelievable.

 

woops

is not like other people
real musicians do cynical jaded rock n roll swindle properly and define the CD age forever
 

Leo

Well-known member
After macho male-dominated punk, women had a brilliant emergence in post-punk: Delta 5, Au Pairs, Mo-dettes, Maximum Joy, Kleenex/Liliput, Rip Rig & Panic, Slits (although they transitioned punk to post-punk). Some of my favorite music.
 

Leo

Well-known member
nah. I've already posted lots of them on various threads, so it would largely be repeats/old news. plus, I don't have the patience to craft the accompanying narrative like the best top 100 do.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I'm with Linebaugh here, I think this one will need a little bit more of a supporting argument. Also, you (@woops ) made two claims and while you have made the first steps towards arguing that Dire Straits are A post punk band, you haven't really demonstrated that there are no other post punk bands in the entire history of the world.
 
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