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So Im bored and I like sharing stuff I know so I figured I could make a thread where I teach you about some of the history of various genres of popular music.
Today I thought I would introduce you to one of my favorite genres, Post-punk!
So let's dive into this, Post-punk is a significant genre as it represents a evolutionary ancestor of a ton of genres that emerged in the 80s and 90s including New Wave, Synthpop, Gothic, industrial, noise rock, Jangle pop and various styles of dance rock.
But before that, we got to talk briefly about Punk and it's relationship to post-punk ...
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Okay, so punk.
Punk was a movement in the mid 1970s amongst artist primarily in New York and The UK. The movement was an artist rejection of the perceived excesses of progressive rock, heavy metal and hard rock, which had become seen to be becoming alienating and elitist by these artist. So punk was going in the opposite direction, basically stripping rock to it's basics, punk songs were generally short and immediate and straight to the point with straight forward lyrics generally with anti-establishment and political themes. All of this done with a DIY ethos (i.e. recording and publishing)
Post-punk was ultimately an offshoot of the first wave of punk that emerged from the original punk community. Post-punk tooked the stripped down simplicity and the DIY ethos of punk music and applied to it various degrees of avant-garde genre experimentation. Kinda encapsulating the minimalist simplicity of punk music with the experimental inclinations of progressive rock, making for far more focused genre experimentation that differentiated it from the every-thing-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to genre experimentation that characterized progressive rock.
To further cement the relationship between post-punk groups and first wave punk, many of the more popular and successful post-punk groups often consisted of members of former punk bands, some of this actually very Iconic. Like how Public Image Ltd was founded by one of the Sex Pistols after that band broke up, just for example.
So then, let's talk about some of the more famous first generation post-punk groups to highlight some of the various styles.
The first group to talk about when talking about Post-Punk would have to be Joy Division/New Order ...
Joy Division was formed in 1976 in Manchester by Bernard Sumner and Peter hook after both being inspired by a Sex Pistols concert they just so happened to both be attending seperately, to start their own band. They'd later hired a mutual acquaintance, Ian Curtis to serve as the lead singer and song writer.
Under Curtis' influence the group embraced a more avant-garde ambitions and lots of experimenton of the form developing a very unique style. Joy Division would go on to be considered one of the pioneers of the post-punk movement.
What joy division would be most known for was the complexity of their rhythm section patterns, their use of stark sound effects and sound scapes as well as a very "spacey", "ambient" and echoy style that was mostly a product of how their recordings were processed.
Thematically and lyrically, most of Joy Divisions music oftentimes had a psychological or apocalyptic theme to it all. Oftentimes with it's Ian Curtis' literary ambitions.
Saddly despite their early career being very promising. Ian Curtis himself suffered from epilepsy and major depressive disorder (both pretty apparent influences on lyrical and thematic content) and shortly before the release of their second album, Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980.
Joy Division would then from then on be known as New Order after the other three decided to continue on without Curtis and are still around and had a lot of their own hit synthpop songs in the mid - late 80s. Whiletheir firstalbum as Joy Division went on the influence a lot of the post-punk genre. (Including post-punk fashion of stark ordinary dress)
Okay, so let's talk about Talking Heads.
Another iconic and influential group heavily associated with the original first wave of Punk, but then later associated with post-punk during that period and later than that becoming one of the most critically acclaimed new wave act of the 1980s.
Talking Heads formed in the mid 70s, originally consisting of Drummer Chris Frantz and guitarist/song writer David Byrne at the Rhode Island institute of design, the band became Talking Heads when Frantz' girlfriend Tina Weymouth was brought into the group to play bass because of her experience with funk bass. Jerry Harris was snatched from Johnathan Richmond's Modern Lovers, to play lead guitar.
Originally associated with the punk scene in SoHo district of Manhattan, Talking Heads spent a good part of their early career being regulars at CBGB, one of the clubs in SoHo most famous for being a big center in the punk movement, a now iconic place where many of the the big first wave punk bands got their start.
Talking Heads were a big influence on post-punk as well as on punk and new wave, they never really stuck to just one genre. They were basically just ... alternative. They also had a massive influence on both New Wave and Dance-punk with their twitchy jittery but highly fun and highly danceable and funk inflected style (thanks to Weymouth's background in funk).
One thing they are also best known for is their collaborations with Brian Eno, a former glam rock artist active in the 70s, who would go on to be a famous music producer for decades afterwards with his unique way of deriving creativity from his clients that often led to beg stylistic shift. Eno oversaw the production of a number of early Talking Heads albums that also happen to be considered classics of post-punk and New Wave.
Thematically and lyrically, much of Talking Heads music is ... quirky. A lot of David Byrne's preoccupations influenced by his Autism Spectrum Disorder also heavily influenced the bands aesthetic of embracing the underlying weirdness of small details in everyday life and a preoccupation with the weirdness 9f normal people, even going to far as to name one of their concert films "stop making sense".
Here's one from their third album, Fear of Music.
Okay so we can't ignore DEVO.
DEVO is probably most famous for being a bit of a 1-hit wonder with their 1980 song Whip It, a kind of iconic staple of early MTV in the 80s but also had a cult following for a long time while alongside the success of their big hit.
DEVO is a bit of a weird outlier in the history of punk and post-punk seeing as the group started out as a bit of an avant garde artist collective in the art school at Kent State University in Ohio. Originally kind of a sarcastic and ironic group that focused around the theme of "devolution" (i.e. human regression via technological advancement) influenced by a flyer one of them received from a recruiter to a new age cult in the early 70s.
After witnessing the Kent State Massacre (a Vietnam war protest that ended with the national guard killing a number of student protesters and protesters burning down the ROTC building when they were empty) the band started to take the concept of "devolution" seriously and the group became more focused on avant-garde electronic music, influenced by German electronic groups like Kraftwerk.
However, they didn't gain any notice until they moved away from extreme experimentation and started to embrace elements of rock and effectively become a big influence on the first wave of punk, despite technically pre-dating it given how punky their early work could be. However, despite predating punk and never really sounding quite like classic punk despite their stylistic similarities, DEVO is best known as a new wave synthpop group mostly from their stuff in the 80s, and they commitment to make each of their albums sound "devolved" and a lot more artificial than prior albums with an emphasis on sarcastic, infantile lyrics.
DEVO was also well known for its sarcastic sense of humor, but considering the thematic concerns that pervade most of their albums, they also came to be considered "the first post modern rock band" by some critics cause of their skepticism to the grand narrative of human progress (and even embracing and celebrating regression as inescapable) .
Of course, most people who are passingly familiar with old DEVO hits may not even be aware that there ever was a philosophy to any of it because of their general sarcasm and ironic sense of humor that accompanies all their "fuck you"s in their songs makes it feel a lot more spontaneous.
Here's some early DEVO that you might not be too familiar with if all you know is "whip it".
Okay so, Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Siouxsie and the Banshees are considered one of the pioneers of the goth rock subgenre.
Personally I am not all that familiar with their music, beyond maybe a handful of tracks but we can't talk about post-punk without mentioning one of the big post-punk acts that influenced goth.
So, because I am lazy at the moment, I will copy paste some of their wiki page.
[i]Siouxsie and the Banshees were a British rock band, formed in London in 1976 by vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bass guitarist Steven Severin and disbanded in 1996 (with a brief reunion in 2002). They have been widely influential, both over their contemporaries and with later acts. Q included John McKay's guitar playing on "Hong Kong Garden" in their list of "100 Greatest Guitar Track Ever", while Mojo rated guitarist John McGeoch in their list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" for his work on "Spellbound". The Times cited the group as "one of the most audacious and uncompromising musical adventurers of the post-punk era".
Initially associated with the punk scene, the band rapidly evolved to create "a form of post-punk discord full of daring rhythmic and sonic experimentation". Their debut album The Scream was released in 1978 to widespread critical acclaim. In 1980, they changed their musical direction and became "almost a different band" with Kaleidoscope, which peaked at number 5 in the UK Albums Chart. With Juju (1981) which also reached the top 10, they became an influence on the emerging gothic scene. In 1988, the band made a breakthrough in North America with the multifaceted album Peepshow, which received critical praise. With substantial support from alternative rock radio stations, they achieved a mainstream hit in the US in 1991 with the single "Kiss Them for Me".
During their career, Siouxsie and the Banshees released 11 studio albums and 30 singles. The band experienced several line-up changes, with Siouxsie and Severin being the only constant members. They disbanded in 1996, with Siouxsie and drummer Budgie continuing to record music as the Creatures, a second band they had formed in the early 1980s. In 2004, Siouxsie began a solo career.
Okay, so ... Wire.
Wire were another highly influential punk act that became a post-punk act on the late 70s. Originally part of the British side of the first wave of punk, Wire's first album "Pink Flag" would go on to be a big influence on the formation of Hardcore punk in the early 80s. And with later sonic experimentations and unconventional song structures being a huge influence on post-punk in general, including noise rock.
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I don't know anything about music except for "this sounds nice"
It's one of the every single subject I am a total idiot about.
De Heideroosjes are said to be punk.
I haven't seen Ebon around in a while now...
Modern English is a nice example of how many post-punk type bands will be only known for having a few hits or one hit but actually have a "deep bench" (to use a sports metaphor).
This is possibly my favorite of their songs, which isn't their iconic "I Melt With You" (though I love that one as well):