Modern Post Punk Primer

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Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by shadowplay » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:35 am

I've a had a few PM's asking me if I'd fancy doing a guide to 'modern' :whistle: Post Punk stuff along the lines of my old guide to the in period stuff. Luckily for the two people who might be interested I was forced to be party to a tedious 2 hour conference call and this gave me the time to do this. I guess the terminology is a bit of a red herring but time has somehow formed Post Punk into a genre of sorts. I decided it would be easiest to just pick out 20 albums (whcih due to me not being able to count actually number 22) which means a lot of acts that only have 12's or 7's are omitted and this rules out Factory Floor, PINS and a many others (no matter how much I like them) but I felt it would be cleaner to have some lines to work within. I also think that albums by the likes of Vessel and Silent Servant could comfortably slide between these lines but I've left them out mainly because this is a guitar forum. I have not included the current market leader because I personally thought their album was dull.

I've linked to each album and selected a track, pretty much everything is available as a digital file but a lot of the vinyl is long gone and only available in very small numbers. Pretty much every record here got a bad review on Pitchfork :D

In no order on particular.

Mushy - Breathless. Song example-I don't Care

Beautiful, maudlin album of dreamlike post punk. Her singing reminds of a sweetened Anja Huwe.

Eraas - Eraas. Example track -Briar Path.

A very exciting album, euphoric, dark and dense in turn. In many ways makes me think of 'O'rangs black clad younger brother.

Flaamingos - Flaamingos Example track - All I Wanna Do Is Live

Hang their hats on more obvious post punk tropes but they draw a line between Joy Division low end and the Smiths winsome croon that's quite affecting. Amusing that I'd been listening for a while and I was pretty surprised they were American because they put on an English accent.

Tropic of Cancer - The End Of All Things Example track Be Brave

Up to now they have been an EP band and they have released a stream of fantastic 12's. Their album is due out next month but the one above is an EP compilation. Over the years the make up of the band has changed Juan Mendez went of to work on his Silent Servant alias and was replaced by Taylor Burch from DVA Damas.

RETRIEVER - The Rattle And The Hiss Example track - Horizon

I love their singers Mackem accent and their sweet blend of post JAMC grind and elegant Banshee swirl. I'm a bit disappointed in their newer material, they should fire the drummer and go back to a machine.

Tunnels - Blackout Example Track - Without Light

That this album has tracks called Solid Space and Deux is all you need to know. Spotting the musical references is all good clean fun for the family.

Phosphor - Youth And Immortality Example track - Dark of Summer

Phosphor look VERY young but they are also very good. A sumptuous blend of minimal wave and downy dreampop.

Black Marble - A Different Arrangement. Example track - A Great Design

Thanks to OSG member Cestlamort for pointing me to this beautifully poised dark minimalwave album

Puce Moment - Puce Moment Example track - (drive)

Very much in tune with the more 'true' industrial side of Post Punk walking aline between Chris and Cosey and AC Marias.

Sons & Daughters - Mirror Mirror Example track - Rose Red

Might seem odd recommending this if you only know their early material but this records is a superb evocation of post punk and it's produced by one guy I know that really knows the music.

Ashrae Fax - Static Crash! Example track - Ectome

Kinda drifting out the 'early' period here because this is more like a minimal wave band playing the Cocteau Twins but it's a good and interesting release. Or re-release because this record is a repunt of a forgotten CDr from ten years ago.

Two Lone Swordsmen - From the Double Gone Chapel Example track - Damp

A bit older than most of the selections but it was an important marker in the rehabilitation of this sort of sound. Ten years ago people generally sneered at Play Dead style basslines. Weatherall like Twitch who produced the Sons & Daughters record is one of the few folk who I think have a good understanding of post punk and how it fits in with what came before and after.

DVA Damas - Nightshade Example track - Nightshade

Dark, twangy and yet playful...evoking a panda eyed Sparkle Moore with her 'billy hiccuping style.

Blank Dogs - Land And Fixed Example track - Another Language

often sounding like some lost Cure demos from the mid 80's but not in a bad way.

White Hex - Heat Example track - Holiday

white light Jaguar clang, wends it's way between evoking HTRK and Tropic of Cancer while absolutely having bags of it's own thing.

Led Er Est - Dust on Common Example track - Scissors

I think what made this stand out on release was it's sense of playfulness and a certain dancevision... I think that their EP's are their best material but this is a great album too.

Prostitutes - Crushed Interior Example track - Dial tone Degradation

this is a great example of the sort of stuff that blurred the lines between post punk and emerging electronic music. Stuff like Shoc Corridor had the dark heart of much Post Punk but it was on it's own path. I'm also amused by the track posed passing resemblance to Floorshow/Phantom by the Sisters of Mercy.

The Present Moment - Loyal to a Fault Example track - The Distance Between Us

It was hard to choose between their albums but I went with Loyal to a Fault over The High Road because THR is much more like dark electropop.

Colder - Heat Example track - To the Music

a little bit older than some of the selections but an important album in my opinion, bridging the gap between dance music and dark music cultures.

Newclear Waves - Newclear Waves Example track -The Black Hand

Has that authentic Italian cassette only feel, with it's buzzing synth basslines and Dictaphone vocals.

HTRK - Work (Work, Work) Example track Body Double

had a wee debate about including this. Sure it has some Post Punk tropes but it's a modernist record IMO. Both (later) HTRK and Jonnines husbands band Standish/Carlyon make me think of Pink Industry with their rattling drum machine handclaps and hissing cymbals.

Standish/Carlyon - Deleted Scenes Example track - Critics Multiply

Hanging this on the Post Punk peg really depends if you think of Japan as post punk...I do.

Flits between modern bass pop, Japan like moves, blue eyed soul and the percussive movements of Pink Industry

D
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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by shadowplay » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:47 am

Add more recommendations if you want.

D
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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by noisepunk » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:24 am

Awesome, thanks for taking the time to make that :)

Here's a few I've found over the past year that I really liked:

Carmen Villain- Sleeper. This is probably the most traditional post-punk sounding track on the album: Turn a Shell.

Screature- Screature. To me, they sound like they easily could've been from the early 80's, but not in a direct copy sort of way. They have a few tracks off the album available for free download on the previous link, and the same tracks streaming on soundcloud; this is my favorite of those- really cool lead guitar "riff" (for lack of a better word), and a few unexpected twists: Siren.

Naked on the Vague. I own their first full length, which is very no-wave-y- this is from a more recent single, and is more musical (but don't let that dissuade you- it's still delightfully evil sounding ;) )- Dissatisfaction.

And, I'm a little surprised shadowplay didn't mention these guys, who's latest single (haven't heard the whole album) was a little "meh", but whose previous album is one of my favorites ever- also, one of only a few american post punk bands that I've found that are any good:

Weekend-Sports: Youth Haunts.

And, finally, I'm not 100% sure this 100% fits- it's not very tuneful for one- but it would probably appeal to someone into some of the above. I'm also pretty sure the artist has been around a little while (their latest release contains music that was recorded as early as 1999), but the lack of information online about that tells me they're obscure enough that they might as well be brand new:

Retconned- White Rats; this is the only track I've found online, but it's a good example of their (his) schtick- White Rose.
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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by DrOctagon » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:51 am

:-*

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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by Sound for Sandwiches » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:13 am

I guess I don't know what post-punk is, in spite of claiming to be a fan of the style for years. I've only heard of one of these bands before (blank dogs) and I wouldn't have described them as post punk. I started forming a list in my head of what I would suggest and only 1 or 2 of the bands had a synth or drum machine. They're by and large all faster, noisier, and more angular than anything listed here so far.

I did like several of the suggested tracks- White Hex, Screature, Naked on the Vague... will be delving deeper into those bands for sure. Thanks for taking the time to list it all.

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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by shadowplay » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:26 am

Sound for Sandwiches wrote:I guess I don't know what post-punk is, in spite of claiming to be a fan of the style for years.
Interesting, for me it's pretty simple; Punk in itself was never that interesting to me, what was interesting is how it enabled and encouraged artists though it's aftershocks. I guess that over the years Post Punk has become a style but to me it's more about the aftermath of the punk explosion (hell even the 'influences' were influenced; like say Dieter Moebius). It's one of my things, I've literally thousands and thousands of records that you could chuck in this genre but they aren't generally hidebound by guitar/bass/drums. To me Monoton are Post Punk, Chris and Cosey are Post Punk, lowland Minimal Wave groups are post punk, Monte Cazazza is Post Punk, Cabaret Voltaire are Post Punk, Fad Gadget is Post Punk, Robert Rental & Thomas Leer are Post Punk, Malaria! are Post Punk. It's a broad church, at least the way I look at it and being of an age that I bought records in period my instinct is perhaps contrary to some of the people who didn't. Genre is pretty fluid sometimes but I always go on instinct and maybe experience.

D

Noisepunk; nice selections.
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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by Monkeytrick » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:41 am

Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll check them all for sure. :?
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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by echobaseone » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:08 am

I'm very fond of the Lights, one of my favorite NW bands.
Not sure if they're still active, but here's one from the early 00s
http://grooveshark.com/#!/search/song?q ... of+Hearing

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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by Sound for Sandwiches » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:07 am

shadowplay wrote:
Sound for Sandwiches wrote:I guess I don't know what post-punk is, in spite of claiming to be a fan of the style for years.
Interesting, for me it's pretty simple; Punk in itself was never that interesting to me, what was interesting is how it enabled and encouraged artists though it's aftershocks. I guess that over the years Post Punk has become a style but to me it's more about the aftermath of the punk explosion (hell even the 'influences' were influenced; like say Dieter Moebius). It's one of my things, I've literally thousands and thousands of records that you could chuck in this genre but they aren't generally hidebound by guitar/bass/drums. To me Monoton are Post Punk, Chris and Cosey are Post Punk, lowland Minimal Wave groups are post punk, Monte Cazazza is Post Punk, Cabaret Voltaire are Post Punk, Fad Gadget is Post Punk, Robert Rental & Thomas Leer are Post Punk, Malaria! are Post Punk. It's a broad church, at least the way I look at it and being of an age that I bought records in period my instinct is perhaps contrary to some of the people who didn't. Genre is pretty fluid sometimes but I always go on instinct and maybe experience.

D

Noisepunk; nice selections.
I guess I always took the description of a band as post punk at face value, like you say it was about the aftershocks of punk but in my head it always cut a wider stylistic swath. I also didn't start forming my own musical opinions until the 1990s so I didn't live through the immediate punk aftermath as a music consumer. the punk explosion left a lot of things in its wake, some but not all of which, to my ears, lives in the goth, dance, electronic, darkwave spectrum. I guess a lot of it's about the rocknroll family tree and where people trace their lineage, which I think is what you're getting at.

Really though, my comment wasn't meant to question your formulation of the genre or style, but just to reflect on my own lack of awareness of a big chunk of music that exists out there. I've always had a pretty lowbrow/pop approach to music even though from a mainstream perspective I would be considered a nerd, snob, or whatever depending on how charitable you are, because I listen to a lot of obscure DIY bands and have ammassed a lot of vinyl. I also fall into the bucket of thinking there's still a lot to explore in the basic guitar/bass/drums idiom and that punk and its offshoots are part of that.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing what else is recommended in this thread.

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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by noisepunk » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:51 pm

Sound for Sandwiches wrote: I guess I always took the description of a band as post punk at face value, like you say it was about the aftershocks of punk but in my head it always cut a wider stylistic swath. I also didn't start forming my own musical opinions until the 1990s so I didn't live through the immediate punk aftermath as a music consumer. the punk explosion left a lot of things in its wake, some but not all of which, to my ears, lives in the goth, dance, electronic, darkwave spectrum. I guess a lot of it's about the rocknroll family tree and where people trace their lineage, which I think is what you're getting at.

Really though, my comment wasn't meant to question your formulation of the genre or style, but just to reflect on my own lack of awareness of a big chunk of music that exists out there. I've always had a pretty lowbrow/pop approach to music even though from a mainstream perspective I would be considered a nerd, snob, or whatever depending on how charitable you are, because I listen to a lot of obscure DIY bands and have ammassed a lot of vinyl. I also fall into the bucket of thinking there's still a lot to explore in the basic guitar/bass/drums idiom and that punk and its offshoots are part of that.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing what else is recommended in this thread.
Just to add another side to this genre discussion coin: the way I see it, genres like this typically can be looked at as two different entities that were initially one and the same. There's the sound, or whatever other superficial elements there are (because I believe this works for genres and movements in practically every creative medium; and I use superficial very literally, and in no way mean to degrade), and there's the ethos behind it.

Punk is a good example of this because people often include bands in the punk movement that were far from the fast, loud and angry sound that most people think of- to me, it's equally valid to call a band punk because they fit the sound as it is to call a band punk because they embody the ideology.
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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by fakeplasticdreams » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:48 am

i own that carmen villain record and both the naked on the vague ones - ace stuff!

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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by vunko » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:51 am

lots of good music in this thread.

as for post-punk and what it is, I think that the punk explosion in the 70s had spawned 2 different currents - one that remained the same more or less, as a punk genre that later on spawned its own subgenres; and post-punk; that for a time even coexisted with early punk despite its name. lots of people circulated between those two currents (Johnny Rotten with PIL and the Sex Pistols), but the main driving force for the post-punk to those bands was the urge to make something new and unconventional for the time when punk had mostly reached its limits musically and aesthetically. punk and all that it stood for was just a platform for artists too sensible, arty or radical to be cocconed in a genre in which you had to have a certain haircut (for instance) and play fast and angrily to fit in, and everything we call post-punk today is a result of exploration of such artists, IMHO. punk was a slap in the face to stuff like overindulgent prog rock bands of the 70s, but in the punk scenes where knowing 3 chords was enough, there still were musicians with great skills and higher/different creative aspirations. not that I'm bashing punk, because I love it as well and there are many examples (The Clash, for instance) that can serve me as a counterargument, the end of the 70s/early 80s were incredibly creative and exciting years for music.

nowadays, post-punk can be innovative, but as every more or less developed genre, it's another thing you can take form the menu if you dig its aesthetics. I grew up in Yugoslavia, a country that had an incredibly vibrant scene in the 80s, on par with the British and US scenes of the time. the influence of music from those times cannot be stressed enough, in my book.

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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by shadowplay » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:36 am

vunko wrote:higher/different creative aspirations. .
This is pretty much the crux of the matter for me, sure there were more technically capable musicians that thrived in the aftermath of punk but it's clear that it enabled 'non' musicians and the more performance art orientated side of things (who were as likely to make pop as they were to make music as art). Although this sort of character had existed before (Hans-Joachim Roedelius being a great example), the punk explosion and the increasing accessibility of electronic equipment led to a burgeoning culture that existed outside of and aside from the 4 man in a van jamming culture. This then helped form the building blocks for electronic (and dance) music as we know it today. Societal change and technology together can often be powerful allies, there's a whole raft of (in particular but not exclusively) female solo artist auteurs operating at the moment who have been enabled by tech to be their own band.

I think somewhere along the way from the early 80's the electronic side and the 'band' side somehow drifted apart in the popular conciousness but in period I certainly never considered them something separate and I tunnelled right into the 'Futurist :fp: Chart' in Sounds as much as looked for the guitar side of things. It was all the same thing as far as I was/am concerned, fuck even though it's Disco Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder felt as much part of what was happening as Joy Division did, both carried that sense of otherness in the beauty in bleakness (Joy Division) and a sense of cold delirium in glamour.

D
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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by vunko » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:20 am

i wholeheartedly agree ^^

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Re: Modern Post Punk Primer

Post by noisepunk » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:44 am

fakeplasticdreams wrote:i own that carmen villain record and both the naked on the vague ones - ace stuff!
I need to grab a copy of the two newer Naked on the Vague albums (I guess they released a mini album in 2011). And yeah, the Carmen Villian album is easily one of my favorites of the past year- i love no one track sounds the same as another, but it's all still very cohesive.
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