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Friday, 28 April 2017

Punk/New Wave and Post-Punk: The Sound of 1979 #1

A little something for the weekend, a nice blast through some of the tunes that were the Soundtrack to my life when I was 16 years old!

A nice mix of twenty tracks that includes some Punk/New Wave Classics and a few Post-Punk numbers for good measure. Enjoy.

On The Playlist
Love Song - The Damned
The Damned were back in business, with a new label (Chiswick), a new single (that would be their first ever Top 20 record), a new member (Algy Ward on Bass) and one of the greatest albums of 1979 (Machine Gun Etiquette released in November 1979 #31 UK Charts).

Danger Signs - Penetration
The North East band's fourth single on Virgin and in 1979 they would also release their second album Coming Up For Air (UK Chart #36). Yet another single that failed to chart but nevertheless is an absolute cracking song.

The Eton Rifles - The Jam
The Eton Rifles became one of the most successful singles by The Jam as it reached #3 in the charts (in 1980 they would make it to #1 twice). Their fourth album in three years would follow soon after the release of the single with Setting Sons hitting #4 in the UK Album Chart.

New Way - The Wall
Debut single for The Wall on Small Wonder Records and what an absolute cracker it is as well. The band hail from Sunderland and formed in 1978. John Peel gave a lot of airplay to this one leading to sales of over 10,000 copies. Their second single for Small Wonder Records - Exchange - was produced by Steve Jones (ex-Pistols).

Jah War - Ruts
Jah War was the third single from the Ruts to be released on Virgin Records (their fourth overall) and it was actually the only single on the label by the band that didn't chart! The song was written in the aftermath of the Southall unrest and the over-use of force by the Metropolitan Police Service's Special Patrol Group in 1979 when they attacked Clarence Baker, a member of Misty In Roots, was severely beaten and injured by the SPG during a protest in Southall against a National Front march. The Ruts - who were partners of and had their debut single released by the People Unite cooperative - honoured him in "Jah War" which was released as a single and on their album The Crack the same year.

All The Boys Love Carrie - Another Pretty Face
I remember when this came out on the New Pleasures label but it kind of got lost among the great mix of music that was going about at the time. The band hailed from Edinburgh and Mike Scott would go on to greater fame and fortune with The Waterboys.

Language School - Tours
This was also released in May 1979 and came in a number of different colour picture sleeves. It was on their own Tours Rec. label. They only released one other single - Tourist Information (on Virgin) which I actually didn't like too much. Language School on the other hand was a single I loved the moment I heard it and to this day is still one of my favourite singles from that period of musical history.

Fairytale In The Supermarket - The Raincoats
Released on Rough Trade Records in April 1979 and yet another classic single Debut Single from that time. They toured with Swiss band Kleenex.
Interest in the band was later renewed when Kurt Cobain of Nirvana took an interest in them and wrote the liner notes for a reissued version of their Debut Album:
"I don't really know anything about The Raincoats except that they recorded some music that has affected me so much that, whenever I hear it I'm reminded of a particular time in my life when I was (shall we say) extremely unhappy, lonely, and bored. If it weren't for the luxury of putting that scratchy copy of The Raincoats' first record, I would have had very few moments of peace. I suppose I could have researched a bit of history about the band but I feel it's more important to delineated the way I feel and how they sound. When I listen to The Raincoats I feel as if I'm a stowaway in an attic, violating and in the dark. Rather than listening to them I feel like I'm listening in on them. We're together in the same old house and I have to be completely still or they will hear me spying from above and, if I get caught - everything will be ruined because it's their thing." - Cobain's liner notes for The Raincoats.

Into The Valley - Skids
Having impressed greatly in 1978 with a cracking Debut Charles EP and then Sweet Suburbia and the Wide Open EP (which included The Saints Are Coming), January 1979 kicked off with a massive single that reached #10 in the UK.

The Sound of The Suburbs - The Members
Virgin Records had a great stable of acts in 1978-79 (including Ruts, Skids, Magazine and The Motors to name but a few) and another cracking band on the label were The Members. Also released in January 1979, it reached #12 on the charts. 1979 would also see the release of their Debut Album At The Chelsea Nightclub (#45 UK Album Chart). The single was released as a Limited Edition on Clear Vinyl. It was a fine follow up to their one off single for Stiff Records in 1978 (Solitary Confinement). It is regarded by many as one of the classic songs of the whole Punk/New Wave scene.

Life In A Day - Simple Minds
Meanwhile on Zoom Records former Johnny and The Self Abusers members who had split into two bands (the other being The Cuban Heels) released their Debut Single in April 1979.
I really liked this one when it came out, actually got a free copy of it from a friend of my Dad who worked at a pressing plant. It did chart at #62 but they would actually go on to bigger and better success throughout the 1980s.

Nag Nag Nag - Cabaret Voltaire
Released on Rough Trade as was their Debut Extended Play EP (1978). I had seen them support Buzzcocks in 1978 and they didn't go down too well among the Lyceum crowd! Whilst never really a favourite band of mine I liked the strangeness of this particular single. As a group they had actually been around as early as 1973! They hailed from Sheffield.

The Glory of the World - Gloria Mundi
The song was actually released as a single in 1978 but I include it here as it was on their Second album The Word Is Out that was released in 1979 on RCA Records. They were probably one of the first Goth type bands I ever saw I think (though maybe it was Bauhaus as they supported Gloria Mundi at The Marquee in 1978! The less said about that show the better!).

Rock 'n' Roll High School - Ramones
Whilst the musical landscape might have been changing with more electronic sounds of synths and keyboards there was one band you could trust in that maintained that rock 'n' roll was to be played with drums, bass and guitar. Yep, the Ramones were still blasting it out as they had always done! 1979 would see their film debut and this single was put out in support of the movie and the Soundtrack.

Harmony In My Head - Buzzcocks
Must admit that I don't think I have ever stumbled across a Red Picture Sleeve for this one before as I had the Blue Sleeve. A real cracking single and a shame as it really should have been a bigger hit (it only made it to #32). One of Steve Diggle's finest tunes I think.

Transmission - Joy Division
Was a big hit on the Indie Chart reaching #4 and yet another great band out of Manchester. They would also release an absolutely stunning Debut Album - Uknown Pleasures - in June 1979 also on Factory Records. Version on the Playlist is from their appearance on BBC's Something Else progamme.

Culture Shock - Shake

Where's The Boy For Me? - The Revillos
Two bands to rise from the ashes of The Rezillos. First off Shake which featured guitarist Jo Callis and then The Revillos that featured Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds. Culture Shock was released as a 10" EP on Sire Records and Where's The Boy For Me? was the first ever release on the Dindisc label.

20th Century Boy - Siouxsie and The Banshees
B-side of their second single The Staircase (Mystery) and a fantastic cover of the old T-Rex song originally released in 1973. The single was released in March 1979 and reached #24 on the UK Singles Chart.

World War/ Rockers - U.K. Subs
We end with a double header, the B-Sides to Stranglehold, their Debut Single for GEM Records in 1979. Charlie Harper is still in action and tomorrow will be strutting his stuff along with the U.K. Subs at the Scotland Calling Festival in Glasgow.



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