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CRASS - "The Feeding of 5000" (1978)

MAGAZINE - "Real Life" (1978)

Manchester, England

Magazine was one of the first post-punk groups, formed following Howard Devoto's departure from the Buzzcocks. If you're looking for those catchy hooks that made the Buzzcocks so great, don't worry, you'll find them here too. If you're looking for simple, stripped down, power-pop, keep looking, 'cause this is some next level shit. Fans of both David Bowie/Iggy Pop styled rock and 77 punk will be quite happy with this one. "Shot By Both Sides" is the obvious stand out track here.

A1 Definitive Gaze 4:25
A2 My Tulpa 4:47
A3 Shot by Both Sides 4:01
A4 Recoil 2:52
A5 Burst 5:01
B1 Motorcade 5:44
B2 The Great Beautician in the Sky 5:00
B3 The Light Pours Out of Me 4:36
B4 Parade 5:18

SCRATCH ACID - "Scratch Acid" (1984)

Austin, TX
Noise Rock

"The first full (or fuller) release from Scratch Acid following a compilation appearance, the band's self-titled debut makes an intriguing historical document — on the one hand, it's not too hard to draw the immediate connection to the Jesus Lizard, but on the other, it's clearly not that later incarnation, not yet. David Yow's singing, high and strangulated as it might be, is surprisingly intelligible throughout, while guitarist Brett Bradford, though perfectly serviceable as a player, isn't Duane Denison when it comes to completely gone and fried guitar parts. He raises one hell of a racket when he can nonetheless, while the David Sims/Rey Washam rhythm section comes up with a taut enough post-punk thrash that actually does emphasize the bass, something of a rarity for the band's time and place. The roots of the band are perfectly clear as well — "Greatest Gift" couldn't be any more of a specific Cramps tribute if they tried, Yow pulling off a pretty good Lux Interior, while "Monsters" reinterprets the Birthday Party's frenzied bacchanalias and "El Espectro" could be proto-tribal-goth from either the U.K. or L.A. circa 1982. Unexpected elements like the weird, moody string arrangement that courses throughout "Owner's Lament" — courtesy of Washam — and the female spoken word part on (appropriately) "She Said" work even better given the clear enough mix. Then there are various vomiting noises by Yow toward the end of "Mess," a little taster of where things would yet eventually end up." -by Ned Raggett

A1 Cannibal 2:24
A2 Greatest Gift 2:11
A3 Monsters 1:19
A4 Owner's Lament 4:39
B1 She Said 2:27
B2 Mess 2:22
B3 El Espectro 3:39
B4 Lay Screaming 2:47

Associated acts:
RAPEMAN - "Two Nuns and a Pack Mule" (1988)
THE JESUS LIZARD - "Goat" (1991)

Recommended listening:
BUTTHOLE SURFERS - "Butthole Surfers" (1983)
BIG BLACK - "Songs About Fucking" (1987)


GANG OF FOUR - "Solid Gold" (1981)

Leeds, England

Before Gang of Four turned into new wave garbage, there was first Entertainment! and then there was Solid Gold. The first, may have a harsher, more "explosive" sound (as many put it) but it's this record that I really get into. It's dissonant, jagged post-punk, with elements of reggae, funk, and almost at times (god forbid) disco. And nobody in the early British punk or post-punk scene has bass licks this killer. On top of all of that, are highly thoughtful and political themes ranging from social responsiblity, Marxism, and jabs at both England and America for all their many faults. It doesn't take a soap box, holier-than-thou, preachy attitude, but rather a "hey, this is what's wrong, let's do something about it, alright?" stance. This has been one of my favorites from this era for a long time. I greatly encourage you to check this out, as well as their debut LP.

A1 Paralysed 3:21
A2 What We All Want 4:56
A3 If I Could Keep It for Myself 4:08
A4 Outside the Trains Don't Run on Time 3:16
A5 Why Theory? 2:30
B1 Cheeseburger 4:04
B2 The Republic 3:20
B3 In the Ditch 4:19
B4 A Hole in the Wallet 4:01
B5 He'd Send in the Army 4:27

More from Gang of Four:
"Entertainment!" (1979)

Recommended listening:
TALKING HEADS - "Talking Heads: 77" (1977)
WIRE - "Chairs Missing" (1978)
PUBLIC IMAGE LTD - "First Issue" (1978)

JOY DIVISION - "An Ideal For Living" (1978)

Manchester, England

As great as both Unknown Pleasures and Closer are, this is the part of Joy Division's history that I really like. At the time of this recording they were still called Warsaw. They had a much different, yet still very familiar sound. The guitars are rougher and the drums have a more straight forward, choppy feel. It's much more punk than post-punk. Ian's vocals aren't as deep and are lacking that "gothic sound". Instead, there's a more nasally, almost sneering brit punk feel too it, but snotty and in-your-face like the Damned or the Sex Pistols. So by no means do I mean to belittle any of of their later output, but I really, REALLY love this EP. The opening track is hands down one of the best songs Joy Division ever wrote.

A1 Warsaw 2:25
A2 No Love Lost 3:43
B1 Leaders of Men 2:35
B2 Failures 3:44

Recommended listening:
WIRE - "Pink Flag" (1977)
BAUHAUS - "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (1979)
DE BRASSERS - "De Brassers" (1981)


SWANS - "Filth" (1983)

New York City, NY
No Wave/Industrial/Noise Rock

This record is fucked up and will make you unhappy.

A1 Stay Here 5:36
A2 Big Strong Boss 3:02
A3 Blackout 3:46
A4 Power for Power 5:53
B1 Freak 1:13
B2 Right Wrong 4:42
B3 Thank You 3:52
B4 Weakling 5:20
B5 Gang 3:19

More from Swans:
"Swans" (1982)
"Cop" (1984)

WIPERS - "Is This Real?" (1980)

Portland, OR

Even with keeping Poison Idea in mind, Wipers are hands down the most amazing band to ever come out of Portland, OR, and one of the best the northwest has ever produced. While this record is definitely within the post-punk realm, it has a much more stripped down, raw approach, maintaining a familiararity with the straight forward punk rock at the time. Also, if you're familiar with Nirvana's catalogue, you'll recognize "D-7" and "Return of the Rat" off this record.

A1 Return of the Rat 2:43
A2 Mystery 1:51
A3 Up Front 3:09
A4 Let's Go Let's Go Away 1:52
A5 Is This Real? 2:41
A6 Tragedy 2:04
A7 Alien Boy 3:28
B1 D-7 4:08
B2 Potential Suicide 3:37
B3 Don't Know What I Am 2:59
B4 Window Shop for Love 3:03
B5 Wait a Minute 3:06

More from Wipers:
"Youth of America" (1981)
"Over the Edge" (1983)

Recommended listening:
MINUTEMEN - "The Punch Line" (1981)

KILLING JOKE - "What's THIS For...!" (1981)

London, England

Virtually all mechanical sounding, heavily distorted, industrial rock and metal is following directly in the footsteps of Killing Joke. For better or worse, they are one of the most influential groups on the last 30 years. This is their second album.

A1 The Fall of Because 5:11
A2 Tension 4:31
A3 Unspeakable 5:18
A4 Butcher 6:09
B1 Follow the Leaders 5:32
B2 Madness 7:41
B3 Who Told You How? 3:37
B4 Exit 3:40

More from Killing Joke:
"Killing Joke" (1980)

Recommeded listening:
BAUHAUS - "In the Flat Field" (1980)
ALIEN SEX FIEND - "Acid Bath" (1984)
BIG BLACK - "Songs About Fucking" (1987)

X-RAY SPEX - "Germfree Adolescents" (1978)

London, England

Don't let those silly new waver outfits on the cover fool you, this is some good old raw '77 punk the way it's supposed to be. I hate to pigeonhole this band with other punk bands of the time just because of the female vocals, but... well, if you like the Avengers or X (but with a saxophone) then this is right up your alley. Unlike the previously mentioned groups, I feel like X-Ray Spex are terribly underrated and more or less forgotten about. "I Am a Poseur" is one of my favorite punk rock jams of the 70's.

A1 Art-I-Ficial 3:21
A2 Obsessed With You 2:26
A3 Warrior in Woolworths 3:04
A4 Let's Submerge 3:23
A5 I Can't Do Anything 2:55
A6 Identity 2:22
B1 Genetic Engineering 2:45
B2 I Live Off You 2:06
B3 I Am a Poseur 2:29
B4 Germfree Adolescents 3:09
B5 Plastic Bag 4:56
B6 The Day the World Turned Dayglo 2:50


PUBLIC IMAGE LTD - "First Issue" (1978)

London, England

You might know of PiL because John Lydon, formery Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, started the group after the collapse of his previous band. But don't let the Sex Pistols' relative mediocrity fool you, this is some of the most explosive, original, and just god damn best music to come out of London in the late 70's... which says quite a bit.

A1 Theme 9:11
A2 Religion I 1:25
A3 Religion II 5:53
A4 Annalisa 6:05
B1 Public Image 3:01
B2 Low Life 3:38
B3 Attack 2:55
B4 Fodderstompf 7:46

MISSION OF BURMA - "Vs." (1982)

Boston, MA

"Boston's finest art-punk trio-plus-tape-guy recorded just one studio full-length, and it's a massive legacy. Assessable not in tunes but in grinding velocity, it's texturally complex and high-energy. Roger Miller's guitar varies from hypnotic repetition on "Trem Two" to sounding like a power line flailing in a pool of rain, while the rhythmic noise divides into shards for Martin Swope's tape manipulations; Miller as vocalist is prone to outbursts and declamations, while Clint Conley sings with his vulnerabilities in barbed wire on his sleeve." -Chris Dahlen/Pitchfork

"It's daunting to imagine just how far Mission of Burma could have taken its music had Roger Miller's hearing problems not caused the band to break up the following year, but regardless of lost potential, very few American bands from the 1980s released an album as ambitious or as powerful as Vs., and it still sounds like a classic. Rykodisc's remastered 1997 reissue sounds terrific and adds four solid bonus tracks." -Mark Deming/Allmusic

A1 Secrets 3:20
A2 Train 3:28
A3 Trem Two 4:06
A4 New Nails 2:56
A5 Dead Pool 4:04
A6 Learn How 3:53
B1 Mica 3:34
B2 Weatherbox 3:25
B3 The Ballad of Johnny Burma 2:01
B4 Einstein's Day 4:32
B5 Fun World 3:39
B6 That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate

More from Mission of Burma:
"Signals, Calls, and Marches" (1981)

ABWÄRTS - "Amok Koma" (1980)

Hamburg, (West) Germany

If you're into Wire, Gang of Four, krautrock or post-punk there really isn't any reason you shouldn't like this. Two early members of Abwärts left in the early 80's to join Berlin's Einstürzende Neubauten.

A1 Maschinenland (2:57)
A2 Karo 1/4 - 08/15 Hoch 2 (0:34)
A3 Monday On My Mind (2:38)
A4 Shanghai Stinker (2:45)
A5 Bel Ami (2:01)
A6 Verzählt (2:58)
A7 Softly, Softly (1:58)
B1 Unfall (4:00)
B2 Mehr (4:27)
B3 Türkenblues (3:52)
B4 Neon Kind (3:20)
B5 Ich Bin Stumm (2:16)
B6 Japan (Live) (3:52)

Associated acts:
EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN - "Kalte Sterne" (1981)

Recommended listening:
WIRE - "Pink Flag" (1977)
GANG OF FOUR - "Entertainment!" (1979)
FEHLFARBEN - "Monarchie und Alltag" (1980)


WIRE - "Pink Flag" (1977)

London, England

This is as close you can get to writing the perfect record, and in fact, it may be the perfect record. This is exactly what a punk record should be. Nobody, not even Wire themselves, could ever outshine this record in any way, shape, or form. I'm really not kidding even a little bit when I say this is the greatest record ever cut. Particular favorites include "Mannequin", "1 2 X U", "Three Girl Rhumba", "Brazil", and "Straight Line".

A1 Reuters 3:03
A2 Field Day for the Sundays 0:28
A3 Three Girl Rhumba 1:23
A4 Ex Lion Tamer 2:19
A5 Lowdown 2:26
A6 Start to Move 1:13
A7 Brazil 0:41
A8 It's So Obvious 0:53
A9 Surgeon's Girl 1:17
A10 Pink Flag 3:47
B1 The Commercial 0:49
B2 Straight Line 0:44
B3 106 Beats That 1:12
B4 Mr. Suit 1:25
B5 Strange 3:58
B6 Fragile 1:18
B7 Mannequin 2:37
B8 Different to Me 0:43
B9 Champs 1:46
B10 Feeling Called Love 1:22
B11 12 X U 1:55

PS - The name of this blog is taken from a song on this record. Do yourself a favor and find out which one.

More from Wire:
"Chairs Missing" (1978)
"The Peel Sessions" (1978)
"154" (1979)

Associated acts:
DOME - "Dome" (1980)

Recommended listening:
ABWÄRTS - "Amok Koma" (1980)
FEHLFARBEN - "Monarchie und Alltag" (1980)