I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was planning to do a series of posts trawling through some of the lesser known punk bands from the dim and distant past, ie the early 80s. At least one person thought that sounded like a good idea, so I can now announce that the start of the series is imminent!
Why the 80s and not the more obvious 77 period? One reason is that the early 80s has often been overlooked or dismissed as some kind of pantomime rerun for those who’d missed the boat. Personally I prefer the output of the 80s bands overall. There’s a more gritty feel to a lot of these records which were mostly made by angry oiks who were genuinely on the dole without much in the way of prospects, as opposed to being on their way to a media career (although that’s simplifying things slightly – just ask Penny Rimbaud or Garry Bushell). This was not just a rehash but saw punk being pushed in new directions , or at least much further in the same direction – bands like Discharge or Antisect certainly didn’t sound like anything that existed in 77. It wasn’t all about making punk faster, louder and more metallic though, as there were, hidden away, plenty of catchy, even tuneful, records being made by bands picking up on different influences. A lot of these bands, despite splitting relatively unknown many years ago, have gone on to have an influence on punk bands around the world. Record labels such as Captain Oi, Anagram and Overground have reissued a lot of the records and finally a few years ago a couple of decent books, Ian Glasper’s Burning Britain and The Day The Country Died, appeared covering these bands in depth for the first time. Not to mention the ongoing reunions.
My plan is with each post to do a write up on a different band and post 2 or 3 of what I think are the best tracks by them (if 2 or 3 tracks are available that is). I’m going to steer clear of the most obvious names that anybody interested probably already knows – the Exploited, Anti Nowhere League, Discharge, GBH, Crass, Conflict, even Test Tubes – in favour of digging up a few gems that most people have never heard. I suppose quite a few will have been nominated on RR – usually by me – but some have never fitted a topic, another reason for doing this.
It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (or should that be can of Special Brew?) so give it a listen, leave a comment or ignore it, I don’t mind. I’ll enjoy it.
First installment to follow soon – in the meantime here’s a couple more songs – you might notice a theme