Punks in the Post: Return Receipt

My exhaustive series on post-punk dug deep into the original era: late-70s and early-80s. This addendum charts the recent activities of those same artists. If you want to keep up on the latest in this series, you can search for sndlgc in the podcast app of your choice, or you can manually add it by copying this link.

I’ve already produced a 9-volume, 12-hour series investigating the original post-punk era. It was a labor of love as well as a self-taught masters class in a moment of music that was wild, free and inspiring. I started the project in 2006, intending to shine a light on the originators whose sound was suddenly en vogue. This was during the rise of Franz Ferdinand, LCD Soundsystem, et al. Happy as I was to hear these sounds re-aired, I also felt it of more worth to hear who this sound was borrowed from.

This third wave of post-punk artists turned more than just my head. A reissue-obsessed vinyl market began digging up post-punk obscurities by the fistful. All that attention’s knock-on effect meant a surprising number of artists from the original era swung back into action. Even the bands who had toiled away the whole time in relative obscurity were given fresh pairs of ears.

What I’ve collected here, are 32 songs, all from artists that appeared in my original series, who have released new albums within the last 10 years. The biggest names are present and accounted for: PiL, Wire, Gang of Four, the Slits. I was shocked by some of the others either regrouping or still lurking about: Dislocation Dance, Crispy Ambulance, the Wolfhounds. One of the biggest surprises was Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire, who hadn’t lent voice to an album since the late 80s. reemerging, as Wrangler,

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, this set is more challenging and diverse than any mix of their imitators would be. It leaves you feeling like they’re still waiting to pass the torch. These songs sound wholly present and modern—not because post-punk is in style again, but each of these artists is still very searching. In all, it’s a 90 minute testament to a vision which has survived beyond the times that birthed them.

In my original Punks in the Post series, one conceit was the only bands appearing on every volume were The Fall and Sonic Youth,. They stood as the keepers of the flame: never stopping working and almost never faltering. But I’ve been building this set up for years, and sadly, by the time I finished, Mark E. Smith had passed and Sonic Youth disbanded (though they are all still very active, individually). More than that, we’ve lost Alan Vega, Ari Up and more besides.

So, I dedicate this to all the originators we’ve lost. I hope, before they shuffled on, they’d finally received some long overdue credit.

Wire: 23 Years too Late
Grinderman featuring Robert Fripp: Super Heathen Child
Crispy Ambulance: End Game
The Fall: Mister Rode
Savage Republic: Sons and Lovers
Mission of Burma: So Fuck It
Kim Gordon: Murdered Out
The Pop Group: St. Outrageous
Edwyn Collins: Glasgow to London
Gang of Four: Paper Thin
New Order: Academic
The Wake: If the Ravens Leave
John Foxx and the Belbury Circle: Empty Avenues and Dark Corners (Pye Corner Audio remix)
MXM.Joy: Ultraviolet
Wrangler: Clockwork
Ana da Silva & Phew: Bom Tempo
Alan Vega: Prayer
Björk: Thunderbolt (Death Grips mix)
Blurt: The Bells
Bauhaus: Mirror Remains
Public Image Ltd.: Terra-Gate
The Slits: Peer Pressure
Arto Lindsay: Unpair
The Red Krayola: Greasy Street
Paul Haig: Round and Round
The Wolfhounds: Divide and Fall
The Ex: From the Top of My Lungs
The Sexual Objects: Bluetime in Fluff ‘82
Viv Albertine: Confessions of a MILF
Dislocation Dance: Life Moves On
Siouxsie Sioux with Brian Reitzell: Love Crime
Alison Statton & Spike: Alone Together