[Post-Punk] – ‘Post-Punk 1968-1977’



Stream the mix while you read; download at the bottom of this post.

It’s safe to say at Musicophilia, we love Post-Punk, after three box sets devoted  to it (covering the definitive year 1979, the peak-everything-everywhere year 1981, and the spiritual resurgence of 2007-2017) and numerous mixes exploring the spirit of Post-Punk as it evolved through the 80s, 90s and other genres today.  However, there’s one thing that’s always bugged me about Post-Punk: the name, specifically the “post” and the “punk” parts.  As a teenager I started to realize Talking Heads and Wire and the Raincoats weren’t isolated oddities, but the tip of a huge and varied sound world.  And it was immediately clear that as much as I loved The Ramones or conceptually admired the Sex Pistols, “Punk” was far to narrow a thing to position the immensity of “Post-Punk” as living in its shadow.  In fact, if anything, Punk-proper was the oddity, a fun but ultimately revivalist blip that for all its safety pins and spitting was fundamentally “back to basics” Rock & Roll.  “Post-Punk,” it seemed evident to me even at the beginning, and more and more so as I went deeper and deeper, was the real musical (if not popular) phenomenon, and also that it had roots and tendrils that reached far wider both into the past and around the world.  Indeed, I’d come to love Talking Heads and Wire and Raincoats simultaneously with so much music that seemed more immediately connected to it than three-chord thrash: Roxy Music, Velvet Underground, Bohannon, Can, Miles Davis, and on and on, such that the “year zero” hype for 1977 (or maybe late 1976) always rang false.  Equally, the “Post” part was out of whack: all this amazing music was the direct continuation of artful music that stood apart from psychedelia and roots rock and hippie rock and show-off prog, bound by a spirit of exploration.  The biggest debt Post-Punk owed to Punk was the shot in the arm of don’t-give-a-shit bravery, more re: demystifying the act of recording and distribution than re: fashion.  In terms of its ethos, its sounds, and its outlook, Post-Punk (for lack of a better name) goes back for me at least as far as 1968, not just in terms of influence, but in terms of music that fully embodied its potential.

Launching from that rather record-nerd premise, though, is something a hell of a lot of fun, that has been circling around the back of my mind far longer than Musicophilia’s ten years, and here it is: ‘Post-Punk 1968-1977’.  Time constraints preclude the box set form of previous projects, though it’s probably warranted and I’d love to see somebody take it up.  But across a little over a couple hours, ‘Post-Punk 1968-1977‘ runs through artists that to my ears weren’t merely suggesting Post-Punk before and during Punk, but exemplifying it: sounds, attitudes, production, absence of boundaries.  In the end, any sort of academic argument about the accuracy of Post-Punk’s name–I don’t deny it has utility, even though I’d contend it’s still far too often painted with a narrow Joy Division brush–is very much tertiary.  This is just thrilling music, that was not only foundational for post-punk and new wave, but for just about everything interesting that “rock-based” music has done since, and provided key ingredients to modern electronic music, dance music, R&B, hip-hop, and pop.  Most likely, a lot of this music is stuff you already love, if you’re here at Musicophilia; but congregating it together like this has connected a lot of dots for me and has proved an absolute blast.  I hope it will prove as enjoyable for you–and maybe point you to a few new sounds, and rekindle old flames.

There are limitations to the thesis of this mix, ways in which 1968-1977 couldn’t match everything that’s great about Post-Punk in its more traditionally recognized 1978-1982 heyday (and in its current resurgence).  The music collected here is not nearly as women-lead, though absolutely women like Yoko Ono and Laurie Anderson were providing invaluable precedence for the amazing women who would shortly follow.  It’s also substantially less international, especially than contemporary post-punk, centered mostly in the USA, UK and Germany.  And cheaper recording equipment, cheaper synthesizers, portable cassette players and recorders, copy machines, small independent venues, etc. hadn’t yet enabled the thousands of DIY flowers to bloom as exemplified by 1981.  While I haven’t broken this down into component themed mixes as with the box sets, I think you’ll find the “Brain” weirdness, the “Amplifier” rawness, the “Cassette” amateur vigor, the “Convertible” fun, the “Feet” rhythmic joy, the “Fire” and “Ice” adventurous cool, the “Computer” electronic futurism, and the “Heart” emotional impact.  As Punk-to-Post-Punk linchpin himself Johnny Lydon-Rotten famously demonstrated on his BBC radio show at the height of Punk, the Sex Pistols were a detour, not the starting point; and the Post-Punk spirit was absolutely thriving in these “proto-Punk” (another misnomer) years, minus a few spiky haircuts and plus a few bell-bottom trousers.  What would be a better name?  Well, unfortunately I’m no Simon Reynolds, who seems to capture the pith of every nebulous musical field.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  All I know is, this music and the music that followed was never really bound by any name, or any chronology, and it remains as immediate and inspiring as ever.

Please, as always, buy the music you dig on this mix, support the artists, labels and shops that made it and keep it in print, and help keep the continual discovery and inspiration going strong.  Full tracklist below, stream above/below or download at the link below.  Thanks for listening, and pass it on!

Various – ‘Post-Punk: 1968-1977’
(Post-Punk Before Punk)


Part I

01 [0:00:00] Brian Eno – “Third Uncle” (‘Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)’, 1974)
02 [0:04:50] David Bowie – “Breaking Glass” (‘Low’, 1977)
03 [0:06:35] Faust – “It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl” (‘So Far’, 1972)
04 [0:14:05] Red Krayola – “Dairymaid’s Lament” (‘God Bless the Red Krayola. . .’, 1968)
05 [0:16:35] Television – “Elevation” (‘Marquee Moon’, 1977)
06 [0:21:35] Silver Apples – “Lovefingers” (‘Silver Apples’, 1968)
07 [0:25:33] Devo – “Social Fools” (‘Hardcore Devo Vol.1’, 1974)
08 [0:29:10] Cluster – “Caramel” (‘Zuckerzeit’, 1974)
09 [0:32:20] Augustus Pablo – “Skateland Rock” (‘This Is Augustus Pablo’, 1974)
10 [0:35:30] Chrisma – “C. Rock” (‘Chinese Restaurant’, 1977)
11 [0:41:00] Laurie Anderson – “Break It” (‘It’s Not The Bullet’ 7″, 1977)
12 [0:45:35] Debris’ – “One Way Spit” (‘Debris’, 1976)
13 [0:48:10] Heldon – “Mechamment Rock” (‘It’s Always Rock’n’Roll’, 1975)
14 [0:51:40] Death – “You’re A Prisoner” (‘. . .For The Whole World To See’, 1975)
15 [0:54:00] This Heat – “Horizontal Hold” (BBC) (‘Made Available’, 1977)
16 [1:02:20] Can – “Vitamin C” (‘Ege Bamyasi’, 1972)

Part II

17 [1:05:50] Suicide – “Che” (‘Suicide’, 1977)
18 [1:10:40] Annette Peacock – “Been & Gone” (‘I’m The One’, 1972)
19 [1:13:00] Tim Buckley – “Song to the Siren” (‘Starsailor’, 1970)
20 [1:16:25] Neu! – “Negativland” (‘Neu!’, 1972)
21 [1:25:55] Wire – “Mannequin” (‘Pink Flag’, 1977)
22 [1:28:30] Kraftwerk – “Antenna” (‘Radioactivity’, 1975)
23 [1:32:10] Talking Heads – “I Want To Live” (Demo) (‘CBS Demos’, 1975)
24 [1:35:55] Chinaboise – “Girl You Got It (So Go Get It)” (‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, 1975)
25 [1:38:10] John Lennon – “Well Well Well” (‘Plastic Ono Band’, 1970)
26 [1:44:05] Yoko Ono – “Potbelly Rocker” (‘Feeling the Space’ sessions, 1973)
27 [1:46:40] Pere Ubu – “Heart of Darkness” (’30 Seconds Over Tokyo’ EP, 1975)
28 [1:51:20] Modern Lovers – “Someone I Care About” (‘The Modern Lovers’, 1972)
29 [1:54:55] Ultravox – “Hiroshima Mon Amour” (‘Ha!-Ha!-Ha!’, 1977)
30 [2:00:00] Nico – “Janitor of Lunacy” (‘Desertshore’, 1970)
31 [2:04:00] Lou Reed – “The Bed” (‘Berlin’, 1973)
32 [2:09:50] The Stooges – “I Wanna Be Your Dog” (‘The Stooges’, 1969)
33 [2:12:55] Roxy Music – “For Your Pleasure” (‘For Your Pleasure’, 1973)


[Total Time: 2:19:45]

Download ‘Post-Punk: 1968-1977’ Here (320MB)

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