This graphic novel anthology is a collection of short stories in the vein of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and EC Comics!
Hey, guys! This is a Kickstarter campaign for a Twilight Zone-themed comic anthology that’s going to be awesome. I have a story in there (written and lettered by me; illustrated by Tony Sedani) and a number of my really cool comics colleagues have worked on the book as well. Take a look, ask me questions if you like, and please consider backing us or spreading the word! It’s definitely worth it. (Not to mention that Giles and I could, unfortunately, sure use the money.)
Also, if you look through the rewards, the $25 level includes a sci-fi punk rock comic by me and Giles, one of the $100 levels includes having me write a 16-page custom comic script about whatever you’d like, and the $350 level includes a custom four-page comic by me and Giles about anything you want! Check it out!
Jey do you know much about reggae, could you rec me some good reggae?
I know a bit about reggae! I don’t know if you could describe it as “much,” but I know a little. Definitely, though I can recommend some good reggae!
I did put a few songs in here (which, to be fair, is doing a bit of a disservice to the reggae genre, throwing it in with first-wave ska), but music this rich in history and meaning deserves its own discussion. Thank you for asking about it.
Most of this is older reggae from the birth and early evolution of the genre, and it’s roughly chronological. There’s some more recent stuff near the end, as well as a number of international groups (from the United Kingdom, various African countries, even Denmark), but modern reggae is quite a different sort of music and that may not have been what you were looking for. If you have questions about any of it, or if you’d like more or want to try out different styles of reggae, let me know!
So this past weekend, Giles and I went to see Peter Hook and The Light play a New Order double album set live. I don’t talk a lot about gigs on here, but this one bears mentioning over and over again until all of you go and see these guys play, because… wow.
I mean, Hooky didn’t start out as a vocalist. He wasn’t even a great one when he started touring with The Light. The difference between then and now is amazing, though. Holy smokes, the man can sing. Not only that, but he somehow manages to stay true to New Order’s original album tracks while simultaneously turning them into punk rock. It’s fantastic. You’ve got to hear it to believe it.
It isn’t just him, though. His son Jack doubles up on bass (and is entirely self-taught, because Hooky said he didn’t want him to pick up bad habits) and he’s got a new guitarist this tour, David Potts (from Monaco, one of his previous bands), who’s brilliant. I don’t think anyone else could have taken over so well from Nat. The other members of the band, also ex-Monaco, are also great – and it’s obvious they’re all having a good time onstage, which makes a hell of a lot of difference.
Anyway. The point is, if you ever have a change to see these guys play live (tour dates here), you should. Because they love what they’re doing, because they could use the support, and because they’re incredible.
(Yes, I know the audio track is their version of “Isolation.” Go here for some of the band’s New Order work.)
Mick Jones really evolved as a lyricist after leaving The Clash. He might not have been the “voice of a generation” that Joe Strummer was, but he was subtle and really clever (listen to the lyrical hooks in “Electric Vandal,” one of my favourites) and his work with B.A.D. is some of his best.
This song in particular has fantastic meta (just listen to the bridge!) and uses a lot of the sampling and digital techniques that Mick loved at the time – which unfortunately contributed to the musical disagreements between him and Joe, but, to be fair, also resulted in cool new music like this.
How'd you feel about doing an intro to goth? You do the best mixes <3
I’m sorry this has taken me so unconscionably long. The truth is, I don’t really know anything about goth, as a genre or a subculture or a classification of any sort, so I had to go away and learn some things and also consult with friends of mine who are involved in that scene. That said, I did compile a mixtape (and thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy them!), but you are free to laugh me off as an amateur, because with regard to this I really am.
I ought to warn you that not everything on there is strictly gothic rock/punk/dark wave/what-have-you. There are a number of songs on there that are either “proto-goth,” post-punk or industrial or garage rock sounds like the first few tracks, or more contemporary songs that I’m told are modern goth club staples.
In any event, tracklist here, because the read-more cuts don’t appear to be working right now.
Hey Jey if it's not too much trouble could you make us a Welcome to Night Vale fanmix?
This is kind of cool, because I don’t get asked to do themed mixes like this very often. Thanks for the request!
If you don’t listen to Welcome to Night Vale, you might like to check it out – it’s a fortnightly podcast in the format of a community radio show and the juxtaposition of the creepy and the mundane is delicious.
Here's a mixtape. I hope you like it; it's a bit different from what I ordinarily do! Tracklist, as usual, under the cut.
It wasn’t possible, though, to let the occasion go unmarked, and so here is one of my favourites of his early songs, from back when he was in the 101ers, one of a million little pub rock bands that dotted the surface of England in the 1970s. The turns of phrase and imagery he uses are what make me love this song so much (“the ragged wind blows me through the town,” “me and Bakelite all alone”); you can already see the beginnings of what he eventually became as a songwriter.
Also, for what it’s worth, here are a couple of links:
to Strummerville, the foundation set up in Joe’s honour to promote and support new music internationally
Would you ever consider explaining Euskadi Ta Askatasuna in a little more detail? There's too much information out there to begin to make sense of.
I assume you’re asking because of this post, so I’ll tell you what I can, but please bear in mind that I’m no expert. I only know what I’ve pieced together from random reading.
Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, better known as ETA, started out as an organization for Basque nationalism and separatism. They were initially intended in support of traditional Basque language and culture, but have evolved into what is essentially (and officially, according to the European Union) a terrorist group. They’re the central organization of the Basque National Liberation Movement and the chief player in the bid for independence from Spain and France.
In theory, ETA are a group whose main goal is Basque independence; however, though there are numerous other organizations and political parties who support either independence or at least self-determination, ETA are the only group who engage in or even approve of violent or terrorist activities to achieve that goal.
Some history below the cut for you, if you’re interested.
What do you think a duo of Johnny Marr and Peter Hook would sound like?
Actually, that was once proposed – shortly after New Order went on hiatus in the nineties, Peter Hook actually asked Johnny Marr to join his new band. Unfortunately, Johnny had only just agreed to work on Electronic with Bernard Sumner, so it never happened.
I think it would be reasonably interesting musically, though. Hooky is so well-known for his unique style of bass playing (that high, melodic sound) and Johnny for his jangly, open, bright guitar (he’d tune a step up and work with particular variations of chords to get the sound he wanted). I think they’d gravitate toward more of a “pop punk” sound, because Johnny’s style lends itself to that and Hooky’s always wanted to play in a punk band. There would probably be fairly strong bass lines, a more equal division of labour between guitar and bass than in most bands, partly because Johnny learnt to play from a bass perspective while he was in The Smiths and partly because Hooky seems to rather like the spotlight. I’m also guessing that Johnny would do the lion’s share of the singing (chiefly because he’s the more melodic singer of the two), but Hooky would get the harder numbers (because he enjoys it). If they were a Strummer-and-Jones-type duo, Johnny would be the musical Mick Jones and Hooky would be the heart-and-soul Joe Strummer.
I may be talking complete rot here, and of course I’ve no idea how the two of them would play off one another, but that’s my wild guess. Either way, I think it would be pretty brilliant.
hey jey why didn't the clash wanna play on the top of the pops?
There’s a simple and a complicated answer to that question.
The simple answer is that they refused to mime*. The Clash, and Joe Strummer in particular, were very much into the authenticity of their performances – they always wrote for the everyman, played to the everyman, preferred smaller venues, crammed as many audience members as they could backstage after the shows, had as many people as they could in their dressing rooms, talked to everyone, helped people with guitar problems, had local artists open for them, and so on. To be on Top of the Pops, they would have had to mime their performance, and that went against everything they stood for.
The more complicated answer is also that there was (and still is) a sort of “in-crowd” to pop music, and if you aren’t a part of that, then you’re distinctly out of place. Despite their success, The Clash were decidedly outsiders in the pop scene, and part of that outsider status was their refusal to mime – something that most groups on the show did without question. The Clash knew they had different perspectives and different values to the pop crowd, and appearing on the show would have damaged their credibility in more ways than one. (You’ll notice that other “outsider” bands who’ve appeared on the show have flouted the unwritten rules in various ways; several 1970s proto-punk bands insisted on playing live, the Pogues performed with Shane MacGowan too drunk to mime properly, the Stone Roses played with Ian Brown messing about with his microphone instead of singing, and so on.) Further to that, none of the members of The Clash were great with authority, and the producers on Top of the Pops wielded far too much over the bands they invited into the studio.
In short, The Clash were a principled band who disagreed with the artifice of the status quo, and Top of the Pops was exactly the opposite of what they wanted to represent.
* Miming, in this case, refers to performing with a specially-recorded backing track. Band members didn’t actually play their instruments or sing, but the Top of the Pops policy at the time stated (possibly in an attempt at maintaining some last vestige of credibility) that everyone who played on the recorded track had to be present in the studio.
Of course! I will always make a mixtape for anyone who asks.
I know you like Frank Turner and /Passenger, and you told me you also like Mumford & Sons, folk music, ’90s music (which I choose to interpret creatively), and drum-and-bass. Hopefully you’ll find something you like on this!
My apologies to anyone who’s asked me for a mixtape lately – I promise they are getting done; life has just been a madhouse lately. I love being asked and I love making them, so they’ll be up as soon as possible.
Going semi-off-topic for a bit, a lot of people ask me about comics. Specifically, comics that Giles and I make for publication. So here’s a post about how that happens, or at least, about how it happened once. (It’s only semi-off-topic because the comic is about music, which I know will surprise no one.)
Jey why is there spanish in some songs by The Clash?
Joe Strummer was fascinated by Spain – its history, its people, its stories. He grew up there for a time when he was young, used to vacation (or run away) there whenever he could, made friends with locals, moved there when The Clash called it quits to try to escape his past; he admired the country’s attitudes and was terrified of the implications of its civil war; he loved Spanish musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers, everything. He met a Spanish punk band called 091 and liked them so much that he wrote them music, produced their second album, and offered thousands of pounds out of his own pocket to bring it to completion. He bought himself what he called his “Spanish-American car,” an old silver Dodge muscle car, and drove it all over Spain visiting locations that were meaningful to him. He fell in love with the work of Federico García Lorca to the point where… well, let me show you:
In short, Joe loved, or at least was deeply captivated by, everything about Spain. That’s why he wrote "Spanish Bombs," which references many of his most significant interests in the Spanish Civil War. It’s why he decided to do the backing vocals to "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" in Spanish*. It’s why there’s now a plaza dedicated to him in Granada, his favourite location in Spain. And it’s why so much of, not just The Clash’s, but all of Joe Strummer’s work, contains Spanish language and references to Spain.
* About this song: you might notice that the Spanish in this particular song doesn’t make much grammatical sense. What happened is that Joe decided at the very last minute that he wanted to do the backing vocals in Spanish. His own patchy knowledge of the language was all Castellano, while Joe Ely’s was all Mexican (or “Tex-Mex,” as he refers to it himself). They got the tape operator, Eddie Garcia, to help them translate by reading the lyrics over the phone to his mum, and she was Ecuadorian, so what they ended up with was a mashed-up, not-entirely-accurate translation.
Also, hey: if you’re interested at all in Joe Strummer’s wilderness years (or, perhaps, his Spanish-American car), there’s an extremely cool documentary project here that could definitely use more publicity. Check it out!
I’ve talked about Terry Chimes before. He’s the most overlooked member of The Clash, the most overlooked drummer on the punk rock scene, and basically the coolest guy around – and he doesn’t even take credit for any of it.
Most of you have probably already heard his work with The Clash. He was the drummer on the band’s first album release, as well as on a number of live tours. He also appeared in the music video for “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” which, when the re-release of the song rocketed to number one on the charts, was what gave him away as a badass punk rock drummer to his unsuspecting classmates at chiropractic school.
A lot of people aren’t familiar with much of his other work, though, so I put together this twenty-track mixtape of other things Terry Chimes has done. Some are better-known than others, and certainly some are better audio quality than others. (That’s deliberate; I tried to include as many live performances as possible, because a lot of Terry’s work was never recorded on studio albums.) Either way, I hope you enjoy it, because Terry Chimes deserves so much more credit than he ever gets.
Tracklist to the mixtape (in roughly chronological order) is under the cut.
This is “White Riot,” by The Clash, which most or all of you have certainly heard before. It’s the first song they ever released, one of the first they ever played together, and – in the case of Strummer and Jones – also one of the last they ever played together (they didn’t do it often; despite its popularity, Mick didn’t think much of the song musically).
What’s really interesting, though, is this bit – one of the first they ever played together. Yesterday was the thirty-seventh anniversary of that gig, played at the Black Swan in Sheffield supporting the Sex Pistols. To be strictly fair, it was too early for The Clash to be playing; they were only up on stage so that they could beat rival band The Damned to their first live show. The Clash had been together just over a month and rehearsing for less than that; they hadn’t finalized their line-up (at the time, it was Joe, Paul, Mick and Keith Levene; Terry Chimes was drumming but hadn’t been formally invited to join the band); and, let’s face it, they weren’t great. They weren’t actually even all that good, which is why (at Bernie Rhodes’ insistence, one of only a few good decisions he ever made on the band’s behalf) they holed themselves up in Rehearsal Rehearsals immediately after this gig and practised for five weeks before playing again, this time to a small, select audience in their studio. As you well know, they smashed the scene with that show, earning rave (and not-so-rave) reviews and lighting the torches for their runaway career – but the fact remains that it was on the fourth of July, 1976, that The Clash made their first, unforgettable (despite Bernie Rhodes’ best efforts) appearance.
you don't listen to eric random by any chance do you?
Sure! Not necessarily to the extent that I do certain other post-punk artists, but I like Eric Random as much as the next man, if not more. Why do you ask?
For anyone who’s interested, Eric Random was a post-punk artist in the late ’70s and ’80s. He played with The Panik (some of you might remember them as the band affiliated with Steve Brotherdale, erstwhile Joy Division drummer), the Tiller Boys (an experimental project with the Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley) and Certain Random Cabaret (shows he’d play with members of A Certain Ratio and Cabaret Voltaire). He worked as a solo artist as well, often produced by Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire, and with his own band, the Bedlamites. He is worth checking out! Try this album track or this live recording and see what you think.
But today is Mick Jones' birthday and the occasion ought not to pass unremarked, so here's a song by Mick's post-Clash band, Big Audio Dynamite. (Technically, it’s by Big Audio Dynamite II, the second line-up to use the name, but stylistically it’s all one and the same.) This is probably one of the best examples of where Mick’s sound was heading in the final days of The Clash – electronic instruments, sampling, musical pastiche – something that Joe Strummer actually tried in his absence (see: Cut the Crap), but to much less success. Mick has a knack for following the evolution of music and then tweaking it to make something brand-new out of it, and Big Audio Dynamite are right at the forefront of that.
If you like what you hear, keep an eye on Big Audio Dynamite – they re-formed a couple of years ago, are planning to release more material, and will hopefully tour again! Also check out Mick’s current project, Carbon/Silicon, which he’s doing with former London SS bandmate and punk rocker in his own right, Tony James.
Okay, so for someone whose fave bands are XTC and Talking Heads, I know you can give me a good mix of the punk/post-punk. And then my husband will be surprised and impressed.
The problem with asking me to introduce you to punk and post-punk is that it turns into a massive music party and everyone’s invited. That is to say, I start shoving anyone I consider the least bit seminal to either movement into a mixtape and suddenly it’s an entire Time-Life collection, and, well.
In this case, there are forty-eight tracks in the punk set and thirty-some in the post-punk. (It could have been worse! I’ve done worse. Much worse.)
So I've seen you mention turntables on here, and have a random question! My family had a record player when I was growing up, and I always liked the process of taking one out and putting it on to play - I felt a bit wistful when my dad eventually updated his music collection and got rid of everything. Do you have one that plays nice with modern speaker systems, and is there a certain type you'd recommend? I've got nostalgic pipe dream thoughts of starting my own collection someday. :P
Yes, I do! I’ve got a turntable that works well with modern speakers, and I can tell you the things I looked for when I chose it. You ought to know, though, that I am no expert, and I can only tell you random bits of knowledge that may or may not be of dubious authenticity. They are hereby placed below the read-more cut!
I especially like the first wave, actually. Do you have any other recommendations? But your knowledge and patience are traits that make the world a brighter place and though I don't read some of your posts when they appear on my dash, your love for music does make me grin and my day that bit more brilliant!
Wow, thank you so much! I’m glad all this nonsense is fun for someone other than me. (And I don’t blame you for not reading everything; that’d be a lot of music rambling for anyone to take.)
So, first-wave ska! It’s great that you enjoy it, because it’s a subgenre that often gets a raw deal, especially next to later stuff with a more ‘punk’ sound. If you like the first wave and similar sounds, there’s a list of artists and producers who might interest you under the cut.
Pulp are a (mostly) Britpop band from Sheffield and “Common People” was one of their biggest hits. It’s considered to be a defining moment of the Britpop era, much to the band’s chagrin.
Basically, the song is about a rich girl Jarvis Cocker met at St. Martin’s College, who told him that she wanted to live the way he did, move to Hackney and live as though she were poor. And he’s going, no, you’ll never be able to do that, because you can leave. You didn’t grow up this way, you don’t have to live this way, and even if you choose to, you know you can always blink and it’ll vanish. It’ll never be your prison, he’s saying, at best it’ll be your plaything.
You’ll never live like common people You’ll never do what common people do You’ll never fail like common people You’ll never watch your life slide out of view
The thing about it, though, is that it plays across so many different barriers. It’s absolutely true about class division; a lot of people who are very well-off seem to think it’s somehow ‘cool’ not to be. It’s why there’s such a market for things like torn designer jeans and styles imitating ‘punk’ or ‘ghetto’ clothing. It’s more than just that, though; it extends to any kind of privilege. People seem to think that it’s ‘hip’ to be part of a disadvantaged group, and it’s a dangerous line of thought. It’s also a line of thought that brings people into struggles that aren’t theirs and has them tread on the toes of those who really are struggling.
You will never understand How it feels to live your life With no meaning or control And with nowhere left to go … ‘cause when you’re laid in bed at night And watching roaches climb the wall If you called your dad he could stop it all
Joe Strummer, I think, had a wonderful thing to say about it when he was describing how he came to write The Clash’s “White Riot.” He and Paul Simonon ended up embroiled in the riots at Notting Hill Carnival in 1976, which were a rebellion of black, primarily Caribbean, youth against the police and the establishment. Joe was very clear about saying that he and Paul pitched in (shouted, threw bricks, tried to set a car on fire but they couldn’t get the matches to stay lit), but that it wasn’t their battle. That is, they could help, but they could never really be a part of it. I’ve always thought that was a classy statement to make, that they could pitch in and help with someone else’s struggle without ever claiming that it was theirs to fight.
I don’t know – bear in mind, of course, this is all just my nonsense rambling – but I reckon Jarvis is trying to say that you can never truly know what it’s like to be something you’re not, and furthermore, it’s insulting to claim that you can. If you can afford to treat a disadvantage like a novelty, then you can never know what it’s really like to live it.
Laugh along with the common people Laugh along even though they’re laughing at you And the stupid things that you do Because you think that poor is cool
And if you listen to the extended lyrics, he says even more than that.
’cause everybody hates a tourist Especially one who thinks it’s all a laugh
It’d be difficult, at this point, to argue that Jarvis Cocker is exactly one of the ‘common people,’ but he didn’t start out where he is now, and most people who start out where he did never end up any higher. He isn’t singing about being a British pop star here; he’s singing about being a struggling lower-class kid from a single-parent family who worked at a fish market and didn’t know what he wanted to do with his music or his life. And he’s telling the truth. You can play at something that’s never been part of your life, you can join in, you can act out the part, but it’ll never be yours, not in the same way as someone whose life has been shaped by it.
I really love your Mod 101 mixtape, especially Sh-Boom by the Chords. What specific genre would you call that song? And do you have more in that same vein you could recommend?
Thank you! This is a great question, because I, er, well. Might have put that song on there by accident, actually. Ahem.
“Sh-Boom” is by an American rhythm and blues band from the fifties called The Chords. Their music is a very early form of a subgenre of R&B called doo-wop that fuses traditional stylings with vocal pop, and it’s pretty cool – sort of right at the very genesis of rock’n’roll. If you like it, you might want to check out some of these songs and see if they appeal to you:
For what it’s worth, the band that ought to have been on that mixtape are also called The Chords, but they are from the United Kingdom and do a more mod-styled power-pop along the lines of “Maybe Tomorrow.”
It’s been a busy, stressful week, so I sincerely apologize if you’ve asked me a question in the last couple of days and I haven’t responded yet. I promise you’ll have an answer very soon, and to make up for having had to wait, it’ll be a damned good one.
In the meantime, here’s this, one of my favourite songs to relax to and what I’ve been spinning for most of the day. It was recorded by The Pogues during the Hell’s Ditch sessions, with Joe Strummer on vocals (he was producing Hell’s Ditch at the time and standing in for Shane MacGowan at live gigs), and it was eventually released under the name of “Joe Strummer and the Astro-Physicians.”
It’s worth noting, too, that Joe was complete class all the while he was working with The Pogues. He never let anyone forget Shane MacGowan (used to say he was “just keeping the seat warm”), never let the band think he was joining them permanently, never got anyone else tangled up in his contract problems, and handled Shane and his issues like no one else could have. Classic example of how very top-shelf Joe always was.
Not in a glamorous way; not in the sense he might have liked when he was in his twenties, rock-star sensibilities and slicked-back hair. Not because he’s one of the world’s greatest guitarists, which he is, or one of my favourite singers, which he is. I love Mick Jones because for seven years, he worked with Joe Strummer, put music to Joe’s words, made something great with him, and he still loves and honours that to this day. I love Mick Jones because he stood by Joe onstage and off, even when Joe was constantly surrounded by admirers and Mick was off in the corner with one awkward kid who wanted to ask him questions about music. I love Mick Jones because he never minded being that person; he never minded being the rhythm to Joe’s lead. I love Mick Jones because regardless of anything that happens, anything in his life, he’s kind and sincere and in love with the world and he’s just a source of so much happiness.
Mick Jones is my hero. I’ve said before that if I could be like Joe Strummer, I’d be proud, but I think I might be even prouder to be like Mick.
Anyway, long story short, they were looking for music recommendations, late 1980s Manchester classics, from various sources and somehow I ended up compiling a playlist for them. You know. As so often seems to happen.
While everyone in England has various conniptions over today’s football news, let’s just take a second to remember Steve Martland here. He was a composer, a classical musician who never worked with classical musicians – he preferred freelancers, festivals, his own band, anything where he could develop or train or build up new or overlooked musicians. His music is intense, deep rhythms and forceful imagination, perfect for dance and used that way many times, and it’s beautiful, but the most important thing to remember about Steve Martland is his devotion to fostering creativity and sharing it with as many people as he possibly could. Check out his work, see if it inspires you, see if you can inspire anyone else with it, see what you can give to someone else because of it. He’d have liked that.
"Creativity is everything that is against what’s going on in the world right now. It’s to do with tolerance and understanding other people." — Steve Martland
Just to ask, are you able to explain the difference between the punk wave and the post-punk wave?
“Punk enabled you to say, ‘fuck you,’ but somehow it couldn’t go any further. It was just a single, venomous, one-syllable, two-syllable phrase of anger, which was necessary… But sooner or later, someone was going to want to say more than ‘fuck you.’ Someone was going to want to say, ‘I’m fucked.’” — Tony Wilson
Though I’m afraid I can’t put it as neatly or as succinctly as Tony Wilson, I can take a shot at explaining those terms for you! Caveat lector, though, it’s a nebulous division at best and neither genre has a sharply-defined edge.
Punk is basically a subculture that arose from the musical influence of rock (along with other things, mod and ska and early industrial sounds) and the cultural backlash of a generation that had had more than enough of oppression and disadvantage and societal stratification. A few angry people came along, found the right sort of guidance in the forms of people like Malcolm McLaren and Bernie Rhodes, and began making their mark. They couldn’t necessarily actually play (please see: everyone’s bassists), but the point was that they wanted to say something. That’s where you got people like Joe Strummer, who picked up a guitar because he wanted to be a musician, and two years later he was the frontman for The Clash. That’s where you got people like Johnny Rotten, who, let’s face it, was many things, but not exactly melodic. Paul Simonon, who wanted to be punk, but who didn’t necessarily want to be a punk rocker (and yet). Sid Vicious, who wanted nothing more than to be a punk rocker, but whose method of learning bass was, shall we say, unorthodox at best. Punk rock broke down the barriers between the musical elite and the world at large; it made music, it made being a musician, belong to everyone. It made everything belong to everyone. The point of all of this is that punk was more about the message than about the music*, and the message of “we’re not going to take it,” “we can see what’s wrong with the world,” “it isn’t our fault, but we know it’s yours,” “we’re going to tear down what you built and put it up again our way,” that’s punk.
* Undeniably, there was a musical style to punk as well, of course – hard and fast, high volumes and tempos, bare-bones bands and basic instrumentals, shouted vocals and short songs with rudimentary musical forms, but that wasn’t what was most important, and later progressions of punk rock often did away with that style.
Post-punk, on the other hand, was what happened when punk rock started to influence the world around it and a slightly different type of person, someone with a different background and a different approach to life, decided, “hey, we can do that, too.” Post-punk was what happened when the world got the message that punk rock was sending, that all of this belonged to everyone and it was everyone’s job to seize it and do something with it, tear it down, build it up, change it – even punk itself. Post-punk was what happened when punk rock diverged so far from its origins that it was no longer the same genre; when the sound was different, harsh and atonal, or lighter and gentler, or hollow and spacious, but no longer typical of the greater ‘punk’ movement. Post-punk was complex, was introspective, was more about people than politics. It was experimental, synthesizers and machines and new playing techniques and new production techniques. It was avant-garde, borrowing liberally from other musical genres (not in the same way as punk rock; post-punk adopted elements of everything from gothic and German rock to funk and disco, electronic and dub). It was made by people who had no idea what they were doing, only what they wanted to do (and from there, you had the genesis of bands like Joy Division, who wanted to be punk and never made it, or A Certain Ratio, who wanted to be funk and almost sort of pulled it off). Post-punk was what happened when people saw punk rockers baring their souls about the world around them and turned that gaze inward; tore down the walls and bared their own souls about the worlds inside them as well as the outside.
… my apologies for the slightly romanticized rambling about punk and post-punk. If you wanted me to talk more about musical stylings, please do ask, though that’s practically impossible to define with regard to post-punk. Otherwise, I hope that’s at least the beginning of an explanation, but if not please feel free to make me clarify!
I hope when you said “smother,” you meant it, because I appear to have made you a triple album, which you can download here (tracklist here). Seventy-two tracks. I daren’t even check the total playing time, lest it turn out to be something like nineteen actual discs.
(Random fact: did you know that a standard 12” LP plays for exactly twenty-two minutes on each side? CDs fit eighty minutes, which is probably a good thing given the way I put together mixtapes, but on the other hand, there’s something beautiful about the succinct elegance of having exactly forty-four minutes and no longer to construct your message. I think I’m going to try putting together forty-four-minute mixtapes sometimes.)
Anyway, back to Britpop. I went with seventy-two tracks (all different artists) here because there is just so much of it and I am not very good at prioritizing. Many of them you’ll have heard before; some of them I very much hope you won’t have. I hope you like it.