VARIOUS ARTISTS – Moving Away From The Pulsebeat: Post Punk Britain 1977-1981

When punk shook Britain’s music scene in ‘76, it came as a revelation. The DIY spirit of the Buzzcocks’ ‘Spiral Scratch’ EP suggested that anyone could be in a band; you didn’t need to have to have years worth of musical training. Music could also be about capturing an energy and a spirit. Punk’s first wave was relatively short-lived. By 1978, guitar driven bands were mixing the less flashy elements of punk with bigger melodies, resulting in the mod influenced sounds of The Jam and the broader power pop of Elvis Costello & The Attractions. Some were even taking punk’s pure drive and creating what would now be considered goth, and bands like Ultravox! and Wire – arguably the greatest bands to be tagged with the term “post punk” – added strange and angular artiness, shaping the sounds of a generation.

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FRENCHY AND THE PUNK – Cities In Dust / Monsters

When it comes to alternative musicians, there are probably dozens the average person would name before they got to Scott Helland. His name isn’t the most famous, but his contribution to the US alternative underground is massive, as is his discography. He first found relative fame as a member of hardcore band Deep Wound (alongside Dinosaur Jr men Lou Barlow and Joseph Mascis); he’s also been a member of Outpatients, released several solo albums, worked with Boom Boom Shake, Voltaire and Mark Malcahy and, somewhere along the way, launched a further side hustle as Guitarmy of One where he plays garage punk/surf instrumentals. Simply put, he seems to be one of those guys who’s always there, lurking in the shadows, but quietly working.

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The Great 70’s Project: 1978

1977 saw a change on the UK music front as punk made a fairly grand entrance.  It wasn’t the giant new broom that revisionists will have you believe, as disco and pop still had a strong grip and the prog rock bands remained a fixture in the album charts.

Perhaps the greatest thing the punk movement brought was the idea that such energy could be used to create great three minute songs. In 1978, utilising the energies of punk and a firm grasp of radio friendly pop choruses, bands like Blondie and The Jam went from strength to strength.

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