As you can see above, we’re having a little record release party as part of my monthly party Dazzle Ships. We’ll be joined by Kevin from What’s Your Rupture?, who used to DJ with me at Plant Bar on monday nights back “in the day”. We’ll be playing tons of awesome punk/post-punk/DIY/art-punk/new wave madness. More vintage late 70s/early 80s 7″ singles than you can shake a stick at. And be careful with that stick, some of these records are expensive. I’ll also have a handful or pre-release copies for sale, so get one before everybody else can…when it comes out a few days later.
Kevin happens to be working on a really cool reissue, which I may not be able to talk about, but it’s another in an amazing list of awesome reissues from that period. You know, when Todd and I started Acute, there weren’t many people reissuing this kind of music (LTM being the major exception). It was too recent and there wasn’t much interest. By the early 2000s there was a sort of post-punk revival, which meant lots of hardcore kids discovered Gang of 4. In a short period of time there was a flurry of activity and interest and many of the big acts were reissued and compiled. Soul Jazz, DFA, Domino and other great labels helped bring back some of the sounds. But by 2004 people were saying it was all over. Everything of “worth” had been rediscovered, the trend passed and people moved onto new sounds. Psyche-folk revival! (e.g.). I remember standing in the basement of a NY bar/club talking to Simon Reynolds about his soon to be published book Rip It Up and Start Again, and our long in the making Fire Engines compilation Hungry Beat. We both worried that the time had passed. That’s not to say we were concerned with following trends or that these subjects weren’t still worthy, just that the marketing “buzz” of being tied into the “hot” post-punk revival of the early 00s might not exist anymore.
Surely his book created a bump of interest, and somehow more labels were getting involved, more essential records were getting released. We continued to release a CD every year or two. Some got written off as yet more barrel scraping, while others were proof that the barrel was deeper than previously suspected (by some). There’s often an amazement that there is/was something so good that had become so obscure. There’s a fine line between cult favorites of appeal to fanatics and stuff that could be said to be just quality music all around. I’m glad both get’s reissued, I’m just surprised at the incredulousness of some that there’s still stuff worthy being (re)discovered. Maybe people have to dig deeper, maybe the gems need a bit a more polishing, but people are still digging up folk, soul, rock etc, stuff that’s way older than this period we’re talking about. Combine that with the simple fact that there was an absolute EXPLOSION of releases following punk, that between 1976 and 1984 or so the amount of records that came out is mind-boggling, you’d have to dedicate a lifetime to come close to becoming an expert. Why that happened, and why it died down (if it really did..it did, but also changed, is another topic for another post).
And “post-punk” cycles in and out of trends and spotlights. For a while everything seemed to be going minimal-synth, and if you could call it cold wave maybe you’d get a couple bucks for it on Discogs but nobody wanted to hear disco basslines and funky guitar and art-school angst! But then it seems to turn back in this direction. Maybe the synth stuff was getting too expensive! And you suddenly have a younger generation drawing on C86 sounds, which I think contributes to yet another wave of interest in the late 70s/early 80s stuff, because C86 is a pretty clear continuation of that stuff.
Now we’ve got our first vinyl releases coming out shortly. Disco Zombies next week, Happy Refugees late November, the Trypes after that and even more stuff. In the meantime there’s been great reissues coming from all kinds of places, including some new ones this week and past and upcoming releases I just learned about, enough to have me excited for the reissue scene in general, excited enough to want to list a bunch of them and suggest everyone check them out. Here’s a few. I started out describing each one then WordPress ate that draft(I blame Safari in Lion) so i gave up.
Social Climbers-Social Climbers on Drag City/Yoga
Art Yard-The Law/Something In Your Eyes on Ride the Snake
The Embarrassment-Sex Drive/Patio Set on Last Laugh Records
UV Pop-Just a Game on Sacred Bones
The Distractions and the Wild Swans on Occultation
Martin Newell’s Songs for a Fallow Land on Fixed Identity
The Raincoats reissuing their own records.
That’s just a few recent releases. What am I forgetting or don’t know about yet?
Plus all the great more synth oriented stuff on labels like Medical Records, Dark Entries and Minimal Wave. The occasional relevant reissue from DFA or Soul Jazz, And there’s the longer running labels like Cherry Red, Overground, LTM that continue to put out great stuff. And of course Hyped2Death, where some of us learn about this stuff in the first place. Point being…there’s still a lot of great stuff out there, some that people have been waiting years to be released again, some deserving of reappraisal and some nobody’s ever heard in the first place!