Post-punk: Wikis


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Stylistic origins Punk rock, Glam rock, Art rock, Progressive rock, Dub, Funk, Reggae, Krautrock, Experimental music, Protopunk, Electronic music,
Cultural origins Mid-Late 1970s, United Kingdom, United States, Australia
Typical instruments Drums - Guitar - Bass guitar - Synthesizer - Keyboard - Drum machine - Modified electronics
Mainstream popularity Moderate in late 1970s, moderate to high in the early-mid 1980s, low to moderate in late 1980s and 1990s. Large revival in early 2000s.
Derivative forms Alternative rock - Deathrock - Gothic rock - Indie rock - Post-punk revival - Industrial
Gothic rock
(complete list)
Regional scenes
Dutch Ultra - German Neue Deutsche Welle - French Coldwave
Other topics
Post-hardcore - Industrial music - New Wave - No Wave

Post-punk is a rock music movement with its roots in the late 1970s, following on the heels of the initial punk rock explosion of the mid-1970s. The genre retains its roots in the punk movement but is more introverted, complex and experimental.[1] Post-punk laid the groundwork for alternative rock by broadening the range of punk and underground music, incorporating elements of Krautrock (particularly the use of synthesizers and extensive repetition), Jamaican dub music (specifically in bass guitar), American funk, studio experimentation, and even punk's traditional polar opposite, disco, into the genre.

It found a firm place in the 1980s indie scene, and led to the development of genres such as gothic rock, industrial music and alternative rock.


Origin of the term

The term "post punk" was used in late 1977 by Sounds magazine to describe Siouxsie and the Banshees[2]. In 1980 Critic Greil Marcus referred to "Britain's postpunk pop avant-garde" in a 24 July 1980 Rolling Stone article. He applied the phrase to such bands as Gang of Four, The Raincoats and Essential Logic, which he wrote were "sparked by a tension, humour, and sense of paradox plainly unique in present-day pop music."[3]


See also List of post-punk bands.

During the first wave of punk, roughly spanning 1974–1978, acts such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, Patti Smith and The Damned began to challenge the current styles and conventions of rock music by stripping the musical structure down to a few basic chords and progressions with an emphasis on speed. Yet as punk itself soon came to have a signature sound, a few acts began to experiment with more challenging musical structures, lyrical themes, and a self-consciously art-based image, while retaining punk's initial iconoclastic stance.

Classic examples of post-punk outfits include Public Image Limited, The Fall, Joy Division, New Order, New Model Army, Sad Lovers and Giants, Talking Heads, Gang of Four, The Chameleons, Magazine, Wire, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Birthday Party, Orange Juice, The Psychedelic Furs, Adam and the Ants, The Sound, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Lords of the New Church, The Monochrome Set, Section 25, Killing Joke, The Cure, Bauhaus, Devo, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Tubeway Army. Bands such as Crass also came within the scope of post-punk, as with several outfits formed in the wake of traditionally punk rock groups: Magazine was formed by a member of Buzzcocks, for instance, and Public Image Ltd derived from the Sex Pistols. A list of predecessors to the post-punk genre of music might include Television, whose album Marquee Moon, although released in 1977 at the height of the punk movement, is considered definitively post-punk in style. Other groups, such as The Clash, remained predominantly punk in nature, yet were inspired by the experimentalism of the post-punk movement, most notably in their album Sandinista!.

Championed by late night BBC DJ John Peel and record label/shop Rough Trade (amongst others, including Postcard Records, Factory Records, Axis/4AD, Falling A Records, Industrial Records, Fast Product, and Mute Records), "post-punk" could arguably be said to encompass many diverse groups and musicians.

The influence of this "new sound" was significantly carried throughout the world. Although many North American and other non-British bands failed to achieve worldwide recognition, some notable exceptions include North Americans Pere Ubu, Suicide, Mission of Burma, Australia's The Birthday Party and The Church, Ireland's U2 and The Virgin Prunes.

Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, walking over her bass guitar during a concert.

Around 1977, in North America, the New York–led No Wave movement was also tied in with the emerging eurocentric post-punk movement. With bands and artists such as Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham, Mars, James Chance and the Contortions, DNA, Bush Tetras, Theoretical Girls, Swans, and Sonic Youth. The No Wave movement focused more on performance art than actual coherent musical structure. The Brian Eno-produced No New York compilation is considered the quintessential testament to the history of No Wave.[4]

The original post-punk movement ended as the bands associated with the movement turned away from its aesthetics, just as post-punk bands had originally left punk rock behind in favor of new sounds. Many post-punk bands, most notably The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees, evolved into gothic rock (formerly a style of the larger post-punk movement) and became identified with the goth subculture. Some shifted to a more commercial New Wave sound (such as Gang of Four)[5][6], while others were fixtures on American college radio and became early examples of alternative rock (such as U2).


Post-punk revival

The turn of the 21st century saw a post-punk revival in British and American alternative rock, which soon started appearing in many different countries as well. The earliest sign of a post-punk revival was the emergence of various underground bands in the mid-90s. However, the first commercially successful bands, Elastica, Interpol, The Killers, The Squids, The Strokes, and Stroszek surfaced in the late '90s to early '00s. These bands made music with recognizable post-punk influences, even accompanied by arty, almost Mod fashions copied from original post-punk and new romantic bands. Modern post-punk is far more commercially successful than in the 1970s and 1980s. The post-punk revival has retained a strong following even after similar '80s revival genres such as electroclash have fallen out of style.

Music clips

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A few illustrative short clips of post-punk music:

Note: files size vary from 185 kB to 305 kB, and all are 20 seconds long.

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See also


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Post-Punk" Allmusic. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
  2. ^ Dave Thompshon "Alternative Rock" Page 60 reprinted by Google Books
  3. ^ Greil Marcus, Ranters and Crowd Pleasers, p. 109.
  4. ^ Masters, Marc (2008). No Wave. City: Black Dog Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 190615502X. 
  5. ^ Songs of The Free Bonus Tracks Allmusic review
  6. ^ Hard Allmusic review

External links


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