Updated: Aug 16, 2022
It’s hard to know where to begin. In a world where there is constant bombardment from everywhere and anywhere, trying to find the right place to start something can be as hard as finding your dignity after a hard and heavy night out. So if you want to pick up a new hobby - say for example crocheting, how might you go about starting? Might you watch hours of YouTube videos, might you buy an entire small shop's worth of crocheting equipment or might you even increase your screen time by a few hundred percent by scavenging the Amazon forest of Instagram posts for inspiration. It feels like picking up a new hobby when you’re first exposing yourself to a whole new genre or a whole new avenue of music. But where to begin in that exposure is a difficult question.
This article is an answer to that question. Like a beginners kit that you might buy when you’re starting to crochet, this piece is meant to do just that. We’re going to look at different artists, their different songs and different styles of post punk as well as trying to define what really makes post punk, post punk.
Emerging at a time when the scene in South London was a musical mix of grimy, grubby and greasy, Shame made sure to get their foot firmly in the door of the post punk renaissance happening at the The Windmill pub and venue in the heart of Brixton. This is the place to be if you’re a guitar/ post- punk band and similarly, it’s the place to be if you’re a fan of the underground and the up and coming with a reverent passion for loud noises and big things to say. Friction, along with the rest of Shame’s immaculately crafted discography, is unique in its newness, in its angst and in its youthful energy. With its twangy guitars and punchy vocals dancing rhythmically over a hearty carvery- dinner of a bass line and some shaken-not-stirred drums, it has all the beefy goodness of the post-punk sound. Songs of praise, the LP in which Friction is taken from, is undoubtedly the perfect album to listen to satisfy a complicated rage of teenage angst and sociopolitical dissatisfaction. Filled with a musical testosterone and a sweaty release, Shame is taking the punk in post - punk and giving it a much needed youthful twist.
Along with Shame, Goat Girl are a band that are no strangers to the Windmill. If Shame can put the punk in post- punk, then Goat Girl know how to put the post in post - punk. Their sonic newness is perhaps more apparent than that of Shame’s, with their frequent use of synths, futuristic effects and lilting vocal melodies (as opposed to a rhythmic ‘screaming’). Badibaba showcases Goat Girl doing what they do best. Commenting on the disastrous environmental state of the world and the lacking governmental or social infrastructure that’s been left to deal with it. Goat Girl are making not only a musical statement with their unique take on post - punk but a political one with their lyrics of beautifully blunt description.
‘Littered seas, like we’re an infection
Carry on, like we’re protected
As if we’re unaffected.’
Goat Girl’s post punk is all about exploring new sonic ideas and socially big thematic ideas. Changing tempos in the middle of pieces, making a synchronised racket and giving characteristically classical instruments the space to soar above the earthliness of the band. Their sound is different to that of Shame’s, but in spirit, they are both the same.
Again full in spirit but different in style, IDLES are a Bristol - born band playing a pioneering part in the resurgence of post - punk and punk music across the UK. Accustomed to making harsh and ear piercing noise, their music is filled with lead singer - Talbot’s, poignant tone that growls and gravels while speaking of a plaguing hate emerging against immigrants and their families. With an undeniably catchy chorus and a guitar strumming fueled like a formula one car, Danny Nedelko will have you banging your head up and down and around and about till blood is rushing at turbo speeds all round your brain.
‘Fear leads to panic, panic leads to pain
Pain leads to anger, anger leads to hate’
Closing up the crochet shop
The post punk of the 2000’s is blooming with fiery ammunition igniting on a runway. It’s brash, it’s brutal, it’s blunt and it’s beckoning. A call to arms in the way it always has been and a call to guitars in a way of reimagining. Still, one thing’s for sure; post punk is still as sweaty as it used to be and that’s not changing anytime soon!
So whether you’re learning to crochet or learning to withstand a mosh pit at an IDLES gig, you’re bound to appreciate even the smallest bits of preparation along your journey of musical discovery! Of course, these are not the only three bands that best show off this millennium’s post punk scene. Other bands such as the murder capital, Fontaines D.C. and many many more have catalogues of music that are just made to get your head banging and get your feet stamping! If you’d like to find more post punk, take a look at the other songs in the playlist linked above and continue your genre exploration there!