Following the phenomenal reaction to Scottish Post-Punk documentary ‘The Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post-Punk and Inflitrating the Mainstream- 1977-82’, Louder Than War asked the boss of independent Edinburgh-based record label Stereogram Recordings, Jeremy Thoms, to choose his top ten post-punk singles.
Having been steeped in Scotland’s punk and post-punk scenes since his teens, The Cathode Ray’s frontman is ideally placed to select ten pivotal singles from the era.
Jeremy Thoms’s Top Ten UK Post-Punk 45s (in chronological order)
“Skank Bloc Bologna” – Scritti Politti (1978)
The inaugural missive from the ever fascinating Green Gartside still sounds unique today. Demystified the whole business of releasing DIY singles too by itemising all costs on the cover.
“Dead Souls/Atmosphere” – Joy Division (1979)
The missing link between Unknown Pleasures’ claustrophobia and Closer’s iciness. Utterly captivating stuff.
“He’s Frank” – The Monochrome Set (1979)
Bid’s literate take on skewed left field pop certainly upped the anti in the post-punk landscape.
“On The Air” – The Lines (1979)
Criminally underrated slightly Subway Sect-ish slice of prime post-punk which sadly dipped completely under the radar. Speaking of which…
“Split Up The Money” – Vic Godard & Subway Sect (1980)
This, and the accompanying “What’s The Matter Boy?” was the point that Vic Godard’s superior grasp of songwriting really became apparent. Something this next lot were certainly aware of…
“Simply Thrilled Honey” – Orange Juice (1980)
This is where Edwyn Collins really set out his stall as the post blank generation’s answer to Noel Coward, inadvertently inventing Morrissey along the way.
“The Affectionate Punch” – The Associates (1980)
Once heard – never forgotten, Billy MacKenzie’s voice combined with Alan Rankine’s instrumentation created a unique sound. Billy had talked to me about recording one of my songs shortly before his tragic death but alas, this was not to be.
“Words Of Hope” – The Hawks (1981)
Featuring a certain pre Tin Tin and Lilac Time Stephen Duffy. Obviously in thrall to The Only Ones, in a slightly shambling sort of way, which is no bad thing.
“Spellbound” – Siouxsie & The Banshees (1981)
Post-punk or proto Goth? Whatever – this is quite literally spellbinding…
“Shoot You Down” – APB (1981)
Ace slab of post-punk funk (North East Scotland style – Ellon to be precise) by my one time Oily Records label mates.
- “Treason” – The Teardrop Explodes,
- “Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time” – Gang Of Four;
- “Chance Meeting” – Josef K;
- “Adult/ery”/”Horrorshow” – The Scars;
- “Candy Skin” – The Fire Engines;
- “Rescue” – Echo & The Bunnymen;
- “Where Were You?” – The Mekons;
- “Outdoor Miner” – Wire;
- “Typical Girls” – The Slits;
- “She Is Beyond Good & Evil” – The Pop Group.
Fellow Stereogram singings Lola in Slacks release their debut single ‘Tramlines’ on August 31st. Pre-order ‘Tramlines’ here and watch Lola in Slacks live on STV’s Riverside show.
Many thanks to Jeremy Thoms.
All words by Gus Ironside, whose Louder Than War archive is here.