Words by James Robertson
Whenever a musician dies there is always the obligatory look back through their discography, often celebrating their genius more so than they were ever accredited with when they were alive. With Mark E. Smith’s death last week, we naturally saw an outpouring of appreciation flooding certain parts of social media, with bands and critics citing variations of favourite songs and encounters with Smith. One thing however, remained constant; the stories of his uncompromising character. According to anyone who met him Mark E Smith was a true punk spirit who would have hated to be titled as such. A lad from Salford without a concern for whether you liked him or not, as long as he could sing some songs and have a pint. An obvious understatement, but one I’m sure he would have agreed with.
He was also a greatly conflicted man, who inflicted abuse on his fellow bandmates, partners and himself. However, despite his widely known series of substance abuses, he was a man with an unflinching, singular vision which never went unnoticed by his fans. This is frequently becoming something we have to come to terms with after the death of an artist we admire, it’s important that we take the good with the bad, as it is often forgotten that our idols were just ordinary people like us. Perhaps more importantly, we should be reflecting on the influence that The Fall had on the post-punk scene of the 70’s and drawing attention to the bands who are attempting to carry on that legacy. So here are 5 post-punk bands you should be listening to now:
The band would be the first to acknowledge the influence that The Fall has had on them (lead singer Charlie Steen recently wrote about Mark E Smith’s passing). Just like the Fall, Shame carry a similar sense of unpredictability and humour in their music. With their debut album Songs of Praise showcasing a band who aren’t afraid to experiment sonically and lyrically, Shame carry the torch for Smith’s truisms and wry view of living in Britain but with a 21st century perspective.
Formed in Coventry whilst at university, Feet are currently signed to ex Maccabees guitarist Felix White’s label Yala records. Although they have only released two singles, they have proven themselves to be worth the watch in 2018, with engaging and charismatic live performances. Lead single Petty Thieving is all about one of the hardships that face students today – stealing food when your student loan has run out.
South London has quite the post-punk scene going on at the moment. Peckham natives YOWL are a band swamped with comparisons from Parquet Courts to Interpol. I personally like to think that there is a lot more playfulness in their lyricism and delivery than the aforementioned bands. The band groaned their way into the world in the best way possible with an EP and single already under their belt. If you like heavy punching basslines, sprawling guitars and lyrics that point at the monotony of everyday life, then I think you’ve found your new favourite band.
With raucous live shows that leave critics foaming at the mouths and the general public just wanting to see what the fuck is going on, HMLTD have quickly become the next must see band. So far, every song they have put out has managed to be as different as the one that preceded it. Citing influences as wide ranging as the Klub Kids drag scene, 90s industrial rock and trap music, the band are pushing the art punk band idea as far as it can seemingly go, while putting on a great show as they do it.
A much needed shot in the arm, Goat Girl are a band who are hopefully going to make an even bigger impact. The quartet have made quite the impression with their (mostly) under two minute tracks which hit hard and leave you wanting more. A mixture of screeching guitars and pointed lyrics tackling current politics, Goat Girl are the perfect counterbalance to the testosterone headiness of rock bands of the past.