#FREE BOOK à Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-84 ¹ eBook or E-pub free

This is certainly the best single book so far on postpunk, but it is significantly impaired, firstly by Reynolds' refusal or inability to decide what he means by 'postpunk', and secondly, by his decision to try to include musical developments after punk in the US He ought to have decided what 'postpunk' meant for him and stuck with it Similarly, he ought to have limited the ambit of the book to the UK, Ireland Germany, because his treatment of developments in those countries is generally excellent (albeit with some puzzling omissions and corresponding overindulgences).The conceptual confusion about what 'postpunk' means is the most glaring general problem, and is signaled by a divergence in usage between the book cover and the text On the cover spine, the book is subtitled Postpunk 19781984 In the text, the word is consistently rendered as postpunk The difference suggests a confusion between 'postpunk' as genre, and 'postpunk' as purely chronological distinction (anything after punk) This fundamental ambiguity is then underlined by the two parts of the book Part One is PostPunk; Part Two is New Pop New Rock Part Two probably should have been a separate book.I turn now to the customary remonstrances for sins of omission The chapter on the development of Goth doesn't so much as mention Dave Vanian The Damned; I'd have thought they would be the seminal example of a band moving from punk to a particular place in postpunk Psychedelic Furs are mentioned only in passing (and even then, only as a 'New Wave' band), while Echo The Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes are discussed in detail In perhaps the most bizarre oversights, Essential Logic are merely mentioned in passing, while Kleenex/LiLiPUT are not mentioned at all.There is, on the other hand, a sin of emission in his discussions (plural) of The Associates, which are quite frankly embarrassing There's nothing wrong with having had sexual fantasies about a favorite singer, but all critical distance judgment go out the window here, borne aloft by his fanboy ejaculations Twelve pages are devoted to this relatively unimportant and utterly noninfluential band.As an American reader, his uneven and at times downright shabby treatment of the development of postpunk in the USA is impossible to ignore He is not American, and so he is completely reliant upon interviews and press coverage This handicap is most glaringly apparent in the second of two chapters on New York This chapter contains no writing by Reynolds at all; it is comprised entirely of quotes taken from music magazines, interspersed with some quotes taken from interviews He does not even attempt an evaluation of the material presented Why include this chapter at all?Worse, he appears to have decided not to engage with the Los Angeles scene in anything but the most cursory fashion, devoting almost all of his meager coverage to a discussion of L.A hardcore punk…which had pretty much nothing to do with postpunk, certainly not stylistically.To begin with, his treatment of the San Francisco Los Angeles scenes is bizarrely inverted; the L.A postpunk scene was much larger anddiverse, and he fails altogether to mention either The Screamers, one of the great postpunk bands that actually preceded punk (like Pere Ubu, e.g.) or Deadbeats (who were doing New Yorkstyle No Wave at least as early as anybody in New York did) When he does gesture towards L.A postpunk, interesting bands such as 100 Flowers, Human Hands, BPeople Monitor are only mentioned in a list; neither Wall of Voodoo nor the Fibonaccis rates a mention [He also fails to mention Fear's 'New York's Alright (If You Like Saxophones)', which skewered the wildly overrated No Wave scene with greater wit than any of the NY bands.]To return briefly to Goth, his treatment is limited to the UK (The Cramps are mentioned as a sartorial influence on one UK band) But the birth of American Goth in Los Angeles is a fascinating chapter in the history of the genre; many of the earliest L.A Goths were Latino(a), and the role of the sanguinary Mexican style of Catholicism seems significant (and of course it's tempting to include the Aztecs as well).He makes a foreheadsmacking error in describing …basic apolitical hardcore, such as Orange County's TSOL… TSOL's first record included songs such as 'Property Is Theft', 'Abolish Government/Silent Majority', and 'World War III' But this error also serves to indicate an even bigger missed opportunity: TSOL's next record (Dance With Me) was explicitly Goth in subject matter and tried to chart a musical course between hardcore and someexpansive form It isn't a brilliant album by any means, but it serves to underline a certain shoddiness in Reynolds' approach to the American scenes.He is aware of the emergence of hybrid punk/roots forms in Los Angeles in the wake of punk (Blasters, Gun Club, Los Lobos, et al.), but he doesn't seem to think they qualify as 'postpunk' for some reason (while Dexy's Midnight Runners somehow do) Neither does he stop to consider why that development occurred when and where it did.L.A is, after all, the world capital of surface and appearance, and the themes of presentation, image, authenticity and selffashioning are central to the book Could there be ainteresting case study of a musician moving through the promise of punk, the experimental space of postpunk, and a subsequent turn to a preexisting form than the career of Phranc, who went from Catholic Discipline to Nervous Gender (basically an L.A band, though they started in San Francisco) to solo folk performer? Or how about the move of the Kinman brothers from the avowedly Marxist punk Dils to cowpunk pioneers Rank And File? Another opportunity missed He could have considered why the reactions to the deadend of punk took such different forms in the UK and in L.A Indeed, a comparison of the UK with Los Angeles would have been much richer conceptually than the utterly predictable and bythenumbers focus on NY No Wave and its progeny It seems to have escaped him that No Wave skronk never appealed tothan perhaps 2,000 people, almost all of whom lived on the island of Manhattan, and it had no discernible influence on anybody else anywhere, ever Compare the L.A punkroots hybridization: that birthed an entirely new subgenre of music that spread across the country over the next few decades, altcountry.Overall, this is a very, very good book on most UK postpunk (qua genre), with a lot of perhaps overlydetailed material on the British pop music that came after postpunk Perhaps a better,tightlyfocussed book will be written about postpunk someday Until then, this will suffice as a guide to the curious and a prod to the nostalgic. This is what happened: I bought the US edition of this book back when it was released, read it, loved it Six months or so later, I learned that the original UK edition had been cut all to hell for its US release Something like 200 pages had been removed in order to pare the US edition down to its 400 page final length I was shocked and appalled, but never knew quite how to get myself a copy of the UK edition, short of doing an international order throughUK, which I told myself would be prohibitively expensive So that was all there was to it, for a long time.Then, a couple of months ago, I came into a large sum of money (four figures) with which I was free to purchase whatever I wanted Well, in addition to paying off all of my past due utility bills and purchasing the laptop I'm currently typing this review on (a steal at $450), I went ahead and did theUK order to obtain the original, director'scut edition of Rip It Up And Start Again Boy, am I glad I did The 400 page edition that I originally read was thoroughly enjoyable, but it still couldn't compare to the author's original intention With smaller print, the UK edition still came out to be 125pages than the US edition, and where the US edition included no pictures at all, the UK edition presented at least one image every halfdozen pages or so I finally got to see the Scritti Politti EP cover depicting the squalor in which they lived, as well as photos from Throbbing Gristle and James Chance performances, amongst many other things And the text was greatly expanded, not just in additional coverage for bands that had been unmentioned in the US text but also in additional sections, sometimes great portions of one chapter or another that were completely removed, which I was now reading for the first time It was a revelation to me, especially since the sections that were removed often dealt with bands that I'd been far less likely to already know about than the bands that were left in the truncated manuscript.All of this is just a comparison between two editions, though What's really important here is the work itself, and in reading this book, the first work I ever encountered by Simon Reynolds, I found myself going from barely aware of him to being a huge fan That experience is only amplified by reading this new, expanded edition Reynolds is one of the best music writers I've ever read, able to integrate literate, intensely rational analysis of the ideas behind particular groups and their recorded works, with faremotionallycentered reactions to the feel and sound that those works ultimately emanated Reynolds isof a Greil Marcus than a Lester Bangs, but he's able to incorporate the strengths of both of these writers as well as those of many others, including British rock critics that I'm, again, less familiar with than I should be, into an ecumenical overall approach that leaves no stone unturned in its indepth analysis of bands, scenes, movements, and overall periods in punk/rock history I say periods because this book, despite its subtitular reference to postpunk, covers a great dealthan just that few years after the dissolution of the Sex Pistols in which Joy Division and Public Image Ltd represented the cream of the creative crop The book delves deeply into the New Wave/New Pop movements of the early 80s, probing the depths of synthpop and fey British haircut bands to find the serious ideas and important creative moments that were at the root of a great deal of the era In so doing, Reynolds makes a persuasive case for the likes of the Don't You Want Me era Human League, Duran Duran, and even Culture Club I almost find myself wanting to give certain eradefining synthpop albums another listen Almost Ultimately, that's the biggest tribute to the power of Reynolds's writing here He not only makes me want to dig out records by groups I like that I haven't heard in quite a while, but also records by groups I've always hated If his writing unearths a valuable truth or a worthwhile musical moment on the second Culture Club album or in Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax, I feel like I should hear it again, even though I'd ordinarily tell you that I'd be happy if I never heard any of that garbage again That's enough to tell me that this is a writer worth paying attention to Rip It Up And Start Again may be the first Simon Reynolds book I've ever read, but it won't be the last. #FREE BOOK ⚡ Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-84 ⚢ Punk's raw power rejuvenated rock, but by the summer ofthe movement had become a parody of itself RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN is a celebration of what happened nextPostpunk bands like PiL, Joy Division, Talking Heads, The Fall and The Human League dedicated themselves to fulfilling punk's unfinished musical revolution The postpunk groups were fervent modernists; whether experimenting with electronics and machine rhythm or adapting ideas from dub reggae and disco, they were totally confident they could invent a whole new future for music So, this book probably was written for me Those are my years, this is my music I was a bit surprised at how differently this was written from the usual rock journalism stuff,usually full of that overly cute jargon, with the writer's personality in flamboyant display Well in a monthly, vying for the short attention span of the audience, this is perhaps a necessary evil Seminal!!!This book, however, is presented in a less frenzied, leisurely pace It tends to look at niches of time and place, analyzes what created them on a cultural levelincluding politics, the socioeconomic and educational bent of the given town, how one artist/musician/philosopher, or a group may have started a fire, spread it to the locals, created offshoots or clones, mutated, moved, added new interests, new people, new instruments Reynolds seems to have special insight into the Northern provinces of Britain, explaining why they frequently became incubators for new music with the combination of dying industries, art schools, and socialist/nationalist ideology There were a lot of squats and communes But he also has lots of good thoughts about American schools of postpunkalthough he does avoid some of thewellknown scenes like Boston, D.C., and California that have probably been done to death Mostly, what I got from this book was picking up stray threads of people and places I heard about, perhaps, but now I feel I've got a decently thorough schooling in who they were, what they sounded like, why they existed: their raison d'etre, if that changed, and how that made them get big/fail Because the inevitability is always the ultimate failure, whether they had a moment at the Top of the Pops, or avoided it out of a sense of purity It's kind of fascinating how many different ideas and styles got mashed up in these daysone thread that seems to permeate the postpunk era is this one decisionto guitar or no?? Because electric music was a big part of this era of music, of course I learned a lot Got me excited about music again Bands I never heard of, bands I had heard of but never invested in mentally I had missed a lot, whoo boy.I think my Big Learn here was recognizing the difference in experience for the American Music consumer (me) of that era and the British consumer(not me) The main difference, as I see it, was musicologists like John Peel, whose name appears again and again in this book Forget Clapton is Godor John Stabb John Peel was the Lord and Savior of all lattertwentieth century odd and creative music America didn't have him, and that's a big empty for us That's why Americans with unusual music taste had to dig deeper, search longer, and ultimately feel both alienated and special We did not have a John Peel with a national microphone to spread the news. A thorough and intellectual (sometimes a little too thorough and intellectual) overview of British and American postpunk art rock and pop The first half of the book explains the lofty intellectual and musical ideals the drove bands such as Public Image Ltd., Pere Ubu, Joy Division, Gang of Four, and the Pop Group, while thefractured second half explains how this postpunk movement spawned goth, neopsychedelia, synth pop, 2tone, the new romantic scene, and finally the New Rock and New Pop that dominated MTV in the midtolate eighties The path from the droning nihilism of Public Image Ltd's first two albums to Madonna's Material Girl doesn't seem clear at first, but Reynolds does a great job of making all the pieces fit And while Reynolds clearly reveres postpunk for its ambition, innovation, and intellectual depth, he doesn't let its artists off the hook for their many shortcomings: their snobbishness, their political naivete, their stupid fascination with Nazism, and their sometimes condescending views of race The book is overlong though, and sometimes Reynolds paints in very broad strokes when describing the political/economic/cultural environment from which postpunk emerged Fewer halfassed attempts at sociology and a littlediscussion of the individual personalities that shaped the postpunk scenes would have gone a long way here Still, any book that can inspire me to listen to Pere Ubu's Dub Housing and Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures again can only be a good thing. Fuck! I loved it Thank you, Simon Reynolds It is PACKED with an overwhelming amount of information It encompasses so much and is written in a compelling way that left me often wishing I could have slowed down, exhibitedselfcontrol, to listen to bands or just generally absorb a scene before tumbling into the next So comprehensive and vivid Pointed me to so much great music, I watched the movie Kes, I want to read J.G Ballard Blah etc I even enjoyed learning about disturbing little scenes and seeming shockjocks I appreciated where the authorial voice sat: Reynolds is transparent with his opinions which helped orient me in this sprawling history But his presence was not overbearing Just honest and not some phony omniscience.I read the apparently abridged American publication and have learned that the U.K version has like, 200pages??? Do I need to read this ? I was planning on making my way through this slowly and listening to the music as I went along, but I found it so gripping that I ended up just tearing through and making a list of artists and albums to go back to later That list is now ridiculously long and will take me weeks or months to get through, a testament not just to how much ground the book covers but also to how well Simon Reynolds sells the music and makes you really want to check it out The list would be even longer if I was including artists I already listened to but now feel a strong urge to go back to armed with the new perspectives provided by this book Reynolds really has a skill for digging into what makes a particular band so great, and if they're not great then at least why they're interesting and worth being taken seriously The first part of the book focuses on the early days of postpunk when it was in its purest form, and for me this was the strongest part of the book, producing a tight narrative while also being wideranging The second part focuseson the various subgenres that were spawned out of this initial burst of postpunk, and while still enjoyable its certainly the weaker half The various directions postpunk took after its initial stages is inherently aunweildly subject and for this reason the second part struggles to tell an overarching story as well as the first, which in fairness maybe can't be helped However, my main issue was that a few bands and scenes were given considerablyspace than I felt they deserved while others were given short shrift A book like this is always going to have that problem and to an extent it's just personal taste, but it became muchof an issue in part two The most glaring example of this for me was that a band as significant as The Cure were given nothan a few paragraphs, while Malcolm McLaren's various postPistols expolits were given page after page of detail Maybe that's just my personal preference coming through, but I found it jarring This is mostly just nitpicking though because I really enjoyed this book, it provided nearly everything I was looking for in it and does a great job of balancingintellectual musings with clear passion and enthusiasm for the subject. This is a great read, but definitely meant only for those with previous knowledge of or respect for this era of music history Newcomers to this genre will most likely be put off by the sheer amount of obscure information that Reynolds includes, while postpunk nerds such as myself will revel in it However, it should be noted that the US version is highly censored and cut by almost 200 pages, and does not include the original photos of the UK release Take some time to seek out the original UK publication and, of course, actually listen to the music that it's describing! It makes the whole experience of reading this book so muchenjoyable, you won't regret it! The standard narrative of the pop music history of the late 70’s and early 80’s has the bracing musical revolution of punk quickly degenerating into thecommercial and cooptable form of New Wave Punk is the honest, authentic voice of political and aesthetic revolution, while New Wave is the watered down, corrupted, commercialized version of that impulse Now there’s a grain of truth to this interpretation, but it misses a few things about punk that were quickly to drive it into an aesthetic deadend, and it downplays the real virtues of much of the music that followed in its wake Musically, punk wasn’t anything other than good old guitardriven rock and roll played louder and faster and with aaggressive, antisocial, overtly political attitude Basically it layered a new set of attitudes and fashion statements over an already wellestablished musical form Not only that, in a lot of ways it was simply updating and recycling traditional rock poses—macho cock rockers, the rock musician as revolutionary, with the model for revolution being the armed guerilla or street fighter And punk’s politics—its populism and fetishization of authenticity—worked against musical innovation One aspect of the founding myth of punk was that it was a cleansing force, washing away the excesses of the bloated, decadent, selfimportant pop music establishment of the 70’s Consequently musical innovation and experimentation were suspect Reynolds takes postpunk out of the shadow of punk rock and presents it as a genre in its own right, distinct it from both punk and New Wave He shows how little postpunk owed to punk, and how much it owed to other genres (the art rock and experimental music of the 70’s, Reggae and dub, funk) and other cultural and intellectual influences (post60’s collectivist and communal values, postmodern social and aesthetic theory of the late 70’s and early 80’s) Postpunk was a much less ideologically hidebound, muchsonically adventurous musical form than the punk rock that preceded it About all it inherited from punk was attitude and energy Reynolds dates postpunk from 19781984, and the book is divided into two parts The first part, from roughly 7880ish, recounts the emergence of postpunk, and focuses on the dour, arty, experimental, socially conscious bands that most music nerds associate with postpunk—Gang of Four, The Fall, early Scritti Politti, PIL, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere Ubu etc The second half, on new pop and new rock, follows the evolution of postpunk into the mideighties and focuses on theaccessible, commercial, radioanddancefloorfriendly turn the genre took in the early 80’s Some bands make appearances in both sections, most notably Scritti Politti, who were one of theuncompromising bands of postpunk’s early years, but who later made a conscious decision to recordlistenerfriendly stuff in order to infiltrate the mainstream Other bands covered in the second half include: the Specials and other twotone and ska revival bands, Malcolm McLaren projects like Bow Wow Wow and Adam and the Antz, arty synthpoppers like Gary Numan and Ultravox, NYC Mutant Disco groups, Progressive Punk bands like Black Flag, The Minutemen, and Mission of Burma etc Reynolds does a fine job of connecting the music to the larger cultural, intellectual and political contexts from which it emerged Postpunk was born along with Thatcherism in the UK It also coincided with the rise of postmodernism and critical theory in the universities It likewise coexisted, in the UK, with a strong tradition of communist and socialistfriendly leftwing politics There was a bit of this in the US as well, especially in the Reagan 80’s, with bands like The Minutemen proselytizing for the Central American solidarity movement (D Boon often worked the crowd for CISPES after many Minutemen shows) And, there were certainly strong residues of 60’s and 70’s collectivist, counterculture politics within postpunk—Factory Records and Rough Trade most notably And while most pop artists certainly try to manage their careers, and think hard about their selfpresentation, the art school refugees and brainy autodidacts who made up the first wave of postpunk were a particularly selfreflective bunch It would be wrong to describe the music as uncommercial, or to portray the musicians and artists as completely unconcerned with popularity or commercial success, but there was a definite sense of existing to negate the corporate hitmaking machinery and the ideology of 70’s corporate rock and pop, at least until New Pop came along and rebelled against postpunk rebellion by emulating the most listenerfriendly, antirockist pop forms.There’s always a danger in any socialintellectual history of the pop arts of inflating the art form’s significance simply by virtue of placing it within a welldeveloped reconstruction of the cultural milieu in which it emerged (on the other hand, the mistake many highbrow critics make—are there any of them left?—is to avoid looking beyond the shiny surfaces to theserious elements embedded in pop art forms) There may be some pop songs, genres, movements about which there really isn’t much of interest to say—bands and scenes that don’t meritthan a glib oneparagraph squib in a music magazine, and that don’t connect to larger trends and issues or ideas in any kind of interesting way But as Reynolds shows this is certainly not the case with postpunk One could argue that Reynolds is too much of a fan, and that he overpraises much of the music—as the Vanity Fair critic tapped to review the book for the New York Times did, though it’s hard to take such criticism seriously from someone who writes for what’s essentially a middlebrow version of People—but to me he gets it absolutely right 95% of the time He convincingly makes the case that, despite the preeminent place punk has occupied in rockcrit mythology, postpunk was by far ainteresting and influential movement—sonically, intellectually and politically Reynolds comes to praise, rather than bury, postpunk, but his fanboy’s enthusiasm is balanced by a 40yearold’s sense of how sophomoric much of the politics were and how crappy, ultimately, a lot of the music was, in traditional musical terms But this is balanced by an admiration for the creativity and idealism of the various scenes, the sense of mission, willingness to experiment, and to bend musical tastes to the bands‘ will rather than simply playing what was popular in order to be rock stars, that characterized much of postpunk And while he spends almost 600 pages lovingly reconstructing the scene and it’s influences and musical products, he doesn’t make much of an argument for its larger significance outside of the world of pop music He never loses sight of the fact that the end product, even of theuncompromising or abrasive variants—like Gang of Four, Throbbing Gristle, Crass, The Minutemen etc.—was one form or another of pop music I’m not sure how to say this exactly, but the idea, the concept of pop—as something youthoriented, playful, ephemeral, disposable, commercial, popular, relatively undemanding, not meant to last—is the reality check that keeps Reynolds from overpraising the music Reynolds, shows how the world shaped the music, but thankfully stops short of arguing that the music changed the world. Warning: do not read this book unless you have ready access to Spotify or some other music subscription service that allows you to listen to entire albums without purchasing them, or else you will go bankrupt trying to catch up with the Fall, James Chance and the Contortions, the Associates and a hundred other bands with which you were vaguely familiar but suddenly find fascinating thanks to Simon Reynolds' writing This is the best work of music history, and one of the best history books, I have ever read Reynolds iscritic than fan butfan than sycophant, which makes his examination of what we now call alternative music from 19771984 both exuberant and objective He also does an excellent job of evoking the milieus in which various postpunk genres arose now I know exactly why Manchester has so much to answer for Reynolds takes his job as a historian seriously, so when he writes about a band, he describes both its intent and its impact, noting the occasional chasm between the two His biographical sketches of the artists whom he covers are detailed but brisk and just gossipy enough to be amusing if not horrifying (I'm now convinced that Malcolm McLaren should have been arrested and tried in the Hague for crimes against humanity) If the book has any flaw, it's that Reynolds occasionally overstuffs his chapters with too many references and anecdotes, leaving the readerinterested than informed, and towards the end of the book, he covers some yawninducingly familiar territory like the rise of MTV, but even then he's insightful and doesn't lapse into standard cultural critiques even as he quotes people who do If you care about any late 70s or early 80s music beyond Styx or the Commodores, this book is a must.