Musicophilia

[Women of Post-Punk] ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Vol. 3′

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on February 7, 2009

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Completing a triology (for now) of mixes focusing on leading female artists of the post-punk milieu, here is ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Volume Three’.  Taken with volumes One and Two, the mix serves as an introduction to what is arguably the least male-centric, most maleable and voraciously all-encompasing form rock and roll has ever taken in post-punk of the late 70s and 80s.  I generally view post-punk an extension of the artistic sensibilities of outre music of the late 60s and 70s (from the Velvet Underground and the Stooges to Can and Faust to Kraftwerk and Roxy Music, but also infused with heady funk, dub, Afrobeat and even musique concret); but even these predecessors tended to work in male-dominated idioms (though giving us major post-punk fore-mothers like Nico, Yoko Ono and Brigitte Fontaine).  One could argue for both a political and artistic “feminine/feminist” quality in post-punk (as made by women, but also by many men); and music on these mixes could be cited as evidence of newly heard female qualities brought to an interpretation of rock in these years.  But what’s interesting to me is that the women of post-punk seem to have felt completely free to express their feminine and masculine and simply human qualities freely. Few female musicians of post-punk seem to be “playing a man’s game,” nor presenting a “version” of the main channel, nor catering to male expectations of the Rock Chick (certainly not in an unproblematised, unironic way).  These figures stand as central to my understanding of this sort of music as any men.  And I feel they’re recognised broadly as pillars of the music.  But having presented these mixes, I’d be very keen to hear your ideas: had you ever thought particularly one way or another about women in post-punk; are there identifiable ways in which women shaped post-punk, or was post-punk simply rock’s first androgynous embodiment; do you agree women are central to the story of post-punk, or were they in fact marginalised at the time? (I’d be especially curious to hear the experiences of those of you who were “there,” and not in diapers like myself.)  As for ‘Volume Three’ specifically: this mix is perhaps slightly spookier, more off-kilter, and a little darker than the previous two mixes.  And yet–I think you’d be hard pressed to fit much of it into a traditional “femme fatale,” “chanteause” mold.  There are as many unique and individual voices here as there are artists.

Included artists this round are the Creatures, Siouxsie’s percussion-centric vehicle; early Eurythmics and Phew, both featuring the ryhthm (and loops) section of Can; beat-happy ESG, Maximum Joy, and Los Microwaves; ever-enigmatic and very underrated Ludus; scuzzy electro-weirdos Crash Course in Science, primed for rediscovery; Grace Jones at her most post-punk, making her own thing of Iggy Pop; New York queen Lydia Lunch with her own inimitably cracked and macabre take on “Gloomy Sunday;” under-heard Marilyn & The Movie Stars of the fecund post-No Wave scene; the quietly forceful Young Marble Giants; and the unabashedly epic and “rock-y” Pretenders.  Full tracklist and download link follow “more…”.  [I’d like to welcome the readers of the Typical Girls mailing list–I’d certainly love to hear your take on what all this music means!  Your intro page alone captures the bulk of the remaining artists I’ve got in mind for future volumes of this series.  You’ll also want to check out the ‘1981‘  and ‘Post-Punk Miniatures‘ series and the ‘Post Post-Punk‘ mix, if you get a chance–but I imagine you’d find a lot to like in the pre-punk material on which Musicophilia also focuses.]

Various – The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Volume 3  (1980-1983)

01  [00:00]  Creatures – “Miss The Girl” (Feast, 1983)
02  [02:27]  Eurythmics – “Sing-Sing” (In the Garden, 1981)
03  [06:30]  Phew – “Doze” (Phew, 1981)
04  [09:57]  E.S.G. – “Moody” (ESG EP, 1981)
05  [12:47]  Maximum Joy – “Searching for a Feeling” (Station M.X.J.Y., 1982)
06  [17:01]  Los Microwaves – “La Voix Humane” (Life After Breakfast, 1982)
07  [19:44]  Ludus – “My Cherry is in Sherry” (The Seduction, 1981)
08  [22:24]  Crash Course in Science – “Cardboard Lamb” (Signals from Pier Thirteen EP, 1981)
09  [24:57]  Grace Jones – “Nightclubbing” (Nightclubbing, 1981)
10  [29:57]  Lydia Lunch – “Gloomy Sunday” (Queen of Siam, 1980)
11  [32:46]  Marilyn & The Movie Stars – “So Disgraceful” (So Disgraceful EP, 1982)
12  [36:16]  Young Marble Giants – “Music for Evenings” (Colossal Youth, 1980)
13  [39:19]  The Pretenders – “Lovers of Today” (Pretenders, 1980)

[Total Time: 45:14]

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6 Responses

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  1. Tristan Mahr said, on February 13, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    There’s been a great Lester Bangs quote going around tumblr today:

    “…the only hope for rock’n’roll, aside from everybody playing nothing but shrieking atonal noise through arbitor distorters, is women. Balls are what ruined both rock and politics in the first place, and I demand the world be turned over to the female sex immediately. Only hope. Valerie Solanas was so much greater a prophet than Warhol that I can only pray she might consent to lead the group I’m forming. The absolute best rock’n’roll anywhere today is being played by women: the other night I saw God in the form of the Au Pairs, the Slits are stupendous, the Raincoats are better than London Calling or anything by Elvis Costello, Chrissie Hynde doesn’t count, Joan Jett deserves her place in the sun if not reparations, Lydia Lunch is the Female Role Model for the ’80s besides being one of the greatest guitarists in the world … the list is endless. (Patti, come home!)”

    http://postpunk.tumblr.com/post/78122491/the-only-hope-for-rocknroll-aside-from

  2. Dina said, on February 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    As the creator and moderator of the Typical Girls listserv, I salute you! You raise interesting questions about the significance of the women of this era/”genre”/etc. My thesis has always been that these women collectively contribute a certain unique quality of the “feminine” (whatever that means) while at the same time transcending the boundaries assumed by being “feminine.” We’re not monolithic, but as a composite these women contribute something new and interesting to the mix. The timing is essential — if only for political reasons. Their influence is fundamental, essential, and cuts close to the bone. It sets the tone for today’s “Rock Chick” climate — even though so many are only catching up with them in present…

  3. […] The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook consists of three 40+ minute-long mixes of women in post-punk. Includes my personal favs like The Raincoats, The Slits, Lizzie Mercier-Descloux, Antena, Crass, Delta 5, Au Pairs, Young Marble Giants, Grace Jones, Vivienne Goldman’s “Laundrette” & many more. From excellent blog Musicophilia. Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 […]

  4. Engine « Major Progression said, on April 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    […] Women of Post-Punk […]

  5. […] ‘Volume 1′ features performance artists, No-Wave inheritors, gentle proto-indie singer-songwriters, ska revivalists, dance-funk-disco popularizers, artsy weirdos, west-coast pop-punks, agit-prop art-punks, and more from between 1978 and 1983.  You’ll find Laurie Anderson; Delta 5; The Go-Go’s revealing a more pensive side; Raincoats deconstructing rock; X; Flying Lizards; Jane Hudson; Crass; Blondie; very early Sonic Youth; Selecter; Marine Girls; Lizzy Mercier-Descloux; and the lovely post-Young Marble Giants project Weekend.  Further volumes feature Family Fodder, Au Pairs, Pylon, The Slits, B-52s, Y Pants, Cocteau Twins, E.S.G., Lydia Lunch, The Pretenders and others.  These mixes make a nice companion to the ‘1981′ series, and I’ve avoided any track overlap with that or other post-punk mixes.  Download link and full tracklist (along with an update on upcoming mixes) after the “more…” link.  [Update: and here is 'Volume Two' and 'Volume Three'] […]

  6. Miss K. LaMoine said, on February 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Fantastic mixes! I do wish you had included something by Lilliput/Kleenex, but beggars can’t be choosers. Thanks for this!


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