[40 Years] ‘1981 – Post-Punk’ Box Set

1981 was the not the year that defined post-punk (look, probably, to 1979); but it was the year that most exemplifies it’s almost-boundless breadth and depth.

1981’ was originally created as a physical box set of themed mixes across nine CD-Rs almost seventeen years ago, in 2004. In 2021, these tracks are almost four decades old. But the music heard here (and on the sister mixes, ‘1980‘ and ‘1979‘) feels as vibrant and brand-new as ever. It is music that will forever be reborn, as it’s heard for the first time by successive generations who are perennially inspired by it’s total freedom from artistic limitations, its wit, its stylishness, and its open-eared energy.

If this set has a thesis, it’s that post-punk was defined not by its “greats,” but by how great even its peripheral players were, as a movement that empowered people to both take over the means of production (and distribution and criticism and celebration, in ways that epitomized the ethos of “independent music” to this day), and also the means of expression. It democratized artiness and attitude. You didn’t have to be spiky and energetic or arty and erudite: why not be both? And you didn’t need anyone’s permission.

The “greats” are indeed great in 1981: Talking Heads, Gang of Four, Wire, Raincoats, OMDs, This Heat. But in intensity, if not in reach, they were matched by Family Fodder, Crash Course in Science, Dif Juz, and Goat That Went Om–and hundreds more. This set is a celebration of them all, their indefatigable spirit of artistry, exploration and fun.

Please, support artists who made music in 1981, and especially those who make it in 2021: buy music, don’t just stream!

Download Mixes as Mixed mp3s | Download the Booklet Only

Tracklists:

1 9 8 1 | F E E T

01 [00:00] British Electronic Foundation – Rise of the East
02 [02:45] Bush Tetras – You Can’t Be Funky
03 [05:30] Heaven 17 – We’re Going To Live (Edit)
04 [08:20] Foxx, John – Europe After the Rain
05 [12:20] Dome – D-D-Bo
06 [16:15] 23 Skidoo – Last Words
07 [19:55] ESG – UFO
08 [22:45] Gang of Four – What We All Want
09 [27:50] Rip Rig Panic – How Caged Bird
10 [31:20] Logic, Lora – Wonderful Offer
11 [34:25] Mekons – St Patrick’s Day
12 [37:05] Newman, Colin – Alone
13 [40:00] Kraftwerk – Numbers
14 [44:25] Liquid Liquid – Zero Leg
15 [47:00] Massacre – Gate
16 [49:40] Family Fodder – Film Music
17 [53:40] Goat that Went Om – The Pirate Song
18 [55:30] Dif Juz – Diselt
19 [58:15] This Heat – Paper Hats (Edit)
20 [63:35] Trio – Danger Is
21 [65:55] Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – The New Stone Age
22 [69:25] Pigbag – Sunny Day (Edit)
23 [73:05] Public Image Ltd – Flowers of Romance
24 [76:05] YMO – Light in Darkness

1 9 8 1 | H E A R T

01 [00:00] Cure, The – All Cats Are Grey
02 [05:20] Passions – Alice’s Song
03 [08:40] Depeche Mode – Any Second Now (Voices)
04 [11:10] Durutti Column – The Missing Boy
05 [17:40] Costello, Elvis & The Attractions – Gloomy Sunday
06 [21:00] MX-80 – Promise of Love
07 [25:40] Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime (Edit)
08 [29:05] New Order – Doubts Even Here
09 [33:30] Shelley, Pete – It’s Hard Enough Knowing (Edit)
10 [38:20] Sound, The – Winning
11 [40:30] Japan – Ghosts
12 [45:10] This Heat – A New Kind Of Water
13 [50:15] Raincoats – Only Loved At Night
14 [53:45] Gist – Love at First Sight
15 [57:25] Numan, Gary – Dance
16 [60:05] Psychedelic Furs – No Tears
17 [63:25] Gang of Four – Paralysed
18 [66:50] Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Romance Of The Telescope
19 [70:10] Ultravox – Rage In Eden
20 [74:25] Weekend – Nostalgia (Demo)

1 9 8 1 | C O N V E R T I B L E

01 [00:00] Young Marble Giants – Final Day
02 [01:45] Orange Juice – Poor Old Soul
03 [04:15] Martha & The Muffins – This Is the Ice Age
04 [08:20] Altered Images – Happy Birthday
05 [11:15] The Church- Too Fast For You
06 [14:55] Scritti Politti – The Sweetest Girl
07 [19:00] Romeo Void – Myself To Myself
08 [22:50] Barracudas – Don’t Let Go
09 [26:15] The dB’s- Black and White
10 [29:30] Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed
11 [32:15] Magazine – The Honeymoon Killers
12 [35:50] Suburbs – Spring Came
13 [39:10] Marine Girls – Tonight
14 [40:35] Pretenders – Message of Love
15 [43:40] Necessaries – More Real
16 [46:30] The Teardrop Explodes – Falling Down Around Me
17 [49:35] Squeeze – Is That Love
18 [52:05] The Go Betweens – Your Turn, My Turn
19 [55:15] Robyn Hitchcock – Love
20 [59:40] The Stranglers – Golden Brown
21 [63:20] The Ramones – It’s Not My Place
22 [66:45] XTC – Respectable Street
23 [70:20] Pylon – Crazy
24 [73:30] Elvis Costello – Strict Time
25 [75:20] REM – Radio Free Europe

1 9 8 1 | C O M P U T E R

01 [00:00] Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
02 [03:40] Devo – Working In a Coal Mine
03 [06:30] Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – Der Mussolini (Edit)
04 [08:55] Thomas Dolby – Europa & The Pirate Twins
05 [12:15] Associates – White Car in Germany (Edit)
06 [15:45] Eurythmics – Take Me To Your Heart
07 [19:20] Heaven 17 – The Height of the Fighting
08 [22:20] Plastics – Diamond Head
09 [25:40] Yello – Bostich (Edit)
10 [27:50] New Musik – Areas
11 [31:45] Human League – The Things that Dreams Are Made Of (Edit)
12 [35:30] Manuel Gottsching – E2 E4 (Excerpt)
13 [37:15] Duran Duran – Girls on Film
14 [40:45] Tuxedomoon – Incubus (Blue Suit)
15 [44:30] Gary Numan – Stories
16 [47:40] The Blue Nile – I Love This Life
17 [51:25] Chris & Cosey – This Is Me
18 [54:25] Moev – Cracked Mirror (Edit)
19 [57:55] Cybotron – Alleys Of Your Mind
20 [61:30] The Buggles – Blue Nylon
21 [63:55] Soft Cell – Tainted Love
22 [66:35] Cars – Shake It Up (Edit)
23 [69:30] Classix Nouveaux – 623
24 [71:55] Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Sacred Heart
25 [75:25] Kraftwerk – Computer Love (Edit)

1 9 8 1 | A M P L I F I E R

01 [00:00] The Embarrassment – Celebrity Art Party
02 [03:05] Minutemen – Straight Jacket
03 [04:05] The Replacements – Johnny’s Gonna Die
04 [07:30] Flesh Eaters – Pray Til You Sweat
05 [10:05] Black Flag – Louie Louie
06 [11:25] Stiff Little Fingers – The Only One
07 [15:45] Mx-80 – Cover To Cover
08 [18:25] Meat Puppets – Big House
09 [19:30] Agent Orange – Too Young To Die
10 [21:35] The Saints – Paradise (Edit)
11 [24:30] Buzzcocks – I Look Alone
12 [27:35] Empire – All These Things
13 [30:50] Secret Hate – New Routines-Suicide
14 [32:15] The Gordons – Coalminers Song
15 [38:00] Virgin Prunes – Twenty Tens
16 [40:30] The Cramps – Green Fuz
17 [42:30] Minor Threat – Straight Edge
18 [43:20] 100 Flowers – Reject Yourself
19 [45:55] The Undertones – Julie Ocean
20 [47:40] Bad Brains – Pay To Cum
21 [49:10] Flipper – Ha Ha Ha
22 [51:25] Mission of Burma – Fame and Fortune
23 [55:00] Gun Club – Goodbye Johnny
24 [58:45] Josef K – Crazy To Exist
25 [61:45] Swimming Pool Q’s – Rat Bait
26 [64:05] Dead Kennedys – Nazi Punks Fuck Off
27 [65:05] Au Pairs – Love Song
28 [67:55] Wipers – When It’s Over
29 [74:35] X – Adult Books
30 [77:55] Zoomers – Give Your Heart

1 9 8 1 | C A S S E T T E

01 [00:00] Clean, The – Billy Two
02 [02:20] Fall, The – Lie Dream of a Casino Soul
03 [05:30] Dow Jones & The Industrials – Ladies With Appliances
04 [07:55] Ludus – Mutilate
05 [10:30] Nervous Gender – Fat Cow
06 [13:05] 49 Americans – Love at First Sight
07 [14:30] Plasticland – Office Skills
08 [16:10] Beakers, The – Four Steps Toward A Cultural Revolution
09 [17:40] Felt – Something Sends Me to Sleep
10 [20:35] Work – Duty
11 [21:40] Fall of Saigon – Blue Eyes
12 [23:40] Blackouts, The – Dead Man’s Curve
13 [27:05] Scapa Flow – Somewhere
14 [29:45] Dancing Cigarettes – Mr Morse
15 [31:10] Amoebas In Chaos – Designer Genes
16 [32:40] Tall Dwarfs – All My Hollowness to You
17 [35:00] Monitor – Amphibious
18 [38:00] Dolphins – She Took a Long Cold Look
19 [39:25] Blue Orchids – Bad Education
20 [41:50] Watt, Ben – Departure
21 [43:25] Neonbabies – Profi (Edit)
22 [46:45] Voice Farm – AM City (Edit)
23 [48:20] Laughing Apple – Wouldn’t You
24 [50:35] Social Climbers – Hello Texas
25 [52:40] Der Plan – Das Insekt
26 [54:15] Biting Tongues – Reflector
27 [56:55] Flux of Pink Indians – Sick Butchers
28 [59:20] Aztec Camera – Lost Outside The Tunnel
29 [62:50] Diagram Brothers – Bricks
30 [65:35] Human Switchboard – I Used to Believe in You
31 [69:30] Half Japanese – My Knowledge Was Wrong
32 [70:30] Television Personalities – This Angry Silence
33 [73:05] Philosophic Collage – Toxic Poppies
34 [74:40] Violent Femmes – Waiting For The Bus (Demo)
35 [76:45] Thick Pigeon – Silhouettes

1 9 8 1 | B R A I N

01 [00:00] Art Bears – Truth
02 [02:55] The Birthday Party – Cry
03 [05:35] Glenn Branca – Structure
04 [08:40] Klaus Nomi – The Twist
05 [11:45] Ex, The – Weapons for El Salvador
06 [14:30] Flying Lizards – Hands 2 Take
07 [18:35] Negativland – Dearmary
08 [20:25] New Age Steppers – Crazy Dreams & High Ideas
09 [23:25] Lemon Kittens – Kites
10 [26:55] Trio – Kummer
11 [29:35] Pere Ubu – Lonesome Cowboy Dave
12 [31:30] The Residents – Would We Be Alive
13 [34:50] Matt Johnson – The River Flows East In Spring
14 [36:20] Eyeless in Gaza – The Decoration
15 [39:05] Einstürzende Neubauten – Abstieg & Zerfall
16 [43:35] Fire Engines – Candyskin
17 [46:30] Section 25 – Hit
18 [49:20] Crass – Bata Motel
19 [52:50] Liaisons Dangereuses – Aperitif De La Mort
20 [54:25] Crash Course in Science – Factory Forehead
21 [57:25] Foetus – Thank Heaven for Push Button Phones
22 [61:55] Cabaret Voltaire – A Touch Of Evil
23 [63:45] Chrome – Planet Strike
24 [66:10] DNA – Blonde Red Head
25 [68:05] Clock DVA – 4 Hours
26 [72:00] Homosexuals – Nursery Chymes
27 [74:35] Wim Mertins – Multiple 12
28 [75:40] This Heat – Makeshift Swahili

1 9 8 1 | I C E

01 [00:00] Holger Czukay – Fragrance (Edit)
02 [03:15] Jerry Harrison – Worlds In Collision
03 [08:20] Comsat Angels – Restless
04 [11:35] Selecter – Their Dream Goes On
05 [15:20] Gun Club – Promise Me
06 [17:55] ESG – You’re No Good
07 [21:10] Siouxsie & The Banshees – Into the Light
08 [25:25] Laurie Anderson – O Superman
09 [33:45] Phew – Fragment (Edit)
10 [36:20] Honeymoon Killers – Histoire a Suivre
11 [39:30] The Del-Byzanteens – Girl’s Imagination
12 [46:10] Was (Not Was) – Oh, Mr. Friction
13 [49:45] Brian Eno & David Byrne – A Secret Life
14 [52:15] Echo & The Bunnymen – All My Colours
15 [56:20] Material – Square Dance
16 [60:45] Ryuichi Sakamoto – Kachakuchane (Edit)
17 [63:35] Grace Jones – Nightclubbing
18 [68:40] The Slits – Earthbeat (Peel Session) (Edit)
19 [74:25] Robert Wyatt – Born Again Cretin
20 [77:30] Delta 5 – Different Fur

1 9 8 1 | F I R E

01 [00:00] A Certain Ratio – Waterline
02 [03:35] New Order – Chosen Time
03 [07:45] Fad Gadget – Make Room (Edit)
04 [11:00] Fun Boy Three – The Lunatics
05 [14:15] David Byrne – The Red House
06 [17:35] Creatures – But Not Them
07 [21:00] Raybeats – Calhoun Surf
08 [22:50] Suburbs – Tired of My Plans
09 [26:25] David Thomas – Crickets in the Flats
10 [31:25] Killing Joke – Butcher (Edit)
11 [34:35] Japan – Talking Drum
12 [38:10] The B-52’s – Give Me Back My Man (Remix) (Edit)
13 [41:15] Lizzy Mercier-Descloux – Room Mate
14 [44:00] The Beat – Too Nice To Talk To
15 [47:10] Lounge Lizards – Do The Wrong Thing
16 [49:45] INXS – Stay Young
17 [53:10] Prince – Controversy
18 [56:40] Talking Heads – Houses in Motion (Edit)
19 [59:30] Bauhaus – Of Lillies & Remains (Edit)
20 [62:25] The Specials – Ghost Town (Edit)
21 [66:10] Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love
22 [70:15] Wire – Midnight Bahnhof Cafe (Edit)
23 [72:50] Family Fodder – Emergency
24 [75:30] Raincoats – Shouting Out Loud

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