Cheat Sheet '80s Post-Punk
Punk rock, as theoretically invented in 1976 (even though it had technically been around for years before that), came off as a fairly artistic proposition from the get-go plenty of high-minded academic theory involved, not to mention guys and gals who'd flunked out of art school and cared as much about their look as their sound. Also, lots of it pretty much just sounded like '70s metal played faster, but with fewer chops, and brutish soccer hooligans thought it a bloody good soundtrack for beating up strangers. So inevitably, as the decade wound down, some of punk's more thoughtful practitioners decided to branch out beyond those primal three chords and attempt to re-invent rock 'n' roll from scratch or at least from ideas about noise, dub, doom, gloom, funk, feminism, communism, anarchism, amateurism and even old-school European art-rock eccentricity that could no longer be mistaken for mere greaser nostalgia. Hence, "post-punk." England (home of 13 of the 15 bands below) was inarguably the hotbed, but there was action on American and Australian peripheries as well. Some of it worked better on paper than in practice; most of it sold out by the time MTV went on the air. But it was really exciting while it lasted.