Gang Of Four – Entertainment! (1979)

“Debut albums are a tricky business. After a good ten years or so of dreaming about entering a recording studio a young group gets flung into the bear pit and expected to produce the goods. Most of the time, what emerges is a half-realised idea of their own ambitions yet sometimes the added pressure pushes the group to undreamt of heights. Released thirty years ago Gang Of Four’s ‘Entertainment!’ is one such album. Blending punk with funk, visceral rock with modern European philosophy the record turned established templates inside out. Lighting up the increasingly moribund post-punk scene the album has enjoyed a curious form of second life. More and more groups have emerged who are clearly influenced by Gang Of Four’s contention that rock music is made with your brain and not your cock. …”
Gang Of Four Track By Track
W – Entertainment!
YouTube: Ether, Damaged Goods, At Home He’s a Tourist, I Found That Essence Rare, Natural’s Not in It, Anthrax, Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time


Gang Of Four – To Hell With Poverty / Capital (It Fails Us Now (1981)

“I had a bad brush with Gang Of Four back in 1981. I’d only read about the group and when I discovered that WPRK-FM [Rollins College] had made the leap from prog rock to New Wave when I had not been looking in 1981, I enjoyed listening to music on the radio without ads that was exactly like the music I was spending my lunch money on. Sure, the 100 watt signal was tough to receive, but that was just a detail. It was during that time period that I finally heard this band that I’d only read about for the last year. The song I heard was ‘Anthrax’ and I have to admit that I was less than enraptured by the numb delivery of the song. Given that I’d hear them described as a funk band, I felt that perhaps that description was far off of the mark. …”
Post-Punk Monk
Genius (Audio)
YouTube: To Hell With Poverty (TV Live), Capital (It Fails Us Now

Urgh! A Music War (1982)

Urgh! A Music War is a 1982 British film featuring performances by punk rock, new wave, and post-punk acts, filmed in 1980. Among the artists featured in the film are Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), Magazine, The Go-Go’s, Toyah Willcox, The Fleshtones, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, X, XTC, Devo, The Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Dead Kennedys, Gary Numan, Klaus Nomi, Wall of Voodoo, Pere Ubu, Steel Pulse, Surf Punks, 999, The Alley Cats, UB40, Echo & the Bunnymen and The Police. These were many of the most popular groups on the New Wave scene; in keeping with the spirit of the scene, the film also features several less famous acts, and one completely obscure group, Invisible Sex, in what appears to be their only public performance. …”
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Urgh! A Music War 26 videos

Gang of Four – Damaged Goods / Love Like Anthrax / Armalite Rifle (EP 1978)

“‘Damaged Goods’ is the debut single by Gang of Four. It was released on 13 October 1978 through independent record label Fast Product. Produced by Fast Product owner Bob Last under the alias Fast Product, the single received critical acclaim, prompting the band to sign to EMI Records. The title track and ‘Love Like Anthrax’ were re-recorded for Gang of Four’s debut album Entertainment! in 1979 and the whole EP was included in the Fast Product compilation Mutant Pop in 1980. The title track starts with syncopated bass and drums, which are later accompanied with a guitar. The song also features vocals by Jon King, which take the role of ‘a lonesome, longing lament’ and a ‘nearly spoken-word‘ section sung by the band’s guitarist Andy Gill. … The single cover art attributes influences to Situationism and Deconstructionism. It features the bold black sans-serif title over a deep pink background, similar to the design of 1914’s short-lived Blast magazine. The self-referencing text, the sleeve for a Gang of Four recording of ‘Damaged Goods,’ ‘Love Like Anthrax’ and ‘Armalite Rifle’ is scrolled around the title. …”
Genius (Audio)
YouTube: Damaged Goods (Live)
YouTube: Damaged Goods, Love Like Anthrax, Armalite Rifle

Various Artists – In the Beginning There Was Rhythm

“Angular guitars, funk- and disco-influenced rhythms, dabblings with electronic gadgetry, leftist politics, a dash of irony, and vocals that aren’t so much yelled or sung as they’re chanted or detachedly intoned must mean one thing and one thing only: post-punk. At the time of In the Beginning There Was Rhythm’s release, the level of resurgent interest in the style was so high that one might’ve expected a ten-part documentary series from Ken Burns. In reality, even Burns himself could’ve told you that there wasn’t a need for a ’23 Skidoo: Ken Burns Post-Punk’ compilation by the end of 2001. (Well, actually, he would’ve left them out of the series, so the point is probably moot.) After all, that artery was plugging quickly — even the smallest blips on the U.K. 1978-1982 radar were re-registering with releases that paired small-time pressings of singles with live shows and otherwise abandoned material. … Within its tightly wrapped confines, In the Beginning demonstrates post-punk’s breadth, showcasing within the grooves, jabs, and rattling waves of static the style’s influences (disco, funk, reggae, Krautrock, electronic experimentation) and the styles that the style influenced (indie rock, post-rock, almost every stripe of dance music that followed) at the same time. … Topping it off is a thick booklet full of photos and liner notes that cover each band and tie the music in with the social climate they were residing in. And while one might bemoan the exclusion of Public Image Limited, Associates, the Normal, Magazine, or other bands crucial to the ideology, there’s no denying that In the Beginning There Was Rhythm is a great gateway into this expansive, fruitful, trailblazing era.”
allmusic (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: In The Beginning There Was Rhythm 11 videos