Various Artists

The Indie Scene 1978: The Story of British Independent Music

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The Connoisseur Collection's ten-volume Indie Scene: The Story of British Independent Music series maps the shift from punk to post-punk and new wave in the U.K. from 1977 to 1986. Focusing on artists who were on fledgling independent labels and thus digging up plenty of otherwise forgotten chips from the late-'70s/early-'80s fireball, each volume contains plenty enough for voracious neophytes to sink their teeth into. And if you were a scenester back then and need to relive the glory of all those singles your mom threw out while you were at your umpteenth punk festival, these compilations should plug some gaps. The Indie Scene 1978 covers enough ground to show how punk began to branch off into a number of rather disparate strains. Relative expectables like Stiff Little Fingers' "Alternative Ulster," the Undertones' "Teenage Kicks," and Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen in Love" are included, as are welcome contributions from ramshackle court jesters the TV Personalities ("Part Time Punks," "Where's Bill Grundy Now?"), Leeds' Mekons ("Where Were You"), expatriate punks Snatch ("All I Want"), and psychedelic Liverpudlians the Teardrop Explodes ("Sleeping Gas"). Surely this isn't your typical scene-specific roundup that recycles all the typical historical markers. Just as important, if not more so, is the inclusion of the Normal's sinister "Warm Leatherette," an all-electronic composition from Mute Records founder Daniel Miller. While many bands of the time set out to destroy rock while using guitars and drums and lyrics that often covered subject matter that wasn't all that removed from the bands they had their gobs of spittle pointed at, it was songs like "Warm Leatherette" that truly extracted the then-younger generation from traditional rock & roll, all the while prophesying the future of pop.

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