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Post-punk revival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Post-punk revival, also known as garage rock revival,[1][2] new wave revival,[3] and new rock revolution[4][2] is a genre of indie rock that developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, inspired by the original sounds and aesthetics of garage rock of the 1960s and new wave and post-punk of the late 1970s and early 1980s.[3][1]

Definitions and characteristics[]

Interpol, one of the founding post-punk revival bands, pictured here in 2019

The term post-punk was coined to describe groups who took punk and experimented with more challenging musical structures and lyrical themes, and a self-consciously art-based image, while retaining punk's initial iconoclastic stance.[5]

In the early 2000s, a new group of bands that played a stripped down and back-to-basics version of guitar rock emerged into the mainstream. They were variously characterized as part of a garage rock, new wave or post-punk revival.[3][6][7][8] Influences ranged from traditional blues, through new wave to grunge.[9] The music ranged from the atonal tracks of bands like Liars to the melodic pop songs of groups like the Sounds,[3] popularising distorted guitar sounds.[10] They shared an emphasis on energetic live performance and used aesthetics (in hair and clothes) closely aligned with their fans,[11] often drawing on fashion of the 1950s and 1960s,[9] with "skinny ties, white belts [and] shag haircuts".[4] There was an emphasis on "rock authenticity" that was seen as a reaction to the commercialism of MTV-oriented nu metal, hip hop[11] and "bland" post-Britpop groups.[12] Because the bands came from countries around the world, cited diverse influences and adopted differing styles of dress, their unity as a genre has been disputed. For garage rock historian Eric James Abbey, these were diverse bands that appropriated (or were given) the label "garage" to gain a degree of credibility.[9]

AllMusic argued that rather than a revival, the history of post-punk was more of a continuum from the mid-1980s, with scattered bands that included Big Flame, World Domination Enterprises, and Minimal Compact extending the genre. In the mid-1990s, notable bands in this vein included Six Finger Satellite, Brainiac and Elastica.[3] At the turn of the century, the term "post-punk" began to appear in the music press again, with a number of critics reviving the label to describe a new set of bands that shared some of the aesthetics of the original post-punk era. Music critic Simon Reynolds noted that bands like the Rapture and Franz Ferdinand were influenced by the more angular strain of post-punk, particularly bands such as Wire and Gang of Four.[13] Others identified this movement as another wave of garage rock revivalism, with NME in 2003 designating it a "new garage rock revolution",[11] or simply a "new rock revolution".[4] According to music critic Jim DeRogatis, the Strokes, the White Stripes and the Hives all had a sound "to some extent rooted in Nuggets-era garage rock".[7]



The Rapture performing in 2011

There was interest in garage rock and elements of punk in the 1980s and 1990s, and by 2000 local music scenes in several countries had bands playing alternative and indie music.[14] The Detroit rock scene included the White Stripes and the Von Bondies.[15] The city was a crucial stomping ground for Ohio's the Black Keys. New York's scene included the Strokes, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On the Radio, LCD Soundsystem, the Walkmen, the Rapture, and Liars.[16] In Los Angeles & San Francisco, the scene was centered around Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Dandy Warhols and Silversun Pickups. Other countries had their own local bands incorporating post-punk music.[17][18][19]

2001–2006: Commercial breakthrough[]

Franz Ferdinand on stage in 2006

The commercial breakthrough from these scenes began initially in the UK,[20] and was led by a small group of bands. The Strokes emerged from the New York club scene with their debut album, Is This It (2001), which debuted at No. 2 in the UK and cracked the Top 50 in America. The White Stripes, from Detroit, released their third album, White Blood Cells (2001), which charted decently in both the US and the UK, as well as spawning two transatlantic Top 25 singles. The Hives, from Sweden, became a mainstream success with their compilation album Your New Favourite Band (2001) which peaked at No. 7 on the UK charts. Also in 2001, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's debut album hit No. 5 in the UK. The Vines, from Australia, released Highly Evolved in 2002, which was a top 5 success in both England and Australia, and peaked at No. 11 in the US.[21] Along with the Strokes, White Stripes, Hives and others, they were christened by parts of the media as the "The" bands, and dubbed "the saviours of rock 'n' roll",[22] prompting Rolling Stone magazine to declare on its September 2002 cover, "Rock is Back!"[23] This press attention, in turn, led to accusations of hype,[22] and some dismissed the scene as unoriginal, image-conscious and tuneless.[23] According to Reynolds, "apart from maybe the White Stripes, none could really be described as retro".[24]

Arctic Monkeys on stage in 2006

In the wake of this attention, existing acts like Yeah Yeah Yeahs were able to sign to major record labels.[25] A second wave of bands that managed to gain international recognition as a result of the movement included Interpol, the Black Keys, the Killers, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, the Shins, the Bravery, Spoon, the Hold Steady, and the National in the US,[7] and Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, the Futureheads, The Cribs, the Libertines,[26] Kaiser Chiefs and the Kooks in the UK.[27] Arctic Monkeys were the most prominent act to owe their initial commercial success to the use of Internet social networking,[28] with two No. 1 singles and Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006), which became the fastest-selling debut album in British chart history.[29]

2007–2010: Decline in popularity[]

As a dominant commercial force, the revival was relatively short-lived. By 2007, the initial success of the movement was beginning to subside, leading commentators to discuss its decline as a phenomenon and argue that it had been overtaken by the more musically and emotionally complex music of indie rock bands like Arcade Fire (which, nevertheless, has been characterized by critics as featuring post-punk influences and sound[30][31][32]) and Death Cab for Cutie.[4]

By the end of the decade, many of the bands of the movement had broken up, were on hiatus, or had moved into other musical areas, and very few were making significant impact on the charts.[10][33][34] Bands that returned to recording and touring in the 2010s included Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys,[35] the Strokes [36] and Interpol.[37]

2019–present: Resurgence[]

Black Country, New Road performing in 2020

In the late 2010s and early 2020s, a new wave of post-punk bands from Britain and Ireland emerged. The groups in this scene have been described with the term "Crank Wave" by NME and The Quietus in 2019, and as "Post-Brexit New Wave" by NPR writer Matthew Perpetua in 2021.[38][39][40]

Perpetua describes the groups in the scene as "U.K. bands that kinda talk-sing over post-punk music, and sometimes it's more like post-rock."[40] Many of the acts are associated with producer Dan Carey and his record label Speedy Wunderground.[39] Artists that have been identified as part of the style include Black Midi, Squid, Black Country, New Road, Dry Cleaning, Shame, Sleaford Mods, Fontaines D.C., and Idles.[38][39][40]

See also[]


  1. ^ a b J. Stuessy and S. D. Lipscomb, Rock and roll: its History and Stylistic Development (London: Pearson Prentice Hall, 5th edn., 2006), ISBN 0-13-193098-2, p. 451.
  2. ^ a b Kravitz, Kayley (December 23, 2012). "Revisiting the Post-Punk Revival". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, AllMusic, archived from the original on February 16, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d M. Spitz, "The 'New Rock Revolution' fizzles", May 2010, Spin, vol. 26, no. 4, ISSN 0886-3032, p. 95.
  5. ^ S. T. Erlewine, "Post Punk", in V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, eds, AllMusic Guide to Rock: the Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), ISBN 0-87930-653-X, p. 1338.
  6. ^ H. Phares, Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand (Australia Bonus CD), AllMusic, archived from the original on February 15, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c J. DeRogatis, Turn on your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2003), ISBN 0-634-05548-8, p. 373.
  8. ^ M. Roach, This Is It-: the First Biography of the Strokes (London: Omnibus Press, 2003), ISBN 0-7119-9601-6, p. 86.
  9. ^ a b c E. J. Abbey, Garage Rock and its Roots: Musical Rebels and the Drive for Individuality (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2006), ISBN 0-7864-2564-4, pp. 105–12.
  10. ^ a b J. Lipshutz; K. Rutherford (March 23, 2011). "Top 10 garage rock revival bands: where are they now?". Billboard. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c S. Borthwick and R. Moy, Popular Music Genres: an Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004), ISBN 0-7486-1745-0, p. 117.
  12. ^ M. Roach, This Is It: the First Biography of the Strokes (London: Omnibus Press, 2003), ISBN 0-7119-9601-6, pp. 42 and 45.
  13. ^ W. Neate, "Simon Reynolds interview: Part 2 of 2", Perfect Sound Forever, archived from the original on May 25, 2011.
  14. ^ P. Simpson, The Rough Guide to Cult Pop (London: Rough Guides, 2003), ISBN 1-84353-229-8, p. 42.
  15. ^ E. Berelian, "The Von Bondies", in P. Buckley, ed., The Rough Guide to Rock (London: Rough Guides, 3rd edn., 2003), ISBN 1-84353-105-4, p. 1144.
  16. ^ B. Greenfield, and R. Reid, New York City (London: Lonely Planet, 4th edn., 2004), ISBN 1-74104-889-3, p. 33.
  17. ^ R. Holloway, "Billy Childish", in P. Buckley, ed., The Rough Guide to Rock (London: Rough Guides, 3rd edn., 2003), ISBN 1-84353-105-4, pp. 189–90.
  18. ^ "Review: The (International) Noise Conspiracy, A New Morning; Changing Weather", New Music Monthly November–December 2001, p. 69.
  19. ^ C. Rowthorn, Japan (Lonely Planet, 8th edn., 2003), ISBN 1-74059-924-1, p. 37.
  20. ^ C. Morris, "Are new rockers earning the buzz?", Billboard, December 14, 2002, vol. 114, no. 51, ISSN 0006-2510, p. 67.
  21. ^ P. Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock (London: Rough Guides, 3rd edn., 2003), ISBN 1-84353-105-4, pp. 498–9, 1040–1, 1024–6 and 1162-4.
  22. ^ a b C. Smith, 101 Albums That Changed Popular Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), ISBN 0-19-537371-5, p. 240.
  23. ^ a b I. Youngs (October 22, 2002), New bands race for rock stardom, BBC News, archived from the original on January 4, 2009.
  24. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2009). "Simon Reynolds's Notes on the noughties: Clearing up the indie landfill". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  25. ^ H. Phares, Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Biography, AllMusic, archived from the original on June 15, 2011.
  26. ^ D. Else, Great Britain (London: Lonely Planet, 2007), ISBN 1-74104-565-7, p. 75.
  27. ^ M. Newman and P. Sexton, "The British are coming", Billboard, April 9, 2005, vol. 117 (13).
  28. ^ A. Goetchius, Career Building Through Social Networking (Rosen, 2007), ISBN 1-4042-1943-9, pp. 21–2.
  29. ^ A. Kumi (January 30, 2006), "Arctic Monkeys make chart history", The Guardian, archived from the original on August 23, 2011
  30. ^ Murray, Noel (August 3, 2010). "Arcade Fire: The Suburbs". The A.V. Club. Onion Inc. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  31. ^ Shaw, Andrew (August 3, 2010). "A Post-Punk Flavored Trip Around the Cult Indie Neighborhood". Buzzine Music. Archived from the original on June 5, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  32. ^ Truss, Si (August 3, 2010). "Arcade Fire: The Suburbs review — Month of May". MusicRadar. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  33. ^ T. Walker (January 21, 2010), "Does the world need another indie band?", Independent, archived from the original on March 4, 2010.
  34. ^ G. Cochrane (January 21, 2010), "2009: 'The year British indie guitar music died'", BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, archived from the original on November 25, 2010.
  35. ^ A. Leahey, Arctic Monkeys, AllMusic, archived from the original on September 8, 2011
  36. ^ H. Phares, The Strokes, AllMusic, archived from the original on October 25, 2011.
  37. ^ Phares, Heather. "El Pintor - Interpol". AllMusic. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  38. ^ a b Beaumont, Mark (September 10, 2019). "Mark, My Words: I give you crank wave, the start of the subculture revival". NME. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  39. ^ a b c Doran, John. "The Quietus: Black Sky Thinking - Idle Threat: Who Are The True Champions Of DIY Rock In 2020?". The Quietus. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  40. ^ a b c Perpetua, Matthew (May 6, 2021). "The Post-Brexit New Wave". NPR. Retrieved December 7, 2021.

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