Trimmed nails

Though a lot of people have only heard reggae from the UK via The Clash, the post-punk and echoing later subgenres also made some pretty fantastic and strange music. The dub sound was rarely used for its more relaxing and stoned-out qualities, instead warping a dischordant and fractured sound to loosen its boundaries and contort its attack. Public Image Limited is the first band that comes to mind when discussing this movement. Jah Wobble and Johnny Lydon stuck themselves in dub chambers and untangled or re-tangled their neurosis, with their greatest success being the artfully dreary sophomore release, Metal Box. The Slits were another group who adapted a space case reggae beat into their scrappy bursts of songs. Ari Upp of the group would later join up with Mark Stewart, former member of the jagged post-punk dub enthusiasts, the Pop Group. They, along with famed dub producer Adrian Sherwood and a handful of others would further explore a traditionalist sound with a British bent and liberal dollops of experimentalism. Stewart would later push the experimental side into harsher territory on his solo records. His destructive, shrapnel beats and paranoid production (assisted by German electronic avante guardist, Holger Hiller) are almost early industrial in genre. There’s also something to be said for Playgroup (not the one you’re thinking of) and The Ruts (a lot closer to The Clash and unwitting inspiration to bands like Face to Face). I’m sure there is a whole contingent of bands I’m missing from of this movement; and for the sake of making this post semi-brief, I’m leaving out all of the reggae artists not associated with post-punk.

Audio:

Public Image Limited, “No Birds”
The Slits, “New Town”
The Pop Group, “Words Disobey Me”
New Age Steppers, “Fade Away”
Mark Stewart, “The Resistence of the Cell”
Playgroup, “Silent Mover”
The Ruts, “Dope For Guns”

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