As promised, my ten favourite Scottish post-punk tracks – or at least ten tracks that could be categorised as post-punk – in no particular order and with pretty much random thoughts on each, although I will go into much more detail on some of these songs in my Independent Scotland series in the weeks and months to come.

Scars: Horrorshow (1979)

When this was released I had read but hadn’t yet seen A Clockwork Orange. Hearing Horrorshow only made me want to see it even more although post-Kubrick’s death when it was re-released in cinemas I was almost inevitably disappointed by the film. Fantastic as it was in places, even its hyper-stylised ultraviolence failed to match the chilling intensity of this track, which is arguably the best record ever put out by a Scottish band.

Josef K: Sorry For Laughing (1981)

Although some could make a convincing claim for this track written by Paul Haig and Malcolm Ross and released by Belgian label Les Disques Du Crépuscule early in 1981.


The Associates: White Car in Germany (1981)

Wondering how Billy Mackenzie managed to achieve the particular vocal sound on this track? According to Alan Rankine in Simon Reynold’s book Totally Wired, he sang through greaseproof paper and a comb in the studio during its recording.

Strawberry Switchblade: Trees and Flowers (1983)

The band will always remain best remembered for Since Yesterday though I’ve always much preferred this pastoral and poignant track written about Jill’s agrophobia. I remember the first time I laid eyes on Jill and Rose in what used to be the Rock Garden in Glasgow. I was just up from working down south and I asked a pal if he knew who the two girls in the polka dots were. He explained they sang in a band called Strawberry Switchblade and I instantly knew that stardom was inevitable for them.

Simple Minds: I Travel (1980)

As previously featured on this here blog. A favourite back in the day at Maestros in Glasgow. And many more clubs across the country I would imagine.

Cocteau Twins: Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops (1984)

From Simple Minds to an act that named themselves after a song that Simple Minds recorded as part of their second demo tape in 1978 and which evolved into No Cure on their Life In A Day album.

Elizabeth Fraser is Scotland’s most imaginative singer ever. Discuss.


 Orange Juice: Blue Boy (1980)

The run-out grooves on the A & B side of this second Orange Juice single are: ‘When is an artist at his most dangerous?’ & ‘When he’s drawing a gun.’ Boom boom.

The Fakes: Production (1979)

If you read my last but one post you will remember me mentioning that it seems almost compulsory when making lists like this to include a relative obscurity. Well, here is the obscurity, although after another track by The Fakes was included in the Messthetics #105: D.I.Y. 77-81 compilation I guess the band are slightly less obscure. Production really does sum up how mind numbingly boring being a factory wage slave can be and luckily for me, by the time this single was released I was no longer working in the field of production myself. No huge loss for the factory that employed me although it did go out of business not too long afterwards.

Fire Engines: Candyskin (1981)

‘The Rough Trade attitude makes me sick,’ Davy Henderson told Melody Maker in the late summer of 1981. ‘That independent bullshit! They don’t want any stars and superstars – that’s disgusting.’ I still have no explanation why Henderson and his band of merry men never became stars let alone superstars.

The Jazzateers: Wasted (1981)

In his book on phase one of the Postcard label, Simply Thrilled, author Simon Goddard put the boot into The Jazzateers, or at least their earliest incarnation. ‘Their singer,’ he wrote, ‘was a waitress called Alison, who looked like a singer and sang like a waitress.’ He also writes of the band having wasted ‘Wasted’, their cover of that song from Donna Summer’s 1976 album A Love Trilogy. Yes, it does lack the gloss and slickness of the Summer version but I adore what I suppose might be called the naive charm of this track.

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On another day these might have been included:

Article 58: Event To Come / Altered Images: Dead Pop Stars / Strutz: We Are So Fine / Positive Noise: Give Me Passion / The Prats: Disco Pope / The Flowers: Ballad Of Miss Demeanour / Boots for Dancing: Boots for Dancing.

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