The Birthday Party (originally known as The Boys Next Door) were an Australian post-punk band, active from 1978 to 1983. Despite limited commercial success, The Birthday Party’s influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called “one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early ’80s.” The group’s “bleak and noisy soundscapes,” which drew irreverently on blues, free jazz, and rockabilly, provided the setting for vocalist Nick Cave’s disturbing tales of violence and perversion. Their music has been described by critic Simon Reynolds as gothic, and their single “Release the Bats” was particularly influential on the emerging gothic scene.
The Specials, also known as The Special AKA, are an English 2 Tone and ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry. After some early changes, the first stable lineup of the group consisted of Terry Hall and Neville Staple on vocals, Lynval Golding and Roddy Radiation on guitars, Horace Panter on bass, Jerry Dammers on keyboards, John Bradbury on drums, and Dick Cuthell and Rico Rodriguez on horns. Their music combines a “danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk’s energy and attitude”. Lyrically, they present a “more focused and informed political and social stance”.
Xmal Deutschland, often written as X-Mal Deutschland, was a musical group from Hamburg, West Germany, which existed from 1980 to 1990. Founded in 1980 with a completely female line-up, they became chart hit makers both within, and outside, their native country. The lead singer of the band was vocalist Anja Huwe. Xmal Deutschland’s last album was released in 1989.
The Undertones are a rock band formed in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. From 1975 to 1983, the Undertones consisted of Feargal Sharkey (vocals), John O’Neill (rhythm guitar, vocals), Damian O’Neill (lead guitar, vocals), Michael Bradley (bass, vocals) and Billy Doherty (drums). Much of the earlier Undertones material drew influence from punk rock and new wave; the Undertones also incorporated elements of rock, glam rock and post-punk into material released after 1979, before citing soul and Motown as the influence for the material released upon their final album. The Undertones released thirteen singles and four studio albums between 1978 and 1983 before Sharkey announced his intention to leave the band in May 1983, citing musical differences as the reason for the break up.
Siouxsie and the Banshees were a British rock band, formed in London in 1976 by vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bass guitarist Steven Severin. They have been widely influential, both over their contemporaries and with later acts. Q included John McKay’s guitar playing on “Hong Kong Garden” in their list of “100 Greatest Guitar Track Ever”, while Mojo rated guitarist John McGeoch in their list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” for his work on “Spellbound”. The Times cited the group as “one of the most audacious and uncompromising musical adventurers of the post-punk era”.