The early-’80s were an obscure era. New York was getting its first lick of post-punk with now-legendary acts like Suicide, Sonic Youth, PiL, and The Slits, crossbreeding genres from dub to noise. But while the aforementioned acts gave birth to the current wave of that particular genre, legendary producer Adrian Sherwood and The On-U Sound label inspired generation after generation of artistry, from industrial to hip-hop-to electro, and everything in between. It’s been over two decades since Sherwood’s heyday, and he’s finally releasing three post-punk oddities from the On-U sound vaults–two comprehensive comps and a rare Mark Stewart masterpiece. Yes!
Learning to Cope with Cowardice is Mark Stewart (Pop Group vocalist) and The Maffia’s 1983 vision-quest. Quite possibly the foundation for bands like Massive Attack and Ministry, Mark Stewart and The Maffia set a new standard for trippy music with Sherwood at the production reigns. Learning to Cope is a fuzzy, hard-hitting LP, complete with industrial drum sounds, Elvis meets Elephant Man vocals, and skittering electronic noise.
Sherwood’s other offerings include two compilations of U-Sound artistry entitled On-U Sound Crash: Slash & Mix and Tackhead Sound Crash: Slash & Mix. The former is a collection of Sherwood-produced tracks from dub and post-punk bands African Head Charge, Dub Syndicate, and Creation Rebel, amongst others. The latter, a twisted mash-up of U-Sound tracks (Lee Perry and most of the artists listed above) processed through heavy distortion, dubbed, and layered upon one another with the addition of screeching vocals (some courtesy of Ari Up of The Slits). All this is thanks to the work of Tackhead, Sherwood’s prolific production quartet. Post-punk is far from dead.
Mark Stewart and The Maffia: Learning to Cope with Cowardice
1. Learning To Cope With Cowardice
2. Liberty City
3. Blessed Are Those Who Struggle
4. None Dare Call It Conspiracy
5. Don't You Ever Lay Down Your Arms
6. The Paranoia Of Power
7. To Have The Vision
9. The Wrong Name And The Wrong Number (DJ Battle)
10. High Ideals And Crazy Dreams
11. High Ideals Live
12. Live Paranoia
On-U Sound Crash
1. Dub Syndicate (feat. Lee Perry) "Jungle Pt.4"
2. New Age Steppers "Private Armies Dub"
3. Gary Clail "2 Thieves And A Liar"
4. Mark Stewart & Maffia "Liberty City"
5. Doctor Pablo "Man Of Mystery"
6. Dub Syndicate "Hey Ho"
7. Dub Syndicate (feat. Lee Perry) "Dubbing Psycho Thriller"
8. African Head Charge "Hole In The Roof"
9. Noah House Of Dread "Stand Firm"
10. Dub Syndicate "Chemical Head"
11. Tackhead "Mind At The End Of The Tether"
12. Prince Far I/Creation Rebel/Bim Sherman "Frontline Version/Tribulation Dub"
13. Congo Ashanti Roy/Singers & Players "African Blood"
14. Prince Far I/Singers & Players "Virgin"
15. Creation Rebel "Beware"
16. Creation Rebel "Creation In A Iration"
17. Noah House Of Dread "Sellassie I"
18. African Head Charge "Conspiring"
19. Mark Stewart & Maffia "Jerusalem"
20. Bim Sherman/Singers & Players "Revolution"
21. New Age Steppers "My Whole World"
22. Mark Stewart & Maffia "Beneath The City Streets"
23. Gary Clail/The Barmy Army "Privatise The Air / Stadium Rock"
24. Gary Clail/Andy Fairley "Half Cut For Confidence / Jack The Biscuit"
25. Mark Stewart & Maffia "These Things Happen"
26. Congo Ashanti Roy/Singers & Players "Breaking Down The Pressure"
27. Creation Rebel "African Space"
28. Bim Sherman "Slummy Ghetto"
29. Creation Rebel "The Dope"
30. African Head Charge "In The Air"
31. African Head Charge "Dinosaurs Lament"
Tackhead Sound Crash
1. Intro 'Free'
2. Mind At The End Of Its Tether
3. What's My Mission Now?
5. Mind At The End Of Its Tether pt.2
6. 1/2 Cut For Confidence
7. Ticking Time Bomb
8. Heaven On Earth
9. Ticking Time Bomb pt.2
10. Heaven On Earth pt.2
11. Mechanical Movements pt.2
12. I Stopped The Clock
13. Bop Bop
14. King Of The Beat
15. Move It
16. Body To Burn
17. D.J. Programme
20. Audio Visual Attack
21. Man In A Suitcase
23. Get Thi Beloved
25. Get Move O This
26. Einstein pt.2
27. Hard Left
28. No Hands On The Wheel
29.Listen Good Drummers
30. Free Again
31. This Is The Night
32. Bastard Son Of Fats
Adrian Sherwood: the man behind the mission.