Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We are celebrating this year by sharing a list of Irish post-punk bands beyond Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr’s eponymous post-punk come arena rock band U2.
Of course, no conversation about Irish post-punk would be complete without mentioning U2’s comrades from their high school days as Feedback—the Virgin Prunes. Guitarist Dik Evans, (The Edge’s older brother), would leave Feedback in 1977, joining the Virgin Prunes along with Gavin Friday, Guggi, Dave-Id, and Pod, setting up the original lineup for one of the most avant-garde post-punk acts of all time that quite possibly set the template for goth.
Also associated with The Prunes is Princess Tinymeat, a project formed after Pod’s replacement was kicked out of the band. The replacement was gender queer performance artist Haa-Lacka Binttii, whose work is probably even more avant-garde than anything conjured by Gavin and Guggi.
U2 were heavily influenced by Joy Division, so they joined producer Martin Hannett over at Strawberry Studios to record their second single “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”. At the time, Hannett was also recording the Joy Division single “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, which U2’s Bono fondly remembers observing the recordings sessions for.
U2 had initially planned for Hannett to produce their debut LP Boy, but that did not come to pass. Hannett did however produce the highly underrated Irish post-punk band Blue In Heaven’s debut LP All the God’s Men. Bono had been championing the band since their debut, and had them open for U2 a couple of times.
Also featured on this list is early My Bloody Valentine, before they became the ear bleeding wash of shoegaze euphoria we know today. Their debut LP This Is Your Bloody Valentine and subsequent Geek! EP featured the almost psychobilly vocals of David Conway, with tracks like “Love Machine” on the latter release likely to shock anyone unfamiliar with the band’s origins.
Many of the other artists in the list below can be found on the compilation Strange Passion: Explorations In Irish Post Punk DIY And Electronic Music 1980-1983. Highly recommended tracks from the compilation that we have included below are Dogmatic Element’s “Just Friends”, Major Thinker’s “Avenue B”, and Choice’s “Always in Danger”.
We have also included some other great bands such as Microdisney, Pleasure Cell, and Radiators From Space, and another band championed by Bono—Cactus World News.
Cactus World News
Radiators From Space
Chant Chant Chant
Blue In Heaven
My Bloody Valentine