Joy Division - The Legacy: Double Vinyl Bundle - 30% Off

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UNKOWN PLEASURES

CLOSER

Joy Division are now regarded as a keynote group from their time and place. Their intense fusion of music, words and performance, iconic sleeves by Peter Saville, Situationist-style promotion by Tony Wilson, passionate management by Rob Gretton and ground-breaking productions of Martin Hannett, conveying an authenticity and intensity that spans the generations.

Unknown Pleasures: 2015 Reissued on 180g Vinyl - Classic Debut Album

Ian Curtis (guitar/vocals), Bernard Sumner (keyboard), Peter Hook (bass), and Stephen Morris (drums) released their debut, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979. By the end of the year, the album's atmospheric sound had won over fans and critics. To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Love Will Tear Us Apart, Rhino has re-released this album on 180-gram vinyl - a must for Joy Division fans!

Unknown Pleasures was recorded at The Strawberry Studios in Manchester. The producer Martin Hannett had a significant impact on their live sound, which the band didn’t like but in retrospect they accepted he had a key role in creating the Joy Division Sound. The band sold its 10000 initial presses,and many argue that this was the first time any indie band had become a major force outside the major record labels. Melody Maker’s Jon Savage described the album as “one of the best, white, English debut LP’s of the year”. Joy division supported the Buzzcocks in their 24 venue UK tour. It was then that the stereotype of Joy Division emerged – “intense young men dressed in grey coats”. 

And the band’s legacy?

There were many things that stand out in the legacy of Joy Division. One is that Ian Curtis gave everything on stage, by contrast other performers knew what to give and what withhold. And Ian Curtis had bad epilepsy which sometimes happened on stage. Giving everything to every performance was making his epilepsy worse. Alan Erasmus, of factory records, said that when he saw Joy Division in April 1980 it was so intense he had to leave – Erasmus said his performance was nothing short of ferocious. The second was their photography and the fact that the band looked Eastern European and utilitarian. The shots often showed black and white Joy Division as part of the background not centre stage. And then there was the music. “Warsaw” was really punk inflected hard rock. But as the songs got slower, the style started to emerge – it was dark, gloomy but somehow inspiring. The drummer, Steve, wouldn’t be the clock for the band, he followed the rhythm of the band which is unusual. In addition, the bass played a huge part in their music, it highlighted melody and didn’t sit in the background. 

The band only produced two studio albums and yet they are a well- known band. They produced 12 compilation albums and four live albums, which, given how little content there is, well, it’s quite extraordinary.

Their first album Unknown Pleasures was a bit dark, but it was just music. “Closer” is a different kettle of fish, it’s almost as if Ian Curtis dived into an abyss of negativity and explored it in every direction. Closer songs stray from the punk inspired template of their early years. It was 1979 when Gary Numan’s “Cars” hit the charts and ushered in the era of 1980’s synth inspired sound. “Isolation” and “Heart and Soul” both use synthesisers; the implication is that if the band had continued to work together, they would have ended up sounding like New Order but we’ll never know.

But most of the album is in a box called “Hard to box”. “Colony” has strange military rhythms and “Atrocity Exhibition” sounds like really twisted guitars which are on the edge of making any sense harmonically. 

Despite their short career Joy Division have exerted a wide-reaching influence. John Bush of All Music said “they became the first band in the post-punk movement by emphasizing not anger and energy but mood and expression, pointing ahead to the rise of melancholy alternative music in the 80’s – for bands like Velvet Underground.”  Many band’s claim the band was hugely important to them, what’s interesting is the sheer range of bands who cite them as a source for inspiration – including Moby, The Cure, U2, Bloc Party, Soundgarden and The Proclaimers. In 1980 U2 singer Bono said Joy Division were: “one of the most important bands of the last four or five years”. 

It certainly seems that darkness often creates “light”, darkness can, ironically be an inspiration. And it’s in that vein that we’d encourage you to listen to “Closer”. It’s not Disney-Pop, but that’s the whole point; it’s truly an album with a soul. The band reformed as New Order, who struggled at first. In the end it’s really hard to “box” Joy Division – many bands whose lead singer dies seem to have an automatic legacy. But for us at Coda, Joy Division created a sound which was very new at the time and created a new “branch” of music. Maybe they weren’t around long enough to be legends but many of their songs are “classics” today. So, what do you think, where would you put them? Or don’t you know, if not buy Closer and get to know them! 

Closer: 40th Anniversary Limited Edition on Crystal Clear 180g Vinyl

This special limited edition of Closer, the legendary album caused a storm of excitement among record buyers when it was briefly released as a 40th Anniversary edition on crystal clear vinyl. Copies flew off the shelves and the edition was soon sold out.

New copies are now extremely hard to find and prices are rising all the time. So if you want to own one you should grab one fast. Once they are gone they are gone! 

Here`s a bit more on the band and Closer....

Joy Division aren’t the blistering, sizzling fast guitar-feedback-aggressive “rock ‘n roll” you might associate with Coda records. The truth is we sell “significant” music – Bowie is there, Kraftwerk is there and so is Joy Division. Joy Division were a post-punk band and more than anything they were a band who started to express mood, and set the mood for the more melancholic “indie sound of the early 80’s.” They were brilliant at translating mood into emotion. Tony Wilson, speaking in 2007, said it best of all. “Punk enabled you to say ‘fuck you’, but it couldn’t go any further. It was a single, venomous, two-syllable phrase of anger. Sooner or later, someone was going to say more; someone was going to want to say ‘I’m fucked.’” And the theme for “Closer” is definitely clear – life, death, birth and pain of existence.

Then there’s the difficult fact that their lead singer, Curtis, died so suddenly and they produced just two albums. There’s always a debate about this one – do we feel they are more important, notable because we’d only had a taster, Joy Division left leaving us wanting more? We’d say no. We’re going to look at this album, the history of Joy Division (which is important to understand their sound) and their legacy. 

This album is definitely a game of two halves. In 1979 the band wrote “Atrocity Exhibition”, “Passover”, “Colony”, “A means to and End” and “Twenty four hours” and they played these songs that year. In 1980 they wrote “Isolation”, “Heart and Soul”, “The Eternal” and “Decades” were much more synthesiser orientated. 

Let’s start with Atrocity exhibition which is inspiringly sad. Sumner sounds like he’s playing a guitar like he’s sawing, Morris hitting drums like he’s thwacking cadavers until we have Curtis hollering “This is the way, step inside!”. The song reflected Curtis torment at being between two women, his wife and child and Belgian journalist. The songs mood is a prelude to what happened later to Curtis. Isolation traps you, at first it sounds like a cheery song, with a breezy synth and an innocent drum beat. Then Curtis comes in with “Mother I tried please believe me, I’m doing the best that I can, I’m ashamed of the person I am”. “Passover” takes us deeper into darkness with lines like “This is the crisis I knew had to come, destroying the balance I kept” echoes to a muscular bass, with taut-wire chords and uncomfortable keyboard echoes. As we move over the record – “Heart and Soul” is a song about what is more important, without a resolution as the bass and guitar for supremacy without a winner. In “Twenty-Four” hours, the tension in the album winds up even further as they lyrics sound: “Just for one moment, I heard somebody call, Looked beyond the day in hand and there’s nothing at all”. 

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