post-punk gems, v. 31 — The V.I.P.’s

Good morning folks, from radio K-SAT, where we’re celebrating Joe Strummer’s birthday and, fittingly enough, the anniversary of Nat Turner’s 1831 rebellion, which heralded a revolution of a different sort.

This week’s post-punk gem is “Things Aren’t What They Used to be,” by the V.I.P.’s (January 1981). These V.I.P.’s are an elusive bunch, as another band from the UK in the 1960s made tracks under this name, and a well-polished cover band from Jersey also employs this moniker.

The V.I.P.’s released a few tracks on Gem Records, which readers of *Stealing* may recall, had a well-connected distribution service in the US. They not only helped DJs break singles ahead of schedule (much to the chagrin of the domestic label), they also ensured that DJs were in the–ahem–proper mood to keep things in rotation.

I dig the semi-grungy opening bars, and how the uptempo sound yields to clean vocals, gorgeous horn charts, and ebullient harmony vocals. As you might have guessed, these guys toured in support of Secret Affair (check ’em out here) and Madness, respectively, and even got Bob Sargeant–who lent marimba and production savvy to *Special Beat Service*–to produce “Need Somebody to Love.”

“Things,” alas, proved prescient, and it was the band’s last effort.

Do tune in on Sunday for part deux of the feature piece on The Clash in *Punk* from 1979.

Let’s exit, of course, with a  by Mr. Strummer:

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