Various Artists [Cease & Desist] DIY! (Cult Classics From The Post-Punk Era 1978-82) Optimo
This one’s been a long time coming, for various reasons. A selection of under-the-radar post-punk 7”s unearthed by JD Twitch, it’s a slice of the raw late 70s/early 80s sound that creeps its way into even the most crowd-pleasing sets of Glasgow’s finest tag-team, Optimo, of which Twitch forms half. For fans of the beloved DJ duo, the release goes further than finally solving a few track ID queries, it comprehensively assembles them (the double-vinyl version also comes with detailed notes of each track written by Twitch).
Then there’s also the cease-and-desist letter sent by Sony. Delaying the release by roughly five months, it ordered Optimo Music to destroy all initial copies, arguing that the compilation’s original title – Now That’s What I Call DIY – infringed the copyright of its long-running Now That’s… series. Though Twitch responded to the “nightmare” situation, saying, “the only person I am angry with is myself,” if anything, the incident amplified the release’s importance. This microcosmic display of corporate force couldn’t have been more potent – directly and unintentionally rubbing against the slogan on the original cover: “it’s easy, it’s cheap, go out and do it”.
Among its selection of low slung, wigged out post-punk is a display of unshackled, oppositional, risk-taking music by individuals shunning corporate ambition. Despite being thrown together with minimal resources – each track carries the rough around the edges feel of its initial recording – there’s a seductive urgency that runs through its veins: Tesco Bombers’ provocative tale of a “sexy terrorist”, the purring softness from Industrial Records’ Dorothy, and the raw innocence of The Prats’ Disco Pope are just a few examples. For those craving the wide-eyed abandon of the era, it’s a window into a cherished, now enviable, period of unfettered self-expression.