The Mekons are a punk rock/post punk band. They are one of the longest-running and most prolific of the first-wave British punk bands (rivaled in both categories only by The Fall).Leeds University art students Jon Langford and Tom Greenhalgh formed the Mekons in 1977, taking the band's name from the Mekon, an evil, super-intelligent Venusian featured in the British 1950s-1960s comic Dan Dare (printed in the Eagle).
The band first gained widepread popularity with the single "Never Been in a Riot," a satirical take on the Clash's "White Riot." For several years the loose-knit band played noisy, bare-bones post-punk in the vein of fellow Leeds students Gang of Four.
Yet Langford and Greenhalgh never hewed closely to genre conventions, and by the mid-80s (now augmented by vocalist Sally Timms and violinist Susie Honeyman) they began to experiment with musical styles derived from traditional folk and country.
1985's watershed Fear and Whiskey, 1986's The Edge of the World and 1987's Honky Tonkin' exemplified the band's new sound, which built on the innovations of Gram Parsons and blended punk ethos with the minimalist country of Hank Williams.
This style, sometimes referred to as "post-modern country", is a direct forerunner of the alt-country genre represented by bands like Uncle Tupelo.Jon Langford has been busy as an artist and as founder of several solo and band projects: namely the Waco Brothers (a country-like ensemble) and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts (exploring the music of Bob Wills, Johnny Cash and others).
Besides his solo albums he has released CDs with Richard Buckner and Kevin Coyne.Subsequent albums such as The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll, while containing several straightforward rock songs, continued to explore the boundaries of the punk genre by utilizing diverse instrumentation (notably the fiddle and slide guitar) and Timm's haunting vocals.
The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll was the band's first major label release. Issued by A&M Records in 1989, it was not a commercial success, but it was met with critical acclaim. Arguably the best album of their career (alongside Fear and Whiskey), it is perhaps the most accessible synthesis of their experiments in country, rock and punk.
Just as the Mekons began to grow in critical stature, their relationship with A&M Records became more tense, and unable to fulfill their commercial expectations, the Mekons were soon dropped by the label.
However, not only did the band remain intact, they continued to record at a prolific rate, releasing such notable albums as 1991's Curse of the Mekons, 2000's Journey to the End of the Night, and 2002's OOOH!.
The band continues to tour under an altered lineup, and has a highly devoted following.
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