Anglophiles! Quadra- and quinquagenarians! Song-based post-punk partisans! Lend me your calendars: The Monochrome set will be playing Barboza on March 5th, 2019. If we're all still here, that is.
The rest of you: Consider making a note of it, too.
The Monochrome Set formed in London in 1978, which is almost all the recommendation a certain stripe of listener might need. Their songs featured the telltale anxious guitar energy that defined many of that era's best-loved groups (Magazine, Orange Juice, et al), but rather than aiming for the adjective that came to characterize the period more than any other—"angular"—their songs were melodic, suave, smart, and subdued.
It may also be worth mentioning that the group's Indian-born lead singer/songwriter Ganesh Seshadri, better known as Bid, represented (along with Poly Styrene, Kid Congo Powers, Zeke Manyika, Pauline Black, Don Letts, and a few others) a rare non-white presence in the UK post-punk scene.
They may have come up at the same time as Gang of Four, but they sound a lot more like a cool Neanderthal forbear of the Smiths or Echo and the Bunnymen. They were probably too tuneful and wry to burst out of the cloud of postindustrial alienation that followed punk, but like their contemporaries the Soft Boys, they made music that makes even more sense today than it did in the early '80s.
Though their heyday was the initial period of singles on Rough Trade and LPs on Virgin and Cherry Red, culminating in the obligatory break-up-in-the-aftermath-of-the-commerically-disappointing-major-label-debut episode in 1985, the truth is that the Set has reformed and toured many times since then. I was surprised to discover that they've made five albums this decade—the latest, Maisieland, came out earlier this year on the German label Tapete Records (which also released a limited edition box set of the band's complete recordings from 1979-1985 in February).