67: I.R.S. Records

When it was launched as American independent label in 1979, I.R.S. (International Record Syndicate) was founded by Miles Copeland as a sister label to the UK-based Illegal Records, which itself was related to smaller UK indies Deptford Fun City and Step Forward Records. Many think of I.R.S. as synonymous to R.E.M., which of course they were until R.E.M. bolted for Warner Bros. in the late ’80s. But the label was so much more than that in the States, serving as an importer of British post-punk; a welcome home to new-wave weirdos like Wazmo Nariz, Suburban Lawns, Skafish, and Wall of Voodoo; and documenters of the NYC and LA scenes. The label also made stars in the US of The Alarm, The English Beat, and General Public. For many, seeing the iconic I.R.S. logo — the man in the black hat — meant something good was pressed to that wax. This mix focuses on the label’s first six years (’79-’85), while they were distributed by A&M Records.


  1. R.E.M. — Little America
  2. The Monochrome Set — He’s Frank
  3. The Stranglers — Duchess
  4. Klark Kent — Don’t Care
  5. Wazmo Nariz — Checking Out The Checkout Girl
  6. The Cramps — What’s Behind The Mask?
  7. Wall Of Voodoo — Call Box
  8. Buzzcocks — I Believe
  9. Payola$ — Jukebox
  10. Alternative TV — Communicate
  11. The Fall — Rebellious Jukebox
  12. Yip Yip Coyote — Pioneer Girl
  13. The Fleshtones — (Legend Of A) Wheelman
  14. The Lords Of The New Church — Eat Your Heart Out
  15. Humans — Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
  16. Skafish — Joan Fan Club
  17. Magazine — Suburban Rhonda
  18. Suburban Lawns — Anything
  19. BPeople — Weather To Worry
  20. Three O’Clock — Hand In Hand
  21. The English Beat — Big Shot
  22. Doctor & The Medics — I Don’t Want To Be Alone (With You Tonight)
  23. Let’s Active — Ornamental
  24. Beat Rodeo — Not The Girl Loves Me
  25. Henry Badowski — My Face
  26. Oingo Boingo — Ain’t This The Life
  27. Go-Go’s — How Much More
  28. R.E.M. — Moral Kiosk

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