Ivan Julian


Punk Pioneer Ivan Julian Honors His Roots With New Solo Outing ‘Swing Your Lanterns’

March 31, 2023

One of the Afropunk pioneers who started it all, basically nothing we do here would have happened without Ivan Julian. As the original guitarist with Richard Hell, Julian helped forge the blueprint for entire genres before going on to perform with everyone from Matthew Sweet to Afrika Bambaataa to The Clash to Bernie Worrell. On his latest solo outing Swing Your Lanterns, Ivan Julian steps into the spotlight for a record that ties together threads from his iconic career.

Stylistically, NYC in the 70’s looms large over the album with nods to Julian’s protopunk roots as well as early hip-hop and post-punk. The tape warmth of the recording adds to the honesty of it. It’s not over-polished or over-produced, it’s an artist who helped perfect the art of being rough around the edges doing what he does best. On tracks like stand-outs “Can’t Help Myself” and “Love Is Good,” Ivan Julian so perfectly captures a vibe, they sound like missives from an alternate past.

It’s no surprise that Julian’s guitar work provides the album’s centerpiece moments. Cutting through the jagged garage riffs, his lead lines remain as sharp as ever. On the lead track “Cut Me Loose,” Ivan Julian takes a break from the post-punk groove of the song to remind us that in any context, he’s still the king of noise.


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