Featuring the Ramones, Patti Smith, The Modern Lovers and some undiscovered treats


Talking Heads: 77
SIRE, 1977

At first listen, the lean, (nerve-)jangling minimalism of Talking Heads’ debut seems far removed from the thick, ominous world grooves of later landmarks Fear Of Music and Remain In Light. But from the first, the band’s peculiar tension derives from the disconnect between the rock-solid, watertight pop rhythms of bass-drums couple Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, and David Byrne’s strained, jerky falsetto and odd, neurotic lyrical focus: not for nothing was their second album titled More Songs About Buildings And Food. The presence of steel drums on opener “Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town”, meanwhile, already signals the desire to move beyond the textures of two guitars, bass and drums. DL


Alien Soundtracks
SIREN, 1977

Credited to “Chrome featuring Damon Edge”, Alien Soundtracks suggests just how dramatically Edge’s band were changed by the arrival of guitarist Helios Creed. Formerly a more “punk” group – their 1976 debut sounds like a lo-fi
Eno production for Sparks – this was an altogether more experimental beast. Filled with tribal rhythms, tape splicing and Krautrock hoedowns, it expressed its alienation by mangling any human element within its collage. Makes a very strange bedfellow with, say, the first Ramones album – this lies down more between Can and 23 Skidoo. JR


Blank Generation
SIRE, 1977

Poet manqué Richard Hell never tires of telling everyone within earshot that he invented punk rock. With his strung-out yawps and the mischievous twinkle in his eye as he tells you how bored he is long before John Lydon, Hell has as good a claim as anyone. Hell may not have had the snot or snarl we now associate with punk, but his devil-may-care ennui on the title track is music’s ultimate anti-hero pose. But the real star of the show here is the peerless guitarist Robert Quine, whose jagged solos on “Blank Generation” and “Love Comes In Spurts” – somehow both filled with rage and absolutely exquisite – proved that you could create a new language and challenge orthodoxy without resorting to blunt force or trying to break the land speed record. PS

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