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


TRACK, 1977

It’s probably fitting that LAMF should be known for its murky mix. Featuring Dolls refugees (Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan) and compositions by Richard Hell and Dee Dee Ramone, a certain lack of clarity went with the territory. In love with extremity, but also nostalgic for the formulations of ’50s and ’60s pop, LAMF is junk rock in extremis, with a foot in more innocent times. The past had Chuck Berry and Keith Richards. In the future was Julian Casablancas. In the fleeting present, an all-too brief candle, were the Heartbreakers. JR


Kill City
BOMP!, 1977

This being the 1970s, even the most self-destructive character in rock’n’roll was lost without a major label deal. At sea (actually in a California mental hospital) after the dissolution of Iggy And The Stooges, in 1975 Pop and Stooges guitarist Williamson worked on a career-saving demo ultimately rendered unnecessary by the timely intervention of David Bowie. This Stonesy, wound-licking and saxophone-laced rock eventually found a home with Greg Shaw’s garage/punk label Bomp!, and instantly feels a piece with the sparky new wave of 1979’s New Values. JR


RED STAR, 1977

Coming from a background in avant-garde jazz (Martin Rev, keyboards) and visual art (vocalist Alan Vega), many reacted to Suicide the band, and Suicide the album, as an assault on rock’n’roll, due to their no-guitars heresy. But in truth they formed a very punk offensive, as on the LP’s centrepiece, “Frankie Teardrop”: a nightmarish epic of urban despair, murder and suicide, delivered inside a relentless, two-note, proto-industrial hiss, Vega’s hiccupping, mumbled vocals sounding like Elvis’ paranoid ghost being drowned by the dense wash of Rev’s boiling synths. DL

  1. 1. Introduction
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