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


The Modern Dance
BLANK, 1978

New York gets the glory, but in the early ’70s, Cleveland’s desolate urban-industrial landscapes produced some of the US’ most alienated, intelligent and downright rockin’ punk activity. Founded by the imposing David Thomas following the demise of Rocket From The Tombs, Pere Ubu was conceived as a one-off studio project to record the devastating “30 Seconds Over Tokyo”/“Heart Of Darkness” single, but proved too potent to stop. Spacious but claustrophobic, abstract yet pop, The Modern Dance transmutes a fistful of influences – Velvets, Stooges, Beefheart, Roxy, analogue synth noise, motorik pulse, soundtrack atmosphere – into something never quite heard before. DL


Street Hassle
ARISTA, 1978


Lou Reed didn’t need distorted guitars to be punk rock. A record incorporating ersatz lounge jazz, loose R’n’B and exquisite string arrangements, Street Hassle is nonetheless capable of offending nearly anyone. At age 36, Reed addressed his work and reputation with a terrible savagery. The album begins with Reed heckling himself as a “faggot junkie” over the chords of “Sweet Jane”, while the title track boils his street-level scenarios thus far into a suite of distillate misanthropy. Posing a question – if he felt like this about himself, what did Lou Reed think about anyone else? JR


We Have Come For Your Children
SIRE, 1978

Another Rocket From The Tombs veteran, Cheetah Chrome nettled Cleveland art-rockers when he formed neanderthal glam outfit Frankenstein, roping in sandpaper-voiced weasel Stiv Bators as singer. Rebranded the Dead Boys, they moved to New York. Their first album, Young, Loud And Snotty, maybe had more hits, but its hastily assembled follow-up better encapsulates their tasteless cock-rock tendencies. Wince and wonder as they sing a hymn to a New York serial killer on “Son Of Sam” and close with a reading of deceased former RFTT bandmate Peter Laughner’s nihilistic “Ain’t It Fun”. JW

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