Like many early punk clips the audience are just as interesting as the band. I have to agree with the YouTube commenter who said this was “still punk as fuck”.
When you get older it’s common to start thinking that modern pop music is rubbish and the younger generation are more stupid, superficial, and self-absorbed than you were at their age.
I try to avoid doing that because I know every generation thinks the ones after it likes crap music and are a sign that the world is going to hell.
But has the thought ever crossed your mind that for once, maybe, it could be true?
Today’s new choon comes via Mr. Mondo, a man who puts all us mere bloggers to shame with his podcasting, writing, DJ-ing, bass-playing, gig-promoting, and full-English-breakfast-eating. On top of that he now appears to have added Music Mogul to his business card with the Podrophenia Records label.
From there come The Ends, a punky Canvey Island foursome whose first single sounds like The Buzzcocks having a punch up with Arctic Monkeys. Play loud and get sweaty.
Billy Idol was never taken seriously by music critics in the late 70s who saw him as a dumb pretty boy whose band made cartoon punk records. This is a pretty silly record but it’s a whole lot of rocking fun, and owes as much musically to Glam Rock as it does punk.
Billy was to have the last laugh a few years later of course.
Download: King Rocker — Generation X (mp3)
Photo: René, Westminster Bridge 1968, by Frank Habicht
(Yes, I know the record should be Queen Rocker)
Poor old Malcolm Owen. Died of a heroin overdose after The Ruts had recorded just the one album and a few singles, forever making them a “What if?” footnote in post-punk history. Also had the misfortune to die only two weeks after Ian Curtis and get forgotten by history while the gloomy Manc is a legend (even though The Ruts were a bigger band than Joy Division at the time).
Want more Clash? Course you do.
A performance that makes you think they should have changed their name to THE CLASH!!! in all caps with three exclamation marks.
The Clash became instant punk gods with their debut album but then had the problem of “What do we do next?” — a problem The Pistols solved by breaking up, and The Ramones ignored by just doing the same thing again (and again). The Westway Wonders rightly felt that they couldn’t keep doing the same primitive three-chord thrash, and with punk pretty much being declared over by the end of 1977 they had to move on.
Their second album Give ‘Em Enough Rope was an attempt to move forward that wasn’t entirely successful. It’s a decent album but some of the songs are a bit duff and I’ve never liked the production. In retrospect the track “Julie’s Been Working For The Drug Squad” is a signpost for the future, but at the time it was regarded as a novelty lark.
The first taste of where they were going next came in May 1979 with The Cost of Living EP. The first track “I Fought The Law” was as blazingly ferocious as anything on their first album but with a production that was cleaner and brighter than anything they’d done before. The next two tracks “Groovy Times” and “Gates of The West” (one of my all-time favourite Clash songs) were even more different, one featuring acoustic guitars and harmonica while the other was an ode to America, a country the band once declared they were bored with. Clearly they were shedding their old practices and prejudices, freeing themselves from the shackles of punk orthodoxy.
Though The Clash are pretty much canonized now as one of the great rock bands, their reputation wasn’t quite so secure back then. I remember reaction to the EP being mixed at the time, with some feeling that they were running out of gas, and covering old rock and roll songs wasn’t exactly a sign of a band with new ideas, was it? Now it sounds like a stepping stone because seven months later they released London Calling. You know the rest.
BONUS: This is the short “reprise” of the first track that ends the EP. It’s basically Joe Strummer doing a jokey ad for the record, and far as I know this is only available on vinyl copies of it.
Download: I Fought The Law (Reprise) – The Clash (mp3)
Download: Girls Are Out To Get You – Fascinations (mp3)
Download: Aunties And Uncles (Impulsive Youths) – The Jam (mp3)
Download: Dressed In Black – The Shangri-Las (mp3)
Download: Jump Boys – The Undertones (mp3)