Friday, July 3, 2009

Devo - Hardcore '74 - '77, Vol. 1

Devo - Hardcore '74 - '77, Vol. 1
Today's album hails from the darkest reaches of America's subconscious: Akron, Ohio. Before our industrious young spuds found fame and fortune through a hit single about sadomasochism, before they moved to a festering cesspool referred to as the City of Angels, before they caught the attention of one Mr. Eno and recorded a landmark post-punk/new-wave album, they were recording weird, subversive four track demos in their basements that sounded like artifacts from a future gone wrong and pissing off the jocks, squares, and hippies foolish enough to attend their performances at Kent State. This collection is the first of two collecting those demos, and they demonstrate that the mythology of de-evolution was fully formed from the very beginning. Closer to the skewed pop sensibilities of the Residents and the primitive abrasiveness of the New York no wave scene than the just-left-of-center synth pop of their later work, these tracks speak to the endless creativity that Devo was in possession of at the beginning of their career. Although a few tracks are early, slower Booji Boy versions of songs that would reappear on their debut album ("Satisfaction," "Jocko Homo," and "Mongoloid"), most of these songs were previously unreleased before this collection. From mutant space funk to industrial factory worker anthems to juvenile sex studies, Devo capture the essence of a technologically advanced society deteriorating at every corner with equal parts humor and horror. This isn't going to appeal to everyone, but for people sympathetic with Devo's odd wavelength, some of this material will be a revelation.

BONUS ROUND: Just as an extra, I've uploaded Vol. 2, which I don't think is quite as good as Vol. 1, with a lot of the tracks coming closer to novelties than genuinely strange brilliance, but there's still a lot of decent to great material scattered about to make it worthwhile to the truly devo-tional. Give it a shot if Vol. 1 really catches your interest.

Vol. 1

Vol. 2

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