Thursday, April 28, 2011

X-Ray Spex -- Germfree Adolescents

I discovered Richard Hell the same week I moved to New York City a few years ago. I never listened to much punk before, but Blank Generation changed that. I was a quick covert as soon as I heard that record, and it kind of changed the way I thought of music. I had some Patti Smith records I loved and a few Stooges records I got because I thought I was supposed to have since I owned a bunch of Bowie and Lou Reed records. But I'll admit I never really listened to those Iggy Pop records until recently. I just didn't appreciate them at the time. Now I wonder what I was thinking all those years Funhouse was sitting on my shelf collecting dust. So after I got Blank Generation I started picking up all the other proto-punk, new wave, no wave records I could find. They were the perfect soundtrack to my new life in the Big Apple even though this city isn't anywhere close to as cool as it must have been in the days when those bands were playing downtown and creating a new kind of music.
Along the time I was discovering all these new records I completely overlooked for way too long, I came across this record called Germfree Adolescents and it blew me away. I had never heard anything like it before. I always wanted to get into Sleater-Kinney for some reason, but just never could. They're too restrained. The second I heard Poly Styrene screaming about this Richard Hell guy I loved so much I immediately thought of Sleater-Kinney. The only difference was, I actually loved every note I was hearing. I believe this is one of the best records to come out of that early punk rock period and it made me really sad the other day when I read Poly Styrene had passed away at 53 years old. I can only hope her legacy lives on and she's able to completely annihilate new generations of teenage rebels (and 35 year old late-blooming wannabe punk rockers like me) for centuries to come. Check out this record and enjoy two of the hardest women on the early punk rock scene (Poly Styrene and Lora Logic). "I Can't Do Anything," "Art-I-Ficial," and "Oh Bondage, Up Yours" are the stand out tracks on this record for me. "I hit him back with my pet rat!" RIP Poly Styrene.

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