This song is so fun! You have to feel bad for homophobes in a way, because the darkness of their hate keeps them from hearing really great music. How many fucking times can you listen to, “I’m Proud to be an American,” anyway?
DEVO’s Hardcore documents the group’s beginning as pre-punk outcasts in the fertile Akron, Ohio underground rock scene. Spawned at the nearby college of Kent State, site of the infamous May 4 Massacre, DEVO formed as a conceptual art project armed with a radical philosophy of de-evolution. Brothers Mothersbaugh (Mark, Bob, and Jim) and Brothers Casale (Jerry and Bob) along with drummer Alan Myers soon whipped-up an otherworldly brand of “devolved blues” that could hold its own alongside the beatnik groove of 15-60-75 (aka The Numbers Band) or the primal rock poetry of the Bizarros.
Recorded on various 4-track machines and in tiny studios, basements, and garages between 1974-1977, Hardcore reveals their strikingly clear vision: rock n’ roll stripped bare of its collective cool and jerked back into propaganda fit for post-modern man. It’s no surprise that these transmissions would soon catch the eye and ear of Brian Eno who later produced their landmark 1978 debut album. Noisy synth, strangled guitar chops, and a primitive rhythmic thud power the early DEVO sound. Threaded beneath it all are lyrical themes of post-McCarthy paranoia, middle-class ephemera, and DEVO’s long-running topic of choice: sex, or lack thereof.
Few moments in pop music history can match the grinding, pent-up energy of “Mongoloid” and the spastic bounce and sputter of “Jocko Homo” (two anthems presented in their earlier and superior versions here). Cult favorites like “Mechanical Man” and “Auto-Modown” make Volume 1 essential listening.
Volume 2 digs further into the band’s cranial bunker with the caveman hit “Be Stiff,” the space age surf-blues of “Clockout” and even a demented take on bubblegum pop, “Goo Goo Itch.” This 2xLP set includes four previously unreleased tracks: ”Man From The Past,” “Doghouse Doghouse,” “Hubert House,” and “Shimmy Shake.”
From Henry Rollins’ liner notes to the CD version: “Hardcore is not some barrel bottom scrape in a desperate attempt to pilfer your billfold! This is pure DEVO – the sweetest crude, straight from the source!”
Superior Viaduct and Booji Boy Records are proud to present DEVO’s Hardcore to a new generation of spuds, lovingly packaged with Moshe Brakha’s stunning cover photography. As David Bowie said in 1977, DEVO is indeed “the band of the future.”
Day 140 of my Dopey Music Project
Listened to ? hours worth of stuff, starting with “Rescue of Dances with Wolves” from John Barry’s Dances with Wolves soundtrack, and ended the day with The Beatles’ “Revolution 9.”
Notable mention: Green Day’s “Restless Heart Syndrome” - which starts out sounding syrupy and weak, but the lyrics really are incredible. 21st Century Breakdown is a great, intense album, which in a lot of ways is better than American Idiot. And that’s saying a lot, because American Idiot is already a classic, IMHO.