Album: Various Artists, Dirty Water: the Birth of Punk Attitude (Year Zero)
Friday 31 December 2010
Ingeniously compiled by journalist Kris Needs to include little or no bona fide punk-rock music at all, the two-CD set Dirty Water traces the development of "punk" as a notion of musical dissent, a matter of antagonistic primitivism rather than style and three-chord Stalinism.
Stretching from the Standells 1960s garage-rock track that gives the set its title to Culture's reggae milestone "Two Sevens Clash", it's a wonderful, diverse journey that takes in surly hippie psychedelia, glam-rock, krautrock, proto-electropop, jazz, art-rock and rockabilly, with surprises at every turn, whether it's Sun Ra's space chant "Rocket Number Nine", T Rex jamming "Elemental Child" onstage, or The Last Poets declaiming "On the Subway". A sobering reminder of how variously potent pop can be with the right attitude.
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