Label: Year Zero Release date: 29/11/10 Link: Needs’ Myspace It’s been a good year for re-release compilations. There was the Cold Wave & Minimal Electronics comp (and the Minimal Wave Tapes), the Deutsche Elektronische Musik collection on 4 (yes, four) LPs and now this – Kris Need’s collection of punk attitude from before Johnny Rotten learned he couldn’t sing. Kris Needs is something of a hero of the times when all the best shit to read was badly Xeroxed or in ZigZag. He was the editor of ZigZag in ’77, at which point the magazine received an overhaul forcing it to go screaming into the world of punk, nostrils flared. It was ahead of the curve and was one of the most important things to read of that era. As one of the journos who brought punk to the unwitting one month at a time, there are few people better equipped to talk to us all about their origins. As for the set of songs themselves, it’s simply stunning. It’s all the stuff you imagined early punk to be, but didn’t have the time to discover. Obviously, if you’ve already discovered protopunk and early punk origins, then this is just a fucking good mixtape, but if you’re discovering it all for the first time like me (I already knew and loved Can, but never got around to listening to The Stooges) then this is a revelation. It’s got all the amazing sounds of punk and where it developed from psyche and cosmic rock, and how early metal branched off as well. The MC5 track in particular makes Hawkwind look like a paint by numbers version of true music, and I love Hawkwind. I genuinely don’t think there’s a track on here that would leave you disappointed. There are better tracks and worse tracks, but there are no tracks that make you think “shit. Shouldn’t have bothered with that one”. There’s no filler. Even the Gene Vincent track is brilliant, and I never thought I’d hear myself say that. I think it’s fair to say that almost all modern (or, at least, good modern) music has been influenced in some way by at least one of these bands. Even if it’s via their influence on the next generation of bands, the presence is there. This is essential. Photobucket