No Thanks!: The '70s Punk Rebellion

Though it seems like a whole century ago (uh, waitaminit, it was), once upon a time we had no alternative or indie rock scene to speak of. Major labels -- armed with "tasty" licks, mellow attitude, pretentiousness masking itself as sophistication, and twenty-minute instrumental solos -- dominated the middle '70s. But every repressive regime begets its own rebel underground: thus, punk rock. No Thanks!: The '70s Punk Rebellion collects (arguably, of course) the crème de la crème of these seditious miscreants, showcasing singles, album tracks, and obscurities by (mostly) American and British bands united by their disdain for the status quo, and their nervy willingness to apply shock treatment to the rock 'n' roll body politic without a med school degree.

Rhino has done a fine job of rounding up the usual, most popular suspects: The Americans include Talking Heads, Ramones, and Blondie, while the UK kicks in the Clash, the Buzzcocks, and the Cure. But what elevates this four-CD set above mere K-Tel or That's What I Call Music!-type "greatest hits" packages is its massive, inclusive scope. No Thanks takes in semilegendary LA bands (Dils, Weirdos); arty reggae/dub-inspired UK posses (the Slits, the Pop Group); the Ramones' speedy-pop Brit counterparts (Undertones, the Boys); the beginnings of hardcore (Dead Kennedys, Black Flag); electronic bands (Suicide, Ultravox); and even the zany jokesters (Dickies, Rezillos). No Thanks goes even further by including a handful of icons that motivated the '70s punk ethos: Iggy and the Stooges, the Modern Lovers, the New York Dolls.

Sure, there are a few glaring omissions: Except for Australia's Saints, everyone's from the US or the UK. A few track selections are similarly uninspired -- we get enough of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" in TV commercials. But all the same, we recommend this collection, the Nuggets of the '70s, wholeheartedly.


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