The Jitters (1979) S/T (LP)

The Jitters

The Jitters

Nervine Music

recorded October 15 – 25, 1979. Released circa 1980.

*** noteworthy

Sole album by the Jitters (not to be confused with other bands with the same name), lead by P.K. Dwyer and sounding like a Northwest backyard band influenced by hillbilly and perhaps Velvet Underground, old-time rock ‘n roll and Jonathan Richman, Neil Young and Los Angeles, old-time music and Ray Davies, NRBQ and all the obscure mid-70s bands that centered around CBGBs.

While most Seattle outfits from this era seemed attached to hard rock or new wave, these folks seem to be having fun and doing their own thing.

With the hillbilly and quirky elements, it’s easy to hear how this band foreshadowed all the alt-country and cowpunk that surfaced in the wake of this album.

This ain’t an essential outing, but it’s fairly enjoyable from go to whoa, and it certainly offers some pretty great moments.  It’s certainly a worthwhile listen for fans of songwriter P.K. Dwyer or for fans of obscure Northwest bands.

— winch (author of )



The Damned (1977) The Peel Sessions (LP) Strange Fruit SFPS 002 (1986)

The Damned
The Peel Sessions
Strange Fruit (SFPS 002)
Producer: Jeff Griffin
Rating: **** (Recommended)
Recorded May 10 1977, first transmitted May 16, 1977, released June 1986 (UK only)

Four-songer from the John Peel show, a couple of comments but mostly tunes, about 10 minutes total.  Some might find the killer sound wrong for punk, but worthwhile grab for fans.

Pirates: Out of Their Skulls (LP) 1977

The Pirates
Out of Their Skulls

Rating:**** (Recommended)











With likely most straight-forward rock and roll UK outfits (from the Who and the Stones to the hard-rock of Led Zeppelin and the pub-rock of Dr. Feelgood, to the punk rock of the Clash and the Sex Pistols) owing something to this outfit, the Pirates wax this half-live/half studio set, reminding folks how it’s done.
— winch



Crass (1979) Stations of the Crass (LP)


Crass 521984


Rating:**** (Recommended)

released September 1979

Crass returns to chuck more wrenches at everything in sight, including the Clash, democrats and liberals, again reminding everyone what punk was all about: cars, girls and anarchy. (Maybe they forgot to include songs about cars, but anarchy is thoroughly covered.)

This might have been better served as a two-sider, but who am I to tell Crass how to make an album.

This is another essential set for fans, puts most punk of 1979 to shame.  Three sides studio, one side live.

— winch (author of…


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Crass (1978) The Feeding of the 5000 (LP)


The Feeding of the 5000

Recommended ****

Released December 1978 (UK only)

Anyone who wants to understand punk, or a lesson about what went wrong, needs to give this set a listen.  The cover is one of the greatest sleeves in rock-and-roll history, but one needs to go beyond that, put the record on the turntable and crank it high enough to tick off the neighbors.  While some of the band’s other material might interest a variety of listeners, on this debut they march through both sides with a single direction, the rhythm a mix of R&B and military marching, stomping everything in sight with the sound of punk rock.

While most early punk was simply R&B, even more so than most of the rock stylings of the mid 70s, some punk bands were clearly offering something new, Suicide in the States for example, and this outfit in the UK.  If you can’t recognize the R&B core of those two bands, you’re not really listening, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t breaking open something that had rarely seen the light of day.  In order to understand something, you have to break it open.

A lot of punks on politics can get annoying and sound self-righteous, let the politics get in the way of not just the music but the message as well.  Meanwhile, Crass mixed everything into one thing, dropped punk into a batch of battery acid and dissolved it down to its core.

This album is about as punk as it gets.  Not that a sound has to be pure punk to sound good, but Crass deserves credit for recognizing something and something wrong, and getting down to the gritty core of it.

— winch (author of…


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Raxola (LP) 1978



Recommended ****

While this Belgium outfit shows its influences from the previous year, they definitely have their own hardcore power-pop sound, blasting through the first side barely taking a breath, hitting it with “Wait for the War,” sinking into a sludgy sound at the end of the side, the sudden detour foreshadowing the quite interesting diversity of side two.
The flipside jumpstarts with “Anxious” and “Steal It” but slows down for “Who Do You Think You Are,” which is rough around the edges but pure power-pop at the center.  From there, they go from the rip of “Panic in the Sewer” to the heavy-sludge sleepwalk of “I Can Sleep,” a gothic death-rock number that bridges Sabbath and Bauhaus (the latter would form around this time).  They conclude the set with some signature punk, the diversity that preceded not only helping the whole set, but making those punk blasts at the end like fire-hydrant sprays to the face after a summer crawl through a warm sewer.
Elements of power-pop are felt in several cuts, some foreshadowing the Dickies, and the entire set foreshadows various aspects of hardcore, the no-reggae diversity of the album foreshadowing the diversity of bands like Husker Du and the Big Boys.  This might not be a great set, but it’s a good one, definitely a worthwhile listen for fans of 70s punk.
— winch

(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)

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Eater: the Album (1978)

The Album
The Label (001)
Rating: **** (Recommended)
Released January 1978
The only album by this no-talent UK punk outfit, a few weaker cuts, but plenty of great ones, mostly originals but some sped up V.U. and a transformation of “Eighteen” (Alice Cooper Group), this version called “15,” which maybe points out the age of these punks.  This band helped remind London what rock ‘n roll was supposed to be about in the first place, kids doing the best they can with little talent and a lot of heart, crappy guitars and a few chords.  

Great stuff, worthwhile grab for fans of punk.
— winch
(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)

Stiff Little Fingers: Inflammable Material (LP) 1979

Stiff Little Fingers
Inflammable Material
Rough Trade (1)


Rating: ***** (Good Shit)

Released February 1979 (UK only) reached #14 in UK

While this Belfast outfit started as Highway Star (named after Deep Purple’s best song), these teenage punks proved to be much more than another covers band, first with their classic debut single (“Suspect Device”/”Wasted Life”) released in 1978, and then this kick-ass long-player that housed both sides of the debut single along with a nonstop onslaught of classic cuts.
This is what rock and roll is supposed to sound like, youngsters playing their hearts out.  This is the greatest album ever recorded in Europe.  I might have said that before, and I might say it again, but it’s still the truth.
(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)