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This stuff is actually out of print, I had no idea. Ripped from my own CDs. -Ian!

While it is inconsistent, the first of Rykodisc’s compilations of early four-track recordings made in Devo’s basement is a necessary item for devoted fans. In addition to the original Booji Boy releases of “Satisfaction,” “Jocko Homo,” and “Mongoloid,” Hardcore, Vol. 1 contains the full-length version of “Mechanical Man,” the sarcastic satire of “Social Fools,” and the flat-out weirdness of songs like “Golden Energy,” “I’m a Potato,” and “Uglatto.” Most of these songs had not been previously available in an authorized format; many are reminiscent of the minimalist weirdness of the Residents. While some tracks are a bit short on melody, and the sound quality is mostly (and understandably) crude, they amply illustrate Devo’s D.I.Y. garage-band origins and their seemingly inexhaustible (at that point) supply of satirically humorous ideas, as well as the fact that the band’s patented sound was present right from the start of their long gestational period.

Like its predecessor and true to its title, Hardcore, Vol. 2 is an indispensable item for any hardcore Devo fan. Featuring over an hour’s worth of raw, four-track basement recordings from the years 1974-1977, the disc contains such necessities as the atmospheric instrumental “Booji Boy’s Funeral,” the mechanized blues shuffle of “37,” the mock sports anthem “Let’s Go,” the gleeful bubblegum pop parody “Goo Goo Itch” (revealing a surprisingly strong sense of melody), and the sheer aural dementia of “U Got Me Bugged,” as well as “Be Stiff,” which later became the theme song for the pioneering British indie label Stiff Records. Also featured are early versions of “Clockout” and their cover of Lee Dorsey’s “Working In a Coalmine.” While there are a number of misses as well — some tracks are all robotic rhythms with no melody, and others come off as the mildly misogynistic rantings of sexually frustrated misfits — the compilation again proves the depth of development and detail in Devo’s satirical vision far prior to their 1978 debut album.

-Steve Huey,



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