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frankie teardrop (1977)

dream baby dream (1979)

drop to your knees and mourn the recent passing of Alan Vega, co-founder of New York synth punk pioneers Suicide, whose abrasive style and minimalist sound; broken down keyboards, drum machines and ghostly vocals influencing a swathe of alternative pop artistes from the 1970’s onwards; would depeche mode, erasure, nine inch nails, ministry, soft cell, nick cave, joy division, spacemen 3, the kills, the jesus and mary chain etc etc have existed without their musical and/or aesthetic influence? probably not.

if you could permit my usage of tired journalistic clichés, they were out on their own and ahead of their time and audiences seemed to live to hate them and Vega and keyboardist martin rev relishing the confrontation. audiences simply were not prepared for their primitive,stripped down futurism. becoming used to the sonic indulgences of the late 1960’s and early 70’s, this was so far beyond the notion of mainstream or acceptable in terms of presentation and sound. it could be claimed that they and arguably the stooges, mc5, devo and the new york dolls created the proto- punk ideal before the UK scene exploded in 1976; reinventing the 50’s rock and roll template, reshaping it into something dangerous, experimental, artistic, revolutionary. they never achieved commercial success but what does that mean anymore anyway? they made it possible and so could you with a keyboard/a mic/turntable/some balls.

they released a mere five studio albums – although vega and rev recorded many solo projects over the – with the first and second album’s 1977’s Suicide and 1979’s Suicide: Alan Vega/Martin Rev perhaps being the most well-known. So I’ve picked my two favourite tracks from both. Frankie Teardrop is an unrelenting terrifying, claustrophobic narrative of a man losing his mind and the other Dream Baby Dream is an endlessly beautiful, gently surging mantra.