“Suspect Device” – Stiff Little Fingers

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Great late-1970s punk rock from Northern Ireland, but seriously, that singer needs lozenges … STAT! I cringe when I think this was probably done in one take. I love how the chorus goes “Don’t believe them, don’t believe them, don’t be bitten twice” and then during the last chorus, the lyrics shift to “Don’t believe us!” instead of “them.”

Trivia note: the monster guitar riff at the beginning of this song was stolen from Montrose’s “Space Station #5.”  Considering that Sammy Hagar was the vocalist for Montrose and the riff from the Clash’s “Safe European Home” was allegedly stolen from Sammy Hagar’s “I’ve Done Everything For You,” it prompts the question, do all punk roads lead to Sammy Hagar?

“Rock Candy” – Montrose

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I’ve always been a bit sheepish about admitting my love for this knuckle-dragging anthem of the early 1970s. Mostly because I’ve never been much of a fan of lead singer Sammy Hagar. However, I have to say Hagar delivers the goods here. Along with Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog” and Foghat’s “Slow Ride,” this is my favorite bass-heavy, multi-layered guitar, nasal-draining hard rock song of the bell-bottom and ludes decade. I’m sure this is on some gentleman’s club all-time Top 10 and if it’s not, it damn well should be. No less a man of taste than post-punk legend Julian Cope raved about Montrose’s first album in his recent book “Copendium,” so at least I have good company.

“Copendium” written by Julian Cope

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Many people remember Julian Cope for his mid-1980s solo hit “World Shut Your Mouth” or his stint as lead singer for the post-punk band The Teardrop Explodes.  In recent years, however, Cope has built a formidable reputation as a writer on all matter of subjects, most notably music and antiquities.  His overview of Krautrock (1960s-1970s German psychedelic rock) from 1995, “Krautrocksampler” is considered a classic, even though he refuses to have it republished because of factual errors he’s since discovered and because he claims there are others more knowledgeable than he is.  His antiquities books “The Modern Antiquarian” and “The Megalithic European” have also proven to be very popular.

Cope’s latest book “Copendium” is a massive collection of essays (over 700 pages) culled from Cope’s website that chronicles terrific, but ignored or forgotten music albums, spanning several different genres.  Among the artists that Cope exhaustively writes about: Von LMO, The Electric Eels, Montrose, Pentagram … even a Van Halen bootleg gets a detailed essay.  If you love discovering new music and enjoy great writing, “Copendium” is damn near perfect.