Today's artists are regarded as an important influence on the Manchester music scene, the independent record label movement, punk rock, power pop, and indie rock. They achieved commercial success with singles that fused pop craftsmanship with rapid-fire punk energy.The "buzz" is the excitement of playing on stage; "cock" is Manchester slang meaning "mate" (as in friend/buddy), capturing the excitement of the nascent punk scene.... ....N'Joy
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Formed in Manchester, England, in 1975, the Buzzcocks were one of the most influential bands to emerge in the initial wave of punk rock. With their crisp melodies, driving guitars, and guitarist Pete Shelley's biting lyrics, the Buzzcocks were one of the best, most influential punk bands. The Buzzcocks were inspired by the Sex Pistols' energy, yet they didn't copy the Pistols' angry political stance. Instead, they brought that intense, brilliant energy to the three-minute pop song. Shelley's alternately funny and anguished lyrics about adolescence and love were some of the best and smartest of his era; similarly, the Buzzcocks' melodies and hooks were concise and memorable. Over the years, their powerful punk-pop has proven enormously influential, with echoes of their music being apparent in everyone from Hüsker Dü to Nirvana.
Before the Buzzcocks, the teenaged Pete Shelley had played guitar in various heavy metal bands. In 1975, he enrolled in the Bolton Institute of Technology. While he was at school, Shelley joined an electronic music society, which is where he met Howard Devoto, who had enrolled at BIT in 1972. Both Shelley and Devoto shared an affection for the Velvet Underground, while Devoto was also fascinated by the Stooges. While they were still in school, Shelley and Devoto began rehearsing with a drummer, covering everything from the Stooges to Brian Eno. The trio never performed live and soon fell apart. Shelley and Devoto remained friends and several months after their initial musical venture dissolved, the pair read the first live review of the Sex Pistols in NME and decided to see the band in London. After witnessing the band twice in February 1976, the pair decided to form their own band, with the intent of replicating the Pistols' London impact in Manchester.
Both musicians decided to change their last names -- Peter McNeish became Pete Shelley and Howard Traford became Howard Devoto -- and took their group's name from a review of Rock Follies, which ended with the quotation "get a buzz, cock." The Buzzcocks began rehearsing, picking up a local drummer and bassist Garth Smith. Shortly after their formation, Shelley and Devoto booked a local club, the Lesser Free Trade Hall, with the intent of persuading the Sex Pistols to play in Manchester. They succeeded in bringing the Pistols to Manchester, but the Buzzcocks had to pull out of their own gig when both the bassist and drummer left the group before the concert. At the Pistols show, Shelley and Devoto met Steve Diggle, who joined the Buzzcocks as their bassist, and the group found their drummer John Maher through an advertisement in Melody Maker. Within a few months, the band played its first concert, opening for the second Sex Pistols show at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in July of 1976. By the end of the year, the Buzzcocks had played a handful of gigs and helped establish Manchester as the second biggest punk rock city in England, ranking just behind London.
Spiral Scratch In October of 1976, the Buzzcocks recorded their first demo tape, which remained unreleased. At the end of 1976, the group joined the Sex Pistols on their Anarchy Tour. After the tour was completed, Shelley borrowed a couple hundred pounds from his father and the band used the money to record their debut EP, Spiral Scratch. The record was the first D.I.Y., independently released record of the punk era. Spiral Scratch appeared on the band's New Hormones record label in January 1977; there were initially only 1,000 copies pressed. Shortly after the release of the EP, Devoto quit the group and returned to college; later in the year, he formed Magazine. Following Devoto's departure, Pete Shelley assumed the role as lead vocalist, Steve Diggle moved to guitar, and Garth Smith became the band's bassist. By June of 1977, the Buzzcocks were attracting the attention of major record labels. By September, they had signed with United Artists Records, who gave the band complete artistic control.
Another Music in a Different Kitchen The Buzzcocks certainly tested the limits of that artistic control with their debut single, "Orgasm Addict." Released in October of 1977, the single didn't become a hit because its subject matter was too explicit for BBC radio, but it generated good word of mouth. Following its release, Garth Smith was kicked out of the group and was replaced by Steve Garvey. The Buzzcocks' second single, "What Do I Get?," became their first charting single, scraping the bottom of the Top 40. In March, the band released its first album, Another Music in a Different Kitchen. In September of 1978 the Buzzcocks released their second full-length record, Love Bites.
A Different Kind of Tension The rapid pace of the band's recording and performing schedules quickly had its effects on the group. Not only were the concerts and recordings wearing the band down, the members were consuming alcohol and drugs in high numbers. Early in 1979 they recorded their third album, A Different Kind of Tension, which displayed some signs of wear and tear. Following the album's release in August, they embarked on their first American tour, which wasn't successful. Nevertheless, the band was enjoying the peak of its popularity at home in Britain. Later in 1979, the singles collection Singles Going Steady was released in America.
All of the inner and outer tensions on the band culminated in 1980, when they drastically cut back their performance schedule, but they persevered with recording, cutting the EP Parts 1, 2, 3, which was released as three separate singles over the course of the year. During 1980, United Artists was bought out by EMI, who cut back support of the Buzzcocks. The group began working on its fourth album in early 1981, but was prevented from recording by EMI. The label wanted to release Singles Going Steady in the U.K. before the band delivered its fourth album. The Buzzcocks refused. Consequently, EMI didn't give the band an advance to cover the recording costs of the fourth album. Shelley decided to break up the band instead of fight the label. The Buzzcocks broke up in 1981.
Trade Test Transmissions Immediately after the split, Shelley pursued a solo career that initially produced the hit single "Homosapien" but soon went dry. Steve Diggle formed Flag of Convenience with John Maher, who quit the band shortly after its formation. Steve Garvey moved to New York, where he played with Motivation for a few years. In 1989, the group re-formed and toured the United States. The following year, Maher left the band and former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce joined the band on tour. By 1990, the reunion had become permanent; after Joyce's brief tenure with the band, the final lineup of the reunited Buzzcocks featured Shelley, Diggle, bassist Tony Barber, and drummer Phil Barker.
The new version of the band released its first album, Trade Test Transmissions, in 1993. After its release, the band toured frequently. In spring of 1996, the Buzzcocks released their fifth studio album, All Set. Modern followed three years later, and a self-titled record for Merge appeared in 2003. Flat-Pack Philosophy arrived in 2006 on the Cooking Vinyl label. An anniversary set simply called 30 was released in 2008 on Cooking Vinyl. In 2014, yet another new lineup of the Buzzcocks -- Shelley, Diggle, bassist Chris Remington, and drummer Danny Farrant -- emerged with a new studio album, The Way, which was supported by an extensive North American tour in addition to their usual roadwork in the U.K. and Europe.
In October 2014 Buzzcocks toured the U.K. for three weeks with The Dollyrots as main support. In 2016, the band embarked on their 40th-anniversary tour (dubbed "Buzzcocks 40"). The Buzzcocks played at the 18th annual Punk Rock and Bowling Music Festival in Las Vegas on May 29th, and headlined the first show in Denver on June 2nd.
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General judgment holds the Buzzcocks' peerless singles, the definition of punk-pop at its finest, as the best expression of their work. However, while the singles showcased one particular side of the band, albums like the group's long-playing debut Another Music showcased the foursome's other influences, sometimes brilliantly. The big secret is Shelley's worship of Krautrock's obsessive focus on repetition and rhythm, which transforms what would be "simply" basic punk songs into at-times monstrous epics. The ghost of Can particular hovers even on some of the shorter songs -- unsurprising, given Shelley's worship of that band's guitarist Michael Karoli. "Moving Away From the Pulsebeat" is the best instance of this, with a rumbling Maher rhythm supporting some trancelike guitar lines. As for the sheer rush of pop craziness, Another Music is simply crammed with stellar examples. Lead-off track "Fast Cars" starts with the opening of Spiral Scratch's "Boredom"'s intentionally hilarious two-note solo intact, before ripping into a slightly bemusing critique of the objects in question. Most of the similar tracks on the album may be more distinct for their speed, but Shelley in particular always seems to sneak in at least one astonishing line per song, sometimes on his own and sometimes thanks to Devoto via older cowritten tunes redone for the record. One favorite standout: "All this slurping and sucking -- it's putting me off my food!" on "You Tear Me Up." Top all this off with any number of perfect moments -- the guitar work during the breaks on "Love Battery," the energizing yet nervous coda of "Fiction Romance," the soaring angst throughout "I Don't Mind" -- and Another Music flat out succeeds.
Buzzcocks - Another Music in a Different Kitchen (flac 230mb)
01 Fast Cars 2:27
02 No Reply 2:16
03 You Tear Me Up 2:27
04 Get On Our Own 2:27
05 Love Battery 2:09
06 Sixteen 3:38
07 I Don't Mind 2:18
08 Fiction Romance 4:28
09 Autonomy 3:43
10 I Need 2:43
11 Moving Away From The Pulsebeat 7:05
Buzzcocks - Another Music in a Different Kitchen (ogg 82mb)
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More musically accomplished, more obsessively self-questioning, and with equally energetic yet sometimes gloomy performances, Love Bites finds the Buzzcocks coming into their own. With Devoto and his influence now fully worked out of the band's system, Shelley is the clearly predominant voice, with the exception of Diggle's first lead vocal on an album track, the semi-acoustic, perversely sprightly "Love is Lies." Though the song received even further acclaim on Singles Going Steady, "Ever Fallen in Love," for many the band's signature song, appears here. With its note-perfect blend of romance gone wrong, a weirdly catchy, treated lead guitar line, and Shelley's wounded singing deserves its instant classic status, but it's only one of many highlights. The opening "Real World" is one of the band's strongest: a chunky, forceful yet crisp band performance leads into a strong Shelley lyric about unrequited love and life. "Nostalgia"'s strikingly mature, inventive lyrics about where one's life can lead, and the sometimes charging, sometimes quietly tense, heartbroken "Nothing Left" are two other standouts. The group's well-seasoned abilities, the members' increasing reach and Martin Rushent's excellent production make Love Bites shine. The Garvey/Maher rhythm section is especially fine; Maher's fills and similar small but significant touches take the music to an even higher level. His undisputed highlight is the terribly underrated concluding instrumental "Late for the Train." Originally done for a John Peel radio session and rerecorded with even more a dramatic sweep here, it gives the group's motorik/Krautrock new power. Not far behind it is "E.S.P.," a strong rock burn that only fades out at the end very slowly and subtly.
Buzzcocks - Love Bites (flac 500mb)
01 Real World 3:33
02 Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't 've?) 2:42
03 Operators Manual 3:34
04 Nostalgia 2:55
05 Just Lust 3:02
06 Sixteen Again 3:18
07 Walking Distance 2:02
08 Love Is Lies 3:13
09 Nothing Left 4:28
10 E.S.P. 4:47
11 Late For The Train 5:35
12 Love You More 1:49
13 Noise Annoys 2:52
14 Promises 2:35
15 Lipstick 2:37
John Peel Shows
10.4.1978, Broadcast 17.4.1978
16 Noise Annoys 2:55
17 Walking Distance 2:08
18 Late For The Train 5:13
18.10.1978, Broadcast 23.10.1978
19 Promises 2:31
20 Lipstick 2:41
21 Sixteen Again 3:17
21.5.1979, Broadcast 28.5.1979
22 ESP 3:39
Buzzcocks - Love Bites (ogg 177mb)
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The final album of the Buzzcocks' first phase of existence is the most fragmented of the three, with increasingly ambitious songs fighting for time with tracks that sound much like the group's earliest efforts. Said songs are often quite good, like the opening "Paradise" or the great romantic angst of "You Say You Don't Love Me," but one can sense the band working to avoid the trap the Ramones fell into by simply offering up yet more soundalikes. Diggle makes a definite mark on this album, as on the slow crawl then fast thrash "Sitting Round at Home," a highlight of Tension that also features his electronically distorted vocals. "Mad Mad Judy" is a slightly more straightforward blitz, but with energy to spare and a spacious feel (credit again to producer Rushent). As the album closes, the sense of slight schizophrenia resolves itself as the group embraces all-out experimentation, producing some of the Buzzcocks' all-time best songs. "Hollow Inside" shows the band's knack for disguising scalpel-sharp sentiments with seeming simplicity, and the title track's contradictory slogans/demands disturbing robot vocals and nagging beat and melody up the ante even further. "I Believe" concludes things (aside from the fake found-sound snippet "Radio Nine") on the highest possible note. Shelley's slightly bemused recitation of all the things he believes in is suddenly interrupted by the line "There is no love in this world anymore," turned and electronically distorted into an obsessive, anthemic mantra as the band charges along with him up and out. An invigorating blast of, indeed, tension and angst, it alone makes Tension worth investigating. Parts 1, 2, 3 collect the band's last three singles, which are all quite impressive.
Buzzcocks - A Different Kind Of Tension + Parts 1, 2, 3 (flac 439mb)
01 Paradise 2:22
02 Sitting Round At Home 2:39
03 You Say You Don't Love Me 2:53
04 You Know You Can't Help It 2:21
05 Mad Mad Judy 3:34
06 Raison D'Etre 3:32
07 I Don't Know What To Do With My Life 2:43
08 Money 2:44
09 Hollow Inside 4:46
10 A Different Kind Of Tension 4:38
11 I Believe 7:08
12 Radio Nine 0:41
Parts 1, 2, 3
13 Are Everything 3:57
14 Strange Thing 4:08
15 What Do You Know 3:15
16 Why She's A Girl From The Chain Store 2:25
17 Airwaves Dream 3:52
18 Running Free 3:13
Buzzcocks - A Different Kind Of Tension + Parts 1, 2, 3 (ogg 146mb)
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A fascinating semi-legitimate release of all the studio work the Howard Devoto-fronted band recorded in Manchester in October 1976. This is an expensive disc that only clocks in at 24 minutes, but it's 24 pretty great minutes. Some of the material (e.g., the cover of Captain Beefheart's "I Love You, You Big Dummy") Devoto took with him to Magazine, but the rest of the material is prime Buzzcocks: "Orgasm Addict," "Breakdown," and "Boredom" to name but a few. With Devoto singing lead, the band sound a bit more Sex Pistols-ish (something that would change when Shelley took over singing lead), and, therefore, a tad more ominous.
Buzzcocks - Time's Up (flac 209mb)
01 You Tear Me Up 2:34
02 Breakdown 2:04
03 Friends Of Mine 2:17
04 Orgasm Addict 2:09
05 Boredom 3:00
06 Time's Up 3:12
07 Lester Sands (Drop In The Ocean) 2:29
08 Love Battery 2:20
09 I Can't Control Myself 3:05
10 I Love You, You Big Dummy 1:21
11 Don't Mess Me 'round 2:35
Buzzcocks - Time's Up (ogg 68mb)
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