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Violent Femmes (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

For their deluxe, two-disc reissue of the Violent Femmes' classic first album, Rhino pulled out all the stops, not only remastering the album and offering extensive liner notes, but adding a full 26 bonus tracks. Of these, 22 are previously unreleased — the ones that have appeared before are demos and rare U.K. singles, plus a song previously released as a flexidisc in Alternative Press. The rest is a cornucopia of rarities: three songs that never were recorded in the studio ("How Do You Say Goodbye," "In Style," "Her Television"), live cuts from the early '80s (including versions of songs that would pop up on later studio albums), demos, even early interviews. Sure, this is stuff that is primarily of interest to collectors, but the great thing about this release is that this rare material is equally enjoyable for fans who just love the first album, not everything the Femmes did — it proves that the brilliance of the debut was no fluke, and these songs are as captivating on stage and in demo form as they are on record. One of the best deluxe reissues of 2002, all told.


Formed: 1982 in Milwaukee, WI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The textbook American cult band of the 1980s, the Violent Femmes captured the essence of teen angst with remarkable precision; raw and jittery, the trio's music found little commercial success but nonetheless emerged as the soundtrack for the lives of troubled adolescents the world over. The group formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early '80s, and comprised singer/guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie and percussionist Victor DeLorenzo; Ritchie originated the band's oxymoronic name, adopting...
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