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Ghost Riders

Suicide

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iTunes Editors' Notes

Said to be the first band to bill itself as "punk," Suicide didn't play what's commonly considered punk in the 21st-century definition of the word. Yet its music is far more confrontational and experimental (and therefore more punk) than many groups that make similar claims. This album was originally issued on cassette; it's a recording of a 1981 performance at Minneapolis' Walker Arts Center, celebrating the duo's 10th anniversary. (The title track was later heavily sampled for M.I.A.'s "Born Free," further proving the band's enduring influence.) Featuring just keyboards, Martin Rev's drum machines, and Alan Vega's alienating vocals, Suicide influenced an entire generation of synth and industrial bands. (Even Bruce Springsteen, who's admitted a spiritual affinity for the humanist struggle hidden in Suicide's music, covered "Dream Baby Dream.") To virgin ears, this is tough-sounding music; its logic takes repeated plays to comprehend. (Keep in mind, this isn't even the band at its most abrasive!)

Biography

Formed: 1971 in New York, NY

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Although they barely receive credit, Suicide (singer Alan Vega and keyboardist Martin Rev) is the source point for virtually every synth pop duo that glutted the pop marketplace (especially in England) in the early '80s. Without the trailblazing Rev and Vega, there would have been no Soft Cell, Erasure, Bronski Beat, Yaz, you name 'em, and while many would tell you that that's nothing to crow about, the aforementioned synth-poppers merely appropriated Suicide's keyboards/singer look and none of Rev...
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