Another Music in a Different Kitchen
Love Bites
A Different Kind of Tension


For all the instantaneous gratification of the internet and seeming overnight successes of blog buzz bands, the machinery of the music industry still moves at a slower pace than it once did 30 years ago. With three or four years between records being the standard (a practice designed to maximize profit on investment), getting a record out each year can seem like a major accomplishment.

So it’s truly mind-boggling when one considers that in just the 17 months between March 1978 and August 1979, the Buzzcocks released the three albums that would seal their reputation as punk legends—not to mention, another handful of non-album singles and a compilation.

Of course, few bands possess the proficiency of the Buzzcocks when it comes to meshing pop smarts with punk ferocity. Proof positive is the new expanded editions of those aforementioned records: Another Music in a Different Kitchen, Love Bites, and A Different Kind of Tension. These three double-disc sets collect damn near everything the second incarnation of the band (Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle on vocals and guitar with bassist Garth Smith and drummer Steve Garvey) recorded before breaking up in 1981. (Shelley and Diggle resurrected the Buzzcocks with a new rhythm section in 1989.) Each set includes the album in full, additional singles from the same period, all the demos recorded in preparation for the album, any Peel Sessions recorded at the time, and in the case of Another Music and Love Bites, a live performance.

The Buzzcocks have largely been known for the Singles Going Steady collection, which helped break the band in the States. But hearing these records in full, made just months apart from each other, one can fully appreciate how prolific the Buzzcocks were at the time. For every “Orgasm Addict” or “Ever Fallen in Love (With Some You Shouldn’t’ve),” there’s a “Love Battery” or a “Sixteen Again.” Clearly, the band was at the top of its game. Pete Shelley, who made no bones about his bisexuality, captured unrequited love with eyes-wide-open veracity. Diggle was just as gifted, and cuts here like “Love Is Lies” show the under-recognized side of the Buzzcocks.

The wealth of unreleased material will mostly appeal to fanatics, but that doesn’t mean its not worth hearing. (Well, maybe the “Mother of Turds” demo could be skipped.) Another Music includes a live recording of the band playing at the Electric Circus in Manchester on the club’s last night of being open, and includes a run through “Fiction Romance” that was the first time the band had played the song in public. It’s probably more Buzzcocks than anyone needs, but with these three releases, there’s probably little else that one would want.
Stephen Slaybaugh