Both the perfect introduction and refresher course

Punk rock remains one of the definitive movements of our musical culture, and to celebrate what is generally regarded as the 40th anniversary of its emergence, here is a 4-CD, 93-track document that covers every stage and every character of this important form.

Spurts! Punk & Post-Punk from the 70s and Beyond is both the perfect introduction and refresher course and despite a few glaring omissions from the track-listing is pretty hard to fault. The story of punk begins long before the term was used to describe music of course, and Spurts! acknowledges this, going right back to The Velvet Underground and the MC5 along with the obvious touchstones like Ramones, The Damned, Buzzcocks, Dead Kennedys, New York Dolls, The Slits, Richard Hell & the Voidoids (from whom the album title is borrowed), Patti Smith and more. More recent flag-wavers like Refused, Pennywise, All and Gallows also get space, and, being an Australian compilation, there’s plenty of local reps too, from pioneers like Radio Birdman and the Saints to legends like Hard-Ons and Massappeal and current upstarts Clowns and the Smith Street Band. The collection also takes a detour into the area of New Wave – how the punk movement liked to refer to itself once it had grown up a bit – to show how the scene developed as it moved into the 80s. From the classics (“Teenage Lobotomy”, “Holiday in Cambodia”) to modern crankers (“Prisoner of Society”), hardcore explosions from Minor Threat to the quirky (The Flying Lizards) and the frankly strange (The Normal), Spurts! is a great examination of how diverse punk is and was.

Unfortunately, the collection has to lose points for the great swathe of artists that aren’t represented. It’s almost impossible to think of punk without the Sex Pistols, and yet here they’re missing. There’s no Black Flag, no Bad Brains, Fugazi, or Bad Religion and the entire latter-day NYHC scene is completely unrepresented, but there’s also no Green Day, either, so there’s one small mercy. I’m going to blame licensing restrictions for this, because no serious compiler would omit such important acts if they could avoid it, but does leave a gaping hole in what is otherwise a complete and essential volume.

1. The Damned – New Rose
2. Buzzcocks – What Do I Get
3. The Stranglers – (Get a) Grip (On Yourself)
4. The Jam – In the City
5. Generation X – Ready Steady Go
6. The Saints – Know Your Product
7. Penetration – Don’t Dictate
8. Wire – 12xU
9. Radio Birdman – What Gives
10. Hollywood Brats – Sick on You
11. Dr Feelgood – She Does it Right
12. The 101ers – Motor Boys Motor
13. Eddie & the Hot Rods – Teenage Depression
14. Rich Kids – Rich Kids
15. Boys Next Door – These Boots Are Made for Walking
16. The Only Ones – Another Girl Another Planet
17. 999 – I’m Alive
18. Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)
19. Teenage Radio Stars – Wanna Be Your Baby
20. The Rezillos – Top of the Pops
21. News – Dirty Lies
22. Sham 69 – Borstal Breakout
23. Tom Robinson Band – Up Against the Wall
24. Stiff Little Fingers – Suspect Device
25. Magazine – Shot by Both Sides
26. Ramones – Judy is a Punk
27. The Stooges – No Fun
28. MC5 – Teenage Lust
29. The Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane
30. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner
31. Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action
32. New York Dolls – Jet Boy
33. Patti Smith – Gloria
34. Suicide – Rocket USA
35. Television – See No Evil
36. Richard Hell & the Voidoids – Love Comes in Spurts
37. Tuff Darts – All for the Love of Rock & Roll
38. The Runaways – Cherry Bomb
39. Devo – Uncontrollable Urge
40. Dead Boys – Sonic Reducer
41. Johnny Thunders – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
42. Ramones – Teenage Lobotomy
43. The Dictators – Stay With Me
44. The Weirdos – We Got the Neutron Bomb
45. Avengers – We are the One
46. The Germs – Lexicon Devil
47. Devo – Freedom of Choice
48. Public Image Ltd. – Public Image
49. Gang of Four – Love Like Antrax
50. Wire – I am the Fly
51. The Human League – Being Boiled
52. The Normal – Warm Leatherette
53. Joy Division – Transmission
54. The Saints – Swing for the Crime
55. Boys Next Door – Shivers
56. The Flying Lizards – Money
57. The Slits – Typical Girls
58. The Pop Group – She is Beyond Good and Evil
59. Sisters of Mercy – The Damage Done
60. Laughing Clowns – Holy Joe
61. The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry
62. The Fall – Totally Wired
63. The Birthday Party – Nick the Stripper
64. pel mel – No Word from China
65. New Order – Ceremony
66. Models – Two People per Sq. Km.
67. Talking Heads – Psycho Killer (live)
68. Dead Kennedys – Holiday in Cambodia
69. X – Los Angeles
70. Circle Jerks – Live Fast Die Young
71. Minor Threat – Filler
72. Misfits – Walk Among Us
73. Suicidal Tendencies – Institutionalized
74. Massappeal – Fun Again
75. Hard-Ons – Just Being With You
76. The Replacements – Bastards of Young
77. The Muffs – Lucky Guy
78. The Offspring – Self Esteem
79. NOFX – Don’t Call Me White
80. Pennywise – Society
81. The Meanies – Gangrenous
82. Descendents – I’m the One
83. Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come
84. All – World’s on Heroin
85. Millencollin – No Cigar
86. The Living End – Prisoner of Society
87. 28 Days – Rip it Up
88. Gallows – In the Belly of a Shark
89. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Which Way to Go
90. Royal Headache – Psychotic Episode
91. Clowns – Euthanise Me
92. Luca Brasi – Aeroplane
93. The Smith Street Band – Surrender