No good rock 'n' rollers with a punk attitude, Crime were a San Francisco band made famous by their 1976 single, "Hot Wire My Heart". 'Murder By Guitar' is a compilation of the early, snarling singles that caught the attention of San Fran, as well as nine tunes they recorded around the same time. There's a song on here called "Piss On Your Dog", which in title alone is indicative of the kind of band Crime were.
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"Crime will always be relevant." So says the Sir Thurston of Moore on the sticker attached to this long-overdue LP which contains all three of the band's singles along with nine unreleased tracks (one of which was produced by Huey Lewis?!). Often overlooked by the history books - partly because of their limited output, partly because they were from San Francisco rather than New York - these proto-punkers were bashing out violent, fast and distorted rock'n'roll just before the world started paying proper attention - debut 7" 'Hot Wire My Heart' squeezed out at the end of '76, another two followed in '77 and '80 before the band fizzled out, but at the time no albums were made available.
It's easy to see why music historians get their knickers in a bit of a twist over these guys though. They had both the rebel-without-a-cause look and snotty attitude that would soon take over the world and more importantly they had fucking great songs, falling somewhere between the Stooges and Richard Hell & the Voidoids but with a viscerally slicing guitar sound reminiscent of West Coast contemporaries The Avengers. This is the first time there's been an album of theirs available that hasn't been full of demos or shonky live boots. That's good news for all of us. If you're the least bit interested in rock'n'roll history, here finally is a full-length opportunity to turn yourself on to Crime's essential proto-punk sounds.
LIYL Stooges, Richard Hell, Avengers, Ramones, etc
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