Track of the Day: Death - "North Street"

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Do you know Death?  If you don't, let me be the first to introduce you. Death was formed in the 70s by three brothers, who began as an R&B band until, like your parents warned you about, Alice Cooper transformed them into a rock outfit of satan worshipers. I'm kidding about the satan worshipping, but there's one undeniable truth about Death -- they are probably the greatest American punk band you may have never heard of. In 2009, Drag City rereleased some of the band's tracks form 1974 and they're following it up in April with another rerelease of the group's materials, this time from the 70s and 1980s. That artwork you see up there is from the 7" that features today's track of the day from Death in 1980, "North Street," which will also appear on the comp.

If you heard Death's previous comp, you'll notice right away how the bass charges forward and the lingering psychedelic guitar line. While Death's early 70s work fits more into a punk pattern with lots of big chords, here the rhythm is the most punk thing about it--the bass and guitar seem to be charging at the idea of punk but from two very different angles, the bass from R&B and the guitar from Jefferson Airplane. The chorus is infectious and chant-worthy. All in all, a pretty good introduction. That is, if you don't know Death. And if you do, then I'm happy to reacquaint you.

Listen to the track here via NPR.


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