Richard Hell

Reissues

Phases and Stages

Richard Hell

Time (Matador) Richard Hell has been in more junked-out glamster outfits than ex-Austinite Tim Stegall: the Heartbreakers, Voidoids, occasional stints and one-offs with ex-Television, ex-Dolls, ex-et cetera. Matador's overripe 2-CD collection unifies the sticky bits of Hell's career that have clung to the soles (and souls) of the various black boots of lower-echelon vinyl and cassette releases over the years. Particularly cool is the inclusion of the majority of tracks from ROIR's out-of-print mid-Eighties cassette-only release. Granted, CBGB hitmakers like "Love Comes in Spurts" and "I'm Your Man" don't sound all that much better than they did when they were blasting out of a tinny boombox in Mykel Board's guttersnipe apartment, but then anyone buying this in hopes of improving on Hell's standard 4-8 tracking semi-lucid sound quality is deluding themselves. Raw (as in Power) is the key word here, followed at close heel by Hell's Rimbaud-meets-opiates lyricism. Disc two is made up of live sets culled from near and far (NYC '78, London '77), and although the audio is at uniformly best described as "really fucking awful," hearing Hell's jaundiced yelp bolt through "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and the unforgettable, unredeemable "Blank Generation" (a song that still manages to curdle spinal fluid after almost 30 years) are alone worth the price of admission, which to be honest, is best paid in full in shrieking feedback and cacophonous volume -- two assets that Hell carried around with him like other musicians carry picks and strings. This is a history lesson to be sure, but it's also an unexpected tribute to both Hell and his home, New York City's lower east side, the resourceful, ever-throbbing core of the loudest art in the land.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Xetas
The Cypher (Record Review)

Rachel Rascoe, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Martian Warlords
Area 69 (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Marc Savlov
Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**cker
Inside the creativity and fury of the artist provocateur

March 26, 2021

SXSW Film Review: <i>The Hunt for Planet B</i>
SXSW Film Review: The Hunt for Planet B
We’re gonna need a bigger telescope ...

March 19, 2021

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle