Human Switchboard - Who's Landing in My Hangar?: Anthology, 1977-1984 (Bar/None) 

The definitive anthology sounds as fresh and dramatic as it did 30 years ago

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Human Switchboard was one of the finest bands to come out of Cleveland's late '70s punk and new wave scene, although another of example of a great band never getting its just due, during or after its own time. This anthology is rounded out by singles, EP songs, live (at CBGB) recordings, and unreleased tracks, plus even more bonus material via an enclosed download card. The remastering here is exceptional, and the album sounds as fresh and dramatic as it did 30 years ago. The delightfully poppy and uncharacteristic "(Say No to) Saturday's Girl," spotlighting Myrna Marcarian's girl-group-like vocals and Farfisa organ fills, still sounds like Blondie at their very best — but even better. And leader-main songwriter Bob Pfeifer channels the seminal punk swagger of classic Lou Reed ... if Lou had a bigger Midwestern heart and a Question Mark & the Mysterians' keyboard perpetually behind him. Together, the couple documented their romantic ups and downs with a sometimes almost Bukowski-esque brilliance. Perhaps compare it to a primitive, punk-rock version of Richard & Linda Thompson, circa Shoot out the Lights.

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More by Bill Holdship

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