Various Artists

Marty Thau Presents 2x5

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Originally released in 1980, Marty Thau Presents 2x5 is a time capsule of New York new wave as heard by one of the keenest ears of the time. Thau was a New York music impresario credited with discovering the New York Dolls and producing early demos for Blondie and the Ramones. In the late '70s, he started his own label, Red Star, and released the first albums from Suicide and the Real Kids. Of the five bands here, the Fleshtones were the best known at the time, walking a fine line of rootsy garage rock and angular new wave pomp on "Shadow-Line" and "F-F-Fascination." There isn't a speck of rockabilly running in the veins of the Bloodless Pharoahs, but the later fame of Pharoahs guitar slinger Brian Setzer has made many a pompadoured Stray Cats fan seek out the naïve -- almost goth -- "Nowhere Fast" and "Bloodless Pharoahs." The Revelons, much like the Fleshtones, were born both of '60s garage roots and '70s punk fallout. "Red Hot Woman" has more of the former, while "Cindy" chooses the latter with an added dose of pure heart-on-the-sleeve teenage energy. The Comateens carry their own brand of teen energy in more than just name with "Overseas." A bit of jangle pop can be heard from all of the bands on 2x5, but none more so than the Student Teachers with "What I Can't Feel." This is a fine look back at New York and its reappearance will warm a few nostalgic hearts, but there is one really nagging flaw with this reissue. The sound is terrible. No discernible effort was made to warm these tracks to the digital format, and the overall sound is flat and thin. Well, it's half a proper reissue, solid on the music and shaky on the presentation. Best to bury this one for the next batch of new wave archaeologists to dig up.

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