Pete ShelleyPhoto Credit: Ebet Roberts

Anyone wishing to bridge their gap between their classic punk vinyl and their synth-pop CDs need look no further than Pete Shelley’s solo album, Homosapien. In 1981, the lead singer of seminal punkers the Buzzcocks took a few years off to play with keyboards, program drum machines, and explore his inner Gary Numan, to the rest of the band's dismay. Although he released a total of four solo records, his second is easily the most catchy, most electro-happy, and probably most riveting that he recorded. In fact, the music sounds completely relevant now, with newish bands like Clor, Junior Boys, and Hot Chip taking cues – or even more so, LCD Soundsystem, who totally ripped off the chorus of Shelley's titular song on “North American Scum.”

Watch the youtube video for "Homosapien" here.
Watch the youtube video for "North American Scum" here.

Unfortunately, the record was widely overlooked upon its release, largely because BBC banned it for explicit references to homosexuality (that don’t seem all that explicit in retrospect.) In 2006, a remastered version of Homosapien surfaced with bonus tracks from Shelley’s third album, but even so, it’s still not an easy feat to track down a copy. If you can, it’s well worth the hunt.

Fun Fact: Shelley and Buzzcocks co-founder Howard Devoto reunited in 2001 and tried to make an electronic project called ShelleyDevoto with less-than-stellar results. Pete wisely reverted back to playing punk rock, and at 52 years old, he’s still going strong with his original group -- minus a few of the original members. As proof of his stamina, a new Buzzcocks live album was released today.