In December of 1977, Suicide released its debut album. For six years the duo of Alan Vega and synth-man Martin Rev performed for baffled, often hostile audiences in New York City's Lower East Side. While Rev made the most out of a $10 Japanese keyboard, Vega sang songs of doom with an echoey rockabilly voice.
You've truly got to be in the right mood to listen to this album, a bright, sunny day at the beach may not be the best location. The highlight, if you will, is a ten minute epic called "Frankie Teardrop"which ahas been called the most terrifying song ever. It's about a factory worker who, despite working ten hour days, can't make ends meet and is facing eviction. He snaps, killing his six month old son and his wife before turning the him on himself. Vega's screams may be may the most blood curdling thing you ever hear.
Utilizing a primitive drum machine, Martin Rev's mutant fuzz organ, and Alan Vega's blues holler, Suicide had been performing for six years before unleashing their debut at the height of punk. With their roots in the New York art scene, their provocative name, nihilistic attitude, and the lack of rock 'n' roll accoutrements such as a drummer or guitarist, they often aroused violent reactions in their bewildered audiences.
Suicide's harrowing vision of 1970s America has won praise from acts as diverse as Spiritualized, Nick Cave,and Bruce Springsteen.