After breaking up in 1982 and reuniting in 1997, Blondie is still going strong. The pioneering New Wave/punk band released their ninth studio album, Panic Of Girls, in 2011, wrapped a co-headlining tour with Devo last month (the fantastically titled Whip It To Shreds), and streamed a live session for YouTube Presents just a couple of weeks ago.
Blondie next jets off to Australia for a string of December dates, but in the interim the band has posted free downloads of three unreleased songs for everyone’s cross-continental enjoyment.
“Bride Of Infinity,” “Dead Air,” and a cover of David Essex’s 1974 #5 hit “Rock On,” are all taken from Blondie’s sessions for Panic Of Girls. They recorded about 35 new songs for the album, according to drummer Clem Burke, with 11 making the standard edition. Five others were included on various international and special releases, and with these three tracks now out, the remaining 16 might make up a new album next year.
“Bride Of Infinity” is an odd stew of heavy metal, Eastern influences, and some dead-eyed vocals from Debbie Harry. “Dead Air” is better by comparison, though the atmospheric ballad is a bit too one-note late ’90s. That leaves Blondie’s squirmy rendition of “Rock On” as the real gem. I imagine there’s some history in the pick, as Essex’s song was a hit when Harry and guitarist Chris Stine were in their first band together, The Stilettos.
I’ve got special affection for “Rock On.” Essex’s oddball single inspired R.E.M.’s “Drive” nearly two decades years later, the (oddball) lead single from Automatic For The People. The Athens, Georgia band’s autumnal masterpiece turned 20 last month.
Free download of Blondie – “Rock On” (David Essex cover) via the player above. Download “Bride Of Infinity” and “Dead Air” via their website.