Sound System

It takes a band as myth-saturated as the Clash to live up to a career-summing box as ambitious as this one. But Joe Strummer and his crew of London gutter-punk romantics fit the bill. The 13-disc Sound System aims to tell their whole story, from the garage-land fury of their 1977 debut to their messy death-or-glory collapse in the early Eighties. It has all five of their classic albums, mercifully leaving out the long-forgotten 1985 synth-rock fiasco, Cut the Crap. There are crucial early singles like "Complete Control" and "Groovy Times." But there are also previously unreleased treasures from the vaults, with longtime bootleg oddities like "The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too." Sound System has a DVD of fantastic footage – when the Clash rip through "Hate and War" onstage in 1977, every drop of sweat that Strummer exudes seems to hold a lifetime's worth of passion and rage.

From The Archives Issue 1192: September 26, 2013