Before they were men, they were still Devo: five oddballs tinkering with fragments of New Wave and post-punk in a basement in Akron, Ohio. “Auto Modown” comes from the upcoming reissue of Hardcore Vol. 1 and 2, a two-disc compilation of four-track demos recorded by the fledgling band in the mid-1970s before David Bowie got his hands on them. Among these are sketches of tracks that would later appear on the group’s first albums; others, like “Modown,” would never be heard until their first release in 1990.
“Ripped from the newspaper headlines about an old man who lost control of his vehicle due to a medical meltdown, ‘Auto Modown’ started as a blues jam I wrote and played with a Kent, Ohio friend,” singer and bassist Gerald Casale tells Rolling Stone. “Once I played the song with Mark Mothersbaugh and his brothers, Jim and Bob, in 1974, it quickly morphed into a seminal example of devolved, synthesized rock.”
The track is pretty bare, save for the tinny crunch of a single guitar and a dead-simple drum stomp. Listen to an exclusive stream below. Hardcore is available on vinyl and as a download tomorrow, with a CD edition arriving on July 9th.