Emerging, literally, from the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they gained notoriety through busking, this strange trio led by guitarist-vocalist Gordon Gano became a cult favorite with their self-titled debut album in 1983. Influenced greatly by Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, the Femmes' minimalist sound pitted Gano's low-volume electric guitar against Brian Ritchie's acoustic bass guitar and Victor De Lorenzo's ashcanlike homemade drum kit--all of which only served to make Gano's angst-ridden adolescent tirades more arresting.
Highlights here are the rockabillyish "Gone Daddy Gone," the snotty "Kiss Off," and the emblematically nervous "Blister in the Sun." All in all, a fond reminder of the innocent days of alt-rock. -Billy Altman