At this point, The Clash has been reissued and repacked enough to befit its still somewhat reasonable title, "the only band that matters." While the legendary punk band has spawned best-ofs, singles collections, and even a box set, Live From Here To Eternity is its first live album. Considering that much of The Clash's unimpeachable reputation stems from its impassioned performances, Live From Here To Eternity is in some ways both too late and right on time. It's been about 15 years since the group effectively dissolved, and the subsequent careers of members Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Topper Headon have ranged from moderately high-profile (Jones' Big Audio Dynamite) through middling (Strummer and Simonon's post-Clash bands), to non-existent (rumor has it Headon has taken up gardening). A live album in 1999 could be construed as a belated attempt to take advantage of punk's resurgence, but the astoundingly electric songs compiled on Live stand as reminders of not only what punk can be, but what so much contemporary punk lacks. A chronological collection drawn from throughout The Clash's prime peak-filled years (1978&shyp;82) by all four band members, the hour-long disc starts out strong with a raging "Complete Control" and continues through a powerful "Straight To Hell." And, as if meant to dispel hints of a cash-in, the band's biggest hit, "Rock The Casbah," isn't included; a great "Know Your Rights" fills the void just fine. The record's release will no doubt begin anew a round of "will they/won't they" reunion questions, but fans should be satisfied with what they've got. The Clash's contemporaries in the Buzzcocks, on the other hand, left their legacy of snotty-but-smart loud-fast-rules punk at just three albums and several spectacular singles. Then the band reunited in time to ride the new punk wave, but something was missing from its two capable comeback albums. The new Modern is something else entirely: Essentially picking up where the band left off in 1981, the ironically titled disc sounds like it was recorded just as punk turned into new wave (right when the Buzzcocks broke up, in fact). Singer-guitarist Pete Shelley supplies most of the spark, leading discoid anthems like "Soul On A Rock" and "Why Compromise?," while fellow frontman Steve Diggle manages to at least keep up with some of the album's less immediate tracks ("Don't Let The Car Crash"). Oddly enough, much of Modern resembles the art-punk music founding Buzzcock Howard Devoto would later make in Magazine, another sign that Shelley and Diggle are heading in the right direction. It's retro in the best sense: While The Clash's live album vividly documents a certain time and place, Modern channels it impressively.

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