Musical movements are shaped by constant evolution and transformation. Many genres become stale and die over time, but there are those few special artists whose sparks end up lighting an eternal wildfire. Enter Patti Smith. Taking cues from Captain Beefheart, Iggy and the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, and others, Smith's brand of cerebral, contentious rock played a massive role in the birth and evolution of proto-punk.

Bands like Sonic Youth, Mission of Burma developed this aggressive intellect into a whole new style, becoming more noisy and more innovative. Throughout the 80s and 90s, groups like Dinosaur Jr. and At the Drive-In continued to craft this attitude into entirely new dimensions. Today's proto-punk torchbearers include the likes of Autolux, Cymbals Eat Guitars, and Japandroids.

This playlist is a partial "history" of proto-punk, beginning with the legendary Patti Smith (whose debut album Horses was released in 1971) and ending with Japandroids, who are rumored to be recording their second full-length album right now. Forty years of music history. One playlist. Get noisy.