Sunday, March 15, 2020

No New York

Due to lack of space, our compilation albums are buried in a room separate from our stereo, still in boxes (we really have to do something about that some day), so I don't dig through them very often. But at some point I grabbed this one and, especially after reading about Suicide and similar bands of the era, decided to give it another spin.

I understand that some people have said that this record is not really all that representative of the bands or the time, but not having been there, this is what I have to go by! I have always dug James Chance's work and the Contortions here are a crazed, free jazz/punk collaboration with noisy saxophone colliding with feedbacking guitars and off-kilter rhythms and a touch of funkiness. Pretty freakin' great! I would have loved to have seen this live!

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, led by Lydia Lunch, is much less jazz-oriented and is basically a punk rock band with weird start'n'stop rhythms and some screeching guitars backing Lydia's wailin' voice. Pretty interesting, but in a way, less musical than the wildness of the Contortions. Not sure if that's good or bad, just different! The intricacies of the Contortions grabbed me right away but the Jerks' minimalism took me a few songs to really dig, but dig them I do!

The band Mars is co-ed, with a female lead singer/guitarist, making them somewhat similar to the Jerks, but with a second guitar, bass'n'drums (female drummer), there is more musical interaction and creativeness. Plenty of openness, as well, but a lot going on with twists'n'turns from all members. Very cool.

DNA in pretty different with primitive drumming backing organ and crazed guitar churning from staccato insanity to dissonant chords. While it might all be planned out, it sounds a bit looser than some of the other groups here with pure cacophony staggering about within some punk rock backings.

I can't really say what I would have thought of this scene when it first appeared, as I was pretty r'n'r based, although I had an appreciation of jazz, Velvet-y noize and Funhouse madness, so it certainly would have been something wild to experience live. In any case, I can certainly say that I am a fan in today's world!