Archive for the No Wave Category

Naked on The Vague – Heaps of Nothing (Siltbreeze) 2010

Posted in Music, Naked on the Vague, No Wave with tags , , on August 8, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

I’ve never spent much time on Australian music on this blog because I don’t like a great deal of it.  I know its not cool to say that but I am not an apologist for my local scene. Brisbane is lucky enough to have the Room 40 label and Lawrence English and Lloyd Barrett and the Break Dance The Dawn label and I really like their work but even Room 40 doesn’t have a massive amount of local product. I suppose I’m looking for (in the words of Lux Interior) “some new kind of kick.”

I stumbled over this duo from Sydney in the past couple of weeks and maybe this is what I’ve been looking for. Naked on the Vague produce a morphine soaked version of No Wave. Think early Lydia Lunch, UT and, dare I say it, a smattering of the Cure. I shit you not, this is the best Australian act I’ve heard in the last year. Like a HTRK and Fabulous Diamonds mash-up. Worth checking out.

Theoretical Girls – Theoretical Record (Acute) 2002

Posted in Glen Branca, Music, No Wave, Theoretical Girls with tags , , , on February 8, 2010 by noisenoisenoise


In the past couple of years there has been an increased interest in everything No Wave. One of the bands  that  gets overlooked in a scene dominated by DNA and Lydia Lunch and the other No New York bands  is Theoretical Girls. The band were a four piece lead by Jeffrey Lohan but rightly or wrongly it is better know for two of the other members  Glen Branca and Wharton Tiers. During it’s  life time the band only released one seven inch single so this compilation is the most complete, and I think only, record that deals comprehensively with their output. It consists of some studio tracks, demos and live tracks. Despite the hammy lyrics of tracks like Computer Dating Theoretical Record contains some of the best late 70’s punk you can hope to meet. In many ways it is a classic of the  No Wave genre because whether they are being  punk, rock or producing walls of dense sound, everything is infused with slabs of nihilism and detachment. The live tracks on Theoretica lRecord display the indifference that No Wave bands had for their audiences and the apathy they received in return.  This is not only a great no wave record but one of the best punk records you’ll hear. A band that deserves a much better place in history.

Lydia Lunch – Queen of Siam (Atavistic) 1980/2009

Posted in lydia lunch, Music, No Wave with tags , , on November 10, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


I love a good reissue and one of the best to come along this year is the re-release of Lydia Lunch’s debut solo album, Queen of Siam. Lunch produced this after the demise of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and before she joined the almighty 8 Eyed Spy. The cast she assembled to accompany her on this was pretty impressive  (theguitarist was Robert Quine) and the production, musicianship and general vibe are a million miles away from her shambolic no-wave roots. The great Gloomy Sunday showcases  Lydia as a vaguely gothic torch singer while Mechanical Flattery and Tied and Twisted is Lydia doing her best little girl voice and somehow coming over as a new genre of  nursery rhyme, creepy pop. Her version of Spooky is a strangely straight version with sassy saxophones and showcases the full horror of lounge disco. Lunch writes about how much it  cost to make Queen of Siam in the liner notes and I suspect that Spooky was included just in case the  record company  wanted to release a single. Lady Scarface is all cabaret show band, A Cruise to the  Moonis all jazzy, noir classic but the track I enjoyed  the most is the awesome Atomic Bongos which has a hint of the post-punk funk that would later be adopted by ESG and Liquid Liquid.

Many out there would say that Lydia never bettered her debut but I’m not one of them. I really enjoy theHoneymoon in Red stuff and to my ears she never bettered the Harry Crews album although I think 8 Eyed Spy and Teenage Jesus and The Jerks are just fucking essential as well. If you are looking for Lunch at her drug fucked insane best, Queen of Siam is probably not for you but this is a pretty amazing record none the less. One of the  reissues of the year.

Lydia Lunch – Transmutation / Shotgun Wedding Live (Insipid Vinyl) 1994

Posted in lydia lunch, Music, No Wave, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks with tags , , , on November 1, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


In a previous life I used to review records for a student newspaper. There were many perks with that job one of which is this relic – a record that is so good that I still feel guilty that someone gave it to me for free. This also had a US release I think on the Twist label. In Australia it was released by Insipid Vinyl – a very eclectic and now sadly defunct label whose logo was drawn by Savage Pencil. The reason for the local release may be because Lunch toured hear on a spoken word gig around that time (see the rather full on interview clip I’ve added at the end).  This is now out of print but if you have some cash to splash around then there may be no better thing  to spend it on than a second hand copy of this.

This is a two disc release. The first disc, Transmutation, is a pretty good overview of her career and includes most of her important incarnations. Included are a few songs on which she collaborates with Rowland S Howard which come from the Shotgun Wedding and Honeymoon in Red records, Race Mixing from her stint with Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Motor Oil Shanty from  8 Eyed Spy, collaborations with Die Haut and Shockheaded Peters, her cover of the Beatle’s Why Don’t We Do It In The Road and even a cut off her no-wave big band phase from Queen of Siam. The real treat for fans is the inclusion of three of the tracks from the mighty Stinkfist EP, a now out of print collaboration  with Clint Ruin and Thurston Moore (only Son of Stink is missing). It’s all very good stuff and indeed if the record stopped there you would go away very happy but also included is a second disc of a live gig of Lydia playing Honeymoon in Red with Rowland S. Howard, Jim Sclavunos and others. And to make it even more indispensible it includes a live version of Gospel Singer a track written by Kim Gordon for the Harry Crews album. There is no information as to where the gig was played nor when, so it’s all a bit of a mystery but to hear Lunch at the height of her powers is something to behold.

DNA – DNA on DNA (No More) 2004

Posted in DNA, Music, No Wave on August 15, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


In the past year or two there has been an increased interest in No Wave. I’m not sure what brought it on, but No Wave was a shortlived musical movement in new York in the late 1970’s. The seminal document is Brian Eno’s No New York compilation which features tracks by James Chance and the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars and DNA. Rather than buy that compilation I decided last year to track down individual compilations of all those bands. The funny thing is that none of those bands besides James Chance issued albums proper. Their recorded history is  made up of singles, the odd EP, demos and various live recordings. There is no doubt that those four bands are comprise the definative No Wave sound yet each band sounds completely different to each other and perhaps No wave was more a philosophy than a sound per se. These bands  and the influence of their avant garde take on rock music influenced generations of bands. I think that you can also throw UT, Theoretical Girls  and very early Sonic Youth in the mix as well. It’s easy to assume that the over riding aesthetic of No Wave was a kind of nihlism but the Contortions still sound like party band to me so I’m not sure what really how to define No Wave.

Now this compilation is almost definitive. It is missing some tracks that appeared in a 1981 film starring Basquiet and Debbie Harry and there are more live recordsing out there. But as a DNA primer this is pretty fantastic and readily available. The band itself was fronted by the Brazilian ex-pat Arto Lindsay, with drums provided by Ikue Mori (now an important Avant Garde artists in her own right) and Robin Crutchfield who was later replaced by Tim Wright a former member of the dreadfully arty Pere Ubu.

Out of the four bands appearing on No New York, DNA are the most avant garde and difficult to pin down in terms of influences. The great thing about all of these compilations are the essays in the liner notes. DNA on DNA is no different. There are three essays in all and are just as good a starting point as many to get into the whole No Wave thing. Recommended

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