Thursday, 17 March 2016

No New York

I watched Thurston Moore’s BBC punk rock documentary yesterday and there’s a definite sense of fatigue setting in at this point with the same tired war stories carted out - Pete Shelley recounts the making of the Spiral Scratch EP yet again, and matters aren't helped by the presence of the abominable Chrissie Hynde. A more interesting documentary could have been made about events across the Atlantic, at Manhattan’s No Wave scene and with that in mind, I’m currently listening to the 1978 Brian Eno-curated No New York album, two sides of ferocious out-there rock by James Chance & the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars and DNA. Wonderful stuff of course, the spikey angular rhythms of DNA and the eerie guitar tunings of Mars anticipate those great early Sonic Youth albums while the Contortions sound like a band playing within an inch of their life, and Lydia Lunch and the Jerks, the aural equivalent of a particularly disturbing slasher movie. No New York sounds as fresh as ever perhaps unlike Punk, the No Wave scene hasn’t been fodder for endless compilation albums, and given the scarcity of recordings by the groups featured, the album remains a vital document.

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