There are few things in this world that make you feel more like a corporate lackey than sipping a free cocktail spiked with piss-colored (and flavored) energy drink at a show put on by said energy drink’s uber-branded festival that you didn’t pay for either. Ok, so maybe when it comes to the Marxist-guilt department, writing a glowing review about the aforementioned caffeine company’s spectacular music event tops one shameless night (ok, two) spent gobbling down all those freebies. But the real and honest-to-god truth is that Red Bull Music Academy is responsible for some truly killer (and sometimes truly rare) music happenings all over the world– Glenn Branca’s Symphonies, held at the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, were no exception.
Week in Shows: a No Wave Takeover at Trans-Pecos, Plus a Night of Brutal Industrial Noise to Test Your Limits
Other People Residency
Tuesday Dec. 8th through Friday Dec. 11th at Trans-Pecos
Our favorite no wave loudmouth Lydia Lunch will play at Trans-Pecos on Friday with her band, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, part of a full week of music curated by Other People. The “serial label,” founded by Nicholas Jarr drops a new rotation of new and nostalgic music each week, and they’ve just put out a stellar collection of the band’s live recordings, Live 1977 – 1979 (which you can stream for free right now over yonder). It’s pretty much the best thing happening this week, and it’s happening all week. Truly, it’s one of those events that helps us justify paying astronomical rents to live in this city.
A couple weeks back I was lucky enough to have lunch with Lydia Lunch, a legendary figure in the New York no wave scene and the hurricane-like force behind Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, queen of spoken word, and now a multi-faceted visual artist who remains inextricably tied to the downtown scene of the late 1970s and ’80s despite having left New York City in the dust a long time ago. Understandably, Lunch’s feelings about the city have changed somewhat over the years. “I hate fuckin’ New York,” she told me. “It’s dirty and you’re paying five times too much for every fuckin’ thing. I don’t understand how it can be so expensive and still suck in so many ways. The quality of the food, the subways– I’d rather walk. Rats, disgusting.”
If you’re feeling a little sapped of Kembra Pfahler these days tell your beating heart shut up and be still. While we’ve been sitting around waiting to see Kembra’s follow-up to last year’s Future Feminism exhibition, NYU’s Fales Library has been getting busy canonizing the badass feminist, performance artist, and lead singer of shock rock group The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. The library recently acquired Kembra Pfahler’s archive, adding to the Downtown Collection– a galaxy of archives and what Director Marvin Taylor says is “one of the largest collections about punk rock anywhere.”
Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library. In this edition: the discovery of a lost Philip Glass recording.
In 1687, Newton’s third law of motion explained that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For punk rock, that reaction was the Artists Space 1978 music festival. With a line-up featuring the Contortions, DNA, Mars, and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, it spawned the No Wave scene. The sound was atonal, abrasive and utterly new, combining elements of funk, jazz and just plain noise. As Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group observed, “the edge that originally attracted people to punk rock, that splintered sound, was almost gone by the late ‘70s. No Wave kinda picked up the artistic banner.”
In 1980, the pendulum swung again for four of No Wave’s most influential musicians. Jody Harris, Donny Christensen and George Scott III were veterans of the Contortions and Pat Irwin had performed with George in 8-Eyed Spy with Lydia Lunch. They were done with moody lead singers and wanted to try another way. They formed The Raybeats. Keep Reading »