The Clash – Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978)

“Robert Christgau – Although in the end I find that Sandy Pearlman’s production does as much justice to the power of this band as the debut does to their rough intensity, I know why some are disappointed. The band’s recent strategy has been to cram their dense, hard sound so full of growls and licks and offhand remarks that it never stops exploding. Here that approach occasionally seems overworked, and so does the vision–this major (and privileged) pop group sounds as wearied by the failure of punk solidarity, the persistence of racial conflict, the facelessness of violence, and the ineluctability of capital as a bunch of tenured Marxists. But these familiar contradictions follow upon the invigorating gutter truths of the first album for a reason–they’re truths as well, truths that couldn’t be stated more forcefully with any other music. Great exception: ‘Stay Free,’ Mick Jones’s greeting to a mate fresh out of jail that translates the band’s new political wariness into personal warmth. A
Robert Christgau
Rolling Stone: Give ‘Em Enough Rope By Greil Marcus
W – Give ‘Em Enough Rope
YouTube: Give ‘Em Enough Rope (full album)


Jeff Greinke – Cities in Fog (1985/1995)

“‘The sound of industry and contemporary cityscapes – grinding metal, pounding machinery – tempered and processed in the studio, producing a removed impressionist haze. This unorthodox Cities in Fog reissue includes the original album, remastered, plus a sequel. The second installment takes a new look at an older genre by an artist who has grown and matured. Cities in Fog 2 is as evocative and evanescent as ever, but with an atmosphere that is less oppressive. With the revival of ambient, these discs proved Greinke to be a true visionary.’ Jeff Greinke began composing and performing music in 1980 while studying meteorology at Pennsylvania State University. After moving to Seattle in 1982, Greinke developed his own unique process of sound layering, creating electronic music rich in texture, depth, mood, and subtle detail. He has since released several other recordings on various U.S. and European labels, contributed to numerous compilations, and composed music for film, video, dance, theatre, radio, and art installations. …”
Mutant Sounds
amazon: Cities in Fog, iTunes
YouTube: Cities In Fog I & II (full album)

Its a Condition – Romeo Void (1981)

“Walloping big-beat riffs with snaky sax and darkly intelligent lyrics characterized this San Francisco area dance/think combo. Native American artist-and-poet-turned- vocalist Debora Iyall uses her smoky, conversational voice to wax reflective on love and lust in these modern times; consistent with the band’s name, she sings not only of situations where love is absent, but also of when it should be absent. Its a Condition introduced Romeo Void’s unique blend of jazz, funk, rock and confrontational poetry in its formative stages, the music a bit tentative and unfocused, especially in contrast with Iyall’s hard-edged lyrics. …”
Trouser Press
W – Its a Condition
Genius (Audio)
YouTube: Never Say Never (Live)
YouTube: It’s A Condition (High Quality Needledrop)38:36

Full Circle – Holger Czukay/Jah Wobble/Jaki Liebezeit (1982)

“Upon examining the eventful life of Can bassist Holger Czukay, one might come to the conclusion that this intrepid musician was a loner. His turbulent career exuded an enduring eccentricity governed by a boundless free spirit. Yet Czukay, who passed away unexpectedly last year at the age of 79, constantly emphasized that his creativity was always contingent upon a musical partner, whether that was a skin-and-bones counterpart or an anonymous manifestation that interacted with him through radio waves or, as happened later, the internet. Nonetheless, most of his partners were of flesh and blood. His oeuvre, which is in itself cinematic in nature, boasts a cast worthy of a Martin Scorsese film. Only the most interesting character actors were cast: Brian Eno, Phew, Rolf Dammers, David Sylvian, Annie Lennox, Jah Wobble, his Can bandmates. The list could go on and on. Many of these masterpieces are now out of print, so Groenland Records, which already released the highly acclaimed retrospective Cinema to mark the occasion of Holger’s 80th birthday at the beginning of the year, has taken it upon itself to release reissues of Holgers music in order to make it accessible once again.”
Stranded Records
W – Full Circle
Boomkat (Audio)
YouTube: Full Circle 4 videos

Judah Eskender Tafari

“The seventies was the so called ‘golden era’ where reggae flourished with innovation, inspiration and power. Roots music was at its very peak during most of that period, and the activities down at Sir Dodd’s 13 Brentford Road, the address for Jamaica Recording Ltd AKA Studio One, was perhaps not in the same productive scheme as it had been a decade earlier, but the creativity was nonetheless extraordinary. Albums by names like Jennifer Lara, Sugar Minott, Pablove Black, Johnny Osbourne and Freddie McGregor springs to mind, as well as several brilliant 45’s by a plethora of artists. … The songwriter, Ronald Merrills, known to one and all as Judah Eskender Tafari, was a shadowy figure in the music until the long-serving Small Axe fanzine gave us a more detailed history of the man about twelve years ago. It was a long overdue piece to say the least, but indeed very welcome. …”
Reggae Vibes
YouTube: “Ta Fa Ri” & Sound Dimension – Danger In Your Eyes + Version, Danger In Your Eyes Riddim Megamix – Revolutionary Brothers Music, Jah Light + version

Read Christgau’s Take on Television’s 1978 Live Show Before Their Brooklyn Concert

“Following the release of their 1977 debut album and indisputable classic, Marquee Moon, the ink that Robert Christgau spilled on Television — that hardy brick in the decade’s downtown rock foundation — stained and dried in the form of a cohesive rave in three parts. First, he adored Marquee Moon, throwing an A+ its way in his Consumer Guide; then, his review of 1978’s Adventure glowed, albeit with a duller shine, as their second output earned them a slightly more tarnished A- by his metric. When Christgau caught them at the Bottom Line in 1978, his intense approval for both Television on tape and Television live and in the flesh lead to this review, ‘Television’s Principles,’ which considers the genre lines they drew at the time along with their assault on ear drums and expectations as they continued to deafen audiences in Marquee Moon‘s wake. …”

James Blood Ulmer – Free Lancing (1981)

“After cultivating a huge underground reputation both as a sideman in Ornette Coleman‘s Prime Time band and as an increasingly influential musician among the more experimental edges of the New York City punk and noise scenes, James Blood Ulmer was finally, in 1981, given a major-label contract by Columbia. Free Lancing was the first of three albums for the label before he, like many before and after, was unceremoniously dropped. It opens explosively with ‘Timeless,’ a ripping instrumental showcasing Ulmer at his best, all jagged angles, raw blues feeling, and chainsaw guitar shards. One of several cuts with only the trio of Ulmer, bassist Amin Ali, and drummer G. Calvin Weston, it’s the guitarist at his most elemental, brutal, and real. Other tracks lean toward the funky side of things, with the leader’s vocals (always at least a bit reminiscent of Hendrix) and a few female background vocals that impart a certain simmering sexiness even as they always serve to ‘slickify’ the final product. But even here, on tracks like ‘Where Did All the Girls Come From?,’ Ulmer manages to raise the stakes far beyond the standard jazz-punk-funk of the period. Three other songs import the impressive horn trio of David Murray, Oliver Lake, and Olu Dara, used to provide a supremely strutting back line on ‘High Time’ and giving the trumpeter a fine, fat solo on ‘Hijack’ (a tune that recalls Ronald Shannon Jackson‘s Decoding Society). But it’s Ulmer‘s stinging guitar lines — rough-hewn, corrosive, and scrabbling — throughout this recording that make it one of his finest. ”
allmusic (Audio)
W – Free Lancing
YouTube: Free Lancing 10 videos

Work Rest and Play – Madness EP (1980)

Wikipedia – “Work Rest and Play is an EP by British ska/pop band Madness. … The EP was headlined by the song ‘Night Boat to Cairo‘, from the band’s debut album One Step Beyond. The EP’s success was largely down to ‘Night Boat to Cairo‘, which headlined the set and had an accompanying music video. The fourth song, ‘Don’t Quote Me On That’, was a commentary on press coverage which had tried to paint the band as racists who supported the National Front. Some of the band’s shows had been disrupted by skinhead violence and, in a 1979 NME interview, Madness member Chas Smash was quoted as saying ‘We don’t care if people are in the NF as long as they’re having a good time.’ This was quoted to add to the speculation that Madness was a racist band supporting the National Front, although the band members denied those allegations. …”
W – Night Boat to Cairo
YouTube: Night Boat to Cairo, Deceives the Eye, My Girl

Mutant Disco: A Subtle Discolation Of The Norm

“In 1981, an underground New York label known for their influential roster of disco and no wave artists released a seminal compilation of some of their best singles. With this release, ZE Records both solidified the definition of the leftfield disco movement and gave the genre a name that stuck. The intention was to showcase the edgier, more avant-garde side of New York disco through the LP’s six songs. With the 2003 CD re-issue, Ze Records has expanded upon it into a stunning two-CD set containing a total of 25 tracks and followed it up with 2 more editions covering many out of print and rare tracks from its back catalog. Mutant Disco in many ways helped usher in the original Dance Punk scene which later followed and was very different from the no wave scene that was darker, far less danceable, and far more avante-garde. Many recent anthologies, such as Strut’s Disco Not Disco series and Soul Jazz’s New York Noise have attempted to document the scene, but Ze Records truly represented and helped best name NYC’s alternative disco scene. …”
Holland Tunnel Dive
Making Plans For Time Machines.
Discogs (Video)

‘The History of American Graffiti:’ From Subway Car to Gallery Arts

“Since its explosion onto city walls and subway cars in the 1970s, the increasing popularity of graffiti as an art form has won commercial success for its artists and a regular presence in pop culture and the contemporary art world. A new book, ‘The History of American Graffiti,’ comprehensively documents the evolution of this often controversial art movement across the United States. As kids, authors Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon tagged city walls. Today, Gastman is a gatekeeper between the underground artists who work on the street and the mainstream world of galleries; Neelon, a Harvard grad, is a graffiti artist and educator. For ‘The History of American Graffiti,’ they tracked down thousands of photographs, from freight trains to city streets, and conducted hundreds of interviews with graffiti artists, ranging from pioneers to the biggest stars. Young people were the key players in shaping the contemporary graffiti movement, says Neelon. The first modern graffiti writer is widely considered to be Cornbread, a high school student from Philadelphia, who in 1967 started tagging city walls to get the attention of a girl. But it was only in the 1980s that galleries began to showcase graffiti as artwork. …”
YouTube: ‘The History of American Graffiti’: From Subway to Gallery