Perfect Lives – Robert Ashley (1983)


“‘These are songs about the Corn Belt, and some of the people in it … or on it.’1 That’s what the man in the Perfect Lives Lounge says as you sit down with your drink, served in ‘a fluted plastic glass, sans ice’. Maybe he says it in Spanish, but you’re not sure. After all, even if you don’t speak a language, you can catch its drift if it’s sung. The Perfect Lives Lounge – let’s just call it The Bar – is sparse, but elegantly decorated. Colour scheme: hints of neon against inky black infinitude, here and there a blush of pink and baby blue. Seven vertical neon strips form The Bar’s sign. As your eyes adjust to the light, everything looks soft-edged, like a 1980s video or television broadcast, occasionally flecked with static. Come to think of it, from a certain angle, The Bar looks like a television studio set. Exact dimensions are uncertain; windows between interior and exterior dissolve rhythmically into one another. The man – Corn Belt Guy – is standing in the middle of the room. He has a full head of fine white hair, dusted with glitter, which is neatly parted down one side. His lips shine with gloss. He wears big tan-tinted glasses. …”
frieze: American Opera
W – Perfect Lives
Productions – PERFECT LIVES 1977-83
Lovely: Titles
YouTube: Perfect Lives 1 The Park Privacy Rules, 2 The Supermarket Famous People, 3 The Bank Victimless Crime, 4 The Bar Differences

Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth (1980)


“There really ought to be more bands like Young Marble Giants, which doesn’t mean that there ought to be more bands that sound like Young Marble Giants. They came out of the nowheresville of Cardiff, Wales; they didn’t particularly have a local scene to buoy them up, or a niche to fit into. What they had was an aesthetic that was totally theirs, a sound and style that essentially had no antecedents. Play any six seconds of any YMG song and you’ll know exactly who you’re listening to, and probably be thunderstruck by its unsentimental beauty of tone. In a year when everyone was trying to make a big noise– but isn’t that every year?– YMG switched tactics, forcing their audience to lean in to hear them. It’s not simply that they were quiet, although substituting a drum machine that sounded like it had a thick quilt on top of it for a human drummer was a radical move at the time. They weren’t even all that quiet– they were just in love with negative space, and their lyrics were so much about things unsaid that the space was formally appropriate. …”
Pitchfork
Guardian
W – Colossal Youth
Genius
YouTube: Brand New Life (Live), Colossal Youth (Live)
YouTube: Colossal Youth -Full Album-

Einstürzende Neubauten – Kollaps (1981)


“Includes a large format 12-page booklet. Originally released in 1981, Kollaps is the seminal, form-destroying debut album by German industrial pioneers Einstürzende Neubauten (trans. ‘Collapsing New Buildings’). The band’s use of junk metal, power drills, jackhammers and other surprising instrumentation would come to define their challenging and continually inventive career, making them not only one of the originators of industrial music, but one of the world’s most influential and far-reaching forces at the intersection between avant-garde and rock music. Formed in 1980 in the wave of the Dadaist movement Die Geniale Dilletanten, after a series of devastating live performances and personnel changes (one of which briefly involving electronic musician Gudrun Gut), the band’s line-up cemented itself with core members Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit (previously of Hamburg-based post-punk band Abwärts) and N.U. Unruh. On Kollaps, a violent collision of urban primitivism and punk sensibilities, the trio declared war on every conventional way of listening, combining an intense mess of atonal guitar drones with brutal scrap metal percussion. At a time in Germany in which the wall encircling West Berlin transformed the city into a state-subsidized, near-paradisiacal freak-enclave for artists, Einstürzende Neubauten offered cathartic cascades of noise, employing steel parts, tin drums, drills, hammers, saws and untuned electric guitars, all crowned by Bargeld’s bloodcurdling screams and feverish, apocalyptic texts. Kollaps, with its atonal essence, embodied exactly what the title suggested: decay and destruction, illness, doom and death. Years later, with the fall of the Berlin wall behind it, Kollaps still sounds as radical and extreme an artistic statement as ever.”
Forced Exposure
W – Kollaps
allmusic (Audio)
YouTube: Kollaps (Full Album)

Too Much Pressure – The Selecter (1979)


Too Much Pressure is the first album by British ska band The Selecter. After the band’s official formation in 1979 in Coventry, following the release of a song entitled ‘The Selecter’ by an unofficial incarnation of the band, the band’s hit single ‘On My Radio‘ prompted their labels 2 Tone and Chrysalis to ask the band to record their debut album. … The album contains original material, mostly composed by band founder and guitarist Neol Davies, as well as numerous ska and reggae cover versions, in a similar fashion to the Specialsdebut album. … Critical reception to Too Much Pressure was positive. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice awarded the album a score of ‘A-‘, advising listeners to ‘play loud. He commented how, ‘except for songwriter-guitarist Neol Davies, these two-toners are black, reassuring in a movement that calls up fears of folkie patronization. Lead singer’s a woman, too, a refreshing piece of progress no matter how self-consciously progressive its motives.’ …”
Wikipedia
amazon, Spotify, iTunes
YouTube: Too Much Pressure (Live), On My Radio (Live), Missing Words (Live), Murder (Live)
YouTube: Too Much Pressure Completo (Full album) 40:34

BAM


“BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) is a multi-arts center located in Brooklyn, New York. For more than 150 years, BAM has been the home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas—engaging both global and local communities. With world-renowned programming in theater, dance, music, opera, film, and much more, BAM showcases the work of emerging artists and innovative modern masters.”
BAM
W – Brooklyn Academy of Music
NYT: Brooklyn Academy of Music
YouTube: That’s So New York: Brooklyn Academy of Music 150th Anniversary

Freedom of Choice – Devo (1980)


“Freedom of Choice is the third studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in May 1980 on the label Warner Bros. The album contained their biggest hit to date, ‘Whip It‘. … According to the band’s commentary on The Complete Truth About De-Evolution DVD, the lyrics of ‘Whip It’ began as a tongue-in-cheek anthem for then-president Jimmy Carter. The lyrics were also inspired by Norman Vincent Peale‘s 1952 book The Power of Positive Thinking and the ‘can do philosophy’ espoused within. Devo co-songwriter and bass guitarist Gerald Casale also told Songfacts that the lyrics were written by him ‘as an imitation of Thomas Pynchon‘s parodies in his book Gravity’s Rainbow‘. …”
Wikipedia
Pitchfork – 33⅓: Devo’s Freedom of Choice
YouTube: Whip It, Freedom Of Choice
YouTube: Freedom of Choice – Full Album Live – 12 videos

Laurie Anderson – O Superman / Walk The Dog (1981)


“‘O Superman’ is a 1981 song by performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson. … In writing the song, Anderson drew from the aria “Ô Souverain, ô juge, ô père” (O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father) from Jules Massenet‘s 1885 opera Le Cid. She got the idea after seeing the aria performed in concert by African-American tenor Charles Holland. The first lines (‘O Superman / O Judge / O Mom and Dad’) especially echo the original aria (‘Ô Souverain / ô juge / ô père’). Susan McClary suggests in her book Feminine Endings that Anderson is also recalling another work by Massenet, his 1902 opera Le jongleur de Notre-Dame. The opera is one in which the arms of the mother—the Virgin Mary—embrace/bless the dying Rodrigo. Overlaid on a sparse background of two alternating chords formed by the repeated spoken syllable ‘Ha’ created by looping with an Eventide Harmonizer, the text of ‘O Superman’ is spoken through a vocoder. A saxophone is heard as the song fades out, and a sample of tweeting birds is subtly overlaid at various points within the track. The two chords of the song are A major and C minor, the repeating ‘Ha’ syllable (a C note) acting as a drone. The song’s introduction consists of a repetition of the ‘O Superman / O Judge / O Mom and Dad’ stanza. …”
Wikipedia
O Superman — Laurie Anderson’s experimental hit proved to be uncannily prophetic
Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley, John Zorn (Video)
Selective Synthesis: “O Superman” (Video)
Genius (Audio)
YouTube: O Superman [Official Music Video] (Live)
YouTube: O Superman / Walk The Dog

Sound System Rockers Kingston Town 1969-1975


“Introducing Kingston Sounds, a brand new label who plan to unearth and reissue classic reggae music from the ‘vintage years’. First up is an excellent compilation of classic sound system favourites dating from the years 1969 to 1975. The tracks on this album were produced by the legendary Bunny Lee, who gave this album full backing and helped compile the tracks. Bunny is also interviewed in the sleevenotes in the CD booklet. Includes Horace Andy’s timeless ‘Guiding Star’, Ken Booth’s version of the Abyissinian’s ‘Satta Massagana’, Leroy Smart’s killer ‘Shame & Pride’, Linval Thompson’s wicked ‘Whip Them Jah’? and also tracks by Dennis Brown, Cornell Campbell, Delroy Wilson, Gregory Issacs, Johnny Clarke, Freddie McGregor, Barry Brown and Alton Ellis.”
Forced Exposure
Discogs (Video)
amazon
YouTube: Sound System Rockers Kingston Town 1969-1975 [Full Album]

Bush Tetras – EP Rituals (1981)


“In New York in the late ’70s & early ’80s, the Bush Tetras blazed brightly in the sweaty clubs of the Lower East Side, playing music that was a blend of funk rhythms & dissonant guitar riffs. Lead guitarist Pat Place had been the original guitarist & one of the founding members of the No Wave band The Contortions. With the Bush Tetras, she continued to pursue some of the musical ideas she had explored in that band, themes of driving rhythm & nihilistic trance…hypnotic, tribal, & dirty. Together with vocalist Cynthia Sley they produced the most distinctive aspects of the Tetras sound. Sley’s half-spoken, half-sung vocals, often repeating simple phrases over & over again, creating a hypnotic monotony similar to Place’s guitar rhythms. The Bush Tetras toured with the Clash & struck up a friendship with Topper Headon that lead to his producing this, the Rituals ep on Stiff Records in 1981. The Bush Tetras on Rituals were: Cynthia Sley – vocals; Pat Place – guitar; Laura Kennedy – bass; & Dee Pop – drums. …”
Digitalmeltd0wn
YouTube: Can’t Be Funky, Funky Instrumental, Cowboys in africa, Rituals

Patti Smith Group – Full Concert – 05/11/79 – Capitol Theatre


“Personnel: Patti Smith – vocals. Lenny Kaye – guitar, vocals. Richard Sohl – keyboards. Ivan Kral – bass. Jay Dee Daugherty – drums. Setlist: 0:00:00 – Privilege (Set Me Free) 0:04:01 – Stage Banter 0:04:43 – So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star 0:12:51 – Stage Banter 0:13:52 – Dancing Barefoot 0:18:39 – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry 0:19:24 – Redondo Beach 0:23:57 – Stage Banter 0:25:07 – Revenge (aborted) 0:28:46 – Stage Banter 0:30:06 – 5-4-3-2-1 0:32:55 – Stage Banter 0:33:45 – Citizen Ship 0:39:06 – Ask The Angels 0:42:25 – Crowd Ambience 0:43:19 – Poppies 0:53:31 – Lenny Kaye Intro 0:55:44 – Secret Agent Man 0:58:16 – Wave (incomplete) 1:00:22 – Revenge (take 2) 1:05:53 – Stage Banter 1:06:54 – Pumping (My Heart) 1:10:55 – Mr. Tambourine Man 1:14:34 – Broken Flag 1:19:45 – Stage Banter 1:20:59 – Till Victory 1:24:25 – Ain’t It Strange 1:34:42 – Cold Turkey 1:38:56 – Because The Night 1:42:40 – Stage Banter 1:43:15 – Frederick 1:49:12 – Seven Ways Of Going 1:56:55 – Stage Banter 1:57:36 – Gloria 2:03:39 – Encore Applause 2:07:14 – Pledge of Allegiance / Star Spangled Banner / My Generation 2:15:15 – feedback / crowd ambience”
YouTube: Full Concert – 05/11/79 – Capitol Theatre