From Publishers Weekly
Art and music come together in this oral account of Manhattan's mid-1970s No Wave music scene. Moore, a founding member of the band Sonic Youth, and Coley, a music writer and editor, identify the likes of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, DNA, Contortions and Mars as the "core bands" that built No Wave. Shedding light on the personal relationships of these close-knit bands, the surprisingly reserved volume-graced with exquisite black-and-white photos with occasional splashes of poster-art color-also looks at how the devastated state of the city influenced their sound and performances: "As everything's collapsing... the music became the rebellion," says Teenage Jesus's Lydia Lunch in her scowling, astute foreword. Music sometimes described as "a car crash" gets heartfelt and intelligent commentary from the likes of DNA's Ikue Mori: "it wasn't about technique; it was more about new ideas and inspiration." The authors' personal interviews with the movement's other pioneers elicit raw, honest hindsight; along with revealing photographs, this volume takes readers straight into the heart of this zeitgeist.
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*Starred Review* In 1977, when New York City was still a place where young artists could survive on nothing but their wits, a group of disparate nihilist geeks and renegades coalesced in the vacuum of the postpunk era to test the boundaries of rock music. It was only later that their collective projects would be ascribed under the umbrella of the No Wave “movement.” If the punk rock of the Ramones and Blondie was a reaction against corporate stadium rock and disco that took rock back to its roots, the No Wave movement was a total break from traditions and conventions that blurred the lines between music, noise, and performance art. Foremost among the progenitors of the angry, acerbic sound was the unlikely pair of Lydia Lunch and James Chance, both featured prominently in photographs and interviews. Four of the bands (the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars, and DNA) were documented on Brian Eno’s seminal No New York album; others (Blinding Headache, the Gynecologists, and Theoretical Girls) just faded into obscurity. Author Moore (of Sonic Youth) has gifted a treasure trove of rare photographs and oral history of a fleeting moment of New York underground that continues to reverberate 30 years later. --David Siegfried