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No Wave Today

boooknowave.jpgThe New York Times on Thurston Moore and Byron Coley’s No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980 book and exhibition: “…’A guitar player like Lydia Lunch was somebody who clearly was not coming out of any kind of tradition,’ said Mr. Coley, a veteran rock critic. ‘She didn’t have a Chuck Berry riff in her.’ The rebelliousness came out in many ways, from song composition — nasty, brutish and short — to the movement’s name, a cynical retort to ‘new wave,’ then emerging as a more palatable variation on punk. The looks were nerdy and androgynous (or, in Ms. Lunch’s case, menacingly oversexed). The sound reflected the squalor and decay of downtown New York in the late ’70s. …Mr. Moore said that only a narrow definition would fit the genre, which was so contrary in its sound and attitude that too much outside context would dilute its impact. ‘We liked the absurdity of how small it was,” he said. “We kept our parameters really tight. We needed a cut-off point, and we cut it off as soon as anybody played any semblance of rock ’n’ roll. Any kind of traditional aspect of rock, it’s over.’”

There is an extract from the intro here. The exhibition (KS Art: 73 Leonard Street, New York) runs until 2 July. The opening, on 13 June, was marked by two back-to-back gigs at the Knitting Factory by Teenage Jesus & The Jerks who reunited for one night only. More on the exhibition here and there. Also of interest.

First posted: Saturday, June 14th, 2008.

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