18 Jun 2010

How minimal can you get? #25

The Door and the Window – Detailed Twang LP
“Initially inspired by the first wave of industrial bands and the ethos of DIY pioneers like the Desperate Bicycles and Scritti Politti, Nag and Bendle played their first gig and recorded their first single sometime before they bothered to rehearse. Playing with an ever-changing lineup TDATW became first gradually rhythmic and then melodic. Mark Perry became a third permanent member. Unhappy to remain in one musical ghetto, they inhabited several – playing gigs with post punks and ska bands, playing free tours with idealist hippies and gradually becoming deeply involved with the London Musicians Collective. They co-produced a magazine about the politics of record production, hosted the seminal “Jazz Punk Bonanza” festivals of 1980, ’82 and ’86 and ran the weirdly eclectic sprouts conspiracy Cabaret Club. Nag and Bendle also played in The 49 Americans and The Liberated Sound Octet, Nag played with Mark Perry and Karl Blake in The Reflections and Bendle with The Casual Labourers and The Late Music Group.”

Nag, The Door & Bendle, The Window

“Having faithfully followed D.I.Y.'s minimum prescriptions for musicianship (none, initially: they learnt as they went), production values (ditto), and packaging (blank labels with stickers, hand-folded sleeves, thank-you credits listing just themselves), Nag and Bendle took it all one step further by abandoning all pretext of melody. (Their lyrics remained enjoyable but conventionally witty/Marxist/anti-rockist.) After two resolutely unhummable EPs on their NB label (for 'Nag & Bendle'), The Door and the Window's glorious din had annoyed and enraged much the press and large segments of the DIY 'establishment' as well… but it was pure aural catnip for anti-pop icon Mark Perry (Sniffin Glue/ATV) who promptly recorded two similarly tune-free 45s for NB –and modestly accepted a position as The Door and the Window's drummer. This line-up recorded TDATW's landmark LP, Detailed Twang.” Chuck Warner (Hyped to Death)

The Door and the Window – Part Time Punks
Get it here, here or here.

14 Jun 2010

How minimal can you get? #24

The Tom & Marty Band – Afraid to go to sleep CS
“The largest concentrations of experimental bands (on vinyl, at least) in the U.S. centered in greater Los Angeles, and along a narrow strip running from Baltimore to Richmond, Virginia: arty electronic, experimental or just "difficult" music found an unusual level of acceptance in the southern Mid-Atlantic. The Artifacts label scene in Richmond, Virginia tended to be more jazzy/classical and "serious," while the northern end of the scene (which sometimes unselfconsciously referred to itself as "Balto-weird") tended to be more clever and artwavy. The Tom & Marty Band was a studio-only gig by two central figures in the Richmond scene: Tom Compagnoli and Marty McCavitt. They produced a ton of stuff on Artifact, and Marty played in Idio Savant, Trans-Idio, Glad Corp and House of Freaks, as well as on much of LaDonna Smith's more high-brow stuff.” Chuck Warner, Hyped to Death

Tom in the recording studio, 1981

“The Tom & Marty Band is composed of Tom Campagnoli & Martin McCavitt. These two met many years ago while they were both in high school in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Tom and Marty have been involved in many artistic endeavors over the years, but Marty is the real musician of the group while Tom writes most of the lyrics. Inspired by space, science, myth, love, nature, their children, their childhoods, and the world and sounds around them, The Tom & Marty Band doesn't take itself too seriously and do appreciate a good (or bad) joke now and then.”

Marty in the recording studio, 1981

“Formed in 1980 the Tom & Marty Band was known for its unusual instrumentation and unique lyrics – often being referred to as "Electronic Folk Music." The Band played into the early 1980s when the Band took a hiatus only to reappear in the year 2001 with new instruments and new songs. They were known as the Band that would not go away, and true to form they are back. Only time will tell what really will happen.”

The Tom & Marty Band: The Band That Wouldn't Go Away!

“We heard Chrome and Throbbing Gristle and thought they were pop bands...” Marty

The Tom & Marty Band – Havin' A Canipshun
Get it here and visit their website here.

How minimal can you get? #23

Ut – Ut EP
“Notes and chords collide as if the instruments were all talking at once, creating one unvarying tone. They sound undisciplined, yet they are bound together in taut concentration. Daring to experiment, they occasionally grope about clumsily. They are a promising, sometimes awkward, Punkish debutant band, ready to blossom.” Doris Keily, New York Rocker

 UT, No Wave's über-non-conformists. 
From left to right: Sally Young, Jacqui Ham and Nina Canal.

“None of us had been programmed in rock licks or the correct way of doing things… so we didn't think or act with any sense of restraint. Weird tunings, weird positions – everything was permissible with us. We didn't have to make this leap because we didn't see the walls.” Jacqui Ham

“We decided right away to not stick to a single instrument each, which meant changing [between songs]. We got a lot of flak about how impractical it was. But it kept us in the mode of constantly experimenting without getting into ruts on any one instrument.” Sally Young

“We weren't easy to place – we fucked around too much for the art scene, we were too raw and dissonant for the post Punk norm, and we didn't conform to anything they could conceive of.” Jacqui Ham

UT – New colour
Get it here.

Excerpts taken from the No Wave book.

6 Jun 2010

How minimal can you get? #22

OH-OK – Wow Mini Album EP
Jason Gross: What kind of band did you want Oh OK to be?
Linda Hopper: No guitars. When we were talking about it originally, I was going to play guitar but then it just came to be bass, drums and singing. We actually did things like play on bent saws and baby toys and things like that. It was noisy, it was very pop. But at the same time, it was very weird. I don't think we said 'let's make it weird.' Maybe it had something to do with being in art school. In that first term, ideas just hatch and grow and you try. We did tons of different things. I remember that was when Casio (keyboards) first came out. We were always trying to make a song with a Casio but we never did.

 From left to right: Lynda Stipe, Linda Hopper and David Pierce

Jason Gross: In the original band you had, there was no guitar. That was pretty unique.
Lynda Stipe: Hopper was going to play around with it but it was working out fine without it. Actually, even now all my bands tend to be a little bottom-heavy. Now, I'm on cello and then there's the bass. Double basses were always really cool. We really didn't care much (about not having a guitar) but we got a lot of slack from soundmen. First, we were girls and I played the bass like a girl, barely hitting the thing. (laughs) So they were like 'Where's the guitar? That's it, huh?' Oh well.

Read the Linda Hopper and Lynda Stipe interviews here and here.

OH-OK – Lilting