BARE (NAKED LUNCH) LADY: In 1978, Brian Eno lobbied Island Records to compile an album of as-yet-undocumented New York bands which took the noisy, nihilistic tendencies of tamer NYC punks like the Ramones, the New York Dolls, and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers and clamorized it to the triple-xth degree. The groups performed under the the banner of "no-wave"--a reaction to record labels of the day attempting to tame and market the burgeoning punk scene under the far friendlier-in-Peoria "new wave" tag--and had little in common beyond the fact that each was extreme in its own way, long before Mountain Dew was, and before snowboarding even existed.

Eno sought to document a scene that was intimidating to most New Yorkers, let alone those in "fly-over country." Amazingly, Island went for the pitch (it's good to be The Eno), and Eno picked four of his favorites for the album, No New Wave, which included four tracks each from DNA, James Chance and the Contortions, Mars and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. The leader of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks was one Lydia Lunch, who was but a screaming fawn of 16 years old at the time, and little did she--or anyone else--know that the album would become a touchstone for any band that has used noise as a weapon since.

And while most of the people that comprised those bands have seemingly dropped off the face of the earth, none since has so singularly pursued the in-your-face ethos of no-wave as obsessively as Lunch.

Lunch has continued recording music, but she's also delved into photography, writing, video, theater, film and virtually every other form of media in existence. A good number of these endeavors were collaborations with the likes of Sonic Youth, Exene Cervenka, The Birthday Party, Henry Rollins, Hubert Selby, Jr. and filmmaker Richard Kern. But regardless of what media genre she's pursuing, or who she's working with, Lunch doesn't merely push the envelope of what most consider good taste in her examinations of gender, violence and sexuality (usually simultaneously); she slices it to shreds with a switchblade.

In recent years Lunch has mostly focused on spoken word recordings and tours, the latest of which will bring her to the Hotel Congress Banquet Room, 311 E. Congress St., at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17. Admission is $10. Direct your questions to 622-8848.

SPACE PARODY: Listening to Spaceboy's new CD, Searching the Stone Library for the Green Page of Illusion (Southern Lord) is an exhausting experience, and I mean that in all ways possible. While at times during its course I muttered things to my tired, bewildered cat like, "Sorry buddy, I'll come to bed soon, but did you just hear that freaky slowed-down Metallica thing they just did?" and "Wow, that's sorta like a Sabbath-y Jesus Lizard weird tension thing they got goin' on there, huh?", he just continued to give me those half-lidded sad eyes. I just dug all the drastic changes, the math-ness as applied to speed-sludge (though I gotta say the 11-minute song lengths tested my patience on occasion).

Then I attempted to read the band's biography, but my tired eyes simply couldn't make it through the gothic font--something about a place called Os, 20-something miles south of Santa Cruz, or somewhere close to Scandanavia, where they take their metal dark ... guys called things like William Doom Occulta Blair, who roamed "mighty mountains" and fjords and "dark forests," but used to be in bands like Bl'ast! and the Fucking Champs. And then finally, through my hazy eyes and the near-indecipherable type, I stumbled upon it: "Northern Mathematical Death Metal!"

As the album ended, and I got ready for bed, my cat looked at me and said, "You know that whole thing was a parody, right?"

In an attempt to hide my embarrassment, I answered "So? It still rocks."

I'm pretty sure we're both right.

Spaceboy, along with Tucson trash-rock newborns Wasted Aces, appear at 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 14, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. For further details call 670-9202.

WHITE SPACE: Although, in previous lives, Pensacola, Florida-born Jim White has done stints as a professional surfer and fashion model, it was likely his experiences as a taxi driver and his upbringing in a strict Pentecostal community that led to his rebirth as a singer/songwriter in 1997.

That was the year he released his debut album, Wrong Eyed Jesus, on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, and it was enough to instantly garner him a cultish fan base. Last year, White finally released the follow-up, No Such Place (also Luaka Bop), which was a bit more accessible (more singing, less mumbling). Both display an accomplished songwriting craft that is at once bleak and uplifting, spinning narratives of gas station attendants and (figurative?) tornado chasers, of murders and their resultant ghosts, all the while imbued with a healthy dose of religious imagery.

Additionally, White takes all sorts of sonic risks, a jaw harp here, some trip-hop beats there, and flourishes of found sound snippets tossed in, just to make sure it stands the headphone test. Imagine if Beck had combined his early folk work (a la One Foot in the Grave) with his latter day cut-and-paste Cuisinart (see Odelay), while reading Flannery O' Connor and listening to a God-fearing Vic Chesnutt, and you've still only got a vague approximation of what you're in for with Jim White: dark and twisted Southern Gothic storytelling at its finest.

Jim White performs solo "with machines" on Tuesday, July 16, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Al Perry and Loren Dircks open the show with an appropriately dark set at 9 p.m. Cover is $8. For more information call 622-8848.

WEIRD MIX: Tucsonans, you heard it here first: Live musical collaborations between seemingly disparate bands are the new tribute shows. This week marks the first of what will hopefully be many more weird ones to come.

Just back from a European tour, Electroshockbox (aka Tron-D, nee John Sweeden) brings his usual bag o' tricks (aka box of many sounds, aka his homemade Shockbox) to the Red Room in Grill this week. But following his own set, he'll be joined by rootsy noisemongers Negative Spaceman for a set of both acts' tunes that promises to be interesting at the very least.

It all goes down somewheres about 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 13. Grill is located at 100 E. Congress St. Call 623-7621 for additional info.

About The Author

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Tucson Weekly

Best of Tucson Weekly

Tucson Weekly