Amoeblog

NYC Gallery Exhibit of Punk & Post-Punk Memorabilia Captures Essence of Influential Musical Era

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2011 09:25am | Post a Comment
When recently in New York I was fortunate to catch a short run punk & post-punk themed gallery exhibit that included some wonderful posters, flyers, and other memorabilia of this music from the mid 70's through the early '80's. Titled Rude and Reckless: Punk/Post Punk Graphics 1976 - 82 this one-month only exhibit at the Kasher Steven Gallery on W 23rd St in the Chelsea district, that closes this week but is rumored to be coming to the West Coast sometime in the future, is a most engaging collection for anyone with even a passing interest in this influential time period in music. Simultaneously on display in the same space is the related Laura Levine: Musicians photo exhibit that overlaps some of this same period but whose timeline runs up to a decade later.

This photography section of the exhibit is credited exclusively to NYC music photographer Laura Levine who reportedly started out by talking her way into punk clubs and their backstage areas with a camera slung round her neck and a fake press pass in hand. Within no time she was a legit member of the press working as photographer for the likes of the The New York Rocker, Village Voice, and Rolling Stone. Many of her photos on display (nearly all black and white) intimately capture that famed early 80's Downtown New York scene; a world that included artists and musicians from all backgrounds and genres. Photos include Afrika Bambaataa, an early days 1982 Madonna, the Beastie Boys and Run DMC together in a group shot, John Doe and Exene Cervenka (during their X days), Joey Ramone, and The Clash.
 
Meanwhile the Rude and Reckless: Punk/Post-Punk Graphics, 1976–82 portion of the gallery includes two hundred plus items on display. As well as posters and flyers (there's a great one from the Mabuhay Gardens in SF that featured the DKs, Angst, Toxic Reasons, and the short-lived talented local band the Fried Abortions) are fanzines, flyers, clothing, stickers, and punk buttons/badges.

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Famous Grey Raincoat - Or, Silly Goth, Vampires Are for Kids!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 6, 2010 04:45pm | Post a Comment

 Class Hey Day crowds, 1950

In honor of this lovely weather we're having here in Los Angeles, I'm going to blog about the so-called Raincoat scene. Before Goth -- for that matter, before New Grave, Dark Wave, Cold Wave or any of those other overly specific scenes (that I will dutifully write about in time), the British music press took to lumping together a bunch of bands and their fans and calling them "raincoats." Why? Because since their invention in the 1850s, nothing has silently and eloquently conveyed, "I'm dark, brooding and Romantic" like slouching in a trench coat. OK, it could also convey, "I'm stealing porn and not wearing clothes underneath." That's a different sort of Raincoat Brigade.

Anton Corbijn - Ian Curtis

The earliest usage of "raincoat" in this sense that I've found is in an edition of NME. "1982 was also a year of recession in the U.K. A broken economy, you could argue, enabled both genres to flourish: sleek synth-pop helped people transcend national gloom, glowering raincoat-rock authorised them to wallow in it." 

The unsung heroines of Punk/Post-Punk/No Wave/New Wave

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 13, 2009 05:46pm | Post a Comment
Since its beginning, rock music has been a male dominated affair. Women, such as Wanda Jackson, were not just anomalies but curiosities. By the '60s there were plenty of girl groups, female soul singers and a few female-fronted rock bands, but the few actually female-dominated rock bands like Ace of Cups, Fanny, The Girls, Goldie & the Gingerbreads (the first all female rock band to sign to a major label) and even the Shaggs aren't exactly household names. That seemed to change in the '70s, when Suzi Quattro and The Runaways seemed to lessen the shock of seeing girls wielding instruments. Whether he was joking or not, Roger Ebert took credit for the girl rock revolution by creating the Carrie Nations in his screenplay for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Things really began to change with onset of the new wave of the late '70s. Not only were there female-fronted bands like Siouxise & the Banshees and Blondie, but there were also bands integrated in various ways, like Talking Heads and later The Mekons, Gang of Four, &c. Now, although you could still listen to the radio for a year without hearing an all-female rock band, it's not entirely out of the question. These bands aren't all entirely comprised of women, but they definitely broke the mold.


The Au Pairs "Come Again"


The Bloods "Button Up" (audio only)

Crime + The City Solution -and- Simon Bonney -- Criminally underrated bands part 1

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 21, 2008 10:51pm | Post a Comment
CRIME & THE CITY SOLUTION

Crime & the City Solution 31 December, 1977
Crime & the City Solution 31 December, 1977 (image source: Phil Turnbull)

It seems that almost from their inception the band Crime & The City Solution they were cursed to never be spoken of without a mention of famous Australian Nick Cave. It's really no one's fault. They were part of a incestuous web of musicians with frequent Nick Cave collaborator Mick Harvey at the center, a man who though a talented multi-instrumentalist, can only play one one band at a time, resulting in other pursuits being put on hold whilst he focused on his main gig.

Crime & The City Solution formed in Sydney, Australia in 1977. Their original line-up included vocalist Simon Bonney (the band's only permanent member, fresh from a brief stint with The Particles), Don McLennan on drums, Harry Zanteni on guitar, Phil Kitchener on bass and Dave MacKinnon on soprano and tenor saxophones. Simon Bonney, whilst born in Australia proper, had grown up on a remote farm in Tasmania where his family grew wheat, barley and opium poppies before he moved to Sydney.

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WHAT IF IAN CURTIS HADN'T HUNG HIMSELF?

Posted by Billyjam, July 1, 2007 08:56pm | Post a Comment
joy division
One recent afternoon, while ambling through the rock vinyl aisles of Amoeba Berkeley, my eye caught that great Joy Division album cover Unknown Pleasures. Wow, I thought, just how perfect is that cover artwork that was actually taken from an edition of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy? And how even more perfect is that whole album -- originally released on June 15th, 1979? I could listen to it and everything by Joy Division a million times over and never get tired of hearing it. Even the over-played and over-covered "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (released a month after Curtis' suicide) never ages in my head. Perhaps part of the greatness of all this music is that it is frozen in time, never having to be matched by later releases from a band that came to an abrupt early end after the tragically troubled lead-singer Ian Curtis had literally kicked the bucket -- instantly making him and Joy Division stuff of music legend, to be forever admired and romanticized in pop culture from afar.
ian curtis
But what (let's just imagine) if Ian Kevin Curtis hadn't hung himself back on May 18th, 1980, at the young age of 23? What if instead, he had kept on living and making music with Joy Division (meaning, of course, that there would have been no New Order), cranking out (increasingly weaker and weaker) albums throughout the eighties and up until an ugly break-up in 1997, followed by Ian Curtis completely disappearing for many years up until, let's again pretend, in 2004 when the producers of VH1's Band Reunited track him down. What if they find him old, fat, bald, bitter and living in a bedsit in Birmingham? Then, encouraged by VH1's intervention, he officially pulls himself together, temporarily kicks his age old habit, and tours small clubs with a new Joy Division lineup doing at best average covers of his old songs. Not pretty, eh? Not compared to the perfectly preserved, romantically tragic Ian Curtis that is the pop culture icon today.

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