...because today's post certainly won't have much mass-appeal! In late 70's New York, New Wave was an umbrella term for a group of similarly-minded artists such as Basquiat or Keith Haring, and was musically embodied by typical CBGB's bands such as the Talking Heads and Blondie. A group of radical artists rejected New Wave's mainstream appeal and started the No Wave movement. There may not be a unifying feel to No Wave other than a DIY ethic and a predisposition to simple rhythms and harsh sounds, but the overall effect is one of profound liberation. No Wave influenced early industrial music as well as more recent bands such as the Liars. To quote Richard Wallis from Creem, reviewing their music at the time it came out, "spend a few hours with this record and then everything sounds different".
Perhaps one of the most famous proponents of No Wave is Lydia Lunch, whose early band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks was featured in the No New York compilation, famously produced by Brian Eno. Here's what they sounded like (CAUTION: NOISE. Pascal, feel free to play this to annoy your neighbors):
A pretty obvious influence on Sonic Youth, wouldn't you say? Well, Sonic Youth was also involved in No Wave, so it's not surprising.
Now take Suicide and the Talking Heads, mix them up, add a crazy saxophone and a great deal of noise, and you get James Chance & the Contortions. The video itself has a No Wave feel here:
Another band featured in the No New Wave compilation was Arto Lindsay's DNA:
I'd say there's some krautrock influence behind that, Can in particular.
Are you still reading this? Don't hate me yet? Still want to hear some crazy noise? Here's Mars, another No Wave band, which sounds to me like the missing link between the Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth:
That last one is probably my favorite of the bunch, but it would have been too commercial to start with the best song, right?