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Diabolical new animated video from No Wave/goth apostles Egrets on Ergot: A DM premiere
03.09.2018
07:39 am
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It’s hard to strike gold when the mine’s overrun with prospectors. Post-punk revivalism has already been a go-to tactic in independent (and occasionally mainstream) music for long enough that expecting anything new from it feels quixotic, so when someone comes along and makes a genuinely exciting record in the idiom, it’s pretty damn satisfying. L.A.’s Egrets on Ergot have done exactly that: their debut album, Surfeit of Gemütlich, injects significant freshness into deathrock tropes you’d be justified in thinking had passed their sell-by date. There’s plenty of No-Wave sneer here, and EoE have clearly done their goth homework—that bass guitar tone is unmistakable and I’ll probably never get sick of it, and singer/saxophonist Adam Brooks capably channels Nik Fiend. But while all the sources for their homage are identifiable, it never quite feels derivative, and EoE brings an unrestrained and clamorous energy to much of their music that compares favorably to the likes of Savages and Pop. 1280.
 

 
Produced by Screamers/45 Grave’s Paul Roessler, Surfeit of Gemütlich was released to acclaim in October. The video for “Sister Please” came along in November (NSFW for a bit of nudity and sexual content), and it’s DM’s pleasure to premiere the new video for “Occult Matters” today. It’s an animated video by Eric Livingston, probably best known for his artwork for the debut album by Dead Cross, a hardcore supergroup that sports members of Faith No More, Retox, and Slayer.
 

 
More from Egrets on Ergot, after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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03.09.2018
07:39 am
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Satan teens, blood, guts, LSD, murder and chaos: ‘Where Evil Dwells’ has it all but a plot

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“Ricky was of the devil. When he was on acid, he’d go back into the dark woods, up in Aztakea, and he would talk to the devil. He said the devil came into the form of a tree, which sprouted out of the ground and glowed. I tried to question him about it, but he said, “I don’t like to talk about it. People think I’m nuts.”

Ricky would take ten hits of mesc in a night. He would take three; ten minutes later he’d take another three; and two hours later he’d take four more. He’d figured it out in his mind how to take the most without ODing Ricky is the acid king. “

—Mark Fischer, friend of “Acid King” Long Island teen murderer Ricky Kasso, in Rolling Stone magazine.

What the fuck did I just watch? is often the response to Tommy Turner and David Wojnarowicz‘s cult 1985 no wave/transgressive film Where Evil Dwells. Not because some viewers of this splatterfest are uncool dickheads but because there is no real cohesive story or structure to Turner and Wojnarowicz’s film—and people really do prefer things like structure and stories. Just ask James Patterson. Our savvy public are none too appreciative of being buttonholed by a would-be weirdo rambling incontinently about conspiracy theories, Satan, murder and devil dolls—people get enough of that shit on the evening news.

Moreover, to give 28 minutes over to watching this is a considerable investment of time for something that may not be that good after all—especially true in a world that’s marked out in 140 characters or less. But wait, let’s not be too hasty or too cynical, for there’s a reason there is no real story to Where Evil Dwells. It is (apparently) because this is all that remains of a much longer intended feature length project which was lost in a fire. The only footage that survived was put together for the Downtown New York Film Festival in 1985, which makes Where Evil Dwells interesting for what it could have been. And it certainly does contain some very interesting things.
 

 
Where Evil Dwells was loosely based on the PCP-fuelled murder of young Gary Lauwers in Northport, New York, on June 16, 1984. His killer, 17-year-old hesher Ricky Kasso was painted by the press as an occult dabbling, drug-addled Satan freak, and not without good cause. In an attack that went on for longer than an hour, Kasso burned Lauwers, gouged out his eyes and stabbed him somewhere between 17 and 36 times. At some point during the attack, Kasso is said to have commanded Lauwers to “Say you love Satan,” but Lauwers is said to have replied, “I love my mother.”

After Kasso bragged about Lauwers’ murder to several of his friends, claiming the killing was a “human sacrifice” that Satan (via a black raven) had commanded him to carry out, even taking some of them to see the decomposing body, an anonymous tip was made to police. On July 7, two days after his arrest, Ricky Kasso committed suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell.

The Long Island Satan teen murder case was made famous nationally in a widely read 1984 Rolling Stone article (”Kids in the Dark” by David Breskin in the November 22 issue) and in the (nearly fictionalized) lurid “true” crime novel Say You Love Satan. Kasso—basically a troubled AC/DC loving idiot who became a very sucessful fuck-up—was almost made out to be the “new” Charles Manson by the likes of Sonic Youth, Big Audio Dynamite, the Electric Hellfire Club and the Dead Milkmen. Where Evil Dwells is not the only film or documentary to be made about Ricky Kasso, although it was the first.

More murder, LSD and Satan teens after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.13.2017
12:42 pm
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No Wave: DNA and the Contortions play a benefit for X Magazine, 1978
05.06.2016
09:20 am
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The NYC arts publication X Magazine, published by the artists’ group Collaborative Projects (a/k/a Colab), held a fundraising show on March 11, 1978. Three dollars got you an evening of quality no wave: DNA, the Contortions, Boris Policeband, the Erasers, Theoretical Girls and Terminal all played, and miraculously, Colab members Coleen Fitzgibbon and Alan Moore captured moments of the first three of these acts’ performances on black and white Super 8 film. Additionally, there is a remarkably clear soundtrack.
 

DNA
 
The Punk Art Catalogue at 98 Bowery reproduces covers and images from X Magazine and describes the relationship between the no wavers and Colab:

Colab was a non-profit organization explicitly created by young downtown artists involved with film, video, photography and other media to take advantage of newly available government grants. The kinship between the artists of Colab and the rock musicians at CBGB reflected a tight-knit scene where many of the participants lived in the same downtown tenements and lofts. All shared similar aesthetic interests as well as a grassroots approach to promotion and distribution rooted in the perception that the established galleries and record labels largely ignored young artists and musicians.

X was published by the artists themselves who were free to do whatever they wanted on their assigned pages. Some contributors focused on the new music scene, while others favored the same kind of provocative content and populist politics found in the music. The connection between X and Punk Rock was most overt at the X Magazine Benefit when the Contortions, DNA, the Erasers and other rock groups with strong links to the visual arts contributed their talents to help raise money to print the magazine’s second issue.

 

Brian Eno at a Contortions show
 
Incidentally, according to Alec Foege’s now ancient Sonic Youth biography, this was the show that “sold Thurston on the merits of [no wave] music”:

I thought it was amazing. Theoretical Girls was just off the wall. And DNA was the fucking ugliest band in the world.

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.06.2016
09:20 am
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ZE Records - the Sound of New York City


 
Are there any readers of Dangerous Minds in France? If you do live there, then I would recommend getting your hands on the next edition of the well known rock magazine Les Inrockuptibles, which comes with a free cover mount CD featuring the best of the renowned post-punk and mutant disco label ZE Records.

ZE has been a longtime favourite label of mine, since I first started getting deeper into collecting disco and realised not all of the genre was dripping cheese with a boner for a chart placing. The releases were smart, weird, original, sleazy, camp, funny and funky as hell. The records came in a distinctive sleeve featuring the label’s iconic logo and a graphic featuring a New York City taxi cab. You didn’t even have to listen to tell that they were dripping in the atmosphere of that place and that time - hell, it may not even have been real, it may just have been the disco/punk New York of my imagination, but it sure did sound great.

Founded in New York in 1979 by British entrepreneur Michael Zilkha and the French publisher Michel Esteban (hence the name), ZE specialised in releasing both “Mutant Disco” for the uptown set, and more downtown experimental sound of “No Wave”, both co-existing side by side in a way that kinda made perfect sense. What united them was an attitude born of not giving a fuck. ZE acts spanned the gamut, from the noise-fests of Mars to the ground-breaking Lydia Lunch, from the proto electro of Suicide to the more rock output of Alan Vega, from the twisted dance punk of James White & Blacks to the sassy boy-baiting of The Waitresses, from the new wave Euro pop of Lio and Garcons to the veteran Velvet drone-meister John Cale, from the geeky freak funk of Was (Not Was) to the dancefloor experiments of Bill Laswell and Material.

My favourite ZE associated act is one August Darnell, better known by his stage name of Kid Creole. He worked with many different acts and under a variety of different names, including Cristina, Coati Mundi, Gichy Dan, Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band and Aural Exciters, not to mention being the driving force behind two other seminal disco acts, Machine and Dr Buzzard’s Original Savanah Band. He brought to the music a heavy influence of golden era jazz and Cab Calloway. And it wasn’t just a a sly wink to the past - beneath his sometimes quite strange arrangements lurked classic Broadway songwriting chops and killer one liners (check “Darrio” below). I feel August Darnell has been overlooked in the history of popular music, and I hope to cover him more in depth in the future.

We have already covered a couple of ZE Records acts in the past few months here on Dangerous Minds, namely Cristina and Lizzy Mercier Descloux. it seems only right now to introduce the label to people who may not have heard of it, and/or to remind others who have of just how good it is. As I have mentioned before, it is worth signing up to the label’s mailing list to keep abreast of what they are up to (the next release is a remastered re-issue of John Cale’s Sabotage/Live LP recorded at CBGB’s in 1979 and featuring the Animal Justice EP). To sign up, visit the label’s official website. The entire ZE catalog (with info on how to obtain what is available) is on Discogs. This is the Les Inrockuptibles cover mount CD streamed from the ZE Records Soundcloud page - a pretty good summation of the label’s vast and influential output:
 


 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Is That All There Is?’: No Wave cult singer Cristina covers Peggy Lee in 1980
From Heaven With Love: Download the best of Lizzy Mercier Descloux for free

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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05.30.2011
09:00 pm
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From Heaven With Love: Download the best of Lizzy Mercier Descloux for free


 
Lizzy Mercier Descloux was a multi-talented French recording artist who made waves in the New York underground in the 1980s. Perhaps best known for her early 80s no wave-meets-funk output, she found more commercial success later in the decade with a world music inspired sound. The girlfriend and sometime business partner of the entrepreneur Michel Esteban, she was signed to his uber-hip ZE Records, also home to Was (Not Was), Kid Creole & The Coconuts, James White, Suicide and many more. She released three albums and a bunch of singles for the label, before moving on to CBS in 1984.

Unfortunately Lizzy Mercier Descloux passed away in 2004. Since then the re-established ZE Records have been doing a cracking job at re-releasing her older material. Her sound was distinctive - sometimes abrasive, sometimes energetic and always exciting. Now ZE are giving away a twelve track compilation of the best of Descloux’s work called From Heaven With Love, available for the next seven days only from the official ZE website. The only catch is that you sign up to the record label’s mailing list, but really you should consider doing that anyway as their catalog and roster of acts is immense. This is a taster of what is on the comp:
 
Lizzy Mercier Descloux - “Wawa”
 

 
Lizzy Mercier Descloux - “Hard-Boiled Babe” (what a beat!!)
 

 
Lizzy Mercier Descloux - “Slipped Disc”
 

 
To download the 12 track From Heaven With Love compilation, go here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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05.09.2011
08:12 pm
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