Tuxedomoon – Ralph Records – 1980

Nazcs / 59 To 1 / Fifth Column / Tritone / Loneliness / James Whale

What Use / Volo Vivace / 7 Years / KM / Seeding The Clouds 

Tuxedomoon from San Francisco, emerged in 1977 but released no material until signing to the Resident’s record label Ralph in 1979. This interesting debut LP, full of beautiful soundscapes, was released in 1980, and is really rather good.

Cult legends Tuxedomoon are a welcome exception in today’s over-formatted musical world.
Born in 1977, in the heady atmosphere of San Francisco’s postpunk golden age, the band soon became a central part of New York’s No Wave scene (as documented in the recent “Downtown 81” film, centered around Jean Michel Basquiat and featuring performances by Blondie, James Chance, DNA and Tuxedomoon). “No Tears”, their 2nd single (1979), has remained an electro punk club classic to this day. The band went on to sign to The Residents’ Ralph Records, and released two seminal albums, “Half Mute” (1980) and “Desire” (1981) which soon got them overseas exposure.

Fleeing Reagan’s America, Tuxedomoon moved to Europe in the early ’80s, and stayed there throughout the decade. Although their ability to crystallize a certain dark and romantic zeitgeist quickly turned them into one of the most influential bands around, their music transcended all genres and included impossibly wide parameters –rock, electronics, minimal music, classical, jazz, Gypsy music and pop were all simultaneously consumed and transmutated into a quasi-prescient blend.

  1. dirk
    April 10, 2008 at 3:44 am

    TUX-MOON actually released two singles and and two 12″ before they recorded for ralph.PINHEADS ON THE MOVE/JOEBOY tidal wave recs 1978,NO TEARS 12″ 1978,THE STRANGER/LOVE..NO HOPE 7″,SCREAM WITH A VIEW 12″ 1979 all released on time release recs.I totally agree with your comments on HALF MUTE,however the punkier element is best heard on the pre-europe period of the band i.e 1977-1979 best heard on pinheads on the move cd/lp 1987.As a lover of this site i would just like to add KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK YOU FUCKING ROCK

  2. dirk
    April 10, 2008 at 3:56 am


  3. Nic
    April 14, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Yes, their earlier work has a much more ‘Post Punk’ edge: the ‘Scream with a View’ 12″ is really good – electronic rhythms, delay effects, an ‘alien’ feel…

    After this album, their work becomes (as dirk pointed out) much more focused on composition, but not to their detriment. I particularly like the ‘The Ghost Sonata’ album which creates very evocative moods…

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