Various Artists – No New York – Antilles Records – 1978

CONTORTIONS: Dish It Out / Flip Your Face / Jaded / I Can’t Stand Myself      TEENAGE JESUS AND THE JERKS: Burinig Rubber / The Closet / Red Alert / I Woke Up Dreaming

MARS: Helen Fordsdale / Hairwaves / Tunnel / Puerto Rican Ghost      D.N.A: Egomanics Kiss / Lional / Not Moving / Size

A rare slap of noisy vinyl uploaded onto KYPP today, the original album that bought to the public the sounds of the small ‘No Wave’ scene exploding in New York during the latter part of 1977. The album was produced in New York by Brian Eno, of Roxy Music fame in 1978 and released on the Island Records spin off Antilles Records. A completely raw set of tracks by the movers and shakers in that small scene, The Contortions being my pick of the bunch. A glorious noise indeed.

Text below ripped from

No Wave was a short-lived, avant-garde offshoot of ’70s punk, based almost entirely in New York City’s Lower East Side from about 1978-1982. Like the post-punk movement that was primarily centered in Britain, no wave drew from the artier side of punk — but where British post-punk was mostly cold and despairing, no wave was harsh, abrasive, and aggressively confrontational. Most no wave bands were fascinated by the pure noise that could be produced by an electric guitar, making it an important component of their music (and oftentimes the central focus). Unlike punk, melody was as unimportant as instrumental technique, as most no wavers concentrated on producing an atonal, dissonant (yet often rhythmic) racket. With its assaultive artiness and theatrical angst, no wave was as much performance art as it was music. Two of no wave’s central figures were vocalist/guitarist Lydia Lunch and saxophonist James Chance, who performed together in Teenage Jesus and the Jerks; Lunch went on to a long solo career, and Chance formed an innovative no wave/funk outfit called the Contortions. The defining no wave recording is the 1978 Brian Eno-produced compilation No New York, which features material from Chance and the Contortions, Teenage Jesus, DNA (featuring avant-garde guitarist Arto Lindsay), and Mars. Although none of the no wave performers ever really broke out to wider audiences (Lunch’s prolific, collaboration-heavy solo output brought her the closest), Sonic Youth fused no wave’s distorted cacophony with the more meditative noise explorations of guitarist/avant-garde composer Glenn Branca, and became underground legends after adding more melodic structure to the sound.


One of the central figures of the No Wave movement of the late ’70s, James Chance & the Contortions formed in New York City in 1977. They were led by vocalist/saxophonist Chance, a Milwaukee native (born James Sigfried) who also answered to the alias James White. After relocating to the Big Apple to play free jazz, he fell in with the city’s avant-garde community; upon adopting the surname Chance and acquiring a wardrobe of outrageously loud suits, Chance formed the Contortions, an abrasively chaotic funk-noise outfit featuring organist Adele Bertei, guitarists Pat Place and Jody Harris, and drummer Don Christiansen.

After winning acclaim and notoriety for their wild, often combative live shows (the aggressive, nihilistic Chance often picked fistfights with audience members), the Contortions entered the studio with producer Brian Eno to record four tracks for the No New York compilation. After cutting enough material for an LP, 1979’s Buy the Contortions, the group crashed along with the No Wave scene; as James White, Chance soon resurfaced fronting the Blacks, a bizarre disco outfit comprised of most of the Contortions alumni, albeit with the notable exception of Bertei, and released Off White. In 1982, the highly regarded Sax Maniac album was released on Chris Stein’s short-lived Animal label. Unfortunately, the label disappeared quickly taking the album along with it. Chance recorded his final studio project Flaming Demonics in 1983, again for ZE, under the James White moniker.


The first band formed by vocalist/guitarist/provocateur Lydia Lunch, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks were the center of New York’s short-lived no wave movement. Cacophonous, confrontational, and fiercely inaccessible, Teenage Jesus generally played ten to fifteen minute shows, never released a full-length album, and disbanded after a relatively brief existence. Even so, they were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the noise rock movement of the ’80s, and their work still sounds as forbidding and uncompromising as anything their spiritual followers recorded. Born Lydia Koch in Rochester, NY, Lunch founded Teenage Jesus & the Jerks in 1977 when she was just 16. Initially, the group included saxophonist James Chance (who soon left to form the Contortions), Japanese bassist Reck, and drummer Bradley Field. In 1978, Reck returned to Japan and was replaced by Gordon Stevenson; thus constituted, the trio recorded four tracks with producer Brian Eno for the 1978 compilation No New York, the seminal no wave document.

By 1979, when the band issued a couple of EPs on the Lust/Unlust label, bassist/percussionist Jim Sclavunos had joined the group; however, they disbanded by the end of the year, as Lunch moved on to other projects.


Best known in noise circles as the one band on Brian Eno’s No New York compilation that had no musical experience whatsoever, Mars first appeared on the New York noise radar in 1977. Originally called “China”, and formed in 1975, the band that would become Mars would play only a handful of shows in their short career and would be limited to a handful of recorded tracks. The band was headed for split up in 1978 — regardless of their appearance on No New York — but managed to stay together long enough to record material for an EP, a self-titled affair, posthumously released in 1980. That release may be listened to on this site HERE.


One of the great bands of the short-lived, New York City-based, late-’70s “no wave” avant-garde punk scene, DNA had what barely amounts to a recording career, yet still managed to produce some crucial music. Originally comprised of guitarist Arto Lindsay, keyboardist Robin Crutchfield, and drummer Ikue Mori, DNA’s music was sparse, loud, and noisy — washes of keyboards punctuated by Lindsay’s atonal, free-form guitar explosions. DNA made their recording debut in 1978 on a sampler of no wave bands produced by Brian Eno No New York, and, along with being one of the more interesting bands on the record, also exhibited the most promise. By the time they released their first record, Crutchfield had formed a new band, the far less interesting Dark Day, and DNA had replaced him with bassist Tim Wright, an original member of the seminal Cleveland band Pere Ubu. Now a power trio, and with Lindsay’s guitar the manic focal point of their challenging music, DNA seemed poised to become one of the most exciting bands in American avant-garde rock. Instead, they became increasingly enigmatic, rarely played outside of New York, and never recorded again. After breaking up in 1982, Lindsay formed the exciting Ambitious Lovers, who have released three tremendous albums fusing noise rock with slick pop/soul and Brazilian music (Lindsay is a native of Brazil).

Best wishes go out to Chris Low who is celebrating his birthday today and  irritatingly enough (for me at least) the lad still looks the same as he did twenty five years ago…The ‘Peter Pan’ of The Apostles for sure.  Happy Birthday to you from all at KYPP online.

  1. Jack Spot
    Jack Spot
    March 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    @ Joe
    Why don’t you comment on the WMTN site? It is an open forum. There are plenty of people defending their opinions, politics (even fascism) and tastes in the comments threads. I think you have good points to make.

    As for the articles being tabloid that’s frankly rubbish. Posts like “Adorno on Nietzche and Amorality”, and “Hanns Eisler: Contemporary Music and Fascism (1944)” are not in any way “tabloid”. Peter Webb, an “academic” who has been challenged on the blog, wrote his own post defending himself. The point of the blog is surely to start debate, so what’s your problem exactly? Again. if you feel strongly why don’t you add to that debate. It would interesting to hear your views in the context of other opinions there.

    You ask “But how many fascist occultists are there in the world, and are they any real threat?”. Well, there are a hell of a lot all over the world, and yes they are a threat. I don’t know if you have noticed but far-right politics are very much on the rise across Europe, Russia, the post-Soviet states and North America. I would direct you to the many comments made by a character called Oeneric Imperium, an self-confessed fascist and racist from Philadelphia, who makes the point again and again that it is a widespread scene, particularly in the States (Portland, Detroit, and many other degraded industrial cities), and he also admits that the politics are deliberately disseminated through the post-punk/industrial/neofolk scene. He is also well-informed about the broader fascist scene in Europe and its Industrial/neofolk connections. This is the whole contention of the blog. If you really don’t believe this is true, just spend half an hour looking online and you will open a can of worms, believe me.

    You say “Also, whilst claiming to be against fascism, the whole page actually seems to display an absolute fascination with all that airless, claustrophobic, shlock fascist imagery”. Well, how the hell do you run a blog that specifically challenges the way fascist co-opt the music scene through aesthetics, music and other entryist tactics without using the imagery employed to make your point?

    Finally I would point you to “Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and ‘Metapolitical Fascism’” by Anton Shekhovtsov and “Monsters in the Mirror – Representations of Nazism in Post-War Pop Culture”, specifically Chapter Nine “Keep Feeling Fasci/nation: Neofolk and the Search for Europe” by Emily Turner-Graham, and then come back to me. I think you might have changed your opinion a bit.

  2. Joe
    April 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I posted many times on WMTN, but was censored by the webmaster.

  3. John Eden
    John Eden
    April 4, 2011 at 11:07 am

    “Also, whilst claiming to be against fascism, the whole page actually seems to display an absolute fascination with all that airless, claustrophobic, shlock fascist imagery”.

    I provided imagery for my piece about Death In June that would appeal to DIJ fans. The idea being that they would be more likely to read what I was saying that way.

  4. Joe
    April 5, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Jack Spot wrote — “You ask “But how many fascist occultists are there in the world, and are they any real threat?”. Well, there are a hell of a lot all over the world, and yes they are a threat. I don’t know if you have noticed but far-right politics are very much on the rise across Europe, Russia, the post-Soviet states and North America.”

    My point precisely — You make my point for me– of course there is a rise in the far right, from Bradford to Ilford to Kiev to Tel Aviv to Krakow — my question is, how many of them could care less who David Tibet and the rest of those vaudeville loons are?

    You could probably count the ones that listen to that rubbish on one hand — if there is a new fascist threat ( and I believe there is one ) I very much doubt David Tibet or the other loons are going to have anything to do with it, or push people to get involved, beyond inspiring a tiny fringe element in a pub in Saffron Walden or, perhaps, in a small Polish village.

    I don’t know why Strelnikov is wasting his time — which then leads me to think he must actually fascinated by all that rubbish, all the vaudeville imagery and cod fascist stuff — and , indeed, it certainly looks that way from his blog pages.

    The whole page seems thoroughly fascinated by all the obscure minutiae of the entire claustrophobic and narcissistic scene.

    These bands are just not serious — neither is Strelnikov.

  5. Joe
    April 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

    PS I made a number of posts on Eisler and Adorno on his board — Strelnikov blocked them. He controls all the discourse on that board.That is why there is no real debate there, because he only allows a handful of posters on.

  6. John Eden
    John Eden
    April 5, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Clearly you’re fascinated by the site and its contributors, Joe.

    Perhaps, instead of making judgements about how useful WMTN is in the fight against fascism, you could do something more productive yourself? 😉

    In fact, while I’m at it, shouldn’t you also be criticising people for spending too much time on fighting obscure fascist groups when they could be fighting against the excesses of neo-liberalism? (cf Jean Barrot)

    And shouldn’t we also be criticising people for listening to punk rock records when they could be finding a cure of cancer?

  7. AL Puppy
    AL Puppy
    April 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Quite right John. Any activity which is not revolutionary is counter-revolutionary. I can write this post as a revolutionary act, but to waste time reading it is counter-revolutionary. So DO NOT READ THIS POST.

  8. Joe
    April 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Strelnikov’s blog has reached new heights of pantomime absurdity : there is now an ‘anti fascist psychic’ posting there, and there are running arguments about 1980’s pop acts,doing ‘comeback’ side show tours in London, looning around in nazi fancy dress and German army helmets.

    For some reason,Strelnikov seems to think all of these things indicate rumblings of a new Krystallnacht , (perhaps in Shoreditch?), or a cossack style pogrom in Stamford Hill….

    It is so absurd as to be very very very funny.

    Eden and Home are winding people up !

    Strelnikov has given these 80’s dress up shlock pop groups a new lease of life! Everyone had forgotten about them — ’till that new blog fixated on them. The bands are probably delighted for the publicity.

  9. John Eden
    John Eden
    April 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    How am I “winding people up”?

  10. Chris L
    Chris L
    April 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Actually, I thought John Eden’s post a good read and made it’s point well.

    However, there does appear to be a plethora of errant foolishness on that site and it is fundamentally compromised by accusing certain individuals/acts of being nazis when they quite patently are not.

    I remember stuff in Sounds in the early 80s about TG being ‘nazis’ and having a ‘sinister agenda’ etc. Which was probably one of the things that attracted me to them. Not that I ever had any sympathy with nazism obviously but extremes are enduringly appealing to those who feel alienated by mainstream culture and the liberal hegemony of the music industry. A couple of years later I got into The Apostles & Whitehouse for fairly similar reasons. They both had a cachet of extremity as evidently many of these daft neo-folk and noise acts have now.

    The hypothesis being that, ironically, I should imagine a lot of what is published on the ‘who makes the nazis’ site only serves to further the appeal of these woeful Herr Flick fancy-dress box acts and for those keen to discover the most ‘extreme’ of these acts provides an invaluable resource.

  11. snowW.Wwhite
    April 23, 2011 at 3:33 am

    I am victim of Strelnikov’s web blog/site.

    His website features content of a guy who calls himself James Cavanagh.

    James tried to discredit me by quoting a web forum in which I used to post regularly around 5 years ago.

    Unfortunately the quote was WHAT SOMEBODY ELSE POSTED!

    Both Strelnikov and James have neither removed my image fully nor did they delete the libelous content.

    Neither did either approve of at least two further comments I made, which were a deeper insight into why I am choosing the type of clothing I am wearing.

    Also untrue is that I am supposedly “semi-literate”. I am sure that I would have never gotten my job as IT Director and Techinal Director if I were illiterate.

    If anyone would kindly help me please my email is my user name

    Thank you for helping

  12. Joe
    April 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Chris L, you are absolutely right in what you say, absolutely.

    That whole site reeks of Daily Mail tabloid smears of the lowest order — and the saddest thing about the whole site is, that it distracts from, and utterly ignores REAL fascism whilst fixating on the fancy dress imitation version: While real fascism is growing, Strelnikov wastes his time lambasting and smearing the Punch and Judy side show artists.

    What a joke — those bands are just not serious. Neither is Strelnikov.

    Strelnikov would do well to get a job with the Daily Mail, or else a right wing smear job website like Harry’s Place — Strelnikov does seem to have the exact same strategies and politics as Harry’s Place, that’s for sure.

  13. Chris L
    Chris L
    April 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    With respect, SOME of those acts ARE serious. However that site entirely undermines it’s own credibility by blurring those who are and those who are just in it for the fancy dress and the hope they might get laid.

    Funnily enough, there was a festival of ‘National Socialist Black Metal’ featuring loads of bands, some from as far afield as Brazil, somewhere in North London in October last year (I picked up a flyer for it blue-tacked to the phone box outside The Underworld so clearly it wasn’t just clandestinely advertised) but needless to say that didn’t receive a mention on WMTN , probably because the guy who does it isn’t obsessed with that scene (tho admittedly, it IS quite evidently absurd and hardly likely to spark a Kristallnacht on the streets of Camden)

  14. Nic
    April 27, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    The problem with Strelnikov’s site is that it exists in a time-warp – it’s about 20 years too late: beyond a few right-armers in Portugal and Portland, the large majority of the ‘Far Right’ have no interest in D.I.J. and their ilk…

    The current (and real) interest should perhaps be focused on the ‘Black Metal’ (or ‘NSBM’) genre which has much more of a foothold in the youth of Eastern Europe and America – because it speaks directly to their concerns…The difference is in perspective: in Eastern Europe, ‘Black Metal’ means the opportunity to exercise bigotry through violence…In East London, it means the opportunity to wear a ‘Burzum’ t-shirt inbetween drinking Jagermeisters…

  15. Chris L
    Chris L
    April 27, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Very funny you should say that, Nic. I was just commenting to a friend on Sunday how Black Metal shirts appear to be as ubiquitous around Hoxton as United shirts are in Newcastle. Dark Throne ones being particularly ‘du jour’ as there is a definite correlation between how indecipherable the band’s logo is and how much of a indolent cock-ring the wearer looks.

  16. MB
    April 28, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Nic and Chris, you get it pretty much right.

    Strelnikov’s 80’s pop goth industrial revival website has pretentions of being an anti fascist site, when he misses his target all together —

    The other annoying thing about Strelnikov is that he censors anyone who doesn’t go along with his narrow minded view of what constitutes fascism. So, people are blocked from his board.

    His board is an in club chat room for people who follow Stewart Home’s world view, which Strelnikov has taken on and assumed at face value, and bought into, hook line and sinker — but without picking up any of the humour and piss taking and agent provocateur strategy/very deliberate mis-information that Home went in for. Or, his page is a place for those who want to see the likes of Test Dept and SPK and DAF as a threat to the world.

    Strelnikov is not going to let anyone else on his board — which is why people discuss his page here.

    Strelnikov is a reactionary himself, and an inclination towards reactionary thought and scapegoating permeates his entire project. He reveals those very same impulses and inclinations that were put into action under Bolshevik thought police/Trotskyite repression and under Nazi repression.

    Someone above (Joe) mentioned Harry’s Place as being the right place for Strelnikov to write for — that’s about right.

  17. John Eden
    John Eden
    April 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Joe – I notice you haven’t responded to my question above asking how you think I am “winding people up”. I think I can safely conclude from this that you aren’t actually interested in a sensible discussion and just wish to pursue your own gripes here.

    Chris – thanks for your comments on my DIJ piece. There are a few people contributing to WMTN and obviously they will all have their own strengths and knowledge. I’d personally love to see some material there on NSBM and other genres and I know that Strelnikov is receptive to contributions that add to the debate. Personally I don’t have the time or inclination to research black metal properly but there must be people out there who have more of an affinity to it than me who could contribute. I hope they do.

    More generally:

    I can’t comment on the running of the site because I’m not involved with it. What I do know is that posts I’ve made pointing out inaccuracies have been published. If people are trying to make pseudononymous comments on WMTN which are of the level of “his page is a place for those who want to see the likes of Test Dept and SPK and DAF as a threat to the world” then it’s hardly surprising they don’t get published.

    If people feel they have a vital contribution to make to the debate then the internet allows them to do this in thousands of ways.

    Here’s a website:

    Here’s another:

    Now go and start your own website…

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