Review: Avant-garde composer and guitarist Glenn Branca appears on the archival-focused Superior Viaduct, a label based out of San Francisco that trawls deep to release rare recordings from the likes of Devo, Talking Heads and Ramones affiliate Craig Leon, and San Franciscan punk band The Avengers. This release from Branca, whose label Neutral Records released the first few tracks by Sonic Youth, provided Superior Viaduct with three jangly guitar tracks of his own, spread across two discs. "Lesson No 1 For Electric Guitar" has the slightest of Celtic touches (and Cagean titles) in a progressive and emotionally strummed guitar-lead composition, while "Dissonance" almost sounds like a cheeky reinterpretation of the Batman theme. It's "Bad Smells", though, that will strike a familiar chord with fans of Silent Servant to the aforementioned Sonic Youth. Rock on.
Review: Along with the extended retrospective detailing their earlier music escapades that's surfaced this week, U.S. based reissue gods Superior Viaduct have masterfully relicensed Liquid Liquid's final iconic Optimo single, originally out on 99 Records in 1983 and still a heavily coveted four tracker from all corners of the digging spectrum. "Optimo" - an utterly break-ridden, funked-out monster - "Scraper" and "Out" are all full bodied and sublime on the low frequencies, but it's "Cavern" that gets all the attention on here, bass-heavy roller filled with wavy vocals, a heavy percussion swing and a penchant for being mastered by the kings of hip hop and house. Totally essential 12" in our books.
Review: The second effort from these legendary electro-aggro iconoclasts and progenitors of the punk-electronic marriage may have been less gnarly than its predecessor, but it's by no means less influential. The opening cut's title 'Diamonds. Fur Coat. Champagne' perhaps provides some clues as to the route that Suicide were to take, swapping the dingy back-alleys of yore for the neon-lit main drag, yet still with their inimitable style and swagger in full abundance. Nonetheless,the glitzy and debauched allure of their nocturnal serenades remains manifest, and this album remains an engaging and deliciously sleazy document of a New York that sadly no longer exists.
Review: Alan Vega and Martin Rev's Suicide project is no sideshow; the band have been a monumental part of the punk rock movement since the late 1970's, and they were coldwave before the term had even been coined. These dudes were kickin' back and gigging with Elvis Costello when they conceived Suicide, both their name and the title of their debut album, a total stroke of genius in just about every way. There's fuzzy, metallic drum machining on tracks like "Ghost Rider" and "Rocket USA" - proper warehouse gear - but the most striking moments come through the softer, more pensive songs like the absolutely sublime "Cheree". "Girl" is another jaw-braking ride across the grainiest of beats, but it's "Frankie Teardrop" that puts Suicide twenty years ahead of their time thanks to its rhythmic noise vibe that makes contemporary artists seem irrelevant. We can't recommend this enough - a total must.