Category Archives: minimalism

Glenn Branca Day!


I love, love, love 70’s NYC underground music–Suicide, DNA, James Chance, etc. Yeah, you know that already (oh but I found a nice No Wave Primer if you are still curious)

Despite my No Wave comp cds galore, I had never, until recently, knew much about Glenn Branca or his music, even though he was a key player in the scene. A few months ago, Bryan played me Branca’s “Lesson No 1 for Electric Guitar” after we saw some posters Branca had made for his late 70’s No Wave band The Theoretical Girls at a gallery. I’ve been digging his work since–from the “maximalist” guitar music (or, rather, minimalist rock music) to his newer experimental classical music–symphonies that are slightly less abrasive than his no wave work, but still deeply avant garde and primarily guitar-based. Also, it is noteworthy that he looks like he could be David Lynch mad brother, which is a plus if you are working outside the mainstream, yes?

Here’s Branca thrashing guitar at a Soho Loft in 78

Theoretical Girls: “You Got Me” (dig that industrial-before-industrial style percussion)

Branca’s solo masterpiece “Lesson no. 1 for electric guitar” (1983)

Branca conducting like “a frenzied goat” with his orchestra at alt performance space the Kitchen, sometime in the 80s

At All Tomorrow’s Parties fest, 2007


Pulitzers give Dylan a shout-out… and Liz Phair turns into a book critic?

“Bob Dylan is the most frequently played artist in my household so the idea that I am honored at the same time as Bob Dylan, that is humbling.” _

David Lang, music, for “The Little Match Girl Passion,” referring to Dylan’s honorary Pulitzer Prize.

 Pulitzer Prize Winners! 

First of all, Bob Dylan received a “special citation,” the first rock musician to receive such a notice. David Lang won the Pulitzer for Music (Lang is a founding member of Bang on a Can, who make contemporary classical music pretty damn interesting, especially when they play things like Discreet Music), and Alex Ross’s exhaustive but enthralling The Rest is Noise (which connects Aphex Twin to twelve-tone music) was a finalist for Non-Fiction.

Terry Reily’s In C as played by Bang on a Can (click link to download)

Dylan’s Visions of Johanna (some British poet once said this was the most important American poem of the 20th century or something like that. After 3 years of poetry school I gotta say it’s damn close…perhaps my very favorite Dylan song?)

Also, how about Liz Phair’s review of a book-Luna’s Dean Wareham’s memoir Black Postcards-in the NYTBR this Sunday? It almost makes up for that ill-advised album she made where she tried to be the Generation X version of Avril Levigne.

 She did go to Oberlin.

Liz Phair: Mesmerizing (click link to download)

Lastly, in high-brow rock world, guess who is blogging about Eno and “Ghosts” now? New Yorker’s smug Sasha Frere-Jones. Um, Sasha, yeah, thanks for that great tip. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, an Eno/Bryne collaboration from the early 80s-woah, a good album? Really! OMG. Who would have thought? Ghosts, not as awesome. Fucking profound.

I’d rather read Phair playing Michiko Kukatani any day! However, knowing that Frere-Jones is probably cranky over his coworker getting a Pulitzer finalist shout-out (Alex Ross writes about classical music for the New Yorker and has done excellent profiles of Bjork and Radiohead for the mag, to boot–oh and his blog is also superb) while he has to write about shit that diy bloggers were covering last week, well, that’s kind of a nice thought for all us anti-Frere-Jones types out there.

Very Very Hungry-My Life in the Bush of Ghosts