Filed under: City Sounds | Tags: Blondie, City Sounds, New York, New York City, No Wave, Patti Smith, Punk, Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Television, The Contortions, The Ramones, WERW, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
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New York City is one of the most influential cities in the world. Pick something culturally common; whether it be food, architecture, art, etc., and New York is famous for something in those respective categories. Music is no different. In fact, New York is known for MANY types of music. But one of the most unique genres that was born in NYC is No Wave. It’s about time for a City Sounds History Lesson.
First came New York punk. Artists like Patti Smith, Ramones and Television all had their own styles. Punk was defined by diversity and distorting the view of what music was. Blondie and Talking Heads came in to the picture, and by 1980, punk became a household name.
A rebellion against a rebellion arose in the form of No Wave. Punk really only took common musical rhythms and sped them up while singing about rebelling against the status quo. But if they take something as culturally significant as music and don’t rebel, are you really “punk?” No Wave went out to change this idea. Almost every No Wave artist went out to break every rule they could. Teenage Jesus and the Jerks with their frantic, out-of-tune guitar strums; The Contortions with their schizo-jazz; DNA with something indescribable.
This movement only lasted about 3 to 4 years, but still inspires generations later. New York natives from Sonic Youth all the way to Yeah Yeah Yeahs drew from No Wave. So we should go on and celebrate this incredible time in musical history, just for the hell of it. Listen to City Sounds Monday night from 11pm-1am on WERW. It’s about to get noisy.