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City Sounds 3/29: New York No Wave by krkuchta

Listen to WERW's New York No Wave Monday night from 11pm-1am


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.

–Kyle Kuchta

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The 20.2: Your Essential Guide to New Wave by 20watts


DOWNLOAD: 20 Watts’ NEW WAVE MIX on Mediafire

Music critics tend to throw around the word “New Wave” like it’s going out of style.  But if you’ve heard Santigold or The Killers, or if you jammed out to Bloc Party’s Juice Jam set last year, then you’re well aware that the opposite is actually true — it’s pretty much impossible to find any musical act in any genre today that doesn’t owe some kind of debt to the the punk-mod fusion that came out of the ’80s.

But put Weekend in the City on pause for a second.  Here at 20 Watts, we’re interested in getting back to our musical roots.  That’s why we’ve recruited a team of music fanatics to write comprehensive, 20-album guides to all their favorite genres. THE 20 is more than a curated list — it’s the absolute best of a style or movement, condensed to a form you can play in one sitting.

So what’s the very best in New Wave?  20 Watts’ CHARLIE WEEKS has the answer in our second 20 installment.  Watch for new 20s each Thursday, only on 20 Watts, and check out our previous 20s below!


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