Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Kill Your Idols" DVD (director: S.A. Crary)

Tracing the history of the famous New York 'no wave' scene of the 70's up until it's supposed re-emergence in recent years, Crary and company manage to compile some interviews and footage of some pretty instrumental progenitors of the NY noise scene. Appearing here: Suicide's Martin Rev, Jim Sclavunos (who curiously details his early sexcapades with the notorious Lydia Lunch - why this was included is a mite suspect, but nonetheless it's an entertaining dialogue), Lydia, Glenn Branca, Arto Lindsey, Michael Gira, Jim Thirlwell, Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore. All of these sonic innovators contribute some 'been-there' thoughts and observations on what made this 'scene' so inspirational. And the old footage (though often rough and grainy) is amazing - particularly the early exorcisms of SWANS' classic noise-throb days. Talk about gutteral and abrasive. That was the serious shit - forget metal or punk.

But far from just a look at the past, 'Kill Your Idols' also spends a good amount of time examining some of the current wave of NY bands - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Karen O seems pretty oblivious, honestly), Gogol Bordello, A.R.E. Weapons (parody or assholes?), Liars, Flux Information Sciences, and Black Dice. The comparisons between old wave and new wave here are very telling, and a bit alarming. Whereas Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello seems to have a firm grasp on what makes music and art unique, some of the others included here seem particularly clueless. A shame, but at least we have all the great records from the 'No New York' period to remember it all by, right? (Palm Pictures)

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