No Wave traces the history of this noisy and uncompromising genre, from its most famous names down to its many offshoots and sidetracks. From early pioneers like Suicide and Richard Hell, to forgotten treasures like Red Transistor and Bush Tetras, and descendents like ESG and Sonic Youth, No Wave charts all the cracks and crevices of a surprisingly diverse movement.
Flashing through the New York underground in the late 1970s, No Wave was the ultimate anti-movement. Its bands consisted of artists and poets untrained in music, looking to explode rock and disappear before the smoke cleared. No Wave tells the fascinating story of this radical, anarchic and hugely influential musical movement.
Best known for short songs and even shorter life-spans, No Wave bands fused disparate styles to fashion abrasive, rhythmic songs that were completely original and utterly compelling. The primary perpetrators – Lydia Lunch’s howling Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, James Chance’s skeletal Contortions, the dark-noise groups Mars and DNA – all drew on primitivism, performance art, and the avant-garde.
The book also delves into No Wave cinema, where pioneers like Amos Poe, Eric Mitchell, and Beth and Scott B. translated the aggression and innovation of No Wave music to the screen. Musicians often starred in these films, and figures like Jim Jarmsuch and Steve Buscemi first cut their teeth in this vibrant scene.
Illustrated with rare and previously unseen concert photos, record covers, and other ephemera of the times, and featuring exclusive interviews with key protagonists from the scene, No Wave is the definitive guide to a genre whose sounds and ideas still vibrate through alternative culture today.