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Listening

CBGBs RIP

The history of rock may be written by the losers, but this week the losers will have some attention in their hands to point out the decline of Western civilization that’ll ensue when CBGBs closes this weekend. Some may be wistful, some will have moved on, and some might actually go to the last shows there. It may not be the same as back in ’77, but a Talking Heads tribute band should provide the requisite nostalgia.


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The last shows at the club are currently filled with a slew of hardcore bands like Agnostic Front and some old mainstays like the Dictators, but not a lot of the New Wave sounds that took over between punk and hardcore. Maybe it’s that New Wave isn’t in vogue like it used to be—maybe it’s that the hardcore bands might beat them up—but they still deserve a little sampling.

» Listen to “Obey the New Wave” at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog


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Make sure to listen to Furious Pig’s version of the ketjak, otherwise known as “The Ramayana Monkey Chant”—a Balinese music drama performed by 100 people sitting in a circle simultaneously chanting. The echo effect is haunting, and somewhat similar to the The Langley Schools Music Project.

» Listen to “The Ramayana Monkey Chant” at ubuweb


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After New Wave, No Wave eventually came to NYC, which had neither synthesizers nor speed. The compilation No New York was considered the beginning and end of the genre for a while, but there’s plenty to be found outside of that boundary. In Florida, for instance, Teddy and the Frat Girls were screaming minimally to their hearts’ content.

» Listen to Teddy and the Frat Girls at Post-Punk Junk


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Just like how Lester Bangs is known for pointing out the music coming out of CBGBs in the ’70s when nobody else was, Julian Cope is the krautrock equivalent. Besides putting out his own albums, he’s also known for being a Warren Buffet-type character: Any band he mentions should be considered epic until listened to and proven otherwise. I’d been able to collect most of his highly essential Krautrock Top 50 list, except for Walter Wegmüller’s Tarot, which had been a slippery eel until a few days ago.

» Listen to Walter Wegmüller at 8 Days in April

Be sure to also check out Julian Cope’s Head Heritage, which provides streams of his recommended album of the month as well as his own song makings.


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What else is there to say about CBGBs that hasn’t been said a million times already? Maybe that they never booked enough Brazilian psychedelia. Well they’ll have the opportunity to make up for this indiscretion in their new Las Vegas location, but until then Jards Macalé will have to fill in the gap.

» Listen to Jards Macalé at Brazilian Nuggets

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