Arto Lindsay

Lindsay, an American who grew up in Brazil, came to New York in the mid-’70s intent on becoming an artist. Only later did he adopt music as his medium and develop a unique percussive style of singing and playing guitar — generally around the beat, seldom on it — and no melodies, thank you. His…

Golden Palominos

A vehicle for New York drummer/producer Anton Fier’s restless musical talent, the Golden Palominos evolved from edgy downtown supergroup — at one memorable show, the lineup included Fier, David Moss (drums/noise), Arto Lindsay (guitar/vocals), John Zorn (reeds), Bill Laswell (bass) and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (bass); the double rhythm section packed a wallop in unison, but more…

Lou Reed

Those who found the young Lou Reed — a deadpan chronicler of heroin’s rush, adventures in peculiar sexuality and suicide’s bloody razor — a daunting purveyor of unseemly nastiness disguised as art may be nonplussed by his middle-aged existence. After years of joking about (and testing out) ways to die, Reed was properly introduced to…

Fred Frith

If Fred Frith were remembered only for being the guitarist in Henry Cow he would be just another shadowy figure in the history of art-rock. Instead he pursued a unique and influential solo career in the ’80s that made its mark on leading avant-gardists worldwide. Frith’s sessioneering and collaborative work has figured prominently on records…

John Greaves & Peter Blegvad

John Greaves (ex-Henry Cow; music, keyboards) and Peter Blegvad (ex-Slapp Happy; lyrics, guitar) essay a jazzy theatricality on Kew. Rhone., a stunning joint endeavor with vocalist Lisa Herman. Featuring a large cast of new music sidepeople, the album is consistently lyrical and lovely, incredibly precise and enduringly intelligent. On his first solo venture, Greaves encompasses…

Walter Steding

The idea of an avant-garde punk violinist may be intriguing; as one of the genre’s few proponents, Walter Steding is not. Aside from Robert Fripp’s enlivening, energetic appearance on “Hound Dog,” the first side of this New Yorker’s 1980 debut LP offers little more than self-conscious preppie punque. The second half is mainly aimless processed…

Scientific Americans

The Sci-Ams developed from a plain-vanilla Mssachusetts new wave outfit into skillful purveyors of punked up dub reggae. The three specimens of their live sound included here show versatility, from full and flowing (“U 235”) to lean and jerky (“Service Dub,” one of the few tracks with drumming). The studio material, best represented by “Fascist,”…

ESG

Who would have imagined that four sisters and a pal from the South Bronx would emerge as one of the most dynamic bands that New York could offer at the top of the ’80s? (Or that they would pop up again in 1987…) Mixing a solid combination of dub, chant and beat, ESG — simply…

Swell Maps

In existence for most of the ’70s, England’s Swell Maps proved that a group of intelligent, fearless, versatile people can record five LPs and produce little of any lasting value. Though promising at the outset, Swell Maps (from a town outside Birmingham) succumbed to preciousness and self-indulgence with depressing speed. Significantly, however, three of the…

Robert Fripp

In the last half of a seven-year hiatus between King Crimsons from the late ’70s to the mid-’80s, Robert Fripp — self-styled thinking-man’s musician and guitarist’s guitarist — played axeman/producer to the stars (David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Blondie, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Hall and Oates, the Roches) and cut a series of solo LPs reflecting…

King Crimson

Led by guitarist Robert Fripp, King Crimson was a seminal band of our time. Formed originally in 1969, the band had, from the outset, pivotal influence on both heavy metal and art-rock. (Its large footprint also stretched into the world of prog rock.) The ever-principled Fripp refused to let Crimson become a dinosaur and broke…

Dislocation Dance

At the time of its inception, dance-oriented rock was a good idea that quickly turned formulaic and mundane. But the irreverent genre-busting of Dislocation Dance, a skillful Manchester outfit, almost singlehandedly redeems early DOR. Slip That Disc!, an eight-song 12-inch, couches its peppy rhythms and schematic trumpet and guitar parts in kitchen-clean production. Only the…

Soft Boys

From Cambridge they came, in 1976: a brilliant songwriter leading a two-guitar band that revered the Byrds, the Beatles and, most of all, Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd. Some called it the start of a psychedelic revival; the Soft Boys’ verve and wild-eyed sincerity made it more of a post-psychedelic awakening. Wading Through a Ventilator shows…

Biting Tongues

On Don’t Heal a fellow named Capalula delivers monotonic spoken-word vocals over a no-wavish backing of sax (squealing, of course), guitar (noise, of course) and rhythm section (altered funk, of course) — none particularly distinguished. A pretender to the throne once occupied by Joy Division’s late Ian Curtis (also from Manchester), Capalula seems to have…

Richard Hell & the Voidoids

With his fierce poetic nihilism, Richard Hell embodied and helped set the initial style for ’70s punk rock. Recently arrived in New York from a Delaware boarding school, he invented the Neon Boys with Tom Verlaine in 1971; several years later, they changed the name to Television. He co-founded the Heartbreakers with Johnny Thunders, thereby…

Robert Quine/Fred Maher

New York guitar master Quine (Voidoids/Lou Reed) and ex-Material drummer Maher recorded a mesmerizing no-frills celebration of the sound of the electric guitar. Over the pro forma mechanized rhythm patterns suggested by the title, the pair lay down their riffs and then Quine embroiders them — magically. Don’t look for memorable tunes or even clever…

Scars

If this Scottish band’s post-psychedelia didn’t lean so far toward pomp-rock, its highly melodic writing would be vastly more infectious. Ho-hum words and a disconcerting tendency to sound like early-’70s Alice Cooper don’t help; fully fleshed-out production of a colorful guitar-based sound and the band’s own bravura do. The EP features three from the album…

Adrian Belew

The guitarist aging art-rockers turn to for a sublime and stirring mixture of solid chops and wild-eyed invention, Adrian Belew (born in Kentucky, raised in Ohio) has played a crucial long-term role in the careers of David Bowie and King Crimson, while also making important contributions to Frank Zappa (who gave him his first break),…

Punishment of Luxury

In its (few) better moments, Newcastle’s Punilux resembled a cross between Roxy Music and a drunken edition of early XTC. The rest of this album is synth-sweetened heavy metal riffing from a minor talent turned sophomoric and sour. Favorite line: “Vanity has bum ways.”

Fripp & Eno

The two early collaborations between King Crimson leader Robert Fripp and ex-Roxy Music muckraker Brian Eno are excursions into effete electronics, with Fripp simply playing his guitar through Eno’s synthesizers/tape recorders. More surprising at the time than truly affecting, the resulting side-long montages of loosely structured sound on (No Pussyfooting) are pleasant and recall the…