Siouxsie and the Banshees

In 1976, Siouxsie Sioux (Susan Dallion) and Steve Severin were part of the clique of steady suburban London Sex Pistols fans known as the Bromley Contingent. As Siouxsie and the Banshees, the nascent punk rock stars debuted at the 100 Club’s legendary 1976 punk festival; aided by future Ant guitarist Marco Pirroni and the unknown…

MX-80 Sound

If ever a band realized the potential of pre-punk “underground” noise rock, MX-80 is it. This weird post-metal art band, which originated in Bloomington, Indiana (from the same scene that spawned the goofy Gizmos), centered around Bruce Anderson’s slashing, trebly guitar riffing and Rich Stim’s deadpan, often indecipherable, mumble. As a five-piece (with two drummers),…

Tuxedomoon

Pioneers in performance-oriented synthesizer music, Tuxedomoon started out in San Francisco at the very beginning of that city’s punk upsurge, in 1977. The mercurial aggregate of musicians and artists later relocated to Belgium and became a leading light in the international post-rock avant-garde. Sidestepping the mistakes of many early synthesizer bands, Tuxmoon leavened their attack…

Circle Jerks

Singer Keith Morris, who left Black Flag after appearing on its debut single, formed the Circle Jerks with ex-Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson in Los Angeles in 1980. Fast, loud and loose, the Jerks became one of the region’s most popular and durable slam bands. Immortalized on celluloid in The Decline of Western Civilization punk…

DNA

Why is noise so cool? Defying the stable mind’s logical resistance to entropy, the appeal of chaos in music is clearly in its ability to polarize, to draw a line in the air and dare listeners to jump over it. The quickest, most explicit route to the elitist differentiation of hip is popular rejection. Smelly…

Lydia Lunch

Lydia Lunch’s career since deep-sixing Teenage Jesus and the Jerks has been an unpredictable path governed by boredom, sarcasm, romance, perversity and whatever musicians or collaborators are convenient at the time. Queen of Siam proves, at the very least, that she can do more than just scream (although her version of the Classics IV hit,…

Romeo Void

Walloping big-beat riffs with snaky sax and darkly intelligent lyrics characterized this San Francisco area dance/think combo. Native American artist-and-poet-turned- vocalist Debora Iyall uses her smoky, conversational voice to wax reflective on love and lust in these modern times; consistent with the band’s name, she sings not only of situations where love is absent, but…

Runaways

Opinion is still divided on the Runaways’ place in the musical universe. To many, they were the first all-girl (instrument-playing) rock band to matter, spiritual godmothers to the Go-Go’s and Bangles, and seminal punk rockers to boot. Others see them as nothing more than a pre-packaged peepshow whose heavy metal-cum-glitter approach was dated from the…

Misfits

Although considered part of the hardcore scene, New Jersey’s Misfits date back to the first CBGB and London punk surge. Drawing their sound from the Ramones and the Damned, and their look from horror movies and Kiss, the Misfits began by releasing a string of 7-inches on their Plan 9 label. Two of these —…

Agent Orange

Picture a band that combines the best elements of the Sex Pistols, the Ventures and early Blue Öyster Cult. Got that? Then you’ve got Agent Orange, a Fullerton, California trio who hybridized surf-twang sounds, smart-metal chops and punky drive. Living in Darkness is a short, concise collection of seven originals (like “Bloodstains”) plus an appropriate…

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks

Teenage Jesus pushed the anything-goes/anyone-can-do-it philosophy of punk about as far as it would stretch without breaking. Formed in 1976 by onetime CBGB waitress Lydia Lunch and saxophone/conflict artist James Chance, TJ & the Jerks went beyond minimalism and atonality into what Lunch proudly called “aural terror”; the band cranked up a musical death knell…

Our Daughters Wedding

This snappy San Francisco-relocated-to-New York electro-pop trio’s 1980 indie single “Lawnchairs” became a dancefloor favorite, combining a good beat and a catchy hook with absurdist lyrics of bemused paranoia (“Lawnchairs are everywhere”). Unfortunately, the five-song Digital Cowboy, produced by Colin Thurston, makes the mistake of redoing “Lawnchairs” with a real drummer (and not just any…

Trouser Press Magazine Archive

TP 61, May 1981 Making his third cover appearance, Elvis Costello gets the bleak, gray treatment (Bob Leafe’s inset photo is more exciting, but not flattering enough for a main image) on our newly narrowed publication. More significant for us, this was the first issue of Trouser Press to have proper national newsstand distribution. (The somber cover…