The Scene Is Now

  • The Scene Is Now
  • Burn All Your Records (Lost) 1985 
  • Total Jive (Lost / TwinTone) 1986 
  • Tonight We Ride (Lost / TwinTone) 1988 

Over a half-decade of existence, this fluid-membership gaggle of NYC bohos developed from a marginally less political arm of Mofungo’s Marxist art-terrorism into a sometimes downright goofy jug band for post-mod beatniks. Burn All Your Records might be rough terrain for diehard capitalists to navigate, but the bracing orchestration — employing more than two dozen noise-things — makes for a fascinating, if occasionally difficult, listen.

Total Jive accentuates the contributions of Mofungo’s Chris Nelson (and, to a lesser extent, Elliott Sharp) and takes a more easygoing approach to both music and subject matter — at times it’s almost mellow, man! With ex-dB’s drummer Will Rigby and Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone joining the Scene, Tonight We Ride continues this progression, with Nelson blowing some surprisingly swinging trombone on the good-timey “Midnight Broil,” while the entire ensemble locks into a low-key, Grateful Dead-like groove on “California,” originally performed by Lower East Side noisemongers I Ride the Bus.

[Deborah Sprague]

See also: Mofungo