The Lounge Lizards: s/t

The Lounge Lizards: s/t
(Editions EG, 1981)

The Lounge Lizards were a sharp-dressed act made up of some of the coolest cats in New York City, including filmmaker John Lurie, The Feelies drummer Anton Fier and DNA guitarist Arto Lindsay.

The eclectic (and over the years revolving) lineup reflects the music on their 1981 debut album, where downtown jazz, no-wave and alternative rock flawlessly melt together into a higher unit. They never steered away from the outskirts of the music landscape, embracing an experimental approach and adding a renewed sense of energy and joy to the jazz scene of the early 1980s. They did so with a high acknowledgment of the past and managed to head into the unknown without ever leaving the listener behind.

Mainly consisting of Lurie originals, they also found room for a couple of Thelonious Monk tunes here, an album that still sounds remarkably fresh and exciting. The cover is designed by Peter Salville, best known for his work with Factory Records artists like Joy Division and New Order, who added an extra element of coolness to the band.

South Bronx Serenades: 80’s New York City

Foto: Steven Siegel

Foto: Steven Siegel

Soundtrack til bildene: Åpne spillelista Dirty Old Town: South Bronx Serenades i WiMP

Steven Siegel har vært ute med sitt fotoapparat i New Yorks gater siden tidlig på 1980-tallet. Få har som ham dokumentert byens transformasjon fra urbant wasteland til gentrifiseringen som skjøt fart fra tidlig på 90-tallet. På sin egen Flickr-side utdyper han litt om denne endringen:

Some older people are nostalgic for ’the good old days’. For example, they remember the Times Square of the 80’s… And what they remember is not so much the danger but the grittiness and (for lack of a better word) the authenticity. Yes, there was sleaze, but there were also video arcades, cheap movies, restaurants, and weird places. These same people resent the ’Disney-ification’ of Times Square and the gentrification of virtually all of Manhattan and many areas of the boroughs, and the loss of cheap housing and local stores everywhere.
Others’ reactions to these same photos could not be more different. If they’re over a certain age, they remember the high crime, the twin crises of AIDS and crack, the racial tension, the lurid tabloid headlines about the latest street crime. They say: ’It was a nightmare, and thank God it’s over’.
Of course, both views are right.

Foto: Steven Siegel

South Bronx. Foto: Steven Siegel

Foto: Steven Siegel

World Trade Center. Foto: Steven Siegel

Foto: Steven Siegel

Times Square. Foto: Steven Siegel

Foto: Steven Siegel

The Bowery. Foto: Steven Siegel

Foto: Steven Siegel

Subway. Foto: Steven Siegel

Alle bildene er gjengitt med tillatelse fra fotografen.

Se mer fra Steven Siegel i hans omfattende arkiv på Flickr
Steven Siegel @ Flickriver

Lyden av New York plukket i hovedsak fra slutten av 1970- og begynnelsen av 80-tallet. En heksegryte av musikk som danser i takt med gatevold, AIDS, crack, Son Of Sam, korrupsjon og urbant kaos. Vi sneiser innom hiphop, no wave, disco og avantjazz på denne asfaltpromenaden. Fra 60-tallshelten Dion og John Zorns Naked City (begge 1989) til Miles Davis’ betraktninger fra gatehjørnet i 1972, dette er noen kings & queens of the New York streets.

Hør spillelista Dirty Old Town: South Bronx Serenades i WiMP

Bjørn Hammershaug