At close range with Blank Range

Blank Range is a new quartet out of Nashville, blending gritty vocals with bluesy guitar licks, a colorful flavor of cosmic country and good ol’ rock & roll. The four-piece has just dropped their debut album Marooned with the Treasure via Sturdy Girls Records / Thirty Tigers. Blank Range have toured in support of Death Cab for Cutie, The Mountain Goats and the Drive-By Truckers and will be out with Jessica Lea Mayfield and the Mountain Goats this August. Get to know this exciting quartet a little better.

Who is Blank Range? Please introduce yourselves.

Blank Range comprises Jonathon Childers (guitar), Taylor Zachry (bass), Matt Novotny (drums) and Grant Gustafson (guitar). We’re a rock and roll band from Nashville, Tennessee with some real fire in the midst of all that smoke. We’re avid listeners, and we synthesize all our influences and musings to find our personal take on the power of a song in the context of the here and now. We all sing.

Congratulations on your debut full-length album. We’re more than excited! What’s it about?

Thank you very much! We’re so happy we finally get to share it. Marooned With the Treasure is a rock and roll postcard to right now. It’s a dynamic, cathartic soundtrack introduction to Blank Range.

What’s the story behind the album title?

Marooned With the Treasure is a lyric from “Labor of Love” that we really liked. It’s a thought-provoking image. Something about it brings me to the true nature of freedom in humanity, a sense of arrest due to societal confines or explanations that we’ve come up with throughout human history. Not so much scientific understanding. Really just the concept of dogma on all levels. Making sense of existence in the midst of all its absurdities. We had a few different meanings that we talked out in deciding to choose it as the title but also like leaving it open to interpretation and hearing what it means to other people.

Did you have clear ideas or visions on how it would be from the get-go, or did the album gradually evolve as a process?

This is the most quintessential ‘snapshot’ album that we could probably get at. We wrote most of these songs in August of 2016 at a cabin in Southern Wisconsin. We had a late summer writing retreat into the woods at an old cabin and came out with about 13 or 14 songs.

Spending the rest of August and most of September touring the West coast and scenic parts of the Southeast made quite a lasting impression on us. We got the photo for the album cover on that run. We came home and went into the studio and put the whole album down in four days. The vision realized on this album is the importance of immediacy, the present moment, the emotional power in the imperfection that is humanness.

Care to shed a little more light on the recording sessions?

We recorded with Brad Cook in Durham, North Carolina. Brad is a prolific force in music. He played in Megafaun, Hiss Golden Messenger, Sharon Van Etten and countless other bands. He has a great ear and an unforgettable personality. He’s a stellar friend. He had been asking about what we were working on and suggested trying some things out with him. He brought us out to North Carolina and had us rehearse at his place for a day to hear all the songs and then we went in the next day to Overdub Lane in Durham and started cutting. He really helped us focus on the songs and just getting in there and playing them live. Brad aimed to capture the immediacy mentioned earlier, like these songs couldn’t wait any longer to be played.

The sound was also sculpted in no small capacity by Chris Boerner and James Wallace, who helped engineer the recordings, and James played on the album.

What would be your preferred setting to ultimately enjoy the LP?

Brad Cook’s back room. He had the best sounding system I’ve ever heard.

How would you pair Marooned With the Treasure with a meal or beverage?

We’ve all really come to appreciate the crisp, refreshing bit of euphoria that is Topo Chico mineral water. Ideally, you would be in a place of overwhelming natural beauty where you could enjoy the smaller things while still attaining a more universal perspective, say, on the bank of a rocky stream surrounded by towering Redwood trees, or maybe on top of a boulder watching a devastating sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

You guys want to shout out to other Nashville acts to look out for these days?

Tristen, Teddy and the Rough Riders, Erin Rae, Harpooner, Andrew Combs, Banditos, Liz Cooper & The Stampede, The Lonely Biscuits, Faux Ferocious, Station Wagon, Airpark, Mark Fredson, Sunseeker and Futurebirds. There are so many friends making great music here in town. It’s impossible to name them all, but you don’t have to look far to find it.

What, in your opinion, is the most perfect debut album ever made and why?

I don’t know if I could name one, especially since there are four people in this band that all bring unique tastes to the table, but a few we like are:

Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen
Columbia, 1967

This collection of poems of the human experience was a slow burn for me, but made a huge impact over the years. He has the ability to destroy you with one line.

John Prine: John Prine
Atlantic, 1971

Same as the Cohen record, these songs are so special. It’s such a familiar but unique framing of life. John Prine is a devastator.

Television: Marquee Moon
Elektra, 1977

I remember being shown Marquee Moon in college for the first time, and I don’t know if I’ve stopped listening to it since. These songs are burned into my DNA.

Paul Simon: Paul Simon
Columbia, 1972

Is loosely a debut album but these songs have been important for all of us.

In light of recent events, what’s your view on the current political climate in the US?

On a grand, universal level, it’s rather absurd that our visions are so easily clouded by decisions and actions that sacrifice the well being of others as a result. Humanity, life and knowledge are not finite concepts; they are forever changing and shifting and redefining and reimagining. For me, one of the more important things to remember and to really work from is that, in the process of coexisting, ideas are what should be on the battlefields. Not people.

In our current political climate, the spectrum is seemingly very polarized. I heard a TED talk recently where a psychologist was studying the emotion of disgust and how that was reflected in the holding of political beliefs. People on one side are disgusted by the people on the other side. This seems to halt progress most of all. I think we have a responsibility to pull our world out of the gridlock of oppositional politics and group mentalities and to really start talking about IDEAS and stop accusing people. That seems so liberating as to make me feel certainly optimistic of our future.

And finally, if your music was a food, what would it be?

If our music was a food, it would be a cheeseburger with two Krispy Kreme donuts as the bun. It causes ones heart to race and their eyes to widen but leaves them tired and suffering from long term high blood pressure. Some of us are vegetarians in the band now, but that shouldn’t prohibit me from painting this picture because it’s right on.

Bjørn Hammershaug

1970-tallet: 100 Favorittalbum

Bortsett fra en liten fraksjon av siste halvdel har jeg med noen ytterst få unntak liten musikalsk bevissthet fra 1970-tallet. Dette er altså i det store hele musikk som har kommet meg til gode i senere år, i en jevn strøm av godlyd som tilsynelatende aldri tar slutt. 1970-tallet er ikke bare tiåret for noe av historiens aller beste musikk, men også en periode som skjuler et utall av epoker og musikalske revolusjoner. Fra sen-hippie vibbene i begynnelsen av perioden til den kjølige postpunken som ledet oss inn i 80-årene er det nesten ufattelig at bare 10 år har passert. Dette er et forsøk på å rangere de 100 feteste platene, og for å skjerpe lista noe er utvalget begrenset til to titler pr. artist.

Klikk deg inn hit for listen over 70-tallets beste enkeltlåter


Neil Young: On the Beach
(Reprise, 1974)

Nick Drake:
Bryter Layter
(Island, 1970)

Miles Davis:
Bitches Brew
(Columbia, 1970)

Television:
Marquee Moon
(1977)

Can:
Tago Mago
(Elektra, 1971)

Big Star:
Third/Sister Lovers
(PVC, 1978)

The Stooges:
Fun House
(Elektra, 1970)

Pink Floyd:
Animals
(Harvest, 1977)

Soft Machine:
Third
(CBS, 1970)

The Clash:
London Calling
(CBS, 1979)

…and the best of the rest….

Blondie: Parallel Lines (1978)
The Modern Lovers: s/t (1977)
Suicide: s/t (1977)
Neil Young: Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
Leonard Cohen: Songs of Love and Hate (1971)
Black Sabbath: Masters of Reality (1971)
Alice Coltrane: Ptah, the El Daoud (1970)
Can: Future Days (1973)
Brian Eno: Another Green World (1975)
Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks (1977)


Nick Drake: Pink Moon (1972)
Gram Parsons: GP (1973)
Neu: s/t (1972)
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (1975)
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo’s Factory (1970)
The Congos: Heart of the Congos (1977)
Pink Floyd: Meddle (1971)
Miles Davis: On the Corner (1972)
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures (1979)
Patti Smith: Horses (1975)

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Déjà Vu (1970)
Warren Zevon: s/t (1976)
Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (1971)
Deep Purple: Made in Japan (1972)
Shuggie Otis: Inspiration Information (1974)
The Jam: In the City (1977)
Elton John: Honky Chateau (1972)
Tangerine Dream: Phaedra (1974)
Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance (1978)
Townes van Zandt: Live at the Old Quarter (1977)

Tom Waits: Blue Valentine (1978)
Ramones: s/t (1976)
Gram Parsons: Grievous Angel 1974)
Jackson Browne: Late for the Sky (1974)
The Clash: Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978)
Nilsson: Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)
The Stranglers: Black and White (1978)
Kraftwerk: Autobahn (1974)
Pharoah Sanders: Thembi (1971)
Stevie Wonder: Innervisions (1973)

Al Green: Call Me (1973)
Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady (1979)
Judee Sill: s/t (1971)
Iggy Pop: Lust For Life (1977)
David Bowie: Low (1977)
Hawkwind: Space Ritual (1973)
Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)
Popul Vuh: In Den Gärten Pharaos (1971)
Lee Clayton: Naked Child (1979)
Robert Wyatt: Rock Bottom (1974)

Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On (1971)
Jackson Browne: s/t (1972)
Vashti Bunyan: Just Another Diamond Day (1970)
George Harrison: All Things Must Pass (1970)
Faust: IV (1973)
David Crosby: If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971)
Caetano Veloso: s/t (1971)
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (1971)
Sly & the Family Stone: There’s a Riot Going On (1971)
Bert Jansch: L.A. Turnaorund (1974)

Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run (1975)
Wire: Pink Flag (1977)
Electric Light Orchestra: A New World Record (1976)
Uriah Heep: Salisbury (1971)
Ramones: s/t (1976)
Talking Heads: Fear of Music (1979)
The Specials: s/t (1979)
Elvis Costello: My Aim is True (1978)
Bob Dylan: Desire (1976)
Joe Ely: Honky Tonk Masquerade (1978)

David Bowie: Station to Station (1976)
Bill Fay: Time of the Last Persecution (1971)
Gil Scott-Heron: Small Talk at 125th and Lenox (1970)
Frank Sinatra: Watertown (1970)
Sun Ra: Space is the Place (1973)
Van Morrison: Moondance (1970)
The Beatles: Let it Be (1970)
Gang of Four: Entertainment! (1979)
This Heat: s/t (1978)
Richard Hell & The Voidoids: Blank Generation (1977)

Residents: The Third Reich ’n Roll (1976)
The Last Poets: s/t (1970)
Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (1978)
Harmonia: Deluxe (1975)
Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (1971)
Swell Maps: A Trip to Marineville (1979)
John Cale: Paris 1919 (1973)
Faust: Faust IV (1973)
Herbie Hancock: Sextant (1973)
Devo: Q. Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)

Bjørn Hammershaug

Ze New York Groove: Michel Esteban & ZE Records

New York in the mid 1970s was quite possibly the most dynamic and vibrant music scene the world has ever witnessed.

In the midst of a broken city, where rising crime, frequent blackouts and piling garbage made up the scenery, artistic spirits from all over found a creative haven to express their own art. The city’s miscellaneous scenes also opened up for a multitude of constellations across different genres, embracing both the nihilistic and the hedonistic.

A cultural melting pot thrived in this urban wasteland, stirring up sounds never before heard, setting the bar for forward thinking music for decades to come – not to mention leaving some of the world’s greatest recordings in its wake.

In the middle of it all, Michael Zilkha, the affluent heir of a U.K. retail chain, and Michel Esteban, owner of an iconic Parisian concept store, willfully entered the zeitgeist and became crucial parts of it all – absorbing both the filthy no wave and punk rock from CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City, as well as the energetic and rhythmic underground disco from clubs like Paradise Garage and the Loft.

In 1978, Zilkha and Esteban founded ZE Records as an imprint to embrace both these trends.

In just a few years they released significant and influential recordings by artists like Was (Not Was), Suicide, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Lydia Lunch, James White (a.k.a. James Chance), Cristina, Lizzy Mercier Descloux and many others. The sound of ZE Records and the sound of New York are inherently linked. Both nourished the meetings of different genres, tastes and ideas – whether it was avant-garde, salsa, calypso or noise – blending it all into a hybrid of global grooves and urban decay.

Earlier this year Light in the Attic re-released Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s seminal debut record, Press Color, attracting renewed attention for both Descloux and ZE Records. We used the opportunity to Skype up with Michel Esteban, currently based in Thailand (and recovering from a broken collarbone due to a recent motorcycle accident) for a chat about ZE Records and his fascinating career, as well as French new wave, British punk, and of course the brilliant heyday of the New York underground and downtown scenes.

Was (Not Was)

Was (Not Was)

Michel Esteban was far from a newcomer when he started up ZE Records with Michael Zilkha.

His Parisian store, Harry Cover, specialized in imported records, books and rock merchandise, and became an epicenter in the French capital for local new wave bands.

– Yeah, it turned into an important place for Parisian bands, so I soon became involved with music. We had a rehearsal place in the basement, and this band Marie et Les Garcons came to see me with a demo. And I just said, “Let’s release it as a single.” It was very simple. That’s how it all started; just as a fun thing at the beginning. I had no idea of distribution deals or anything; we just sold it from the shop and through mail order.

Esteban had at the time already spent some time in New York, writing for the Village Voice and covering the new sound as publisher of Rock News, writing about artists like Ramones, Television and Patti Smith, and connecting it with the bourgeoning downtown scene. He had previously published Patti Smith’s books, Witt and The Night, leading to a friendship with John Cale, who Patti introduced to him to while Cale was producing her iconic debut, Horses. 

– I sent the Marie et Les Garcons’ demo tape to John in New York, and at that time such things took ages. But two-three months later he mailed back and said he’d like to produce their song “Re Bop” in New York.

How will you describe the scene in New York back in those days?

– At that time, New York underground was like 50 or 100 people, and you always met the same people around. Most of the people you met at CBGB’s or Max’s Kansas City were in bands, or they were groupies or friends of the bands. Also, there were not too many places to go to.

– In such an environment it was only natural that Talking Heads opened up for The Ramones. Musically they were very different, but you know, that happened at CBGB’s. After the show everyone just hung out by the bar, all the musicians stayed there, and they were all more or less like friends, even though there were lots of differences between people. Things happen like that, and I don’t think then we realized it was of any importance.

Cristina

Cristina

Did you sense that there was something new in the air?

– It was definitely something new, and definitely a break from the past, at least for a couple of years. It didn’t last that long. That’s why I call my upcoming book ‘Right Place, Right Time.’ It happened in the right place, at the right time. I don’t know why. Things go in circles, five years prior nothing much happened, and then it suddenly exploded, and lasted for three or four years.

– I was lucky enough to be there, and I was lucky enough to be in London and witness the beginning of The Sex Pistols, The Clash and the birth of British punk. I saw all their first gigs too. When Malcolm McLaren came into my shop in Paris he played me the demo of the Sex Pistols and asked me to come and see them in London the following month. It just happened.

What was your experience of New York the first time you arrived?

– It was just like expected, because I was such a big fan of New York. And New York for me was the films of Martin Scorcese and John Cassavettes, and the music of The Velvet Underground. So when I arrived in New York in 1974, I was in the film. When you went to Times Square in ‘74, it was not Disneyland, it was Taxi Driver.

– I’d been dreaming of New York for so long, and being 22, 23 at the time, for me it was a dream come true. It was a fantasy. But it was real. New York at that time was a very interesting place. It was bankrupt and violent, but lots of things happened. So for me it was just great.

From 1977 and onwards, Esteban started spending more time in New York than in Paris.

Around that same time John Cale called and wanted him to join his new label, Spy Records. Spy was a joint effort between Cale, Esteban, Jane Friedman (John and Patti’s manager) and Michael Zilkha. The collaboration lasted just a few months, until Zilkha and Esteban decided to start their own label: ZE records. One of the early key figures in the ZE circuit was his then-girlfriend, Lizzy Mercier Descloux.

How did you meet up with her in the first place?

– It is a very romantic story. I lived on rue des Halles in Paris, where I had my shop in the basement and my apartment on the fifth floor. Lizzy lived right in front of my building. I saw her the first time on the balcony, and thought she looked like a, you know, a really lovely girl. She was always riding a bike, and parked it in front of our building. So one day I just put on a note, telling her she looked nice and asked if she’d like to drop by my shop. She came, and we stayed friends for 40 years.

Lizzy died of cancer in 2004, but left behind her a vast catalog of music and art. Together with Esteban, she became an integral part of Harry Cover and the Rock News magazine. She joined him over to New York and together they befriended people like Richard Hell and Patti Smith.

– [Lizzy] was very instinctive. She never wanted to be a professional or learn too much. In a way that was good, but that was also her limit. It’s great for the first album; when you’re fresh and want do discover everything – even if the professional musicians and the studio say no. So, in the beginning it’s a quality, after a few albums… it’s not a quality anymore. You have to learn things in a way. But she was like that, more of a poet than a singer and musician.

Lizzy Mercier Descloux

Lizzy Mercier Descloux

Descloux followed these instincts on her debut album, Press Color, recorded over just a few days in February 1979 at Bob Blank’s legendary Blank Tapes studio.

– We came into the studio without one song. We had two ideas: doing cover versions of “Mission Impossible” and “Fire.” That’s it; the rest came in the studio just playing with the musicians.

What are your thoughts on ‘Press Color’ today?

– I still love it, because I can still see in detail how everything happened. And 35 years later people not even born at the time love it, and I’m amazed to read all the wonderful reviews, like when Pitchfork recently gave it a Best New Reissue. Great! I’m not gonna complain! But if you had asked me that question in 1979, I’d be like “Come on, we won’t care about this music in 35 years.” But it’s still there. And people enjoy it, so I guess we did something right.

During its existence ZE developed into an independent and varied entity with a particular esthetic line, covering the arty New York underground scene and the strong individualities that composed it.

At the height of their powers, ZE was hailed as “the best independent record label in world” by Melody Maker, and “the world’s most fashionable label” by The Face. Their influence on modern music is indisputable.

As Spin wrote a while back, “Like all great independent imprints, ZE took chances on oddballs nobody else would. And on the dance floor, at least, it had hits. These have been compiled in countless sequences over the decades, and their influence still echoes through contemporary music – from M.I.A. to Buraka Som Sistema, LCD Soundsystem, Electric Six, Ke$ha, Scissor Sisters, K-Pop, and New Orleans sissy bounce.”

Kid Creole

Kid Creole and the Coconuts

Ze released a steady stream of landmark releases, including James White and the Blacks’ Off White (1979), Lydia Lunch’s Queen of Siam (1980), the eponymous debut by Was (Not Was) (1981) and The Waitresses’ “I Know What Boys Like” (1982) – just to name a few.

Are there any of your own releases you hold especially dear?

– Oh, there are lots of them. I really like Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Material, Lizzy, Cristina, the second album by Suicide is really good. I absolutely love their song “Dream Baby Dream.” You know, we only did albums with people we liked, absolutely not in a music business sense with promotion, expectations and all that. We just did it! Fortunately we had money, and we had a good distribution deal with Chris Blackwell and Island Records. But basically we were just kids wanting to have fun.

You mentioned Suicide and the notorious Alan Vega. Did you become friends with him?

– Well, not exactly friends. [laughs] But obviously we knew everybody. You know, Michael [Zilkha] was the son of a billionaire, which is very rare in the music business, while I had some money from my shop. We literally were the two people with money. We were the bank to people whose life was very difficult in New York at the time. So that relationship was a bit strange, and something especially Michael had to manage when a guy like Alan Vega came up and demanded money. But we managed, and looking back 30 years later I think we did pretty good.

Suicide

Suicide

How will you describe the relationship between you and Michael?

– Almost everything we did was something we really wanted to do. Some ideas were mine, some were Michael’s work, and I was not crazy about all of them. We were different. I’m French, so even if I speak English I cannot read Shakespeare in English. Whilst Michael was raised in England, he went to Oxford and he was more into lyrics than me.

– I was into the music. The first records I bought as a kid – by The Beatles, Stones or Beach Boys – I didn’t understand a fucking word. It was all about the music and the spirit of the words. Michael read the lyrics first. He signed Davitt Sigerson for example, because he loved the words. I was not too crazy about the music, but that was his thing. And that was OK too.

What are your views on the music being made today?

– Look, I’m 64 years old. I’ve been listening to music since I was 10. I’ve been listening to so much music; it’s very difficult to impress me. When I hear new music I often say, “well, it’s not bad, but it reminds me of this or that,” you know? Listening to stuff that reminds me of music I’ve already experienced doesn’t really excite me.

– What excites me today is when I listen to something I haven’t heard before. Now I listen to lots of hip-hop music, there’s some productions there that’s just… wow! I’m not crazy about the lyrics and the melodies are sometimes not there, but on the production side there so much great stuff. For me, that’s new. I like a recording that says, before this there was something, after this there’s something else. I like albums that changes things, like what Massive Attack or Björk achieved in the ’90s.

James Chance, 1980. (Credit: Edo)

James Chance, 1980. (Photo: Edo)

Do you feel ZE Records has gotten its due recognition?

– We never cared about that when we started. It was all about just doing it. When the album is done, it’s done. Of course you’re happy if it sells and gets good reviews, but there’s nothing else you can do. It’s done, and you did it the best way you could at that time. I enjoy good reviews, but there’s nothing to do about it.

– Neither Michael nor me were looking for big success or recognition, we were interested in what we wanted at that time. Same thing as now: I’m living on a paradise island, just doing what I want to do. And to me that’s the most important thing about life. The rest – success, glory, money – if it comes, okay, but don’t sacrifice anything for it.

In 1982 Michel Esteban left New York and ZE Records to pursue other solo adventures, while still working with music as a producer.

Michael Zilkha closed down ZE Records two years later, in 1984, but in 2003, Esteban relaunched the imprint, which has released more than forty albums since 1978.

Bjørn Hammershaug

(first published on read.tidal.com, October 2015)

Days of Heaven: 1970-tallet – 100 Favorittlåter

70-tallet! For et fantastisk musikktiår. Fra etterdønningene av Woodstock til etterdønningene av punken, fra gedigen arenarock til tysk minimalisme, dette tiåret har alt – og det har noe av den aller beste musikken som er skapt. Denne listen med 100 utvalgte favorittlåter er mer en personlig odysse enn en nøktern framstilling av tiårets største og mest kjente hits. Mye bra der også, men bakom listene ligger deg også særs mye gull det er verdt å minnes.

Denne ferden starter omtrent midt i tiåret, med en Neil Young som reflekterer nettopp over dette tiåret han her er inne i, preget av nedturene etter 60-åras blomsterliv og søkende etter ny grunn. On the Beach er en påle ikke bare i hans diskografi, men i hele 70-tallsrocken. De første låtene angir mye av det som presenteres her, Nick Drake med sin noble britiske folk, Can med sin utagerende psykedelia, Television med sine sylskarpe gitardrønn fra New Yorks asfalt og Pink Floyd med sin utsvevende stormannsgalskap. Dette er en rundreise gjennom et fargerikt og variert tiår, som er langt bedre enn sitt rykte – begrenset ned til én låt pr. artist.

Disse låtene – i hvert fall de aller fleste – står seg dessuten like godt den dag i dag.

neil_young_1200

Neil Young: On the Beach (1974)
Nick Drake: Hazey Jane II (1970)
Can: Halleluwah (1971)
Television: Marquee Moon (1977)
Pink Floyd: Echoes (1971)
The Modern Lovers: Roadrunner (1977)
Bruce Springsteen: Thunder Road (1975)
Suicide: Ghost Rider (1977)
Chris Bell: I Am the Cosmos (1978)
Neu!: Hallogallo (1972)

soft_machine

The Soft Machine: Moon in June (1970)
Big Star: Thirteen (1972)
Gram Parsons: She (1973)
Allen Toussaint: Southern Nights (1975)
Bob Dylan: Hurricane (1976)
Electric Light Orchestra: Showdown (1973)
The Congos: Days Chasing Days (1979)
XTC: Making Plans For Nigel (1979)
Miles Davis: Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (1970)
The Stranglers: Nice ‘n’ Sleazy (1978)

alice_coltrane

Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance (1978)
The Clash: Guns of Brixton (1979)
Blondie: One Way or Another (1978)
John Martyn: Solid Air (1973)
Pharoah Sanders: Astral Traveling (1971)
The Nerves: Hanging on the Telephone (1976)
Alice Coltrane: Blue Nile (1970)
Gene Clark: Silver Raven (1974)
Shuggie Otis: Aht Uh Mi Hed (1974)
Bert Jansch: Needle of Death (1974)

creedence_clearwater_1200

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Run Through the Jungle (1970)
John Phillips: Topanga Canyon (1970)
Paul Giovanni & Magnet: The Willow Song (1973)
Garland Jeffreys: City Kids (1979)
Judee Sill: The Kiss (1973)
Syd Barrett: Dominoes (1970)
Patti Smith: Gloria (1975)
Harry Nilsson: Without You (1971)
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band: Kandy Korn (1971)
Todd Rundgren: I Saw the Light (1972)

dolly_parton

Dolly Parton: Jolene (1973)
Curtis Mayfield: Move On Up (1970)
Matthews Southern Comfort: Woodstock (1970)
Sonic Rendevouz Band: City Slang (1978)
America: Ventura Highway (1972)
Wire: Ex Lion Tamer (1977)
Jesse Colin Young: Ridgetop (1973)
Black Sabbath: Iron Man (1970)
Nick Lowe: Cruel to Be Kind (1979)
Poco: Magnolia (1973)

carpenters

Brinsley Schwarz: Country Girl (1970)
Junor Murvin: Police & Thieves (1976)
Archie Shepp: Attica Blues (1972)
Hole in the Wall: Restless Man (1972)
The Carpenters: (They Long to Be) Close to You (1970)
Flamin’ Groovies: Shake Some Action (1976)
Little Feat: Willin’ (1972)
Leonard Cohen: Avalanche (1971)
Al Green: Let’s Stay Together (1972)
Talking Heads: Psycho Killer (1977)

rodrigues

Dead Boys: Sonic Reducer (1977)
Graham Parker: You Can’t Be Too Strong (1979)
Donnie & Joe Emerson: Baby (1979)
Iggy & the Stooges: Down on the Street (1970)
The Adverts: Gary Gilmore’s Eyes (1977)
The Real Kids: All Kindsa Girls (1977)
The Rubinoos: I Think We’re Alone Now (1977)
Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1970)
Rodrigues: Sugar Man (1970)
Lynyrd Skynyrd: The Seasons (1970)

0 R

James Chance & The Contortions: Contort Yourself (1979)
ZZ Top: La Grange (1973)
Min Bul: Champagne of Course (1970)
This Heat: 24 Track Loop (1979)
The Motors: Airport (1978)
Kinky Friedman: Sold American (1974)
Gang Of Four: Damaged Goods (1979)
The Only Ones: Out There in the Night (1979)
Tom Petty: American Girl (1977)
Tom Robinson Band: 2 4 6 8 Motorway (1977)

kris_kristofferson

Steve Young: Alabama Highway (1975)
Loudon Wainwright III: School Days (1970)
B-52’s: Rock Lobster (1979)
Gong: The Isle of Everywhere (1974)
Augustus Pablo: King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown (1975)
Richard Hell and the Voidoids: Blank Generation (1977)
Hall & Oates: Lady Rain (1973)
Jimmy Webb: Galveston (1972)
Kris Kristofferson: Border Lord (1972)
Jimi Hendrix: Machine Gun (1970)

jobim_1200

Joe McPhee: Nation Time (1971)
Graham Nash: Chicago (1971)
Tim Buckley: Sweet Surrender (1972)
Karen Dalton: Katie Cruel (1971)
Graham Nash/David Crosby: Southbound Train (1972)
Last Poets: Niggers Are Scared of Revolution (1970)
Marianne Faithfull: Broken English (1979)
Flower Travellin’ Band: Satori 1 (1971)
Antonio Carlos Jobim: Brazil (1970)
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: Working Class Hero (1970)

Bjørn Hammershaug

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

Soundtrack
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