Guerilla Toss - GT ULTRA
GT Ultra is the second full length album by Guerilla Toss on DFA Records. The album demonstrates a remarkable shift in sound, musicianship and songwriting, without ever giving up the unhinged quality that made their earlier recordings so exciting.
The album title GT Ultra is a clever nod to ‘Project MK Ultra’, the government sponsored experiments using new experimental drugs to explore mind control, torture and forced confessions, often with LSD as their drug of choice. These tests lasted from the mid 1950’s-1960’s, but with a new administration in the white house, government sponsored torture is fresh again on many minds.
The songs on the album ricochet back and forth between hyper bouncy pop and deeper darker longer, more nuanced tracks. Peter Negroponte’s drumming, always a major highlight for the band, are in full force once again, this time bringing a Nassau/Compass Point feel to many tracks, like the classic recordings of Grace Jones and Talking Heads.
Kassie’s vocals and lyrics are both more personal and more cryptic than ever. But you can hear every word this time, and there is a lyric sheet. As preferred, the meaning is within the listener. It is a dream state record for sure, meant to take you along on a similar vibe that the band has been tripping on these past few years, filled with an insistence to “hydrate, gyrate, think straight, no weight”, all the while under the influence of golden beams of orange sunshine, glimmering glitter and kaleidoscopic bursts.
It is no mistake the album is wrapped in vintage blotter acid, created by legendary LSD archivist and artist Mark McCloud and The Institute of Illegal Images, based out of San Francisco.
1. Betty Dreams Of Green Men
2. Can I Get The Real Stuff
3. Crystal Run
4. TV Do Tell
5. The String Game
6. Skull Pop
7. Dog In The Mirror
8. Dose Rate
Delia Gonzalez - Horse Follows Darkness LP
The title is taken from a werewolf genre film her 8 year old son Wolfgang had created. At this time, Wolfgang also turned Delia onto a genre of cinema she had always resisted - the American Western.
Delia explains that what she observed “was all relevant - the album is based on our personal experience of moving back to America (from Berlin) and the journey that followed. The record is a manifestation of that, and what one creates for themselves under the given circumstances. Coming back to America, I felt like a foreigner and NYC / America felt like the Wild West. Most Westerns from the 1960s to the present have revisionist themes. Many were made by emerging major filmmakers who saw the Western as an opportunity to expand their criticism of American society and values into
a new genre.”
The narrative of the record is one of re-encountering the frontier mentality that shaped the country but somehow never faded. This time as a foreigner. The genre of the Western remains pertinent, many of the same stories of that brutally deromanticised era are still relevant today. America hasn’t changed - the cast, times and settings have, but we still hold onto the same ideal.
Horse Follows Darkness is essentially a modern electronic soundtrack for the Revisionist Western. Even the idea for the record cover is inspired by one of the most well known modern Westerns, Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs Miller.
The album was recorded with Abe Seiferth at Transmitter Park studios, which Delia likens to “going to the finest tailor”. Abe became an integral part of the recording, playing guitar and helping to suggest experimenting with different synthesizers, something Delia was keen to do. Delia refers to Abe as a magical and incredibly intuitive collaborator” regarding the sound of the record.
The music that emerged from these recording sessions combines a range of influences - from the compositions of Erik Satie to ‘Salon De Musique’, the solo piano record by Su Tissue (of the L.A. punk band Suburban Lawns). The record also took on a much different shape and sound with the introduction of the Sequential Circuits Prophet VS, as well as a vintage Korg Poly synth and the Roland SH-101. The golden era Krautrock recordings of bands like Neu!, Cluster & Harmonia were touchstones as well, the repetition, swirling soundscapes and locked-in rhythm tracks.
Delia Gonzalez is a Cuban-American musician and artist, based in both New York City & Berlin. Her disciplines include everything from composer to filmmaker, dancer / choreographer, sculptor, painter & performance artist. Her musical career with DFA Records began in 2004 when the label released the 12” single “Relevee”, followed by the album of cosmic acid-house “The Days of Mars”, with Delia and then musical partner Gavin Russom.
In 2015, DFA released Delia’s first solo album entitled “In Remembrance”, which was a full piano score for a 30 minute filmed ballet, a perfect example of the type of work Delia creates as a multi-disciplinary artist.
1. In Through The Light
2. Hidden Song
4. Horse Follows Darkness
The Juan Maclean - Can You Ever Really Know Somebody
"Can You Ever Really Know Somebody" is the kind of slinky song that is easily absorbed and difficult to forget. It is a taste of things to come, as The Juan Maclean prepares a brand new LP for DFA due out in Fall 2017.
The remix is courtesy of LA-4A, aka Ambivalent and legally known as American born producer Kevin McHugh. Stripping out the house music and replacing it with a grinding electro-acid template, LA-4A creates a lovely buzzing new bed of music for Nancy Whang’s vocals to rest on top of it. This is a remix with wildly successful results and a perfect companion to the original.
1. Can You Ever Really Know Somebody (Original)
2. Can You Ever Really Know Somebody (Instrumental)
3. Can You Ever Really Know Somebody (LA-4A Remix)
4. Can You Ever Really Know Somebody (LA-4A Dub)
Nils Bech - Echo LP
Echo is on black vinyl with a full color art inner sleeve.
“Echo”, the first album for DFA from acclaimed Norwegian avant garde pop vocalist Nils Bech. It is set for release on October 14th.
A busy stage actor and singer already well known in his native Norway for three albums released on Oslo’s Fysisk Format, “Echo” marks a pivotal turning point for Bech, and something of a radical sonic departure too. The keys to the seachange lie with Bech’s new collaborator, the young underground DJ, producer and beat maker Drippin’, known for his work with American rap artists such as LE1F and Cakes Da Killa. As a result, where his previous work was strange, ethereal and otherworldly – completely and utterly unique - “Echo” throbs with a renewed sense of vigour and urgency, without losing any of the idiosyncratic beauty which marked Bech’s work out before.
The sound created here is strange and immediate. Stuttering sharp bass kicks combine with clanging 5-alarm snare drums made of glass, orchestra stabs and melancholy piano lines jump in and out of the arrangements. These new elements and ideas are married to the already singular voice of Nils Bech, with “Echo” becoming something new, exciting and 100% Norwegian - homegrown and ready for the world. Just listen to new track “Waiting” for evidence of his truly inimitable vision, as martial drums anchor Bech’s floating, weightless vocals, to create something swoonsome, beguiling and defiantly its own creature.
The music comes to full fruition when performed live, as proven at two packed performances at the 2016 By Larm Festival where Nils was joined onstage by both Drippin’ & Øyvind Mathisen, who also produced, arranged and played on the album alongside Bech. Make sure not to miss the completely original and striking sound of Nils Bech.
- Too Little Too Late
- Glimpse Of Hope
- Please Stay
- Drip, Drip
- Let Go
- A Sudden Sickness
DFA Records Compilation #1 2xLP
This magical mythical first group of releases from DFA included “House of Jealous Lovers” by The Rapture, “Losing My Edge” & “Give It Up” by LCD Soundsystem. It also included two very different approaches to dance music from The Juan Maclean – “By The Time I Get To Venus” and “You Can’t Have It Both Ways”, which subtly introduced the world to the vocal powers of Nancy Whang.
Black Dice also released a 12” single, throwing their noise roots behind a 4/4 screech and created one of the most unique singles in the DFA catalog with “Cone Toaster”.
The compilation was edited to fit onto one CD, more a sampler than a completist’s anthology. In hindsight, it should have been an anthology of the first 5 singles in full but the A sides had enough momentum happening to make the sampler a bonafide success for the label.
The 8.0 review from Pitchfork in 2003 helped cement the DFA label as both the leaders of a new production approach, as well as a collection of artists who could co-exist make music together and please both the discerning DJ and the indie rock enthusiasts.
In the review, the writer Nick Sylvester calls DFA “The Neptunes of the discopunk underground”, which maybe seems funny and far-fetched now, but back in 2003 was a compliment and comparison that DFA were very willing to accept. It is now 2016 and both parties continue to work and stay busy and relevant. Success being relative, this compilation represents the humble beginnings of the label and the birth / re-birth of DFA flagship artists The Rapture, The Juan Maclean, LCD Soundsystem & Black Dice.
This is the first time this title has ever been pressed to vinyl.
Crooked Man - Crooked Man 2xLP
See that man on a far off hill, working his dog while attempting to find shelter from the howling wind and driving rain? That’s the Crooked Man, the very antithesis of the modern dance music producer. He lives a simple life, dragging his world‐weary soul across the moors in an endless bid to escape the fallout from 30 years spent at the forefront of Sheffield’s electronic music scene. Once regarded as one of the Steel City’s greatest selectors, he now admits to being gripped by fear at the idea of DJing, and refuses to spend any time in nightclubs.
He may be ill at ease with the darkroom throb of 21st century clubs, but the house music the Crooked Man produces is as weighty, alien, raw and left of‐centre as anything you’d get from many a hyped young producer. He’s assisted in his studio endeavours by two other Sheffield survivors: former Clock DVA man Michael Ward, and David Lewin, once the other half of Bleep & Booster with former ABC and Vice Versa man Stephen Singleton.
The Crooked Man’s music blends wonky electronic rhythms, heavy bass and razor sharp, politically aware lyrics, often delivered by the honeyed tonsils of Pete Simpson. For proof, check out the banker‐baiting “Scum (Always Rises The Top)”, or the bittersweet social commentary of “Fools & Fanatics”. The Crooked Man may be world weary, but he’s still brimming with rage. Few could have foreseen a link between this jaded recluse and New York’s militantly forward‐looking DFA Records. But then again, the Crooked Man does have history.
Raised a farm boy, his life changed when he first heard the industrial funk and futurist electronic pop of local bands Cabaret Voltaire and the Human League. Bored of having no decent parties to go to, he became DJ Parrot and began promoting the soon to be legendary Jive Turkey events in 1985. Alongside his DJ partner Winston Hazel, he united Sheffield’s disparate dancers by joining the dots between Northern Soul, disco, hip‐hop, electro and the emerging underground dance sounds of Chicago, Detroit and New York.
In 1987, an early foray into music production accidentally created a hit record, the major label‐signed “Hustle (To The Music)” by Funky Worm. The commercial desires of a large, conservative label proved hugely frustrating, and he soon yearned to break free and head back underground. Salvation came from within Sheffield, with the launch of Warp Records. He teamed up with Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H Kirk under the Sweet Exorcist alias, delivering the peerless “Testone” in 1990, one of the landmark records of the bleep era. The pair went on to release the first album on Warp, C.C.E.P., in 1991.
Many records under different aliases followed, for both independent and major labels, before Parrot once again found himself chart‐bound as part of eccentric Steel City trio All Seeing I. Their debut album, 1999’s Pickled Eggs & Sherbet, featured contributions from some of Sheffield’s finest, including Jarvis Cocker and The Human League’s Phil Oakey.
Since then, Parrot has kept a low profile. When not working his sheepdogs, he’s quietly produced for Roisin Murphy, Add N To (X), Richard Hawley and Toddla T, amongst others. His decision, some years back, to revisit his love of raw, bass‐heavy house music merely marks another twist in the winding path of the Crooked Man.
- Coming Up For Air
- This Machine (Kills Me)
- The Girl With Better Clothes
- Scum (Always Rises To The Top)
- Fools And Fanatics
- Try Me
- I'll Be Loving You
Factory Floor - 25 25 2xLP
Factory Floor return in 2016 with 25 25, their second album and the follow up to their acclaimed 2013 self-titled debut. With their music stripped to a mesmerising dance of percussion, fragmented voice and melody, it captures the next vital stage in the evolution of one of the UK’s most restless and exploratory groups.
The dazzlingly sharp, dubbed-out acid disco of ‘Meet Me At The End’ opens 25 25 in a surge of raw momentum. Both Factory Floor’s sparsest and most overtly club-centred track to date, it sets the tone for the rest of the album. Written and recorded by Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Colk Void in late 2015 and early 2016, it’s the product of the last three years of intensive musical activity — non-stop live performances, artistic collaborations, writing new music and reconfiguring the limits of their sound.
Inspired by playing a growing number of late night club shows, the pair’s music gradually evolved into the sound captured on their second album and in their current live incarnation: a stark, ultra-minimalist and eerily soulful dancefloor pulse, yet one that still bears Factory Floor’s unmistakable hallmarks of hypnotic repetition and jagged, punkish intensity.
That their second album is as distinct from its predecessor as their debut was from their earliest singles is unsurprising — a desire to explore, to push their own boundaries, is hardwired into Factory Floor at DNA level. Emerging in 2009 the group gained a reputation for their stunning live shows, which pummeled audiences with waves of electro-shocked rhythm. From the death-rattle of early single ‘A Wooden Box’ through their debut’s convulsive singles ‘Two Different Ways’ and ‘Fall Back’ and into 25 25’s skeletal ‘Wave’ and ‘Dial Me In’, their music has continued to forge links between industrial, post-punk and the UK’s post-acid house dance lineages.
The close friendships and collaborations they’ve established along the way attest to those connections, among them Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle/Chris & Cosey, Perc, Optimo, New Order and Simon Fisher Turner.
Mixed with razor precision by David Wrench (FKA twigs, Caribou), the results are all the more forceful for that newfound space. ‘Relay’ is a spooked vocal house anthem, with Void’s voice processed into a thrillingly metallic chant. ‘Wave’ and ‘Slow Listen’ are deadly, perpetual motion machine dance tracks infused with the frontier spirit of Sheffield bleep and industrial techno. And the title track itself sums up the duo in 2016; its jarring repetitions and disorienting melodic motifs are somehow classic Factory Floor, yet shot into sparse, strangely moving new spaces. “You get into your own world and use your own vision,” says Void of the process of writing 25 25. “This really is probably the most ‘me’ record that I’ve ever done.”
- Meet Me At The End
- Slow Listen
- 25 25
- Dial Me In
- Upper Left
Eric Copeland - Black Bubblegum LP
Black Bubblegum is on black vinyl
Black Bubblegum is the newest LP from Eric Copeland, and we are not kidding when we emphasize it sounds like nothing he has done in the past. The title of the record says it all: chewy, sticky pop that doesn’t taste quite like any chewy, sticky pop you’ve had before.
Recorded at Copeland’s old practice space in South Williamsburg, Black Bubblegumcontains songs with more conventional sounds and songwriting than any of his previous releases. While there are similarities with Copeland’s earlier work in the drum patterns, major scales and vocals, Black Bubblegum moves away from his trademark psychedelic dub towards strange and fantastical pop. Wanting to take a more “hands-on” approach to these recordings, Copeland exchanged sample-driven tech and hardware for keyboards, guitars and effect pedals, creating a new sound that is oddly easy to digest despite its rejection of melody in favour of discord and dissonance. While there are similarities with Copeland’s earlier work in the drum patterns, major scales and vocals, Black Bubblegum moves away from his trademark psychedelic dub towards strange and fantastical pop; imagine Arthur Russell going into the studio with the Ramones.
For a long time, Copeland considered this collection of songs to be recordings which would never be heard. This invariably influenced certain decisions made during the creation of Black Bubblegum, blessing Copeland with the unique freedom that comes from making music never intended to be heard, let alone released.
When asked to please jot down what influenced this new album and sound, Eric replied”glam holes, glitter dreams, money troubles, apocalypse paranoia, one hit wonders, manifest destiny, my family's westward migration, body troubles (was passing kidney stones almost the entire time), LGBT disco parties, Jonathan Richman, Missing Foundation, Neil Diamond, New Orleans, poverty, getting pushed out of another Brooklyn neighbourhood... No Beach Boys, no Beatles, no Buddha... More Bad News Bears.”
Eric Copeland has been sound clashing at full volume for over twenty years, first carving out a named for himself as one third of the legendary NY-via-Providence band Black Dice. A wildly prolific solo artist, Copeland has played shit houses, party palaces and seemingly everything in between all over the world.
A long time Brooklyn, resident, Eric recently relocated to where the L Train does not run - Palma de Mallorca, Spain. While maintaining a relatively humble and low key presence in a highly competitive musical world, he has releases a prolific amount of music every year through indie labels such as L.I.E.S., Escho (Iceage), PPM (No Age), Paw Tracks (Animal Collective) and DFA.
- Kids In A Coma
- Rip It
- Fuck It Up
- Honorable Mentions
- Blue Honey
- Cannibal World
- Don't Beat Your Baby
- Radio Weapons
- Get My Own
Shit Robot - What Follows 2xLP
PREORDER ITEM SHIPS MAY 6
Marcus Lambkin aka Shit Robot returns with his third full length album for DFA Records, entitled What Follows. The 11-track album was conceived and recorded at Marcus’ home studio in a small town outside Stuttgart; worked on in various New York studios and then mixed over the course of 11 intense & coffee-fuelled days in DFA label mate Juan Maclean’s New Hampshire studio.
The album follows Lambkin’s previous long-players, From The Cradle To The Rave (2010) and We Got A Love (2014), which drew plaudits from the likes of The Guardian and Pitchfork, and featured Reggie Watts and James Murphy among the array of contributors.
The Dublin-born producer has enlisted the help of a stellar cast of guests for What Follows, with previous collaborators Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) and DFA stablemates Museum of Love & Nancy Whang returning, alongside new faces Jay Green and leftfield fellow Dubliner New Jackson.
What Follows marks a departure in Lambkin’s process - a simple, but fundamental one: getting away from the computer. He said: “This record is a lot more analog than 'We Got A Love', almost all of it comes from connecting machines together and playing around.” What was your biggest influence? “Drum machines.” What began in Stuttgart was followed up on in New York, before being finished in an 11-day blitz in New Hampshire with Juan Maclean.
Lambkin: “This is the first time that I actually sat down and said, ‘I'm going to make an album now and I'm going to finish it by a specific date and time.’ I wanted to make a record that was more cohesive, that sounded like it all came from the one session. I wanted it to reflect my DJing style a bit more, less pop, less disco, more machines. There's no live bass and barring a few hi-hats, there's no live drums.
“I began in Stuttgart - simply by creating about 12 drum loops. I then synched these up to some gear and created some bass lines so I had some solid grooves to start with. Then I went to NY and spent a couple of days at Holy Ghost's studio playing around with Nick and his modular synth coming up with different sequences and sounds. I then took all this over to Transmitter Park Studios in Greenpoint and spent a few days with the wizard that is Morgan Wiley of Midnight Magic and Tippy Toes. He's one of my favourite keyboard players on the planet. Sometimes I had a specific thing I wanted him to do, but mostly I just played him some things I like and got him to jam out on what I had come up with or play some nice chords or chord progressions.
“I took all this back home and started to fool around with it and knock it into shape before sending it out for vocals. With the song I did with Museum Of Love, 'What Follows', Dennis and Pat were actually in Europe and they came by and stayed with me for a few days, so we made that one in Stuttgart over a few nights once I got the kids to bed. It was particularly fun and easy. I think the wine helped.
“Then I brought it all to Juan's World in New Hampshire where we drank a LOT of coffee and did some additional production and mixed everything. Finishing the record with Juan was a game changer for me. We worked so hard. We finished eleven songs in eleven days, no joke.”
The results are convincing - What Follows is definitely an album dedicated to dance music, but one that retains hallmarks of his previous LPs: good songs. Alexis Taylor turns in two memorable performances on lead single ‘End Of The Trail’ and album opener ‘In Love’; Museum of Love - Pat Mahoney and Dennis McNany - lend the album title track an air of something mined from the two months in between the death of Joy Division and the birth of New Order; and Nancy Whang gave such a strong vocal for ‘Lose Control’ that Lambkin and Maclean threw out the existing track and recorded the backing along with the vocal in one take, which the two producers working the machines live. Lambkin: “I had so much fun with Lose Control - and it inspired me to make so much more music. I've written 12 new tracks since finishing the record.”
Newbies Jay Green and New Jackson hit their marks too - Green - best known for fronting American punk bands Orchid and Panthers - narrates Is There No End as though it were sibling to From The Cradle To The Rave’s single Simple Things. New Jackson makes two appearances, on both Phase Out and OB-8 (Winter Version), adding oddball vocals and spaced-out Krautrock guitar arrangements.
How did the guests come about? Lambkin: “I didn't have a big plan, I just knew that I wanted to work with friends. I knew I wanted to do something with Museum Of Love again. I also knew I would do something with Nancy, I couldn't make a Shit Robot record without Nancy. Then while I was working on End Of The Trail, I could hear Alexis's voice in my head, it just seemed a perfect fit. New Jackson is my younger brother’s old room mate and I've wanted to do something with Jay ever since I made the Green Machine 12”s a few years back.”
What Follows was preceded by two 12” singles - Where Its At (Feat. Reggie Watts), backed with a killer remix from Johnny Aux - and original version of album closer OB-8.
- In Love (Feat. Alexis Taylor)
- What Follows (Feat. Museum of Love)
- Ten Miles High
- Lose Control (Feat. Nancy Whang)
- End Of The Trail (Feat. Alexis Taylor)
- Phase Out
- Wir Warten
- Is There No End (Feat. Jay Green)
- OB-8 (Winter Mix) [Feat. New Jackson]
Holy Ghost! - Crime Cutz EP
The new EP Crime Cutz is the first new original Holy Ghost! music since the NYC-based duo of Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel released their sophomore album 2013’s Dynamics. As with most of their catalog, “Crime Cutz” benefits from Holy Ghost!’s insistence on tactile instrumentation with live drums recorded over the track to accelerate its tempo.
The duo are quite methodical in their output—shimmering bursts of disco, synth-pop, and lingering grooves—but that doesn’t mean HolyGhost! is not prodigious. Over nearly a decade, they have gone from being DFA’s rising sons to triple threats: indefatigable DJs, producers remixing new life into the work of Cut Copy and Katy Perry alike, and inventive musicians who’ve released countless original singles. They’re again adding to their thinking-man’s dance repertoire with the vibrant Crime Cutz EP out later this year on DFA Records.
LCD Soundsystem - Give It Up (Limited Edition White Label 7")
We found the parts to this long-out-of-print LCD Soundsystem 7"! You may know these two guitar jams from the bonus disc of their 2005 Self-Titled LP. Super heavy 7" hand-stamped white label single that also includes a copy of the picture sleeve!
This will ship in November and is a numbered edition of 500.
- Give It Up
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver LP
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
The debut LP from LCD Soundsystem. We probably don't need much of a sales pitch on this one. 1xLP in a tip-on sleeve.
- Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
- Too Much Love
- Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up
- On Repeat
- Disco Infiltrator
- Great Release
LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
Of the many arresting moments that fill LCD Soundsystem's This Is Happening, perhaps the most unexpected comes less than halfway through album opener "Dance Yrself Clean." The seemingly unassuming, low-key rumble of a song morphs from its mumbled beginnings into an outsized flash of synth ballast and wailing vocals. The sudden shift is like the flicking on of a light, the perfect example of frontman-songwriter-mastermind James Murphy's effortless balance of restraint and release, organic rock and electro pop, and muted cool and vibrant emotion. This study in contrasts pervades LCD Soundsystem's third, and possibly final, release--an album where Murphy refracts images of heartbreak and longing through the scattered light of a disco ball.
The cautious observations and honest reveals that follow are literally and figuratively quieter moments than that initial blare. On "All I Want," against a wall of whirling guitar, Murphy recognizes a relationship that can't be saved, and instead asks for "your pity" and "your bitter tears." "Get Along" shuffles over pulsing keys and bubbling percussion as Murphy tries to bridge physical and emotional distance, singing, "You might forget, forget the sound of a voice / Still, you shouldn't forget the things we laughed about." Conversely, the sparsely decorated, sauntering "Somebody's Calling Me" is almost hopeful in comparison: "Somebody's calling me" Murphy half whispers, "to be my girl."
There are stretches of lyrical levity here, too. "You Wanted a Hit," which sits atop shiny synths, a driving bass-line and layers of handclaps, laments record label demands on what turns out to be one of the album's hookiest tracks. "Pow Pow" veers toward past "talkies" like "Losing My Edge," and features keyboardist Nancy Whang shouting in unison with Murphy.
With This Is Happening, Murphy has created a work of both nuanced introspection and distanced observation. DFA is proud to offer the vinyl version of this much lauded release, which also includes contributions from drummer Pat Mahoney and sound collagist Gavin Russom.
PYLON - "LIVE" 2xLP
“Randy Bewley and Michael Lachowski’s simple lines display untoward rhythm and melody, respectively. Curtis Crowe bangs away so obdurately it’s hard to understand why he didn’t become rich. Vanessa Briscoe Hay barks and brays whatever incantatory phrases seem called for. Timeless. Cool.” Robert Christgau, Dean of American Rock Critics
“[Pylon] stands as shockingly modern and unparalleled these many years later.” Michael Stipe, R.E.M.
1983 was a banner year for Pylon. The Athens quartet released their second album, Chomp, on Atlanta-based DB Records, toured the country extensively, and played several opening slots for then-up-and-comers U2. And then, without a hint of explanation, they quit.
Their final show at the Mad Hatter in Athens, Georgia, was, as was always the case, a frenzy of minimal disco thud, post-punk guitar scree, and deliriously inspired howl. Oh, and dancing — always dancing — both in the crowd and on stage. The gig was recorded (both audio and video) for a failed PBS pilot called Athens Shows, and the tapes were put away and forgotten. That is, until now.
Around three years ago, after Pylon’s DFA reissues hit the street, Chunklet CEO (and card-carrying member of the Pylon Fan Club) Henry Owings emailed the band bemoaning the lack of bonus material on the CDs, which sparked a larger conversation. “My favorite Pylon is live Pylon,” said bassist Michael Lachowski, with which Henry wholeheartedly agreed. Following a cordial sit-down at Michael’s apartment over the New Year’s holiday of 2015, an exhaustive search began for live recordings by Pylon. More specifically, live recordings from Athens in the early ’80s. Oh, and that sounded as good, if not better, than their proper full-length albums.
Numerous dead ends followed, but finally, and somewhat fittingly, the multitrack recordings of Pylon’s final performance at the Mad Hatter in 1983 were unearthed. Once the tapes were transferred and subsequently mixed, the explosive and compelling sounds raised one very significant question: Why in the world did Pylon quit?
For a band whose legacy, in their original incarnation at least, was two full-length albums and a handful of singles, Pylon were first and foremost a live band who weren’t as interested in working in a studio. Pylon’s raison d’être was performing for a crowd, and now there’s conclusive validation.
Pylon Live is a double vinyl album recorded on the band’s home turf at the culmination of their powers, and the results could not be more stellar. An all killer, no filler set with nothing left on the cutting room floor, Pylon Live includes powerful versions of the Pylon canon from their first and second LPs and even the hard-to-find song “Party Zone” (previously available only on a DB Rec comp) and their never-before-released
When compared to the band’s prior body of work, Pylon Live bookends all of it; some might even say it’s a better representation of this Athens quartet, who thrived on bouncing around on stage infinitely more than sitting in a studio.
There’s little arguing that the Athens powerhouse trifecta of R.E.M., the B-52’s, and Pylon is peerless. And while all three bands have achieved great critical acclaim, only the first two had the commercial acclaim they deserved. Pylon Live intends to correct that.
Pylon Live was released on July 25, 2016, the birthday of deceased Pylon guitarist Randy Bewley, with release events scheduled for this summer in Atlanta and Athens.
DFA Compilation #1 Shirt