Music Reviews

Theoretical Girls



Colleges of America, beware. A reissue of a legendary No-Wave band is imminent. New York City, circa 1978-1981. Let’s talk about SEX APPEAL. We’ve got all these pissed-off intellectuals, making raw noise, collaborating on multimedia projects, making something really beautiful representative of a time and a place, and that time and place being one of the truly special times and places of the past century. Throw in Lydia Lunch, and you’ve got a visible erection just waiting to jump out of your Dockers.

A lot of the people from this time period are still highly regarded. Arto Lindsay went on to combine Brazilian and electronic music, Ikue Mori has become rather successful with the current New York avant-garde, James Chance continued to do his thing, Lydia Lunch started doing spoken word, John Lurie went fishing, Glenn Branca became a highly-regarded minimalist composer. Yet, while recordings of DNA, Teenage Jesus and Jerks, and James Chance have all surfaced in reissues, Branca’s band, Theoretical Girls, were pretty much doomed to only being heard about in Sonic Youth interviews.

Acute Records has the solution. Yet, what was assumed to be Branca’s band is being historically revised. Apparently Theoretical Girl Jeffery Lohn wrote all the songs. That’s not to say that from the first second you put on the Theoretical Girls album you won’t hear ideas reminiscent of Branca’s. There are those beautiful sheets of guitar wail, but in a sweet, pounding rock format, sometimes with an overdriven organ sound like that on the Modern Lovers first album. The focus on shimmering microtones isn’t here as much, it’s in the background behind a punky din of power chords with a rash of treble.

Yes, there’s really thumping reissue in the Theoretical Girls album, and it’s begging for heavy rotation. It’s unique and oblique and finally available. Plus it’s historically relevant, which is reason enough to make 90 percent of people pick it up anyway.

Acute Records:

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