Downtown Music III: Bibliography and Resources


Bush Tetras
Glenn Branca
Certain General
James Chance (Contortions, James White and the Blacks)
Rhys Chatham
Fred Frith (Skeleton Crew, Massacre)
Golden Palominos
Kid Creole and the Coconuts
Lounge Lizards
Lizzy Mercier Descloux
Arthur Russell / Dinosaur L
Elliott Sharp
Sonic Youth
Teenage Jesus and the Jerks / Lydia Lunch
Y Pants
Z'EV (Stefan Weisser)


Artists Space (105 Hudson Street (1977-84), later 223 W. Broadway & 38 Greene Street)
Squat Theater (256 W. 23rd St.)
Mudd Club (77 White Street)
CBGB (315 Bowery)
Club 57 (57 St. Mark's Place)
Irving Plaza (17 Irving Place)
8 BC (8th St. between Ave. B & Ave. C)
Tier 3 (225 West Broadway)
Danceteria (30 W. 21st St.)
Pyramid (101 Ave. A)
Darinka (118 E. 1st St.)
Chandelier (120 Ave. C)
Inroads (150 Mercer St.)
Hurrahs (36 W. 62nd St.)
Rock Lounge (West Broadway and Canal Street)
Peppermint Lounge (128 W. 45th St., 100 Fifth Avenue)
Limbo Lounge (339 E. 10th St., 647 E. 9th St.)
A-7, later King Tut's Wa-Wa Hut (112 Ave. A)
The Kitchen (59 Wooster St.)
A Space (Broome St. between Chrystie & Bowery)
White Columns (325 Spring St.)
Cat Club (132 4th Ave.)

Selected Bibliography

Foege, Alec. Confusion is Next: The Sonic Youth Story. New York: St. Martin's, 1994.
Foerge chronicles the great success story of the 'eighties downtown rock world. The early chapters situate the band within the post-no-wave scene.

Reynolds, Simon. Rip It Up and Start Again: Post Punk 1978-84. London: Faber & Faber, 2005.
Reynolds' wide-ranging study of music in the wake of punk discusses New York no wave (pp. 50-72) and mutant disco/punk funk (pp. 383-402).

Selected Discography

Various Artists. No New York. Island Records, 1978.
The original, classic no wave compilation, produced by Brian Eno. Includes DNA, The Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and Mars.

Various Artists. New York Noise: Dance Music from the New York Underground 1978-1982. Soul Jazz, 2003.
This compilation focuses on No Wave and the "punk-funk" and "mutant disco" of the 'eighties downtown rock scene. Artists include DNA, The Contortions, Glenn Branca, Theoretical Girls, Material, Defunkt, and Bush Tetras.

Various Artists. New York Noise, Vol. 2. Soul Jazz, 2006.
The followup volume from Soul Jazz features Mofungo, Sonic Youth, Y Pants, Rhys Chatham, and Glenn Branca, among others.

Various Artists. Amplified: New Music Meets Rock, 1981-1986. Orange Mountain Music, 2005.
The music on this compilation represents, in Rhys Chatham's words (from liner notes), "a musical vocabulary coming out of the classical avant-garde minimalist scene of New York of the late sixties and the rhythmic thrust of the No New York scene of the middle seventies." Includes tracks by Sonic Youth, Swans, Arthur Russell, Christian Marclay, Rhys Chatham and Elliott Sharp.


Downtown '81. Dir. Edo Bertoglio. Zeitgeist Films, 2002. DVD. Zeitgeist Video, 2002.
Written by Glenn O'Brien and starring Jean-Michel Basquiat, this film was shot on location in downtown New York in 1981 but not completed until two decades later. If somewhat lacking as cinema, it's an important historical document for interior scenes of the Mudd Club and the Peppermint Lounge, and performances by DNA, James White and the Blacks, and Kid Creole and the Coconuts. The commentary by O'Brien and producer Maripol provides a fascinating perspective on the heavy-partying side of the scene.

Kill Your Idols. Dir. Scott Crary. Hunger Artist Productions, 2004. DVD. Palm Pictures, 2006.
A documentary about no wave, 'eighties noise rock, and contemporary bands that are trying to recapture their spirit, Kill Your Idols features important archival footage of Sonic Youth, Swans, DNA, Theoretical Girls, and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks.

Web Resources

Glenn O'Brien, "Style Makes the Band"
Scenester O'Brien's memoir of downtown rock culture in the '80s appeared in ArtForum in October 1999.

No Wave Photo Archive

VH1 No Wave Catalog
A list of in-print recordings, with cover art, from the VH1 online store.

All Music Guide No Wave entry

Concerts at Squat Theater, 1979-81

Noisefest Press Release (from Sonic Youth website)

"The NYC Underground, Then and Now" (Boston Phoenix roundup of compilation discs)

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