No Wave

Other White junkies and degenerates of New York City’s Lower East Side embody what Robertson described as well. The purposeful atonality of the No Wave music scene (complete with a jazz influence), and the sophomorically pornographic Cinema of Transgression movement were both in full swing as the city its adherents inhabited began to look more and more like wasteland somewhere in the third world.



No Wave led to Swans and Foetus. Swans and Foetus led to Wiseblood, which set out to create, in their own words, “violent macho American music”. Those three bands, especially Swans, were influential in the creation of a new American (or Usonian, if you prefer) style of music, which is best exemplified by Cobalt’s album Gin.

Swans also inspired The Young Gods, a Swiss band (interestingly, Roli Mosimann, an early Swans drummer who went on to form Wiseblood, was also originally from Switzerland), which influenced bands like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry — and Agalloch, the best-known Cascadian black metal band.

Are you SWANS fans? Perhaps it sounds strange, but AGALLOCH reminds me of this band…

Anderson: “I am flattered that we remind you of SWANS. I have to say that SWANS is one of the most important bands in my life. I think they are absolutely brilliant and one of the most prolific bands to ever grace this Earth. When I saw a solo performance by Michael Gira, I gave him a copy of ‘The Mantle’. When I handed it to him I told him how much of an influence SWANS has been on all of us. He was very nice and seemed flattered. However, I doubt he would be into it. He seems to be more into American roots and folk music now.

Now, it’s true that No Wave also spawned a load of garbage, like Sonic Youth and all its tedious, limp-wristed imitations (Pavement, for example), but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have some very beneficial effects.


One response to “No Wave

  1. Pingback: No Wave | Reaction Times

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