Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lydia Lunch: Queen Of Siam

Lydia Lunch was the singer of the short-lived no-wave NY band Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, and "Queen Of Siam"is her first solo LP, a strange thing for a new waver: compiled in it there are some covers and some self-penned songs and, most importantly, it features also a -sometime and somehow- 50's-like orchestra (as in Lady Scarface that, with its arrengement, sounds just like out of an old hollywood movie). There is probably some mockery intent in here (how weird is it listening to a perfectly jazzy double bass going up and down a scale while an electric guitar bursts distortions as in A cruise to the moon?), but there are also some more typically new wave pieces as well as Tie and twist with LL's voice sounding both sleepy and agressive.
Anyway, this LP is just an example of how unpredictable music could be in 1979: this woman is one of the many icons of a rock "genre", the so-called new wave, but unlike many more rock genres (say punk, grunge, hard-rock, whatever), with new wave you can never tell what kind of music it really is that you are talking about... it can have punk guitars, it can have great tunes, it can be incredible dissonant... It can be very serious. It can be a joke. That's the reason why I find this musical period and people like LL so amusing: with all their musical naiveté and approximation they showed everyone that thery were not simply "playing some music" but that they had a "meaning". That whatever it was that they were playing it was important, it was a statement (on art, on the world, and so on).
It's really great to think of someone who intended their work, their art, their music with such gravitas. And this is true for many more post punk stuff: Gang of four, Husker Du, Joy Division, The Pop Group, Devo, Talking Heads, Wire, Magazine, PIL...only to say a few names.
If any of you is interested in all of this just go buy Simon Reynold's Rip it up.

Lydia Lunch on Wiki.

Queen Of Siam


Paul said...

Superb album and nice to get it on MP3. My album is somewhere buried in the attic. Remember the nice cover as well that suits the jagged dissonance ocasionally on the album..a very horny looking Lydia in a leather top with what looks like nails sticking out of it!

Christoph said...

Lots of Thanks for this one, as I could find only very little to none Lydia Stuff on the Web yet.

Anonymous said...

Mega kudos for some fantastic Lydia. It would be greatly appreciated if you had more of her to share with us.