“Fire Dance” 7” (Wharf Cat)
Sam York, Austin Brown and Carson Cox (of WALL, Parquet Courts and Merchandise, respectively) have joined under a groove to bring us “Fire Dance”. York’s dead-eyed vocals ride a churning rhythm that calls to mind the downtown, honky punk-funk of Liquid Liquid (the break during the second half reminded me, at least, of the sample from “Sing Sing Sing” used in Mantronix’s “Big Band B Boy”, but that’s prolly just me), while layer upon layer of squelching synth leads worthy of early Cabaret Voltaire and Art of Noise launch the track into overdrive. Described as Cox’s “ode to downtown New York”, it seems both an ode to the city as it was – searching for “lost memories” of things that “came before”, even though you’d “hoped for more” – and a call to break free of such nostalgia and “search for more”. Fantastic.
What might, back in the day, have come out on a label like Celluloid now sees the light courtesy of the reliably great Wharf Cat Records, who will release it January 6. You can pre-order the vinyl here, and/or a digital copy here and on iTunes.
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Tagged fire dance, funk, indie dance, merchandise, new wave, no wave, parquet courts, post-punk, review, wall, wharf cat
Wall, Wall EP (Wharf Cat Records, 1/15/16)
Wall are a 4-piece hailing from New York City, not that you’d need me to tell you that upon listening to their new, eponymous EP. Each track feels like a glaze of detached, old school downtown cool stretched over the twitchy, black/white UK version of early “post-punk” (used in quotation marks, ‘cuz I’m not really sure what that means anymore) and new wave. A no wave new wave, then? Right. I’ll just get my coat…
Who can be bothered over categories, really, when the songs are this good. Upon first listen, several familiar sounds come through: Slits, Bush Tetras, Gang of Four, Crass, Basement 5 (lead track, “Cuban Cigars” reminds of “Mind Your Own Business”), on through riot grrrl, and newer bands like Savages and Vexx. Over tightly coiled arrangements, vocalist Sam York (duties shared with bandmates Vince McClelland and Elizabeth Skadden) careens between the raised fist delivery of lines like “fresh baked bread/keeps the pigs well fed” (“Cuban Cigars”) and the detached, shrug of the shoulders and flick of the cigarette towards the gutter malevolence of “those mistresses/they don’t just lay there/at night/they prowl.…” (“Milk”). Closer “Milk” is a highlight, swirling all of the band’s various elements in a compelling symmetry.
The Wall EP is out now, on the great Wharf Cat Records label. Check the band – and their current tour dates – on their website.