Suicide flyer, 1972.

Alan Vega, 1938-2016

Few bands fused dream and nightmare as succinctly, brutally and, yes, elegantly as Suicide, the stripped-down synth duo widely considered pioneers of No Wave and punk. (The band used the term “punk music” to describe their sound on a flyer for a 1970 gig at OK Harris gallery; it marked the first known use of “punk” to describe a burgeoning creative movement.)

Alan Vega, the band’s singer, died peacefully in his sleep yesterday. He was 78.

1970 flyer for Suicide show at OK Harris Gallery, NYC.

Punk music by Suicide: Flyer or 1970 show at OK Harris Gallery. Via From the Archives.

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Belly announce 2016 reunion.

Sweet Ride: Belly’s Triumphant Return

Sitting down with the reunited members of Belly in a Middletown, RI, coffee shop is a great reminder about the importance of band chemistry. My questions are frequently derailed as the group — singer/guitarist Tanya Donelly, guitarist Tom Gorman, bassist Gail Greenwood + drummer Chris Gorman — dissolves into laughter over a shared joke or surreal, salty asides. So right away you can throw out the idea that the band’s reunion after 20+ years is a nostalgia trip or a callow cash-in.

In a way, though, it’s an opportunity to rewrite history. The band, which was founded by former Throwing Muses songwriter + guitarist Tanya Donelly (she was also a co-founder of Kim Deal’s Breeders), had fairy-tale success out of the starting gate — particularly with the release of their fizzy pop masterpiece, Star, in 1993.

Star’s punchy follow-up, King, was recorded with rock producer Glyn Johns in the Bahamas and was met — unfairly, one could definitively add — with a sophomore slump-style backlash that ground the band, exhausted from endless buzz-bin touring, to a screeching halt.

You can sense how strongly they all wished for a different outcome, particularly Tanya, who began performing select King songs (and Belly songs in general) during her live sets over the past few years.

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Ilitch, 10 Suicides

Thierry Müller’s Cold Wave Guises: Ilitch + Ruth

Note: This piece first appeared in Byron Coley’s excellent quarterly publication, Bull Tongue Review. Reprinted with permission.


Ilitch, 10 Suicides (SCOPA LP, 1980; Superior Viaduct LP, 2015)
Ruth, Polaroïd/Roman/Photo (1985)

You may know Thierry Müller from the infamous NWW (Nurse with Wound) List (1980), but his most well-known works do not appear under his own name.

Ilitch, Ruth, Crash, Arcane — none are “groups,” per se, but pseudonymous guises that allow Müller to experiment with previously uncharted genres or points-of-view.

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