Saturday, July 28, 2007
Suicide - First Album
Suicide, "Ghost Rider" (YSI link)
Suicide, "Cheree" (YSI link)
Last night I was able to catch one of the greatest, most influential (for me) bands of all-time, Suicide, playing a rare live show in their home city. I can barely put into words how cool this was. I mean, fucking Suicide man! Unfortunately, it was a part of the summer-long South Street Seaport free Friday night concert series, which meant that it had that amazing mix only South St. Seaport can attain of disgusting lawyers and bankers from the nearby Financial District, tourists dying to hit up Pizzeria Uno, drunk people. But, whatever, Suicide! The boys were in good form, Alan Vega (real name: Alan Bernowitz) doing that aging punk Elvis thing, Martin Rev providing the music, as the night wore on they got better and better. They played for about an hour and 10 minutes, cleared out a good portion of the crowd and made my month.
Their first album was released in 1977, 7 years after they had formed. I didn't hear until 2000 or so, when Mute Records remastered and re-released. I can remember hearing the first track, "Ghost Rider" and being blown away. It was that moment when a sound you hear in your head comes to you full formed. This is the real disco punk, or synth punk, No Wave, whatever. It's some of the darkest shit I've ever heard, more punk than anything that gets labeled that. For me, the secret is Martin Rev, the man on the drum machine and synth (a farfisa organ in the beginning) and keys. The sound is so brutal, stripped to a core, the perfect compliment to Vega's tales of New York City, Vietnam vets, obsessive love, etc. Listen to the songs above and tell me that this doesn't sound completely contemporary; you could look at it as holding the seeds for so much to come, like synth pop, industrial, electroclash, new wave, you name it.
We'll have more from these two, fill in some of the history of the band. In the meantime, buy this CD immediately, it's a bona fide masterpiece and something everyone needs to hear in its entirety including the 10+ minute "Frankie Teardrop." This release has the added bonus of an extra disc of live stuff from 1977-8, thanks to Mute for an amazing package.