New York Noise Volume Two (Soul Jazz)
It seems odd to track "music from the New York underground 1977-1984" as a collection of noise. The bands compiled here represent downtown's version of pop. Party music for nihilists, dance tracks for junkies, diverting amusements for an avant-garde tribe on the edge of the great American abyss, this was the primal sound of minds collapsing. From the fierce femme primitivism of Y Pants (fronted by noted photographer and publisher of Just Another Asshole Barbara Ess) and Pulsallama, Club 57's performance-art house band (including Ann Magnuson, Wendy Wild and Jean Caffeine) to the mesmeric maelstroms of Rhys Chatham, Sonic Youth, Red Transistor and Don King (the short-lived no-wave supergroup made up of key members from DNA and Mars), New York Noise Volume Two is devastatingly deep. Whether you want to hear what Jim Jarmusch's band the Del-Byzanteens sounded like (Low Life scribe Luc Sante wrote some of their songs), or to understand how a quarter century later, a new generation of New York bands would rock the world, just buy it.