wire

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Young Marble Giants: Colossal Youth (1980)

Young Marble Giants: Colossal Youth (1980)

Just as Dylan emerged in the middle of the day-glo psychedelic era on a quieter rural route with John Wesley Harding, and the Cowboy Junkies whispered their way to the foreground amidst the bellicose noise of grunge, so Young Marble Giants emerged in the post-punk era with something quieter and more considered than the jerky anger of bands like...

WIRE INTERVIEWED (2004): From garages to galleries, the rise and re-rise of art-rock

WIRE INTERVIEWED (2004): From garages to galleries, the rise and re-rise of art-rock

You need a little patience when trying to get a handle on the career of the four-piece British art-punk band Wire, who emerged in the late 70s at the start of punk. But first let's establish that Wire were Colin Newman, Bruce Gilbert, Graham Lewis and Robert Gotobed. The early-90s line-up, wittily named Wir, was the same guys, but without...

WIRE, ON THE RECORD (1977-80): The short, sharp pop of art-punk

WIRE, ON THE RECORD (1977-80): The short, sharp pop of art-punk

The best thing about the punk years wasn’t punk of course. That stuff exhausted itself pretty fast. No, punk’s importance was the doors that it opened to let in the likes of the Gang of Four, This Heat, Pere Ubu and musical architects such as Wire -- whose early claim to fame was getting 21 tracks onto two sides of vinyl. Field...

This Heat: This Heat (1979)

This Heat: This Heat (1979)

Understandably, many hail the Sixties as the greatest ever decade for popular music: the undeniable brilliance of the Beatles and what they spawned on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention globally; the whole shift from pop to rock, and from singles to albums, which freed minds and arses that followed; the innovations of Hendrix, Cream and...

Magazine: Real Life (1978)

Magazine: Real Life (1978)

If there was a godfather of the Manchester scene in the Eighties there's a good case to be made that it wasn't Tony Wilson (who founded the Hacienda and Factory Records) but that it was Howard Devoto, singer and songwriter for Magazine, the band he formed in 1977. In that crucial year Devoto promoted the two local concerts by the Sex Pistols...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ham Hornhead of the Trons

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ham Hornhead of the Trons

Standing at more than two metres tall and playing powerful rhythm guitar, Ham Hornhead of the Hamilton band the Trons, is a towering figure in New Zealand contemporary rock. A distinctive vocalist but one rarely given to interviews, Hornhead prefers to let the music speak for him and the band of equally disciplined -- one might almost say,...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

In the late Seventies Wire delivered a trifecta of classic post-punk, minimalist and arty albums -- Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154 – then called it a day. In subsequent decades they reformed dropping drummer Robert Gotobed to appear as an alt.electro-rock outfit (not much cop), in the past decade their sound became more aggressive...

Wilberforces: Vipassana (Muzai)

Wilberforces: Vipassana (Muzai)

Not having heard the first album by this group -- which appears to have "well documented" problems with a changing line-up around singer/writer/guitarist Thom Burton -- is no particular disadvantage. But apparently the Auckland indie label Muzai thought so highly of their '09 debut Haunted that it sought Burton out and was...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Thom Burton of Wilberforces

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Thom Burton of Wilberforces

Thom Burton is the mainman in the Auckland-based band Wilberforces (clearly he grew with Under the Mountain) and their stark, bristly sound is captured on their second album Vipassana (named for the meditation technique I guess, although a more meloow Barton wouldn't make much sense). He takes time out to answer the Famous Elsewhere...

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

If you applied cold logic, on paper most band line-ups wouldn't make much sense. With hindsight you can see the internal faultlines which would pull apart so many of them. None of that matters of course, as long as at some point they make great music. And Can out of Germany certainly did that, although on paper the line-up for their...

Wire: Document and Eyewitness (Pink Flag/Southbound)

Wire: Document and Eyewitness (Pink Flag/Southbound)

Post-punk arty-smarties Wire have delivered some excellent albums in recent years, notably Red Barked Tree in 2011 and more recently last year's Change Becomes Us for which they went back to tapes from the period covered here as the starting point for new configurations and ideas. Most people perhaps remember them from this formative period...

Howard Devoto of Magazine: The floorboards creak . . .

Howard Devoto of Magazine: The floorboards creak . . .

Back at the dawn of time -- for two periods in 1980 and 1981 to be precise -- I had a programme on Radio Pacific on Saturday evening, sandwiched between the Rugger Buggers sports show and, of all people, Hollywood gossip David Hartnell. It was all free-format music (not a term used in radio these days, it means you could play what you liked)...

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