i listened with some curiosity and much interest the strut retrospective of ZE records, one of the most influential underground new york labels of the 70s and 80s. formed by michel esteban and michael zilkha, who were introduced to each other by john cale, the label was known for bringing together new wave, post-punk, disco and punk in a movement they termed “no wave”. one of the gems in this compilation is alan vega‘s first hit single “jukebox baby”, a minimalist rockabilly number that oozes the understated new york cool. his rambling vocal style, reminiscent of both elvis and lou reed, would go on to characterize the music of suicide, the band he formed with martin rev. that, of course, deserves a story of its own. – dan.
ZE 30 – ZE records story 1979-2009 is out now on strut records.