Tag Archives: nyc

#379 Ekra – A ‘Lil Called Strength


I haven’t been this excited in a long while. In fact, I think this is the best thing I’ve heard since 2012 started.

Ekra is an NYC-based husband and wife duo, who make some of the most glorious, noise inspired melodies that reek of certain depravities and sensitivities. All at once, it is a hurtful hiss of lashing snakes backed in a corner, and blissful surrender to the fates that toy with us so.

I’ve been looking for that particular sound, that would drown me in its waves of emotion, asphyxiate me in its splendour, embrace me in its all-encompassing arms, and I think I’ve found it through the magic presented here.

The astounding thing about this music, is that it’s so very primal. There’s a particular minimalism that strikes as an up-yours to what we already know, or a departure to various progressive sounds we’ve heard of late. It’s amazing what this particular rhythm section has chosen to do, in the realm of deconstruction and then reassembling it all over again into a new whole. – Brian.

mp3: Ekra – A ‘Lil Called Strength

Men, the latest release by Ekra can be purchased through their bandcamp, or their website.

#177 devo – come back jonee (live at max’s kansas city, nyc, 1977)

devo-live1

in an era when you couldn’t really go wrong jumping the prog rock bandwagon, devo, the band from akron, ohio, premised itself instead on the concept of de-evolution, a self-deprecating notion on the regression of humankind. the theme was most noticeably covered in the controversially titled “mongoloid”, a song on a person with down’s syndrome having a day job and bringing home the bacon “so that no one knew”, and while no one cared, he really was “happier than you and me”. the critique inherent in their music, together with the new wave, proto-punk edge of the music itself, ironically revealed devo to be much more progressive than their prog rocker counterparts, something even more evident in their live shows, where the band would indulge in the mock-futurism of a pseudo sci-fi pantomime, as epitomized by their distinctive yellow tyvek suits.

i finally caught a glimpse of this when i got a copy of their live: the mongoloid years album at the half-price sale at sembawang music center: while the sound quality of the recordings is barely passable (albeit probably the best of “the only audio tapes that escaped total disintegration” as mentioned in the cd liner notes), i loved how the three shows captured in this record are arranged in reverse order, beginning with their successful gig at max’s kansas city in 1977, the one where legend has it that got record companies calling in the morning after) and ending with the horrendous whk radio concert in cleveland ohio, where the band was hired as a joke to open for psych/space jazz guru sun ra, a night which ends with the plug being pulled on their performance – also the stuff of legends.

the song that got lodged in my head amidst all this was “come back jonee”, which really is a rock and roll number masked in various shades of punk, garage and new wave. in contrast with chuck berry’s “johnny b. goode” who makes good with his toil and musicianship, things really aren’t that pretty for jonee, who in devo’s script also has a guitar but instead of fulfilling the american dream, he leaves his girl and heads for the highway on his ill-fated datsun, which comes to stand for all his wrecked dreams. it’s a sobering take on life, though you can’t help but agree it’s a lot closer to reality than what you’d expect from a bunch of crazy de-evolutionists.

mp3: devo – come back jonee (live at max’s kansas city, nyc, 1977)

and if you’re wondering, devo are actually still alive and kicking. the band just made an appearance at the recent sxsw festival, and have a new album due this fall, their first in almost 20 years.