1984: Ambitious Lovers - Envy

When trying to explain the musical importance of Arto Lindsay, people
often give a single reason: DNA. Fair enough, there's no arguing that his
first musical endeavor left quite a footprint on the surprisingly soft
soil of that musical era - but as with peers Lydia Lunch and James Chance,
the man is spoken of as though he dropped out of music and off the face of
the planet after the early '80s. Not only does he carry on a respectable
career as a solo musician today, but he was a key player in three other
major acts - the Golden Palominos, the Lounge Lizards, and most notably,
Ambitious Lovers.

Lindsay, along with keyboardist Peter Scherer released Envy in
1984, arguably after the end of the 'classic' No Wave era. Several years
had passed since the final Mars show or TV Party broadcast; but if the
movement was supposed to be over, nobody told Ambitious Lovers. This album
shows far more of No Wave's confrontational overtones than any other
record of its age, albeit in a fashion that would sound more at home on a Luaka Bop compilation than No New York.

Stylistically, the group took cues from everyone - previous projects in
their New York scene and contemporary 1980's pop in particular - yet the
element that stands out most distinctly from other albums recorded in this
time and place is the incorporation of sounds from Lindsay's native
Brazil. Tracks such as "Pagode Americano" are downright funky, sounding
like they were taken straight out of a South American drum circle;
jarring, groovy, and sung entirely in Portuguese. The contrast is stark
when compared to the freak-out of the following track "Nothing's Monstered,"
which creates an effect similar to being woken up by sirens out of a
pleasant dream, only to find yourself shrunk to the size of a thumbnail
and in the middle of a burning beehive everyone else is scrambling to
escape from. "Let's Be Adult" is the closest thing Envy has to a
single, and at four and a half minutes it seems epic compared to what
Lindsay fans had grown accustomed to via DNA. The waddling beat is
complimented, rather interestingly, by a series of sampled shrieks and
yelps from Lindsay, and keyboards that a decade later would be found on
the soundtracks to many a Sega Genesis game.

For the most part, Envy doesn't sound like what most of us play in
our heads when someone mentions No Wave. The abrasive skronk sounds are
substituted for pop keyboard work, and, in some cases, the crash symbol
for a bongo. These differences shouldn't be viewed as detrimental to the
sound – in fact, they're an essential development. No Wave would have
turned from a fire-breathing Godzilla into a sterile, lifeless fossil if
it hadn't evolved and explored new aural terrain. It was never about a
certain sound after all, but change; making old things new and the new
bizarre.

1. Cross Your Legs
2. Trouble Maker
3. Pagode Americano
4. Nothing's Monstered
5. Crowning Roar
6. Too Many Mansions
7. Let's Be Adult
8. Venus Lost Her Shirt
9. My Competition
10. Badu
11. Dora
12. Beberibe
13. Locus Coruleus

DeLorean

There’s a lot of good music out there, and it’s not all being released this year. With DeLorean, we aim to rediscover overlooked artists and genres, to listen to music historically and contextually, to underscore the fluidity of music. While we will cover reissues here, our focus will be on music that’s not being pushed by a PR firm.

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