Review: Kevin Dunn | No Great Lost: Songs 1979–1985

Casa Nueva Industries (2010)
By MICHAEL MAROTTA  |  September 16, 2010
3.5 3.5 Stars

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When Kevin Dunn performs at the Lily Pad this Friday, it’ll be the Atlanta new-wave/post-punk pioneer’s first live performance in the Boston area since his first band, the Fans, art-rocked the Rat in the late ’70s. But Dunn now has local ties, the result of an unlikely union between Watertown-based Casa Nueva Industries’ Brad San Martin (One Happy Island) and Vermont-based producer Pete Weiss (Zippah Studio). Together the three have unearthed and reshined No Great Lost, a 21-track collection of Dunn’s forgotten 1981 album The Judgement of Paris, as well as selections from his subsequent EPs and LPs, all a crisp blueprint for the sharp, jittery post-punk sound that would resurface in the 2000s.

After San Martin approached Dunn last year about a potential reissue, engineer Weiss, using the original 16-track master tapes, opted to remix the material instead of digitally transferring the old vinyl LP. (Historical note: Bruce Baxter’s original mixes were lost in an ’80s apartment fire.) This collaboration with Dunn — himself the producer of the B-52s’ “Rock Lobster” in 1978 — re-created the original mix with ’70s-era period equipment armed with a higher fidelity and modern sound.

The payoff is the rediscovery of a post-punk goldmine. The smoky “AG” has an effortless, minimal blip-pop glide, and an instrumental synth-driven cover of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” is a futuristic score a century before its time. No Great Lost is a compelling hyper-literate look (the liner notes are intense) into an unheralded past that still managed to shape music 30 years on, but also a remarkable story of aural archæologists restoring a treasure few knew existed.

KEVIN DUNN + COTTON CANDY + ONE HAPPY ISLAND | Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St, Cambridge | September 17 at 7 pm | $10 | 617.395.1393 | lily-pad.net

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Atlanta, Watertown,  More more >
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