Touch and Go turns 25

The label's best
By ADAM MOERDER  |  August 15, 2006

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The Jesus Lizard
Next month, the indie label Touch & Go will celebrate 25 years of searing post-punk and challenging indie rock with a three-day block party, September 8-10, in Chicago. T&G bands both old and new are scheduled to perform as part of a line-up that includes reunions of two of the label’s most influential bands, Scratch Acid and Big Black. (There are even rumblings of a Jesus Lizard set.) Here's a nice mix of what Touch and Go has to offer on its Web site, from new material to blasts from the past.

Uzeda, “Steam, Rain and Other Stuff” (mp3)
A long-time T&G staple, Uzeda deliver their first new material since 1998 here, a glorious mix of late-’80s noise rock layered with husky yet alluring female vocals. This puppy angles for organic shoegazing, but that clanging “other stuff” wins out.

Supersystem, “White Light/White Light” (mp3)
These guys have been T&G’s thumb in the dance-punk pie, and this track shows once again that they’re good for a catchy one-off. The very un-Velvetsy tune is a fiery spurt of electro synth-rock dilettantism.

Big Black, “Power of Independent Trucking”
This is practically the label’s anthem, performed by the band who helped define T&G with songs that actually were pissed off rather than just sounding like it. They were the heaviest band this side of Meat Beat Manifesto to use a drum machine, and legend has it that guitarist Steve Albini used scrap metal for a pick. Listening to his fuming vocals, you might think there’s also some shrapnel in his throat.

The Jesus Lizard, “Boilermaker”
I'm not Lorne Michaels. I can’t offer the Jesus Lizard $3000 to reunite on my blog. All I can do is point anyone who wants to hear T&G’s other formative band toward “Boilermaker,” a song with a riff so massive it appears to be continuously collapsing inward on itself, leaving David Yow to holler and stammer like one of those belligerent drunks on Cops right before he gets the taser.

On the Web
Touch and Go: http://www.tgrec.com/

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