New Wave Wrinkles | Letters | Chicago Reader

New Wave Wrinkles 

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Regarding Ben Kim's Pulsars review [October 25]: I know Ben Kim knows a lot about music. That's why I didn't understand this article. Pulsars' single included an homage to Silicon Teens, an imaginary band created by Daniel Miller to capitalize on new wave. Silicon Teens' "Judy in Disguise" single has the tongue-in-cheek slogan "For that really up-to-date sound" on its cover. This was in 1980. "1980 cynicism processed through 1996 irony is right on time"? I think the irony was there in 1980. However, Miller was also responsible for the influential proto-industrial songs "TVOD" and "Warm Leatherette" as the Normal. And speaking of industrial, if "the synthesizer pop band is not lively enough for rock 'n' roll," how come the industrial band is?

Ben Kim thinks that Pulsars are designed to sell out. I'd guess they are flaunting it, and more power to them. But to say that Pulsars are a "new-wave revival band" trying to "breathe life back into a music long ago left for soulless" is historically shortsighted. You might as well say that almost any contemporary band is a (punk/ska/funk/whatever) band trying to breathe life back into a music long ago left for (boring/dead/cliched/whatever). Calling synth pop soulless is like calling punk rock angry or gothic music depressing. It's kind of the point, isn't it? If pop begat punk begat new wave begat industrial (yes, I know that's simplified), why is punk fresh as a daisy but synth pop or new wave is retro revivalism? And where is "Chicago' wave revival"? Sign us up, we haven't played out in months.

Tony May

TV Set

W. Cornelia

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