This mini-mix comes from Phoenix and her partner in crime, Lumpen the Laptop Hero. Together, the two put together a seamless mix of cult-classic tunes that never veer past 1984, and explain some of the history, mystery, and legend behind these long-gone, brilliant artists. Check out the mix and the tracklist after the jump.
Yoko Ono - "Kiss Kiss Kiss"
Much has been written about Yoko Ono, and volumes more are undoubtedly to come. She was years ahead of her time, and there's no question that she was an extremely important pioneer of New Wave. That said, it's completely awesome when she has an insane, throat-rattling orgasm at the end of the song.
Klaus Nomi - "Simple Man"
He was an opera countertenor, a punk at heart, a new waver by profession, and a maker of delicious pies who died of AIDS in 1983 and had his ashes scattered over the East Village. In other words, Klaus Nomi was anything but a "Simple Man." His genius has long been overlooked -- it's hard not to believe his claim that he "came from outer space to save the human race."
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - "Stool Pigeon"
August Darnell, Coati Mundi, and a host of other insanely talented musicians made up the outlandish no-wave act known as Kid Creole & The Coconuts. "Stool Pigeon" foreshadows themes that became popular with gangster rappers years later. It's also one of the first phrases Phoenix learned to say as a child: Ha CHA CHA CHA!
James White & The Blacks - "Contort Yourself"
Add jazz fusion, funk, and punk and you have James White (a.k.a James Chance, a.k.a Teenage Jesus). He makes up two of the only four bands Brian Eno chose for the No New York compilation (1978), which documents the then-rising East Village no wave scene. "Contort Yourself" is the first song we ever heard Kid Chris play and it's why we chose him to join our party. It's what Wave Not Wave is all about!
The Plastics - "Copy"
The Plastics are a new wave/punk act from Tokyo, Japan that stormed New York City in 1980. In the movie Downtown 81, a reporter asks lead guitarist Toshio Nakanishi if their are any cockroaches in Tokyo. Toshio laughs, points to himself and says, "Just one!"
Cristina - "When U Were Mine"
Few people have covered a song better than the original, and no one has improved on a Prince song with a cover, but Cristina comes pretty damn close here. The song is dirty enough when you assume Prince is singing a slightly twisted love song to a girlfriend that left him for another guy. But it's even dirtier to imagine Cristina singing it to a boyfriend who left her for another guy.
Tom-Tom Club - "Genius Of Love"
Tom-Tom Club is made up of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz (the bassist and drummer of Talking Heads). "Genius Of Love" is a shout-out to all the acts that inspired them, such as Bootsy Collins, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, Sly & Robbie, Kurtis Blow and James Brown. It's also Tina's ode to her super-cool boyfriend, Chris. Funk, soul, reggae, dub, hip-hop all sifted through a punk-rock lens; that's what no wave and new wave are all about. There's a rare t-shirt of a normal brain next to a brain covered in confetti that says, "This is your brain... This is your brain on Tom-Tom Club" We'd strangle a newborn to get it.