Picture it. New York City. The Lower East Side. 1994. A time when The NY Times described downtown as a “drug netherworld” where pure heroin like “China Cat” was being sold on sordid corners and the streets “smelled worse than an open air fish market in Chinatown.” This was New York life Pre-Giuliani where grit and garbage was caking the city and music was being made to reflect the situation. You had bands like Helmet up the street in the East Village leading the post-metal genre with their heavy distortion and (the then unknown) Blonde Redhead taking to a shitty rehearsal space on Rivington St. to record the 4-track demos that would establish them as the noise rock scene staple.
Long out of print, these early recordings will be soon be released in box set form (4LP/2CD) by Numero Group on September 30th. Boasting 37 tracks, Blonde Redhead’s Masculin Féminin compiles the band’s first two albums (self-titled and La Mia Via Violenta), their period singles, extant demos, and radio performances. The release also features dozens of previously unpublished photographs illustrating the band’s formative years in the city.
BlackBook premieres the first lost demo, “This is the Number of Times I Said I Will and I Didn’t.”