Punknews.org
Teenage Jesus and the Jerks / Beirut Slump - Shut Up and Bleed (Cover Artwork)

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks / Beirut Slump

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks / Beirut Slump: Shut Up and BleedShut Up and Bleed (2008)
Atavistic

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

For a group that influenced generations of underground bands, you'd think Teenage Jesus and the Jerks would've written more songs. Not that that's a bad thing, but the innovative act, led by provocateur Lydia Lunch, takes up under 35 minutes of time on Shut Up and Bleed, a new retrospective that als.
iTunes StoreAmazon


For a group that influenced generations of underground bands, you'd think Teenage Jesus and the Jerks would've written more songs. Not that that's a bad thing, but the innovative act, led by provocateur Lydia Lunch, takes up under 35 minutes of time on Shut Up and Bleed, a new retrospective that also includes Beirut Slump, another of Lunch's early bands. Factor in a few repeated songs (three versions of "Red Alert?") and some lo-fi live bootlegs, and it would appear the band barely got going. And you thought Texas Is the Reason broke up too soon.

But that brevity gives Shut Up and Bleed a few advantages: First, it's one-stop shopping for those looking to check out the Jerks' discography. With multiple takes and the addition of Beirut Slump, the album effectively replaces 1995's Everything, which you'd think would be hard to do given the title. Secondly, at a total running time of 51 minutes, the collection doesn't completely overwhelm the listener with its no wave anti-pop stance. And finally third, the band's output never turned bad.

It's weird hearing "experimental" music 30 years after its creation -- for me, I don't hear a band tearing down boundaries and destroying the concept of the pop song. I hear a middle ground between the angular rhythms of Joy Division and Wire and the more aggressive, sinister work of Big Black, albeit extremely truncated. Teenage Jesus and the Jerks were all about dissonance -- sax squeals, out-of-tune singing, machine gun guitar. The band's most distinctive elements come from Lunch and saxophonist James Chance. Lunch is the little lady with a huge flippin' chip on her shoulder here, a teenage runaway ready for a fight, based on the sounds of her songs. When she isn't hacking away at her guitar, Lunch serves up some quality punk vox on tracks like "Orphans" and "Popularity Is So Boring." While she brings the fury, Chance brings the chaos. The sax is severely underutilized in punk rock, and Chance's work on Shut Up and Bleed shows just how much uglier the genre can go.

Compared to the incendiary Teenage Jesus and the Jerks portion of the disc, the Beirut Slump songs seem almost conventional. The band didn't have much of a run; they played three shows total. The band specializes in dreary ranting, creating an almost gothic framework for those who prefer their Cure more Three Imaginary Boys than Boys Don't Cry. But vocalist Bob Swope doesn't conjure the same stirring emotions as Lunch, who settled for just playing guitar in the band. And without Chance's horn contributions, Beirut Slump sounds emptier.

Not that Beirut Slump is bad by any means. The group put out a few worthwhile tunes and, coupled with the Teenage Jesus material, makes Shut Up and Bleed a worthwhile purchase for punk fans looking for a bit of history. If you like post-punk, early Sonic Youth, Exene Cervenka or pretty much any underground album released after 1979, it might be a good idea to pick up this slice of history.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Agatha - Agatha [12-inch]Sick Sick Birds - Gates of Home [12-inch]Black Tambourine - OneTwoThreeFour [double 7-inch]Alex Kerns / Mikey Erg - Split [7-inch]Literature - Arab Spring [12-inch]Sleep - Dopesmoker [reissue]Shahman - Bored [7-inch]Campaign - One Night Weekend [7-inch]Talking Heads - Fear of MusicToys That Kill - Fambly 42

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Ikari (November 12, 2008)

Love Swans, particular their early records like Cop, Filth and Greed.

I'll have to check this out then

xote (November 12, 2008)

One of the best bands EVER.

BrandonSideleau (November 11, 2008)

At first I thought this was a "new" Teenage Jesus album and I was thinking "what the....?" Of course, I don't know enough about the band to notice that the album title is obviously not new. That being said, the few Teenage Jesus songs I have heard (on the No New York comp- it's great, especially the Contortion tracks, check it out) were awesome and definitely my kind of thing; granted nothing on that wonderful compilation is quite as magnificent as the brutality offered up by New York noise contemporaries- the mighty Swans.

ngs091 (November 11, 2008)

Nice to see a good 'ole punk band getting recognition on this site.

Too many Against Me! fans,in my honest opinion, and not enough listeners who actually like punk bands that take the music in different directions.

And Teenage Jesus did it, for sure!

Bipedcasserole (November 11, 2008)

well i'm interested

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson

Publisher

Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go