• Film

Kill your Idols


Time Out says

This low-budget documentary has two aims: to provide a potted history of New York’s ‘No Wave’ scene of the late 1970s, and to forge links with the new generation of acts they’ve influenced. We start with some great, incendiary footage of Suicide, Teenage Jesus And The Jerks and James Chance And The Contortions, which gives us a glimpse into the chaotic artistic whirl that emerged from the ’70s downtown squat scene. The talking-head commentary is often fascinating, but badly edited and haphazardly filmed – Arto Lindsay looks like he’s in a toilet; Thurston Moore (who doesn’t look a day over 22) even answers a phone call mid-interview, while Jim Thirwell from Foetus and Michael Gira from Swans come across as grizzled old Civil War veterans.
The problem comes when the film tries to link the old guard with current post-punkers like ARE Weapons, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, Radio 4, The Rapture, Black Dice and Gogol Bordello. The connections – beyond the odd fractured guitar riff – never seem much more than superficial. Up against the garrulous No Wavers, the newer bands – inarticulate, unfocused and utterly apolitical – don’t really stand a chance. Arto Lindsay and Lee Ranaldo dismiss the new kids on the block as ‘manufactured’, ‘formulaic’ and ‘un-visionary’, while Lydia Lunch is the most entertainingly vitriolic. ‘What a pandering bunch of mama’s boys,’ she spits. ‘They seem so desperate to be liked, desperate to have their music used in the next car commercial.’ It undermines the whole project and renders the film – in the words of Lydia Lunch – ‘totally fucking redundant’.

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 8 April 2005
  • Duration:75 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Scott Crary
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