Born from the ashes of punk, the antirock movement known as No Wave set late-’70s/early-’80s NYC aflame with its arty, skronk-fueled experimentalism. Although the scene died down 30-odd years ago, some of its chief iconoclasts, including Lydia Lunch and Glenn Branca, remain as relevant as ever.
After an MIA period, their contemporary Arto Lindsay, who plays a rare local gig this week, has joined that fray. From forward-thinking noisemakers DNA to the “fake jazz” of John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, Lindsay—with fingernails-on-chalkboard guitar scraping and guttural moans—helped establish the downtown avant-rock template made famous by Sonic Youth. But it wasn’t until he founded the post-DNA group Ambitious Lovers and issued a string of revelatory solo records throughout the ’90s and early aughts that Lindsay realized his true path. Of Brazilian descent, Lindsay reinvented himself as a sublime crooner, blending tropicalia with samba and bossa nova rhythms and electronics-driven grooves, while singing in both English and Portuguese.
Lindsay has lived in Brazil for a decade, but local label Northern Spy’s recent Encyclopedia of Arto, a sprawling set culled from his ’96–’04 solo records and recent live jaunts, boosts his profile once again. Don’t show up at this gig expecting nostalgia: Whether crooning or clanking, Lindsay rides his own wave.—Brad Cohan