Friday, July 31, 2009

History of the Units

I am super super excited to announce that Community Library has just issued an anthology of early singles and demos by The Units, a San Francisco synth band from the late 70s/early 80s. Paul Dickow, one half of Community Library, and I used to play in a band together when we both lived in Portland. The Units was one of the first things he ever played for me, it was a few years before we heard the Screamers and a few years after we were bored of Devo. Before I heard the CD, I was pretty sure that my adoration for these songs, especially "High Pressure Days" came from that perfect historical moment in my life ten years ago. I was totally wrong, these songs are amazing and really really welcome. It's far less aggressive than Screamers, but still super focused and sharp, avoiding the aimlessness and self involved musical exploration of prog or even their contemporaries like Tuxedomoon. I may say from time to time that I hate guitars but I definitely didn't mean it the way these guys did. The CD liner notes begin "It was 1978 and guitar boy bands had been the norm for over 25 years. They still are. I was sick of the sameness. The lack of choice... Guitars had become a negative symbol to me. They represented 'socially acceptable' dissent for young people." So the Units were an all-synth band. The cool thing is that the liner notes kind of let go of this provocative tone and continue to explain their relationship to the performance and video art movements of the time, and the way in which their band worked as a unified act of resistance to everything they saw in the guitar band, like the way they rejected the idea of "front man" and the way that they embraced they embraced the automatic, one-touch aspect of synths: "We switched on cruise control on our synthesizers, so that they played a loud factory drone all by themselves. It freed us up to smash things."

Sometimes while listening to the CD I imagine Paul and I sitting on the floor in our house listening to this record in a time when I didn't really know about the internet and so we really didn't even know how many record the Units had or what happened to them. And so it's really inspiring to realize that it's 10 years later and Paul fully tracked them down and made this amazing, carefully curated and arranged object that solves all of our anxiety about how hard the records were to find. You can even get it on vinyl.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Saturday is our final area appearance of this ill weathered summer. This bill will be shared with two other talented acts BARR and Seattle's Love Tan. It's all happening at the Sculpture Center 4419 Purves St
Long Island City, NY 11101-2907

Brendan and I are preparing in our own way.

I hope this guy doesn't show up, cause there will be trouble waiting if he does...

Monday, July 27, 2009

We'll be playing the Wierd Records party this Wednesday night at Home Sweet Home. This party is always a fun time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

On July 3rd we played the Upset The Rhythm show in Brooklyn accompanied by John Wiese. Sometime in September, we'll be making a small (20ish) lathe cut edition of the this recording with hand made packaging. Which will be exhibited at Audio Visual Arts along with a 6 channel collaborative sound installation designed by John and us.


Evidence of a hydro terror cell operating in lower Manhattan...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


To commemorate this occasion, one of the best space disco jamz...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pumpkin ran away

This is one of the best emails I've ever gotten. The first post on this blog was about Mike Bones and his name comes up from time to time. He's gone a lot these days and it's a real treat to see him around on his rare appearances in New York. That's why it's nice that he does a blog so there's a way to keep up with his movements. Anyway, he sent me this song last year and I listen to it nearly every day. I don't really know anything about Pascal Comelade and somehow have never been compelled to check out any of his other songs, but I think it's maybe because this one is enough.

chanson.mp3 - Cathy Claret & Pascal Comelade

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This amazing creature pictured here has made an incredible video for the song "Shadows In Daylight" off our new LP. You can watch it here or here.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Morrissey and Johnny Marr carried Art Linkletter's torch well before Bill Cosby got his reptile claws on it...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our album is out now on PPM.