Pylon Unveil First Ever Recording ‘Razz Tape’

    Pylon have shared their previously unreleased first-ever recording, ‘Razz Tape’. It’s taken from the art-rock legends’ forthcoming career-spanning box set, Pylon Box, which is out tomorrow. Hear it below (via NME).

    Formed in 1979 at the University of Georgia, Pylon were largely influential in the punk and new wave scene of the early 1980s and were contemporaries of Athens bands R.E.M. and the B-52’s. The new 4xLP box set includes remastered versions of the band’s two studio albums — 1980’s Gyrate and 1983’s Chomp — now available on vinyl for the first time in nearly 35 years, as well as ‘Razz Tape’, a 13-track session that predates their 1979 debut single, ‘Cool’/’Dub’.

    “Chris Rasmussen aka Chris ‘Razz’ is a close friend of producer Jason NeSmith,” Pylon’s Vanessa Briscoe Hay told NME. “Back when Jason and I were gathering tapes together for our reissues, Chris invited Jason to listen to a recording he had made of Pylon before we ever set foot in a formal recording studio. The tape grabbed Jason with both the performance and the audio quality. When he talked to me about it, he compared it to early Modern Lovers. I was like, ‘Get out of here,’ until I heard it.”

    She continued: “Initially Jason and I discussed using three to four of these songs as a part of a rarities and singles double album as part of a box set which would also include our first two albums ‘Gyrate’ and ‘Chomp’, but when our executive producer Brady Brock heard the tape, he wanted us to think about putting the whole tape out. It’s pretty amazing it both exists and survived intact. Thanks Chris Razz.”

    Recalling his experience making the recording, bassist Michael Lachowski added: “Listening to ‘Razz Tape’, I can put myself back into the actual feeling of being that person, at that time, making those notes on that bass and bass rig, with those other people, each their own distinct contribution to the recording. That’s really rare, to be able to somewhat inhabit being in a past performance, in a practice, while recording, on stage. I can recall it from the bass arrangements and sound, the fervent single downward plucking right on top of the pickup, which was all I could do, trying to coax some power or presence out of a wimpy system when in the presence of Curtis’ ungovernable live drumming.”

    He continued: “And the recording — unadorned, without overdubs or studio effects, but not live, so therefore not propelled by the energy of performing for an audience, and not even truly mixed, with the bass and guitar amps sharing one mic. The elements are so evident, and the earnestness of the pre-studio rendering of the early songs is seen and charming. Thank you to Chris Rasmussen for making this tape, and sharing it in ‘Box’. It’s one of the many treasures of this project, bringing this rarely heard recording forward from that one night in an art and practice studio.”

    Pylon Box also comes with a 200-page hardbound, full-colour book with archival images, featuring testimonials from the B-52’s’ Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson, members of Gang of Four, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein, Steve Albini, and more. Each copy of the set will be autographed by the band’s surviving members: Vanessa Briscoe Hay, Michael Lachowski, and Curtis Crowe.

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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