Monday, April 12, 2010
Agitpop - Open Seasons - Art punk band on Twin Tone Records 1988
Agitpop is an art punk band from Poughkeepsie, New York. The band was formed in 1981 and began touring widely in 1983. They released four records on the Comm3, Twintone and Rough Trade labels. Its members include Mark LaFalce, John deVries and Rick Crescini. The band was a pioneer in the underground music community and known for their unusual song styles, instrumentation and lyrical content within the rock genre. The shows attracted many celebrated members of the New York arts scene including the Pop Art era photographer Billy Name.
The portmanteau Agitpop is derived from agitprop and is a conjugation of agitation pop, a now well defined label that describes how popular music asserts political ideas and views. The band members were enamored with the idea and the origins of the word from the Russian Revolution and used the repetition and philosophy of it within pop culture. Agitpop as a term can be applied to the name of the band itself, but also translates well into the character of the songs themselves.
Agitpops music has been often been described as a unique brand of fractured pop, derived from the dismantling of rock as we know it. At the time Agitpop was making their first records, the description worked as a default definition of the approach to music the band was taking. Keeping with description and adhering to the needs of the times to re define rock music, they were consequent and therefore no one else sounded like them. The live shows were a natural extension of the philosophy of the band. Agitpop's performances were very confrontational. They alienated the audience or drew them in.
In a review of one of the shows in the mid 1980s, Agitpops unique stylistic approach to rock music was described with the phrase Free your mind and your ass will follow. The review gesture followed them continually around throughout the bands existence. Whether they are put into the music categories of the times or not, they have had a strong influence on many younger bands having diverse styles due to their willingness in dismantling, or emancipating rock by boldly moving away from standard instrumentations and song styles into a resultant provocative amalgam with strong melodic hooks and poignant lyrics.
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