Social Climbers: Chris and Debbie
From (Hoboken, 1981)

In principle, I really like the whole idea of No Wave; I just don’t happen to be that knowledgeable about the movement besides a cursory awareness of 99 Records, Liquid Liquid and ESG (given their influence on hip-hop). When Cool Chris started playing the Social Climbers LP at the Groove Merchant (as you may have noticed, most of my recent posts have all been inspired by my recent trip to the Bay), I was really drawn into the blend of sounds here. Most obviously – at first – it’s that funky drum programming which wouldn’t have been out of place on Arthur Baker-produced New Order project. Then comes in those hypnotic, druggy guitars and ska-influenced bassline. It’s like the great loves of my ’80s – New Wave + hip-hop, swirled together.

According to Waxidermy, even though Social Climbers were signed to the NJ-based Hoboken Records, the group is actually from Indiana. (Waxidermy also has another song by them for your listening pleasure).

Speaking of Liquid, Liquid…

Liquid Liquid: Lock Groove (In)
From Successive Reflexes EP (99, 1981). Also on Liquid Liquid

I picked this up ages ago (also from the Groove Merchant) and have been meaning to write about it and now seemed as good a time as any. Liquid Liquid is arguably the best-known of the artists who released on 99 and their post-punk-meets-hip-hop sound has been one of the most influential of all the No Wave artists. In contrast to “Chris and Debbie” which had a more distinct swing to it, “Lock Groove (In)” feels more mechanical (though still funky) and cold, though, compared to, say, Kraftwerk, this is positively cozy.