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Influential Innovators Pere Ubu Play The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow

June 28th, 2016

The influential underground art-punk band Pere Ubu formed in Cleveland more than 40 years ago, playing what they call “avant-garage,” an experimental, avant-garde take on blues-inflected garage rock. And while the lineup’s changed over the years, frontman David Thomas has remained a steadying force. Pere Ubu (above, doing “Modern Dance”) have released 14 studio albums and two box sets. Last year’s, Elitism for the People 1975-1978, includes remastered versions of The Modern Dance (stream it below) and Dub Housing (stream it below), a collection of singles and a live show. “Having had their sound and general aesthetic appropriated by so many groups over the intervening 40 years, it seems somewhat hard to believe there was a time before Pere Ubu and their fractured form of art punk. What is perhaps harder to believe, given the musical climate in which they were conceived, is how odd, how modern they still sound all these years later,” raved PopMatters. “So ingrained now in the underground, the sound they pioneered in Ohio in the mid-1970s continues to resonate today, coming back in waves as each new generation discovers the pivotal, revolutionary albums collected here.” The second box set, Architecture of Language 1979-1982, out earlier this year, includes remastered versions New Picnic Time (stream it below), The Art of Walking (stream it below) and Song of the Bailing Man (stream it below), plus a collection of live stuff, alternate takes and unreleased tunes. “The band has produced some of the most uncompromising yet influential music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The material compiled here might qualify as among their most uncompromising of all,” according to PopMatters. “Ubu’s project has always been an exploration of new forms of language, both sonically and lyrically. Familiar sounds are warped into unfamiliar configurations, new sounds are created out of familiar instruments, language is twisted into pure glossolalic emotion beyond meaning, and comfortable clichés are hammered into dissociative new reference points located on the map of some undiscovered country.” Catch these innovators live, playing material from both box sets tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom.