The Scene Is Now
The Scene Is Now began as part of a wave of expressionist early '80s combos on Manhattan 's Lower East Side who took their aesthetic cues from the neighborhood's abrasive no wave scene. The movement made room in its jagged post-punk noise for warm melodies, rhythmic lilts and sunny dispositions that earlier nihilists of the Teenage Jesus ilk had seemingly outlawed (and later nihilists of the Swans ilk would soon ban again). Sharing musicians with far-lefty comrades Mofungo and occasionally enlisting Elliott Sharp on sax, they started out didactic -- sloganeering about the "struggle for production," swapping half-learned instruments and employing Mao Tse-tung's words. Though they named their 1985 debut Burn All Your Records, they were soon acknowledging musical history. Beach Boys fans with Dixieland-gone-free-jazz horn-blat and foreign movie-score time-signature tendencies, they roped in Appalachian folk, Hoagy Carmichael Americana, even Latin percussion. They might follow a wigged-out waltz about a salsa band in the barrio with an off-key sing-along about bumping into Allen Ginsberg at a First Avenue fruit stand. In the end, they proved bohemians could be people, too.