Monday, June 27, 2011

New Wave for the New Week #128

A bit of a highly sought-after New Wave curio to share with you this week, in the form of NYC quartet The Go.  Formed in 1979, The Go were one of the innumerable bands that traced their inspiration back to The Ramones.  Armed with three chords and attitude, they felt ready to take the world by storm.  If they fell a bit short of that mark, at least they made an impression at CBGB's, where they debuted at an open audition night and were the only band asked to return for a paying gig.

The Go broke no new ground.  Their jangly power-pop-with-spiky-hair sound was already being plied by several bands, but something about them stood out from the crowd.  They had an energy, a personality, and they had the knack (pun intended) for writing memorably catchy songs.  The best of their repertoire would become the centerpiece of their lone vinyl release, the 4-song 45 rpm Instant Reaction ep.  Fans of bands like The Shoes or 20/20 will find familiar comfort within these grooves: the title track and "Don't Take Her Away" were both punchy, energetic tracks that became underground favorites; "She Gives A Color To Me" and "Tomorrow Night" showed a moodier side and hinted that commercial success could be theirs if only they'd find that big break. 

They spent nearly four years looking for that break, playing the NY/NJ club circuit, shopping demo tapes around from label to label, making local-access cable TV appearances.  Unfortunately, it just never happened, and by 1983 the band was no more.  Instant Reaction, however, became the stuff of legend over the years.  With only 1000 copies pressed, it remains a holy grail for Punk and New Wave vinyl collectors, and usually fetches quite a price if you can find it (I've never actually seen a copy!)

That collector interest spurred the release of a compilation album in 2005, also titled Instant Reaction, put together by the Japan's Wizzard In Vinyl label, containing all four cuts from the ep and as much demo and studio outtake material as they could find.  The 22-song import was reconfigured into a 16-song abridged version released stateside through Rave-Up Records.  Both go for roughly $20 - take your pick.

This week's clip is one I never knew existed, for The Go's "Instant Reaction." Gotta love the low-budget early music video feel of this one, from the oh-so-1980 clothes to the not quite accurate lip-syncing.  Still, it's a classic.  Enjoy!

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