Light In The Attic Records has announced the reissue of Press Color, the 1979 debut LP from French punk pioneer, Lizzy Mercier Descloux. The record arrives August 14th both digitally and on expanded double LP with special edition liner notes and bonus tracks. Press Color is the first release of the five album series showcasing the impassioned work of Descloux. Stay tuned for updates on the remaining catalogue. Light In The Attic announced the series last November with a special 7” featuring “Fire” and “Morning High”, a duet with Patti Smith.
You can Watch this a video from 1979 French Television of Descloux performing “Fire”, the lead track on Press Color. The clip also includes a special cameo from Serge Gainsbourg.
Descloux may have come of age in Paris, but it’s in New York’s Lower East Side where she really came alive. Descloux moved to New York in 1977 and soon immersed herself in avant-garde poetry, performance art, and punk music. She became a close friend of Patti Smith and Richard Hell.
Closely associated with the founders of ZE Records (home to Was (Not Was) and Kid Creole & The Coconuts), Descloux revealed her punk-funk sound on Press Color positioning her as the French answer to the UK group The Slits or New York’s own ESG. Descloux’s album revealed a penchant for the unexpected cover version, kicking off with a brilliantly rhythmic take on The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown’s “Fire”– a hit, like Marvin Gaye’s in 1968. Throughout the album we hear echoes of Serge Gainsbourg’s Afrobeat- influenced work, Blondie’s disco-inflected punk, and Talking Heads’ world music- inspired art pop.
Backed by guitarists/bassists D.J. Barnes and Erik Elliasson plus drummer Jimmy Young, Descloux creates a naïve musical world in which rhythm is everything—not a byproduct of the song but the reason for its existence. It’s neither played nor sung with any great skill, but it has feel and character in spades and a looseness that’s all too rarely achieved.
With song titles including “Tumor” and “Herpes Simplex,” Press Color was not met with mainstream acceptance, and like many a No Wave classic, the album sold little. Now regarded as a cult classic, this Light In The Attic reissue is presented in an extended 18- track edition, collecting much of Descloux’s work, including “Morning High,” recorded with Patti Smith.
Descloux returned to Paris upon scoring a contract with CBS and soon found herself traveling to Africa to research the Afrobeat sound experimented with from afar on Press Color. The hit single “Mais où Sont Passées les Gazelles?” and album Zulu Rock followed. By the 1990s, Descloux had turned her back on music in favor of painting and writing, which she continued until her death in 2004.
3. Mission Impossible
4. No Golden Throat
5. Jim On The Move
8. Aya Mood
9. Mission Impossible 2.0
10. Rosa Vertov
12. Herpes Simplex
13. Larousse Baron Bic
14. Tso Xin Yu Yin
15. Nina con un tercer ojo
16. Birdy Num-num
17. Hard-Boiled Babe
18. Morning High