Graded on a Curve:
La Düsseldorf,
La Düsseldorf

You’ve got to love a band with a proofreader. (La Düsseldorf has one and he’s listed on the credits!) Lord knows Slade could have used one. But unlike we English-speaking types, your Germans are a punctilious people and good spelling is important to them, probably because they regularly gutteral up words like Unabhaengigkeitserklaerungen, which if I understand correctly means cow.

But enough with the spelling bee. La Düsseldorf were a trio of art-rocking sauerbraten eaters who climbed from the wreckage of Neu! when that band exploded like a V-2 in 1975. Its embers included Kraftwerk/Neu! multi-instrumentalist Klaus Dinger and Neu! collaborators Thomas Dinger and Hans Lampe, and boy did they like to get their drone on.

On their 1976 eponymous debut, La Düsseldorf split the difference between Neu!’s trademark motorik beat and Bowie/Eno atmospherics, but spiced things up so you could dance to their songs in Berlin discotheques with frosty Helgas in black leather and frosty Ernsts in black leather and frosty dachshunds in black leather if that’s your scene.

The title track is the standout. “ La Düsseldorf” is the band’s equivalent of Neu!’s “Hallogallo”–you get the same I can’t drive 88–in kilometers that is–motorik beat and a cool keyboard drone, but unlike “Hallogallo” you also get explosions, Who-sized power chords, scat singing, piano plonk, soccer chants, what sounds to me like the banjo playing kid in Deliverance, screaming crowds, and enough other stuff to build a Teufelberg with.

On driving-the-speed-limit “Silver Cloud” the atmosphere is proto-Bowie/Eno, but La Düsseldorf cut the gloom with some thunder and lightning. Meanwhile, LP closer “Time” transitions from hushed vocals and cathedral organ drone to a metronomic straight-six drive that gives you the impression you’re a member of the Baader-Meinhof Gang air-streaming your way down the Autobahn in a stolen BMW with a suitcase full of unlit candles, because you’re a nice person and would never dream of blowing anything up.

La Düsseldorf would go on to release two more highly prized albums, both of which would lead D. Bowie to dub La Düsseldorf the soundtrack of the eighties. And they may well have been had everybody not been listening to Wham!, which just like Neu! had an exclamation point in its name. Coincidence? Or definitive proof that both bands were more exciting than The Beatles, who lacked an exclamation point at the end of their name and could have used a proofreader. Seriously, who misspells beetle?

GRADED ON A CURVE:
A

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text