Not long ago we were discussing the comprehensive reissue program that the label Modern Harmonic had lavished on NYC band The Dance, when the lead singer, Eugenie Diserio, left a welcome comment stating that the precursor band she sang in was also getting the reissue love. Model Citizens have been in my sights for a while now as anyone in NYC who was getting John Cale to produce them in the late 70s [and even release them on his own Spy Records label!] must have been doing something [or many things] right.
Of course, the band’s “Shift The Blame” 7″ EP was only four songs back in 1979. After the release, the band split into two different factions: The Dance and Polyrock. I liked Polyrock from the early 80s, and have more recently come to know of The Dance and Model Citizens. All of these bands were providing the sort of Art Rock that we thrive on. The initial Cale EP has been enhanced to full album status with the addition of live sets from Hurrah and Max’s Kansas City clubs. The CD version will have an additional four live tracks as taken from CBGBs.
Model Citizens: NYC 1978-1979 – US – CD 
- Shift The Blame
- Animal Instincts
- I Am Honest
- You Are What You Wear
- My TV Is On (Hurrah 1979)
- Foreign Tongue (Hurrah 1979)
- Even You Can Be Somebody (Max’s 1979)
- You Are What You Wear (Max’s 1978)
- I Am Honest – Tschinkel (Max’s 1979)
- Do Like It Matters (Hurrah 1979)
- Animal Instincts (Hurrah 1979)
- Shift The Blame (Hurrah 1979)
- Do Like It Matters (CBGB 1979)
- Real Time (CBGB 1979)
- Who Do You Think You Are (CBGB 1979)
- I Really Like You (CBGB 1979)
“Shift The Blame” proffered an enervated anti-pop driven by xylophones and bass guitar while “Animal Instincts” was propelled on a pulse of 16th notes on the organ. The vocal arrangements were inserted perpendicular to the melodies for a delightfully askew effect that prevented this music from receding into any background. The fast tempo violin tritone figure on “I Am Honest” led me to think that Model Citizens were aiming for the sonic equivalent of a Bridget Riley painting! Model Citizens were interested in making a music that was all heightened contrasts and had no fear of simply vibrating. Sample below.
The album on CD and red vinyl LP is available for pre-order and will be available on April 7th, 2023. I see that reader schwenko has already ordered his silver disc and you can join him in owning this scandalously obscure yet vibrant slice of NYC Post-Punk by a band of artists swept up in the excitement of the era. The CD can be had for $14.98, and the red vinyl LP is $24.98. Both prices on a $2.00 discount during this pre-order period. The embedded player in the webstore’s page on each is fully playable, so DJ hit that button!
MODEL CITIZENS CD [BONUS TRACKS]
MODEL CITIZENS LP [RED VINYL]
This seems like an interesting collection by a band I’m not familiar with. I have interest though, as there is apparently a connection to Chandra, whose father taught Model Citizen member/vocalist Eugenie Diserio! Chandra’s “Transportation” release is fantastic! A few releases I have by Polyrock are pretty cool too.
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secretrivals – Yes, Model Citizens wanted to have a child front one of their releases, and that’s where Chandra came into the story. The Chandra music has already been re-issued in 2008 8-track LP in the US and in a larger 10-track 2×12″ compilation in 2018 from Canada. Otherwise I would have expected Sundazed/Modern Harmonic to possibly re-issue it next. Of course no one has reissued it on CD yet, so Modern Harmonic can certainly step up to the plate for that!