Model Citizens “NYC 1978-1979” A Vibrant Blast Of No Wave Skirting The Edges of Pop

We’ve mentioned Model Citizens’ upcoming re-issue of their John Cale produced EP from 1979 along with live sets to flesh out a full album; giving us a glimpse of their other material, to be released by Modern Harmonic this Friday, April 7th. We’ve been living with the promo version of it for a few weeks now and it bears further Monastic scrutiny as it hits the treasured Art Students Go Multimedia vibe that stands as an effective snapshot of NYC ca. 1978-1979 as anything.

model citizens CD cover
Modern Harmonic | US | CD | 2023 | CD-MH-266

Model Citizens: NYC 1978-1979 – US – CD [2023]

  1. Shift The Blame
  2. Animal Instincts
  3. I Am Honest
  4. You Are What You Wear
  5. My TV Is On (Hurrah 1979)
  6. Foreign Tongue (Hurrah 1979)
  7. Even You Can Be Somebody (Max’s 1979)
  8. You Are What You Wear (Max’s 1978)
  9. I Am Honest – Tschinkel (Max’s 1979)
  10. Do Like It Matters (Hurrah 1979)
  11. Animal Instincts (Hurrah 1979)
  12. Shift The Blame (Hurrah 1979)
  13. Do Like It Matters (CBGB 1979)
  14. Real Time (CBGB 1979)
  15. Who Do You Think You Are (CBGB 1979)
  16. I Really Like You (CBGB 1979)

“Shift The Blame” was in retrospect, a surprising title for a song that would seem to have even greater currency in the zeitgeist 40+ years hence. The angular number sported what was the ethos of Model Citizens; the perpendicular harmonies of vocalists Gloria Richards and Eugenie Diserio swooping and juxtaposing against each other with a free-wheeling girlish abandon while the intellectual lyrical content was the furthest thing from child-like.

Meanwhile the instrumentation was leading with marimba and steel percussion from Ms. Richards while guitarist Tomek Lamprecht conspired with drummer Robert Medici and bassist Billy Robertson to ground the song rhythmically while the pixelated melodies and counter melodies wove themselves into the complex, but airy fabric of the song.

The abrupt and jarring “Animal Instincts” dropped the listened into a maelstrom of chitterings, wild ululations, and frantic screams as this song bolted from the starting blocks in fifth gear with little regard for their bearings. Making the contemporaneous work of The B-52’s in comparison, sound like the work of relative shrinking violets! Truth be told, the influence of Yoko Ono; particularly from these grad students of art, could not have been overlooked.

The frantic tempo gave Ms. Diserio plenty of niche for vacillating stabs of 16th note electric organ to pummel our ears into submission with. The only respite being the half-speed middle eight before the largely non-verbal song continued to its explosive climax.

The format shifted for “I Am Honest” with Lamprecht sending a volley of meaty [for this band] guitar riffs into battle with the marimba while Ms. Diserio contributed an oscillating violin riff that see-sawed back and forth to provide maximum anxiety. Following the intro, the song snapped into stasis, like a freeze-frame on videotape, stuck between two fields of video. Lamprecht featured on the lead vocal this time, occupying the same sort of jittery, declamatory space as David Bryne was famous for.

The last track from their 1979 EP began almost like a Johnny Cash song at double time with the rhythm guitar pitted against stabs of organ and marimba at half the tempo. This was music unafraid of attaining hyperstimulation. Steven Alexander [12-string guitar, organ] and Tomek Lamprecht and the women in the band all alternated on the lead vocals of each verse this time. The whispered chorus at twice the tempo of the rest of the song was a unique sound for sure.

The middle eight consisted of scales rising and falling while the guitars indulged in Django Reinhardt-like ostinatos before the drop where the stark, single repeated chord of Lamprecht seemed to take a page from the “Larks Tongues In Aspic” playbook! Well, with their other songs all under 2:15 in length, “You Are What You Wear” was, if nothing else, the practical Prog opus of this album at 4:40 in length. And the dramatic head of steam it built before the cold ending was certainly on par with King Crimson.

The rest of the album consisted of eight live tracks recorded at various NYC clubs of renown: Hurrah, Max’s Kansas City, and CBGB. Here we got a wider perspective of the Model Citizens vision. Live, the band leaned heavier on their rhythm section to attain something much closer to Rock than the four EP tracks had. After all, live, you are the entertainment for the night. And everything gets a little more emphatic on a club stage. Mr. Alexander sang lead on the dark and foreboding “My T.V. Is On,” with far more in the way of muscular drum fills from Mr. Medici and the marimba of Ms. Richards holding her own in the tumult.

A huge change of pace was the almost jaunty Ska-beat of “Foreign Tongues.” With the wild organ skank locking in with the rhythm section, complete with steel drums from Ms. Richards. The live version of “Animal Instincts” was such a shower of sparks, that I can hardly imagine the women singing it not bursting into flames as their outpouring of frenetic vocal energy must have surely sapped them fully by the song’s end. It boggled my mind to think that they went on to sing more material after giving the 200% necessary for that song to get across.

All of these live sings were typically brief as the John Cale produced EP had been, with only “You Are What You Wear” crossing the four minute mark. The fidelity of the live material varied with the Hurrah tapes sounding crisp and tight as a front of house mix with the Max’s material sounding like a strong acoustic recording. With that in mind, the decision to make the CBGB songs bonus tracks on the CD was sensible as these came closer to archival recording status. A pity, because three of the eleven songs here came from that session. That said, the mastering of all of this music was impeccable, with outstanding dynamic range and no brickwalling in sight.

Model Citizens only held together for under two years, with previously an EP to account for their time, but this new album showed them positing an anxious Art Pop that was fully redolent of the NYC of the late 70s. After this period that resulted in these recordings, the band split into several factions. Bass player adjunct Billy Robertson got his band Polyrock off the ground. Guitarist Tomek Lamprecht would link up musically with vocalist/percussionist Gloria Richards in the band 2Yous, who didn’t have a vinyl profile but there exists a music video here to review.

Diserio and Alexander next formed The Dance, whom we’ve covered in an earlier posting as Modern Harmonic have reissued their albums “In Lust” and “Soul Force” as well as a compilation of singles and rarities; “Do Dada.” With that band, they started out with an EP [“Dance For Your Dinner” now on the “Do Dada” compilation] on the GO GO Records label. Following this, The Dance were picked up for a contract with the UK Statik Records label in 1981-1982. Releasing two full albums, several singles, and touring widely in the fullest flowering of their muse.

the dance in lust

The duo of Eugenie Diserio and Steve Alexander also wanted to have a project where they collaborated with a child, so they got Chandra Oppenheim, the daughter of multi-disciplinary artist Dennis Oppenheim, to sing and write the lyrics that made up “Transportation” in 1980. That EP changes hands for three figures and even the 2008 reissue LP [with more material] is pricey. In 2018, Telephone Explosion Records reissued the material, but the 2xLP is [predictably] sold out with only DLs available [though affordable!]. I really need to hear this material and can see the DL in my future.

But back in the day, I was not aware of The Dance, or Chandra. I first heard Diserio and Alexander in 1983-1984 with the music they wrote to collaborate with TwinArt; video artists Ellen and Lynda Kahn. Identical twins whose work was featured on the unsorted kitchen drawer of late-night cable entertainment; Night Flight. I remember seeing a profile on them where their “Double Shot Of Love” clip, with music by the two was played in full. As shown below. It’s very Bauhaus, but I’m not talking the goth band.

Amazingly enough, all of the TwinArt music [which had never has been issued on records] was recently yet another Modern Harmonic reissue as shown below.

Modern Harmonic | US | CD | 2022 | CD-MH-255

As I’ve said before, Modern Harmonic is clearly intending to cover the NYC Art Scene/Band Scene crossover authoritatively. To that end they will soon be reissuing a solo project by Mr. Lamprecht where he dove into sampling on a Fairlight, but we’ll return to that later. In the mean time. the LP and CD of Model Citizens is currently on pre-order until Friday with $2.00 off of the list price at the Modern Harmonic website. There is also a DL option at the Modern Harmonic Bandcamp store for those of an immaterial persuasion.


post-punk monk buy button


post-punk monk buy button


post-punk monk buy button


needle rip


Stop the presses [does anyone say that anymore?]!!! We have received fresh copies of this album as promo in CD and red vinyl LP format. I only have so much room in my Record Cell, so I thought, why not give away the Model Citizens LP in a drawing for the readers of PPM?

You’re welcome. But I have limitations. Shipping an LP around the world costs from “ouch!!” to “arrrgh!!!!” these days, so the contest is limited to readers in America that I can ship via media mail to since I am footing the bill myself here. This is a non-commercial website and that’s the best that I can do.



  hours  minutes  seconds


Contest Closes

CONTEST OVER: thanks to all who entered


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Deadpan Women, Live Music, Record Review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Model Citizens “NYC 1978-1979” A Vibrant Blast Of No Wave Skirting The Edges of Pop

  1. schwenko says:

    Definitely check out Chandra’s “Transportation” ep! I can’t tell you how many times “Subway” played in my ears while on the 7 train! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      schwenko – Though I grew up in Florida, I still had a Post-Punk “subway song.” “Subway” by Thick Pigeon got played a lot on WPRK-FM in 1981! Thankfully, I scored a copy of that single by the late 80s/early 90s. It’s way out of my league in price now! Not unlike the original Chandra EP. And even the reissues!


  2. Pingback: Revo Remastering: New Wave Comp – Blitz! [REVO 98] | Post-Punk Monk

  3. Pingback: We Have A Winner of the Model Citizens LP | Post-Punk Monk

  4. Pingback: Tomek Lamprecht Finally Has Full Length “Fairlight + Funk” Album Of No Wave Funk…40 Years Later | Post-Punk Monk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.