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Theoretical Girls

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New York, United States (1977 – 1979)

Theoretical Girls was a New York band formed by Glenn Branca and Jeff Lohn that existed from 1977 to early 1979.

Glenn Branca and Jeffrey Lohn were both songwriters for this band. The band did only about 20 shows (3 of which were in Paris). It released one single which had some attention in England where it sold a few thousand copies. The band was never signed by a record company.

The Theoretical Girls were among the most enigmatic of the late ’70s New York bands, famous not so much for their music, since they released only one single during their brief existence, but because the group launched the careers of two of New York’s best known experimental music figures, composer Glenn Branca and producer Wharton Tiers. The latter played drums, the former guitar in the quartet, which also featured keyboardist Margaret DeWys and vocalist/guitarist Jeffrey Lohn, a classically trained composer who, like Branca and so many others in the no wave scene, wasn’t interested in working with popular musical forms until inspired to do so by the explosion of punk rock. The group’s sound was comparable to that of the other no wave bands working in Manhattan at the time, such as Contortions and DNA. Always confrontational and often funny in an aggressive way, the band’s sound consistently displayed the influence of American minimalist composers, ranging from sparse, clattering rhythm pieces that sound like immediate forbearers of early ’80s Sonic Youth to fascinatingly brutal, abrasive slabs of art-punk noise.

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