Theoretical Girls Theoretical Record

A group much more often heard of than heard, NYC's Theoretical Girls emerged and faded alongside the city's late '70s no wave movement - a merging of punk and avant-garde impulses that also served as a springboard for the Contortions and Lydia Lunch, among others. The band released a lone single during its three years together, one side of which - the linear, militaristic "U.S. Millie" - is included here. While that track fails to distinguish the Girls as a subversive force amongst its post-punk peers, the remainder of Theoretical Record is a revelation - unreleased loft recordings performed with and without the presence of an audience that reveal art-damaged firebrands whose stripped-back punk primitivism aims to travel the space-ways forged by Sun Ra's Arkestra and Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. The quality of most tracks here approximates little more than bootlegs, but that only adds to Theoretical Record's air of major archaeological find. Given the illustrious futures that would soon unfold for members Glenn Branca and Wharton Tiers, one can only imagine the course of alternative rock if the band had kept on its path. (Acute)