Harper Simon’s recommendation: “Blank Generation, Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Lower East Side manifesto is a seminal New York album and an essential for any young art punk or misfit discovering narcotics, poetry or DIY culture. The poetry is so strong, the vocal delivery so effortlessly hip. Decadent, druggy, fucked out, nihilistic and literate, the Richard Hell of Blank Generation doesn’t care what you think. Plus he’s got the Voidoids to back him up. Bob Quine was a totally unique guitar player who I had the pleasure of playing several shows with in the 90’s. His guitar playing jabs at you, it doesn’t jangle. But it avoids cliche at every turn and perfectly sets up Hell’s gutter rat Rimbaud of Rivington Street thing:
I was sayin’ let me out of here before I was
even born – it’s such a gamble when you get a face
It’s fascinatin to observe what the mirror does
but when I dine it’s for the wall that I set a place
New Pleasure. I’m Your Man. Down At The Rock N Roll Club. The Plan. Betrayal Takes Two. Blank Generation.
Richard Hell. God’s consolation prize!”
About our guest author, Harper Simon: Harper Simon grew up in NYC and later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. He then spent time overseas in London where he was part of a band called Menlo Park. His self-titled solo effort was released in 2009 and sported quite a lineup of backing musicians. We’re talking about everyone from Sean Lennon to Elvis’ bass player, Mike Leech. Harper’s album is filled with smart, strong lyrics and lush production (Harper produced the album and Tom Rothrock, who has produced albums for Beck and the late, great Elliot Smith mixed the final product). Simon commands both the sparse drum and piano arrangement of The Audit and the infectious bounce of Tennesse equally and his easy vocal delivery and intricate finger picking definitely draws on the influence of his dear old Dad (Paul Simon). Reviews of the album were strongly favorable, especially one from PopMatters.com that called the effort “…one of the most enjoyable and understated records of the year.” We anxiously await new sounds, but in the mean time, be sure to check Harper’s online site to purchase his music and merch as well as his upcoming live performances. And don’t miss the fantastic video for Berkeley Girl starring Jena Malone below.