MONKEY ALERT!! We’re marking 50 years of American synthpunk oddballs Devo in this month’s Electronic Sound. The band’s co-founders Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale are in superb form for our cover feature, talking about their current tour – they’re playing three gigs in the UK next month – and their forthcoming ‘Art Devo 1973-1977’ triple album. The pair recall their formative years at length, a story which involves the extended sonic assault of audiences, monsters high on nitrous oxide, wardrobes full of masks and costumes, and the inevitability of their surrender to the rules of de-evolutionary theory. As one of the group’s many memorable slogans has it, “In the beginning was the end”. Oh, and there are monkeys too, of course. We couldn’t possibly forget the monkeys.
We have plenty of great reading elsewhere in the magazine as well, including interviews with Creep Show, Modern Cosmology, Craven Faults, Faizal Mostrixx, Soho, Mandy Indiana and Lara Jones. We also have a fabulous piece about what outer space sounds like, with contributions from Chris Watson, Jeff Mills, Kevin Richard Martin and NASA scientist Kimberly Arcand, a data visualiser for the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. From a monkey sitting astride a bomb to the darkest, deepest, furthest reaches of space, then. Now that’s what you call an entertaining magazine, right?
We also have an awesome yellow vinyl reissue of Devo’s ultra-rare ‘Mechanical Man’ EP from 1978 to accompany the magazine. First released on the Elevation label in 1978, just before the band’s ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!’ album came out, the five-track EP has often been described as a bootleg, although some aficionados believe it was a deliberately low-key official record. Even the group themselves aren’t entirely certain what the truth is, but Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale think that the material dates from 1974 or 1975. “These were the five tracks we were most excited about at the time,” says Casale. “And I still like how strange they sound now.”
As with all of our music releases, this record is strictly limited and only available to readers of Electronic Sound, so be sure you get your copy straight away.