22 years ago, one of my favorite albums was the double LP The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads — a collection of live tracks spanning the era of “Remain in Light,” “Fear of Music,” “More Songs About Buildings and Food,” and “77.” Name of This Band was released prior to the much slicker (although more afro-oriented) “Stop Making Sense” and Jonathan Demme’s accompanying film, both of which helped push the band into the mainstream, and marked the introduction of the more polished, less angular sound of later Heads.
Somewhere along the line, the album disappeared from my collection. Tried to replace it a few times, only to find it out of print. Thought I’d never hear it again, but the archivists at Rhino (who kick ass, btw) have re-released it in expanded and remastered version that I’ve been listening to non-stop for days.
From the Pitchfork review:
This live album is not simply a fans-only document or a curio or a means of padding the discography or exploiting fans. In many ways, it’s the best one-stop document of what made Talking Heads one of the post-punk era’s most dynamic and urgent bands, and a succinct argument for the merits of synthesizing rock with emerging, potentially oppositional sounds. The latter is a lesson that will hopefully be learned by today’s rock artists.
Name of This Band reminds me of everything that was once awe-inspiring about Talking Heads — artful without being artsy, defiant of simple categorization, inventive, always inspired. Some tracks, such as Animals and an early version of Electricity (Drugs) surpass the studio versions.
Available at iTunes music store for instant gratification, if you swing that way.