No wave artist Chandra preps deluxe reissue of ‘Transportation,’ touring
Chandra, the no wave band fronted in 1980 by the then-12-year-old Chandra Oppenheim, are getting a deluxe reissue of their sole record from that same year, the now cult classic “mutant disco” Transportation EP, via Telephone Explosion on December 7. The original four tracks are now beefed up to 10, including two that were previously unreleased. The reissue keeps the integrity of the original EP on one vinyl disc at 45 RPM, with the bonus cuts on a second record. Preorder yours and can stream the original EP below.
Fans of The Avalanches’ 2016 single “Subways” will recognize parts of Chandra’s “Subways” from the EP. (She’s played with The Avalanches too.) If you’d like to learn more, The Guardian just published a new feature on Chandra and here’s a bit of it:
In 1980 the band recorded the EP Transportation. Full of looping bass lines, spiky guitars, wheezing melodica and fizzy drum bursts – akin to ESG and Lizzy Mercier Descloux – these ornery textures were elevated by Oppenheim’s unique delivery. Her vocals were youthful, yet on tracks such as Concentration the manipulative and experimental shifts in tone and delivery sound way beyond her years. “It was very different to a lot of the aggressive no-wave stuff of the time,” Alexander recalls. “It had a meditative quality.”
The band gave their debut show at New York’s legendary Mudd Club, a favourite hangout of Lou Reed, Debbie Harry and Johnny Thunders. There were more packed shows and great press in the New York Times and NME. “There were moments when the music was pulsing and Chandra was chanting, in a room full of jaded hipsters, and they’d be staring with their jaw open,” says Alexander. “It was so pure.” Oppenheim says: “I was more comfortable on stage than I was anywhere else in my life.”
Oppenheim was shielded from many of the more unsavoury elements of band life. “We were protective of her,” Diserio recalls. “Everybody was always on their best behaviour backstage. We just wanted her to have an outlet.” Oppenheim recalls her mother kicking out a Paris Match photographer who requested she be “scantily clad and pose in a suggestive way” for a photoshoot.
Now in her early 50s, Chandra, backed by a few Toronto musicians, will be playing shows in support of the Transportation reissue. She’ll play Toronto on Thursday (11/15), Ottawa on Friday (11/16), and the M for Montreal festival on Saturday (11/17). She’ll drop below the Canadian border to play Brooklyn’s Alphaville on December 2 with Future Punx and Space Meow Doll (tickets).
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Chandra – Tour Dates
Nov. 15th – Toronto, ON – The Baby G
Nov. 16th – Ottawa, ON – Black Squirrel Books
Nov. 17th – Montreal, QC – Diving Bell (M For Montreal)
Dec. 2nd – New York, NY – Alphaville
Chandra “Transportation Eps” tracklist:
5) Get It Out of Your System
7) Tish Le Dire
9) Day Without Success
10) They’re All Alike