“Punk Professor” Vivien Goldman shares first new music in decades, preps new album
Vivien Goldman is a legend in a couple different, related, disciplines. She's an authority on reggae, having worked with Bob Marley at Island Records in the '70s (she was his first publicist), before becoming a music writer for Sounds, NME and other publications, and then later ended up working for the UK's Channel Four. At the same time she was a musician, having been a member of arch, arty synthpop/post-punk group The Flying Lizards as well as new wave duo Chantage, and her own solo work includes the classic 1981 single "Laundrette" that features Robert Wyatt and was co-produced by PiL's John Lydon and Keith Levene. She's an adjunct professor of Punk and Reggae at NYU. Last year she released the fantastic book, Revenge of the She-Punks: A Feminist Music History from Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot.
It's been a while since Vivien has made music herself, but she's been getting back into it. She opened for Cate Le Bon at Brooklyn club Elsewhere in 2019, and now she's just released "I Have a Voice," her first new single in decades, inspired by the impending US election. “I wrote this song in 2019, in London,” Goldman says. “Then as now, people were arguing about Brexit and Trump and the existential sense of uncertainty was much more intense than when punks sang No Future in the 1970s. Many obstacles are being put in the way of people voting in America now, but we must keep our energy and persistence up to make the change we need. We have a voice.”
The original, produced by Youth (Killing Joke, The Orb) and Toby Andersen, is a delicate, searing, string-laden piano ballad but there are a few remixes including the killer "Toby & Youth Bristol Bass Dub" and the "Lore Meltdown Bass Dub" that puts a drum-n-bass spin on the track. Check those out and the music video, co-directed by Vivien and Alexesie Pinnock and features images from this year's many protests, below.
"I Have a Voice" also serves as a preview for a new album, titled Next is Now, which will be out in 2021. Stay tuned.