Tuxedomoon, Half Mute / Scream With A View

Simon Reynolds

By Simon Reynolds

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Signed to the Residents 'Ralph Records label, San Francisco trio Tuxedomoon pioneered a multi-media blend of cabaret, performance art, and moody synth-pop they called "loungezak." World-weary songs like "What Use?" and "7 Years" paralleled the sort of jaded nihilism then being peddled on America's other coast by No Waver icons like Cristina and James Chance & the Contortions. Unlike the latter's sado-masochistic frenzy, Tuxedomoon offered a more languid version of despair, lacing their songs with melancholy saxophone, shivery violin, cool-as-ice synth and dry drum machine rhythms. Scream With A View, the title of the EP tacked onto this reissue of the group's debut album, neatly distills their whole schtick: uneasy-listening for angst-afflicted moderns.