rock & roll
Figures of Light was an American music band formed in 1970 by Wheeler Winston Dixon and Michael Downey. Their most iconic song is the signature protopunk classic, "It's Lame." The original line up of the band lasted until 1972, performing live concerts, and recording just one single, released in 1972 on Midnite Swan Records.
In 2006, Norton Records re-released the single of "It's Lame," which started the band on their second career, resulting in two full length CDs from Norton, the "vinyl only" release of the band's first concert in 1970, along with many more full length CDs and singles through their own label, FOL Records.
The band broke up amicably in March, 2015; with Dixon stating that "we've done everything we want to do with FOL; now it's time to move on." A permanent archive of FOL videos is on YouTube; their music is still available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and other content providers.
However, despite the band's formal breakup, they continue to release new recordings, and are now a "studio band." Their latest singles, a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are "We Ain't Goin' To Paris" and "Rude Awakening" (both 2020). Their single, "Boiling Point!" was released on October 13, 2016; the single "Surfin' the Skies" dropped on February 2, 2017; and the single "Got It!" was released on March 5, 2017.
On September 2, 2017, they released the single "Quixotic"; on December 18, 2017, the single "Rumbling"; and on June 18, 2018, the single "Midlife Crisis" - all on FOL Records. On January 12, 2019, they released a new instrumental single, "Breaking Through," and on January 25, 2019 the new single "Fire and Ice." All are available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and elsewhere.
In September 2016, they released a new digital album, "Maximum," featuring five new instrumentals from the band, ranging from uptempo rockers like "Sterling" to anthem rock songs - something for everyone who loves rock & roll.
Their CD maxi single "R U Ready?" which was released on July 19, 2015. On December 20, 2015, Figures of Light released a digital only compilation of their favorite instrumental cuts, with three brand new tunes - "Marianne," "Gotta Keep On", and "Surf's Up!" - entitled, appropriately enough, "The Instrumentals."
In January 2014, the band cut "Feedback Music," an experimental electronic music piece using 7 tuned guitars; and "Buy Before You Die," a rock & roll album with seven new tunes, both available on FOL Records.
On October 24, 2014, they released a new digital single, "Instant Drone," which, as Dixon noted, "represents a real shift in the band towards more mature, thoughtful, densely structured work - not just rock & roll, but almost experimental work -- much like the bands Joy Division, Section 25 and The Velvet Underground --this is Post-Rock/Experimental work, almost Musique Concrète."
On June 24, 2014, they released the instrumental cut, "Five Years Later" as a digital download. On July 31, 2014, they released "The Nebraska Sessions," featuring five previously unreleased demos recorded in 2007. On September 3, 2014, they released "Figures of Light - Greatest Hits," a 20 song digital download compilation of their best work on their own label, FOL Records, including a completely new track, "Hot Wax."
Their single "Leave Her Alone / Dreams of the Past," was released on November 22, 2013. The CD maxi single "The Open Door (For Lou Reed)" with DJ Chrisz was released on November 8, 2013. The maxi single "Great! Now We've Got Time to Party!" was released on September 24, 2013, containing the instrumental cut "Ninety-Nine," and premiered on WFMU's "Three Chord Monte" program with host Joe Belock the same day.
FOL's CD maxi-single "The Power," featuring the trance / garage rock title cut and three additional songs, was released on September 9, 2013. Their CD maxi-single "Gimme A Quarter," was released on August 21, 2013, featuring six new tracks from the group.
FOL's full-length CD "Lost & Found," was released on August 15, 2013, featuring 12 tracks, including unreleased demos, live performances, and outtakes from the group from 1972 to 2013. Their CD maxi-single "Too Many Bills, Not Enough Thrills," was released on June 15, 2013.
FOL's full-length CD "Drop Dead" was recorded in Brooklyn, New York at Mitro's Studios, June, 2011, and produced by Mick Collins of The Dirtbombs, featuring fifteen new tracks from the group, released on Norton Records on November 13, 2011.
Figures of Light appeared live with The Sonics, The A-Bones and others as part of the Norton Records 25th Anniversary All Star Spectacular at The Bell House, in Brooklyn, on November 13, 2011.
The CD of "Drop Dead" was released on May 18, 2012, in a newly mastered edition, with a different edit for one of the songs, "You're Just Another Macaroon."
Figures of Light's first concert on July 23, 1970 was recorded in stereo, complete with the television smashing finale. The complete "TV Smashing Concert" was finally released on March 1, 2013 in a limited edition multicolored vinyl 12" LP on Norton Records.
As Miriam Linna of Norton Records put it, "the live LP makes Metal Machine Music sound like Mantovani . . . that 'lost' album is one of my fave records of all time."
And you never know - something else may happen in the future - who can tell?
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