Annie Bandez – aka Annie Anxiety, aka Annie Anxiety Bandez, aka Little Annie – has often found herself, for better or worse, at the right place at the right time.
Chanteuse, author, actress, painter, raconteur, bon vivant and all around survivor, she was born and raised in a perfect town to run away from (Yonkers) just a half an hour north of a perfect place to run away to (New York City). She came of age at the perfect moment to be part of a gorgeous, gifted, tragic generation that was desperate for stimulation and reinvention.
She was one of those in the right place at the right time…
Annie’s musical career started at the fag end of the 70’s, in the seminal NYC art-punk scene. Annie from Yonkers became Annie Anxiety and soon had a band, the Asexuals, behind her. By 1982 she had made her way to London and joined forces with anarchy agit-punksters CRASS, who released her first single, “Barbed Wire Halo” on their label.
Next she hooked up with Adrian Sherwood and his posse of dub radicals, including Bim Sherman, African Head Charge, and a trio of fellow ex-pats -Sugarhill refugees responsible for the groove behind rappers like Grandmaster Flash, who were busy restyling themselves as Tackhead (Wimbish, LeBlanc and MacDonald).
Then it was down into the dark London underworld of Coil (Love’s Secret Domain), and Wolfgang Press (Queer), before returning to New York, writing an album with Antony Hegarty (Coal Mine Canary), soundtracking a Levi’s advert and hooking up with her piano partner-in-crime, composer Paul Wallfisch. A week at Wilton’s Music Hall in London in 2008 with Marc Almond led to a month of gigs when Marc did his “Greatest Hits” road show in 2010.
Now about the reissues…
Soul Possession (originally released in 1983 as Annie Anxiety)
Annie’s debut, and the album that clearly maps her transmogrification from Crass cohort and poet/agitator to dub diva. Co-released by Corpus Christi and On-U Sound, it’s an unsettling master stroke created in a landscape nearly devoid of female role models. A harsh, disarming rhythmic landscape is splattered with grim and grisly poetry as Annie literally finds her voice and tells tales of violently unsuccessful love affairs, automatic mishaps, and brutal modern existence. Backed by members of Crass, African Head Charge, Flux of Pink Indians and London Underground, it’s a musical stew of punk, blues, dub and electronics which was way ahead of its time.
Jackamo (originally released in 1987 as Annie Anxiety Bandez)
It was just over three years before Annie’s next album was fully formed. In that time she had become a fully patched member of the On-U Sound crew, and indeed had moved into the garden shed at Chez Sherwood. Jackamo is the result of Annie gravitating towards her earliest musical influences – Garland, Sinatra, Lenya, Piaf… and of her collaboration with On-U’s other feminine force – Kishi Yamamoto. Musical shapes were created by Yamamoto, Tackhead’s Doug Wimbish, and African Head Charge’s Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah. Jackamo is the sound of the haunted dancehall – dub groove and Caligari cabaret, matched with Annie’s brutal/gorgeous lyrical seppuku.
Short & Sweet (originally released in 1992 as Little Annie)
The real truth is that Short & Sweet was not Annie’s third album, it was her fourth. Snapped up by the major Atco after the critical acclaim surrounding Jackamo, Annie spent a lot of cash and a lot of time creating her masterwork – and then the label collapsed and buried her album in a grave of legal limbo. Annie did what all smart girls do – divorced her husband, fired her manager, and went back into the studio. Along with her faithful Tackhead compadres she set about crafting a pop album – but one which demanded that the musical form rise to her high standards – rather than watering down her own creative force to a lower common denominator. Annie is vocally wearing her most comfortable shoes ever on this album – and her lyrics draw from a rich source of anger, betrayal and realism that come from surviving a failed record deal and a failed marriage. A true tour de force.
The reissues are available through the Southern Records webshop.
Annie will be touring again in February (with an additional show in September) playing the following shows: