Dancing Cigarettes

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The Dancing Cigarettes
Also known as The Cigarettes, The Cigs
Origin Bloomington, Indiana
Genres Art, post-punk
Years active 1979 – 1983
Labels Sirius Music, Gulcher, Turnstile Media
Associated acts April Fooles, Barn Boys, Large Door, NoBySCo, The Pathetics, Post Hip Gnosis, Saint Ballantine, The Saurus, The Special Guests, Wronco
Website http://dancingcigarettes.indianavinyl.com/
Past members Michael Gitlin, guitar & vocals
Emily Bonus, bass & vocals
Tim Noe, keyboards, guitar and saxophone
Jaclyn Oddi, keyboards
John Terrill, drums and guitar
Don Trubey, saxophone and drums

The Cigarettes are a popular post-punk and art band based in Bloomington, Indiana and active from 1979 through 1983. They were part of a cadre of Bloomington-based bands that made an impact on the underground music scene. Other bands included The Gizmos, Zero Boys, Dow Jones and the Industrials, and MX-80 Sound. These bands established Indiana as an innovative breeding ground for punk, post-punk and new wave music in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The group changed line-ups frequently, but typically consisted of singer/guitarist Michael Gitlin, bassist Emily Bonus, keyboardists and multi-instrumentalists Tim Noe and Jaclyn Oddi, drummer John Terrill, and saxophonist Don Trubey. More avant-pop than post-punk, their music was as eclectic as their members' musical talents would lead one to believe, ranging from squonky Beefheart rock to bouncy Devo-esque new wave, as evidenced by the brilliant "Pop Doormat", which opens with a deceptively anthemic synth line, then uses an ebullient bass and keyboard melody to underscore a disconsolate lyrical theme that wraps with the repeated question "What am I waiting for?"

The band performed regularly in numerous venues in Bloomington, including Second Story, Bullwinkle's, the Bluebird, and The Gentry Remedy. The band also traveled extensively and performed a venues throughout the US, including CBGB in New York, the Music Box in Kansas City, Mister Goodbar in Buffalo, Tewligans in Louisville, Space Place in Chicago, and many others.

The Cigarettes' musical style is most frequently characterized by the repeated use of hard dissonances (minor 2nd's, major 7th's) in combination with angular rhythmic patterns. At times, dissonances are densely packed, as in the thick web of atonal clusters supporting the lyrics of "Broken Windows." A more spacious use of dissonance is found in "Simple Machines," clarified by an intriguing orchestration of the band's various instrumental sounds. "Puppies in a Sack" and "Piano Lesson/Smith Street" share a similar "additive process" technique in the gradual building of their dissonant and polytonal textures. Combined with this predominantly modular organization of material is a powerful sense of linear motion frequently provided by the band's lyrics. Often the emotive verbal scenarios create tenuous implications of direction which counteract the clouds of tonal density. In "Puppies in a Sack," the relentless repetition of "It was fun for a while" evokes a resignation to nostalgia, which is arrested by the plaintive admission, "But that was a while ago!"

The group recorded frequently but released very little material (one 7" EP and a few appearances on compilations) while they were a performing organization. Two CDs of their material have been released in the years since the band broke up.


1981, Red Snerts: The Sound of Gulcher LP (Gulcher 004) Various Artists sampler including "Broken Windows". This has been reissued on CD as Gulcher 404

1981, The Gulcher 7" EP (Gulcher 007)Puppies In A Sack, Mr. Morse, Pop Doormat, Best Friend

1981, Segments compilation (Sirius Music 101) Burn in Heaven

1982, Son of Segments compilation (Sirius Music 103) Dance Dogs Dance

1996, The School of Secret Music CD (Turnstile Media TM-2) Studio: Bells are Ringing, Burn in Heaven, Jungle Book, Golden Moment, Razor Hand, Heat Pump, Dance Dogs Dance, Bury Your Picture.Live Studio Radio Recordings from Lawrence, Kansas: Poignant, Piano Lesson/Smith Street, Burnt Toast, Nervous and Wrong, Bad Bad Boy, Up Thru the Spiral, Spanish Modern/Insect Boxing, Feel this Pain, Pop Doormat, "D" in Anger

2002, The Gulcher Recordings: 1980-1981 CDStudio: Puppies in a Sack, Mr. Morse, Pop Doormat, Best Friend, Broken Windows, Simple Machines, Poignant (the final two being outtakes from the EP sessions) Live at the Bluebird, June 1981: Whattayawannadonext?, Mr. Morse, Puppies in a Sack, Talking and Talking, Feel This Pain, Finger Pictures/Razor Hand, Eggs Any Style/Diet of Worms, Banana Industrial Complex, Monsters Eat My Hell, Jackie O/Too Mental For Me, Drawn By You, Burn in Heaven

2016, Dance Dogs Dance LP (Magnetic South MS 048) Side 1: Dance Dogs Dance, I Don't Like Linoleum, Burn in Heaven, Pop Doormat, Bad Bad Boy, Finger Pictures, Razor Hand, Side 2: Bells are Ringing, Golden Moment, Poignant, Drawn by You, Little Green Thing

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