8 user 17 critic

Kill Your Idols (2004)

A documentary on thirty years of alternative NYC rock 'n roll.


Scott Crary (as S.A. Crary)

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Ron Albertson Ron Albertson ... Himself
Angus Andrew Angus Andrew ... Himself
Tristan Bechet Tristan Bechet ... Himself
Hisham Bharoocha Hisham Bharoocha ... Himself
Glenn Branca ... Himself
Sebastien Brault Sebastien Brault ... Himself
Brian Chase Brian Chase ... Himself
Bjorn Copeland Bjorn Copeland ... Himself
Eric Copeland Eric Copeland ... Himself
Susan Donaldson Susan Donaldson ... Herself
Michael Gira Michael Gira ... Himself
Aaron Hemphill Aaron Hemphill ... Himself
Eugene Hutz ... Himself
Oren Kaplan Oren Kaplan ... Himself
Arto Lindsay Arto Lindsay ... Himself


A documentary on thirty years of alternative NYC rock 'n roll.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You Are A Target Market.


Documentary | Music







Release Date:

27 January 2007 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Gremise ta eidola sou See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,274, 9 July 2006

Gross USA:

$7,753, 30 July 2006
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?


The title of the film is inspired by the Sonic Youth song "Kill Yr Idols". See more »

Crazy Credits

SHOWN AT THE BEGINNING: "Here in this family album lies the salt family of Lot." -Marina Tsvetaeva See more »


Features The Wild World of Lydia Lunch (1983) See more »


by Angels of Light
Courtesy of Young God Records
See more »

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User Reviews

'...these bands are really f***ed up...'
14 February 2009 | by flaminghatSee all my reviews

'Kill Your Idols' was awesome. There's your summary right there. The No Wave art movement and the bands that it spawned have become very integrated in my musical tastes and my way of thinking, and to be able to see some of the people (a lot of them actually) who were involved and hear about their journey was, for me, a very personal and fulfilling experience. So, I'm going to try and be as objective as possible. It's not going to be easy though...

First off, I was born in '82, when the Swans and Sonic Youth were starting out, so I really don't have a sense of 'nostalgia' as such, since I am experiencing the might of that movement completely second (and maybe even third) hand. Also, I have lived my entire life about as far away from New York as possible, by design rather than by intention (though I can't say I am sad about it): my connection to the movement and the ideas were formed simply by following the history and influences of the bands I knew about, slowly revealing more and more of what the 'scene' was exactly and what had come from it. That said, again, the power of the music and the statements it made has affected me profoundly, so I believe (perhaps wrongly) that I am justified in having an opinion on it and being able to judge 'Kill Your Idols' for what it truly is, that being not a simple music documentary where the point is to say 'oh yeah, I remember when...' and play some concert footage. The point is to look at No Wave as an art movement, how it developed, and how it influences music today. In that, I believe it succeeds near flawlessly.

The editing and style of the film is, in itself, very much in tune with the No Wave attitude. The frequent and quick cuts during interviews give it a very jerky feeling quite reminiscent of the music itself. Essentially it is presented in four parts: the actual No Wave movement (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Contortions, Suicide, DNA, etc.), the early 80s bands inspired by the movement (Swans, Sonic Youth and Foetus), the newer crop of bands (Black Dice, Liars, etc.) and the final part is an analysis, essentially, of how the new bands missed the point. Many people think that to be unnecessary, but I happen to agree with a vast majority of the statements made by the older generation as well as those made by Sergey Rjabtzev of Gogol Bordello, one of the only people of the newer crop who seemed to really grasp the ideas behind No Wave. Not only are they spot on (Lydia Lunch in particular), but it says a lot about modern music in general: how being different sells and how that is taken advantage of, whereas when No Wave was around, it was about not being liked, it was about spitting bile and wanting to mess with minds. I do like, personally, some of the newer bands, but I would not go so far as to say that they really grasped the concepts engendered by the movement and in fact half of them seemed really fake and cheesy (not to mention lame interviewees). Referring to something as harsh and warped as No Wave music as 'pure and innocent' for example...oh yeah, objectivity...ahem...

Well, without telling too much, I think this should be required viewing for anyone who likes Swans, Sonic Youth or bands of their ilk to find out where they came from and learn about a very interesting and influential, if short-lived, period in American music, or for anyone interested in music-as-art in general. It's well made, poignant, often hilarious, and it manages to be much more than a simple trip down Nostalgia Avenue. It also conveys the principles behind the creation of the movement and the brotherhood (and sisterhood) that formed around it very admirably. Punk is dead, but I for one cannot thank Mr. Crary enough for providing a window and allowing us to look back at a time when it was very much alive.

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