Monday, January 09, 2006

Dance, Austin!

Memory lane.

Hey remember that shit we called dance-punk (né disco-punk)? And like, The Rapture were all cool and the DFA were on top of it from day one, and you know, Liars were rockin' NYC, Radio 4 still had us fooled into thinking they weren't a bunch of twats, Moving Units were holding it down on the west coast with !!! -- and some wanks were cashing in calling themselves Paradise Boys even though they were still total shit (but not as shit as The Calculators), and ... and and. And what the fuck? Oh right. And then Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads happened, the followers followed - bless them - and the UK music scene still hasn't recovered.

Anyway, down in Austin, Texas they knew what was up, and - somehow - they existed in a vacuum creating some badass shit with the open hi-hat disco beat and songs about the club and the line and that hot girl and those gay guys getting each other off in the bathroom or whatever. And eventually they made songs about how it was all shit, but still with the open hi-hat disco beat and a scarf in hot weather and irony in full effect. We'll get back to the irony in a minute.

But first, let's appreciate what they did, right? The Arm and This Microwave World shared members (primary members) and have an association with Zykos (for the sake of credibility). The Arm are still around, and still rockin' it. In fact, I still like them, what with their Fall-ishness and that.

Maybe one day tunes like this will be the equivalent of the solid gold we mined a few years ago in the form of undiscovered or under-appreciated early '80s post-punk. Time will tell, but "Vile Lives" is a great song, with some wicked lyrical action.

The Arm - To Your ID
The Arm - Get Down With The Death Of The City!
The Arm - Vile Lives
This Microwave World - The Party Line
This Microwave World - You Are A Riot

Hey Austin, see you at SxSW.


Anyway, on with the irony. I can only hope the cheesy motherfuckers down with the house music meets rock'n'roll are self-aware enough to appreciate the lameness of it all at this point. Pink and cyan '80s references, the post-electroclash fallout we're still suffering from, the attempt to meld all of it with conceptual art, or trendy new-school design aesthetics, taking yourself oh-so-serious. The big budget bullshit. OK, the sorta big budget bullshit. Well, the stuff that has at least some money behind it. You know?

This 21-year-old guy named Calvin Harris in Scotland sure gets it. He turns the music out with a deft hand, and he lays the irony on thick and unpretentiously. It's wonderful, and it makes his work both timely and - well - timely. But he seems to know this. Talent, for reals, and is it just me, or does he take a serious dig at Louis XIV, which is enough to have him crowned a prince in some circles.

Calvin Harris - Acceptable In The '80s
Calvin Harris - Rock Band
Calvin Harris - The Girls

... in closing, the DFA are still at the top of their game, and that is no off-handed sarcasm.


This update was brought to you - in part - with a nod towards Howard Stern's controversial move over to Sirius radio in the USA (but not Canada).


Huge thanks to everyone who came out last Saturday for the Probably Vampires/Two Koreas show. It went really well (having to turn people away due to capacity is a good/bad thing -- sorry if this happened to you). We have a couple other events in the works over the next few months. More info soon.