Madness, they Called It.
1.Scritti Politti – Jacques Derrida
Composed more of non-musicians than performers, Scritti Politti were a band/collective formed in the late 70's alongside the initial post-punk movement, but rather than stand in stark contrast to dance music like many of their peers, they wholeheartedly embraced it and combined it with their folky/commie roots plus a jerky post-punk sense of rhythm. Simultaneously embracing and declaring war on pop culture, “Jacques Derrida” conceals sinister intent from the unscrutinizing pop listener. And it sure as hell is catchy, despite some prerequisite post-punk abrasiveness.
2.Joan of Arc – Happy 1984 and 2001
Joan of Arc offer a quick glimpse into the mind of a conspiracy theory paranoiac: ripe with folky acoustic guitar picking, numbingly noisy synths, and delirious elliptical chanting. It lies somewhere in the dead zone between soothing and disturbing.
3.My Bloody Valentine – Map Ref
My Bloody Valentine reinterpret the classic track from Wire's 154, turning it into an instant shoegaze classic. Wire's early 80's fluid guitar sound transforms from glimmering sheen into a swirling cloud of feedback and overtones, as Kevin's murmurings bleed into Belinda's, transforming Colin Newman's dreamy meanderings into pure bliss.
4.Arto Lindsay – Q Samba
What can you expect the work of an artist whose background includes a childhood in Brazil, No Wave, and “fake jazz” to sound like? With Arto Lindsay you can't really expect anything. This particular song infuses Tropicala with fat, noisy synths and smooth vocals delivering absurd lyrics. It compels you to dance self-mockingly.
5.The Ex + Tom Cora – King Commie
Tom Cora's cello gives fluidity to The Ex's staggered rhythms, and matches them in their most free-form meltdown moments. Punk and screeched folk vocals collide over an aggressive art rock backdrop. The Ex, an anarchist band from the Netherlands, are matched perhaps only by The Fall as still-surviving still-shit-upfucking amazing bands from the first era of punk/post-punk.
6.Miles Davis – Black Satin
Black Satin is so angular and in your face that I find it impossible not to love. From its compulsive stop-start bassline, to the absolutely deconstructed drum spasms, to the horns which introduce melodic structure and then turn it into a swirling, noisy mess. I hear the angular funk of James Chance and Gang of Four in this, I hear the sonic assault of Public Enemy, and even the structure-breakdown-structure form often presented by Sonic Youth.
7.Sun City Girls – Esoterica of Abyssynia
Psychedelic Arabic garage rock? That's the best description I can come up with. There's something about Sir Richard Bishop's all-encompassing guitar playing that breaks down the walls between musical forms and turns Sun City Girl's lo-fi avant-rock into something simultaneously universal and otherworldly.
8.No Neck Blues Band – Boreal Gluts
This song would probably work well as the soundtrack to several scenes in Cannibal Holocaust. Dark tribal jazzy improv that sounds like it drifted in from another world.
9.Old Time Relijun – Witchcraft Rebellion
You take a little Jon Spencer, a little James Chance, and add a touch of Beefheart, what do you get? A schizoid group like Old Time Relijun. Witchcraft Rebellion comes complete with driving bassline and drums, squelching horns, and atonal Trout Mask-esque guitar freakouts. You can see the coven dancing madly around the fire orgiastically worshiping Satan and exploring the limits of carnal knowledge and whatnot.
10.Tuxedomoon – The Fifth Column
Creepy synths + creepy jazz = ? Excellent mood music, textural journey very much like David Bowie's ambient work, saved by the excellent horn playing from sounding too dated.