By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
By Jeff Gage
By Loren Green
DIRTY SOUND SYSTEM (various artists)
Dirty Space Disco
This calendar year marks the 30th anniversary for both Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. But while punk now resides wholly in the mall's domain, disco, over the decades, has proven itself to be highly adaptable. White-label disco edits get spun out at hep underground clubs, space disco is all the rage in—go figure—Norway, disco-indebted Francophiles like Daft Punk and Justice sell out stadiums and clubs in the States, and noisy rock bands like Glass Candy and Chromatics re-invent themselves as Italo-disco purveyors on the critically touted Italians Do It Better label.
The Dirty Space Disco comp teases out a secret history of the form, connecting Motown's the Undisputed Truth to German ambient pioneer Roedelius, and the flamboyant San Franciscan Sylvester to astringent electronic noisemaker Conrad Schnitzler. All sorts of seedy pleasures abound in the territory bordered by those lines. There's John Forde, singing about the submerged city of "Atlantis" in a falsetto reminiscent of a recently nut-punched Mike Love. And Fern Kinney, whose "Baby Let Me Kiss You" must be the set's most salacious treat. A onetime member of American '60s girl group the Poppies, Kinney became a one-hit wonder for her disco version of King Floyd's "Groove Me." On the more obscure "Baby," her kittenish coo initially sounds innocuous against the spacey synth stretching a wolf-whistle melody across four bars. But the tricky drum break grows and grows to tantric lengths, Kinney's expert wantonness becomes pleasurably evident, and the intervening decades feel superfluous.
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