Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Music In Brief

New York dance-rock band !!! plays a fiendish covers game on "Take Ecstasy With Me"/"Get Up" (Touch And Go), a CD single given to songs by The Magnetic Fields and Nate Dogg. The A-side takes a mesmerizing roll through Stephen Merritt's drug song (reconfigured musically and lyrically), but the flip is the real keeper: After murmured words about liquor stores and bodies burning, "Get Up" blasts off on a ravaged jag of blistering bass runs and phase-mad guitar. It's as dark and noisy as anything lumped in with dance-rock from either side, and sickly funky too…

One of the best techno labels in white-hot Berlin, Perlon makes an all-too-rare CD move with Caliente by Ark, a French producer who chops dance music into playful hiccups. Ark samples preachers a lot, but their impassioned calls to God get cast just the same as screaming jokesters and house-music singers crooning "I like the way your booty shake." Words are just sounds in Ark's ear, though, and his ear is as restless and strange as any in electronic music…

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A Baltimore group that favors the mood of old post-punk rather than the rhythms jacked by so many others, Wilderness pays down bands like Public Image Ltd. and The Cure on its entrancing self-titled debut (Jajaguwar). Interlocking guitars jangle and jab in ethereal time, while singer James Johnson seizes and squints through poetic word-strings wound tight but connected to nothing so much as a need to purge ideas about spectacle, terror, and "Post Plethoric Rhetoric"…

"Do you want to percolate?" That query became a song title by Chicago house-music act The Sweat Boyz, but it's also a question we'd all be wise to spend time pondering, preferably in a demented club, or at least while listening to Can You Jack? Chicago Acid And Experimental House 1985-1995 (Soul Jazz). The two-disc collection of dance classics focuses on the manic, mechanistic funk that grew out of disco in the underground black club scene of the Windy City, which out-freaked techno Detroit and garage New York by several degrees. The set features all the standbys—Maurice, Phuture, DJ Pierre, Mr. Fingers, et al.—but a few rarities and terrific liner notes make it a good primer for fans and initiates.

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