Sunday, March 25, 2012

Now: The Hit Comps Of 2012

Two strong compilations have landed within a matter of weeks of each other: Strong Love (Chapter Music) and Metal Dance (Strut/Fuse). 

Strong Love is a collection of Gay Liberation anthems that spans the '70s. While it leans heavily on post-hippy folk, there are also funky protestations (Buena Vista, International Gay Society), soul statements (Blackberri) and soft cock rock (Chris Robison). But the highlight. and reason alone to purchase this set, is from LA sleazoid Smokey. His track here, 'Strong Love' is dark, almost proto-house. From 1976, it could just easily have come out a decade later and been given a slight retweak to masquerade as something Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle were getting up to. The liner notes tell us that Smokey worked with members of Quiet Riot, Tin Machine and The Motels at different stages of his career. It makes sense. It also makes sense that Chapter tease us with the promise of an entire Smokey reissue disc soon.

Metal Dance is a collection of post-punk industrial electronic "rarities and classics" from the '80s. Compiled by UK producer Trevor Jackson (Playgroup), there is not one dud cut on this 27-track set. There are the big names in synth punk, new wavery: Cabaret Voltaire, Nitzer Ebb, DAF, Yello and, film director/composer John Carpenter. Aus electro icons are remembered too, with Severed Heads and SPK (whose selection here gave this comp its name).  Best is that Jackson includes those less remembered for being a part of this exciting moment in music history: Pete Shelley (usually cast aside as a one-hit wonder in solo mode, while being lauded as a member of punk band The Buzzcocks), Honey Bane (she spent most of the '80s as an erotic model and is often derided as a poor man's Toyah) and Alien Sex Fiend (mainly lambasted for their role in the first wave of goth). There's also acts who were critically-acclaimed at the time but who are rarely rated for their importance in the evolution of electronica: one-time PiL bassist Jah Wobble, 400 Blows, Mark Stewart (of seminal disco punks The Pop Group) and Fini Tribe (singer Chris Connelly later joined Revolting Cocks). At its best though, Metal Dance uncovers acts that may have escaped your notice previously: Diseno Corbusier, The Bubblemen and Analysis.

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