Cold War, Part II 

Dancepunk, All the Way to the Apocalypse

Dance Disaster Movement

Sun Dec 29


Many people, myself included, expected and hoped America's currently scary-as-fuck government would incite the underground music community back into the outspoken political force it was in the early '80s (see above article). But something else happened: all the punkers wanted to do was dance, turning 2002 into the year of early-'80s humping no-wave/dancepunk (music geared towards dancing, but with a punk approach). And, while many dancepunk bands are totally political (i.e. Erase Errata, Radio 4--for more, there's a really good article in the Dec issue of XLR8R), what most of them provide is a very artful and entertaining escapism. It makes perfect sense, on a broader scale: Born Against and Dead Kennedys couldn't directly save the world from Reagan. Maybe, for the kids who grew up during the Cold War (and waiting for the USSR to blow our asses to Neptune), the last "f-you" to the Reagan-Bush-Bush cerberus is to channel the chaos that is their legacy into the last party we'll ever have.

Whatever. The Dance Disaster Movement, a year-old duo from SoCal, kicks my ass into gear. With the tightest beats like, ever, the DDM sound as if they've channeled their live dancepunk explosion by culling ideas from modern electronic dance music (drum 'n' bass, electro, breakbeats, techno, even trance), rather than just milking the ole Gang of Four teat. Matt Howze (ex of Treadwell) is on drums, Kevin Disco (of Radar) is on keybs and vox; as touchstones, you could definitely cite Neu and Suicide--the boys toy with some minimalism, but mostly douse their fire with pulsing, electrified screams, and circuit-breaking melodies and loops. They have a record coming out on Dim Mak in late January, titled We Are From Nowhere, and it's hot--white hot.

"Formulated by the government to wake up the American public," DDM wears its colors on the Cold-War-kid, escapism end of dancepunk. "Our lyrics are purposely cliché," explains Howze. "They're not real deep, because we want to create a positive atmosphere, and it's hard to do that when you're singing about suicide or some other depressing topic Primarily, [our lyrics are] about letting go and forgetting about all the shit that's bringing you down. This idea is the backbone of the band. We want people to have fun, and you have fun when you're not thinking about all the responsibilities that are on your shoulders."

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