Music Reviews

Death Before Disco

Various Artists


Newly established SF label PrinceHouse celebrates West Coast death disco on their first compilation album, carving out a niche for the label’s musical future in the process. The claim that electro-punk is more related to San Francisco than to New York is a problematic one, although certainly not un-founded as this album sets out to prove, pointing to contemporary acts like I Am Spoonbender, Dance Disaster Movement and Hint Hint (but excluding more well-known acts like The Rapture, VSS and !!!). And, to prove that they don’t hold any grudges against the East, they’ve even included Detroit’s inimitable electro-duo Adult.

If nothing else, PrinceHouse may be correct to point out that the West Coast disco/punk and no-wave movements are less ironically laden than the equivalent NY scenes, and more uncompromisingly direct in their musical approach, as this compilation attests. Frankly, it’s a bit much at times: the almost gothic melodrama overflows with disturbed and sinister creepiness, as much a contrived pose as anything the inherently hip New Yorkers have come up with in recent times. Plus, the inclusion of lackluster retro-rawkers like The Pattern and The Pleased seems unmotivated at best. At its finest, however, this compilation serves as both a timely reminder of the vitality of contemporary Californian death disco and electro-punk, as well as a fine introduction to some new and exciting acts, including A Tension, Kill Me Tomorrow, and PrinceHouse’s very own Paradise Boys.

PriceHouse Records:

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