w/Pretty Girls Make Graves, Broadcast Oblivion
Sat April 26, Graceland, 9:30 pm, $8 adv (all ages).
The worst disease to eat away at a music lover is a horrible affliction called Getting Jaded. And you know the types who carry this sickness--the scowls, the crossed arms, the look of "Jesus, do we have to hear another band that sounds like _____" on their faces. Nothing is new, nothing can please them. Everything is shit these days, compared to some timeline stuck in their head like a skipping record--an untouchable period that represented absolute perfection.
Long Beach, California's Dance Disaster Movement saw the jaded disease plague their hometown, and fearful of falling under the same condition, they broke out of their mold a year and a half ago and took a more lighthearted, yet intelligent, approach. "We come from a post-hardcore, post-punk kind of thing, and we were kinda bored with music and dissatisfied with the bands around, so we decided to start a dance band," says drummer Matt Howze. "We just wanted to make really crazy dance music."
Informed by bands like Tortoise, Slint, and Mice Parade as much as Clikatat Ikatowi, ESG, and Le Shok, Howze and keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Kevin Disco suture various tones and textures together, using spastic swatches of noise and experimentation that throb over tribal percussion. Songs hiccup, bubble, and burst with squiggly sound effects one moment before getting layered under a 20-vehicle-pileup-car-horn-sounding snippet or a pastoral post-punk guitar rhythm. Meanwhile, Disco delivers clipped orders like "Shoot me in the fucking head" and "I've got the piss in my pants, put me right into place"--lyrics the duo says are purposely non-narrative to keep the focus on the action-oriented beat.
Their debut, We Are from Nowhere, came out earlier this year on Dim Mak, and utilized components from the kitchen (pots and pans) and the utility closet as much as it did standard instruments like keyboard loops and detuned guitar. "We were using a Radio Flyer wagon [for percussion on some of the album]," says Howze, "and some metal chunks and we threw some trash cans around--I always use a trash can, and different shakers. We like to think of things that aren't really used--we used a vacuum on one of the recordings--and we want to incorporate that stuff into our live show eventually."
Instead of sounding like a junkyard getting the press from a trash compactor, Nowhere becomes a pathway for the future of dance-oriented punk music, where the organic and the synthetic compose a compelling new beat. DDM's experimentation has its boundaries, as the pair doesn't want to get so freaky that they end up confusing the movements of their crowds. "Our motives are to take dance music to the next level--so there's also new dance moves being created," says Disco, who says he incorporates popping and "other weirdness" into the show. "We don't want people to be locked into that prism of 'how to dance.'"
To that end, Howze says Disco has a pretty high clothing-repair bill. "Kevin just goes nuts. He splits his pants every two months, and he has to buy new pants [constantly] because he dances like a madman," laughs Howze. "But people just need to escape from the stuff that brings them down, and we've gotten a good response from our shows because I think we're fun to watch."
Like the Polyphonic Spree and Andrew W. K., DDM have chosen to go the opposite extreme from the black-on-black punk uniform to help elevate their audience from the typical rock-club dirge: They dress all in white when they perform. "The scene was just getting too dark," says Howze. "We just wanted to get bright and happy. I guess we could've gone neon, but it's kind of hard to find neon clothes," he jokes. Adds Disco, "White is pretty clean and bright and positive. Hopefully people will show up at our shows wearing white because that would bring up the positive atmosphere." When he's reminded that rock clubs are rarely the bastions of cleanliness that would encourage wearing anything that couldn't handle a permanent beer stain, Disco laughs and adds, "Trust me, we get pretty dirty."