Various Artists

Death Disco: Songs from Under the Dance Floor, 1978-1984

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How silly is this? The subtitle of the compilation references Magazine's "A Song From Under the Floorboards," but the compilation itself does not include it. Even sillier: the label that put the disc out has access to the band's catalog. At any rate, Death Disco is centered around some of the post-punk singles that are most translatable to the dancefloor. PiL's "Death Disco," drenched in dread-filled dub as much as loping disco, is an obvious and smart choice. The majority of what follows isn't nearly as claustrophobic and dense, so in that sense the disc's title isn't wholly indicative of its contents. XTC's hyperactive "Meccanic Dancing (Oh We Go!)" is at the opposite end of the spectrum, spilling over with wired energy. The Normal's now-oft-compiled "Warm Leatherette," along with Throbbing Gristle's "United" and the John Robie mix of Cabaret Voltaire's "Yashar," are either mostly or completely electronic -- "Warm Leatherette"'s hypnotizing snap-and-singe is one of the disc's most jolting listens, fetishizing the car crash as a sexual turn-on (see also: J.G. Ballard's like-themed book Crash). Some obscurities are thrown in to separate the disc from the average post-punk dance compilation (see also: In the Beginning There Was Rhythm, Nine O'Clock Drop, Rough Trade Shops: Post Punk 01). If there needed to be a sign that the post-punk revival was nearing its end, it's in the appearance of Steel Leg vs. the Electric Dread's "Haile Unlikely," the result of some poorly spent spare time shared by PiL's Jah Wobble and Keith Levene. Another small gripe is that the Simple Minds inclusion, "Theme for Great Cities," should have been ignored in favor of any number of more-apt tracks ("30 Frames a Second," for instance).

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