[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ost dance nights that advertise a “post-punk” theme dabble in the obvious; a little bit of Joy Division here, a dash of Gang of Four there. But when Providence’s John O’Leary, of longtime Boston darkwave/gothic rock trio You Shriek, takes to the decks Friday night at Superstition at Arc Nightclub & Lounge in Audubon Circle, expect the sound to go much deeper.
We reached out to O’Leary this week for a teaser of what to expect at the monthly underground dance night, and he delivered. “I initially thought about listing lesser known tracks from the big British indie labels that I’ve always loved: 4AD, Factory, Mute, and so on,” O’Leary reports back. “As I started picking songs, I came across some others that really deserve some attention, too.”
O’Leary says his mix will be a combination of familiar classics — but not too familiar — from the late-’70s/early-80s UK sub-genre and some deeper cuts. “Friday night at Superstition you’ll certainly hear 4AD, Factory, Mute and the other great indie labels represented, but also some other music that you don’t get to hear as often.”
Here are five of his offerings, “presented in no order”:
The Pop Group – “She’s Beyond Good and Evil” (7-inch 1979)
Any post-punk list should include the Pop Group, they were one of the originals. This track gives you a good idea of what the early post-punk sound was like, heavily influenced by dub, reggae, funk, etc., but twisted out of shape just a little bit. St. Vincent did a great cover of this track on Jimmy Fallon recently that is well worth looking for on YouTube.
Fad Gadget – “Back to Nature” (Single, Mute Records 1979)
Frank Tovey, absolutely. Sad to think about how many great artists from that era are no longer with us: Frank, John McGeoch of Magazine/Siouxsie/PiL, Rowland S. Howard. You can hear hints of Fad Gadget to this day is so much modern “indie” music.
Christian Death – “Deathwish” (Only Theatre of Pain, Frontier Records 1982)
They’re the only U.S. act on here, but I really wanted to include Christian Death. The shadow of Rozz Williams looms large over the whole post-punk influenced Deathrock/Gothic explosion that took place in the early to mid-’80s. One listen to this LP and you get a clear picture of what was on the way. I saw a picture of Alice Glass from Crystal Castles the other day sitting in her bedroom surrounded by vinyl, and Only Theatre of Pain was on the top of the pile. So there’s that, too…
Chameleons UK – “As High As You Can Go” (Script of the Bridge LP – Statik Records 1983)
The Chameleons. Another brilliant Manchester band, alongside Joy Division/New Order, the Smiths and so many others. To the casual American listener, they aren’t as well-known, but they still have a massive following to this day. I hear that Mark Burgess will be touring with his Chameleons Vox band this spring in Europe, performing this entire album. Maybe if we make enough noise in Boston we can get him over here.
The Sound – “The Fire” (From The Lions Mouth LP Korova Records 1981)
The post-punk era turned out so many bands that went on to be huge, I’m sure at this week’s party we’ll be playing them all: Siouxsie, the Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, Bauhaus. Then there are bands like London’s the Sound, who never really got the attention they deserved in their day. This track in particular i really love.
Dead Can Dance – “A Passage In Time” (Dead Can Dance LP – 4AD 1984)
Sorry! Couldn’t finish off this list without at least one 4AD track. There’s so much to choose from when you talk about 4AD, but the first Dead Can Dance album is often ignored. To a listener who’s only heard their incredible later ’80s-’90s LPs or their not-as-great-to-my-ears ’90s “World Music” stuff, this album can sound out-of-place. Guitar, bass and drums, and an obvious Joy Division influence. But listen to this whole record start to finish and you’ll get a sense they were definitely headed in other directions.