Nu Rave extravaganza

If you're into light sticks
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  February 13, 2007

The Klaxons

So the New York Times told me the other day that British kids are learning to dance and love again, and I couldn’t be happier. After all, where better to spend my hard-earned ecstasy than at the local “Nu Rave” extravaganza? Only problem is that the media jumped on the bandwagon and everyone else jumped off: most bands refuse to be associated with the genre, and even the Klaxons, who coined the “Nu Rave” phrase and appear to be the Next Big Thing out of England, now claim it was a joke. Truth be told, the band don’t mimic the NRG fiends that came before them as much as they fuse post-punk primalism with its cool descendants like the Happy Mondays: think the Unstoned Roses. Still, if you’re into light sticks, here’s a rundown of your new best hopes from across the sea.

The Klaxons, “Gravity’s Rainbow” (mp3 via MySpace)
The big single from the band making all the noise takes its name from Thomas Pynchon’s WW2 novel, but the beat takes a lot less time than 800 pages to get where it’s going. In fact, bouncing guitars and pulsing drums speed by so fast, it’s hard to remember where you began. You know, before you were dancing.

Simian Mobile Disco, “It’s the Beat” (mp3 via MySpace)
James Ford, one half of this dance-music duo, produced the Klaxons’ debut, and if this single is any indication, SMD’s forthcoming debut will be holding court among nu-ravers. Like electroclash without the irony, the track delivers dry female vocals, screeching synths, and whirring electronics. Why is this so good? Um, it’s the beat.

Shitdisco, “Reactor Party” (mp3 via MySpace)
Heavily influenced by DFA and LCD Soundsystem, Shitdisco seem to have been grouped into the genre simply because they’re from the UK. “Reactor Party” is passable dance punk, all stuttering guitar licks and deep-shouting vocals that fight with the bass for a high-energy, if conventional, party track.

Datarock, “FaFaFa” (mp3 via MySpace)
Leave it to these cool Scandinavian kids to throw our culture right back at us at just the right time. Datarock lead singer Fredrik Saroea sounds almost exactly like David Byrne. And he’s supported here by what could be some lost Blondie dance beat crossed with weird soca synth breaks and a driving dance pulse. “Fa fa fa fa fa” indeed.

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