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Indiepop pioneers Dislocation Dance formed in Manchester in November 1978, when bassist-lyricist Paul Emmerson joined up with singer-guitarist Ian Runacres via the traditional route of a musicians wanted ad in the Virgin record store on Newton Street (then a scruffy indie retailer). Emmerson had been been inspired to form a band by his brother Simon Booth, who was then working with Scritti Politti and later formed Weekend. His ad card quoted a wide range of influences, ranging from funk to soul, Krautrock to psychedelia - and a lot of jazz. "This was after seeing two groups in a fortnight: The Mekons, who reminded me that music can be fun, and The Pop Group, who made me realise that it's possible to combine a wide range of influences successfully."
Kathryn Way also joined, but after a few months left to attend college in London. The early line-up of Dislocation Dance played their first live show at the legendary Factory Club in March 1979, and was also active in the Manchester Musicians' Collective, co-founded by Dick Witts of The Passage, later contributing a track (You Can't Beat History) to the MMU compilation Unzipping the Abstract, released in August 1980. The band played at the Factory several more times, on one occasion with Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks as guest vocalist, but passed up the opportunity to record for Tony Wilson's label and plumped for New Hormones instead.
New Hormones was founded by Buzzcocks and their manager Richard Boon as a vehicle for their groundbreaking Spiral Scratch ep in January 1977, but was virtually dormant for the next two years, when the label returned to the fray with a series of fascinating records by Ludus, Biting Tongues and Eric Random. The first Dislocation Dance EP (ORG 7) appeared in October 1980 and showed a band still searching for direction, with the atypical results soon dismissed by Emmerson and Runacres as "bad Pere Ubu", and "Pink Floyd circa 1970" by the press .
Afterwards Runacres, Emmerson and drummer Richard 'Dick' Harrison were joined by Andy Diagram on trumpet, who would split his time between Dislocation Dance and The Diagram Brothers, also signed to New Hormones. The first record released by the new quartet was Slip That Disc!, a budget-priced eight track 12" EP (ORG 10) recorded at Cargo and released in August 1981. It featuring originals such as It's All True... Panic! and So Much Fault, as well as a jazzed-out cover of Beatles' evergreen We Can Work It Out. Still slightly abstract, the EP was praised as "the penultimate party record" and "the real mutant disco - a dis-collation of weedy, reedy funk" by the NME. The record earned Dislocation Dance their first John Peel session in August 1981, swiftly followed by a David 'Kid' Jensen session in January 1982.
The debut album proper, Music Music Music (ORG 15), followed in October 1981, and over 14 tracks set a new standard for eclecticism, with styles ranging from funk (Stand Me Up), bubblegum pop (Don't Knock Me Down), be-bop (Take a Chance on Romance) and ersatz movie soundtracks (Vendetta). The sessions were recorded at Pennine Studios and Revolution, and produced by Stuart James. While the functional sound perhaps lacked a certain sparkle ("background music for the foreground"), and belied the bouncy vigour of the band's live performances, it's still a fine record, blessed with a refreshing lightness of touch, and earned a clutch of good reviews from the UK rock weeklies. Notable gigs, incidently, included London club Heaven (with The Higsons) in December, an ICA Rock Week, and a tour with Girls At Our Best.
In March 1982 the band supported Orange Juice on a full tour of the UK, and in April played string of dates in North America, booked by the ubiquitous Ruth Polsky. Regrettably Freddie Laker's budget airline went bust mid-tour, with the result that their return tickets were not honoured. Thankfully the group were baled out in New York by fellow Mancunian Anthony H. Wilson, although manager Peter Wright elected to remain in America. Despite this exposure, sales of the first album still struggled to exceed 3000, and for their next single, the samba-flavoured Rosemary, Dislocation Dance re-recruited photogenic singer and sax player Kathryn Way. The single appeared on 7" on New Hormones (ORG 19) in May.
Two further singles followed on New Hormones in 1982, You'll Never Never Know (ORG 22) and Remind Me (ORG 27), before the pioneering but impoverished label folded. The band kept busy, however, with a second Peel session in July, and a set for Janice Long in December. Various recording sessions at Revolution between June 1982 and September 1983 eventually resulted in a single (Vendetta) on their own TML label, and a fine second album, Midnight Shift, released by Rough Trade (ROUGH 63) late in 1983. Produced by the band with Stuart Pickering, with a stellar cast of guest musicians, this poised and sophisticated album featured eleven original songs as well as the title track, a reworking of Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's paen to prostitution. In an effort to crack the chart Show Me was released as a 12" single in 1983, featuring a sublime extended version of the song, as well as a dub mix by Dennis Bovell on the flip.
That Dislocation Dance were hovering on the pop periphery is borne out by the fact that they were voted "band most likely to succeed" in the 1983 Smash Hits poll. However, like its predecessor, Midnight Shift failed to sell in large numbers, and the band were dropped by Rough Trade, who judged their eclecticism too tough to market, preferred to put their money behind fellow Mancunian signings The Smiths. Feeling they had already peaked, and that their best days might already be behind them, the band began to lose momentum. Paul Emmerson left for an academic career, Kathryn Way focussed on acting, while Andy Diagram found himself increasingly busy as a session player and with The Pale Fountains. Ian, Andy and Richard carried on with new singer Sonja Clegg and shopped around for a new deal, but although RCA and Polydor expressed interest, nothing came of these overtures, and the band finally dissolved in 1987.
Post-split, Ian Runacres founded several labels, including Bop and Scam, as well as recording three albums as Brightside with bassist Phil Lukes. Paul Emmerson relocated to London and is now a writer and teacher in the field of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Andy Diagram later joined the chartbound James, as well as blowing his horn on a host of other Manchester records, and forming Spaceheads with Richard Harrison. Kathryn Way continues to act, and has raised a family.
Dislocation Dance were a band out of time - too eclectic to cross over into a mainstream populated by ABC, Bananarama, Culture Club and a veritable alphabet of shameless pop tarts, and lacking the hipster credentials of Rip Rig and Panic, A Certain Ratio or Orange Juice. Better cover art might not have hurt either. That said, their music looked forward to bands such as The Cardigans, Belle and Sebastian and any number of acts from the Sarah Records stable.
With their BBC sessions collected on CD in 1999 by Vinyl Japan, original Dislocation Dance members Runacres, Way, Harrison and Diagram (plus Brightside bassist Phil Lukes) reformed for a tour of Japan in June 2000, which would eventually lead to the release of a new album in 2005. Phil Lukes explains: 'We came to make Cromer as Dislocation Dance after finding that there were too many Brightsides, our then-current vehicle. This meant that we were belatedly following up Midnight Shift, which concentrated our minds a bit. We set some parameters, brush drums being the main one, and we wanted it to feel natural with good performances at the core of each song. I think we achieved that. It might not have the youthful zip of that earlier album but it reflected where we were in 2002-5 and was a stepping stone towards what we're doing now.'
'Cromer calls upon personal history,' adds Runacres. 'I have lots of happy memories of summer holidays in Norfolk, camping in a mushroom farmer's field, just behind the old zoo, in Cromer. I could hear the lion roaring in the night, which is about as good as it can get, when you're sleeping under canvas.'
Runacres and Lukes afterwards put together a new band, featuring Chris Gravestock, Andrew Weaver and Jon Board. This line up recorded fourth album The Ruins of Manchester between 2008 and 2011, and released by LTM as a double pack with Cromer. 'It reflects an affection for a pre-renaissance, pre-90s investment Manchester,' says Runacres. 'We wanted Cromer to have a natural, organic feel, which we captured with spontaneous performances. With Ruins. we wanted to feature the new band, both in writing and performance and with it, some new influences. Nevertheless both albums are unquestionably trademark Dislocation Dance: melodic, bubbly and serene.' Their fourth studio album, The Ruins of Manchester, was released in May 2012.
Listening to Music Music Music I imagined that if Pan has decided to become punk musician he would’ve exchanged his flute to a trumpet and would’ve begun to blow stylish notes like on this album. Dislocation Dance was an excellent band that managed to unite high art aesthetics with post-punk penchant of the time. Taking simple pop songs and layering them with intricate jazz overtures is what these guys did best theres no shortage of trumpet solos, rhythm guitars and fast, complex time signatures, that's for sure. But underneath all this jazzy noodling is some perfect British indie pop, which bands like Belle & Sebastian owe so much to. Whether you are refreshing your memory or discovering them for the first time, it's hard not to be stirred by the infectious hooks. Originally released on the Buzzcocks' own New Hormones label and then Rough Trade, the band's career was short-lived, disbanding in 1987. Too quirky for the pop charts, and not hip enough to attract the indie kids, Dislocation Dance suffered unnecessarily in obscurity, and hopefully this post will restore some credit where it is due.
Dislocation Dance - Music Music Music (flac 326mb)
01 Stand Me Up 2:22
02 Don't Knock Me Down 2:20
03 YOPS Course 2:14
04 Meeting Mum And Dad 2:35
05 Friendship 2:20
06 Take A Chance (On Romance)... 2:40
07 ...Have A Dance 1:54
08 Roof Is Leaking 1:26
09 With A Smile On Your Face And A Frown In Your Heart 2:02
10 Vendetta (Theme) 4:00
11 Narrow Laughs 2:11
12 Footloose 2:49
13 Can't Race Time... And The Mad Killer (Coda) 3:54
14 Wonder What I'll Do Tomorrow 2:48
15 Rosemary (7" Version) 2:46
16 Shake ('Rosemary' 7" B Side) 3:51
17 Can't Race Time... And The Mad Killer (From 'Rosemary' 12") 3:44
18 You'll Never Never Know (7" Version) 2:28
19 You Can Tell ('...Never Know' 7" B Side) 2:22
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The breezy, jazzy rhythms and stripped-down new wave of Dislocation Dance overstay their welcome on Midnight Shift. Indie connoisseurs will wolf down the band's spare instrumentation and upbeat, naïve lyrics; however, Midnight Shift lacks consistency. The group sounds inspired on some tracks and cruising on automatic pilot on others. Dislocation Dance is comprised of talented musicians, capable of flinging themselves from one genre to another, often within the same song. On "Baby Blue," they giddily leap back and forth between '60s Motown and country. Nevertheless, for all of their eclecticism, Dislocation Dance is indebted to late-'70s and early-'80s post-punk acts -- just check out the Friends Again-esque funky riffs of "Show Me," the Joy Division-like icy percussion of "Here Comes Love" and "Mr. Zak," and the Pale Fountains-ish acoustic pop of "Bottle of Red Wine." (Since trumpet player Andy Diagram was also a member of the Pale Fountains, the last shouldn't be a surprise.) When Dislocation Dance's jumble of musical styles somehow clicks, they charm the ears. The horn-powered "Show Me" is unbelievably catchy, especially the 12" version added to Vinyl Japan's 2000 reissue of the album. "Tyrannies of Fun" illuminates the LP-like spring sunshine with its soaring violins and halcyon trumpet. There's also a terrific electronic cover of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" at the end of Vinyl Japan's version of Midnight Shift that could've been a disaster. Dislocation Dance is never predictable here.
Dislocation Dance - Midnight Shift + Singles (flac 474mb)
01 Show Me 4:25
02 I'm Doing Fine 2:40
03 Here Comes Love 3:44
04 Remind Me 2:25
05 Tyrannies Of Fun 3:04
06 Open Cages 3:00
07 Baby Blue 3:10
08 With A Reason 3:55
09 Mr. Zak 3:44
10 Bottle Of Red Wine 3:28
11 Midnight Shift 4:37
12 San Michelle 3:24
13 Violette 3:01
14 Remind Me (Instrumental) 2:31
15 Show Me (12" Version) 6:10
16 Show Me (Dennis Bovell Mix) 5:16
17 Vendetta 3:38
18 We Can Work It Out 5:37
19 San Michelle (Original Version) 4:59
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Dalek I Love You were a synthpop group from Liverpool, England. At various points in their existence, the band was also known as Dalek I. By 1981, Gill had reformed Dalek I Love You, with himself as the sole member. He was augmented by Hugh Jones and Chuca Russo on vocal harmonies, and Chris Hughes on drums for the recording of a single, "Heartbeat", released on 28 February 1981 by Back Door. By 1983, the band consisted of Gill and returning members Hartley, Hon and Peers. They released an eponymously titled album in November 1983 on the Korova label. Hon left for London to study fine art.
Gill continued making and recording music with local artists, starting his own cassette-only label, Bop a Dub. In 1985, the band released the cassette-only Naive and effectively disbanded shortly afterwards.
Dalek I Love You - Dalek I Love You (flac 471mb)
01 Holiday In Disneyland 4:40
02 Horrorscope 4:03
03 Health And Happiness 3:14
04 The Mouse That Roared 2:49
05 Dad On Fire 3:39
06 Ambition 3:43
07 Lust 4:22
08 12 Hours Of Blues 5:32
09 Sons Of Sahara 5:27
10 Africa Express 7:14
11 Would You Still Love Me 4:22
12 These Walls We Build 5:05
13 Horrorscope (Instrumental Version) 6:04
14 Masks & Licences 3:05
15 The Angel And The Clown 3:40
16 Heaven Was Bought For Me 4:08
17 12 Hours Of Blues (Dub) 5:54
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While her albums had largely been experimental affairs, by 1987 Danielle Dax began making more accessible music - not necessarily commercial, but certainly records that really SHOULD have cracked the mainstream. Following her excellent 'Inky Bloaters' album, which again scored hot reviews from the music press (yet commercial stations like Radio 1, which could really make or break a record in terms of commercial success, continued to shun her apart from the odd late-night airings by more open-minded DJs) and another of her concerts being televised (this time in Japan), she unexpectedly signed to major record label, Sire, in 1988, after years of recording independently. The subject of this review, 'Dark Adapted Eye', was a compilation released to help break her through in America. Although not gaining widespread commerical recognition, she again amassed a cult following in the States through this release. In effect, it contains every track featured on her third solo album 'Inky Bloaters' (1987) bar 'Born To Be Bad' and a selection of offerings from her earlier experimental solo work.
Yes, this music is strange and unearthly, and is often labelled "arty", but it was something new and fresh and Dax was way ahead of her time. Following this compilation, she released one major label studio project 'Blast The Human Flower' in 1990, which was again well-received but didn't do much in the commercial world. Sadly a debilitating illness resulted in her not being able to fulfill her contractual obligation to produce another album for Sire Records, and she was eventually dropped from the label. She re-surfaced in 1995 with an EP of experimental music, 'Timber Tongue', which saw her career come full circle. The same year she retired from the music scene once and for all, marking this with a compilation which she tellingly titled 'Comatose Non Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax'. A crying shame. Since then she's worked in interior design and was awarded the Designer of the Year Award by the BBC after taking part in the interior design show Homefront. She now concentrates on her art work in addition to interior design and has confirmed that she (sadly) has no plans to return to the music scene. However, when a short list of innovative, cutting-edge underground music artists of the 80s is drawn up, you can be sure Danielle Dax will be near the top! I live in hope that one day her music will be re-discovered on a wider level as she has been cited by many artists as having been a major influence, a unique, multi-talented genius!
Danielle Dax - Dark Adapted Eye (flac 440mb)
01 Cat-House 3:32
02 Big Hollow Man 4:47
03 White Knuckle Ride 2:55
04 When I Was Young 3:49
05 Yummer Yummer Man 3:26
06 Fizzing Human Bomb 3:43
07 Whistling For His Love 3:31
08 Flashback 4:20
09 Inky Bloaters 3:33
10 Brimstone In A Barren Land 4:29
11 Bad Miss 'M' 2:45
12 Touch Piggy's Eyes 4:08
13 House-Cat 3:31
14 Bed Caves 3:09
15 Sleep Has No Property 4:32
16 Hammerheads 3:12
17 Pariah 3:45
18 Where The Flies Are 3:14
19 Funtime 3:19
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