Dance-punk ends scenester dormancy 

Indie rock faves the Dismemberment Plan once sang, "Well it's a sensation/Across the entire nation/A hundred million kids/All dancing in suspended animation" ("Do the Standing Still"). It was a tribute to the famously reserved kids that populate indie-rock shows, the ones who seem to consider letting loose in dance to be some sort of sellout.

But the good news is that things look to be changing. Dance-punk is beginning to blow up again, moving the hips of the hipsters to a new groove.

While garage rock was the favored revival in 2002, this year has seen a shift toward the funk-inspired post-punk sounds of Gang of Four and Public Image Ltd. Shows by fashion-conscious Brooklyn trio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the reflective intelligent dance act Postal Service had the clubs packed this year.

Nationally, British Columbian party-punks Hot Hot Heat cracked Clear Channel playlists after signing to Warner Bros. and re-releasing their indie record, Make Up the Breakdown. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs delivered, against some doubts, on their full-length, while Omaha new wavers the Faint had their 2001 album, Danse Macabre, remixed by the likes of Paul Oakenfold and Junior Sanchez. And Brooklyn dance-punkers the Rapture's album, Echoes, was named best album of 2003 by online indie-rock bible Pitchfork.

Even the emotionally visceral band ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead broke from its orchestral punk on the EP The Secret of Elena's Tomb, offering the electronic "Intelligence." Scenesters finally found themselves swept up in this new body-rocking style -- back in June, during a show by instrumental dance-punks Out Hud and !!!, even Alex Weiss, the Echo Lounge's normally mild-mannered booker, could be seen busting a move.

And look for more in 2004. Brooklyn art-punk crew, the Liars, will unleash a much-anticipated second album. The Juan MacLean, LCD Soundsystem and Black Dice are working with DFA, the production team responsible for the Rapture's success. Finally, Athens indie-poppers I Am the World Trade Center report to be under "a heavy New Order influence" for their next disc, The Cover Up, due out in March.

The party rages on.


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