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Playlist: NYC Dance Punk

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

I made this playlist of this Disco Punk thing I’m obsessed with right now. It all came on when I read an article in NME about the debut album of Public Practice and decided to give it a listen. ‘Gentle Grip’ is a fun album, and any time it starts to get a little too poppy it balances the song out with a thumping funky bass line or some distortion on the synths. I was quickly led down a rabbit hole of other DIY NYC band’s (probably because I just read Meet me in the Bathroom), and have had a renewed interest in bands like LCD Soundsystem, but it brought me to a couple other great bands like Bodega and Future Punx.

The song that stuck out to me on ‘Gentle Grip’ was “My Head” which had made me feel somewhat like a teenage girl, but, in my opinion, it’s a good fucking song, and not just a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s super upbeat and Sam York’s vocals are kept in a strict rhythm with the drum beat, but the little funk added to the song by the bass line pulls it back to the world of legitimacy. It’s something you could almost imagine being played at Studio 54, which also makes me question of my liking for it, but the song almost laughs at itself enough to let you say, “Fuck it, let’s Dance.”

I threw in a couple of classics from bands I felt were the predecessors to this whole movement, the Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem to give the playlist some historical context, but other than that, every song has been released in the last three years. Bands like B Boys and Future Pill push the spectrum of this genre, but both seem to show truly what this underground scene is about, alike both in the fac t that they’re willing to bring in any sort of instrument or sound effect to make sure even the simplest tracks have a unique quality.

The playlist ends with “Charlie” by Bodega which isn’t a very Dance Punk song, but they are a Dance Punk band, and it’s the kind of simple song that is perfect in its simplest form, it’s meant to have the spaces heard. A story about guitarist Ben Hozie’s best friend drowning, the song naturally strikes a sad note, but the song carries a melody that bears the message of the lyrics, as Hozie is able to point out a few of the good times. Lines like, “We met through the song and we lived through the tune,” or “Remember when we had an invisible band?/You played invisible bass guitar, I clutched invisible mic stand” stand out as thing you can see them doing, and it makes the song drastically important while still being casual at the same time. A notion that I find to be a common thread through the whole playlist.

The Playlist

“Jack in Titanic” – BODEGA

“Psycho Killer” – Talking Heads

“My Head” Public Practice

“TV Wedding” Pill

“Manhattan Loverboy” – Future Punx

“B Boys Anthem” – B Boys

“Yr City’s a Sucker” – LCD Soundsystem

“Post Wave” – Future Punx

“Charlie” - BODEGA

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