Disco Inferno: The Five EPs
January 23, 2012 2:51 PM   Subscribe

"We were so dumbfounded at the noise that was coming out of our instruments it took us a while to get a handle on what we were hearing, let alone thinking in terms of how any records would be structured." Music journalist Ned Raggett assembles the oral history of British experimental rock group Disco Inferno's five EPs.
posted by Houyhnhnm (17 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I used to work in college radio with Ned Raggett (loquacious was part of that scene, as well).

He is a music nerd's music nerd, and I always love running into him at concerts (last time was at a Legendary Pink Dots show in Costa Mesa) and finding out what he is and isn't enjoying about current popular music.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:55 PM on January 23, 2012

Oh, dude, I love Disco Inferno! Although they have one of the most misleading-on-first-hearing band names ever. "Even the sea sides against us", "a crash at every speed", wow, they are so brilliant. (I'm not sure when "dude" became my cri de coeur of enthusiasm, though. Perhaps it's better than 'woot")
posted by Frowner at 3:27 PM on January 23, 2012

I listen to a lot of "strange" music, but man, Disco Inferno's music is so weird. I've never heard anything quite like it. I think the vocals are a little hard to take; they're by far the most difficult part for me.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 3:30 PM on January 23, 2012

The title track for DI Goes Pop, which only present on the EPs (forget which one), is one of my favorite tracks ever. No one has ever really sounded like these guys.
posted by mrjackalope at 3:44 PM on January 23, 2012

Speaking of the utterly amazing Disco Inferno - if you haven't already read Neil Kulkarni's massive Disco Inferno article in The Quietus, please do so immediately.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:17 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

It should be pointed out, this isn't about Disco Inferno.
posted by hippybear at 4:26 PM on January 23, 2012

Nope, definitely not about Disco Inferno.
posted by box at 4:50 PM on January 23, 2012

Just listening to this now (thanks, MOG!), and it's...The Books meet Joy Division? Not really. Enjoyable on its own terms. Thanks for introducing me to this band.
posted by the sobsister at 6:48 PM on January 23, 2012

Disco Inferno were one of the tiny number of bands at the time that actually did feel like they were breaking through to something wholly (or unholy) original. The Durutti Column duetting with a warehouse full of Rube Goldberg machines or something
posted by quartzcity at 7:30 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

I found Ned through AllMusic and ILX, and about five years ago, he mailed me these EPs. They're awesome, and it's kinda cool to see them back in circulation (which I magically attribute to Raggett).
posted by klangklangston at 9:02 PM on January 23, 2012

Thanks for the link, soundsofsuburbia - i'm quite fond of the quietus and almost always enjoy whatever they're covering.

Just out of curiosity - what's the rationale for labels like One Little Indian rereleasing the record, but not offering a download? The 5 EPs is available as a CD, so it's not like there's some opposition to creating a digital version of the work.
posted by dubold at 2:22 AM on January 24, 2012

Possibly the most criminally underrated, waaaay ahead of their time band ever. Second in my book only to This Heat.

A friend is so enamored he's considering spending the $1,000+ plane ticket to see them this year in Spain, and to be honest, I can't blame him.
posted by ifjuly at 11:44 AM on January 24, 2012

I take it as a small point of sticking-out-like-a-sore-special-thumb pride we played "Footprints in Snow" at our wedding reception. Rambling at the end and all, aw.

When I'm in the right mood, "Next Year" can still move me to tears.

Even their highly derivative early In Debt-era stuff is miles better than the Interpol-ish Joy Division ripoff stuff that came, you know, nearly 30 years later.

"A sky without a god/is a clear blue sky" indeed.
posted by ifjuly at 12:27 PM on January 24, 2012

I should be more specific about THIS collected release, huh? Said diehard friend (who just said yesterday in response to the link "Ugh, god. Ian Crause wrote "Summer's Last Sound" at age 18 and I just got the nerve to pick up a sampler at 32. I think I might be done with music!") had all this stuff in precious, gruelingly-hard-to-hunt-down (it took years and lots of money) un-reproducible scattered form for years, so I'd heard most of it before, but when it came out we all bought it in excitement anyway (partly to stop worrying about playing out fragile unreproducible copies, and partly out of support). The Saturday morning my husband put it on while I was still waking up in a sunny bedroom was heaven. When I finally got out of bed I just said in happy awe "music shouldn't be allowed to be so good."
posted by ifjuly at 12:33 PM on January 24, 2012

Also absolutely essential is Ian Crause's own recollection of Disco Inferno's time as a band. Look out for his run in with Richey Edwards, which is particularly entertaining.
posted by Alterity at 8:54 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Books meet Joy Division?

Oh, I love alt rock math! (Just don't say "it sounds like Echo and the Bunnymen" ;)

"Like-Cockatoos-era" The Cure + Gang of Four/Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine?

To be honest, I knew all about the Durutti Column and Frippertronics and such growing up with an older brother, but I'd never heard of Disco Inferno before this post. Thanks! Really wonderful stuff.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:12 AM on January 26, 2012

Just out of curiosity - what's the rationale for labels like One Little Indian rereleasing the record, but not offering a download? The 5 EPs is available as a CD, so it's not like there's some opposition to creating a digital version of the work.

FWIW, the 5 EPs are available in the iTunes store (along with the two studio albums)
posted by quartzcity at 2:09 PM on January 27, 2012

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