• Factory Records
  • Too Crazy Cowboys (Fact 85)
Clearly, I can't get enough of this post-punk dance stuff. I first wrote about the 24-track compilation Fac. Dance 02, which gathers 12-inches and rarities from the Factory archives, in this post where I focused on New York's ESG (though based in Manchester, Factory's signings weren't exclusive to the UK).

Since then, Strut has cleared two more tracks for posting. I've also listened to the entire release, and enjoyed the hell out of it, with the possible exception of Berlin quartet Shark Vegas's "You Hurt Me," which is marred by lackluster vocals.

This first, "Babcock + Wilcox," comes from another NYC act, Thick Pigeon. Originally signed to Belgium's Les Disques du Crépuscule, the fluid line-up revolved around songwriter Stanton Miranda and arranger Carter Burwell, go-to composer for the Coen Brothers. This cut, which features Kim Gilbert, recalls ESG after a shot or two of helium—a good thing!

Below: Ad Infinitum's Peter Hook-mixed take on "Telstar."

New Order's Stephen Morris and Kim's sister, Gillian Gilbert, as Be Music, produced Thick Pigeon's 1983 debut, Too Crazy Cowboys (their band mate, Bernard Sumner, was also part of the Be Music collective). This is the first I've heard of it, though I'm familiar with most of Burwell's movie scores. In the press notes, Miranda reflected on his experience with the Hacienda crowd, stating, "Up north everyone was very polite, except that every other word would be cunt"

The second song, "Telstar," which concludes the set, offers a synth-pop revamp of the instrumental '60s hit from the Tornadoes, featuring then-new lyrics from Factory employee Lindsay Reade and mixing assistance from New Order's Peter Hook (Hook scrambled the vocals and ran them through a Vocoder due to rights issues). Ad Infinitum also featured Eric Random and A Certain Ratio's Andy Connell and Martin Moscrop. The 1984 single would mark their sole release.

The original "Telstar" has a fascinating history of its own as it emerged from the creative mind and skillful hands of infamous producer Joe Meek, who conjured up the most amazing sounds from the technological equivalent of bailing wire and duct tape. Though it didn't get much traction in the States, I would recommend the biopic Telstar, an adaptation of the British stage play, which recounts his brilliant and tragic life (and features producer Kevin Spacey in a tasty cameo).

Also recommended: Fadela's hypnotic "N'sel Fik," Biting Tongues' sinuous "Meat Mask Separatist," which reminds me of Mulatu Astatke, and Section 25's tense "Knew Noise," which sounds like a blueprint for the entirety of the Soft Moon discography. If you like rumbling, dubbed-out bass, this compilation's for you!

Strut releases Fac. Dance 02 on Sept 17 (CD, LP, and digital plus bonus tracks).