Dance-rock 101

The Clash, Combat Rock (1983)

The Clash, Combat Rock (1983)

Not accustomed to actually moving to your rock ‘n’ roll? Is the extent of your dance repertoire the swift motion of your arm as a bottle of beer feeds your lips? Do you suffer from head-nodding syndrome? Worry not: RN&R is here with a primer on the fruition of Franz Ferdinand’s dance-rock sound, past and present.

The Clash, Combat Rock, (1983)

Nick McCarthy and Alexander Kapranos’ guitar sound owes a lot to the groundbreaking post-punk shredding of Clash guitarist Joe Strummer. Just listen to the anthem-like “Know Your Rights”—haven’t you heard those staccato one-quarter beats somewhere?

Pulp, Different Class (1995)

Franz Ferdinand and Pulp have far more in common than lanky lead vocalists with a penchant for making the ladies swoon. Without Pulp and mastermind Jarvis Cocker, the entire Brit-pop movement never would be what it is today. Cheeky lyrics, catchy tunes and epic sounds put Different Class into a class of its own. With tracks like “Disco 2000,” “I Spy” and, of course, “Common People,” the album is a flawless example of Brit-pop.

The Rapture, Echoes (2003)

Luke Jenner, frontman of the Rapture, is proof that you don’t have to be able to carry a tune to get people to move. On Echoes, Jenner and company, who have drawn comparisons to the Cure and Gang of Four, propel themselves through 11 dance-informed tracks. The highlight of the album is “Echoes,” with its screeching vocals, tumbling bass line and infectious guitar hooks.

Out Hud, Let Us Never Speak of it Again (2005)

Decidedly more electronic than Franz Ferdinand, the now-defunct Out Hud tapped into primal beats and synthetic sounds to create the pulsating pop perfection of Let Us Never Speak of it Again.

Datarock, Datarock Datarock (2005)

Norway-based duo Datarock, which consists of Fredrik Saroea and Ketil Mosnes, specializes in energetic feel-good dance-rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Take, for instance, the song “Computer Camp Love,” a humorous synth-punk take on “Summer Lovin’” from the Grease soundtrack. Check out this album; you’ll be a happy camper, too.


LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem (2005)

In 2005, James Murphy, head honcho of LCD Soundsystem and founder of DFA Records—which released the Rapture’s Echoes (see above)—released the highly anticipated LCD Soundsystem to rave reviews. The crowd-pleasing track “Tribulations” is undeniably catchy, begs to be played at deafening levels and results in an uncontrollable urge to dance.