Nag Nag Nag – mixed by Johnny Slut

Nag Nag NagWhen you read journalists talking about music circa the turn of the century, the usual turn of events is that no one made any decent music after Radiohead made Ok Computer in 1997, until the Strokes arrived with their debut album in 2001 and reinvigorated guitar music. But just before the Strokes delivered Is This It? there was dance music’s last hurrah as the dominant music form. Critics had been calling rock dead and buried, that dance was the future and that this is how it would be. Electroclash was the pinnacle of this attitude; it was dance music’s version of the New Romantics of the 1980’s. Electroclash was all about style and elitism, which sounds like a stupid combination at any point of time. Looking back now (it’s been what, seven years?), it’s interesting to listen to this music with fresh ears, and especially this compilation born from the Nag Nag Nag club night London started in 2001.

The interesting thing about this compilation is the splitting of the music cover two CDs; the first made up of the then current “No Wave” tunes, and the older inspirational “New Wave” stuff from the early 80’s. There’s some big names on both CDs, from remixes of Radio 4 (“Start A Fire”) and Tiga’s throbbing “Burning Down”. The new wave has some real great stuff on it from the likes of Adam and the Ants (“Xerox”) to goth pioneers Bauhaus with “Kick In The Eye”. There’s a good ebb and flow to the tracks and there’s nothing to abrasive. Mind you Chicks on Speed sound as hollow and idealess with “We Don’t Play Guitars” (well it might help).

Aside from that, it’s a good compilation with one of my favourite Devo tracks on it (“My Baby Gave Me A Surprise”) and a hidden gem in the Joy Division-sampling (?) “Cocaine Talk” from Crazy Girl, a wry lyrical stab at the main fuel of the electroclash scene. In fact, the sleeve notes on the CD give a damming indication of what you could have expected at one of the Nag Nag Nag nights: a club night that “doesn’t take itself too seriously”, but then describes itself as a “strobe-lit, poly-sexual freakfest” where you can rub shoulders with celebrities (who they then list). When groups like Radio 4, the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem came along they found a way to combine dance and rock in an un-pretentious way that people loved. Maybe Nag Nag Nag will act as a warning note to others in the future, but still provide a musical blueprint as to why clubbing is fun in the first place.

Devo – My Baby Gave Me A Surprise:

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