Why is this memory stuck in my head? Sometime in the early 1990s, I’d gone into Tower Records on the Drag to buy a My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult CD and ended up walking out with Information Society’s Peace & Love, Inc. EP because I love disco. Always have.
This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I never understood why disco was so reviled. Sure, there was lots of vacuous disco, just as there was bad alt-rock, lame punk, and dull new wave. Disco was dismissed for being faceless but that anonymity was due to being true DIY music with no real stars until Donna Summer came along. Being a disco act was being a one-man band with a mic and a synthesizer. The Bee Gees weren’t disco, they were blue-eyed soul. Disco was the music of disenfranchised subcultures – gays, women, Italians, Latinos. OK, so the frenetic beats were meant to be fueled by cocaine and amyl nitrate, but disco was also the last bastion of real vocal styling in modern music. And yes, I know I’m supposed to call it dance music and not say that industrial was simply disco with a strap-on, but big deal.
Back to Information Society. They're playing at Elysium Friday, and I actually entertained thoughts of going, perhaps in goth drag, but feared I’d be mistaken for Beth Ditto with a dye job. Still, the idea of getting that pulse injected live is so appealing. And InSoc is a fascinating concept, a musical collective from Minneapolis who started up in the Eighties. Besides “Peace & Love, Inc.” they charted with “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy),” “Think,” and “Walking Away.”
It’s been a while since InSoc released anything, over a decade in fact, though a re-release of “What’s on Your Mind” went to No. 4 in 2001. Yet back in October, they unleashed Synthesizer in limited edition, brimming with the musical magic that made them so cool years ago. And now that I realize the band is 25 years old, I don’t feel so sheepish about going to Elysium.
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