Work Them are pleased, hell, bloody well excited to return this Saturday at Kraak, Stevenson Square in frosty Manchester for a one-off with our good pals and disco fiends Tusk. Entitled 'Hands Up For Heartbreak', we can absolutely affirm there will be no tears on the dancefloor (all weeping must remain in the toilet cubicles, their spiritual home), but plenty of leftfield alternative and electronic music, surprising edits, weirdo disco and let-go house magic. Check out the second edition of our Seasonal Affective Disco mix for a special, free downloadable taste, or grab all the details by selecting the revolutionary poster portal just below you...
Nonetheless, we thought we'd delve into the record collections of some of our favourite DJs and musical tastemakers in Manchester (and a few further afield), to find a few recommendations as to the finest dancefloor heart breakers There's no shortage of great melancholy dance music, or at least music you can dance to, that establishes that tangible but somewhat indescribable link between agony and the ecstasy. However, these loveable shmucks are going to give it a shot at our cheeky request, God bless them.
Stop Making Sense
Joakim - Lonely Hearts
"A totally melancholic, beautiful song, which makes me want to dance (on my own) powered only by existential loneliness. Plus the fact that it's a 3 minute pop hit is fully rad."
Stop Making Sense will be presenting a very special but typically eclectic selection of records tonight, as SMS Got Me Pregnant saunters into Common with romantic swagger. Expect "a whole spectrum of tunes from melt in your mouth romance to stomach churning smut and filth." We're also promised free mixtapes with a specially commissioned sensual cover - "guaranteed to get you laid or your money back!"
Magnetic Fields - I Thought You Were My Boyfriend
"I'm a big fan of this Magnetic Fields track which I've always thought could have been a big club hit but never was. It's not even on their most well-known album, which has 69 bloody love songs on it, many with heartbreak galore. I always think Stephin Merritt would make a cracking disco album if he chanced his arm at it, as a lot of their finest songs have an electro edge and his voice really suits this. I've played it out a few times, never a floor filler, but a few people always get really excited. Once somebody asked me what it was, which is a lovely thing, that really doesn't happen as much as you think. And I then inevitably acted really awkward trying to not sound excited or smug that someone cared."
As you may have heard, Underachievers is set to bow out gracefully within the next few months. Fortunately, there are still a few more events from the city's last great proper indie disco to go before the end though. After that, all the illustrated dogs on years of flyers will be put to sleep. Dave expands on the closure of Underachievers and the various merchandising opportunities it entails here.
Muscle Memory (AKA, Scott Brooks, AKA Scott Yeah, AKA @PopFacts)
Thom Yorke - Atoms for Peace (Four Tet Remix)
"This may look like a box ticking exercise on my part to show how much a of a cliched modern dance music fan I am by name-checking Four Tet and Thom Yorke (which of course it is), but they started it by releasing the damn thing and pandering exactly to my tastes. All that aside it's genuinely one of my favourite songs.
One of the most impressive things that Four Tet does here is that, rather than remix the track per se, he completely replaces everything bar Yorke's habitually fragile yet soaring vocal. What remains is a shuffling live beat and a simple electric piano like that meander about for 4 and a half wonderfully heartbroken minutes before bursting into a 4/4 banger (of sorts). Majestic stuff."
Mr MM. is a regular resident at Now Wave's more electronic tipping lineups. You can find recordings of his storming live sets over on Soundcloud
youandewan - 1988
"This track has a lovely hazy sounding chord sequence, it would fit perfectly over the end credits of some pretty heart-wrenching breakup scene. When we've DJ'd this one people have stopped dancing and help hands for the entirity."
Ghosting Season's debut album, The Very Last Of The Saints, is out now on Last Night On Earth. You can find their full discography here.
Dance Lady Dance (Lou)
Conan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love (Erol Alkan Extended Rework)
"We always play this song in a set. Personally, I love anything that has dark undertones but at the same time is uplifting. The words are a sort of nonsense and they don't instill any emotion but overall the edit is a perfect mixture of creepy and sad. While it actually gives me the shivers it also, at the same time, makes me want to dance my ass off."
Find where DLD are next a-spinnin-ana-twirlin' here on their Facebook.
Greenville Massive Box
"The bass is pretty pensive in this one, it reminds me of some 'doom-like' news that's about to land me, eg 'you've eaten the last Rolo, you twat'. Or 'Happy Valentine's Day, I've had enough of your vinyl, I'm moving out.' On the whole, an awesome track."
Winter Son makes dance music half way between Chicago house and The Cure. You can find out more, and download a stonking, Resident Advisor approved live set from Sankeys last year, here.
1 from Trash-O-Rama DJ Polly Esther...
1 from Trash-O-Rama DJ Johnny Trash:
Trash-O-Rama are a little bit on the poorly side at the moment, so they just dropped us the tunes. But their record collection is as deep and odd as any, and their fun as fuck Clusterben parties are back in a new location soon, says Jonny... "The next installment of Trash-O-Ramas Clubsterben will be Friday 1st March at an 'undisclosed basement location' in downtown Mancunia. Details tba over the next week or so....."
And concluding in spectacular style with a spectacular choice it's...
John Doran (The Quietus)
Hercules & Love Affair - Blind
"In some ways, the question, ‘What is your favourite melancholy dance track?’ is almost too difficult to answer. Great dance music is always bleak on one level or another; even if only on a subliminal or notional level. (Perhaps ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ by the Gap Band is the exception to the rule… unless you hate the Gap Band that is.) Disco has always been engaged in a futile battle to create an infinite space for its listeners to exist within; and no matter how much we want a night to last forever, we always lose out to the space time continuum in the end. From Earth, Wind & Fire’s Boogie Wonderland to Joe Smooth’s Promised Land, it’s always been bluntly stated that we’re engaged in a utopian project by listening to disco, techno and house but the only place we’re actually transported to is an eventual tearful scene by the photocopier come Tuesday lunchtime. And the more futuristic the genre, the bigger let down we have to face.
Who among us hasn’t been in some badly ventilated Ketamine shack in Wythenshawe, happily ‘dancing’ to ‘Pandemonic Embolism’ by Baader Meinhoff Fisting Circle on Raster Noton just to suddenly have the anti-epiphany: “I’m not actually going to see attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion am I?” (A realisation you will never have while dancing to the Parma Violets.) Any music that is born from a desire to make you forget misery is by its very nature born with both feet firmly planted in misery and smart dance music will acknowledge this in one way or another.
Most of this Century’s finest (dancefloor friendly) songs are fully compliant from LCD Soundsystem’s Losing My Edge (ageing) to Of Montreal’s ‘The Past Is A Grotesque Animal’ (heartbreak) via Rihanna’s Umbrella (the vicissitudes of love) but for me it has to be ‘Blind’ by Hercules and Love Affair featuring Antony. I mean, I don’t even know what this song is about but it makes me well up like a motherfucker. I’m feeling like one lachrymal, lugubrious blubber box just thinking about it. I listen to this song and I feel like an al fresco sleeper who’s just been shown a picture of a puppy after his sixth can of Special Brew. But interestingly, it’s still dead good fun to dance to. It’s a funny business dancing, and no mistake. Someone should write a book about it."
John Doran is editor at The Quietus as well as writer of the finest slice of regular Vice, Menk.
A big thanks to all our contributors. Work Them returns this Saturday 16th February to Kraak Gallery, 11PM. All the details are here. See you on the floor.